Thursday, May 27, 2010

not writing=not riding

knee is pretty jacked. worst its been aggravated since i first injured it roughly 5 years ago. that time i was off the bike for over half a year. hurts to walk, work, play with the little man, ride...incredibly frustrating. ice/rest seems to be helping but not nearly fast enough to keep me from being concerned. probably get in to see someone soon if it doesn't really come around by the end of the weekend.

Monday, May 17, 2010

debacles, failures, successes, almanzo and a few more pictures

finally getting some pics up now that i have time and my camera was graciously mailed back to me by gersib after my inability to keep track of it during post transiowa recovery.

recovery in said hotel room after t.i. with bonsall, scotty and mg
bailing on sugar bottom with adam after the rain picked up last monday. headed into town for some local dirt
thirsty? this is what last tuesday's metric was like. the bike was worse and so was i.
scotty. says. hi.
mere seconds before scotty and i both passed out headed back to the hotel after being saved sixty some miles into t.i.

yes. following transiowa i cry dirt.
the breaking point. bonsall walking the b road that officially ended transiowa v.6 for me.
scotty and i with a shred of optimism remaining at the starting line just before t.i.
the almanzo setup: fisty fixed at 37x16 with mary bars and foam grips


verbage: almanzo was a throwdown and a beatdown, as expected. if was glaringly obvious from the start...everything was perfect. the weather conditions as well as the gravel conditions. throw in an eppen tandem and the stage was set...people were going to hard and fast and it was going to go off like that from the start. the best part about this is that i'm an idiot. and i will go with them. as long and hard as i can. fixed. and. i. will. die. so we go off and about 3 1/2 miles in we come screaming down a winding descent and there are bodies and bikes EVERYWHERE. scary doesn't even come close to explaining the scene. nobody seemed to be screaming anything other than "slow down!" so it didn't seem anyone was hurt too bad but you couldn't even tell who was hurt and who was helping or what had happened. it was just carnage. continuing on, the race was pretty much the same the whole way. i was going way faster than i had any right to but it felt good so i went with it. rode with some great people, hooked up with gunner and wes from time to time as the yo-yo effect of trying to ride fixed with geared guys did its thing. chose to blow through preston 40-some miles in and rode up on a lady from geoff's in iowa city (sorry i suck at names). she had ended up solo and didn't know where she was at on her cue sheets. we rode a couple miles and she was frustrated by a stem that was off center and i needed to stop and rest the legs anyway so we pulled off and i straightened things out for her while a group caught us. we hooked up with the group and rode into the checkpiont 65ish miles in. knowing how these things can play out i quickly refilled 2 bottles, grabbed a sandwich out of my camelbak and the new cue sheets and was out as fast as i could. best estimate is i picked up 20 spots on people just hanging out. i'm no expert but a lesson to people new at this...the single easiest place to cut time out of long events is at aid stations/checkpoints. its so easy to get lulled into relaxing. get in, get out and don't get stuck there mentally or physically. back on the bike, up a big paved climb, down into a valley, up a big gravel climb, down into a big valley, POP!!! there go the legs. third big climb right out of the checkpoint and i was a bit toasted. got my shit back together for a while but had to solo to the finish. about 80 miles in i was beat up from the effort i was putting out. i had considered the realistic possiblity of a sub-7hour century fixed and i would have been ecstatic with it. after passing 80 miles and feeling the body start to fail the math was becoming simple. i would be close but would have to ride as well as i did at the start to make it under 7. i just didn't have it in me. came to a very cool water crossing that i cleaned which i think should take 20 minutes off my time thus giving me my sub-7 century. anyway, somewhere around 90 miles in the cramps hit hard and i walked 3 pretty big hills and was stuck pedaling in the flats through cramps that simply alternated legs. limped in just shy of 7hrs20min and finished in the top 100 of a field almost 300 deep. pretty sure one guy fixed behind me and sounds like maybe one guy killing it fixed ahead of me. kinda hard to compare myself from a competitive standpoint so i try to find other measurements. happy, not ecstatic, but happy with my time. happy with how long my body held up but disappionted it wasn't to the end but considering how hard i rode from the start i shouldn't complain too much. food/water was well planned and effective (minus the cramping). i will be stronger because of this.

the race itself was incredibly well put together. many have said much about chris skogen and what he has put together and pulled off with this race and i would simply echo those setiments. not gonna lie, i had my doubts with the size of field but i was beyond impressed. well done chris. as usual, the number of people i got to see and ride is a list beyond my capabilities. but i'll try: gunner, wes, kirk (all from decorah), squirrel, rick, steve, kent (dsm boys), HUGE iowa city/geoff's/q7 crew, dennis the grelk, cornbread, charlie, drew, mr. skogen, shively, moffit, paul jacobsen, joe meiser, i'm sure i'm missing people and i apologize. it was a long, beautiful day and i got my ass the course, the bike, myself and a whole lot of crazy strong riders.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

laying low

transiowa officially left me not feeling the need for much gravel riding, a feeling which was encouraged by a bottom bracket that was left almost completely seized up from said gravel adventure. fortunately the trails up here have been in phenomenal shape following the time trials so i've spent a fair amount of time on those. good to get back to the mountain bike for a while. also spent a little time mushroom hunting for the first time. always enjoyed eating them and finally getting out to find some of my own. in the meantime i've been making some small changes with the fisticuff as well. new bottom bracket out of necessity, went back to the mary bars, removed the rear brake entirely and switched it back to a fixed gear. planning to do almanzo and gravel worlds fixed as well as heck of the north if they go ridiculously deep into the waiting list. honestly, i just felt stronger/faster when i was doing all of my gravel riding/training fixed and i've realized that long rides hurt no matter what...geared/single/fixed/hiking b-roads/etc. might as well get more out of it so i'll be pushing the fixed gear again...most likely for a while.

took off monday and headed down to iowa city and met up with adam and borrowed his buddy brett's bike for which i am extremely grateful. got in what i think i understand to be about half of sugar bottom. grew up an hour from there and had never ridden it. planned to ride more of it but the rain had other ideas. knowing how protective they are of that trail system we decided to bail before doing any damage and headed back into town. adam showed me around some local, in-town trails that some guys are working on. always fun to ride with adam and definitely worth the trip despite the weather, which really just seemed fitting for a ride the two of us planned.

headed out tuesday then to take care of some unfinished business. a few months ago adam and i failed a gravel metric due to winter weather and a road not marked as a b-road but apparently not plowed in the winter. wanting to get some good time on the new fisty set-up before this weekend's almanzo, this seemed an appropriate route. it rained all day on us while we rode monday but stopped overnight so i had hopes of a not-so-awful ride. hope is dumb. i got dominated. hit the metric distance at around 5 hours and ended up somewhere around 66 miles in 5.5 hours. bike is absolutely trashed. i'm pretty beat up. gravels were certainly not as bad as transiowa but man they were awful. first time riding fixed since cirrem i think and the back took a solid beating. gonna take a couple rest days to let the body recover before this weekend and hope (dumb) the weather cooperates.