Friday, September 30, 2005
Reasons to Ride
I got my registration squared away for next weeks Tour of Hope Baltimore-DC Ride. I'll be doing some volunteer work setting up at the ellipse, then helping with registration. I did this ride last year and is was really an inspirational event. It's not about the bike, but it IS another good reason to ride.
The days are getting shorter, so keep those batteries charged up. Riding off road at night was, is and will always be one of my favorite things to do. I just wish there were more places to do it (legally) around here. Ended the day with a nice night spin on the single speed.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Interbike Stuff n'at
So much of the cycling industry is at Interbike in Vegas trying to get some "work" done. Actually there are some nice reports on stuff already posted at :
Go Clipless and Karl Etzel' site Ride424.com
While headed to upstate New York I snapped this photo while on the New Joisey Turnpike going about 75. Hey, I know it wasn't safe but people in Joisey drive FAST. Speed limits mean nothing in that State.
Cool sled, probably on its way to Lake Placid. I kept an eye open for it up there but never saw it.
Oh yea, I'm back out and riding and feeling good - 90 minutes on the road yesterday and I wanted to go further. Then a little SS spinnin' through the park at night. Man I love2ride!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The crew is back from cycling Italy
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Dreaming of Monsters to Slay
So as we were sitting around the pre-race dinner before the ADK 540 the discussion of course revolved around, you guessed it, riding bikes insane distances. We talked about Mark's '05 RAAM experience, BMB, other 12/24's, and something called Quadzilla. I sort of thought I'd heard of Quadzilla before but I was probably thinking of Gwadzilla, a blog by rider named Joel Gwadz that I regularly stumble across and read. I remember Rick saying once or twice "So you're doing Quadzilla with us then!" I just shrugged my shoulders in a non-commital "huh?"
Mark told us of how he had a bad case of really painful "hot feet" at Quadzilla that made it a real struggle to even finish under the time limit. I'd never had hot feet (but I would!, more on that later), nor did I know what the REAL Quadzilla was. I do think the thought stuck with me and the whole "quad" thing was one of the reasons I decided to switch to 3 laps (408 mile) as I lay in bed later that night. Heck, how could I attempt the unknown Quadzilla beast without knowing I could actually survive a regular quad? I of course learned that the next day that 408 miles of the ADK was anything but "regular".
The real Quadzilla is a bike race held 2 out of every 3 years in western New York with a route that totally encompasses all 11 of the Finger Lakes. It's run in conjunction with the Finger Lake 350 (FL350) and basically adds on another 50 miles and 5000 feet of climbing to an already insane amount of riding. Click to enlarge---->
From what I can gather it isn't just the AMOUNT of the climbing (around 28,000 feet) but the fact that the pitches are steep (10-14%), not short, and VERY (as you can see from the profile) frequent. It isn't like just 3 or 4 major climbs, its 18-22 steepies to summit, and countless "choppy rollers". Now I learned about rollers that don't really "roll" in the Adirondacks. Heh. I can only imagine what a CHOPPY roller is, or maybe I really don't want to. So if you dream of slaying monsters like Quadzilla, give this one some thought. I will. I'm not committing just yet.............
I guess my recovery is near complete. I've come full circle since the ADK. At first when I was having trouble just walking, I swore that I'd never try something like that again. As the pain and soreness went away I looked at the event more objectively and figured I might be able to cut 5-6 hours off my time. Now I'm dreaming of slaying bigger monsters. Like that line in some Bruce Willis movie. Someone tells him "Man you must be insane!" He looks back at them with glazed eyes and says "Yeaaaaa isn't it GREAT!" Name that movie for a prize.
RideOn monster slayers
Monday, September 26, 2005
What to do? - Get a Nickname!
I donned my old team colors
and went on down to Chesapeake Convention Center to watch the largest 9-Ball tournament in the world. Hustlers from 20 different countries were among the 256 starting entrants. Earl the Pearl was there, as well as the Miz (although he wasn't playing). Charlie the Korean Dragon was there and still in the winners bracket. He'd taken more $$'s from me than I care to admit years ago before going pro.
It made me think - why don't more cyclists have nicknames? Some do - Il Falconi, the cannibal, the Ace, but they're not embraced as much by the media or the crowd. If you had to have a cycling nickname - What would it be?
RideOn - While I'm not!
