Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cross Training

It's best to start with a 10-12 inch base in order to get the maximium benefit from any snow shovel routine.
Technique is important and one of the reasons I have progressed so rapidly.
Milk Duds are a key component to the successful implimentation of the hyperthermic dome protocol.
The business end of the dome.
You know you've hit the workout just right when the Duds are soft and the box is empty when the 60 minute buzzer sounds.

My recovery has gone a little slower than I had hoped for, but I'm making good progress and hope to be back on the bike in a few weeks, weather permitting. In the meantime, I've developed a random routine that is going to help me to the top of the podium in 2009. I don't have any copyright problems with this workout, so feel free to copy it and spread the word to your friends.

My core was a marshmellow last season so I've been doing lots of gut work this month with the snow shovel. Mother Nature has provided an abundant number of opportunities to challenge even the toughest core so far this month and I'm confident that I will now have the guts to push on when the going gets tough. Milk Duds and any HFCS are also helpful motivators.

The snow blower is also providing unexpected and useful benefits. My traps and lats are getting bigger from pulling the start cord, so much so that I may want to do a few body building contests in the late winter, just to further advertise my program. And, another benefit is the bigger shoulders offset the Milk Dud and HFCS benefit.

Another area of noticeable improvement is my thumbs. My right one in particular. It seems pushing the gas primer has had an unexpected benefit that will speed up shifting and help reduce thumb fatigue on those long races. Oh, I forget - I'm using grip shifters now! It may also help when I'm too exhausted to speak, and just a thumbs up will do.

I'm also tamping out maze paths in the snow for my dog so she doesn't get lost in the snow that is now higher than her back, and that is providing good stomping power for those out of the saddle bursts of speed. I'll be someone to reckon with if it comes down to a sprint. You better not let me hang on...

I've also incorporated snowshoeing, sans snowshoes, with a double pole technique to help my shoulders and forearms. I've been using trees as slalom gates to improve my lateral quickness and situational awareness. This has made me feel quick as a cat and ready to pounce on my prey.

And finally, I'm using a Far Infared hyperthermia dome I got from a skiing buddy that is loosening up my knee muscles and giving me something to obsess over since my hypoxic training opportunities no longer exist. I can't possibly race without some kind of gimmick that will give me an edge ;-)

So, life is good and I am progressing. Although I haven't put a HR monitor on in over 2 months, I feel like I am still alive and all will be well. Time will tell...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hitler react to BYU loss to Utah

Here's a candid funny YouTube video documenting Hitler's react to BYU's loss to the University of Utah last month. Have a sense of humor and no flame throwing from either side. Enjoy and have a laugh on Hitler.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Progress Report

I went to the doctor on Tuesday and got my stitches out. The doc said I can resume all activities and let pain be my guide. I should expect the swelling to decreased over the next 2-3 weeks and my range of motion should be back to normal shortly. There is still a little tightness below the knee cap, but everywhere feels fine.

So, armed with those words of encouragment I decided to give my trainer a short 5-10 minute spin after dinner and see what would come of it. To my surprise my knee felt great. I had good flexibility and no pain. I rode my fixie in tennis shoes, with no resistance and at a slow pace. No heart rate monitor and no agenda except to just see if I could do it. The trainer felt so good that afterward I decided to do a little resistance work just to get my leg muscles working again. My thigh and calf have shrunk a little and that makes my wrinkly skin look that much wrinklier (is that a word?). That went well too and after applying ice for 30 minutes afterwards, I was good to go and happy to be back at it again.

That was before I went to bed. Ouch!!! At 2:45am I was awakened by a very sharp intense pain in my knee. Damn! I hobbled out of bed and couldn't straighten my knee or put weight on that leg. Fortunately, after a few minutes the pain became tolerable and I hopped back in bed, albeit I was a little discouraged. I guess my wife was right - I was a big dumb ass for doing what I did. She actually said that while I was riding. How unthoughtful of her. I should check to see if she has a voodoo doll hidden somewhere.

Well, 12 hours have passed and my knee feels fine. Although there is a little discomfort, I'm on the mend and all is well. By tomorrow it should be back to "post-op normal" and I will give the trainer a go again, but, I'm staying away from the resistance stuff for awhile.

So, a lesson was learned and I'm going to get back at it very gradually. That means going to Moab on Dec 19th with the Mad Dog guys/gals is out and Camp Lynda most likely will be my first significant ride of the year. I'm sure looking forward to that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Utah 48 BYU 24

12-0, Mountain West Conference Champions.
Yeah Babeeeeee

Sorry - I just couldn't contain myself any longer. Soooooo sweeeeeet.......

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fixed Knee



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I got 'er done! Finally, thirty-five months after tearing my Meniscus playing tennis with my daughter, it is now repaired. Yahoo!!!

The surgery was Monday and went as planned with no problems. The doc said my ligaments and cartilege are great, aside from the torn part, and I should be back to 100% in about 6 weeks. He said the tear was complex and in many planes which may have been the result of waiting almost 3 years. Thanks, you inconsiderate Doc at the VA - thankfully he's gone now.

My tolerance for anesthetic is not what it used to be so Tuesday was a lost day. Glad that's over! Being self-employed and with no sick time pay, I went back to work on Wednesday and limped through the day, barely. My motivation was low and my attitude was pissy. Sorry Jane. It was hard concentrating and I just wanted to go to bed and rest.

I took the bandage off Thursday night and these pics are what it looked like at the unveiling. Gorgeous! I'm still sore below the knee cap, but my flexibility is increasing daily. I haven't been on my trainer yet and will probably wait until Monday to try that. No need to push since it's off season - right?

Overall it has gone about as I expected. I got off the LorTab within 24 hours and have taken Tylenol since then. I'm now taking 2x500 mg at 12 hour intervals and my pain is very minimal. I probably will stop tomorrow. I may even go for a short walk around the park tomorrow before the Big Game.

Things are looking up. I'm excited for next year and racing with 2 good legs. I don't know if my results will be better, but my attitude will be. Watch DH and BD...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

24 Hours of Moab Video

I got this link to a cool video of 24 Hours from Bart's blog. Check it out and get your juices flowing for 2009.

