Monday, March 31, 2008

Rim Ride Followup

I'm still all stoked from the ride on Saturday and can't focus on work. So, I'll just rationalize the day away and read everyones blogs and relive the wonderful experience all over again. I've borrowed and few more pictures and added links to some good reads. They all give a good taste of how the day unfolded and what goes on in the mind during group rides like this.

That's Monitor and Merrimac in the background. God's Country!!!

Tom Purvis posted a great account of his and Adam Lisonbee's epic adventure that you must read. I also swiped this pic of the Soverign Trail from Tom's blog.

To my surprise, my legs really feel good and most body parts are fine. The exception is my index and driving fingers on both hands are sore and swollen. It must be the constant death grip I had on my Ergon grips and those damn XTR paddle shifters.

Here's a few pics I took on Sunday.

Can't get enough of Monitor and Merrimac.

Spring has sprung in the desert. No cactus blooms yet, as far as I could see.

While on a shake down ride Friday my fork mounted bottle cage fell off. And that was on the tame Klondike Bluffs trail. I went into town and bought 2 automotive hose clamps, cranked 'em down and went off to the backcountry. While on the Blue Dot Trail I hit a Cedar tree with the cage that stopped dead in my tracks and the clamps held. The cage moved an inch and nothing broke. Don't send a boy to do a man's job - use hose clamps.

Can you believe 6 inches of snow on Monday!

I've got to stop this nonsense and get to work... I am totally screwed up today!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Success on the Rim Ride

Thanks to perfect weather and good riding partners, I ate the whole cherry - pit and all! Here are the fact, since the rest of this is too long to read:

Start 6:20 am
End 7:42 pm
Starters/Finishers - 39/23
Results - click here
Riding/hiking time - 11 hours 46 minutes
Water carried/consumed - 200 oz/160 oz
Calories carried/consumed - 3080/2100
Calories burned - 8480
Endurolytes - 16
Miles - 94.9
Feet climbed - 8780
tss - 642
Mechanical - 1 flat
New friends - many

I didn't take a camera, but Jeff Kerkove did. Here are some kool pics of the day. Thanks Jeff.

The highlight of the race was passing Dave Harris and Lynda Wallenfels on the Circle Ohhhh trail. No, I'm not going to say how I caught them :-) But, I can say racing career is now complete. Like a true thorough breed, I held them off as long as I could and but I finally had to let them go. Thankfully, they came in 1 & 2. Now that's Life in Stereo

After the neutral start, I rode the first 3.5 hours at my own pace leap-frogging with several riders. Energy and excitment levels are always high early on and I try to keep it real and hold back. The sun was up by the time we hit Rockin A and I was glad not to have a light. I don't need any extra weight for what's ahead. Rockin A and Circle O went much faster than 2 weeks ago and I was through all that mess by the 1h 15m mark. That was surpising.

The Soverign Trail was it's usual fun experience with a new variation added that bypassed the nasty hike-a-bike. After passing over the Dalton Wells Road (mile 20.8)and climbing the big slickrock slab, the trail got nasty with 3 or 4 long hiking sections and sharp lava rocks. I watched one dude actually climb 2 of the bad climbs and was amazed. Maybe on a day ride, but not today! Unfortunately for him, he blew up before the climb to 7 mile rim and his day was done. Testosterone!

I caught up with Adam Lisonbee and Dwight Hibdon (DH, not to be confused with Dave Harris) shortly after crossing under 191 and Cottermine Road. That was a welcome moment cuz now I'd have some company and teammates. Dwight and I rode together for the next 4+ hours and had a blast in the sand and speeding down the Gemini Bridges Road toward Metal Masher. We almost missed the MM turn because the wind was blowing up so much dust we couldn't see the sign. Testosterone again!

Backing up a little, Dwight and I got off route after passing through Monitor and Merrimac and Wipeout Hill. Speaking of wipeouts. As we were descending towards Wipeout Hill we looked ahead about 100 feet only to see a jeep backing down the hill - without a driver! That puppy must have slipped out of gear before it came crashing into a boulder and stopped as it teetered on it's 2 passenger side wheels! 30 more seconds and you might have read about DH and me in the newspaper! Scary.

