Monday, July 16, 2012

Crusher in the Tusher - Beaver UT July 14th, 2012

I know its been a long time since the last post but better late than never. The Crusher was our Triple Bypass replacement. After 9 years of going to Colorado for this weekend Crusher was an appealing change that had a similar degree of suffering with less driving. I think we spent a little more time on our bikes than driving, which is a huge contrast to the triple bypass where we log over 20 hours of driving in a weekend.
This year's participants were many: Berkley, Keith, Kevin W, Kevin P, Don, and Peter. Plus there were a bunch of other cyclocross and Strava friends signed up for the fun. The choice of motels in Beaver are slim and the Butch Cassidy Best Western Inn was one of 2 national chains in Beaver. There was a very talkative Indian guy at the front desk of the motel. He told us the best pizza in town was at the Chinese restaurant. "Get the Pizza, not the Chinese food." We thought finding a diner that served breakfast at night would be the safest bid. We tried 4 likely places and no luck. We settled on Arshels Cafe. Most items on the menu were a derivative of chicken fried steak. We all got the special, Glazed Chicken with Shimp.
The race started at 8:00am Saturday morning and was only 2 blocks from the motel. What a change from having to get up at 4:00am when we do White Rim and the Triple. We had nice big breakfast of  waffles, eggs, biscuits and gravy.  I even had time for a shower. I didn't really need the shower because it started to rain about an hour before the race.

We put on our rain jackets and made our way to the start line. There were about 350 riders and 123 in the 40-49 class. Packer was in the 30 group ahead of us. Peter was  behind us in the 50+ group. They started the groups about 30 seconds apart. We hung with the main group for about 3 miles until we started up the canyon. No need to blow a gasket with 67 miles to go. It was pavement for 11 miles up state 153. Pretty mellow grade like the bottom of American Fork Canyon.

The rain let up after about an hour of riding. The ride took a right turn on a dirt road towards Kent's Lake. The dirt road was a mud road after a morning of rain. By this time, Don was ahead of me and Berk. Keith and Kevin were behind a short distance. All dirt roads we road on were maintained and and mud was only a thin layer. The wet and muddy roads always kept us looking for the driest or less squishy line. We climbed through beautiful forests and mountain lakes all morning. The smell of pine trees was strong.  The first aid station was at mile 23.Very well stocked and super friendly volunteers.

The roads continued to climb to 10,000 feet. The grade wasn't ever really steep, I always had a 3 or 4 more gears to left. Matt Davis finally caught up us at about mile 25. He has already had 2 flats. The rain started again and we stopped to put the rain jackets on and give Matt some needed air. The course at 10,000 ft and about 4 miles of rolling hills before it dropped down to Circleville.  Matt was putting down a good pace which felt good on my legs, this is where I dropped Berk.

The speed was fast on the downside of the rollers and my legs were covered in light coat of mud/slit. Matt was on a cross bike which was slower on the washboarded down sections. I dropped Matt after a few miles. The road then dropped off the mountain top to Junction with a vertical drop of 4,000 feet over 14 miles with the top section of switch backs dropping 2,000 ft in 4 miles. Really rough washboard  conditions all the way down. I was very glad I had a MTN bike with front suspension. The race leaders were coming back up the section as they descended to the valley floor. The rain stopped halfway down and the pavement began 4 miles from the top. Next aid station was in Junction. Had some watermelon, cleaned off my glasses and stowed the rain jacket.
The next 10 or so miles was on Highway 89 going south towards Circleville. The winds were light and the riders had thinned out. I caught another guy about 5 miles into this stretch. His name was Scott and he recognized me from cyclocross a few years ago. Once we made it to Circleville the course went east and back on the dirt roads. The rain had stopped so it was actually a dirt road. I call this part the lone and dreary road. It was mainly sage brush and juniper trees. I spotted a Thinair Jersey out in the trees taking a pit stop, which was Peter. Don was a just a few minutes ahead. The road then came back around to paved road at the base of the Col-d-crusher as they call it.