24/7 Night Ride

Laura crossing through the mud.

Laura, Patrick & TMac


Tuesday evening was the absolute perfect night for a ride in the hills above Jeremy Ranch. The air was calm and comfortable, the sky was starry and clear and the trails were spectacular. It was one of those evenings where you could spend the rest of your life and be totally happy.

I rode with 3 Ski Utah hot shots including my former coach Terry McGinnis (TMac). We started just before sunset and rode for a little over an hour on Fink This, Dropout, 24/7 and a couple other trails I can't remember. I've got to get back up there in the daylight cuz even in the night they had good flow and fun obstacles. What a treat.

Mad Dog is having a handicap race up there this Saturday and I hope it covers some of these trails. If you haven't ridden them, do yourself a favor and get up there before the snow sets in.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

24 Hours of Moab recap

Thursday afternoon before the crowds arrive.

A tranquil camp soon to be interrupted by incessant winds that lasted until Saturday.

This tent flapped in the wind all night long on Friday!!! No one slept.

The LeMans start is always exciting and gets the crowd pumped.

That's me coming down the sandy "S" curves section.

Bill Dark on his pre-ride.

Me on a pre-ride glamor shot.

For the third year in a row Old Dogs, New Tricks wins the Grand Masters title. This could be our last year in this group if nobody else steps up to challenge us. Left to right: Mike Matzko, Bill Dark, me and Dwight Hibdon.

I'm finally feeling back to normal and am ready to finish this post that I started on Tuesday.

This years event will be remembered for the wind and cold. I heard the wind gusts were over 50 mph and I'm certain they were a steady 20+ from Thursday until late Saturday, and the temps got into the mid 30's during the night. Burrrr....

As always, Mad Dog Team Manager Keith Payne put together a great camp with spectacular food, great support and a welcome atmosphere. Because of his efforts, and those of the other Mad Dog volunteers, this race is the highlight of the year.

I took some notes between laps and will give a short recap of what went on in my race.

Before I start, my knee was fine. I rode twice on Friday about 20 miles and felt no pain. I've been taking 1500 mg of Naproxen since last Saturday and that has deadened the discomfort. I did not get a shot and I have a ortho appointment set for October 21st. Now back to the race.

I ran/rode the first lap beginning at noon on Saturday. My effort was minimal and slow so I wouldn't aggravate my knee, plus, my 34 minute 10K days are well behind me so why make a fool of myself. On the bike, I passed a lot of riders on the road before hitting the single track where it was congested to the 5 mile point. After that the pack thinned out and the pace quickened. If possible, running faster and staying ahead of the less skilled riders would help greatly so keep that in mind when it's your chance to run at the gun. The wind was a factor in places but the sand was better than when I rode on Friday. My bike floated over the sand and I passed lots of people who were struggling mightily. The technical sections were a breeze on the 29 inch wheel and I actually enjoyed them this year. Ride time 1:25:44, run and ride time 1:28:32 - slower than last year. Max HR 176, avg 161, temp 71F to 78F, 74F avg.

Lap 2 began at 5:41 pm and was a race to beat the sunset. I got in at 7:09 and it was dark, but I did not use my light cuz I wanted to save my battery for later. This lap was a struggle since for some unknown reason I ate only 1/2 of a turkey sandwich after lap 1. As a result, I semi-bonked and got cramps in both quads after about 9 miles. Dumb, dumb, dumb! I crashed on the tilting slab at about 1.5 miles and wandered on the fire road sections more than I wanted to. I couldn't seem to get the flow and the lap was just so-so. Afterwards I ate a big dinner with lots of carbs, brownies, Gatorade, more goodie and real food; and I felt wonderful! Ride time 1:27:33, max HR 169, avg 152, temp 51F to 59F, 54F avg.

Lap 3 started at 12:15 am and physiologically went better than lap 2, but it was cold! I took and endurance drink in a bottle along with water and E-lyte powder in my Camelback and had no physical issues. My only problem was I got tentative on several of the technical drops and walked a lot. The lines just don't look the same at night and that throws me off. Since it was so cold I decided to ride at an endurance pace, not that I could have gone any faster, so that I wouldn't sweat too much and go hypothermic. My toes were frozen in spite of wearing Woolie Bullies. The slower pace worked and although I was cold I was never in any danger. Ride time 1:42:11 (my slowest lap ever), max HR 152, avg 135, temp 38F to 40 F, 39F avg.

We had a problem during the night when Mike Matzko, our new guy from Colorado got hypothermia on his 3:38 am start time 3rd lap. Come to find out his battery didn't charge properly and he lost his light after just a couple miles. That forced him to ride slow and therefore not generate enough body heat to keep the chill away which resulted in shivers that forced him into the EMS station at the Camelback truck. Bill Dark was waiting in the exchange tent and got a call at 6:14 am to head out cuz Mike was pulled from the race. Lucky Bill - he got to go out on the last night lap and watch the sunrise over the LaSalles. That is a special time and one that stays in the memory bank a long time. Bill rode a great lap and got us going again.

My 4th and last lap began at 7:56 am and I didn't need a light - nice! By now I was quite tired since I hadn't slept more than 1-2 hours at a time since Wednesday night, and I was whooped. Being able to see in natural light is a great help and I felt much better, although it was still quite cold. I walked less than on lap 3 and found a few new lines that were more efficient and had a good time. No cramps or crashed, no problems. Ride time 1:34:58, max HR 148, 134 avg, 38F to 43F, 39F avg. Click here to see my lap times.

We left the venue about 4:30 on Sunday and I got home at 9:00. I went right to bed and my wife said I didn't move all night long. Monday was cleanup day and I was still on a high and feeling good. Tuesday the post race depression syndrome (PRDS) set in and I've been in a funk ever since. It's Thursday morning now and I can see a light at the end of the long dark tunnel.

