Monday, August 28, 2006

22,000 feet of climbing in 100 miles

My son Jason completed the Park City Endurance 100 on Saturday. The race is part of the national endurance series and probably the toughest of the races in the series. It certainly has the most climbing. I think I would have a hard time on a geared bike but Jason did the race on his singlespeed. And he finished 6th. Excellent performance!

He said he wants to do the race again next year and wants me to come out as well. I'm thinking about it but it's way too early to have next year figured out yet. It's hard to believe that this year's racing is almost over and it will be time to start planning for next year.

I think next year I will do more of the longer races and less of the local XC races, but the travel may be an issue. There are so many great 100 mile races around the country now that it is hard to choose.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Racing and trail work

Yesterday I did my first regular XC race since May. The race was held at Maybury park and put on by the Southeast chapter of the MMBA and was part of the CPS series. In spite of all the worries and rants people had been having about holding a race at this venue, plus being run by the chapter instead of a regular promoter, the race went off well and had a good turnout. Most of our team was able to make it and we finally got a group shot. We probably have one of the biggest kid's programs going as well.

My race went well, I managed to be the first one going up the old sledding hill and first into the singeltrack. I was afraid that there would not be many opportunities to pass so I wanted to get out in front so I could put people in between me and the next guys as easily as possible. It turns out that passing was never really a problem and I was able to maintain and slowly extend my lead on each lap to finish first. My legs were really hurting near the end, the 12 hour races seem so much easier by comparison.

Today was a trail maintenance day at Addison Oaks. About 15 of us showed up despite the rain to put in a new section of trail that will extend the length by about a mile or so and will add some more climbs to the course. We were able to pretty much finish it and it will be fun to ride. The new section takes us back into a section of the park we haven't used before and offers a view of the lake. It may be done in time for the race at the end of September but will need a lot of riding on it to set the trail. Right now it's all fresh and fairly soft dirt.

Next weekend is the Drummond Island 24 hour race, my first 24 hour this year. Last year this event was a 12 hour and I tool 1st overall but the race was not well attended. I don't harbor any illusions of winning this year, it is more of a personal test to see how long I can ride.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Birthday wishes and wedding congratulations!

First, Happy Birthday to my lovely wife Sandy who turned 50 on Saturday. She beat me to that age as I turn 50 later this year. I just love older women. We will have been married for 28 years this year so we have been together for over half of our lives. It seems like a long time when you say it but the time has flown by. I think our love continues to grow stronger as time goes on.

Speaking of love, a team member got married Saturday morning at Addison Oaks. We joked about showing up in our team uniforms and riding our bikes into the ceremony but we thought better of it. Unfortunately it rained all morning and the outdoor ceremony had to be held inside. Addison Oaks has a beautiful old building where they hold these and the grounds around the building are tailor made for weddings. It was still a nice ceremony, complete with a string quartet to provide the music. We didn't stay for the reception as we had other plans for my wife's birthday. I think she was trying to leave before we got all the guests to sing Happy Birthday to her. Congratulations to Bernie and Niki Wendel, I hope you are as happy in your new life together as my wife and I are in ours.

This afternoon my wife and I took a walk through some of the area trails and discovered several patches of blackberries. We came back after dinner to pick some and ended up with close to two gallons in less than two hours time. There are plenty more ready to pick and yet to ripen. We plan on going back several more times over the next week or two.

This past week on the bike has more or less been getting ready for the Maybury XC race next week. I've been trying to do more intensity since the last time I did a short XC race was back in May! I don't know if I'm ready to suffer like that. I think the 24 hours of Drummond Island the following weekend will seem easier.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A week later

I seemed to have spent most of this week fighting some kind of stomach and intestinal problem, starting on Tuesday. I would be fine and then start to cramp, causing me to hurry to the bathroom. It was bad enough that I took a day and a half off from work. I thought I was pretty much over it by Thursday but when I attempted some intervals on the bike it was definitely a mistake and I had to stop. It seems to pretty much have gone now thank goodness. i don't know what caused it but training has suffered as a result.

