Monday, August 31, 2009

labor day plans

despite struggling with motivation issues right now, the excitement over this weekend's trip is building rapidly. scotty will hopefully be here thursday and we'll leave at some stupid time saturday morning headed for the wilds (?) of south dakota (think wayne's world "hi...we're in...delaware"). the jedi himself has procured us a camping spot which i may just graciously give to scott so he can snore in peace while i sleep in the van. besides scott, jed and myself, we should be running into kent, iowa city adam, fuhr-man-chu, moffitt, rochester trevor and god knows who else. point is, race starts stupid early on sunday which means the post-race festivities start stupid early. i've heard nothing but great things about this race and the trail and knowing the group we have to celebrate with at the finish...yeah, i'm excited for this one. seems like a great way to end one hell of a season. then its onto the wonderful pain of cyclocross racing and transiowa training. after some self-imposed time off that is.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

7 expected

two things are very predictable when racing at 7 oaks in boone. 1) its gonna hurt. 2) its gonna be a lot of fun cause you know there's gonna be a lot of good guys there. showed up early with promises of incredible weather (rare for this race). wasn't long before all the expected faces started to show up. trevor, kent, cam, jed, jay, aaron, kevin, steve, wild bill showed up!, kyle, taylor, bruce, a good chunk of the iowa city crew, met jacob after helping get him set up with a jabber test ride on adam's bike, met some other new (to me) guys. adam and amy came up with amy dragging emma along. had enough fun hanging out before the race that i was somewhat seriously trying to convince everyone to just dig into the 30 pack of pbr in my van rather than race but it seems everyone else had other plans. which meant it was time to hurt.
the deal with 7 oaks is that it has this perfect amount of climbing that makes you force yourself to climb everything because you know that its climbable...but barely for a ss over the course of an expert race. 1st lap had us stacked up a couple times early but people worked well together and things fell into place. biggest problem with the first lap is that the riding didn't flow well. it was very stop and go because of how tight we were so coming out of every corner and into every climb you were starting from nothing instead of carrying flow into it. that meant plenty of hard grunting efforts that would later take its toll. it was obvious early on that cam was off the front as expected. glimpses of jed (his 2nd race ever on a single) told me that he was riding damn strong. i found myself in a loose group with kevin, aaron, jay and kent with trevor not far behind. some dabs by guys in front of me along with just getting things sorted out led to some positions swapping throughout the first lap. by the time the second lap started my legs felt like shit. kevin and aaron had started to put a gap on me but i could still feel jay and kent behind me. second lap became about survival. pushing as hard as my dead weight legs would allow me. finally near the end of the second lap something happened and it was like someone took 10 pounds off my bike. legs finally felt good (product of too much endurance training?) and i finally started to enjoy the race. the entire third/final lap i could see aaron and kevin in front of me (lots of switchbacks) and jay and kent behind me. the gaps between us never really seemed to change. my legs were a strange mix of feeling good but also threatening to cramp if i wasn't smart about my efforts. so i pretty much just settled in knowing that if i tried for some herculean effort to reach the two in front of my i would put myself at serious risk of blowing up and standing on the side of the trail watching at least jay and kent ride by me. so i rode as close as i could to the red line and just smiled knowing that i don't get to ride these trails often enough. ended up 5th overall, unofficially 3rd in the ss state championships. happy enough with that considering the talent that was there.
post race was plenty of fun...donating 12 of pbr to jed for taking the ss race, drinking a piss warm abbott ale, having another one spray all over the inside of my van after aaron couldn't seem to keep it in his hands, hanging out with guys i don't see often enough and making plans for what should be a raging party in south dakota. i'm getting more and more excited for that trip as people continue to step up and throw their hats in the ring. long, sore drive home broken up by a nice, long, relaxing dinner stop halfway. recovery day yesterday at the pool with larsson. might spin the legs a bit today and try to fix the drag brake someone apparently installed halfway through the race.

starting line...WAY to many rasmussen's jerseys...

