Thursday, April 24, 2008

WNR Report

Benson got out for his first ride since that stupid fu**ing chick ran him over with her car last summer, and that alone made for one of the best rides I've had in recent memory. I got out by myself for an hour before the group showed up because I kind of thought we'd be taking it easy. I was wrong. Benson, Sarah, Matt, Seth, Secret Steve and I did a fast paced ride of just over an hour on the great singletrack out at Boyne. Benson rode like a champ, and it was great to see everybody else back out on the bikes. Next weeks ride @ Larks Lk. trailhead of the North Country. Over and out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cohutta 100 Report

Race Day
2:30 am: I woke to the sound of a torrential downpour. The rain, combined with the thoughts of spending 10+ hours riding in it, kept me up most of the rest of the night.

5:00 am: I got out of bed to get ready for the race. It was still raining quite hard. I left for the Ocoee Whitewater center a little before six. This left just the right amount of time to get dressed and to do a final check on the bike. At this point the rain had let up a little.

7:00 am: The race starts, and the rain starts to pick up a little. I felt pretty good in spite of the weather. After a longish 3 mile climb on pavement, we entered the first section of singletrack. It was the slipperiest trail I've ever ridden on. Imagine warm soupy peanut butter, and getting soupier by the minute due to the increasing rain. I had a small crash on one of the descents, and luckily my GPS/HRM took the brunt of it. I got off to the side of the trail, and used some electrical tape from my pack to reattach the computer to the handlebar in true ghetto style. Blood was minimal and nothing was broken. I put my head down and made my way to the first aid station on the course.

Station #1 to #2: The course was, and would continue to be on Forest Service roads for the next 60 or so miles. The rain eventually let up, and I was actually feeling pretty good through stations #'s 3 and 4. I was drinking and eating right around 250 calories per hour, and the legs were feeling good. Leaving station #4, the course flattened out and smoothed out as well. I decided to pick up the pace a little. This may not have been the best idea in retrospect. There were two more really big climbs before station #5, but I was still feeling pretty good when I pulled in for a pit. This is where things began to come apart.

Station #5 to #6: I was told there was only one more big climb before the station #6, but this turned out to be a lie. There were TWO more really big climbs. Near the top of the second one I began to feel a bit lightheaded and woozy. I pulled off to the side of the course and ate an entire Cliff Bar and chugged almost a whole bottle of Heed. This made a noticeable difference, and I was doing okay by the time I got to station #6.

Station #6 to finish: This is where the things really began to fall apart. I filled up my bottles, and headed out for what I was told was "one more climb and then all downhill to the finish." The last 12 miles of the race turned out to be really, really technical up and down singletrack. My hands were so sore, and I was really starting to fade out fast.

Finish: I made it, and a finish line never looked so good. I rode back to the truck and got cleaned up in the river. Having composed myself somewhat, I made my way over to the food tent. I ate a couple of whole wheat rolls smothered in peanut butter (it may have had poison in it, but i didn't care), about half a dozen cookies, and a can of coke. Yumm. I made it back to the yurt and was able to down about 4 beers before falling into bed. Final numbers: 11 hours and 22 minutes. 12,840 feet of climbing. Average heart rate 148. Average speed 8.7 mph. I could barely tie my shoes yesterday morning, but my hands are feeling much better today. Oddly enough, my legs actually feel pretty good. I have officially pushed my pain threshold to a new level. Thanks for reading.

