Monday, August 27, 2007

LoToJa Prep is Done

Saturday I rode with seven roadies that ride on the Barbacoa road team, and they are strong! For the record, Ed Chauner of ICUP fame and a Specialized sponsored rider was one of them, so you know what I mean. Another one is Dan Moser who has done the Everest Challenge on numerous occasions. Most of these guys have been riding together for 15 years and their teamwork showed it. We had a couple of pace lines that looked better than the TdF boys! It was so smooth and fun that I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. I hope to ride with at least one of the guys (Tom Uriona) during the race and keep to mojo flowing.

We started at 0700 and rode from Jeremy Ranch over Wolf Creek Pass to Hanna and back. Total mileage was little over 123, 9,958 feet of climbing and about 7:20 in the saddle. I was last-ass-over-the-pass on all but 1 climb but hung in their on the flats and rolling sections. Most of the climbing was in the 8-10% range with some 12% on both sides of WCP. That's tougher than LoToJa so I think this was a good final training ride for me. I did get a few pre-cramps when I stood up to climb on several occasions, but otherwise I faired very well. My fueling was adequate but I could have used a little more water and a few more Endurolytes. Ed's thermometer showed a temp range of 38 to 102 degrees F.

The next 11 days will be devoted to recovery, stretching, core work and light intervals. I might get in a 2-3 hour easy spin on the weekend, but nothing serious or too strenuous. I'm feeling better rested and more fit than in '06 so this should be a good year for me. I have no illuions of winnng my category, Masters 55+, or even placing 3rd like last year, but, I do hope to finish in the top 10 and around 10:30.

Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bicycling Mag Leadville Article

Bicycling Magazine has a good article on the race that unfolding well in front of me at Leadville. By the time I finished, those guys were well into nap/beer time. Next year I'll kick their asses...

Here's an excerpt; "Floyd has been sticking mostly to the road to build his endurance and get in the maximum number of miles, but he did recently ride the Leadville racecourse with Kloser, a Colorado extreme-scene and adventure racing legend. He said the course was harder than he expected and likened it to a 150-mile mountain stage of the Tour de France because of the super-steep nature of some of the climbs."This is not the kind of race you just show up for and ride," he said. "Unless you are in really good shape, and even if you are, you are going to suffer on that course.""

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The "Race for Everyone"

Today was the 1st Annual "Race for Everyone" held at Sundance Ski Resort for the benefit of Kids on the Move. Karl Vizmeg and Mad Dog Cycles Race Team Manager Keith Payne put a huge amount of time and effort into putting on this event, and it showed. This race will become one racers and regular joes will want to add to their calendar in the future. Due to heavy rain and the Snowbird Hill Climb, this years attendance was lighter than expected. Those that were in attendance had a very good time and enjoyed perfect tacky track conditions and an enthusiastic crowd. The little ones rode a tight, 2 lap slalom course around the chair lift that resulted in smiles and high fives from most of the racers. These little guys and gals are fast and looked like they were focused on taking home the gold. Based on what I saw, the future of USA mountain biking is in good hands. Race on little ones...

After the rain stopped we were treated to a beautiful view of Mt. Timp.

Even the big kids like Subaru/Gary Fisher pro racer Chris Holley got in to the mix on his single speed and cut some tight turns.

Thanks again to Karl, Keith and all the Mad Dog guys and gals that came out to make this a memorable event.

Training for LoToJa starts again tomorrow with a 2-3 hour road ride. I've only ridden about 3 hours this week and I'm getting antsy to pick up the distance and pace.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Leadville Belt Buckle

This is what all the suffering is about. The coveted Leadville 100 Finishers belt buckle. Under 12 hours and it yours. And the one they give the division winners is bigger than one the cowboy's walk around with.

VeloNews has a short recap of the race.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

JESUS LIVES, at 12,600 feet!

That says it all.