Back to the wrong turn. The part we missed was a turn off towards the sandstone area just before 313. We saw Adam up ahead but lost him when he took the correct turn and we didn't. The course checker said several other people did the same thing so we didn't feel too bad. He said our way had more sand so next time I'll pay better attention and avoid that mess.

The ride up 313 was very windy and boring. When we got to the Gemini Bridges Road we took a nature and food break and headed back east to the backcountry and rocks, rocks and more rocks. This next section was 27.5 miles and took 3 hours riding time. DH and I rode with Cat Morrison and her boyfriend Matt for much of this section and we had some good bonding time. DH and I got a little ahead of them but they caught us at 2 Tortises Rock where I was unceremoniously stopped by a side wall gash on my rear tire (an old thread bare Maxxis Crossmark - I knew better than to ride that tire, but I did anyway). The booted tire held up until the last two turns passing under the 191 bridge over the Colorado River. The best time to roll you're tire is at the finish. No harm, no foul.

About 2 miles after the flat, DH and I parted ways at 3:50. He headed back down GB Road and I continued up the Gold Bar Rim Trail. Cat and Matt were somewhere ahead of me on Gold Bar and I wanted to find them since the push to the finish was the most difficult portion of the race, and my confidence level in my booted tire was very low. I caught them after 20 minutes or so and felt a great sense of relief knowing I was with 2 skilled riders, and wouldn't have to finish this thing alone. Just having someone around felt good. Shortly after I caught them, Josh Tostado caught us. Although he looked like he just started the ride, he started at 9:00 am and made up all that time, with 20 miles still to go. Come to find out, he got lost several times too. WOW! Matt, Josh and another guy got ahead of Cat and me on the Golden Spike and we hooked up again after the Blue Dot trail at the top of Poison Spider. We never saw them again, other than in the distance, until the finish. Man they're fast. Cat and I came in together, before the sunset, to the applauds on many enduro freaks. I was hoping for the honor of being DFL, but my hope was dashed when I was informed many were still out. Oh well, there's always next year ;-)

So, how do I feel? Fortunately my only complaints are sore fingers (go figure), tender sit bones (typical) and bruised calfs from where my pedals hit when I was pushing my sled. My legs feel great, my back feels fine and I'll probably never do the ride again. Well, never say never!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rim Ride Sled

My 23.5 lb XC race sled is ready to go, and so am I. I've copied Bionic Dave's setup cuz he knows what he's doing. I'm not one to reinvent the wheel so I'll plagerize the Big Dog. Four water bottles and 100 oz Camelback should do the trick. I'm not a big water drinker and the temps are forecast to be in the high 60's, so, it will be interesting to see how much I actually drink. My only concern is that I don't have any Carbo Rocket on board for the weekend. Oh well, this is all about pushing yourself into the unknown and seeing where it leads. Weather is looking perfect and I'm excited!

My goal is to make it to the Gold Bar Rim Trail. Anything past that is a cherry.

See ya next week.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shoreline Trail

This is looking east toward the Red Butte Canyon dam from the upper trail. The trail had just a small amount of mud but was free of snow.

Clear skies made the view of the valley worth taking a picture of.

There are a few large patches of very hard packed snow/ice between Dry Creek and City Creek. Mud was an issue, but that should clear up in the next week.

Today was a spectacular single speed day filled with smiles and good vibes. The wind picked up after Dry Creek but the sunny, clear sky made it's chilly bite less obvious. I was out for a couple hours and ran into Bob Saffel again. He's up there a lot and probably knows a few trails I'm not aware of. We'll definatley have to hook up and do some splorin'.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Rim Ride Pre-ride Notes

There's still a little snow near the top of the Porcupine Rim Trail.

Keith had very little Stan's in this tube after the air departed.