The weekend forecast is for warm weather so hopefully someone will want to go on a long MTB ride and all will be good. Winter's coming and that means fun rides in Moab and St. George and that brings hope and a smile. Life is good...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Moab - 3 days and counting

Finally, yesterday my knee started to feel good again. I actually had a day of very little discomfort and pain, so, I'm rethinking my options. I decided not to get a shot cuz I didn't want to mask the pain and cause more damage, which could make the cleanout more difficult and recovery time longer. Interestingly, driving the car hurts more than walking!

I have an appointment with the VA Ortho Clinic on October 21st and I'm hopeful to get on their schedule for surgery before the end of the year. Things move slowly up there so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and, I'm going to butter up and be real nice to the docs in hopes of getting near the front of the list:-)

As far as the race goes, I'm going to take it day-by-day and see how I feel when I get to Moab. The plan is to ride the smooth dirt road in front of the exchange tent later today and see how that feels, and progress from there. If I can get out of the pedals without pain, and hike uphill, I'm ging to give Saturday a try - one lap at a time.

Well, that's it and it's time to hit the road. Moab or Bust!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Year of Injury

I can't believe it! The 24 Hours of Moab is coming this Saturday and I injured my knee, again. It must be because my training has been going real well the last month. I've been night riding several evenings and I've focused on this race more than in the past, and I want to give it a good shot this year and not just get through it. Ironicaly, I've been concerned the last month about getting injured and have had that in the back of my mind - that's not like me at all and I don't know why I harbored those thoughts.

What's the old saying; if you think about something long enough, it will become reality. Damnit, it's true. For the second time this year I've reinjured the meniscus I tore 3 years ago in my right knee. Only this time it locked up on me and it was painful straightening it out. Bummer! I wore a brace the last 2 days and that took some of the pain away, but moving side-to-side hurts.

So, I'm putting in a call to my VA doctor today in hopes of getting a Cortisone shot so I can ride on Saturday. I hear they hurt real bad so I'm not looking forward to that. I also think it's time to get my knee fixed and hope I can convince the doc to finally do what should have been done years ago. Seriously, when I initially hurt this they wouldn't operate on it because, and I quote "half the guys your age are walikng around with knee problems". What's that have to do with me? Ninety percent of the guys my age are over weight and don't exercise either, especially the ones that go to the VA for medical help. Warning to those of you reading this that want the government to take over the health care system, be careful what you wish for.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I'm able to get a shot in the next day or two. If not, I may be a spectator this weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Night Ride on the Shoreline Trail

Clear sky, light breeze, 69 degrees, short sleeve jersey, no people, excellent trail. Why am I so lucky? Have I died and gone to Heaven? Life is good...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

HiFi Pro, First Ride

My first ride was on the Shoreline Trail behind Research Park as the sun was setting last night, and I couldn't be more pleased.

The big tires on Stan's hoops with low pressure provides a very comfortable ride. I had no prior knowledge about the Rock Shox Monarch shock and am pleased to report it works very well. It has little bob in the open position and when locked out, it's bomber stiff. I bottomed it out a few times so I'll up the recommended pressure to address that issue. The Reba Team fork was smooth and stayed hooked up on the bumps. I love the handlebar mounted remote lockout and used it extensively. It is so much more convenient than taking my hands off the bars and reaching down to twist a knob, like in the past. I'll need to take it out in the daytime to get a real feel for the fork, but so-far-so-good. On the bottom end I had a few issues hitting a pedals on rocks, but that may have been because it was dark and not a low BB issue. Datime riding will answer that question.

Another thing I noticed was the stability going through small to medium size bumps. My Element was harsh and rocked back and forth, probably because I had it set up too stiff. With most of the Reba settings in the mid range, the HiFi just plows through the rough without trying to buck me off. Again, that may be because my speed was slow so I'll reassess this aspect when I get her up to speed. The longer wheel base and bigger tires may also play a role here.

So, I'm happy and can't wait to wringe her out more. This bike should be a good weapon on long rides and provide the comfort and stability (forgiveness) I've been looking for.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Bike - Gary Fisher HiFi Pro

"That's a beautiful bike Grandpa. Thanks for sharing your pictures with me" - Love Ralfee.

This is my new Gary Fisher HiFi Pro 29'er. Isn't she pretty! She's a mixed breed with parts that are old and new, just like me. I can't wait to test her out at the 24 Hours of Moab in 3 weeks and see if I can pull faster times than last year.

Parts-wise I went with an XTR front derailleur, X-9 rear, grip shifters, compression cables, 100 mm Reba Team Fork and 100 mm Rock Shox shock, Avid Juicy 7 brakes, Bontrager XXX carbon cranks and Stan's ZTR 355 rims with American Classic hubs. She weighed in at 25.9 pounds but that was with a tube in the rear tire and a heavy-ass SRAM cassette. I'm thinking closer to 25.5 when she goes on a diet.

I want to give a great big hug to Chris Holley for hooking me up with most of the parts for this bad ride. He's not a squishy bike dude so he sold me his Subarau/Gary Fisher team frame and fork, as well as other key parts that made this doable. He and KC have been my inspiration for going big, and I'm glad o have them as friends and advisors. Thanks also to MAD DOG CYCLES in Orem for their support with parts and advise. They're big on Gary Fisher, and I know why - he makes a great riding bike. Another big hug goes to Stan's for the incredible wheelset they make. I raced 4 seasons on my 26 inch set and never had to true the front rim! And get aload of this, my new rear 29'er wheel is only 10 grams heavier than my Stan's Olympic setup on my old Element! WOW!!! And that's with a steel skewer instead of Ti - another diet component.

Lastly I want to thank Chris and Jared at BINGHAM'S CYCLERY on Foothill Drive in SLC. Those guys are the best mechanics in the valley and I was lucky enough to get them to put all the pieces in the right place for me. I'm not kidding, these guys can get any bike running and keep it going forever. I owe a lot of my success to them because they kept my Element in prime racing shape for years, and they'll do the same for this one too. And, they're not bike snobs.