This was the beast that we came down earlier and we had to climb up it. The road goes all the way to the top. This was a long slow grind to the top. Don and I stayed together for 1/2 of the climb. My pace was just a little bit more. The sun stayed behind the clouds which kept the temps down. This would have been really bad in the hot sun because there is no shade or trees on this side. I walked a few sections, which was just about as fast others riding. I was riding in my granny and #2 gears up most of this hill. Cyclocross gears would have sucked. The top of the switch backs was the official KOM at 9,100 ft and mile 56. There was still over 2,000 feet to climb and 14 miles of rolling hills and false summits. The course stayed around 10,000 ft for the remaining 14 miles with plenty of rolling hills and false summits. The last 2 miles was on pavement with the last 3/4 of mile up a 10% grade to finish line. The 500m sign to the finish was the longest 500 meter of my life. Even the last 100 feet the finish line was straight up. I think I finished in my granny gear. Finish I did in 7 hours 36 minutes.

The volunteers were great at the finish line. They had chairs and warm blankets. The finish line is at the top of Eagle Point Ski Resort at 10,200 ft. They even had warm wash cloths to wipe the grim from my legs and the salt deposits from my eyebrows. Kevin Packer and Keith greeted me at the finish line. They missed a cut off time at mile 25 and had to finish the last leg and returned back to Beaver in their bikes. They still put in 55 miles, climbed to 10,000 feet, and they even had spectators asking them if they were the race leaders. That's priceless.

They had a great after race buffet at the main ski lodge at Eagle Point Ski resort. Grilled salmon, chicken, lemon rice and a killer pasta salad.

Ironman St. George May 1, 2010

What a day and after 16 hours and 33 minutes I crossed that sweet finish line at 11:33pm.

Ironman is one huge production. There were 2,400 athletes participating in this event. Check in was Thursday where I received my number 1667. Had the number airbush tattooed on my shoulders and my age on my left calve. I didn't sleep much Thursday or Friday night. Friday we dropped the bike at Sand Hollow. I've never seen so many bikes in one place. It was a sea of bikes. There was roughly 12 million dollars worth of bikes in the size of a football field. 2,400 bikes at $5,000 per bike. I took a swim to test the water. Water was 59 degress and decided to go with my short sleeves and a rash guard. I wanted the better shoulder movement.

I later dropped off my T2 (second transition) bag which had my running shoes and clothes. Twice the logistics of smaller triathlon. The swim is 15 miles from the run start/finish which is in downtown St George. They don't allow any support from friends or family during the race. They give you 2 bags to place any special food or drink you may want in addition to the provided food which is Gatorade, Power bars, Power gels, bananas, and water. I placed a drinkable yogurt, V-8, and cliff bars in my bike and run special needs bags.

I got may an hour or two of good sleep Friday night. I was up at 3:45 am and had breakfast (oatmeal). Took the hotel shuttle bus to Main Street. Then dropped off my special needs bags and loaded up on the school bases at which took us to the lake. Everyone was pretty quick on the buses. We arrived at the lake just a little light was filling the sky. Winds were calm, sky was clear, morning temps were about 43 degrees so it looked like great day for weather. I checked my bike and pumped up my tires. Big thanks to my friend Rory, who had pump. They moved us down the beach and cannon went off at 7:00am. Was about 50 yards from the start line when the cannon went off and away I swam. I looked back it seemed like half the people were still coming down the beach as I crossed the start line in water which was about 100 yards from the shore. The swim was less crazy as I had though. I stayed in middle of the pack to the first buoy, I would have the occasional touch of another swimmer every couple minutes but it was easy to get in a rhythm and kept my head down. The coldness of the water seemed to go away after 10 minutes. I have neoprene cap and booties. At times it was kind of like a dream, I could see helicopters flying above the water, but with my ear plugs and cap, I could not hear them. The second turn buoy came pretty quick. The last leg was long. I didn't want to stop to see where I was so just kept my head down kept swimming. I was getting more tired mentally than physically as I was approaching the last turn buoy. Made the turn, and I could see the boat ramp, Yahooo. It still felt like an eternity to swim the last 1/2 mile. I passed the boat dock and tried touch bottom and I almost got a charile horse in my calf. I'm not trying that again, keep swimming. Walked up the ramp and crowds of people cheers were terrific. They striped my wet suit at the top of the ramp. Janie was there and she got nice pic of me in my speedo.

