Monday, August 31, 2009

Park City Point 2 Point pre-ride

Seeing how the E-100 12 hour & 100 mile races several years ago kicked my butt, and in a big way, my memory has faded and I decided I need to get my butt kicked again. Why? I have no idea other than it sounds like fun :-)

Reading the route description and looking at the map reveals a significantly different course that looks hopeful. I've always done Round Valley the way Boris laid it out and I must say that has been one of my favorite loops. I like loops, so those of you that don't, just shut up! Loops are fun cuz everyone can see you suffer and it's harder to make up shit that supposedly happened that didn't.

Anyway, I rode the loop around Round Valley and over to Silver Lake and it is a BLAST! The RV loop is killer and has much better flow and is less dangerous that the original E-100 12 hour loop. The new course does not go near the old rock garden of death descent and all of the climbs, except for the one at about 6 miles, are very gradual and manageable. I rode the loop on my Single Speed (32x21) in 62 minutes and stayed below race effort. And the way the organizers have routed the Deer Crest section is fantastic. We ride quite a bit of the ICUP course backwards and none of the climbs are killer, like they were with the E-100. I'm not too familiar with the trails between Silver Lake and PC Mtn Resort, but if the 1st section is any indication, it's gotta be nice. Riding back up Spiro to Mid Mtn will be a challenge but at least I'm familiar with that section of the course.

So, the only issue I can see is conserving energy. The 1st half is going to be fast and a lot of matches will carelessly be burned because the fun factor will be so high. Saving some extra energy for the last leg will be curtail for me, so I'll probably be looking at a lot of asses early on. Hopefully you'll be looking at mine passing you in the last 2 hours. The fast relay teams should tear it up big time, especially the 1st leg.

As for a solo finishing time, that's a hard one to predict. Since the E-100 took me 13.5 hours, I would hope to do this in 10 to 10.5. I bet the winner will be around 7.5. I can predict this though. The 2010 version of this race will have a lot more participants cuz this course is gonna put a lot of smiles on many faces and the enduro junkies are gonna want to be part of it next year. Mark my word.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Night Ride

Now that the days are getting shorter and the 24 Hours of Moab is fast approaching, it's time to get the lights out and hit the trail. I rode the Shoreline last night to see how my Princeton Tech Switchback 2 performed as a handlebar mounted light source. I found it worked well where it was real dark, but not so well where there was a lot of ambient light. I have a 6 year old Nite Rider HID that has a large water bottle cage battery and want to transition to something smaller, so the SB2 will be my primary bar light. Maybe it will work.

I'm thinking of either a Nite Rider MiNewt variation, or, DiNotte Lighting has a sweet 200 lumen setup that runs on AA batteries that looks real interesting. If anyone has input on either, let me know the pros and cons please.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Leadville 100 Finale

Thanks Tim Fisher for the finishing line photo.

It's Wednesday night and I'd better get this finished before my memory fades and I turn into a super hero. Speaking fo hero, I rode my single speed on the Shoreline trail tonight and I felt like I had wings! Wow, did I feel strong and fast. So much so that I'm sending a urine sample into the USDA for testing to see what I'm on. I want more of whatever it is :-)

So, back to the Leadville Trail 100. After riding over the Twin Lakes Dam through all the cheering support people and spectators, I felt great. Shortly after getting back on the asphalt and climbing towards Pipeline 2, my energy seemed to wane. I had a target of 1:10 and ended up riding a 1:17 and my mojo was low. Then, I rounded the corner and saw the Pipeline aid station in the distance and my spirits picked up. One more leg and I was done. Praise the Lord!

Since my 10 hour goal was long gone, I took more time at the aid station and ate a cookie, drank a coke and shoved a few other goodies in my pie hole, and off I went. Within a minute I was off the side of the road taking another nature break. Geeze, how many times can a guy pee in 11 hours? I counted 8 riders that passed me and I was determined to get them back. As a matter of fact, I set a new goal of cleaning the entire course after the Powerline hike-a-bike. That was my new carrot and motivation to push to the end. I easily passed the 8 individual riders due to a nice tailwind and hooked on to a another group of 9 just after turning into the wind on the road that leads to the Fish Hatchery. With the infamous Powerline just up the road, my anxiety heightened.

