Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Constantly playing catch-up

First I would like to point out that the new picture up top was taken by Angy Snoop. She is at like every race supporting her husband Keith, and taking awesome pictures on the trails. I would also like to point out that it features the back of the NEW 2010 Q7 race kits. The 20th annual Decorah time trials were the first testing grounds for the new jackets, jerseys, bibs, socks, and wool hats... that's right baby; Q7 has style. I'll talk more about the time trial in a bit. Other shots from Angy:


I have been loving the grill lately. Cooking is probably my second favorite hobby behind all things bike. I am thinking that the blog is going to start seeing more posts about what I cook and such. Roasted garlic infused butter covered pieces of bread, balsamic vinegar and oil asparagus, and a 10 oz New York strip (with a little bit of garlic butter on top) made up my last grilling exploit.


(Agent was waiting for his pieces of steak... he is so spoiled.)

Decorah TT
The long and short of it is: It rained a lot. The trails, especially the uphill sections, were super slick. I just don't have any explosiveness in my legs. The crew in Decorah is awesome and I cannot wait to get up there many more times in the year just to ride with them. Aaron did awesome finishing 4th overall and 1st in 24-25, thus earning Q7 its third podium of the year... Lisa and Wanda at Sylvan Island started us off. I could go into more details, and probably will later. It is late now though, and I must be going to bed. Time to start thinking and dreaming about the 100 miler.

Even though I didn't fare as well in the time trial, I don't have high expectations for a race of that style. I just went up and enjoyed riding with good people on sweet trails. Oh yeah, and watching Sov ride out of the trails with the easy-up on the back of the Big Dummy was pretty sweet. Probably not quite as sweet as seeing a Burley trailer do a barrel roll, but that isn't my story to tell.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Random thoughts and a busy weekend

So... I have been thinking about a lot of things lately. This summer holds a brand new challenge for me. I am going back to Chariton to help Dave at Connecticut Yankee Pedaller, and to help develop and progress the cycling community in town. It is a big deal for me. I am really interesting in the bike advocacy type careers and I feel like this could be one of the best test grounds for that. Chariton needs a lot of help as far as having an established cycling community, with a sense of permanence. I am basically going to dedicate all of the time I can spare to riding- by myself and with groups, working-in the shop with customers and repairs, and in the community to develop a friendly and productive cycling atmosphere, and educating- people who are new to cycling and people who have been riding for a long time, on new products and innovations in cycling. I am hoping for a lot, and asking a lot of people. I am needing people to alter their lives so that this idea of mine can possibly come to fruition.

I am volunteering tomorrow for Transiowa. Working checkpoint number two, but I don't think I am supposed to say where it is. The uncertainty is part of the T.I. experience I guess. Taking that self-contained idea to the extreme. I was talking recently to a friend who also enjoys the endurance aspect of cycling about how: we enjoy it, but some people are obsessed with it. Those people are super happy about things like Transiowa, and the rain that has been falling. I am super happy about volunteering this year so I can guarantee myself an entry next year.

I ordered a Niner carbon fork today. I talked to Eriksen guys about Ti forks as I was considering a Blacksheep fork, and determined that my best value would lie in the carbon fork, but I haven't ruled out a Ti fork from James in the future. The fork could be here in the next week and I and going to return to riding rigid 29er with a 2.4 Schwalbe Racing Ralph for some suspension for most races, but will probably run the bouncy fork for races like Levis Trows 100 and future Ouachita Challenges.

Aaron and I are headed up to Decorah for the time trial this weekend. Q7 representing, hopefully well. We got a taste of the trails after heading up there Thursday and being shown the trails by Mr. Jeff O'Gara. The trails are really cool with some serious elevation changes mixed in with a constant supply of rocks and roots. Up goes up most definitely comes down when referring to the trails, and if it is muddy it could get nasty fast. We'll see how everything works out; I got my bike all set-up tonight and am jazzed for Sunday. Again: Q7= World domination.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Some Catch-up and Bone Bender results

I have been lazy with my posts, but the good thing is I have been doing a lot of riding. I got a good ride in on Monday, rode out with Nick and rode a night lap at Sugar with a lot of good folks, and rode a mix of gravel/road/singletrack for 62 miles on Thursday. I took a video of the section of trail at the beginning of the south side after the first hairpin. Riding that s-section that is rooty is pretty tricky with only one hand on the bar.
video

That's a little taste of the trails that helped get me ready for the Bone Bender six hour race.