The air was chilly without wetsuit. It took a while to get dressed. My hands and arms were very cold. The volunteers were great. I could not get my socks on to save my life. I put my socks in my pocket and biked sockless for a couple hours. I came out of the changing tent and most of the bikes were gone.

The bike was long. I took my time and enjoyed the ride trying to save my strength for the run. With 30 miles to go on the bike leg, I realized I was going to cut it close on the 5:00pm bike cut off time. I turned on the after burners and powered it home. Made into the transition area with 10 minutes to spare. 

Leadville Trail 100

Leadville Trail 100  2010

I have been more anxious over this race than any race lately. I was able to pre-ride some of the course a month earlier.

Janie and I got an early start Saturday morning and left our condo in Copper Mountain and arrived at Leadville around 5:00am with the car thermometer reading 35 degrees . I was able it get a killer place about 100 feet from the start line, right in the middle of road. Within 40 minutes the bikes where back 2 blocks. Since its a mass start, it is advantageous to place you bike early. The starting line was like a huge twister game with an obstacle course with over 500 bikes laying on the road.

Ken’s shot gun went off promptly at 6:30am. And all 1500 of us started the downhill coast out of town. It was suppose to be neutral start and I was tying to keep a buffer around me but there we guys aways coming from behind, sprinting to the front. It was a just like the moving packs at the RMR crits except there were a 1000 riders who don't frequently ride in packs. I was glad to have on my winter gloves and booties.

We crossed the railroad tracks and made the sharp right hand turn on to the dirt. The pace was fast and I looked at my heart rate and it was very high, 170's. The climb up to St Kevins was fast wild mass of riders climbing up a loose rocky jeep trail. Guys were passing on the left, some were starting to walk on the right, what an experience. The trails makes a sharp left at mile 7 and the grade eases off a bit. In this transition to an easier grade my chain was caught between my granny gear and 2nd chain ring. I dismounted and wasn't sure what the problem exactly was. I run with my bike a few hundred feet to find a place on the side of the trail to fix it.