Once off my bike I got in to a nice steady pace and pushed past many, many people. I followed a tandem from Wyoming up most of the hike and then hopped back on with my new goal in mind. This next climb is really long and tough, especially after 77+ miles on the ole legs. And, since I was so far back in the pack, a lot of folks were walking long stretches of the trail. As a matter of fact, most of the riders were reduced to walkers and that gave me more incentive to stay mounted. Long story short, I met my new goal and did not get off until I stopped at the Carter Summit aid station for a Sprite and brownie. I hopped back on and cleaned the rest of the course which brought a smile to my face. It's amazing what successfully finishing small contrived goals will do for the spirits. I actually smiled and raised my arms in victory when I crossed the finish line, even though the clock showed a dissapointing 10:48. I was satisfied for now, but the 10 hour carrot is still out there calling to me.

All in all I can't complain. I didn't train nearly as much for this years race as I did in the past, the conditions were more challenging early on and the course was a little longer. I'm encouraged because I can think of a ton of excuses and that give me hope for the future. If only I had done this, or this...

I'll apply for the 2010 edition and hopefully get accepted. I don't know why I want to go back because this race causes me so much discomfort and is such a huge obstacle for me. But, I guess I'm like the rest of you. I have this dream, and hope, and that keeps me going, no matter how stupid and trivial it is in the overall game of life. I know I can break 10 hours.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Leadville 2009 a Success

Well, it's Monday and I don't feel like working, so I'll make a short recap post.

The race started under a clear sky with temps in the mid 30's and a light drizzle. By the 2 hour point the rain had turned to light hail and the mountains were covered in clouds. It was neat, but very surreal. The Powerline descent was done in total rain and mud, but it was fun.

Dwight Hibdon and I started together and paced each other for the first 65 minutes, about to the Haggerman Pass road, then he pulled away, not to be seen again until he came down from the Columbine Mine station. DH rode a wonderful race and came in under his goal of 10 hours. Congrats and well done DH :-)

My race can be summed up with too many pee stops, too many stops to put on a rain jacket, too much time at the aid stations, no climbing legs at all, no altitude lungs and too much pre-race worrying and analysis. That ought to cover just about everything.

I went out at a very manageable pace and was good for about 2.5 hours, but between Powerline 1 and Twin Lakes 1 the bladder started getting active and I started to loose my mojo. I kept up with my fueling plan, which I'm having 2nd thoughts about for future races, and thought I did well with fluids. Like always, after the race I checked my camelbacks that I thought were just about empty and they still had 75% of the water I started with! Why I carry all that weight is beyond me. I guess I'm just stubborn and stupid. Something has to change.

My plan was to blow through Twin Lakes 1 and carry my momentum up Columbine and stop there for more fuel and a jacket. I did that but, I had absolutely no legs. I crept up the road in my granny most of the time and people were passing me left and right. When the hail started again I stopped, peed, put on my jacket and began my slow crawl again only to stop a few minutes later when the sun came out. I seemed to be looking for an excuse to stop, and I found many. When the fire road turned to the steep rocky single track, I got off my bike and just pushed. Some of the sections people were riding, I just walked. I bent over my top tube several times and wanted to quit, but there was no one there to surrender my bracelet too. Crying wasn't an option because I peed out all my extra moisture, so I just kept going. I mentioned quitting to a guys behind me and he encouraged me on. Whoever you are, thank you - that's the spirit of mountain bikers. When I finally summited I hung out for 6-7 minutes, lubed my chain, ate some food and put on a wind jacket. I spent way too much time here, and I knew my 10 hour goal was not going to happen, so I shifted to just finish under 12 hours mode. I really wanted the finishers belt buckle.

Coming down off Columbine is both exhilarating and scary. There is constant uphill traffic on the right side of the trail, and the downhill line on the right side is very rocky and off camber. But, it's downhill and the air is getting thicker and the worst is behind me. I flew down to Twin Lakes 2 faster than last year and felt quite good. I bypassed the aid station and just an uplift in my spirits by all the cheering people, even though I was at the ass end of the race. The support of the crews, spectators and LT100 support people is unimaginable. That truly make this race an great, must do event.

That's enough for this post, I'll finish with another post and some pictures.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Leadville 100

I finished the race in 10:48, not quite as fast as I had hoped, but I was happy that I passed a lot of people in the last 25 miles and rode the first 75 according to my plan. The climb to Columbine Mine at 12,600 feet killed me this year, like it did my 1st year, and I just about quite the race several times during the ascent. I think the 2nd half of the race may have been faster than the first, so that was good.

