Friday, July 22, 2011

Bulldog Rump Race Recap

With a larger than usual pro field the 18 of us lined up and were ready for a fast paced start. The whistle went off and I tucked myself nicely in the back and figured I'd would fight for positions later on and see how the field settled in. It was a VERY warm day and I know the heat would take it's toll. I was in probably 15th or so into the singletrack and just staying on the wheel in front of me. I felt good but not great. So towards the end of the 1st lap a rider passed me and I felt nothing left in the legs. This was odd.

I had a large training week leading into this and knew I wouldn't feel 100%, but not like this. The only saving grace was that the rider that just passed me - I saw walking up the climb in front of me. So I knew I had the chance to close the gap and get back on him. Hoping that he would pull me up to the riders ahead. So through the field at the end I closed the gap and stayed close to his wheel for the entire second lap.

The third lap I faded a bit but then pulled back up to the rider I was sitting on earlier. I could see he was fading and I was waiting for my time to pounce. On one little downhill there is a quick quirky little turn and he blew straight into the woods. I think he was putting in a big effort to get away from me and forgot where he was on the course. I dropped the hammer and never saw him again. It was going to take a good 10 seconds or better for him to recover and get back on course. I finished lap 3 on the gas figuring that he may come back but he never did. With the little gas I had left I rode the 4th lap smooth but not that hard. I just was hoping I would not see anyone coming up from behind - and I never did.

I put a full effort in to finish strong and crossed the line in 2:30. I was happy with that as my goal was to finish around then. 12th of 18 was fine for me. The entire category had some seriously stout riders and it was good to be out there competing with them. I'm hoping the next time I see these riders my prep will be a little better, and a better result with come from it. All in all a good day and one that should surely help me do well in the Wilderness 101. That's my season goal that is quickly approaching in a week or so. I'm just hoping the heat ceases in time to rock that course. We shall see!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

12 Hours of Cranky Monkey Race Report


Another one in the books. Rob P. from mtbnj and I cruised down to Quantico VA Friday to hit up the 12 hour race Saturday. Everything was set up well for a great race. Timing should have been perfect to get the camp, do a warmup and then let it fly Saturday. Nothing went as planned. Traffic was horrendous getting there, we got there too late, one of the tents had missing poles, and oh yea, my race bike broke 3 days before the race :(. The plan was to use my 29'er SS and just go with that. It's rigid so I was going to borrow Ted's fox fork but once I put it on the steerer is so gigantic that it would have speared me in the face at some point. So with all that said I opted for the rigid SS :-s .

Race went off with 90+ solos and a bunch of other teams. After a LOOOOOOONG run for the Lemans start, I settled in and found myself in 3rd wheel overall. I had to draft big time to stay with the geared guys. The course was fast and flowy but had some really steep climbs in it. I powered up most but a few I had to get off and walk. I was WAAAAAY over geared. I thought an 18 on the back would be fine but my knees disagreed. So I finished lap 1 in about 7th overall and leading my class. I had no idea how close my competition was so my strategy was to just keep pounding out laps. I figured even if they were faster, they probably would stop more. So I did 3 consecutive, and at the end of lap 4 I needed a change. I luckily brought my other rear wheel with a 20 tooth cog and stopped and switched to that. Thank goodness! Although my EBB decided to be stubborn, after 5-7 minutes I had it all working and off I went.

At the end of lap 5 I had a 5 minute gap on 2nd. This is about the time in the race that I try and see how I can brake my bike so I didn't have to ride for 7-8 more hours. That didn't work so I needed a different strategy. I motivated myself to see how much time I could put into 2nd on the next lap - I had a 13 minute gap then. Next was a 20 minute gap, then 31, then 38...perfect - it was opening each lap. I kept motivating myself that way and kept on it though the remainder of the race. Of course the decision came to either wait to not do the last lap to see if 2nd would miss the cutoff or just do another lap. I hated the guessing game and I wanted 100 miles so I opted to do another lap. I finally crossed the finish line in 11:37 with 11 laps and 104.3 miles of hard singletrack. I was the only solo to do 11 laps. It was great to get a win on the season and to be the solo with the most laps. It was great to have done so well with such bad prep and with such a hard bike to ride***.

