Friday, October 27, 2006
Chimborazo Cross - The first race of the VaCross Series
You just KNOW you want to watch last year's video of the Men's B Race ONE MORE TIME!
Tidewater Mountain Bike Challenge -
A classic, one of the longest running MTB races in the nation.
Will the fast JB and EaTOUGH be there again this year?
Between the Waters Century -
A great scenic ride on the Eastern Shore I've done the last 2 years. Lots of teamates heading up. More than one on a fixey.
I know YoungBill wants to pass more people.........
2.5 hours easy in SeaSnore last night. Felt so good I did 2 more this morning, even pushed it a little. Been the best recovery from a 24 so far. Preliminary plans are to preride TMBC Saturday PM, stay on that side of the water, make a game day decision. After watching that video, I wanna go to Chimbo, but think some of my legs are still in Texas. Have to play it by ear.
A little game.
Photo by DanD of the T24TT start.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Ride Like a Rockstar
I changed my socks - putting on the 18 Hours (of power) ones. Walked around a bit. Did what you do-do in the morning, then tried to decide what to do do next. The thought of more Gel or protein drink still made me wretch, so I mixed up some rocket fuel.
1/2 Rockstar, 1/2 Pepsi. I always bring this to endurance events as an alternative energy source if I need it for the last few hours. It WILL get you going. No doubt about that. Threw down some vitamins, a few more E-Caps, put on my UMCA wind shell and swung a leg over the steed to see if I could get the blood flowing.
Nothing like a 6 mile climb to do that. No camelback, just one bottle of rocket fuel. 3 miles into it I felt pretty darn good. Passed some folks who really looked whipped - sort of like I felt a few hours ago. Said good morning, but didn't tell them I just had a nice nap.
Took a break each lap to relode the rocket fuel, - until it ran out. Also drank lots of H2O. Scavenged the pavillion to find more Pepsi, and some bananas. That got me through 5 more laps (100 miles). Still had over 2 hours left to ride. Hemmed and hawed about going out again. My brain was looking for excuses. It was warm now and I was riding in a short sleeve jersey. Perused the columns of lap data with a blank stare. RD Dan Driscoll saw me and read my mind. :
"Trying to decide if you should go out again?", he asked.
"Yeah, it's hard to figure out where I stand."
"Just get out there and do it, by the time we could figure it out, you'll be back." He was dead on correct.
I said "You're right." It was time to tell my brain to just shut up and ride.
Near the end of the 6 mile climb Shanna comes rolling by me. She offered a few nice words of encouragement. She was "just" doing the 6 hour. If you haven't seen her website, check it out. Very smooth rider. Incomparable list of endurance achievements. I followed as close as I could for as long as I could. (Not very) She caused a bit a stir at the FC508 by choosing Dik-Dik as her totem. What's the big deal? I think it's a cool animal. What's wrong with a lady that likes a little .... antelope. Lighten up folks.
I found more carbonated sugar water, put some in my bottle, some in my mouth and off I went. Got back with still 45-50 minutes left. Could've gone out for a partial credit "prorated" lap, but I announced that I was done as I crossed the line. At the van, DanD came up and asked "Not going again?". I said , thanks, but that was it. Regret that decision now. Next year Dan has permission to give me a swift kick in the _______ to make sure I'm out there when the bell rings.
Those last laps were really a bunch of fun. The breaks were way too long, but the day was beautiful. Riding the course in the sunlight was like a whole new thing. The wind HAD switched 180 degrees so the back stretch and the last downhill were directly into it, but it was still my favorite section of the course to ride.
SO THATS IT, thanks for reading.
Things I learned :
When you're out there suffering, and really far in the bag, you're most certainly not the only one that's feeling bad.
Vitamin C and E, along with a few good daily multiples, are a very good idea DURING the event. A pre-race massage doesn't hurt either. I feel better than I ever have after a 24 hour effort.