J the peddler B
Thursday, September 22, 2005
408.3 Miles, 23,000 (sore) feet of Climbing
A Long Story Shortened
OK I get a lil' long winded but I have a need to put this one to rest.
I got 'er done with the above stats. I was the first (and only) to finish 3 laps and I did it self supported. This by default gives me some kind of course record which I feel totally unworthy of. Most of the 4 lap guys with their support crews were ahead of me when I finished. I put up a bunch of pictures here.
- Total time - 37 hours 30 minutes or so
- Total time spent riding - 29 hours or so
- Sleep time - little more than 3 hours
- Time spent otherwise resting/refueling - 3 hours 25 minutes
- Time spent buying supplies in stores on the way - 55 minutes
- Time spent messing on course with mechanical tidbits - 35 minutes
- 2 gallons Endurox (yum)
- 24 packets of Gu (yum, yum)
- 280 ounces of Gatorade
- 80 ounces of water, much of it from this fine artesian well ----->
- 4 poptarts (strawberry with icing) <---For real YUM
- 1 turkey sammich
- 1/2 bag Lays regular chips - You KNOW you can't eat just one
- 3 Red Bulls - 1 of which was sugerless
- 32 ounces of PEPSI
- 1 Diet Coke
- 2 cans of Starbucks double latte mocha java
- 1 large 16 ounce can of ROCKSTAR energy drink - HEAVY fuel man! Mix this 50:50 with Pepsi and its like ROCKET FUEL!!!!!!
- 1/2 Hershey Chocolate bar - regulars, no nuts
- 1 ALEEVE, 4 Tylenol, 8 Advil, 4 Motrin
With all done and most said it was an amazing experience that pushed me to, through and beyond my mediocre limits. The low points were :
- During the second lap at night in the pouring rain at the end of the downhills. I was just freezing. I never considered quitting, but I would've pulled off and got a room in a hotel in a second if one was open.
- At the check point near the 1/2 way point of the last lap (at about 330 miles). Heading up the hill to Wilmington I was ABSOLUTELY SURE I wouldn't go on. The soles of my feet were on fire, my arms and thigh adductors were cramping (from squeezing brakes and bike on the downhills), my shoulder hurt, both my knees were sore, I was running WAY below empty and had no energy.
The high points were :
Riding the last 75 miles. What was the big turnaround? I went into the last checkpoint with a bag of stuff I'd just purchased from a local store in Winchester - chips, candy, Pepsi, Tylenol, Advil, and RedBull. John C asked me what's in the bag. I just said "Something in here is going to help me 'cause I need it bad." I'd never messed with "alternative energy drinks" like RedBull or Rockstar before but they sure seemed to give me what I needed to get me home.
After cresting the last climb out of Keene Valley I was spinnin' like a mad man as Rodger came up along side and asked if I needed anything. At that point I was sure I had it licked at smiled and told him I felt great, I see him at the finish (35 miles ahead). Man those are some bipolar mood swings.
I was sure the lead 4 lappers would pass me coming in, probably on the Keene Valley hill. I actually was hoping to get a picture or 2 of them. Once I made it over that, it became a battle to stay ahead. With about 5 miles to go in the pitch dark Jaroslav passed me , with support vehicle in tow. I could just see the summit of the last climb as the blinking red tail lights of his support van crested it. I was spinning SO fast up that hill I knew if I stopped my right knee would seize up. The sky was finally clear at that point in time only, clear enough to see a beautiful full moon over Ticonderoga. The final downhill had tears of a different kind blowing out of the corners of my eyes.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Time for a BIG Bite
My drop bag had :
The weather was absolutely perfect. Temps in the low 60's with cloudy/foggy/overcast sky. The first 25 miles or so were "rollers" along Lake Champlain. Rollers, rollers, rollers............. I don't get to ride many rollers at the beach but I'd sure get my fill of 'em at this race. With all the time I had to think throuhout this I pondered "What exactlty WAS a roller?" My best definition was an uphill after a downhill that didn't make me shift onto the small chainring. If I had to shift onto the small ring it got upgraded to a legitimate hill. For some reason I found myself wondering if the Bay City Rollers were cyclists.
On the way up a short steep hill into a snall town along the lake I rode by a bunch of young school kids waiting for the morning bus. One Pugsly lookin' 4th grader asked if I was in a race. I answered "Yep". Then the twerp asked me if I was in last place. Kids say the damdest things.