spentglad adam was there to help hold the bike so i could go find my beer
thanks for the pics amy

Saturday, August 22, 2009


good for flip. amazing to see him continue to succeed. read this.

definitely excited

racing at 7 oaks tomorrow. absolutely love this course. it makes for fun xc racing and there should be some awesome guys there that i haven't seen for a while. feels like a very long time since i did an xc race which has me wondering what my expectations should even be. pretty sure if anyone's looking for me after the race i'll be the one puking in the corner. should get to see some family while i'm there as well. weather looks amazing for the rest of the weekend...hope some folks are getting miles in.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

thank you canadia

picked up a bottle of this stuff while out in pennsylvania. "bottle refermentation". canadian. shared it with tyson while devouring some pizza in chicago on the way home. 8% alcohol. incredibly delicious. apparently "maudite" means damned...seems fitting since i bought it shortly before the 101 thinking i was going to celebrate my finish with it. gonna have to check with jd to see if he can get some in around here. there were a few other flavors, wish i would've picked some of them up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

i had to

you don't spend as much time as adam and i did playing g.i. joe growing up without feeling some obligation to go see the movie. predictably cheesy but full of action and eye candy and most importantly brought back a whole lot of memories. i can't say watching it made me any smarter though.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

awesome people are awesome

almost ran over a snake entering the trails today (which has absolutely nothing to do with this story), then ran into trevor while i was out. we rode for a while til he slashed his tire on some broken glass on a section of trail that isn't known for having a bunch of old broken glass on it. presumably new. honestly, beer comes in cans people. i like people. really. i do.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

summer drizzler and some other stuff

a handful of well-intentioned locals showed up for the sizzler and were almost immediately greeted with rain. increasingly greasy and dangerous trails brought an end to the festivities but most seemed to have a pretty good time regardless. all eyes on boone now...really enjoy that course and looking forward to seeing the group of iowa racers that will inevitably be there.
got in another metric yesterday...truthfully it was completely unintentional. was looking at maybe a 3 hour ride and by the time i hit my halfway point it was obvious i was gonna be in the mid to upper 50 mile range by the time i got home. so, i just kept pedaling and ended up somewhere around 65 miles.
mailday yesterday brought me a stick. ever since i was a kid i have been absolutely terrible about stretching, to the point that it has led to more than one injury. add that to my cramping issues and i have to do something. i know myself well enough to realize that i'll never get myself to stretch appropriately so hopefully this thing will help.

if i work hard enough at it, i too could look like this guy. thanks stick!

Friday, August 7, 2009

summer sizzler

yep, its still happening this sunday. gonna be a bit on the informal side, but it looks like the weather's gonna help it live up to its name. register up in van peened at 11:30, choose either 2 or 3 laps, race, sweat, then stick around for the cookout.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

the good, the bad, the ugly, the insult to injury and looking on the brighter side

the good=new rigid fork. no more squish. rode fantastic. the bad=broken chain
the ugly=stem vs. knee. stem wins.
the insult to injury=breaking an inner plate. really, who breaks the inner plate? missing link only fixes a broken outer plate...had to walk my ass home.

the brighter side=maybe only two miles in. that means i finished the 101 with only 2 miles left on my chain. pretty sure i would have raged had i broken a chain just before the end of the race.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