*Race Report*
Bone Bender six hour race in Paradise Missouri was Sunday. A six hour race essentially is seeing how many laps you can START within six hours. You have to finish the last one for it to count but as long as you start it by 5:59 you can do one more. Nick and my dad accompanied me down on Saturday night. Nick and I both rode singlespeed solo six hour class. About 15 Rassy guys and a gal were down there as well as Dennis, Wanda, and Matt. The trails were in pretty darn good shape; you could tell that they had done a lot of work in the last few days. The trails are pretty rough, maybe even more than Sugar, and really rocky in a couple of sections. Laps ended up being around 11.2 miles. As always thanks a lot to Q7 for the support and awesome clothes, and thanks to Dad for filling bottles and generally making life easier.

The race started with a Le Mans start. You run to your bike which you placed on the road somewhere. This video is with race director Chris Locke and shows the start of the race: http://www.youtube.com/usacyclingorg#p/a/u/0/SqzE5Ojj-oY.
I got into the singletrack in a long line right behind Nick. He made a few passes and I would follow. I think he had to get into the endurance mindset and realized that he would benefit more from just riding smooth and that the passes would happen with time. We rode at a good pace and made passes on the connecting asphalt sections and field sections. The trails were more technical than I was expecting, and in the first rock section Nick heard a guy behind us telling me that a tube had fallen out of my saddlebag and was wrapping up in my disc rotor. I got the bike stopped just in time to pull the shredded tube out before it locked up the wheel. Crisis averted, but I lost about 10 spots screwing around with it. I just kept riding though knowing that it was a long race ahead of me and that things would work themselves back out. I made some more passes and was right behind Nick heading out of the trails and through the start/finish line for the first time. We rode into the trails and at the first asphalt section I tried to prompt Nick to pick up the pace with me and he grabbed my wheel for a bit, but slowly fell back off. I felt pretty good going into the second lap and continued to weed my way through people. There were a lot of riders, not sure the total yet, but I would guess 250 maybe. I just kept trying to ride smoothly and stay on top of my nutrition. I drank Hammer Perpetuem during the second lap, but just water the rest of the time. At lap three the course was beginning to clear out some, and I decided I wanted to push the pace a bit. I was moving really well and then caught up to the back of the pack once more. I ended up still having a good lap though, and I knew that going into the fourth lap I would have a better understanding of what I would need to do for the rest of the race. Lap four was the first lap without the three hour class and the trails opened WAY up. You could really develop a better pace and ride more consistently even if fatigue was setting in. Went end over end once on lap four, but nothing too bad. I wanted to eat some real food, but my stomach was having no part of anything solid, and Gu's were not texturally something I was digging so I relied on Gu Chomps to help keep my energized. Going into lap five Dad told me that he thought that either I was far ahead of everyone or far behind one guy. It was hard sometimes to determine who was solo vs duo and people got really spread out. Rode lap five and was starting to feel it, but I had planned to ride for six-plus hours so I knew I had one more lap to do. At the beginning of the sixth lap the official asked me if "(you) got one more lap left in you?" I responded, "Did everyone else quit?" Once he shook his head I simply said, "Well I had better have one left because I have to do it." The sixth lap was really brutal. My arms and legs were both really starting to fatigue. I was definitely on danger control in the rocks and root sections. I didn't want to risk a stupid flat tire or wreck on the last lap. I rolled in from my sixth lap at 6:26. Good enough for FIRST PLACE in the singlespeed class. Whoop Whoop.

Race stats: 67.18 miles, 6 hours 26 minutes, 2304 feet of elevation, 6 laps, 3 Gu's, 2 packages of Gu Chomps, 1 package of Clif Bloks, 24 oz of Perpetuem, 200 oz water, 2 Endurolyte pills. Post-race: Burger King smokey chedder burger and onion rings, then a DQ brownie batter blizzard.

