Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cohutta 100 Miler

Yesterday was the highlights, so I guess it's time for a little more detail.

After my super secret breakfast and pre race rep I rolled down to the starting line just in time to hear all the call ups. I know it's sounds kind on lame but it was really cool to see all these great riders lining up. I've seen most all of them before at races here and there, but this was the first time I'd seen this many at one line up.

It's also funny to see what everyone has done to themselves/bike for the race. You have the normal things like gels taped to your top tube, people playing with I-Pods and even a person or two just trying to mentally zone out. But I saw a first, it was a female rider (come to find out it was the female winner Carey Lowery) that wrote "eat" on her inner forearm. It's a great idea for a personal reminder during endurance races, but at the time it just made me smile...but it did not last.

The race started with a two mile leg on a paved road to thin out the ranks a little before we headed into the singletrack. This first 5-6 miles of singletrack was super fast and very little pedaling was needed, it was a little like being on a roller coaster...just flowy up and downs with sweeping corners thrown in here and there.

After a fast paved downhill we headed into a couple miles of double track that ended with the only thing I'd call technical at all on the course...

It was very ridable for most but a couple riders did have a problem on it. After a few more miles of rolling uphill singletrack we hit the fireroads.

At the first rest stop (18 miles) I topped off my HEED bottle, graped a couple cookies and was on my way. This is also where the climbing started, nothing major just a little teaser for what was to come. About ten miles later is where the main climb for the race started. Again nothing major just a nice steady climb the next 8-9 miles to rest stop number two (36 miles.)

I felt great, so other then popping a couple Endurolytes I repeated the same as stop one. But a few more uphill miles after leaving the stop I learned the day was not gonna turn out as well as I wanted. A group on four of us were working well together in a pace line for a few miles, until a rider dropped off...and then a second. The two of us tried to keep it going but the short rest break in between pulls brought out what I knew was coming. I was not recovered from the past two weekend, I guess doing a 6 hour and a 13 hour the two weekends before a 100 miler were not good planning...go figure.

So with the legs starting to feel a little sluggish I backed off and rode my own pace, but overall still felt pretty good when I hit the third stop (49 miles.) Leaving the stop is where I started to feel the heat, and the last 7-8 miles of this never ending climb we starting to get to me. But help in the from of 15 plus miles of downhill to the forth rest stop was on the way.

I tried to eat what I could (which was not much/to little) as a wrench lubed my chain before I was off again. After 5-8 miles of flatish rolling climbs the incline grade kicked back upward for the first of the last three climbs. These last climbs were much shorter (maybe a mile or so each) but a little steeper and totally exposed to the sun. This is where the wheels really fell off, not on the bike...but on me.

The 15 miles from rest stop 4 to 5 felt like I was a hot dog on the grill. At the stop one of the volunteers had rags in a cooler of ice water. Dude treated me like a turkey being basted for Thanksgiving and I could still now hug him for it. During my ice bath I looked around with my fuzzy vision and saw two riders laying on the ground all but paws up, both were being attended to...but they were not looking good.

After the bath I felt a little better and rolled out for the last two climbs. I knew it was hot and getting hotter (I'd stopped sweating sometime before) so I forced myself to drink the two bottles I had knowing it was only ten miles to the last rest stop.

With the last two climbs (and both bottles) I hunted for the last rest stop....and missed it. I remember where it must have been, but at the time I thought it was volunteers warning/giving directions into a hard corner heading back into the singletrack. Needless to say that last 10 miles of what should have been fun singletrack was Hell.

I could not focus, I was light headed to say it mildly and found it harder and harder to hold a line. Knowing I was in a bad place physically and getting worse fast I backed off even more. This last few miles probably took me twice as long as it should have but I made it to the last mile of pavement without the bike or myself meeting a tree or worse beforehand.

As I came across the finishline the timing clock was great to see, but not the numbers that were on it. I came in 30 plus minutes over my targeted time of nine hours, but all I wanted to do was get to the FJ and get cold fluids in me and sit in the AC.

I found results posted lastnight and seeing them did not help my mood at all....62nd of 101 finishers in my class. I have a mixed feels right now, half of me wants to get my ass on the bike (not that it's gonna fix anything) and the other half wants to just forget about it and enjoy an beer....or five.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cohutta 100 Miler Minor

The weekend in a nutshell.

I did the 11 plus hour drive down to eastern TN on Friday for the Cohutta 100. Got there just in time to pick up my race packet and find a place to crash for the night.

The race started nice and early at 7AM (luckily) and the first couple hours things went well. Then came the first real climbs, and I knew it was not gonna be the day I wanted...no where near recovered from the last two weeks of racing. But little did I know the worst was yet to come.

Things rolled along and I made it to the top of the major climb a little passed the 50 mile area (pretty much uphill from mile 25 to 55) that led into 20ish miles of rolling sometimes flying downhills. Then IT happened......

That's the best way to put it, I had the epic of all epic melt downs. I knew it was getting hotter, we had zero cloud cover and alot of this part of the course we were exposed.

The three climbs from the 75 to the 90 mile area were a little steeper then the ones earlier but very ridable. But they KILLED me, I never got off the bike but I was hurtin. Not from the grade of the climbs (done far worse), but the heat. I was very close to bad things happening heatwise (but I others at aid stataions that were worse.)

I wanted to marry the chick that had the iced towels at the last aid station (ok, it was a dude, but it sounds better being a chic) it kind of brought me back.

Even thou the iced water shower I took helped a ton, it was to little way to late. I finished at the 9:32 mark, just outside my hard target of nine and a half hours and way off my true target of a sub nine...and about 1.35 days behind the leaders.

