Archive for April, 2009

April 26, 2009

Well, well, well, I have been reading another blog and it seems as if I the target of the blogger. You know the one who doesn’t have much to say about much I don’t post much and don’t have a head the size of a hot air balloon. So in deference to his extremely popular blog and my much less so popular blog I will avoid using the words “not much to post” and “took pics on my ride today” and stick to his uncanny ability to pump up his own inflated ego.

Racing is not really the best way to have fun, 24 hour racing makes racing even less fun and as I did one last weekend I have spent the past week trying to recover my will to ride. Not as easy as one might think. I don’t want to see any mountain bikes at all, I don’t want to ride the road bike and I want my freaking calf to quit cramping. I broke a chain and raked the teeth of my crank set up the back of my calf causing an immediate cramp and bunches of blood, but the cramp won’t go away, it seizes up at random times while walking the dogs or riding causing a bit of pain. Not that it bothers anyone else, but I care about me, at least when things hurt me.
So the race went well, I got one flat, one broken chain, one continually dragging rear disc brake, 16 hours of rain and mud more slick than ice. Fun, no? Well not really. The race began with a stupid long run, I hate runs to the bike, it makes me tired and hurts my feet in my cycling shoes. You must get to the bike, and although all the people competing for the overall run like sprinters, I, myself, trot slowly. As I get to the bike most everyone else is already flying onto the trail acting as if this first lap will decide the final placing of the race. NOTE TO ALL YOU GOOFY PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THIS, IT IS THE FINAL TOTAL NUMBER OF LAPS YOU DO THAT MATTERS, NOT WHO FINISHES THE FIRST LAP FIRST.
So I cruised around dodging people, getting passed and in general saying hi to folks I have met at previous races and members of the Los Lobos club. It was kind of nice, well really I felt good so I was having fun and for the first 8 hours it was pretty much just like that, ride along have a good time and enjoy the off and on again rain. It all changed as I stopped at 10 PM to grab some food and take a quick shower and have a few beers before I went off to sleep for a bunch of hours because my partner in the duo class had gone home and wasn’t going to ride anymore that night, so why should I? Well we were in first place! What me in first place at any race, no. So instead of kicking back and having a good time I looked for a coke, some meat and some chips and ate as much as I could as fast as I could and was back out on the course.
Overnight I managed to do a bunch of laps, but our rival teams had two riders going all night, not one. (I should clarify it was cumulative not cooperative for the lap total) So for every two and half I did, they did four. It was mentally wearing to pass people, and know I was still losing laps. I managed a brave “I can do it” face until 0400 and just had to sit down for a few minutes and promptly fell asleep for an hour. Upon waking I jumped up and realized I was really really hungry. So I ate and ate and ate and then finally left the dry safety of the Lobos tent city for seven more hours of fun in the rain.
As the race continued parts of the course where closed due to danger for the riders, and as the course was modified we got to ride new and more slippery sections of “less” dangerous trails. Well they where wider than the stuff they closed off, so when I fell I had less chance of smashing a tree with my face, but more of a chance of smashing the ground with my face. Fun, fun, fun. I made it until noon, when, generally speaking most 24 hour races stop, when I crashed. 

At this point I was standing up and riding more than sitting, and I won’t tell you exactly why, just think water, mud, 17 hours and a nice light and normally comfortable saddle and well I hope your imagination takes you to why I was standing. So I was pedaling down a pretty straight slippery flat section of double track when I lost concentration for a second lost my front wheel and fell way faster than it took you to read this. It hurt, not just my pride, as a few people saw me, but my wrist too. It felt like a mild sprain and hurt like a mild sprain and I needed a reason to hang up the old cleats.
At this point we couldn’t catch first place and third was too far behind to catch us so why not take advantage of the excuse? I could have taken some advil and kept on going, or eat a bunch of grilled Pork and sit down and relax. Well relaxing seemed the order of the day. The pork was very good. Thanks Stefano.
All in all a pretty good race. I am recovered physically at least, my legs felt good two days after the race, but I am not motivated to ride at all. Bikes are bringers of pain, not the fun machines they where prior to the race. Another week maybe the fun will return, but today it is drizzling and instead of riding I am typing this drivel. I need three more hours this week to reach 18 hours riding, but what the hell, I like popcorn and petting our dogs, so I will eat popcorn and pet the dogs and think about riding, that should help my fitness level, right?