It's Sunday night and I'm back home in good ole Salt Lake City. Aside from seeing my wife Jane and daughter MarKay again, I'd rather be in Leadville. That is one nice town with a lot of really good people. I hope I'm lucky enough to get in the race next year.

Back to Jesus, he lives and I saw him during the last 2 miles of the hike up to the Columbine Mine which topped out at 12,600 feet and 52 miles into the race. I'm not kidding but that's the closest I've ever come to passing out and just giving up in a race. The Man had the door open and said come on in, you idiot! I said, thanks for the invite but I’m not quite ready - I've got a belt buckle to pick up later this afternoon. Then maybe we can talk. When he saw me in the aid station with the oxygen cannula in my nose and the wonderful nurses assisting me, the Man knew it was too late. I'm just not ready.

Before I ramble on any further, a few stats for my racing buddies. Then you can stop reading and not get bored with other all the other BS.

Drive time to Leadville from Salt Lake City, 8:30, 440 miles, Return 7:45
Race distance 104.1 miles
Ascent 11,120 feet
Average speed 10.8 mph
Finish time 10:02:55 (winning time 6:58)
Actual ride/hike time 9:37
Average heart rate 77% of max (high was 88%)
I passed 87 people in the last 24 miles
Temperature range 38° to 93°
Average temp 71°
4 nature stops, 8 chain drops
1 come to Jesus meeting

One question I always deal with is "could I have gone faster?" On that day, having never ridden the course, probably not. I do think though that with a few changes in my training and my approach to the race, and better pit stop management, I can do better. Do I think I can break nine hours? Honestly and realistically, no. But that won't keep me from trying.

Back to the race. It's amazing how well the race was supported, both on the course and in the town itslef. Everybody was happy to see us and extremely polite. As fara as the race goes, it is totally possible to do this race without a pit crew just by using the well-stocked aid stations the provide. Rob Westermann helped me at the Twin Lakes 1 aid station, and after that I was on my own. No problem at all. Although I only ate real food at the Columbine Mine station, which I thought was going to be my last supper, one could lose countless minutes looking at all the food options at the 3 pit stops. I almost felt like I was at a Sunday brunch. And the people were so helpful when you came to the aid station. They would hold your bike, fill your water bottle and bring your bag and food to you. Wow, how's that for service. And they had a smile on her face. They were so nice and so positive I felt like I was leading the race. The Leadville support people are like having family in your corner, they were so uplifting. By far, this is the best supported race I've ever attended. And the energy level was off the charts. Everywhere you looked there were people lining the course cheering, clapping, waving flags, ringing bells, and just have a good time. How could you not love it!

As far as the course goes, it's a mixed bag. There are flat roads, undulating roads, gravel fire roads, very little, if any, single track, long steady grade climbs and steep unrideable roads/trails. I talked to the guy that finished in 18th place and he was able to ride most of the course except for the Powerline Trail and one other steep section before the Powerline aid station on the way back to the finish. That's impressive! On the way back I saw one small girl that was ahead of me by several minutes ride about one third of the Powerline Trail, which everybody else was walking, and she totally blew up. I think she finished about 40-45 minutes behind me and she lost all that time in the last 20 miles. Warning to future racers, do not attempt to ride the PL. You may live to regret it.

Ellen and Jody on the Power Line Trail

Ellen and me at the bottom of Power Line, the day before the race.

Before I go I have to thank Rob Westermann and Ellen Guthrie for their great company and hospitality. Rob wasn't able to race due to an injury so he provided great support and encouragement. Next year it's his turn and Ellen will be in the pit. That's bad news though because he's moving to my age group next year. It's already difficult getting on the podium, now I have to contend with HIM! The good news though is he'll be a very serious contender for the top age group spot and that will be real cool. I also want to congratulate Jody Anderson on her excellent race and pushing through some big time knee pain. Most people would have quit but she kept on pushing. Way to go Jody. We were fortunate that all three of us finished the race and took home the silver belt buckle and came away with no lasting injuries, other than the normal aches and pains associated with such masochistic behavior.