A full report to come later today/tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leesburg Baker's Dozen

Another weekend just means one more shot at doing stupid human tricks. With that Wifey, Jason, Matty, Dan K, F'ing Gary,and others headed down to Leesburg for the Baker's Dozen.

Wifey and I had rode the course when we did the XC race earlier this year, but we wanted to do a pre ride without 3-4 inches of snow on the ground just to check thing out a little better. The course was perfect, just damp enough to keep the dust down and not wet enough to....bring the cow patties to life we'll say.

The course was great, seven and a half mile laps of flat (even thou someone did start adding hills about midway thru the race...not sure how that worked) none technical just balls out fun.

So after the pre ride and way to little BS'ing with friends Wifey and I hit the hotel for some dinner and an earlyish night.

The opening gun went off at nine and we were off on our 13 hour tour. I started out a little quicker then I want to, but I wanted less to be stuck in traffic...so all was good. My lap times started right at the 30 minute mark and slowly moved up into the lows 30's, then into the mid to upper 30's at around the 7-8 hour mark.

But body felt pretty good for the most part, did get a little nauseous around the 2-3 hour area but luckily it never came of it.....never eat one of those muffins from a Jiffy store, nothing good will come from it. Sorry to say some of the others in our group were not so lucky, Matty went down way to early....but like a champ he made a comeback after some time in the pits.

Wifey was in the pits a few times when I came rollin thru and got these:
yes, the kid's sport sideburns

and I love the salt areas on my shoulders and stomach
the face has nothing to do with the Endurolytes i was eating like candy

And while we're on the strange looking what the Hell faces....

But I've got nothing on this....I guess what happens in the pits does not always stay in the pits.

Not in pain, just turning off the Ipod to talk to Wifey

Other then riding a lap plus with Gary midway thru it was a pretty lonely day....but I kind of prefer it that way.

Nice shot below from Gary Ryan, you can check out all his race photos here.

Around the nine hour area the body was starting to not be happy with me. No one real thing, just little this and that. Did not want to drink more, no food sounded good, I'd stopped sweating and just overall was becoming a not so happy camper.

With this I got off the bike for the first time and hung out it the pit for 15-20 minutes to try to eat something. After a handful of potato chips eaten as slowly as a person could I rolled back out.

After a couple more laps in the pit I sat again. Dan K and Matty were giving me the how's things going questions as we saw Vegan Rob roll in and out once more on his way of beat us mear mortals down (dude is a freakin machine.) So the questioning turned more into BS'ing as I took off my helmet ands shoes.....the next thing I know I see Rob pitting again. I yelled over to his wife "Rob just left, what's up?" "He left 35 minutes ago" she replied laughing.....son of a....

Shoes and helmet back on I start to roll out when Dan K asks me "aren't you gonna put you lights on?" I've got 45 minutes till dusk I reply, "do you really think you're gonna do a sub 45 minute lap right now" he gives me. I know he was trying to look out for me and a smarter man would have listened to him, but we are talking about me here.

Everything went well and I got back in while it was still light. Lights on this time I rolled out on lap 16 and then straight into lap 17 as I was doing the lap timing math in my fuzzy head. I knew I'd make it in before the cutoff time but had no clue on my or others placing around me. So with a little under 11 and a half hours and 128 miles I was calling it a day....even with 25 minutes on the clock.

So what does calling it a day 25 minutes early cost you....two places. I feel from 7th to ninth overall in the 61 person field. I was as high as 4th before my 40 plus minute whatever the hell pitstop, but it is what it is. Should have would have, I firmly believe everything happens for a reason (even thou you may never know why.)

So with all that we have a couple of days to recover at home before the Wifey and I start doing our apart weekends. She's heading somewhat locally to a XC to qualify for Nationals and I'm from some reason driving to TN to do a 100 miler in the mountains.

I'm starting to think that everyone is right.....something may be wrong with me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

6 Hour Grind on the "Greenway"

Wifey and I rolled down to the Charlotte, NC area last weekend to visit some friends and do the 6 Hour Grind on the Greenway as a little tune up for this coming weekends play time at the Leesburg Baker's Dozen.

With my wounded wing far from healed (don't want to talk about it) I knew the smart thing to do was stay off the bike to let things heal and be a cheerleader for Wifey. That was the smart thing to do, so yes....I raced.

Even with the heavy rains the area got the afternoon/night before the course was in great shape, other then 3-4 small muddy spots the trail was perfect.

The race started out quick and I entered the single track in about 10th of the 150ish rider pack. Within the first five minutes the 10-12 of us were alone, with me being the anchor....but I'm cool with being the anchor in a group of Pro's and local top guns. Even being in this elite group something was wrong, not really the collarbone just everything. Best way to put is I did not feel smooth on the bike.

Midway thru the second lap my race turned into a ride as I knew it was not my day and I lost site of the last on my riding herd. I'm still not sure what the problem was, just nothing seam to be right. Everything I ate did not sit well, this hurt, that hurt and I was pretty much pissin about being on the bike.

So lap two rolled into three, four and five....then something happened. What it was I have no idea, but it happened. Everything felt right, I felt in the groove and all my this hurts/that hurts went away. To little to late for my placing, but I was just happy to be feeling in the groove again.

I ended the day with a 5th place out of the 11 in the Solo Men's Open, and with atleast one pro rider behind me I guess I can say it was an ok day.....guessing his bad day must have been worse then mine.

So now it's time for some bike love and hopefully a little body healing before the packing starts for the Friday trip down to Leesburg.