Oh yeah - If you were reading just looking for results, you'd of probably quit way before this, but here ya' go - 1st in Age Group, 4th overall.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Texas TT Tejas 500
First, mad props to the organizers and volunteers, riders and crew. The TTT/Tejas 500 is really an incredible event. The first Ultra-Road race I've been to that has the feel of the 24 hour mountain bike race scene. People can (and do!) camp out at the venue. Coming through the start finish the road is lined on both sides with pop-ups, tents, campers, fans, and crew.
The race is really 4 races rolled into one - the big 500 mile RAAM qualifier, a 24, a 12, and a 6 hour race. Relay teams also do the 500. All the races are scheduled so that they finish at approximately the same time. Over 130 entrees this year, with %50 of them in the 500 mile race. The event raised over $4000 for the New Hope Baptist Church. After the race the pavilion was filled to overflowing as dinner was served and awards handed out.
A few highlights of the great performances :
Mark Pattinson from Tennessee won the 500 mile race in a sub 30 hour record time. He came in second earlier this year to Tinker Juarez at the Heart of the South. That's 25 laps of a demanding 2o mile loop. Makes me dizzy just thinking about.
Eric Jensen (team RAAM finisher 2006) came down from Massachusetts to earn the 12 hour John Marino Competition Championship. He set a new course record averaging just over 20mph for the ENTIRE ride. Incredible. It was a race between Eric and Chris Hopkinson, with Eric pulling away at 4 laps to go.
My Story - A Tale of 2 Races
I went down to Texas to get the last JMC point needed to assure me of the annual medal. The silly little things that keep us motivated. If I hadn't of had to pull out of the ADK. I probably wouldn't of made the trip.
Was sad to hear early in the week that JohnJ was pulling out. He's had an incredibly busy and successful year, finishing the Furnace Creek 508 just 2 weeks earlier. He has a wrap on the overall JMC competition for the 3rd year in a row. He was also leading the 12 hour competition with an incredible 3 race total of 742.1 miles.
When asked about the course and how it compared to the Saratoga 24, JohnJ told me it was much tougher. Gotta admit that scared me a bit. Eric was concerned about the 6 mile climb that started each lap because he shipped his bike down with a 23 tooth as the largest cog. John told him not to worry - the six mile climb isn't really tough, it's just "annoying". HAH. I've learned that lesson before. John lives and trains in the mountains of New Hampshire. I live and train in Flatland Virgina. One man's molehill is another man's mountain. Yes, Eric did fine in the 12hr with the 23t, but he's a freakin' stud. I went with a 27t, and was quite glad I did. At the end I really needed it. Wasn't going to be caught toothless 2 weeks in a row.
"Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail" -- some USMC Drill sergeant
The plan was to get to the venue 4 hours early to get my junk organized and setup. A colossal wreck on the way tied up Rt35 for 2.5 hours. 2 overturned tractor trailers. I got there 75 minutes before the start.
The course at twenty miles long is made for quick pit stops or rolling hand-ups. Being self-supported and not liking to stop, I went with 100 oz of Powerbar Recovery in a Camelback, with one additional large water bottle, and a pocket full of gels. Sure the extra weight would hurt on the climbs, but what the heck. I'm used to extra weight on climbs - hah. It was enough fuel to keep me going for 6-7 hours non-stop. Ya gotta go with what ya know.
The plan was to ride 6 laps (x3). Two stops, 24 hours, 18 laps. A 300k day. Seemed to fit into my brain well enough. You have to break these things down into bite size chunks.
The 5:30 evening start was new to me. Only 1 1/2 laps to get to know the course, then darkness. The sky was crystal clear with no moon. MyNewt was the bomb. I used it on the downhills next to a Cateye 3000 which was on the full time. Light weight, no battery changes, very very happy with the light setup.
All was well for the first 6 laps. John Guth and I leap-frogged regularly as he was stopping more frequently. He's a (much) faster rider, especially on the hills. Seemed like every other lap I'd hear his carbon wheels come up from behind me near the end of the long climb. Then I'd try to keep his taillight in view for the rest of the lap. In the middle of lap 6 he dropped the hammer and was gone. My knees started to ache a bit on the climbs. I was riding with "new" 175mm crank arms. I had maybe 2-300 miles on them, but just on flat ground. It wasn't the "inside your knee-I'm going to blow a ligament type pain". It was at the tendon attachments all around both joints. Tried to put it out of my mind.