Chris and I seem to struggle with directions! This was on the new Rockin A Trail.

The view from the Golden Spike Trail looking into Moab is worth the work.

Team Mad Dog headed to Moab for a spirited ride on the Procupine Rim Trail Saturday. The down side was waking up at 0420 Saturday, the up upside was excellent weather and a great group of friends. The trail was packed and dry with the exception of a 100 yard section of snow near the top. The descent was fast and furious with only one wreck and flat tire. Riding time from car to car was 3:08 (we parked behind the City Market). The only bad part of the day was when KC Holley had to turn back due to a nagging knee injury that will not respond to treatment. I don't think I've ever met someone more passinate about riding a MTB than her, and to see the sadness in her face when she turned back was heartbreaking. Get better soon KC.

This was my first hard ride since I began IHE training in February. I have to say, something is different with me. During the 1:40 climb up Porc, my HR was above 165 bpm for 36 minutes, but I never got out of breath. Same for the 12 minutes I was above 170! I was not gasping for air and could even talk. Course, I'm always talking so that's not a good indicator. What's interesting is my legs suffered more than my lungs and I fought off cramps frequently. It's almost like my legs couldn't keep up with my lungs! The cramps may have been due to drinking about 1 water bottle and eating only 400 cals during the ride. I have to say too that I was at the end of a recovery week, so maybe that factored into the equation. At any rate, I'm encouraged and looking forward to being an IHE Gennie Pig for io-usa.

On Sunday, Chris and I headed out from the Courthouse TH on 191 to scout out the Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike and Poison Spider sections of the Rim Ride Moab course. After riding about an hour, we met up with Matt Ohran at the Gemini Bridges junction and rode with him for the rest of the day. After yesterday's "warm-up", my legs felt great and I kept today's pace real so I wouldn't blow-up riding with the "boyz". I started out with the thought of riding in my middle ring all day, like on Porcupine, but that quickly changed when the trail steeply pitched upward. The next 15.5 miles was nothing but high ledges, steep climbs, big drops, slickrock, sand and fantastic views. There was never any time to relax and smooth stretches were scarce. Chris and Matt were on point all afternoon and waited for me constantly. We covered the 15.5 miles in 2:12 riding time which works out to 8:30 miles. Total elevation gain was 2616 feet. Chris & Matt could have knocked off a big chunk of that time were if gramps could have picked it up some. I felt real lucky to be riding with them and watching their mad bike handling skills, all the while dreaming of days gone by. We bypassed the blue dot trail due to dropping temperatures and a blackening sky, and that probably would add another 30 minutes (<2 miles) to the ride time. I suspect if I decide to tackle this 18 mile stretch on the 29th my riding time will be in the 4 hour range. So, I need to be at the Gemini Jctn by 2:00 pm to have any chance of finishing before dark. Ummmmmmm. Realistically, I can't imagine having enough go-juice to finish this thing and will probably bail at Gemini.

I think I'll toe the line this year and see what fate has in store for me. Last year's pre-ride scared the crap out of me and I didn't even leave SLC. So, even if I just show up and offer support, that's progress over last year!

One more thing. After riding Porcupine, Chris and I rode the new Rockin A and Circle O sections that Fred added for this years "race". Those that get there before sun up had better have a good light, especially for Rockin A. The burgandy sectants are hard to see, even in the daylight, and the trail weaves back and forth, with no apparent motive. It's a contrived trail, at best, and one that will add bone rattling time, with no flow and little reward. Circle O is easier to follow and is marked by what looks like wet tire tracks on the slickrock. We found navigating easiest when we looked for the many carins that mark the trail. Good luck to the front runners. I imagine this 4.3mile section will take me about 40-45 minutes. I'm definately hooking up with a light rider for this section.

