Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sundance ICUP

I don't have any Sundance pics so hears one from the warmup last week at Draper.

Today was another great racing day. After last weeks exciting 3rd place finish behind Jim Westenskow and Lewis Rowlins, I was looking for a little redemption this week. In reality, I was just hoping to keep them in sight for the 1st lap and then blow apart on the 2nd.

The race started in the upper parking lot so we did not have to start at the bottom and climb that long damn pavement hill. Ouch! We did do it twice, but it was nice not to start on it. My group started with the Clydsdales and Bill Dark immediately shot to the front of the pack. I marked Dwight Hibdon but knew there was no way I would keep his wheel for very long. He is riding real strong this year, and he's 30 lbs lighter than my fat ass! By the top of the pavement climb I was still in 2nd and Lewis tried to come up on me before the single track but I accelerated and put Greg, a Mad Dog Clydsdale, between him and me. Nice move Brad :-) Jim was having brain farts shifting so he unexpectedly fell back and was in 3rd at the single track, but working extra hard to catch up. I decided to put the hammer down in the woods and go as hard as I could for as long as possible and hoped Jim, Bill & Lewis would tire trying to catch me. On the switchbacks by the pond, some gomer shifted at the wrong time as the trail pitched up and fell and knock me off my bike, then, he tries to get back on and stay ahead of me. I didn't let that happen and never saw him again. Lewis was 1 switchback behind me and was looking strong. I expected him to come up on me but he stayed back as we began the long flowy climb through the trees. At the 180 degree turn he was less than 10 seconds behind and I could see Jim on his tail. I kept my head down and pushed as hard as I could and gasped in relief when the dowhill came and I was still ahead of them. I sped down the single track and caught some guy and had a fast chick on my tail. I guess we made him nervous cuz he went head over heals off the trail and we sped on by (he was ok). I let the chick pass me cuz I didn't want to be her next casuality. Crusing down the trail was very controlled and exciting, and I didn't take any chances on the first lap. After passing the start/finish line on the 1st lap and heard Ed say Lewis's name and he was about 50 seconds behind now. That's what I wanted to hear. Shortly after that Jim blew by him and almost caught up to me!!! I got to the single track before him again and put the hammer down again. Today was one of those days where I just felt like things were good. I fully expected Jim would catch me cuz he was always there when I looked back, but he didn't. I could see him at the 180 turn before the S turns in the trees, but he didn't close the gap. Going down hill I opened it up a little more knowing if Jim & I got to the road at the same time he'd kill me on the climb, so the downhill was my only chance to seal 2nd place. Luckily I put some time on him on the downhill and got to the finish line about a minute ahead of Jim. Another great race with an even better outcome for me.

Mad Dog finished 1, 2 and 4 in my group and, we solidified our 24 hours of Moab team with the addition of Jim as our 4th rider. we're going to be strong this year - maybe the strongest ever. I don't know why but this season seems so much better to me than any other one in the past. I'm enjoying racing more, probably because I've put less pressure on myself, and the competition has stepped up significantly. Hanging around the teammates is a blast and everything is just great. Things are falling in to place for a great Leadville on August 15th.

One side note - Fidel Castro showed up at the race. Really. What an unexpected surprise. If anyone has a picture of him, I'll link to it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Draper ICUP Pre-ride

I don't think I like how these cranks bolt on. The XTR set up is much more secure and easier to check.
It's not much, but I haven't put any pics in lately and this is the best I could do. The skin gap between the red lines is the zone of protection my chest strap afforded me. HR monitors ARE important and can save your skin. Kids, never leave home without your helment or HR strap :-)

Taking Keith Paynes advise, I decided to pre-ride the Draper course in preparation for the Monday ICUP XC race. I've never raced this venue because I've been at the Ironhorse Classic in Durango Co the last 2 years racing the choo choo train and snow. Since I am mad at the IH race directors handeling of the 2008 event, I'm not going to Durango this year and will give Ed my money instead.

