Tuesday, July 20, 2010

watching the tour...

So the little man and I are watching Stage 15 last night and I'm telling him about the riders, their strengths, who they are etc. And he keeps asking me if the rider is a friend of mine, no we haven't met.

He then asks if any of my friends are in the race, and I think, then say "Yes, Chris Horner is my friend, he's a great guy." What color jersey is he wearing? he asks. I tell him and then we look for Chris in the peloton.

And the little man is happy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hilbert #1

You would think after all the years I've been racing I'd know what I was doing. Nope.

Forgot to bring food. Not good at a 5 hour race.

Didn't air up the rear tire. Not good on a rooty course.

In spite of those issues the 29er rocked it, my lap times were much faster than a race there last year. Plus, I got to ride a couple of laps with my friend. Always good.

Nice training race, It was good to push the legs around in circles to get the 'run' out of them.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

trail race...

It's been awhile, let me get that out of the way first. Not much cycling done over this past winter with all the snow Virginia experienced. And this post isn't about cycling either, it's going to be a post on "other things..."

I laced up my Inov-8 trail shoes and clad myself in The North Face running garb for the Bel Monte Endurance Run at Sherando yesterday. The 25k trail race was my choice considering I've never raced anything over 10k in distance. The course began atop the upper dam in the Sherando Recreation Area, a few minutes after 6:30 am in frosty temperatures. Off the dam and the course followed the White Rock Trail up through the watershed. I started very conservative and just shuffled along with everyone else on the singletrack. At the water crossings, I jumped ahead of the groups and soon found myself alone. I reeled in a few people before the Slacks Trail intersection and followed their lead up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We crossed the Parkway and descended the White Rock Falls Trail.

The WRFT was beautiful, a smooth brown ribbon flowing down the mountain. We crossed the stream and began the climb out of the ravine. I had never been on this trail, but this wasn't the moment to sightsee. I followed the lead of my fellow runners and walked the steep sections, heeding the advice I had received earlier in the week from my friend Woody. I did start moving past my companions, and they gave me encouragement as I moved up the trail. The WRFT soon ended and I was back across the Parkway and on the Slacks Trail, a trail I know well. I moved past another runner and was soon at the Torrey Ridge intersection. A quick left turn and a smile for the photographer, I was climbing again. And the Rocks began on the climb up to Bald Mountain turnaround. I didn't see anyone as I scrambled over the rocks, moving steadily up the mountain.

As I moved up the mountain I took note of the dusting of snow blanketing the ground beneath the mountain laurel. Did I mention it was cold? Thankfully the gear I received from my buddy Jonathan worked great at regulating my temperature and comfort. A runner passed me coming back down the mountain, okay I'm on the right trail and Damn he's fast, were the two thoughts I had seeing him. He was moving down the trail like a freight train and was quickly gone. Time to count... 1.

I saw a few racers ahead of me on the final climb up to the summit of Bald Mountain. As I neared the top I looked back and saw some behind me. I turned right onto the forest road descent and let the legs go down towards the turnaround. Nearing the turnaround I saw another yellow bibbed runner coming up the hill. 2. I was then at Camp Marty, the first aid station. I drank two small cups of slushy gatorade and popped a couple of peanut M&Ms, and was moving back up the hill in third place.

As I neared the second summit of Bald, runner 2 was just in front of me. We were both passing runners moving down the hill to Camp Marty, and received wonderful words of encouragement. One woman told me, get him. "Damn right I'm going to get him", was my response. Motivation. This trail was pretty tight and it was two-way traffic. Everyone I passed seemed to have an encouraging word as I followed 2 down the hill. I saw a friend making her way up the mountain and gave her words of encouragement as she did I. Thanks. Back down the trail, across the rocks, runner 2 was moving well, opening a slight gap on me. When the trail flattened or turned up, I quickly made my way back on to his heels. The trail turned down and I saw another friend moving up the hill. Pointed to him and said some words of encouragement and I turned my attention back to runner 2. After the Slacks Trail intersection and on to Torrey Ridge Trail, the course flattened out atop the ridge.