Well, now I'm totally 29 and itching to shake her down.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

12 Hours of Sundance

Now I know the answer. Duo is harder than solo. I teamed up with Mad Dog XC hotshot Tim Hodnet on Saturday for 14 exciting laps at beautiful Sundance Ski Resort in perfect weather. We finished 7th in the male duo category and called it quits early cuz we were just plain pooped. We left the race with enough time on the clock to put in 2 more laps, but neither one of us were that committed or excited to keep it going. And, by this time Chris and KC Holley were 3+ laps ahead of us! The powerful Holley's put in an unbelievable 19 laps on rigid single speeds and took top honors all around.

I raced my single spped for the 2nd weekend in a row, and it was tough. Each lap was 7 miles with 950 +\- feet of climbing on buff single track. The course was in excellent shape and well marked which made it fast, if you had the legs. John cut a new trail in the grass and rocks that proved to be quite a challenge early in the day. Seems like everybody was talking about the "grass" - that's so hard and slow! By the end of the race the trail was well defined and much more compacted and ready for the public.

My race went well with lap times between 43 and 48 minutes. It took a while getting into a rhythm since my rest time between laps was only about 40 minutes. I was being nice to Tim and rode slower so he could fully recover ;-) It's all about the team to me. About 10 minutes into lap 1 I got stung on the back of my thigh by a bee and that aggravation lasted all day. The bees bit a lot of people and made for fun chatter between laps. I rode real well on the 1st 3 laps with less than 1 minute difference in riding time between them. Lap 4 was a different story. The cramps I got last week came back, and stronger! I had all I could do to hold them off while I finished the last 5 minutes of climbing. Same thing on lap 5. I popped a bunch of e-lytes and ate some chips, a PB&J sandwich and all was well after that. Only now the engine was running out of gas. As is normal in long events like this, my perceived effort rose and my heart rate sank. I'd call the control room for more power, but there was no more to give. Damnit Scotty! Tim finished his 7th lap and convinced me we were done. It didn't take much effort on his part - I was an easy sale at this point. I went out on my 7th lap and rode with Karl Vizmig who was riding solo. I rode the entire lap with him and it was the most enjoyable lap of the day. Karl was riding strong and his spirits were high. I finished my lap and he went out for 2 more! I think he finshed in the top 5 for the solo category - way to go Karl.

This was a way fun event with many of my favorite biking buddies and buddettes in attendance. I like the team idea because it's fun visiting between laps. I don't like it because starting and stopping is hard. I'm not sure I'd do a dou again, although if I were on a gear bike it may be more enjoyable. Solo? I love solo because it is slower and easy to keep in the grove all day, but I would miss the visiting and exciting atmosphere in the pits. So which is it, team or solo? Well, both.

Next up is the 24 Hours of Moab, my favorite race. This will be my 6th time on the fabeled course and our Grand Masters team is up to the challenge. Hopefully well have some competition this year. Old dudes - where are you?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sundance SS Challenge

Action shot by Adam Lisonbee. Thanks Griz.

That's Chris showing me how big his calfs are. They're huge!!!

Yahoo, I did it and I met my goals. I finished 3 laps and was not last. I'm like a fine wine, I just get better with age. And the nice thing is I only got chicked once! Well, only KC showed up on the girl side, and you know how fast she is. Losing to her is an honor, and a given.

The thing that pleases me is all 3 of my laps were within a 1 minute spread, 34-35 minutes. I felt pretty smooth on the course, but the 29er wheel is different and is something I will grow into. Lifting the front wheel is harder and the hardtail is way different than I'm used to. Physically I was fit and felt strong, but both quads started to cramp at the same time on the last climb of the 3rd lap. Fortunately I was able to fight them off and finished in smiling fashion. Really, I didn't think I could do 3 laps!

This was a really fun, low keyed raced that has a real nice vibe to it. If you are into no-pressure, low key SS racing, give this one a try next year. I'll be there again with the same goals in mind.

Up next is the 12 hours of Sundance on Saturday. I wasn't going to do this race but Mad Dog temmate Tim Hodnet needed a partner, he was way desparate and I was his last hope, so I'm going to dou with him. Tim's way fast, and I'll be SS'ing it, so this should be quite interesting and fun. I've never raced duo before and am somewhat apprehensive. I hope I can recover adequately between laps and that my legs won't set up into concrete by mid-day.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back in the saddle

Life after Leadville has had it's ups and downs. I picked up an upper respiratory and sinus cold at the race and was off my bike 7 full days. When I tried to get back at it I rode for 2 days and knocked myself down a couple more pegs. Not good. I took more time off and decided I was better and hopped back on my road bike last weekend. Last Sunday I rode and out and back from East Canyon Store to Lost Creek Reservior and felt strong, for the most part. My riding mate, Dave Knoop, is the kind of guy that picks up the tempo as the road pitches upward - he loves to climb and mash the gears. I held his wheel on all the climbs, and even lead him up a few, until we hit the long climb back from Henefer, which I love. After about 5 minutes of over-the-top tempo, I fell apart. I had no go juice and had to back it down. After summiting I was strong on the ride back to the store. I was encouraged.

On Tuesday I rode Emigration Canyon and felt like crap and was discouraged. I surmised my legs had not recovered from Leadville and the lack of riding was catching up to me. I took Wednesday off and hit Emigration again on Thursday with the hope that I could push through my lack of energy and get back in the grove. I couldn't believe it. My legs felt strong and snappy for the first time since June! I don't know what happened, but all is good now. If only I could have felt like this for Leadville. But, being a life long Cubs fan, I'm used to "wait until next year"!

I rode with Bill Dark and Dwight Hibdon yesterday as they prepare for LoToJa next Saturday and put in a solid 87 miles in heavy winds and high temps. I rode real well for the most part and took several strong pulls into the wind. I had good zip, until Brown's Canyon where the wind, lack of water and a poor choice of fuel started to catch up to me. I was experitmenting with a different type of fuel and it did not work out so well. And I was way behind on water, like always.