First place... I was so happy. I really wanted this one. I didn't race quite as good as I thought I could at Ouachita and Sylvan, and I was beginning to become worried that the training that I had done really wasn't good for the style of riding I am doing now. At the two hour mark I felt real good though, and at three hours I began to have more faith that the goal I had set to try and win this race was definitely a possibility. At one point I thought to myself that one year, one week, and one day ago I was in an ambulance after cutting my face off and smashing seven teeth out of my mouth. That added a little emotional fuel to the fire. I was really happy that I didn't end up cramping at all really, only felt pukey for a little bit, and was able to only allow my lap times to fluctuate nine minutes, and that I could have ridden the last lap faster if need be. I really really wanted to win this race, and now I just need to ride this momentum through the season into all the other races.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sylvan Island/ Bone Bender

Sylvan Island...check. 1 hour 43 minutes for about 19 miles was pretty decent. Awesome group riding the SS class. Only nine guys, but I knew just about everyone was strong enough to keep pushing the pace, and little mistakes would be the difference. I was partly right and partly wrong. With people like Ben Shockey, Nate Kullbom, Ryan Niepert (sorry on last name spelling), and Todd Gillihan in the race I knew that the pace would be pushed for the full five laps. I started strong on the wide open flat section before we hit the singletrack. I got into the singletrack in third place behind Shockey and Todd. We pushed a hard pace and after Shockey missed a turn it was Todd leading me around. He bobbled slightly on a turn and that forced me to take action and pass. I led the rest of the first lap at a much higher pace than I had wanted. With the trails the way they are, you can't put a lot of time on people in the actual singletrack unless you force them to dab a foot or they hit a tree or something. So it was talked about and decided that we had to continue pushing the pace, and continue passing the expert field, to try and put a small gap between us and the rest of the field. Ben and Ryan came roaring by on the start area straight-away and I just couldn't spin my legs faster, so I dropped to third. Kept riding hard and could feel that my heart rate was super high and that I had to back it off if I could. I got passed by Mr. Gillihan on another straight stretch, and then again by Tony in the PAMBA jersey on the other stretch. I got passed on the flats each time, and I just didn't feel like I had the explosion to keep up. Nate passed me and I ended up riding with a couple geared guys for a while until a flat tire took Bruce out. I just finished the ride by myself, felt ok. I felt the worst in the third round, and then better in the fourth and fifth except for so slight small cramp feelings in my legs. I would have liked to finish top three, but the field was fast and I wasn't. I did like that I felt like I could continue riding, just not any faster. Bone Bender 6 hour race is this weekend, and Nick will join me in heading down to Kansas City. Heading out to Sugar Bottom tonight to night ride for a while.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sylvan Island Tomorrow

Well, first xc race of the year. Sylvan Island Stampede. I'm racing SS, 5 laps of a distance of 3-5 miles. We'll see how well the legs respond after much time off. Thanks to Q7 again for the jersey and now window decal. I'm excited for the new race kits to arrive, should be this week hopefully. Lots of new people racing tomorrow too, which is always fun to see. I'll recap it all, hopefully post up some good finishes for all the Q7 people.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not riding= suck

So I have been kinda ill since Saturday and haven't done any riding at all. This is also coming off the heels of basically a week off after Ouachita so I have had quite the break. Not such great news heading into the Sylvan Island Stampede xc race. I'm still excited for the race though. Last year I was all busted up and in a sling. I also read Shockey's blog and something he said was made a lot of sense to me: (in reference to xc vs endurance events "(I) don't care any less, don't look any less forward to them, just starting to relax a bit. (I am)also accepting my endurance training and its affect on my xc racing." Now, I have to clarify that I will still probably throw up before the race Sunday just like every other race, but I do feel a bit more at ease with the xc races. I think maybe it has to do with being fortunate enough to have races like this year's, and last year's Ouachita Challenge, or having been worked over on the bike more times already this year than total last year. Either way, the worst case scenario, aside from injury, is blowing up to the point where you can barely turn the pedals and I have been there. For example miles 32-40 this year at Ouachita: averaging just above 9 mph... on a relatively flat gravel road. So, I don't know, it just doesn't worry me as much now, and I know the rides will be good either way, and the people are good no matter what happens.

Bone Bender 3/6 hr is on the 18th. That is my next really focused goal. I would like to do well in the 6 hr singlespeed category. I was really excited for the race last year. Which, by the way, turned into a total mudfest. Unfortunately it just like many other races last year had to be missed, so I am coming back with a small chip on my shoulder. More on the details leading up to the race coming soon. Plus, I think its about time to ride to Chariton again... and back this time. Two days- 300+ miles... that's what I'm talking about.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Blah

Karen left today...boo. I don't feel well and therefore didn't ride today...boo. Hoping massive sleep will help out. Nothing much besides those things, I am tired.

Oh, we did have a good dinner at Granite City in Davenport with her parents, cousins, and aunt and uncle. Then we stayed in a hotel and had breakfast with her Maj y Paj.