I'll post a few picks tomorrow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heading South

I'm hoping to get down to Moab this weekend and do a little scouting on the Rim Ride course. Last year I pre-rode from the Monitor & Merimac trailhead just off 191, around 7-mile Rim, through the buttes and Whip Out Hill (a confusing area), up to 313to GB Road, down Metal Masher through Widow Maker (another confusing area for me), around Little Canyon Rim to the Gemini Bridges Road that leads back to 191, then back to the MMTH. The entire loop back to the car was about 50 miles, and I was whooped. My notes show the temp was in the 59-97 degree range and the trail was dry with deep sand in places, mostly around the MM area. Looks like 59 will be the high this weekend, maybe. Route finding was a bit of a challenge since I didn't have a gps and had never been on these trails before. I went solo and that wasn't a smart idea either. During the entire 6+ hours I was out I saw 2 people in 1 Jeep - that's all! Not good if you plan on getting injured or running out of food or parts. I took 6L of water and plenty of food, so that was no problem. From Metal Masher on I was constantly scratching my head wondering if I was on the right trail. I back tracked a little bit, and wonder around scratching my head at Whip Out Hill and Widow Maker, but for the most part I kept it going straight and following my gut. What worried me most was my lightweight Kenda XC tires in those sharp rocks and robust drops. Surprisingly, no flats and all went well.

So, this Saturday I want to go back down and pickup where I left off and finish the course. That'll take me u the GB Road from 191 to the Metsal Masher/Gold Bar Rim Road to the Blue Dot Trail, Golden Spike Jeep Road, some other heinous stuff, Poison Spider down to the Pot Ash Road. We'll (Chris Holley and I) ride to the road back to the GBTH and call it a day. I understand this part of the course is hellishly technical, exhausting and route finding is a major obstacle. I'm still amazed that Sly Fox and Dave Harris turned this baby into a suberb race last year. Props to those studs! Amazing...

Last year's pre-ride convinced me I wasn't up to doing this race (Survival ride - no racing for me). Will I come back after this weekend with the same conculsion? If I'm smart I will. Tune in next week for the answer.

It looks like the weather in Moab is going to be better than in SLC so, off to the desert for me.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring in the Wasatch

Life is good! Nothing beats a little mud, snow, rain, tacky-packy, rocks, water, sand and smiles on a 2 hour single speed ride. Ahhhh, spring in the Wasatch...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

St. George Bummer...

I wish I had something good to report about the ICUP race today, but I wasn't there! I'm stuck in SLC with an itchy rash from hell that started on Monday and is still going strong. The bad thing about this is I can't sleep at night and I'm up every 30minutes putting some sticky steriod cream on my bod. I've even hopped in the bathtub at 2am, twice, poured in some oatmeal crap that's supposed to soothe your skin, desperately seeking and relief, even if it's short term. When I last looked at the clock on Thursday and it was 4am! That sucks. I don't think I've had more than 3-4 hours of shut eye a night this week.

So, after a botched attempt by a well-meaning VA intern, I got ahold of my Dermatogogist nephew in Indiana today to see what the pro's would do in a situation like this. I can't not sleep the rest of my life. I need help, and it's got to get here right now. He speculates I developed an allergy to something at home, possibly fabric softener (which my wife changed 3 weeks ago) or some fragrance (I even bought Jane flowers 2 weeks ago that are still hangin around on the kitchen table). It could be any number of things and it's a long process to figure out what the culprit is. So, he put me on a 2 week Prednisone dealie (don't tell Brad Keyes - it ain't cheating if the Doc says do it!) and that ought to cure what ails me. He said the down side is my appetite will increase, my metabolism will not and a weight gain is most likely. The good thing is this kind of steriod doesn't shrink your nuts! Wheeew.. He also advised me to not pee in a cup, cuz you won't pass the test. And, I'll have a lot of energy. I've got to find a race somewhere and test this stuff out. Jane's lined up a bunch of house chores for me to take advantage of my soon-to-be new found energy. That sounds like a ton of fun :-(

My next race won't be until the end of March in Moab. I'll do a IHE boost session the week before and see how things go for that one. The steriod advantage will be gone and I'll be left with my wilting old self. Crap! In the meantime, it's back to the trainer and doing what I do.