So, I'm feeling better and back in the saddle. I'm going to give the Single Speed Challenge at Sundance a go next Saturday with a goal of finishing and not being DFL. Believe me, that is a formidable challenge. I'll be riding my 29er Rig and look forward to my full conversion to the 29er family. More on that later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cyclist Intentionally Rundown

My fellow Mad Dog teammate Bill Dark has penned an excellent cycling awareness article that appeared in the Opinion section in the Sunday, August 24th edition of the Salt Lake Tribune. If you haven't read it, please click here, read it and give me some feedback. I want to write a follow up letter to the editor and am interested in your thoughts - if anybody is out there ;-)

I want to take a work together attitude, like Bill has, and not attack. I have a few ideas but could use a few more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Leadville - 1 week after

The Leadville split times are in and it looks like I was on pace for a 9:50, if I could duplicate my final leg time from 2007. I ran out of gas and rode 25 minutes slower. I've looked at my data and it looks like dehydration may have gotten the best of me. I could not get my HR out of zone 1 (!) during that leg and had no zip whatsoever. After the race when I checked my Camelback that I filled at Twin Lakes and carried to the finish, only a few ounces were gone! I'm one of those unfortunates guys that does not get thirsty, so Camelbacks are not a good choice. I've got to go back to bottles so I can see what I'm (not) drinking. Given my splits, I'm encouraged for next year and I still think 9:30 - 9:45 is possible.

I've taken the entire last week off and hopped on my single speed yesterday for my 1st ride since the race. I have mixed feelings about my ride because I felt good for about 45 minutes, then I tanked. For one thing, the SS is a different animal and I worked much harder than I anticipated. The other issue is my lungs. Seems I must have picked up something no-so-good at Leadville and catching my breath and coughing has been a challenge all week. Hopefully things will clear up soon and I can get back at it. This may be stupid but I think I'll ride Emigration Canyon later today.

Someone asked me if I thought the IHE sessions I've done this year made a difference. Without a blood test to determine my hematocrit levels before and after the sessions, it's hard to tell if there was an actual physiological improvement. I did "feel" stronger though. It may have had a placebo effect because I really felt much better hiking Cloumbine this year than in 07. That said, my 08 time was only 2 minutes faster! On the other end, I rode the entire race about 8 minutes slower and I tanked during the last 30% of the race where I'm typically stronger. So, my answer is probably, but I'm not sure. Would I do it again - yes, why not?

So, now I can sit on my butt, guilt free, and watch the Olympics. Heck, if I can't breath, I can't ride, so I might as well get fat...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Leadville, 2 days after

Lance and Dave heading up Columbine. Photo by

I just remembered that I met my 2nd goal for the race which was to not end up in the oxygen tent afterwards. That felt really good, and it's far less embarassing.

Check out this cool video of the race. It's better than reading what follows.

So the race started at 6:30 and we staged our bikes at 5:45 which was too late. It took KC and me 30+ seconds to get to the start line after the gun went off. The 1st 4 miles is neutral and exciting because of the huge group of riders and all the cheering people along 6th Street. The race offically begins at the dirt road, but for KC and me it stopped because of the "people jam" at the turn. The pace picked up along the flat dirt road to the St. Kevins climb and I passed quite a few riders before beginning the climb. I passed a bunch more guys on the climb and kept near KC and Stuart Edgerly (he's a 10 time Leadville finisher and 24 hours of Moab teammate) for motivation and speed. After topping out on St. Kevin's I exited the single track and hit the pavement just behind KC and quickly found a bunch of speed. My speed toped out at 41.4 mph and it felt sooo good. 40+ is real sweet on fat tires. Once the road pitched upward, KC blew past me and set a target for me to follow. That was a mistake on my part. As we climbed up Sugarloaf I got occasional glimpses of KC so I knew my pace was aggressive, maybe to much so. Since I wasn't to far behind her at the top of Sugarloaf, I thought I might be able to catch her on the descent down the Pipline Trail. Not a chance - she was gone! I never saw her again until she came down from Columbine Mine.

By this time I knew I was pushing past my comfort zone but thought I'd keep it up to see what I was made of. Well, it turns out I'm made of mush.

After the Powerline descent we hit the pavement for a few miles of road work to the Pipeline feed zone. One group of about 6 guys passed me and I was not able to hang on. I knew right then that it was going to be a tough day. I eventually caught a tandem with 4 or 5 other riders and followed them into the Pipeline FZ which I bypassed and headed off to Twin Lakes about 50 minutes away. Shortly after the PL FZ I saw a rider on the ground with a bleeding head being attended to by 4-5 riders. I don't know what the outcome was but I'm sure his day was done. The Pipeline to Twin Lakes leg is pretty bland with nothing exciting or challenging so getting through it is no big deal.

Twin Lakes is real exciting with hundreds of people, a dam that only the riders can cross, and the it's the gateway to the 3,200 foot 10 mile Columbine Mine climb to the 12,600 foot high point of the race. I made a quick stop for water bottles and Blocs and headed out for what turned out to be a better experience than last year. I kept a steady pace up the gravel road and began walking at the cable car tower. I kept up with a chick that was riding so I knew I was doing OK. She crapped out and I walked past her and probably 20 other people! Wow, what a difference a year makes. Last year this was a death march, this year it was a hard effort, but it never brought me to a stop or got the best of me. Well, that's not exactly true. I did start to cramp just after the 3rd hike-a-bike and stopped for a minute or two to take 2 e-lytes and water, and I was back on my way and road to the Columbine FZ without any further issues. I made a quick grab of food and water at the FZ and headed back down in real short order. The objective was to get off the summit as fast as possible and get down to thicker air. Mission accomplished.

I almost forgot to mention Lance and Dave Weins were coming down the Columbine road at breakneck speed at 10:25 am while I was still climbing and probably 1:15 from topping out! Later I found out they stayed on their bikes and climbed the last 1.5 miles to the summit. Most mortals do 2 to 3 long hike-a-bikes going up to 12,600. Amazing!

