Monday, June 29, 2009

Round Valley

I couldn't resist stopping and smelling the cactus. What a perfect day for riding in the Wasatch.

Here's my latest "secret weapon" - a Mountain Feed Bag. It worked really well and I did not notice it at all.
Stupid ham shot. Everybody else does it so I might as well follow along.
And when I got home my granddaughter was waiting for me. What a nice way to top off an outstanding morning in the saddle.

I just finished a recovery week and topped it off with a very nice ride around the Round Valley area in Park City. I just love those trails and it was a perfect way to start a new training block.

The next 2 weeks are going to be tough but they should get me in a good position to get under 10 hours at Leadville 100. There's always a number to shoot for in every race, and that's mine. I've come close in my first two tries, but not close enough. Coach Lynda has given me some good advice and tweaked my routine to a point where I feel like this will be my year. I can feel it in my bones. My mileage is way down from last year, so I should be very fresh, and ready to go.

I just got a blast from the Leadville folks and it looks like there will be a slight course re-route around the nasty steep & loose hill that even Dave and Lance have to hike. That will be a welcome relief. Also, I see that besides Lance, Levi & Tinker are scheduled to show up. Talk about the stars coming out. Should be another special year in August.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Deer Valley ICUP

Early on, Saturday looked to be a warmer repeat of the 2008 race with the possibility of rain and mud fouling up what's always a beautiful, fun course. Five minutes before the start it started to drizzle and a minute later, it was done. The race went on under perfect conditions and nobody went home dissapointed.

My race went better than expected since I won. I've won on this course before, but the 6-7 minute climb up Little Stick just kills me. And we had to do it twice - I know, the pros and most other riders do it 3 or 4 times, so stop crying. The funny thing about this race is within 2-3 minutes of the start, I was seriously thinking about stopping and riding back down the hill to my car. I didn't get a good warmup and felt like crap. Poor warmups seem to be my logo this year. And the thought of doing this daunting climb 2x was more than I could handle. Somehow, I convinced myself to hang in there, and I got the job done.

Joel Quinn got a jump out of the gate and lead our group up Little Stick. Poor ole Jim Westenskow dropped a chain right after the start and it took him about 5 minutes to get it out of his spokes and operating again. That was the end of his race, but he still finished 4th. I got behind a freight train after cresting LS and made a couple of dicey passes, but Joel was gone. Then on the fun swoopy single track throught he woods we got behind another slow group of 4-5 riders that were timid in letting us pass and when we finally did, we put the hammer down. When we got to the clearing, to my surprise, I saw Joel and got excited again. I caught him pretty quickly & stayed on his wheel for a few minutes and passed him as he struggled making a sharp left hand corner in the woods before the pavement. I decided to up the pace a little and cooked it nicely down the rocky single track off the summit. I looked back at the corners and he was nowhere in sight.

After finishing the first lap the 2nd time, climbing LS was a little better. I heard Lew's name called out by Ed and he was about 1:15 behind me. I figured he passed Joel and was in 2nd now so he was my competition. I found my groove climbing LS and figured if I was hurting this bad, they were going to have to hurt more to catch me, and I was betting they didn't want to do that. I crested the 2nd time and headed to the descending single track knowing I just had to stay upright and the race was mine. I backed it down a little so as not to make a dumb mistake and took it home to an uneventful 1st place finish, or so I thought. To my surprise, Joel got to the finish line 1st, and I never saw him pass me! Ed had him 25 seconds ahead of me and I knew immediately what had happened. I talked to Joel and sure enough, he missed the turn at the end of the first lap and did not come down through the start/finish before beginning his 2nd lap. Joel and Lew worked it out where Joel bumped down to 2nd and Lew stayed in 3rd - that was gratious of Lew. Ed put Joel 2 seconds behind me. It was a good race and fun day, and nobody got hurt.

My conditioning is improving weekly and my spirits are high. My delemia now is since I've got 2 firsts and 2 seconds in my group, do I bump up to the 50+ open group and get my ass kicked and confidence shattered, or do I stay for 1 or 2 more races. I'm starting to feel bad for the guys in my group that work hard but are denied a podium shot cuz there are 4 of us that dominate. Maybe one less dominating racer would be good, and humble pie might make me more hungry (I'm not feeling stuffed though, so why would I do that?). Chances are I'm done with the XC for the season since Leadville is only 2 months away and I need to focus more on that. So, that makes moving up a mute point. We'll see. I sure like winning and that's tough to walk away from.

The weather gods looked on me favorably Sunday too. I did a 5 hour road bike ride and as I rode my bike up my driveway at the finish, the skies opened up big time! Talk about perfect timing. I just started to laugh as I stood in the living room looking out the window as water rushed down the gutter. This was definatley my weekend :-)

Why would I want to change anything!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wolf Creek Pass

I'll sum this ride up in one word - COLD!

Our group of 13 pushed off from the Kamas grocery store about 8:15 am this morning under sunny skies, no wind and warm temps. So warm that yours truly and a couple others decided to leave our wind breakers and warm gloves in the car.

The ride to Noblette was uneventful and the pace was nice. Seems like we were all saving our best for the climb to the Pass at 9,485 feet. By the time we got to Noblette the temp was noticably cooler, but not enough to worry about.

The climb is about 7.4 miles and 2,500 feet (I'm guessing) with 2 or 3 50-100 yard rest spots, otherwise it's always up. The hammerheads went off the front and I stayed with Barb Sherwood in the middle of the pack. We kept a good steady pace and did not redline, and, we didn't want to sweat cuz it was getting colder. I was catching up to Paul Moote, who was about 100 yards ahead of me, and issued a laughing warning I was going to catch him very shortly. That's all it took for him to light the rocket and increase the gap. Later he said he was searching for a spark and my verbal assault was just what he was looking for. Barb hung in there real well and was not too far behind when we crested the Pass.

We decided to head down from the summit immediately since there was no water and it was cold and breezy. The descent down was sketchy at best because we were shivering too much and our bikes were shaking. That's not good on a high speed descent like this so I backed it down to under 30 mph just to stay safe. We all made it down in one piece and gathered at the Noblette outhouse, out of the wind, and laughed and shared our "shivering" stories with eachother as we attempted to warm up. Later we found out one of the girls in the group had to get in some strangers pick up truck to warm up cuz she was loosing it! She felt it was safer being with a stranger than riding downhill frozen like a popsicle. She made it down without incident, but she did have the best story of the group.

All in all it was an excellent ride. I pushed a faster pace than last year and had higher HR and wattage numbers - but, I also have higher tonnage so my W/kg is probably worse. Things are coming around and I expect by Leadville I'll be fit and ready to break 10 hours. I'll do this ride a few more times and that should seal the deal for me.