It was rush hour traffic of anxious races. I noticed that I was missing 1 of the 4 chainring bolts on my granny gear and the other 3 bolts were loose which is how my chain got jammed in between. I couldn't pull it out so I had loosen the remaining 3 bolts. It seems like an eternity getting bolts loose and tight again with large awkward tool. Got if fixed and started climbing again, then after a few minutes of climbing I noticed I was missing my sunglasses. I debated going back or use Janie's glasses when I meet her in 3 hours. I opted to go back to my repair site and retrieve the glasses. After wasting about 15 minutes I was back on trail. The rush hour traffic of riders had not stopped. I was a little nervous about riding the next 90 miles with a missing chain ring bolt so I made sure I didn't shift with much tension on the granny ring the rest of the day.
The Sugarloft climb was next and I found a good rhythm. The top came quick and the Powerline descent was next. The trail was still a jeep road with a dominate single track line. Faster riders would pass on really hairly sections. This woman, I will call Peppie Long Socks, because she was wearing long pink socks. She was yelling at men to let her pass so I let get a head of me and I followed her down the Powerline. Peppie was a good decenter but not a fast climber. I would tag team her several times throughout the day.
Made it to Pipeline aid station where I had drop bag. I ate a pickle and dropped off my leg-arm warmer and booties. From here on was new territory because my preride a month earlier ended at the pipeline aid station. I had 10:30 cutoff at Twin Lakes which was my next task. The trail followed mainy dirt roads in the foothills of the Leadville valley. There was a nice tight section of single track in the sage brush that lasted a couple miles. We made our way to some well graded gravel roads where I was able to draft off a guy for about 20 minutes. The nice thing with a lot of mountain bikers is they get the concept of drafting and pace work. This dude just pulled the whole time at a nice pace until almost got to the top and then he was spent. I crested the final hill into the Twin Lakes feed section, which I should just call the the Twin Lakes Zoo. There were people everywhere lining both sides of the trail for about 1/2 mile. I had no idea where the offical check in tent was but I has made it with 15 minutes to spare. I grabbed some water melon and water and I was out of there. It was at this point that Levi and Jeremy passed me returning to the finish line. They were a flying.
Janie was at the next crew stop which was only a couple miles away at the base of the Columbine Climb. Tinker passed me just I meet Janie. I ditched my camel back with Janie and choose to go light with just 2 water bottles for the next monster climb. This next climb is the mother of all climbs. It starts at 9,300 ft and climbs to 12,509 in 8 miles. The first 5 miles is nice wide dirt road that winds it way through dense trees. By this time the bulk of the 8-9 hour guys were coming down the road at blazing speeds. I keep riding a steady pace.
As we reached the tree line around 10,500 feet the road became rougher and looser. The first steep section was a "hike-a-bike" section. The little hiking section was a welcome change for my over pedaled legs. The funniest thing happen next, and it doesn't take much to be funny have 5 hours of riding. There were a couple a guys that had a barbeque set up roasting hot dogs. There was a sign on the side of the road that read "Free Hot Dogs and Beer". They were dressed in suits and had the hot dogs and beer on a silver platter. I passed on the beer, of course. and took a bit of the hot dog and the mustard tasted really good.
The road turned to the left and slowly the summit was in view with a trail of what looked like a line of ants marching up the mountain. It was a death march, everyone off their bikes hiking up a steep rocky jeep road. I was able to ride short sections but it was difficult to pass the hikers with a steady stream of descending rides on the left side of the road. I kept looking at my altimeter wondering if if 12,700 was ever going to come. I got the attention of a camera crew and starting to tell them I was riding on the only self made, garage build carbon frame. Time will tell if I make the cut on the movie that is released in November. 
I finished in 11:50 and earned the buckle. Glad its over!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

White Rim - March 20 - Self Supported

This was my first self supported White Rim trip in one day. Jamie Kent and Matt Davis invited me on this crazy adventure. I've raced cyclocross with these guys for the last 2 years. We camped at the bottom of Mineral Bottom road. It was a frosty morning around 25 degrees. We started riding at 7:30am and climbed out of the canyon in a clockwise direction. It was sunny but still cold. We had on full winter gear: Tights, booties, gloves, double jersey's, cap.The Mineral Bottom was a long ride. Luckly the road was dry, I bet it was muddy a few days ago. The was still snow on the road going to the park. At 10:30 it was only 34 degree at the ranger station. Ouch!!I had icicles on my water bottles for 3 hours. We took a 1/2 hour stop at the visitor center to let Jamie get some feeling back into in his frozen toes. We stashed a bunch of bladders filled with water the night before at the top of the Shafer trail. We were sure the bladders were going to be frozen solid but the morning sun warmed them up just fine. The Shafer trail was closed to 4x4's because of snow. As you can see it was no problem for our bikes.
Temps warmed up on the actual White Rim. We were able to shed some layers and get moving. I had my bonk early in this trip. I guess it's good to get that out of the way. Matt put the hammer down in route to the Potash Camp site. My back was getting sore and I could never seem to bridge the gap. I wanted to stop for some Advil but I didn't dare stop. I thought he would never stop. When Matt did stop, we enjoyed some delicious cold Barbacoa burritos for lunch. The cool temps kept our water consumption low. 3 water bottles in 5 hours of riding. We only passed 5 cars the whole day. Winds gods must have really liked us with the calm winds all day long.