Toward the end of the first long climb after Elizabethtown my seat suddenly dropped down the whole way as the post dissapeared into the seat tube. This would happen a few more times when I was climbing seated on the rivot. The first long downhill was a real rush. All my prerace thoughts about the course centered around the uphills - since I'm a flatlander I was understandably concerned about how I could handle them. Turns out the downhills require just as much concentration and even more technique. I had allot to learn.
<--Looking back at the end of the first long (3+ mile) downhill into the Keene valley. You could go as fast as you dared here.
At the first check point I slammed 32 oz of Enurox, reloaded my bottles with ade for my gator and filled my pocket with more Gu. Total time at the stop about 7 minutes.
John C, John M, and Kurt at the aid station in Wilmington.
The rest of the first lap was fairly uneventful, nice smooth tempo, enjoying the sights.
The last climb out of Keene Valley was a bear - long and steady with 3 separate areas where the pitch increased. I realized after that climb that I'd be in need of water to stay ahead of the hydration curve for the last 35-40 miles. Luckily there waa a small Greek Food trailer just before passing back under rt 87. I drank a few bottles of water there.
Those ski jumps were HUGE. I wonder if anyone ever rode a mountain bike dowm 'em?
There was a cool gorge to ride through on the way out of Lake Placid. It WAS like a wind tunnel though. Wind blasting you head on on the first 2 laps.
The Stretch of Bad Road
A few miles after you turned south on Rt 9 you hit a stretch of bad road. Rick had talked about this and I was actually looking forward to it because once you were done with it you were supposed to be "almost home". I couldn't imagine it would be as bad as he said. It wasn't. It was worse! Words can't really describe the beating this road put on you. The road was crossed by countless expansion strips, except they were all expansion and no strip. It started with a steady da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, as you rolled over the initial pavement joints, Then the potholes came and the expansion joints were more frequent and unevenly spaced. The steady rhythmic sound became da-dum, ba-da-bump, da-da (oh F!)babum, bada-OUCH-bum, da, dum, (MF'er). This went on for a FULL ten miles. Not 9.5, 9.75, or 9.9.........TEN.
<---The guy who put this sign up put one at Everest high base camp that said :
Expect Cool and Breezy Conditions Ahead
As I turned down the road to finish the kast 17 miles of rollers the rain started, and got quite heavy at times. Combine this with high speed semis flying by and blasting you with blinding spray and you had conditions that were far from ideal. I was still in the tail end of the 4 lap support groups. Seeing cars repeatedly leapfroggong ahead of me to pull over and wait for their rider. Down this last stretch I passed James from Orlando who was wisely in his support van.
More to come
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
An entrant could choose 1,2,3 or 4 laps. 1 lap of course was the most popular choice for those riders with plenty of century experience who wanted to push the envelope a bit with some more mileage and good long climbs. 2 laps for those that had experience at the 200+ mile level and wanted a good challenge. At 272.2 miles with 15000+ feet of climbing that would be a good day for most. In the last 2 years only 3 people had attempted 2 laps, none had finished. 3 laps would bring you to the "Quad" century level with over 4 miles of vertical elevation gain. No one had ever tried it.
The 4 lappers are, as I see it, in a class by themselves. Those fit and brave enough to try 544 miles with 30,000+ feet of climbing already have allot of ultra distance experience. You just don't roll out of bed one day and decide to tackle that task. Those that try 4 laps are trying to qualify or are ALREADY qualified for RAAM and are here to train at the ultra level and get some practice night riding with their team. Everyone in the 4 lap race had a follow vehicle/crew. Someone to handoff food and bottles, keep spares and tools in the event of a mechanical, and provide some light and safety throughout the night. The vehicle also gives shelter from the elements, a place to change into dry clothes and rest when needed. Many were equipped with 2 way radios to aid communication between rider and crew.
Monday, September 19, 2005
The morning of the start, at the peak of my delusional gluttony, I changed my race registration to 3 laps.
Some questions were answered :
Why don't more people enter? Because they have much more sense than we do.
Why do so few finish? Because its hard! Not just 136.2 miles and 7500 feet of climbing per lap hard, but this is upstate New York in September. The temps at the mountain tops can (and do) get well below 40 degrees. This is also the rainy season in these mountains. The Adirondacks get more rain than Seattle during this time of year. Of all the things we battle on looooong rides, cold and wet are for me the hardest to overcome.