Back to me. My descent down Columbine was controlled, but fast, and I passed several riders on the way back to the flat road. Here's where the doubt started to creep back in again. Two guys I blew by on the descent passed me and I couldn't hang with them. That was not the case last year - I was passing people at this point. But this time, I had no go juice. Crap! I made it back to Twin Lakes and fueled up and headed out to Pipeline 2. This section starts with a road climb that gets your attention right away, especially if you stopped at the FZ and let your legs cool down. About half way into this leg are two more killer hike-a-bikes, even for Lance and Dave. A guy passed me on the trail just before the 2nd climb and started pushing his bike up the hill. After just a few steps he just sat down in the dirt - he was cooked! I didn't look back to see if he got up cuz I didn't want to know. I finished the leg and stopped at Pipeline 2 for a Red Bull and fuel for the final 2:45 (I hoped) back to the finish line.

This leg begins with a asphalt/gravel road ride into the wind, past the Fish Hatchery, across a shallow creek and on to the vaunted Powerline climb. This is the part I was dreading most, especially since my mojo was not flowing. It went well cuz I walked the steep section and, to my surprise, I cleaned the rest of the climb. I have to admit there were 3 or 4 times I almost got off my bike and pushed, but a little voice in my head said kept saying stay on the bike and salvage some sense of honor. As I topped out on Sugarloaf it began to drizzle. By the time I hit the dirt road it was coming down steadily. I kept pushing on but it got colder when the small hale got mixed in with the rain. By the time I hit the asphalt it was an aggressive downpour that forced me to stop under a tree to begin my fight with a rain bag that was to fit over my torso. The yellow plastic bag (call it the big target, or better yet, the parachute) was all stuck together and I couldn't tell where the holes were or how to put it on. It was actually quite comical and I'm glad nobody was their to witness the mess. The bag was marginally effective, but it did keep my core warm until the last 20 minutes, so it did do it's job.

I pressed on as the pavement headed up and the rain kept coming down. I got passed by quite a few guys who looked real fresh. The bummer with this section is this is where I was blowing by people last year! Damn, that was discouraging. I finally reached the neutral aid station and hooked up with Mike whom I had been changing leads with since 30 minutes before the Pipeline FZ. We got some food from the volunteers and I said to him we weren't going to make it under 10 hours. He said lets just have fun and enjoy the trail. SO, we headed up to St. Kevin's with rain pelting my yellow baggie, muddy water running down the trail dodging large water puddles that did not reveal their depth until it was too late. The going was slow but we kept the pedal down and descended in one piece. Mike was actually way ahead of me at this point so I expected to come in by myself. Two guys caught me on the flat road and wanted to work with me, but I had nothing left so I said go on without me. They did and to my surprise, I caught them at the last rocky climb at the start of the Boulevard, and I saw Mike in the near distance. It took me a few miles but I caught Mike just before the pavement and lead him to the finish line where he sprinted past me. Good for him, he rode strong and deserved the win.

At the finish I was given my finishers medal and headed to the aid tent for soda, brownies, soup and cookies instead of oxygen and doctors like last year. Ellen, Rob, Ryan, Lia, Chris and KC greeted me at the finish putting a nice touch on a challenging day.

In spite of the challenges, I already looking forward to next year and going after the 10 year finishers buckle in 2016.

Next year I'll make my time goal more realistic, I'll ride my pace, I'll drink a lot more water and I'll finish strong - the opposite of this year. This is a great race and an exciting challenge that hits my fun button and I don't want it to stop. I hope I get in again so I can continue to push myself, get faster and solidify my place in the Leadville family.

I'll put some comparison numbers to together in another shorter post.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Leadville #2 Finished

I just got home from the long weekend and will post more later.

Briefly, I finished the race and exorcised the ghost of Columbine Mine, but Saturday was not my day. I struggled from the get-go, never found my mojo and battled the whole day. My bike setup was perfect and I had no mechanical issues at all. I could not have gone any faster and gave it my best shot, but I fell well short of my 9:30 goal at 10:10:48. Overall I was 227th and 28th in my age group. I can do better in the future. The course was fast and packed, the weather was cool, but comfortable, and it began raining at 3:00 until the end.

As a reward for finishing Chris, KC and I enjoyed an excellent burger and fries lunch in Leadville at Rosies before hiting the road and driving 8 hours back to SLC.

Here's a link to a Velo News video of the race. I've got to finish unpacking. More later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jackson ICUP and Phillips Canyon

Dave on the Ridge Pass Trail
Teton Village Hostel.
Spacious acccomodations for 7 in the Hostel.
Scott on the race course trail.
KC checking out the map. That's all we had!
Team Mad Dog at the top of Teton Pass. Sorry but when the slow guy is taking the pictures, you don't get many action shots.

I haven't posted in a while cuz I've been riding my butt off preping for the Leadville 100 on Aug 9th. LW has me in a 2-week taper mode now so I'll try and catch up a little.

Mad Dog went to Jackson for the next to the last ICUP race and we had a good result. I won my group (there were only 2 of us) and we had 4 or 5 other winners while the Holley's continued their awesome year with a 1st and 2nd place finish in the pro division. My race went well with only 1 crash and no injuries. We stayed 2 cozy nights in the Hostel, which I understand is being torn down in the near future, so get up there before that part of Teton Village's history is gone. By cozy I mean 7 people in a 10x20, one window box. It was tight!

We rode 9-10 hours total and finished with a semi-epic Sunday. The first ride was up the Old Pass Road to Ridge Pass Trail and down Black Canyon. That was a great ride with long stretches of pavement, buffed single track, beautiful flowers and views of Jackson and a tight, rocky downhill that took us back to the trailhead. We were out about 2 hours.

The second ride was a little more involved, and exciting. We headed back up Old Pass Road past Carter Lake to the parking lot and crossed the new highway to Phillips Canyon Trail. This is where it started to get exciting. As earlier, the flowers and views were magnificant, and the riding was spectacular. All the ingredients for a pleasant ride. We met some trail workers who warned us the trail we were heading to was a work in progress and a bit lumpy. That's an understatement! The uphill was no big deal, but the downhill - yikes! The next 4 miles was white knuckle, rocky, rooty and curvy steep drops that pushed well beyond my comfort level. My tires got swallowed up several times but I was able to keep from going over the bars, barely. KC watched over me after many of the bigger drops and commented how tough the riding was. She got no debating from me.