1st pit stop was 20-30 minutes. Refilled Camelback, put on much needed leg warmers. Re-gued. Had trouble figuring out how to work the interior lights on the rental mini-van. All was going as to plan...... so far.
"The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray" --Robert Burns
Somewhere in the next 4 laps things went amuck. Hard to really pin it down now. I know I was having a really hard time swallowing the gels. They were just turning my stomach. The protein drink also was hard to swallow. The first swallow was nice and cold and tasted great (temps had dropped into the mid 40's). Once I'd sucked the fluid out of the tube that was out in the cold air, the next swallows were body temperature and revolting.
Somewhere after midnight my knees started to hurt worse. In the early morning hours the temps continued to fall (or was it just my mind?) The wind was still cranking at 20mph. Music would've been a really nice distraction, but was not allowed, and I totally understand the safety issue. The sky was unbelievable. A billion stars. I watched Orion cross the sky, and wondered why it always seemed to be on my left the whole way around the course. Saw many, many shooting stars. Some seemed really close. I don't think these were imaginary. One nice thing about the course - you could almost always see the bright red taillights of riders ahead. Gave you something to think about and chase.
"The idle mind knows not what it is it wants." -- Quintus Ennius
The biggest difference between all night mountain biking and all night road riding is the lack of sensory input. On a mountain bike you always have the next obstacle, the next root, the next technical climb or obstacle. On the road, even on a technical road course as this, your mind just wanders. I think that's why people go crazy during RAAM.
Without realizing it I wasn't eating or drinking enough. My body wasn't generating enough heat, the temperature was dropping, my knees were REALLY hurting, especially on the climbs on the back stretch. I was getting cold, and was coming unraveled. Manic-depressive mood swings, and starting to bonk. After sorting through all the signs, symptoms, thoughts, and visions, I decided to stop and regroup after my 10th lap (200 miles) if the sun wasn't up yet. It wasn't.
Toward the end of that lap, with my brain in a total funk of low blood sugar delusion, the 12 hour riders come by me on their first lap. They started at 5:30AM. Eric rides by in the dark and shouts "Is that John?" Took me totally by surprise.
What was my response? -
"Have a great ride" ......
"Go get 'em ....."?
"What's up?"....... nope.
My muddled brain yelled back exactly what it was thinking.........
"I'm dying here" --JB
Isn't endurance cycling fun? I pushed the back stretch hard staying with the 12 hour riders, knowing I would stop at the end of that lap. The race was over. I pulled in, took some advil, some ECaps, ate a few chips, drank massive amounts of pure clean H2O, then crawled into my vehicle shivering from the cold and just quit thinking about everything.
That race was over. I was buried. Whipped. There was no plan.
Amazing that I could fall asleep. Even more amazing that I woke up about an hour later with the sun coming up.
"Plans get you into things but you must work your way out."--Will Rogers
Monday, October 23, 2006
Some Before and Afters
oh well - didn't mean to post the same one twice. It was nasty windy, and never stopped. Rotated 180 degrees, but kept blowin'!
Great race, great venue, lots of "fun"?
Friday, October 20, 2006
Tonight I ride like RUST.
Down in Dallass Texass for the last event of the JMC year.
After a WD at the ADK I need one more point to get my annual JMC medal.
While I'm out slogging miles in the 24hr, the 12 hour guys will be all out sprinting for the national championship. The field in the 12 is stacked.
Hoppo is here from England. Will he be in pink? Or did he get the memo about yellow?
Eric Jensen, winner of the Saratoga and Sebring 12hr is here.
As is Wes Wilmer, fellow Virginian, who set the age group course record in Sebring this year for 12 hours.
Monday, October 16, 2006
IronCross - from Way Back in the Pack
Temps in the very low 30's at wake up Sunday morning.
Good thing my bike had thermals.
Early morning sunrise over South Mountain, Michaux State Forest. On the way to the venue.
Frost still heavy on the ground at registration. The lodge had a nice fire going in the fireplace.