This race is really hard for me. I can't seem to get the altitude thing dialed in and it kicks my ass. I hope to do it again next year, but I'll have to give it some serious thought. Right now, I'm whooped and feel like crap and I'm going to go to bed.

I'll write more on Monday when I get home and have some pictures.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

3 days to Leadville

The training is done, I'm all packed up and now it's time to hit the road. Karl Vizmig, the Holley's and I will be heading out in a few hours for the 8 hour drive to Leadville Colorado. I've been waiting for this race since 2 days after last years debacle. In spite of the bad weather forecast, I have a good feeling. Check out Karl's blog for a link to realtime video of the race. You can also click on the Leadville 100 link in the right column.

Since my last post I've been in a 2 week taper and yesterday was my last structured workout. It was only an hour but I felt real good with good power and a low HR. That's good. My only issue is the right knee, but I have Vitamin I and Extra Strength Excedrin for that.

It's been a long time since I traveled out of town for a race and my level of excitement and anticipation is higher than normal. I'm really looking forward to leaving the stress of work behind and just focusing on Saturday. I'll try and post more the next few days and convey the flavor of the event.

Monday, August 3, 2009

2 weeks to Leadville 100

It's getting closer and I'm getting more excited. This is the biggest race I've ever done, and they seem to do it right. The atmosphere is off the chart and the support is unparalleled on any level. If it wasn't for the altitude, this would be the perfect hundie. But, maybe that's what makes it so intriguing.

Training is slowing noticeably for the next two weeks and I couldn't be happier. I just capped off a huge 2 week block with an energetic ride yesterday with Chris Holley. It's been a while since I've ridden with Chris and he has not let up since. I always push myself harder than I think possible when I ride with him and KC, so that made yesterdays final big ride before Leadville a special one. I was hammered after 6 hours and 56+ miles with him, but today I feel much better and encouraged. For the record we rode from 3 Kings Condo to Silver Spur up Spiro to the Mid Mtn trail over to the Red Pine restaurant (we made it in 1:32) down the Ambush trail (that was scary) and then to the Spring Creek trail head. We then did the 24/7 Flying Dog loop clockwise and out Glen Wild back to the trail head. To finish it off we headed to Round Valley and climbed up the back side of the 12 hour course and down Somewhere Elks and back to the condo on the rail trail. Nice loop, with 5600+ climbing mostly up Spiro and 24/7 Flying Dog, and hot (101 F max temp).

The last 8 weeks I've been real cautious so as not to get hurt or over train or over race myself. I did way too much of both last year and it bit me in the ass the last 25 miles at Leadville. Well, yesterday I almost bought the farm - really. I'm running a new Stan's Crow on the back and it is FAST. With 25 psi it grabs surprisingly well, and it wants to run. I was following Chris down the trail at the Canyons towards Ambush and we were ripping through the woods, over bumps, tight corners and flowy single track. Like an idiot I wanted to stay on Chris' wheel and see how the Pros do it. He launched over a bump and so did I, but, I had the angle wrong and while airborne I headed for a large Quaky on the left side of the trail. I could see the tree coming straight at me and it felt like I was a goner. It was not going to be pretty and there was no way I was getting off the mtn on my own. I was a dead man flying! I've never had anything like that happen before and was surprised how big the tree looked and how slow things seemed to be going. I remember asking myself why was I being so stupid to ruin my Leadville trip just 2 weeks away. Dumb ass - what a shame - it's too late now - get ready for impact. When my tire touched down I made one last effort to steer clear hoping it was not too late. Surprisingly, I missed the tree, but don't know how. I really think the tree opened up where my bars were and let me through. I just about wet myself. Once clear I yelled out to Chris and stopped to gather myself. I already talk too much, but that one raised my voice a few octaves and upped the tempo and level senseless drivel. Needless to say, I was much more cautious and measured after that. And thank you, whoever you are, for watching out for me on that one. I promise I'll be a good boy from now on out.

So here I am, it's Monday, I'm still in one piece and ready to go. The bike is tuned and I feel my body is as ready as it can be. No more 6-7 hour rides, only a 3 hour ride next Saturday. I'll be doing some interval work the next 8 days with good intensity but fewer reps and I be resting a lot. My weight is now within 1 lb of where I want to be, but I can live with it where it is. I'm excited to see if I can get under 10 hours with fewer training miles in my legs, and if so, that will set the stages for next year. If I don't make the 10 hours, I'll be happy with a 12 hour belt buckle and I'll give it a go again next year.

That's it for now and good luck to all you guys and gals at Leadville.