less whining

more post race happy thoughts and pics. in case i forgot to mention it...the riding was amazing. no matter how much i was suffering there was always a part of me smiling because i got to ride this stuff. the speeds were crazy addictive. sustained 25-30 mph downhills on singletrack for what seemed like miles. 35mph+ for miles down gravel roads. i've never been so white knuckled in my life just praying that no one in this string of 15 riders raging down a mountain would lay it down, cause we all would've been in bad shape. i will come back. smarter and stronger. met some super cool people. finally got to hang out with craig which was cool despite my having to ask him to do metric conversions for me every 2 minutes (i was far too mentally fried to do it for myself). again, the race organization and the volunteer staff was second to none. finishing my first hundred miler feels pretty good regardless of whether or not i met my own expectations. another huge thanks to vassago for making such an awesome bike and for getting me back on one so quickly.
base camp brought to you by vassago
personalized number plates...impressive
5:30 a.m. race day. beef sticks for breakfast.
no, it wasn't raining. there was just that much moisture in the air.
geared up and chatting with craig
requisite pre-race briefing and equally requisite pre-race stance
controlled rollout through the village of coburn, pa
rolling out of aid station #1
craig getting situated at aid station #1
aid station #3 approx. 60 miles in. my world had already started to collapse when i got here. i stuffed my face. and yes, i am picking my chamois out of my ass.
leaving aid station #3. i think i rode another 10 yards then walked for the next 20 minutes. the singletrack climb coming out of this aid station was soul crushing.
yes, i wanted to die. i couldn't get my other sock off without at least 4 different muscles cramping at the same time.

Monday, August 3, 2009

what it feels like

finishing this beast. thanks dan dewitt for the photo.

just keep staring...

eventually if i stare at this damn computer long enough, words will appear...right? the planned 3500 word essay on the 2009 wilderness trail 101 seems to be falling apart. too much to sort out in my head, too many mixed emotions, too many questions left. so, i'll do what i do well and ramble in a completely unorganized fashion.
this race was absolutely amazing. it was incredibly well organized, staffed, volunteered, signed, supported...everything. the camping/start/finish worked really well. the food, the beer (what i was able to drink of it) was just done right. huge thanks to the organizers and volunteers.
i really am trying to separate this experience into two things for myself to grasp. one being the ride, one being the race.
this was hands down the most incredible ride i've ever been on. huge climbs, SCREAMING fast descents, righteous singletrack, beautiful setting, awesome support at the aid stations. as a ride, given the pain of the course and 6 hours of paralyzing cramps, i am happy. happy that i did it, happy that i finished. happy that ran i full speed into my pain cave until i was so far buried in it i didn't know which way was out, that i kept crawling my way through the darkness until i came out the other side.
as a race, unfortunately i am disappointed. its hard to set goals going into a race that i've never done before, but my goals were certainly higher than my finish was. my finishing time was "respectable". i finished in the top third overall and the top half of the single speed class...again, "respectable". there is some satisfaction in those results. however, i made mistakes. and in trying to figure out where things went wrong i've had to accept that i made mistakes i've made before, and that's hard to swallow. undoubtedly, i went out to hard. i have to learn to control myself at the start of big races like this otherwise my body will continue to react the way that it did. when i started cramping at mile 53-ish i thought it would be similar to most of my cramping episodes. stretch, walk, soft pedal, drink, drink, drink, fight the pain for maybe a half hour then go on with the ride. not this time. they just never stopped. i could barely pedal up any sort of incline without something cramping. by the end of the race, both groins, both calves, both quads, one hamstring, one foot, both forearms, and one little muscle in my hand that controls my thumb had all cramped, most of them multiple times. it got to the point where one calf would seize and turn to concrete and i would just keep pedaling slowly trying to stretch it, and as it stretched out it put me into a position that my quad would blow up. so i'd stand, try to soft pedal, sit back down only to feel a groin start to go. my body was absolutely wrecked. and it was my fault, and it was the same lesson i've learned at least twice before. i will have to get a heart monitor or something to force me to slow down and relax at the beginning of these things.
all in all, it was an incredible experience. from the ride side of things, i'm happy with what i've accomplished. the (overly)competitive/race side of me is far from satisfied. pretty sure this one's already getting penciled in on next year's calendar...
more random thoughts and pics when i'm better rested.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

sitting at a diner

right next to the campus of penn state university trying to wrap my head around yesterday. hands down the most brutal day i've ever spent on a bike. be prepared for a very long write up when i get back to iowa. for now, here are the basics...9hours 48 minutes. 94th/350 overall. 26th ss. not thrilled about the results but the time was respectable considering i lost 20 minutes after making a wrong turn. absolutely amazing ride regardless. i've never felt this broken after a ride.