***That rigid SS was rediculous. It was such a harsh ride that I had to pick alternate lines on the side of the trail to stop my arms from braking off. I had to change my riding style to brake normally. The front wheel isn't on the ground over bumps so any stopping had to be so much more anticipated. As for the SS I know it held me back the first few laps but I see why it's nice as it forces you to FLY up the hills. Of course at this point I never want to ride that thing with a rigid fork again but I'll reevaluate that when I get the feeling back in my upper body. I literally could not hold onto the bars with my left arm on the last lap of the race. I was so relieved to have finished the race so I could end the pain.

Bearscat 50 Race Report 6/5

My race went off well in the beginning. It was Gordo and myself at the front into the first turn and he didn't want to lead so I went. I felt I could ride it better with a clear view so why not. I would be able to moderate the pacing anyway. So through pumphouse I just rode it clean and got to Bruce by the first turn onto cherry ridge and there was only the eventual winner(Mike T.) and me. I thought to myself that this could be a good day but it was early...yikes would that prove to be true. Anyway - on to the goodies like fishermans and rattlesnake I stayed on Mike T's wheel and hear someone sneaking up...Monte. I knew it wouldn't be long before I saw him. So he got around me on Rattlesnake and we all kept it together through most of lap 1. I got separated from them in Rockadendron and endoed nicely and lost sight of them for good. I knew they were flying so I decided to moderate power and set a nice pace. I crossed the line in 3rd 5 minutes behind 1st and 2nd place.

Onto lap 2. I got onto Pumphouse and my tire was flat. Hit it with the Co2 and made it about a half mile further before putting a tube in. Two got through while I was fixing the flat and I got past one as he had a mechanical(broken wheel) while I was chasing back on. So now I was sitting 4th. I kept on it and was keeping a good pace through the first half of lap two but coming to the downhill that leads to sitting bear I pinched the new tube. So then went in my last tube and co2's. I decided to air it up pretty high to ensure that I finished the race. Well it worked cause I finished the race but it was an unbelievably horrid ride. I could not put any power down with it jarring my back the way it was. So I was totally pissed. 3 flats, a rough ride, and now my bike was ghost shifting.

I made it through sitting bear, albeit slowly and passed the aid just to get it over with. I did what I could to get up red dot but I had no motivation at this point. I was just rolling with the purpose of getting to the end. I was so demotivated that I said to myself that the race is over and I was just going to ride the rest of the course, nevermind race it. Just after Jim's bridge Butt came through and I let him go as I had my hissy fit. Then on Rockadendron Paul came through. I really didn't want to be out there any longer than I needed. I was so tempted to turn around and go back to the furnace and just end my day but I couldn't. I figured the least I could do was turn it into a nice training day and finish. So lethargically I kept on and at this point my legs were just cooked. After trying to fire it up so many times after mechanicals they just didn't respond so I slowly rode the rest. Onto iron mountain Jared came through and I tried to respond but nothing was there. So I just rolled to the finish.

Looking back it really wasn't as grim as I thought at the time but I was really just dissatisfied with how I rode and my lack of mechanical preparation. I should have changed out that rear tire knowing that it could have been an issue and it was. With those tire issues out of the way, even with my lethargic pace I would have placed 4th with my garmin reading 5:01 rolling time(3rd was 4:53, 4th 5:06). I finished in 5:13 in 8th place. Maybe I could have caught up to Greg in 3rd if it went smoother but I hate to play the what if game. Either way I finished still in the money but still way out of it mentally. It was a good hard day to learn from and use as motivation in the future. Hopefully I will do a little better in the next race. I finish my last course of antibiotics (from my fun sinus infection after stewart) today and with some good hard work the next couple of weeks I hope to be back to my old self. We shall see.