Matt and Jamie road with two 100 oz bladders on their backs. I chose to carry the water on my bike and save my lower back. I mounted some aero bars on the my handle bars and strapped on a hip pack and my camel back on the front bars. I had 100 oz bladder, 5 water bottles, 3lb burrito, 10 Cliff bars, tights, and jacket all on my handle bars. It must have added 25 pounds to my bike but it sure beat having it my back. Steering took some time to get used to.
Jamie was hitting his bonk just before White Crack. Murphy's kicked my butt. I gave it a good shot but after having 8+ hours on the legs and the extra weight there was no way. I walked most of it. We took a 1/2 hour break at the top and enjoyed some warm sun.
We were glad to see Matt hit the wall on the descent from Murphy's to Potato Bottom. Sunset was at 7:15 and were approaching our last climb at Hard Scrabble. We past a camp site at Potato bottom with everyone cheering us on. "Bring on the night riders." It was an interesting descent from the top with our lights. The temperature differences were dramatic as we followed the small dips in the road following the Green River back to the car. We finished just before 9pm. 13:23 was our total trip time covering 102 miles.

The last thing I wanted to do was camp. I talked everyone into taking a short drive to Moab and we found a nice warm bed at the new La Quinta. What a ride!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cyclocross #7 Weber Fairgrounds

This was my race of mechanical problems. The first mistake was hanging with Jamie and Matt on the first lap. It was fun about 1/2 way then I knew I had over done it. I spent lap 2 and 3 trying to recover. On lap 4 I lost a chain on the barriers. I was able to get it on quick and only lost a couple places and I was able to catch back on to the 3 guys I was hanging with. As we rode the last part of lap 4 I mounted my bike after the log and unknown to me, I slipped the bead on my rear tire. I noticed what I thought was my rim rubbing on my brake. It was actually my tire rubbing on my brake. I didn't think much of it even though it was a pretty annoying noise. We had 1 full lap to go and there was 3 of together with a big gap in front and behind us. I was drafting off the back on sidewalk section when all of sudden there was a big bang and my rear the tire was flat. The pit zone was close so I tried to ride with a flat, that only lasted a few yards since my tube got tangled in my chain and seized the rear tire. I threw my bike on my shoulder and ran for the pit zone. I took a short cut across the horse track and left my bike in the middle of the track and then jumped on my 29er to finish the last part of the lap. To my surprise, no riders had passed me, one passed me as I came out of the pit area. I was able to overtake him in the barriers and finished 13th.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lotoja 2009

We had our traditional pre-lotoja dinner at Kamin Thai restaurant, with Mike Tall and Erin. Berk and I raced the master 35+ category which left at 6:31. Mike Tall and Don went out with the fun class at about 5:50. We experienced good weather all day, with starting temps in the high 40's. I was expecting a faster pace to Preston but it was still about 4 minutes faster than last year. We touched down for about 1 min in Preston. The little hills outside of Preston were pretty easy, I remember my first few years these hills chewed me up and split me out back. We had a slight head wind(east wind) going up Strawberry. We rode our own pace and kept ahead of last yrs pace. I took a pee break in the National forest sign, we only took water hand ups at the strawberry feed zone. We had a good fast pack going to Montpelier, pace line style where we only pulled at the front for about 20 seconds. I took down a V8 and Pringles with a yogurt in my pocket. I always ate a cliff bar on the descents. We were greeted with a head wind all the way up Geneva Pass. In year's past we always had a nice tail wind, maybe Mike Tall caught a tail wind here? Luckly, we had a tail wind when we turned north on 89. I took a quick stop at the Alred feed zone. I was 5 minutes faster on the KOM over last year and I felt good all the way up the Salt river pass. Berk was suffering up the climb, I waited about 4 minutes at top for Berk. Don joined Berk and me on the decent into Star Valley. Where was Mike Tall, probably in front of us. Our pack was a fast one to Afton, we dropped Don around Smoot. We were on still on target for 10:40 pace. We had a big pack, about 30 by the time we approached Thayne. I was feeling strong and I was able to accelerate with the main pack as it was tricky passing slower riders with the rumble strips. Berk got stuck at the end of one of the pack breaks as we approached Alpine. Alpine was the first time I had seen Janie since I passed here going up Strawberry. Maybe we passed Mike Tall and didn't know it. The traffic was extra heavy this year with our later start time and Lotoja had about 1600 riders this year. I took a v8 and yogurt and decide to go without Berk. I was a few minutes ahead of my 10:40 pace.
There was the usual tail wind up the snake river canyon. I was able hook on to another pack about 1/2 mile up. Some were fresh relay riders but I was feeling good the whole way to Hoback. I had a pee urge to stop at Hoback but I decide to keep going as some of relay riders were not going to stop. I was able to hook up with a couple cat 4 riders and we kept a healthy pace to Jackson. As we crossed the snake river coming to Jackson the next 2 hills were killer. We had a pack of 6 and we all suffered up the little hills. It was beautiful sight to be coasting down the Southpark Road. As we crossed under tunnel and back on the road our pack was getting smaller. I was feeling good and knew I had to keep a strong pace to finish with 10:40. We crossed the Wilson bridge and there was me and 2 other cat 4 riders. We all wanted to get this over and we just kept the speed as each of us took our painful turns at the front. I love finishing strong and this was fun group. As the road came out of the trees and we catch our first glimpse of the finishing line. We pushed hard and I finished 10:40:13. Looking at my split times which were ranked this year, the last 30 miles my pace was 97 out of 1000. Berk finished 11:30 overall. His heart rate was 15-20 beats higher than mine the whole day.