Ellen and Jody styling before the pre-race meeting.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Leadville 100 a Success

I finished this bear of a race in 10:02 and in the top 25 out of 127 in my age group. I really wanted to finish under 10 hours, but, given how I wanted to quit during the 2 mile hike-a-bike to the 12,600 foot summit, and the thought at that time that just finishing in the 12 hour limit my be difficult, I can live with that.

Floyd Landis raced and came in 2nd less than 2 minutes behind the winner. He passed me coming down the fire road from the 12,600 aid station at 10:22 am and finished over 3 hours faster than me. So, I finally got to race a Tour de France winner and got toasted by 3 hours in just 100 miles! How’s that for humble pie.

This race had long stretches of undulating asphalt and dirt roads and incredibly steep single track climbs that looked from a distance, like a death march. Most people don’t push their 25# bikes uphill very quickly and when they top out, usually their eyes are rolling in their sockets! One of the silver linings I’m taking away from today is I passed 84 riders during the final 24 miles, but, I ended up in the medical tent for my effort. They gave me oxygen and cold sponges to lower my high body temperature and soup to replace the salt imbalance that was causing me to tremble and act a little incoherent. I must say that the support for this race was absolutely incredible. From the day before the race to the volunteers on course and in the transition areas, it was absolutely 1st class service. Hands down, by far the best race ever.

I’ve got to drive to downtown and hook up to their WiFi and get this published so that’s it for now. I’m ready for a good night sleep…

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Family Affair

Astra and Alex.

Another great weekend has passed and life is good. My sister Robin and her husband Bruno came to Utah from Texas to celebrate my nieces 16th birthday. Astra was surprised to see a new bright yellow VW bug in the garage Thursday when she was summoned home by Jamie, my sister. Astra was all smiles from ear to ear and couldn't wait to "take er for a spin!" I'm not supposed to say anything, but, when she backed out of the driveway she was surprised at how hard it was to steer. Well, she had the stereo on so loud she didn't realize the car was not on. Mom came to her rescue, turned on the key and off she went, red face and all!

Robin the tourista.

Jamie just loves the creativity of the Artisit...

Jane, Bruno and yours truly.

Jane and I spent the the weekend in Park City with my two sisters and their kiddies and did the traditional Arts Festival routine. You know, food, drink, looking at interesting people, food... We did the Apline Slide and that new chair ride and topped the weekend off with a chair lift ride up the Town Lift. That was very relaxing, but slow. It doesn't run at ski lift speed so it felt like I could have run up the hill faster. For the weekend the weather was very cooperative with overcast skys and moderate temperatures. Actually it was perfect, the best I've seen it in years. It was fun being with my sisters and just hanging out. The only sad part was my daughter was not with us because she was tending kids in Layton. We all missed her smiling face and quick wit.

Saturday was the last ICUP race held at Evanston Wyoming. My good friend and competetor Bob Dawson won the 50+ Open points title for 2007 by a mere 3 points over Mark Enders. Ed Chauner said it was
the tightest points race for the top three positions ever (only a 10 point spread!). I finished somewhere around 7th or 8th, a few hundred points back. Those guys are good and luckily I'm moving up in category and won't have to face them much anymore. Now I just have to worry about Bill Dark, Dwight Hibdon and Jim Westenskow. Those are 3 fast dudes!

This coming Saturday is the Leadville 100. I'm getting stoked and feel good. I rode for 3 hours on Sunday and had a very strong ride on the Rail Trail. I did a couple of 20 minute intervals and played around on Lost Prospector a little before heading back to the condo. My legs are feeling like they have recovered from the E-100 12 hour race and now I'm working on my head. Dawson said to go for 9 hours so I need to
rearrange my brain cells around what that will take. What the hell, I'm not getting any younger and nobody knows who I am anyway, so I'm going to go for it. I've got the 9 hour split time for my stem so now I just need to go out and "git er done". This time next week I'll either be praising or cursing Dawson!

That's it for now.