The conception for IronCross was based on the Three Peaks Cyclocross race in England. Three Peaks is an annual race that ran for the 45th time this year. At the start I met Ian, who was over here from England just to do the IronCross. He's done the last 12 Three Peaks races. Ian told me that the average rider spends as much time off the bike as on it at the Three Peaks. I was hoping that wasn't an omen for the day.
I've heard about IC many times. The climbs, the fast loose gravel descents, the infamous "run-up". Everything I'd heard couldn't of prepared me for the experience.
Only had a few goals :
Don't hurt myself,
Don't hurt my bike,
Don't hurt my will to ride,
Hopefully not in last place ...........
All were achieved, but not without a fight.
I was running 35mm Excavaders at 75 pounds. My main screw-up was having a 23 tooth as my largest rear cog ( a compact crankset up front). Any of those hills alone were totally ridable with that gear, but when you add them all up over the whole day, and throw in some steep hikes ........ it was just too long a gear for this fat ol' flatlander to grunt. I cracked hard on the last long climb up Hogshead.
Riding that kind of terrain on a cross bike was a first for me. I'm a conservative (read : "scared?") rider anyway. The first singletrack is the Lippencote trail. I walked most of it just to save my bike if not a scrape or two. Wasn't really sure how much of a thrashing the TriCross could take. Art the Dart had fun riding the Lippincote. He finished strong after some early mechanicals.
The down hill reminded me of the rocky rutted downhill at Big Bear, except this one had much bigger rocks. Was really wishing for my MTB there.
I kept waiting for the darn crawl up. Then it came. Pictures do it no justice. The nice thing was that the TriCross shouldered so easily, like the bike wasn't even there. But climbing this thing even without a bike would be a struggle. Danielle Musto gives a great description of it on her blog :
"And then I was forced to come to a complete stop. In front of me was a wall...a hill so steep and long that I could barely get up it...and I'm talking about walking. I had to brace myself against trees, rocks, you name it. By this point the temps had risen to the high 50's and the sun was shining down on me. All I could see was rock around me...it seemed like some sort of weird nightmare. "
Danielle went on to finish an awesome 3rd (first mountain bike) behind 2 powerhouses of Eastern riding - Deedee Winfield and Mandy Lozano.
I overshot at least 3 turns that were in the middle of fast downhills. Luckily I realized it soon enough, but by the time you stop and turn around, then realize you're in the wrong gear to climb back ....... you loose many a minute.
I rolled through checkpoint 3 and heard the guy say "Nice climb up that way". OK. Hogshead it was. I tried to shift down at least 63 times in the next 4 miles, but I was already in the lowest gear. I stood up and pedaled for longer than I can ever remember. Determined not to give in. Calves qhivering, quads expoding, lungs on fire. Around every turn there was another hill. WTF!!!!! Not really really steep, but not really easy either. "Moderate" as Crazy said. There was one hell of a lot of moderate on this course.
Kept telling myself - "Self ...... there's people that would fly up this on a SS" Self said back- "But you sure aint one of 'em."
The pitch seemed to level a bit, then I look up - another freakin climb. I guess that was Woodrow Road. The name of the last peak? "BIG HILL" Hah. No kiddin', check the map. My legs saw it and left town. They almost refused to walk up.
At the bottom of the nice descent was the last checkpoint. You know you're way back in the field when the volunteer greets you with :
"#9, we've been waiting for you."
"Am I the last rider?"
"Nope, there's 6 more behind you"
"Thank god for small miracles, how much further to go?"
"Well, there's Trail!, More Trail!, and Still More Trail!"
It was the first checkpoint I'd stopped at. I slammed some water and soldiered on. I thought she was just messing with me till I got home and looked at the map. Those are really the trail names, and they were lots of fun to ride. Had to carry it up the corkscrew, then one more time up to Ridge Road, before the fast descent on 233.
TriPower nabbed 3rd place team, a scant 2 points behind the local VisitPa.com powerhouse squad. Speedy Bill G., the Silver Fox (his twoness), Carol, Liz, and Turbo Tim scored the points. WTG.