Stewart Super Six Pack Race Report 5/22

I didn't have any real high hopes of doing well this race. I had a tough Friday/Saturday as I've been coming down with a cold and lots of congestion. Didn't know how that would play out or if I'd be able to breathe at all. I did all I could to stay hydrated and just keep good thoughts and ignore my sickness. I felt ok but unsure. So with less than optimal sleep Lucky and I headed up to Stewart for 6 hours of goodness.

The race went off with a nice easy start and then ramped it up around the first corner to help get position into the single track. It wasn't a blazing fast start but no one wanted to get bottlenecked. Into the singletrack it was Roger, Monte, Vreeland, and me, followed by 40 something others. We kept on it and had a good train going with the top 10 or so half way through the 1st lap. After the midway point Rog and Monte picked up the pace and I went with them. After a few minutes it was just us 3. We kept a real solid pace but not eyes bleeding. Lap 2 Monte took the lead as Rog and myself stayed in line and cruised the lap. Towards the end of lap 2 Roger faded back a bit and I was riding with Monte. I told him I'd lead lap 3 and just set a steady pace. 5 minutes in I was all alone. I was really eerily cautious as to why both weren't there. Did I miss a turn or something? So I kept on and rolled through lap 4 then lap 5 and towards the end of the lap I hear Roger sneaking up. I knew he was going to attack hard and he did. I couldn't match at that point. I hit the gas but let him go. I was hoping I could ramp it up in the remaining two laps and reel him in but that was to no avail. He was setting a really nice hot tempo and deserved the win. I did all I could to hit the last two laps hard and it was 5 min slower than what I needed to beat him.

All in all what a great day. Hopefully this will be a good indicator as to how the endurance races will go later in the season. It felt great to be on the bike for more than the usual 2 hour xc race. I forgot how much fun and how much pain can be associated with these races.

Tymor Park Challenge Race Report 5/15

It was a good race and a bad race all at once. The mechanical monster crept up and made it tough but I persevered! For the first lap I toned it down a bit and put the pedals down smoothly to try and not make my eyes bleed off of the line. I was sitting towards the back but feeling like lap 2 I could pick it up a bit and stay consistent through lap 3 and pick off some guys. It was all great in theory until my pedal body decided to detach from the spindle on my egg beaters. On the top of the climb my right foot unclipped and I found the pedal body attached to my foot and not attached to the bike = crap. So I somehow realigned both while rolling and kept pedaling but this was really hard to do. Each lap my pedal would slide of 10+ times. I figured out the best way to deal with it when it happened was to smash my foot into the ground releasing the pedal body and then put it on the spindle by hand and keep pedaling. Do this 30-40 times and it gets pretty annoying.

By the end I found out on smoother terrain I could reach down and rip the body off of my shoe and remount it while riding but it was dicey. I tried to stay consistent (when not searching for my pedal in the leaves) but it was tough not being able to be consistent. I love that course. I could have easily bagged it and ended my misery but why not turn it into a skill day? One footed downhills are amazing for balance training ;-) Anyway it was still a good day since I was able to finish ahead of Ken L. and John A. I figured I'd be DFL for sure with the pedal issue.

Time to Play Catch Up!

It's been a while since I've posted here but that's for a great reason. Life has been good. It's gotten more complex than just training, racing, and working. Besides the normal daily routine, I picked up some side work tutoring, and have been enjoying every minute of spending time with my girl Antonella. She's been amazing and the past 6 months with her have been great and I forget how life was without her. Anyway, that's the background of what's been going on, here's my results.

Since the last update at Wawayanda I had 4 races. Tymor Park Challenge, The Stewart Super Six Pack, Bearscat 50, and the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey. The following reports will be posted to try and get back on track.

At this point in the season, it's gone well racing in the XC pro races but I've been craving the endurance stuff again since it's been so long since I did one of the 100's. So I already competed in a 50 miler, a 6 hour, and now most recently a 12 hour. Up next is another 50 miler, plus 2 100 milers, and plenty of XC races to lead into the CX season. More fun to come!