Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lewis Morris Challenge H2H Results

Today was a good and bad day for me. Thanks to Geoff and all the Marty's guys that did a great job with organization and timing. The race was cool and fun as expected but there was some interesting unexpected stuff for me for sure.

Off the line I take 4th wheel and have John A. in my sights as he gets a small gap and I know that I need to watch him. At this point it was(I think) John, then Steve M., then myself. Through the first climb all was good and then into the down was fine and then into the switchback to teal I started to fire up and got onto John's wheel. I should have stayed there. Just as we crest the top of the rooted climb I pulled around him and took the lead. On the next downhill hard right my front tire was drifting but then it caught and I ate it HARD!!! I was tossed down and surprised that my bike and myself were still working right. I did a running cross mount after 5 passed and got back on and had no shifting from my derailleur. I would not last like that so I had to pull over. ALL OF THE HOUSING GOING TO MY REAR DERAILLEUR CAME OUT OF THE MOUNTS ON THE FRAME GIVING ME TOO MUCH SLACK. How does this even happen? So I had to stop for two minutes or so to rehang my rear derailleur cable. Once I got it back on and it was all good I WAS PISSED!!! It's soooo interesting to ride angry. Utah was up ahead once I got back on and I called out on your left and I"M ANGRY...he laughed and pulled to the side and let me go through. By the middle of the 2nd lap I was solidly in 2nd place. That's right 2nd. Holy hell how did I make up that much time that quickly. Anger - that's how. I did it poorly though. That would only make me suffer in the end.

So lap 2 once I got into 2nd I was sitting comfortably and riding well. But my bike wouldn't shift into the 3 easiest gears in the back AGAIN(just like William's Lake) but it was because that back piece of housing slipped out again. Dammit! I didn't realize it until the end but it was too late. So I pushed the big gears the whole 2nd lap and going into lap 3 my teammate Keith came up from behind and we worked together for a little bit but by that time it was too late already. I set out for lap 3 knowing impending doom was coming.

During lap 3, I started it in 2nd, and the pain started to creep in. The legs were a little cooked from that 1st and 2nd lap land speed record I was trying to set = stooopid! So I rode well but again Keith came up and I heard the Guys Bike guy pretty close as well. I climbed my heart out but it was not all there. I rounded the last corner to start lap 4 with Keith and the Guys guy right there and knew I couldn't hold them off for long. I did what I could but was shakey and hurting at that point. So I had to let them go. My next job was just to preserve 4th and that's what I did. I totally limped through a good portion of lap 3 and 4 and finished solidly in 4th but knew there was SOOO much more if I hadn't been a tool and tried to find the caloric content of LM dirt. Chalk it all up to experience. Ok and to top it off my rear tire was going flat at some point since there is 0 pressure in it right now. What a day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

William's Lake Report

It was an amazingly hot day today! At least the storms held off but they were threatening right at the start. It was good to see 4 of my teammates show up as well. During my pre-ride I had flashbacks to the last time I rode there which was in 2006 when the race was in the series. It was good stuff and a true mtb course. I forgot how tricky some of the sections could be. There were sections where I knew people were going to bite it and they did.

Here's how my race unfolded. I started in the front row and good thing since they put 19-39 all together. After bumping elbows off the start I was in 8th but I shortly picked my way through two before getting to the big climb of the day. I knew it was four laps and HOT so I had to be careful about moderating power. I went up the first climb on my teammate Steve's wheel and picked off a few, then one more, then another, and another, until I was sitting in first half way through lap 1. Then the course started throwing in the technical aspects and the short hills and I realized I had some pretty bad shifting issues. My housing wasn't releasing the cable and causing me to not have the three rings above granny in the back. Wonderful. So with this I had to run some of the stuff since it wouldn't stay in a gear and was getting really frustrated as one went by, and the next, and so on. I did the best to hold everyone off and I had to let 5 go through and start to figure out this situation. I don't know if I went too hard or the shifting issues had me messed up but I was in a fog and starting to forget how to ride a bike. I was in a bad way for a bit there.

I made myself snap out of it and pull it together. I found out I could use the upper range of the small ring for the steep climbs and then really shift the front rings on the faster stuff. With this method I found I could ride the whole course and get a better groove on, although not as efficiently as if everything was working right for sure. So the start of the 2nd lap I at least knew my strategy for the gearing and worked that the best I could. I worked my way back up to Steve as he had the blue/yellow guy on his heels so I latched on. I rested as they pulled me into the climb and then went around to attack the climb again...hopefully feeling better this time. It worked. I crested the top but didn't see either in my rear view. So I went from 6th to 4th now. I kept strong but the b/y guy gapped back up to me and latched on hard. I couldn't shake him but lap 3 was coming up and I knew I could get him on the climb. On the little pitch leading up to the climb he started to fade back and I went hard and tried to put a nice gap on him. It worked. I never saw him again. I passed one more on lap 3 and kept it going. Lap 3 was solid and good and lap 4 I hit the climb hard again and tried to open the gap and get the 2 guys in front of me. But I never saw anyone again. So I was content with 3rd place.