This race I never experienced the downs like past races. The Geneva climb was the hardest part with the head wind. I reached my goal down to the minute is a pretty wild. Beating that 10:00 mark still seams a long way off. Great way to end the road cycling season. Time to CX and start training for the Ironman in May.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Triple by Pass

I'm a little late posting but better than never. We had great 2009 Triple by Pass (TBP). We had a fast group and slow group. Fast group was Me, Craig, Berk, James, and Dan (supported by Craig's dad Stan). Chase group Mike T, Matt T, and Johnny supported by Erin. Logistics were easy this year with Stan as dedicated support. We started at 6:00am and were biking by 6:15. We passed Matt right out of the chute. We ascended the first climb pretty much together. James slipped out of rest stop before we new it. Stan meet us in Idaho Springs which was new stop for us. It was nice to ditch the jackets and gloves right after the climb. Stan missed Georgetown so our next stop was Loveland. We dropped Dan early in this stage, Dan's training was minimal at best this year. Craig, Berk and me powered up to Loveland. We passed a ton of riders thanks to work of Craig and Berk. Dan caught back on at the Loveland lunch stop but no sign of James. After some tasty pickles and a V8 we started to attack the final pitch of Loveland. Craig was on fire and we didn't see him till the top. I sucked Berk's wheel for as long as could and I dropped off on the last left hand swithback. I gained some strength as I approched the last right swithback. The grade back off a bit and bridged the gap and made back to Berk. We rode together to the top. Swan mtn killed me, luckly it's only a couple miles. Peanut butter Nilla cookies were a hit at the Dillon rest stop. The copper mtn bike trail was good, with some very light rain near the end. Berk hooked on to a Tri-Chick who pulled us most of way. We were definitely in the passing mode. We put down some Ibprofins and Red Bulls at copper in preperation for 6 short miles to the Vail pass. Berk and I dropped Craig early in the climb, but not on purpose. I felt pretty good up the last climb, much better than Swan and Loveland. Craig was 2 minutes back and Dan was about 10 minutes back. Still no sign of James. We had some good rain on the lower decent to Vail.
We finished just under 10 hours with 6:22 of actual riding time. Our fastest triple in the 7 years we have been riding it. James finished 15 minutes before us. He stopped less and rode more. Mike Tall formed his own chase group which was about an hour ahead of Matt and Johnny. They finished a couple hours later and hit some big rain on the Loveland and Vail descents.