If you like to ride, and like 'Cross, you should definately get down to do IronCross. (down means even you Canadian crosser's should make the trip. ,,!,, :-)
It's a great place to get your
Friday, October 13, 2006
Yellow is the New Pink.....
This is my CX bike. I take it off sweet jumps. I like it a lot. Laura got one just like it. I guess the bikes are related.
Note the nice yellow cranky pedals.
Yellow is the new pink, which was the new black.
Thursday night cross practice is blooming. Michael once again proves :
If you build it, they will come.
5 laps, 54 barriers. Only 2,696 barriers left to do.
"The symbology of the Iron Cross goes back to the christian cross and more specifically the crosses used in the crusades (e.g. the Maltese Cross). Thus the religious meaning of the cross was mixed with connotations of war, conquest and heroism. The Iron Cross as a military decoration was introduced by King Frederick William III of Prussia in 1813 as the highest military decoration in the Napoleonic War. It was awarded equally to sodiers of all military or social ranks. It was awarded for the most exceptional courage, bravery and heroism. "
2 days left......................
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Just a little less than 5 more days. TriPower flames on the banner ......... could we get the Team Cup?
Cyclingnews prelude article, scroll down.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
6 Strong Engines and a Caboose
Got out at the crack of dawn to try and spin some life into my legs. Then met the elite group of 6 go fast boys in SeaShore. :
Crazy (his 2ness)
Art the Dart(lt----->)
6 strong engines and a caboose (me).
I can say for sure that bikes never passed through that stretch of trail that fast .... ever.
Of course I was dropped, not once, but twice. Thanks for waiting guys. They went on for more road work, I stayed in the park to spin easy.
Tim and Bill had new Specialized TriCrosses. Looked nice.
A Comfortable Level of Pain
The Seagull Century.
This is my friend YoungBill.
He rides his bike fast.
He REALLY likes to pass people. LOTS of people.
So that's what we did at the Seagull Century.
Here's how it went down:
Our Team had at least 12 people pre-reg'd for this ride. In the days leading up to it, we heard many an excuse :
"I'm not getting wet again like last year."
"My dog ate my rider number."
"That's a boring, flat, century." Umm, why did you register then?
"I broke my collar bone." OK, Harlan DID have a good excuse.
The night before Bill sends out notice that he will be going rain or shine.
I respond saying I would too as long as the wind was below 50mph and the temps above 40.
Minutes later I check the weather channel and see they recorded a 63mph gust at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
12:30AM Saturday morning - My power goes out
12:31AM - My neighbors start a power's out party that goes on until 4AM
4:30 AM - Power still out, I get up late and try to pack up my stuff in the dark
4:45 AM - I go outside to load up my bike and gear and it's raining hard and sideways.
5:05 AM - Meet Bill, transfer stuff into his van and we're off.
5:30 AM - We reach the north end of the CBBT. On the way we were buffeted by wind and rain. The Bay had 10-15 foot swells that looked like they were almost breaking over the roadway. We see a couple hundred semis pulled over and waiting to cross going south. The bridge tunnel was closed to high profile vehicles for most of the night.
6:30AM - It's still windy and blowing sideways rain. We can hardly see the road. I tell Bill I don't think I'll be riding if it was like this, but it should be better 70 miles up the road.
8:00AM - We arrive at Salisbury University and the weather HAS calmed a bit. Raining, but not much more than a hard drizzle. Still really windy. We're a bit surprised and glad to see there were a bunch of people out there riding already.
It rains for the first 2-3 hours of the ride, but never REALLY hard. On the way we pass many people, some hop on our wheels for a tow. At one point I roll off after a 15mph pull into a 30mph rainy wind. Our two person group has swelled to 10-12. I sit at the back and suck up tire spray for about 20 minutes. That was the worst part of the whole ride. I drop off the back. It was more comfortable battling the head wind on my own than catching all that road grime and spray in my eyes, nose and mouth. Bill takes his pull than drops back with me. Together we go on to pass the paceline as it shatters.
Things were getting a bit sketchy as our group would grow. Lots of unknown riders doing crazy things. The safest most comfortable places were at the front, off the back, or tucked in behind YoungBill.