I ran for a while with runner 2, we chatted and found out this was his first long trail race as well. He asked if I wanted around him to which I replied that I was good. I knew I needed to get past him well before the descent off the mountain as he was rolling down the hill faster than me. After a few minutes, I told him I wanted to get around him and I pushed it on a short incline. Soon I didn't hear anything behind. A lot of thoughts coursed through my mind. I had had a tough couple of weeks, training and otherwise, even battling insomnia in the week before the race. But here I was in second place on top of Torrey Ridge in my first long trail race, the euphoria was intense. But I still had a lot of miles ahead of me, time to focus.

I took a few quick glances to my right to see the Sherando lakes below me. Very quick glances as the trail is littered with a multitude of rocks of all sizes, and shapes, some fixed firmly in the ground and some just laying on top of others waiting to slide out from under a shoe. I found out after the race that the runner I passed on Torrey rolled his ankle shortly after I moved ahead. My mind began my technical trail chant, "light feet, light feet", over and over again and then it was time to descend.

The blue loop trail down the mountain was the other trail I never been on, but I had been warned of its severeness. Light Feet. Light Feet. I kept my mind engaged and focused on this descent and I soon found myself at the second aid station at the base of the mountain. This was the first of two sections of pavement and in short time I was at the lower dam and back on trail. This trail had one short switchback climb which was the last time I would walk (as quickly as my legs would allow). I moved around the lake and took a short glance at the water, thinking about summer and time I will spend swimming there.

Up the road to the finish line, I afforded myself a few glances over my shoulder, thankful for clear pavement and no need to stress my legs with a sprint. I soon saw the parking lot that was dark the last time I had been there. One last right turn and I found myself in the chute and finishing in 2nd place in my first endurance trail race. No emotion, that would come later.

Changed into dry clothes, drank a coke and warmed up in my car. I chatted with a friend who came out with her kids to support her husband. I hung out for a while and heard "awards ceremony." I walked gingerly to the pavillion and heard my name called. My time wasn't what I wanted, but thinking back at the effort I put into this race, I'm happy with it.

Jonathan with The North Face for making sure I was outfitted well with the best trail gear.
Niki and David for the wonderful words of encouragement before and during the race.
All the other racers who smiled and said something nice as I chased the podium.

The emotion came later in the day, I needed that race, that effort, that feeling of accomplishment.

I live for that feeling.

thanks for reading...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

first thoughts on the new ride...

so the new Deluxe 29er is built and has been ridden. No pics yet as it hasn't undergone the final build. I have a bar, stem, and seatpost on order. Gotta have Thomson stem and seatpost on the ride. Couldn't get the bar I wanted so I'm going to try an Edge Composites flat bar, lightness. The bike will need these parts swapped in for the shop components that Les let me borrow. We'll cut and route the brake hoses as well and install white cable housing. I have a set of WTB Prowlers mounted on the I9's, but those will get swapped out soon.

Even with the shop parts installed the bike feels right. I rode it to work a few days last week, wanted to stretch the cables before taking it in the dirt. The first ride off road was better than I expected. I knew it would roll over the terrain (roots/rocks) better than my 26er. It is incredibly stable at speed and climbs easily. What really surpised me was its nimbleness. Flicking it in and out of tight trail sections was a treat. The Industry Nine wheels are stiff, light and roll in the direction they are pointed with utter ease. The SRAM XX component group is the real deal. Amazing ride, even with a nice spill. Kevin @ IF designed a bike that surpassed my expections, add to that the legendary build quality that Independent Fabrication is known for and I have MY bike.

Thank you Joe and Kevin at Independent Fabrication.

Thank you Brandi at Industry Nine.

And Thank you Les at East Coast Bicycle Academy.

Pics soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

new bike

For your viewing pleasure.

I like when the UPS man brings big boxes to my house.

Waiting to be unwrapped and built.

In case I knock myself silly and forget my name.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No Atlantic Cup this year...

I came down with a sinus infection a few days after the WV race. This was on top of a nasty calf strain that I iced every two hours for a few days. Well, the muscle strain went away and the sinus infection went south. To my lungs.