I saw Bob Saffel Wednesday on the Shoreline Trail and he was showing off his road rash from his Draper pre-ride and I didn't think much about it. He warned me it was loose and several tight corners on the Ghost Falls trail come up pretty fast, so be careful. Always listen to people with road rash.

My ride started out nicely with Aaron Smith leading the way through the revamped starting loop, through the tunnel under the road and along the single track that takes you past the barking little mutt. We hit the fireroad and Aaron said this was going to be the last wide area to pass before Clark's, so get 'er done in here if ya have to. He pointed out the start of Clark's TT so I hit the watch to see how fast (slow!) I could do it on my SS (34x21). Wow, that's quite the climb. I pushed about as hard as I could go and did a 14:02. I don't know where that puts me but now I have a baseline to improve on. The trail was in great shape and the shade was very welcome.

After a brief stop at the top of Clark's Jay Griffin and his son came up behind us and we headed down the race course. That top flat section is real fast, even on a SS, and I just about launched myself on the bump past the gate and slowed just enough to make the sharp left hand turn on to the Ghost Falls trail. I should have known that that bump was a warning to slow down. I stayed on Aarons tail winding down through the tight flowing tree lined trail just having a ball. My speed was very good and I was hooking up real well, until that tight downsloping left hand 90 degree turn just before the 2nd or 3rd bridge came upon me from nowhere. Like a rookie, I grabbed too much front brake too late and went down hard in a sliding ball of dust. Fortunately I landed on my left side instead of my too often damaged right and just got a little road rash on my back, hip and calf. But the fun was not over. I got back up and headed down, albeit more cautiously, kowning I had better keep things in better control. Fortunately I did because about a minute or 2 after falling my left crank arm fell off! That was wierd. I walked back up the trail a ways but could not find the missing bolt so I proceeded to half pedal and hike back to the parking lot. So much for my spirited and informative pre-ride.

I wasn't able to ride the entire course but I hope I saw all the tight, dangerous stuff. I've got a feeling a lot of folks are going to donate blood on Monday. To me, this is a fast course that should be approached with extreme caution. The corners are tight and loose and the tiny rocks on the surface are very slippery. My little incident is going to slow mw down quite a bit cuz I don't want to jeaprodize Leadville by going for it in a "C" race. I hope I can remember that during the heat of a race. I think I'm going to let more air out of the tires too.

So, it should be interesting on Monday. Be careful and have fun.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Soldier Hollow ICUP

Thanks for the pic Kendra.

What a great day for ICUP racing. The temp was perfect, the skies were clear and sunny and there were a ton of people toeing the line waiting to attack this great course.

Ed does such a great job with his series that we don't even know how spoiled he has made us. Unbelievably, he started the Pros within 2 minutes of the advertised start time and that's after running the kids races. Way to go again Ed. You're the man.

I had an excellent race today and finished 2nd out of 6. I am really pleased given all that has been going on healthwise the last 5 months and my limited amount of training. I rode as hard as I could and had no mechanicals or crashes. That's good! The only mistake I made was letting the winner gap me at the start by about 20seconds thinking I could real him in as the race progressed.

I came out of the chute in 5th and struggled up the 1st hill while Lewis Rollins was putting the hammer down in the lead. He was pushing an aggressive pace that I was certain he could not hold. I kept him in sight for the whole 1st lap and got to within 20 seconds on the last climb on the first lap and felt I had a chance. To my disadvantage Ed mentioned my name when I came through the start/finish line and Lew heard him (he told me that after the race). Lew was still in sight and I knew I had less than 15 minutes left, and, if I was going to catch him I had better git er done right now. I called to the engine room for more power and the response back was "that's all we got boss"! That's not what I wanted to hear. Lews a pretty short guy and he kept getting smaller and smaller and smaller. Every time I'd round a corner and see him I thought I was getting closer, but he was actually 2 turns ahead of me! Damn!!! I kept pushing hoping he was going to bonk or hit the wall, but it was not to be. Once I got back on the single track after the fast paved portion near near the end I saw he was too far ahead. Good for you Lew.

It was fun actually racing someone and having to work hard, even though I came up short. I love to race and I love competition and I had both today.

What a great day for racing and a great race. Congrats Lew.