We see this dude and his human powered SAG wagon .....WHAT?
Lots of people getting flats, so of course I had to get mine. Shard of glass. As we're fixing it we remark at the wide variety of riders and bikes we see. Everything from kitted out racers to mountain bikes, and everything in between. Recumbents, even a bunch of rollerbladers.
Some people with funny ornaments and flags on the tops of their helmets.
YoungBill says "That's got to add a lot of wind resistance..............but I guess they're just out here to have fun."
"So Bill, ummm, just why are we out here?"I ask. Oh yeah, I forgot ...... to pass people. Then we agree that we're out here to find that "Comfortable level of pain." Oh yeah, and pass some more people.
Paul hung with us for the first 50 miles or so, then he goes down. Crosswind, unknown riders, wet roads, wheel overlap, it was bound to happen. Banged up knee, messed up front wheel. SAGed in.
The causeway to Assateague Island is totally exposed. One of the workers said the crosswind was 50mph. Many people just walked it. You had to really lean into it not to get blown over. On the other side of the road we see a guy off his bike crouched below the guardrail to avoid being blown over. The Asseteaugue rest stop (-->) 63 miles in.
We made it back over the bridge, then on to the last rest stop at 84 miles. I have a rule for centuries - Never stop at the last stop. Just makes it harder to get going again. But this stop is special. I've heard about often from many people. Homemade pie and ice cream, live music. Bill likes the pie.
"Brandy, you're a fine girl........ what a good wife you would be................."
I felt really good the last 20 miles or so.
We wrapped it up, picked up the t-shirts of our excuse-laden teammates, and drove home.
We marked all the shirts with a Sharpie in big black letters - "NO SHOW"
Friday, October 06, 2006
CX practice was fun and furious as Crazy ("his twoness") led us around for some laps of the Trashmore course, including the monster runup. Over and over.
Then to the barriers to work on technique. CD had the step through dismount silky smooth.
Me, I had enough trouble just unclipping from my new Yellow Crankys. Art the Dart took one and only one pass through the barriers. Through being the key word there.
As the sun set it was up to the top of the big hill for some photo ops. At the top of the climb we interrupted a loving couple .......... lets just say we weren't the only ones "Gettin' 'er done."
God Bless America.
Then it was over to Danbos for some din-din and a review and critique of our video'ed efforts. Thank you Dan and wife.
I need lots of work.
only 2,750 more barriers to do.................
You might be asking - What is this Cyclocross (CX)? Click here for a primer.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Weather or Not?
The cold front is moving in for the weekend. Already reg'd up for the Saturday Seagull Century with 7,000 other riders. Was hoping the conditions wouldn'e be as bad as last year. Looks like they could be worse. Northeaster is forecast with 20-30mph wind and 2-3 inches of rain. That sucks.
I really need a long ride this weekend. Hilbert #3 is on Sunday. Hope that won't be effected by the weather. If the century doesn't happen it might have to be Enduro ? Who's that on the front page of the RunRideRace site? HAH. Even slow guys get the pub. sometimes.
Looks like everytihing will have to be a game day decision. Except Trashmore CX practice tonight. It's ON baby!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Where Have All the Good Movies Gone
Miami Vice - Colin Farel has done some decent work in the past, and Jamie Foxx was incredible in Ray, so I gave this a chance and saw it a while back. Was so boring I walked out. No kidding. Couldn't stay awake, and I wasn't even tired when I went in. Gotta hate it when a movie interrupts a good nap. Especially when it costs $8. Maybe they could've had Don Johnson sing the sound track?
Crank - Don't expect much more than the usual Jason Statham stuff. Foul language, fight scenes, gratuitous (public) sex..........and you won't be too dissapointed. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels was still way better.
Amy Smart has that "Where have I seen her before" look. Where HAVE I seen her before? Up against a mailbox in Chinatown?
The Illusionist - GO SEE IT! Finally a good movie that doesn't have to have all the cliche' violence, language, sex, special effects, and fast car chases. Not that I have anything against all that stuff.........
Time to go out and get my