I suffered through last weekend with a nasty cough and on Monday went to see my doctor. After listening to my chest, he let me know that I won the "worst sounding lungs of the day" award. Yippeee. He prescribed antibiotics, prednisone, and high-test cough medicine. Not a good combination with the Atlantic Cup race coming up in less than a week. I spoke to my coach on Tuesday and we came to the conclusion to skip the race. If I woke up Saturday and felt 100% than I could do the race. Well, this morning I still had a bit of a cough, no race.

Next week was a scheduled recovery week and with the last week and half off, it'll be a good set to get back up speed. Next weekend is the Bath County Tri, and I want to be in good shape for it. A bunch of people from Staunton are doing this race, so I'm looking forward to racing with some friends from town. Hopefully, the chest cold hasn't set me too far back. I have 4 weeks until my A race, so the Bath Tri will be good to see what I need to focus on in the upcoming weeks.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Big Canyon triathlon, err Duathlon....

If you've followed my blog/racing, you know that the Big Canyon triathlon is one of my favorite races. It doesn't get much better than the trails of West Virginia for running and riding. Add in a fun swim in the New River and you have a great race venue, plus the folks at ACE Adventure are great hosts and offer the racers a wonderful race venue, with hot showers at the finish.

I pulled into the campground that serves as the T2 and finish area and was greeted by my buddy John. He and I met here 3 years ago and have raced together many times since. John let me know that the swim had been canceled due to high water. The river is usually 5-6 feet where we swim, and was rolling at 11 feet on Saturday after coming down from 14 feet on Friday. ACE and the folks from XTERRA made the call to make the race a duathlon with a second run (~1 mile) around the campground at the top of the mountain.

The start took place at the normal beginning of the run at the swim exit. It's a flat start and I felt great, enough so that I pushed it a bit. I backed off at the steep climb to the fireroad, letting 4-5 runners come around me. I never felt overextended on the run, kept my pace where I wanted it to be. For most of the run, I had a guy on my heels. We came up on Jenny Smith, a pro XTERRA athlete, on a section that was poorly marked. We were a bit confused if this was where we needed to be. After climbing a bit up the logging trail, the course looked familiar to me and let them know this was the right way and Jenny was gone. Me and my shadow kept climbing up the mountain and were soon at T1.

The shadow and Jenny made it out on the bikes before me but I soon caught up with them on an extended climbing section. At the end of the climb I got around Jenny but quickly spun out on the muddy trail. On the fire road section at the top, Jenny was once again disappearing into the distance. My shadow was somewhere behind me and I set out to enjoy the West Virginia trails. I picked off a few riders and had a guy pass me on a nasty technical section that I walked. A little while later my shadow appeared and passed me on another technical section. One aspect of getting older is I've gotten more tentative on sketchy descents. Even with AFLAC, the even present thought of child, wife, mortgage, job on Monday jolts me into taking it easy. What I've lost in descending skills (utter disregard for bodily harm) I've made up with climbing speed, and by keeping my weight low I can push the hills now a lot faster than in years past. So with that in mind, I knew I'd catch my shadow on the upcoming climbs. Sure enough, there he was and I pushed it hard to put a lot of woods between he and I.

Popping out of the forest into T2, I knew it was a short run and the finish. I started off well, just trying to get the circles out of my legs. The gravel road was fast and helped to get my leg speed up. About a quarter mile into the second run my right calf started to twinge with a muscle cramp. Nope, I can't let this happen, not with the shadow behind me. I adjusted my foot strike and found a position that lessened the cramping. If I could keep it going like this, I knew the cramp would go away, and around another quarter mile the cramp was gone. I picked up my pace and finished strong.

I finished the race in eighth place with Jenny a few minutes ahead of me. My shadow was just behind me and it turns out Mark (the shadow) was also in the 35-39 age group. He and I finished first and second. I thought he may have been in my age group while we were running/riding together. It was great to have someone push me like he did. It was also great to race with Jenny, a true professional who is approachable and one of the nicest people you'll meet. Like most XTERRA athletes, great people and great racers.

Even without the swim, it was a fun race and I was stoked to get my second age group win of the season. After the race, I cleaned up with a hot shower and drank a bunch of cokes. I hung out with John and his better half and Josh from RVA and ate. After getting my medal, I was on the road back to the 'right' side of the mountain.