What makes one drop out so close to the end? I could now give you at least 40 good reasons.
What am I getting myself into? Some serious punishment.
Why am I even considering doing this?! Well..... I'm still not totally sure, but I guess I just want to go somewhere I've never been.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Up in the Mountains
I saw many familiar faces at the meeting of about 15. John C reviewed the rules and we made plans for a nice pre-race carbo-loading dinner.
At the table we have (l-r):
- Rick, who I'd met at the Saratoga 12/24 and who holds the course record for 1 lap at the ADK
- Some joker that struggles with Mittyesque delusions of cycling grandeur
- Ross who is at the ADK for the third time.
- Mark who completed RAAM this year on the Webcor Team and is training for RAAM 2006 solo!
We talked about the course, our plans (Ross was registered for 1 lap, Rick, Mark and I for 2) and ate some great homemade pasta. Rick described the last climb, and a terrible stretch of road he called "Frontier Town". He said once you get past that you're almost home. I was glad I was riding this course sight unseen - in ignorance lies pure bliss.
Makes Me Wonder
Doing a quick "Danny Chew" analysis of the past results for the ADK 540 revealed a few facts:
- 3 people have attempted 2 laps, none have ever finished.
- No one has ever attempted 3 laps (405 miles)
- The course record for 4 laps is held by Rainer Klaus from Germany, who also holds the record for the Furnace Creek 508. His average speed was faster at the 508. He went on to place 5th in RAAM and earn the Rookie of the Year award.
Hmmmm, makes me wonder:
- Why don't more people enter?
- Why do so few finish?
- What makes one drop out so close to the end?
- What am I getting myself into?
- Why am I even considering doing this?!
I'm sure the answers will come.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
My Mind on Mountains and Mountains on My Mind
7,600 feet of climbing in 136 miles - I'm not saying it looks easy by any stretch of the imagination but does it look impossible? Not as much climbing as Mountains of Misery......but I'd bet there'll be some misery in those Adirondack mountains.
So how many loops would YOU do? 1? 2? 3, or the whole enchilada - 4?
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
<----Art spins' out the watts
Art, BJ, Dag, and Brady were there for the first loop. We picked up a few more for the second loop. This cool weather sure feels great.
I added a link to a cool blog by Rob called Twenty-Nine Percent . He's the only local I knew that made it up to the SSWC this year. Great picture of Jimmy up there from the Sunday night fixie ride.
We bid adieu' adieu' to you and you and you : Barb, Jim, BJ and Bob leave tomorrow for a nice 2 week cycling vacation in Italy.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
My biggest group ride ever - Where's the group?
So today the TriPower group was leaving Redmill at 7:30AM to "go long". Sounded like a great plan. Its about 18 miles from here to there so I could get a nice warmup in on the way. I got up with plenty of time but fell back asleep watching some shark show on early morning TV. By the time I had my bottles filled, tires aired etc. it was 6:45 and I'd have to bust butt to get down there in time. As I crest the small Great Neck Bridge I see 2 riders ahead. It was too far away to make out who they were but it'd be nice to catch a wheel to save some legs for later. Just as I reeled them in they took a left. I thought going straight would be a quicker way through the wind, which now was 20-30 out of the ENE.
Then I remembered that another group was leaving Laskin road at 7AM to join the big group at 7:30. For sure I was too late to hook up with them. As I roll up to the light at VaBch Blvd and Laskin I see them rolling out about 50yds ahead of me on the other side of the light. Sheeeee-it. Tried like heck to gain on the group of 10-15, but these two legs were just no match. I never lost site of them till down on GBooth, but catching 'em was impossible. So I arrive and scan the lot but see no one. Ahhhhhh, they're over there by Fat Frog's joining up with that ride. The group was huge, but I guess everyone had different plans on pace and distance.
We got rolling slowly and the pack got split by a light. No one looked too concerned to chase. John M and I rode together for a bit, then I saw a chance to bridge so I did. I hung with the lead group until the pace got up over 28. With the 20+ cross wind it was getting tough to hold a line and a wheel. Besides, we were going long, and this certainly not my going long pace! So I sat up and waited for the next group. It was Sally, her friend and a few other Frogs. Where was everyone else? We gathered up JM and proceeded down the road. At the T only JM and I went right, everyone else went left. At that point we could still see the back of the lead group. We got to the little convenience store and saw a few Atlantic Velo guys sitting there. I adjusted my seat height which had slipped down 5-10ml and was killing my knees, then went in to get some Gatorade. When I came out the AV guys were still there, along with a few others but JM was gone.