It was a tough field and a good group of riders for sure. I hung out for what seemed forever to check results, and find out what the overall results were like, and I was surprised to see myself in 2nd. Thinking back I saw the leader on the side of the trail with what looked like some bad cramps. So I was really fighting for 2nd. 1st place was just under 2 minutes ahead of me. That's promising since if I had no shifting issues I would have been up there with him and possibly challenging for the win. Either way I didn't really ride well enough to win. Hell after the 1st lap I was going to be happy to finish. It was a great race and a great venue. I had forgotten how much I miss that place. Christian did a great job and it's good to see that place in such good shape.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mohican 100 Casualties

After a close look at the bike in the aftermath, I see a few things that bit the dust.

#1 - my fender :-(

This thing was a LIFE SAVER - it's totally light and worth keeping the grime out of your face for as long as possible. Since I have to get a new one now, I'll probably get two just in case.

#2 - my brakes

Of course they got destroyed but the amazing part is that I had about 3/4 pads on the rear and they BARELY made it. There is probably 1/2 a mm left on the rear. I was soooo close to burning through. On the front, those pads were brand new and they have about 1mm of pad left. Wow - it was really close for me to have to run to the finish. At least they held out long enough for me to make it.

#3 - my drivetrain

I'm not sure what exactly is shot but I'm going to be careful and check over everything. I want to examine the chain, cassette, and chainrings to make sure they are solid for the next effort.

#4 - my derailleur hanger

Shifting was a bit erratic once I hit the ground one of the 3 times so I'm going to look at that closely to make sure either the hanger is straight or that my derailleur is not tweaked.

Outside of that the rest looks pretty good. I'm still debating on what to do with those grip shifts though... I really do love them since they are light and bulletproof, but my venture through the mud this weekend with my non-shifting ability really had me aggravated. They've been fine for everything else, but these muddy races really may need triggers to be successful. I bet I could have shaved a couple of minutes off just by not having to mess with the shifting. Maybe 10 minutes or more overall. That would have been the difference in moving up a bunch more places. More insight for next time...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Time Goals Analyzed

I had previously posted that my time goals were as follows:

Aid 1 - Mile 20 - 1:55
Aid 2 - Mile 34 - 2:55
Aid 3 - Mile 46 - 3:50
Aid 4 - Mile 72 - 5:40
Aid 3 - Mile 80 - 6:35
Aid 5 - Mile 92 - 7:10
Finish - Mile 100 - 7:55

Here were my actual times:

Aid 1 - Mile 20 - 1:53
Aid 2 - Mile 34 - 3:23
Aid 3 - Mile 46 - 4:30
Aid 4 - Mile 72 - 6:32
Aid 3 - Mile 80 - 7:30
Aid 5 - Mile 92 - 8:08
Finish - Mile 100 - 8:56

Food for thought for next year...

Also I'm not too sure about what to do with the grip shifts in nasty weather. I struggled a lot with them. Maybe I need to put on some triggers for bad weather.

Mohican 100 Race Recap

The weather preceeding the Mohican 100 was downright miserable. From the Wednesday before the race it had been raining pretty much non-stop. The weather forecast said that there might be a clear day on the friday before the race and sun so hopefully it would dry things up a bit. Well...that didn't happen. Lucky and I rolled into town Friday afternoon heading to do a preride at about 2pm. As we rolled into town at about 1:30 we were graciously met with a hail storm that made us run for cover. It was golf ball sized hail coming down with such force that we were worried about losing the windshield. We darted down the nearest back street and hid behind a shed to shield the element the best we could and rode out the hailstorm. It lasted for about 15 minutes which was a little intimidating since we were in tornado country. All was well though as it cleared up and we decided to check into the hotel and go for our preride on the road instead. At least that way if another thunderstorm came rolling through we could get to safety quicker.

Friday night we cleaned up from our pre-ride and went over to race HQ and checked in. From there we went to the local pizza joint to get some pasta and pizza. Time to carb up for the long day ahead. After that we went back to the hotel to check the weather for the 500 billionth time and get the bikes and drop bags ready. All was well and we were in bed by 10:30 and ready to roll the next morning.

We rolled to the line shortly before 7 am and joined the massive group that had collected in the middle of downtown Loudonville. For the two races almost 600 toed the line. It was an impressive sight. From the gun we went out quickly and I jumped on Harlan Price's wheel into the paved climb out of town. I wanted to get in front early and avoid the early bottleneck and I did just that. I stood on the first hills and passed many and was up in the first 25 or so to the top of the hill. I then passed a few more on the farm road going into the singletrack and was happy with my placing. The course was grimy as hell. It was sketchy going up and down. It was truly a bike handler's course. I did find myself in good company as I looked to my right around mile 5 to see Josh Tostado rolling next to me. We climbed a few more hills and he walked away as I knew he would finish strong.