Saturday I set up a Hammer display in Sylvania, Ohio during the registration for Elite Endeavor's triathlon. Hammer sponsors the races and I had met the promoter at Iceman last year and he asked if I could get to one of his races. They get about 650 racers for this race and with packet pickup only open for 3.5 hours I figured there would probably be a lot of people showing up in a short time period. I enlisted the help of my friend Chris Werth to hlep me out in the tent. Chris is a confirmed Hammer user and did a superb job handling the crowd and answering questions. I think together we made a pretty good team and hopefully we can do it again.

Since Sylvania is next to Toledo there was only one place to go for dinner, Tony Packo's. I've been there before but Chris had never gone. Those who are familiar with the MASH TV show may remember that the restaurant was mentioned several times on the show by Jamie Faar who played Klinger. Jamie is from Toledo and still comes back to host his golf tournament. In addtion to the great Hungarian food there are about 1500 hot dog buns on the wall, each autographed by a celebrity. I figured the fried pickels, chili, and chili dog would either make my stomach problem worse or cure it. So far there seem to have been no after effects, but I wonder why my wife was sleeping in the other room?

This morning I went over to Maybury to get in a few laps and practice for the race that will be held there in a few weeks. I did three laps of a fairly moderate effort and then two more at a much easier pace. Interestingly the easier laps weren't all that much slower than the harder effort laps. I think it's because the course is so tight that going slower and not using the brakes much is about as effective as racing into each corner only to have to brake and accelerate hard again.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Weekend rides

Did a couple of rides with team members over the weekend. On Saturday Bernie came out to my house and we did parts of Bald Mountain N & S and also a loop of Addison Oaks. The Bald Mountain trail starts .6 miles from my house so we can ride a lot of trail without much road. Bernie's getting married at Addison in two weeks so I'm sure he'll look at the trail (and everything else) in a new light a month from now, assuming he's still allowed to ride. Actually he got his fiance to do an adventure race with him a few months ago, pretty cool.

Today I met Robin and Shari along with John Burt at Maybury to do some laps and so John could show us where the race start and trail would be for the MMBA XC race coming up in a few weeks. It seems that we will be riding up an old sledding hill every lap, I can't wait. There was a big group of riders getting ready to ride when we were at Maybury so we got out in front of them and then after one lap decided to ride over to Island Lake and do a partial lap there and ride back. I think that this was a better choice than doing multiple laps of Maybury. It is a very tight course with little room for passing, I'll save that frustration for race day.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Perfect morning for riding

I had the day off today and after not riding for the last three days due to the heat or rain it was great to finally get out in cooler weather. I wanted to do my complete 75 mile route I have done parts of, the route includes most of the bigger hills within 15 miles of my house. It is an out and back loop so you are doing some of the hills twice.

With all the rain we had yesterday I was afraid that the back roads would be really muddy but most were dry but one or two. It seemed that today was the day for grading the roads though as several of them were freshly graded which meant I had to ride on a much softer surface. I would have preferred a bumpier but solid road. I ran up on graders in two different spots, one of them waited on an uphill for me to pass before continuing. He didn't move very slowly though so I had to ride hard to stay ahead of him.

My route ended up being almost the exact length I had calculated it to be, a little over 75 miles. The total elevation gain was a little less though, just over 4100 feet. For flat SE michigan that isn't too bad, considering I was never more than 15 miles from my house. Doing some of the longer hills as repeats would get me the same elevation in fewer miles but wouldn't be as enjoyable. I'll save that for another time.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Free food

I came home from work all set to go out and ride for a while in the 100+ degree heat but my wife had other ideas. She didn't think it was such a great idea and kiddingly (I think) told my son to shut off the cell phones and take the house phone off the hook because she wasn't going to get me if I bonked. I got her point and she suggested we go to the grocery store instead.

She does most of her meat and "good for you" food shopping at Whole Foods and I don't really mind going since they usually have some free samples of food throughout the store plus I like browsing the beer and wine selections. Today I was able to snack quite nicely on chips and salsa, tuna with duck or soy sauce (I tried both), potato chips, cheese snacks and low fat ginger snaps. They also had samples of carbonated cranberry juice to wash it down. On some days the spread is even better and includes shrimp and different cheeses, especially when you get closer to the holidays. I think maybe we should start looking at spending one evening a week there to get our dinner for free. That should free up some money for gas to get to the races.