Here's where the ride got goofy. We finished the descent, with no crashes, other than Tim rolling a deflated tire, and came upon a sign that said "access" and chose to ignore it. Instead of going straight, we went right. Oh boy! It was hot, sunny and we were out of water - and we began to climb again. It got so hot and steep I chose to push my bike for probably 10 minutes. We followed the fire-service road up and up, to where it dead ended, 1,000 feet of climbing above the "access" sign. Chris did a short recon and informed us we were not where we were supposed to be, and that's not good! I started thinking about how much a helicopter rescue was going to be and if we were going to be on the Sunday Night news. And, what we were going to do for water? We had no phone and barely an idea of where we might be. After a short discussion our only option was to go back the way we came up and see what that brings. Well, wouldn't ya know it but that "access" sign was still there and we decided to see where it lead. Within 3 minutes we were on the paved road heading west to Wilson which was 4 miles away. We made it! We stopped at the General Store for water and went back to the trailhead where Keith, Dave and Scott were patiently waiting.

Lessons learned: never go exploring into the unknown with a half full camelback, and "access" means this way out :-)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Park City Perfect Weekend

What a great weekend it was. It began at 3:45 a.m. on Saturday morning and I still have a smile on my face late Sunday evening. The Park City Perfect 10 held at Deer Valley Resort was a most excellent event.

Jane and I got to play host to the legendary Chris and KC Holly, Lynda Wallenfels and Dave Harris. We had a good time swapping war stories Friday night, all bicycle related surprisingly, and helping each other in the tent during Saturday's 10-hour race. It's times like this that make me happy to be part of the mountain biking community and thankful for having such good friends.

Of the many races I have attended over the years, this one had one of the highest showings of top-notch racers that I've been to. For having only 150 entrants, the quality of competition was over the top. There were a bunch of faces in attendance I recognized but don't remember their names, but I do remember the likes of Brad Keyes, Kenny Jones, Dave Byers, Roxanne Tolley, Chucky Gibson, Jen Hanks, and others that put this race over the top. And what was really cool was the Young Riders Club featured a 14-year-old that turned a 30 minute 22 second lap! And the dude was on the 29er. Bob Saffel was there to, but fortunately he wasn't there to torment BK. The race was a lot of fun for me because every time I got passed by somebody I knew, which was quite often, they would always shout out something encouraging and lift my spirits. It's interesting being a middle of the packer and seeing just how fast most of these guys and gals are. Their speed and smoothness in the tight and loose switchbacks is just amazing. And KC and LW, well their both from a different planet. Really. How they get so much power and speed out of those small bodies is baffling. They've got Kenworth engines and Porsche bodies.

I decided to do this race last week after talking to coach LW who suggested this would be a good training ride in preparation for the Leadville 100. I didn't think my fitness would be good enough to climb this much on a high mountain course, but decided to give it a go anyway. My goal was to do 10 laps, ride the full 10 hours and ride the second half faster than the first. I ended up doing 12 laps and rode the second half three minutes faster than the first half. Mission accomplished on all 3 counts. That makes this a good day.

For the most part, over the years I've been relatively mechanical free. This year has been an exception. Flats seem to be hounding me lately and on Saturday they came out in full glory. Near the end of the fourth lap I ripped a side wall on my rear tire but was able to get the Stan's to temporarily take hold. I only had about a quarter mile to go to get back to the staging area and was able to nurse it down the switchbacks just as a tire went completely flat as I hit the finishing shoot. Chris made a quick repair for me and got me back on course in no time and I able to ride 2 more laps before the same tire had a catastrophic failure. I didn't look to see if the side wall had ripped all the way through or what, but I put a whole CO2 cartridge in and it came out as fast as it went in. I ended up pushing and carrying my bike from the barricade down through the switchbacks back to the staging area where Chris took the tire off and put a new heavy-duty 2.1 Continental Explorer Protection on for me. What a difference that made. With the bigger beef on the back I was at the able to go much faster through the loose and rocky Naildriver downhill section and my confidence and comfort levels were significantly higher. I didn't notice the extra weight climbing and my times became much more consistent after the tire change. I think I just converted from being a tire weight weenie and am going to something more substantial, dependable and predictable. Confidence equals speed.

Regarding the race, my strategy was to stay in zone 2 as much as possible during the first 5 hours, assess myself over the next 2 hours to see how I felt, and then finish off the last 3 hours in a blaze of glory, assuming I still had something left. I have to say everything worked out pretty well. Of the 12 laps I rode, 10 were between 46:00 and 49:29. My slowest lap was 51:37 on the lap where my tire failed and I had to hike. My riding time on the bike was 9:34 and I finished somewhere around 10:35 which was good for 14th out of 32 male soloists. I think I only got beat by three solo girls this time. Thankfully KC and LW were riding on duo teams otherwise I would have been chicked five times. I don't know if my odometer was off calibration but the laps were closer to 6.1 miles instead of the advertised 7 so the mileage was around 73 - 74 and climbing was 9900 feet. The temperature ranged from 47° to 88° and it was pleasant all day because much of the course was in the trees. And the flowers were in full bloom on the Flagstaff Loop which made riding the narrow singletrack through the bowl somewhat dangerous because I wanted to look around and take in the beautiful scenery. That's one of the advantages of riding solo, you can do what you want and not worry about disappointing your teammate.

In ending I want to congratulate Chris and KC on their duo win in finishing just ahead of LW and DH. That is an amazing result and I know KC is still smiling. I also want to tip my hat to Brad Keyes who rode a punishing 14 laps on his single speed to take the male solo title. Thank you LW for your well thought out and effective coaching programs without which I don't think I'd be where I am. Thank you Dave and Chris for taking such good care of my bike between laps & LW and KC for your smiles and encouragement. Congratulations to everyone that finished and I look forward to seeing you at the next event.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Park City Perfect 10 Pre-ride

First, the pictures...