Through the opening 30 miles of singletrack it was tough to handle but still fairly quick. I went down 2 times with no warning and it really dinged my knee the first time. As I went on I had to hold back and fight the pain and swelling and eventually it subsided and I pressed on. I rolled up behind Andy Gorski and we put a nice effort to get through the singletrack system at a pretty quick clip. I knew he was a very strong and solid rider so I used him to help me pace. We got to the horse trail part of the system and I had some shifting issues so Andy rolled away from me. I was fine with that as I needed to settle in anyway. Not long after that I rolled into aid 2.

At aid 2 I washed the bike, lubed, got water, and a pb&j. I forgot how grimy the trails were right after that aid station. They weren't bad as I saw Gerry Pflug riding through and eventually got on his wheel. I took another nice spill but got up and got back to Gerry. We hit the next road sections pretty hard as there were 3 of us. So we worked together and got through that section of roads pretty quickly. They were gravel or paved roads and familiar turns as they came up. Each one wasn't that bad though. We hit the top of the one climb and then we hit the singletrack where I knew we were headed into aid #3.

At aid 3 again I washed the bike, lubed, grabbed my flask, water and was out quickly into the powerline climb. The climb was tough but all rideable. Once I hit the top I entered a few doubletrack trail which led to some gravel road. I made up some speed here and worked my way to the right hand turn that was a river but gave way to the gravel road up through the camp. There was a fireroad after this that gave way to the fern trails. These were grimy but not that tough. It soon gave way to gravel road again. This then lead to the dreaded rail trail. 12 miles of pure fun. The first section is nice and flat for about 4 miles. Then once you cross the road it's 4 miles of false flat up, then the muddy pit, then 4 miles of false down that runs into aid 4. Here I grabbed some lube, a coke, my flask, and I was out. I was feeling kinda down through this past section and was motivated once the woman told me that I was the 17th person through. Ok now I had to get moving again. I was on it again.

From 4 there was a short road section which lead to a nice dirt road climb that was extended but steady. Then it turned to a few gravel roads again. Next up was the right into the valley singletrack. This was horrendous but not as bad as the climb out. Up through the ravine climb it was slick but once the top was gained it was all good going down and right up to the suspension bridge. Riding over and through I got back to aid 3 again and that's where the sky opened up.

I was planning on stopping for a bottle but I still had one on the bike and I thought I'd stay on my pace until the next aid station where I'd stop. So through the torrential downpour I kept on it and got up my nemesis hill. Here I once again joined Gerry Pflug and we climbed the next few miles of gravel road together and hit the final piece of dirt leading to the creek crossing and the final road to aid 5. I kept a good pace and was chatting with Gerry as to hopefully not having to do the last section of singletrack. It was in such poor condition that it would have been smarter for the race officials to send us back via the bike path to save the trails. Unfortunately as we approached aid 5 we were sent into the grimy 6 miles of st that was left. I just wanted to get it over with so we took off and hit the section hard.

Through the last section I just kept a steady pace as no one was in sight anywhere. Into the campground they actually gave us a nice finish and didn't torture us. Or so I thought. We actually had to ford a raging river less than a mile before the finish. This was fine except for the two guys in front of me holding me up. They were so tentative that I was getting annoyed that they wouldn't go faster. All I could do was wait though. Once I got through I stomped passed the guys in front of me that were doing the 100k and glanced down at my computer to see that I could finish in under 9 hours. Holy crap. I didn't think at ANY point that it was going to be possible to do that.

I crossed the line in 8:56:53 in 12th place in open mens and 15th overall. I was totally stoked to hear that. What a great race but horrid conditions. Definitely my best finish so far in the 100 milers. I'm really glad to be back home now and not in the rainy slop that I had to run through yesterday. I'm sore, I'm tired, and I'm happy that this race is over. Now I want to make plans to go back next year. :-)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

On the door step of the Mohican

I sit here packing all my gear and reviewing former write-ups and data and try to plan for what's to come Saturday morning. I remember the course pretty well as it really fits my riding style. I think I can go pretty hard consistently and do well if there's no really long extended climbs. That describes the Mohican to a T. So I figure I need to set my game plan. Here's what I figured:

Last year I finished in 8:30 with an amazing race. I was solid the whole time - everything was dialed - and I was REALLY happy with my result. Given that here's what my splits were going into each aid station the best I can figure.

20 2:00
34 3:05
46 4:05
72 6:00
80 7:00
92 7:40
100 8:30

As far as I can see the past few days in Ohio it has been rainy and pretty sloppy and the forecast isn't supposed to get much better. So I'm going to totally ignore that, be optimistic and set my goals like it's going to be dry(yea I know that's stupid). But that's how I'm going to approach this. Given the conditions I'm hearing about, if I cut the same time as last year I'd be happy but again - I'm trying to be oblivious ;-D

So here's the time goals. After compiling and calculating the data(actually just guestimating) here's what I've come up with.

20 1:55
34 2:55
46 3:50
72 5:40
80 6:35
92 7:10
100 7:55

The plan is simple - all I need to do is cut 5 minutes off of each section and I should have my goal time of a sub 8:00. I'll have these numbers on me to compare and see when and where I need to get my a$$ in gear. Hopefully it'll work. We'll see soon enough. Either way it's nice to have numbers to chase. It'll be like 7 mini time trials all in sequence. Looks like fun eh?