I've had 2 races in 4 days and all is well. No heart pains, no nothing. I think my dealie last week was asthma and stress related and my ticker is good. The VA has scheduled a Nuclear Stress Test for June 2 so I should get a clean bill of health then will put all my worries to bed. In the meantime I've got to get back to my Leadville training routine and hope Lynda's 100 Mile PR program can work a miracle for me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

19 Hours at the Ole VA

I've gone back and forth on whether I should publish this or not, but what the hell, let's have some fun with it.

This a a condensed recap of my Event this weekend.

4:00pm Friday - The Warmup: chest pains start at the end of a 2 day appraisal seminar. Not too intense but strong enough to get my attention.

4:30-5:30pm - Deeper Warmup: 6-8 reps, 2 to 3 minutes duration, intensity level 9+ followed by 10+ "oh shits".

6:00-10:00pm - Headed to the VA ER starting line and was moved to the front of the waiting room pack. Nice. Got lots of attention and "atta boys" from the officials for being in shape (someone saw something unusual for the VA on my stomach - it was a small muscle - hahahaha). Officials inserted an UCI approved IV in to my left arm and asked me to submit to a voluntary out of competition blood test. I agreed and then bagan the interview process while my blood was being drained. I answered the questions with the objective of getting a quick "get out of jail free pass" so I could head for home and avoid any more needles and probes. I was truthful, but they hadn't hooked me up to a lie detector, so...

10:00pm - The officials decided my answers need further review and my blood tests were inconclusive, so, a sleep over was in order, but I was still in the Event.

1:30am - I got to my transition area (the Telemetry Unit) and set up camp with my wife and daughter acting as my pit crew. The officials hooked up a bunch of wires and took some more blood and advised me to relax and get a good nights sleep (hahahaha) cuz this may last until Monday! Yikes, that's not what I signed up for. 24 hours max, not 3 days! I haven't trained for that.

1:45am (+ or -) - My initials attempts at sleep were rudely interruped every 15-60 seconds by the sound of the automatic adjusting bed randomly changing my position for me. Great. The description of the Event I signed up for made no mention of that. Fortunately it didn't take long to get accustomed to this and I was out.

2:30am - The alarm buzzer wakes me up from a deep sleep. Did I miss my next lap? Did I get DQ'd? What's going on? I look at my trusty HR monitor and the below 50 bpm alarm was sounding and the screen was flashing a comfortable 48 bpm. Nice :-) I went back to sleep holding a nice steady pace, or so I thought.

3:00am - Off goes the alarm again. Whoooooo. Now I'm down 39 bpm and still moving forward. Looks like my limited (lack of) training is paying off. There must be something about this more recovery time is better thing.

8:30am - Mandatory rest period is over. The IV is blocked up so out come the blood sucking needles again. This time the tests come back and show some enzyme in my blood that may get me DQ'd, but, the officials determine the level falls in the "indeterminate" range. Whew. I dodged another extended sleep-over bullet. Shortly thereafter the head official informs me my Event is over and I'm kicked out. Oh, poor me (hahahaha). Back to my nice home and soft, quite bed. Bad boy...

11:00am - I'm getting hungry and falling behind on my fuel and fluid replacement, in spite of having a very active bladder. How does that happen? Just in the nick of time a lower level official brings in fuel and fluid that was abandonded by another Event participant that decided to go home. Thank God for small miracles. I flipped on the vacuum switch and made short work of the trays overcooked contents.

1:00pm - I am officially banned from the Event and forced to sign expulsion papers. But, they want me to participate in a Nuclear Stress Test (NST) sometime in the next few weeks to confirm their suspicions and validate my expulsion. I reluctantly agree and head for home.

So, that was my "race" this weekend. I hope yours was more fun and rewarding.

Bottom line is I'm fine and did not have "the Big one". They don't know what caused the pain and that's why they're recommending the NST. I have my theory on what's going on, but my wifes not buying it, so, I'll do what she says. Gotta keep the better half happy.

I'm smiling and looking forward to Soldier Hollow this Wednesday evening and next Saturday.