The staging/transition area will probably be somewhere around the Sterling Lift.
Typical buff single track with big trees and plenty of shade.
This is one of the bigger switchbacks on Team Big Bear (TBB).
After getting off TBB, you follow the single track that parallels the road and pass under this tower.
Confusion junction near the start of the Flagstar Loop. I don't know which way to go... I think right since I went left and that was wrong.
If you see this sign, I think you screwed up. Sorry.

And if you see this pond, that's not good either.

But this is good. It's right before the short switchbacks that lead to the start/finsh. Note the soft terra notfirma.

Next, the BS.

Well, I rode the Park City Perfect 10 course this evening and got myself completely lost. Call me stupid but the map on the website did nothing but confuse me, and the course was not marked.

It looks like the course starts at the Sterling Lift, heads west for a short distance and turns left on to the mid-mountain trail just beyond the bridge. The mid-mountain trail is nice singletrack with a few loose rocks at the start, but nothing technical. When you come to an obvious junction in the trail, with a sign that says Team Big Bear, go left. This is nice climbing singletrack with many tight corners, some of which are loose, that winds through tall trees, over roots, rocks and small stumps and will provide welcome relief from the sun. When you come to the first fire road cross it onto the singletrack on the other side, do not turn left or right on the fire road. Continue winding up TBB singletrack for a quite some time until you come to another wide gravel road. At this point, turn left immediately. Do not get on the road. The trail parallels the road and heads east and within a few hundred yards you'll pass under a chair lift. From here on is where I got confused so hopefully it will be marked on Saturday. Course I'm not worried, I'll just follow everybody else. Somehow I ended up on the lower loop of the Flagstaff Loop, not the upper loop. The regular signs in here are confusing and again, the map offered no clear suggestions. I was able to get on the Deer Camp Trail but I ended up at the pond and the map shows I should've been south of the pond. I have no idea how I got goofed up in there. I missed the GS Trees section but did find Naildriver which was loose, dusty, rocky and fast. Naildriver takes you back to the start/finish.

I rode my geared bike and stayed in the middle ring the whole time. On the climbs I used the 3 easiest cogs on the back and kept my heart rate below zone three. I think using a lightweight cross country tire will be risky because of all the sharp rocks. I'm going to take an extra set of tires and definitely carry a tire boot with me. Several of the corners on the descents are loose, rutted and rocky. I don’t know how long a lap will take since I didn’t complete a whole one. I rode 6.6 miles in 60 minutes and made at least 6 wrong turns and had to backtrack, and wander. I’m thinking about 50-55 minutes for myself. You fast guys will probably go 40 + or -.

So that's it. Looks like it'll be a fun course with plenty of good views and relief from the sun. Hope this little bit of info helps and see you Saturday. Oh yeah, and thanks for showing me the way :-)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

State XC Champion

It's been a while since I've posted cuz LW's Leadville training program has me on the road alot which leaves little time for writing. But, today is a good day and I'm going to toot my horn a little.

Bill Dark, me, Bruce Argyle.

The State XC Championships were held at Solitude this morning and I won my division. Yahoo... I was a little apprehensive at the start cuz I just finished a big 3 week block with lots of intervals and 9-12 hours per week, so I was less than fresh. As I look back, every time I'm anxious at the start of a race, it turns out favorably in my direction. I have to say, I felt great today. My legs felt strong on the climbs, I did not cramp, I did not crash (like I did on Thursday's pre-ride), I was a little slow on the descents and my attitude was positive. I held back after topping out on the 2nd lap cuz I couldn't see anyone behind me and didn't want to blow it by crashing or doing something stupid. And, true to past performances, I only drank about 1/2 of a small water bottle in 1:16, but it didn't seem to have an adverse effect. I've got to get this drinking thing figured out on short races. Long races aren't a problem, just the <2 hour ones.

Ed had us old guys start about 5th from the pros, instead of near the back of the pack like usual, so I had a chance to race with some fast ombres. I caught Roger Gillespie at the top of the long climb on the first lap. He was having a bad day and bailed shortly after that with a mechanical. Actually, he was probably embarassed I passed him, and that did him in. I caught pro chick Roxann Tolly at the start of the 2nd lap and rode with her and some other chick for the rest of the Serenity Loop, after which we parted ways. Keith Payne (3rd place in 40 Sport) and his fast group of 3 passed me at the end of the 2nd lap as we crossed the ski run just before the pavement and "s" turns, so that made me feel good to stay in front of him that long. KC never caught me (she started ahead of me and I was off the course before she reved it up). If I would of ridden one more lap, she would have chicked me too. Chris Holley had a good race but decided to eat dirt a couple of times and that did not play into his plans. KC & I forgot to send him the memo that we were going to win our divisions on Saturday. Chris finished 5th in a strong pro division.

Team Mad Dog had a good day winning 6 individual Championships, the most of any ICUP team, with many others finishing on the podium. We may not be the biggest team in the ICUP series, but man-for-man, and chick-for-chick, we kick ass.

I had some fun before and after the race cruising around the venue on my 1982 Specialized Stump Jumper. To my surprise, it was a big hit. It was more comfortable than I thought (it has a really long wheel base - kind of like a limo), but I can't imagine how I rode that thing on the Slick Rock and White Rim trails way back when. Maybe I'll get the guts to take it out on the local trails again, for old times sake. No, I think I protect the 20+ year old tires and stay in the parking lot.

Karl's 2008 Arantix with my 1982 Stumpie in the back ground. My Stumpie has superior rear wheel mud clearance and a much safer stem. What a difference 26 years makes.

So, now it's on to a well deserved recovery week and the Park City Perfect 10 next Saturday. The Leadville 100 is 5 weeks away and it looks like everything is coming together nicely. I think all those hard Moab rides with Chris and KC, combined LW's 100 PR program are a good potion for me. Stay tuned.

Chris takes dirt to the next level. There was more on him than there was on his bike.

Mad Dog put on a feast for the team and families after the race.

I found this tear in my rear wheel after the race. Wow, am I lucky, or what!