I had a good race and had some bad luck, some good luck, thanks to SingleStoff and the Lobos guys and took second overall. Not a bad weekend, I just hope to ride as well in a month in Finale,

For those of you who are interested, King Kages rock, not a single lost bottle for me but others lost bottles everywhere, the Avid brake I used where very good, aside from the constant dragging which turned out to be the fault of a bad bleeding job by a local shop, I used Kenda and Maxxis tires, the crossmarks where not great in the mud, the Karmas not any better, but no tires would have been good on this course. Who else? Oh a great frame by Stoic cycles that is now being painted and the best handle bars in the world Luv Handles by Groovy Cycles. Oh and I used several products for energy from Hammer nutrition to keep me fueled physically. Mentally, well I am never stable there. Hope you are all well and next time I hope some funny stuff happens because it is more fun to read about my failures than successes. Of course I have very few successes so I won’t have to wait too long to write something funny, to me at least.


Racing, but no pics

April 16, 2009

I raced and had a good time, after the hour long registration process. God, if it could be any harder to try to race here I would stop. Maybe I will, it is not what I call user friendly.

But back to how cool I am. I rode 45 K and 1800 meters of climbing in 2:47 and some very small change. I ruled the SIngle Speed category! Oh, but there wasn’t one, so I ruled nothing. I did rule the walking up the 18% gravel road climb that was 1 K long but ended up being about 4 K total. Well, I beat all the other people walking I saw. That was something yes?

Okay so how did it all go, that is what I am asking myself and you, the poor unfortunate person reading this is wondering. Well, it went well. I am not in the best shape of my life, but I have a reasonable base of fitness, so I can ride pretty quick, not fast mind you, but quick and in burst of quickness.

The first climb was literally a 4 K slog up a freaking steep climb in which we gained 600 meters of altitude. Unfortunately I needed to walk a bit of the climb, about a half a K at the top, but otherwise I was doing pretty well. As I passed people, and there where a lot of people to pass, you had to bump elbows and yell at them to let you through, it stunk. I mean if you hear someone yelling at you Destra Destra (right right) you should move, but not these goofs they just sat spinning away in the granny gear looking around for god knows what. I think maybe the Easter Bunny. It was like they all had blinders on. Arriving at the first climb, two things became crystal clear, a 21t rear cog may have been in order and even though I had walked I felt pretty good. So I took off as fast as I could.

It was a paved goat trail, as I had expected, but it was fast and more or less fun because it was so fast. Here again I passed people who either seemed afraid of descending or had brake issues. Not sure which, but I had some massive brake fade nearing the bottom of the descent and nearly hit a rock wall, not fun, but invigorating, because I was alive!

After the climb we had a series of rollers, up and down trails and paths through vineyard, which although pretty produced no challenges and let a ton of people get back behind me, well all except for the dude who crashed, broke his face and was being taken out by medics. I think he was trying to catch some of the pros and pushed a little to hard. It kind of brought me back to reality. I was not going to win, but I wanted to finish in under three hours. That was my race.

After seeing dude all messed up I backed off a bit, and stopped trying to pass everyone as soon as I caught them, I waited until it was safeish. This proved just a bit bothersome as waiting to pass is like waiting for paint to dry, boring. Oh that and the Italians believe that you can’t pass them, EVER, because that means you might be faster than them….well yeah, I caught you right?

The race did have some small parts of single track, a nice change really, and I found most of it to be pretty good. At least one section required me to unlock my fork, and one part was a pretty technical off chamber switchback that everyone in front of me walked and I rode. I did wonder about halfway through if I had made the right decision. I had.

All things being equal the race was fun, and a test of my fitness. Not really a race I could win, or cared about winning. I had a time I wanted to beat, I had certain racers I would mark and chase down and try to beat to the finish line and certain places on climbs I had to get before I walked, I did accomplish most of my self imposed goals. I just wish I had been smarter and lined up earlier so I could have had a shot at better finish time. As always, due to my way high starting number I was literally nearly the last one off the line. Oh well, next time I will learn…. No I won’t but I will race here again. At least they let me race this time.


April 8, 2009

So two I am great posts should have been put here, however I didn’t do well at all.

One race, the 24 hour race in Sicily went very badly. Well I felt pretty okay riding a bike for the first time really, and my legs, lungs and heart all felt pretty good. A win, no way, but a good result was in order. All except for the 100kph wind. I did (officially) 6 laps, however I believe I actually did 8 before I quit (hurts a little typing that). The wind was freaking unbelievable!!! At least 100kph, with gusts well over 130-140kph. My tent literally blew away full of equipment, at least 150 pounds of gear flying across the camping area. It was not fun. Sicily was, the race was not.

The course was, and I mean for real, run through a cow pasture. Freshly cut grass marked the course, so I mean you knew where the course went because the grass on either side of the course was higher than the trail. No fun at all. It wasn’t hard, it just was bad, real bad. I had not motivation to ride around a cow pasture for 24 hours in the wind. More excuses…. good ones, but still….. excuses.

Next race I was denied entry. Why? I dunno but as it was pouring down rain, I cared, however not as much as if the trails had looked awesome and it had been sunny. I will try again next Monday! I hope. Me