P.S. WNR @ Boyne this week. Sarah told me that Benson is going to be there, so I don't want to hear any excuses.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

2 Days Out

This will almost certainly be the last post before the race, as I'm 99% sure that my home for the next few nights (a yurt up in the mountains) does not have wireless internet. I'm not even sure if it has cell service. But that's okay. It'll give me time to read, get ready, and contemplate what's in store come saturday @ 7:00 a.m. I just finished up a couple of great days of riding at Tsali. I got some great pictures, and there's a lot I want to say about what an absolutely wonderful place it is. But I think I'll save that for when I get home and am running short of blog material. For now, I'll just say that anyone who loves to mountain bike owes it to themselves to make the pilgrimage.
Race strategy for saturday: Slow and steady wins (or in my case finishes) the race. I'm looking to just put in a consistent solid effort throughout the day with an emphasis on proper nutrition. Wish me luck, and I'll report back from the other side. Take care and have a good weekend.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

4 Days Out

Today the weather is finally supposed to take a turn for the better. The forecast is for sunshine and temperatures in the high 60's and low 70's through the rest of the week. There is a 30% chance of rain for saturday, but it's still supposed to be warm so it shouldn't be too big of a deal. I stayed in Knoxville last night due to the crappy weather (37 and raining), but I'm heading down to Tsali today for two nights of camping and some good riding. I'm hoping to get in 2.5 to 3 hours in today and again tomorrow. Thursday I head back to Tennessee where I'll be relaxing and going over my final race preparations. I'm not sure when I'll have an internet connection again so this may be the last post for a few days. Take care and ride well.

Edo and I on our urban assault ride sunday.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stop #1 Newport, KY

Made it to Kentucky yesterday, and the truck is safely parked in Ed and Jukari's garage. We're currently sipping coffee and waiting for the weather to improve. It's quite cool, and there's a light rain falling. I will get on the bike today regardless, even if it means strapping my bike onto Ed's trainer for a couple of hours. Ed and Jukari's new house is really, really nice. I have my own guest suite complete with a bathroom and beautiful hardwood floors. I'll definitely be back for another visit, hopefully with Sarah next time. If we get outside today, I'll try and snap a few photos. Otherwise, I'm sure to capture some good footage once I get a little further south tomorrow. Take care, and have a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Three Days Until Departure

I guess it's probably time to start thinking about packing for the trip since I'm hoping to get on the road before dawn on saturday morning. I've got a pretty good mental list of the things I need to bring; so now it's just a matter of assembling a pile of stuff, double checking to make sure I haven't forgotten anything, and then transferring the pile into the truck. Truck you say? Yes, a truck. The store has purchased a 2004 F-150 with only 36,000 miles; and in addition to handling deliveries for the shop, it will also be my new mode of transportation for race trips/road trips starting with this one. I've been running around this week getting her ready. I got the topper installed monday, and last night Adrejs wired in a new Sirius unit for me. I'll be sure to post some pictures of her once she's all loaded up and ready to go.

On the bike side of life, things have been going well. I've gotten a couple of rides in with the squishy fork now, and everything seems to be in working order. Also, the addition of suspension only added 1.5 pounds, bringing the race weight (with pedals and bottle cages) to just a whisker under 24. I rode most of the loop yesterday afternoon; and while there are a few sticks here and there, the trail's in pretty good shape. It shouldn't take me too long to get her cleaned up when I get home in a couple of weeks. The rest of the week is looking to be all about riding and packing. Until next time.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Cloudline Is Home

You'll have to check her out in person to really get the full effect, but these shots should at least give you an idea of what I brought home yesterday. It's pretty, and it's super fu**ing light (22lbs). I'll have more to report once I actually get a ride in, but I'm still really excited to say the least. I had her propped up against the dining room table by my chair this morning while I was reading my book, and I found myself glancing up and smiling every five or ten pages. I love my new bike.

The Cohutta is two weeks from tomorrow; and while I'm not really nervous, I am starting to feel a bit anxious. I've got to get my game plan dialed in as far as nutrition and gear goes: how many calories per hour, what to put in my drop bags and where to drop them (you get 3 one gallon ziplocs that you can have dropped at 3 of the 6 aid stations), and what in the heck to carry on my person and bike as far as tools and extra gear is concerned. I've got till next saturday morning to at least get it all packed up, and then I'll have all week down there to ride and ponder the details. I'm getting out on the road bike for the first time this season today so that should be nice. Have a good weekend everybody.