After waiting for a while we left as a group but quickly splintered into the nasty wind. I can only guess that everyone slid by while I was in the store. So I hope ya'll had a great ride! I still got close to 80 in - on the "no group" group ride! I felt like that cartoon character, who was he? That always said -
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Gettin' my slay on.
- In Colorado you can go out and slay 14ers
- Reinhold Messner was the first to slay all of the 8,000ers
- Dick Bass slayed the seven summits and wrote a great book about it.
- Don Quixote rode around on a horse (he didn't have a Cannondale) and slayed windmills.
So what was I to do? No mountains around here, not even a good hill. So I had to go out and slay some bridges. I'm SURE ol' Don would've joined me if he lived here and rode a bicycle.
I wasn't after the little local bridges. Nope. It was time to put in some miles and get to the "BIG" ones!
With the sun still very low in sky the first bridge was felled with ease from the north.
The weather was absolutely beautiful and there was time for a quick glance at the view.
On the way to the next victim I picked up a strange grey rider on my right.
Try as I may I just couldn't drop the guy.
Even in the aero position he hung on like an accomplished TTer.
At last I got to the next target. The Pungo Ferry bridge.
On the way to my next objective I won double points for a State line/County line sprint.
Did I say it was flat here?
It wasn't a bad time to take a little break.......on the way to another trophy :
Four times from the north, four times from the south, it was fodder for my wheels.
Now most town names make some sense. Across the waterway is Waterlilly. One can easilly come up with an idea as to how that town was named, but COINJOCK? Hmmmmm. what was this - a bank for football players?
Even the Knapp bridge doesn't look as big from down below.
NO! You don't want a piece of me......For I am Jon Quixote -----BRIDGE SLAYER!
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Longing for some spin.
So what does one do when not riding? Well, fix the bikes for one. Then check out some movies.
I saw Transporter 2 the other night. Just wait for the DVD. I think this sums it up:
An interesting (I'm easily amused) character is played by model come actress Kate Nauta who goes around shooting things up while barely clad in a garterbelt and stockings. A review describes her as :
a psycho-skank in slutty clothes and short blond hair who looks like the underfed love child of David Bowie and. Brigitte Nielsen. ...
That pretty much hits the nail on the head.
Producer/writer Luc Bessen must have a penchant for waif thin action divas, as he cast Mila Jovavich in The Fifth Element then married her. Remember ..... her big line was "MUL-TI-PASS".
Tomorrow, tomorrow, we'll start the day tomorrow with a ride...or....2 .
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Still thinking about the weekend and what a great experience it was. Sure it would've been better to ride it out than watch, but I'd of been in a world of hurt right now.
Some thoughts still flashing through my mind :
My bike worked flawlessly, but my body didn't. I've had numerous mechanicals in my last 2 solos, someday I'll get my body and bike working at the same time.
I did get attacked by a big (1-2 inch diameter) hanging dead vine. On that nasty slimy mudsucking little uphill just before you crossed the road at the checkpoint on the bottom of the back loop. My rear wheel slid over into the vine which got caught between the derailler and rear wheel breaking a spoke. It took me awhile to get the vine out and I was lucky to free it without breaking the derailler or hanger.
There was nasty eaten decayed deer carcass on the new uphill section of single track.
With my rock riding experience limited to a few prerides up there (not many rocks to ride here at the beach!) I was more than a bit apprehensive about the front loop of the course. The first time I got through the rock garden clean I let out a big scream of joy and I couldn't wait to go back through it again.
Now this is sick - After seeing JK's mess I was mad I didn't photo mine. Then when I saw the pictures the on course photographer took I was really mad .
A closer look at my face shows how I was really feeling at the time. I was actually looking for a convienient place to spew, but had to hold it back because of the cameraman. I should've just let it fly projectile style so he could've caught it on film!
Note the left side helmet tilt - It's an east coast thang.
I didn't always look that sick
Marc has a great writeup of the event on his blog. A team of SSer's stomping the gearies! Freaks and Geeks was one strong team.
There was a full team on fixed geared bikes that won their class. You've gotta be kidding me, I thought it was a stretch to ride the course on SS's. They must've been spinning like on top on those downhills.