Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Rides

I really enjoy this time of year especially the holiday rides that we get to attend. Great to see old friends and meet new ones. Two rides are planned over the Thanksgiving day holidays that are always fun to do.

Ride # 1: Come join our traditional Turkey Day Ride at Clinton Lake State Park. Break away from the in-laws and warm up your appetite on the single track at Clinton Lake. This is a 2-3 hour ride depending on your desires. All ability levels welcome. The Lawrence Mountain Bike Club host this annual event.

When: Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2011
Where: Clinton Lake State Park, Corps of Engineers parking lot
Time: 9:00 A.M. till you are done.

Ride # 2: Our annual gravel ride called the Gobbler Grinder. This years event will be held on a new route. I usually hold this ride out of Riverside, but had to move it due to flood damaged trails. Dave and I rolled the new course out of Platte City today and it was awesome. Come out on Sunday for our little adventure. Our route is 41 miles, but we have two shorter routes that anyone can enjoy. Come info at Map and cue sheet below...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

XCX Cross Country Extreme Run

One of my focuses this off-season is my running. I really enjoy running off-road especially and have always wanted to to the XCX - Cross Country Extreme run, but either cross or MTB season prevented that. This fall it is all about fun times so off Carolynn and I went to Truck Stop Missouri and the spectacle known as a Deranged Cross Country Run.

A very fun 4 mile obstacle course run awaited us. It was more of a party than a competitive run. I dressed as a Cow using Christopher's old Halloween costume. It fit well, but I was not ready for all the comments from the fellow runners. I had two ladies offer to "milk my utters" to get a drink. One drunken team of dalmatians offered to "suck me dry" I quickly got the heck out of the muddy creek crossing at the time and proceeded to complete the run.

The obstacles included a rope ladder that took what seemed like forever to get through. Some of the ladies in costumes could hardly make it over and after several minutes of trying were exhausted. Other obstacles included mud pits, numerous muddy creek crossings, chain link fences, balancing beams, large bales of hay and rope climbs. I got tired of waiting in line at the obstacles so I took the "no aid" route and used roots and such to make it up the muddy walls. Fun times for sure.

Below are some pictures that Carolynn and I took. I hope you enjoy em'....

XCX Cross Country Xtreme Run

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Veterans Cross

This weekend was was a double header for me (triple if you count Sunday's post race swim) Saturday wast 3 hours of gravel fun at Tim's Gardner Wind Howler. Sunday was 30 minutes of cyclocross pain. Two very different disciplines for sure and one might ask why I would do both. I am still asking myself that very same thing as I post up some pictures that Carolynn took. Not much racing going on for me. More like riding around.

Roger used a new venue for this years addition of his Veterans Cross. I wish he could have used University of Saint Mary because that is the best venue in our area for a cyclocross race and it is in his back yard. The V.A. Park was one hilly ass bastard. When I look at this park I see an great location for a motocross course. Some big hills out there for sure. I could have used a triple myself and I felt pity for the single speeder later in the day. Hopefully they brought some smaller gearing.

I lined up with the Master's today. The start was the last the last I saw of many of them. I think I got second to last in my group today. Good to see some old friends that I have not seen in awhile. Plus, I am happy that my shoulder is just about 100 % healed. I can ride with no pain and my confidence is coming back. You would not have noticed that today because I did not take any chances on the course. Plenty of pot holes, branches and nuts out there in the corners and I was just not going to risk anything.

Like I mentioned before the course was very hilly and painful especially when you have done no LT training. I am working on my schedule and training plan for next season. Still unsure if cross will be apart of it next year. I do know that if it is that I need to focus training for these short hard efforts. There are plenty of CX specialist out there and you really can not compete against them if you do not focus your training. For this year I will continue to use cross as just "time on the bike" and see if I even enjoy the sport anymore. I have a great time riding/racing my mountain bike and going on fun gravel grinders. Cross not some much anymore but why. I do know that it is not fun for me if I can not be competitive.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pay It Forward

Update 11/10/11

This weekend I got a chance to work around the house and catch up on some projects. One such project was to clean my attic and basement. I found a lot of bike stuff that I no longer use. Some old, some only used a couple of times. I thought about selling on CL, but decided it would be better to Pay it Forward. All items are free.

Brett is taking one set...1 set of 26 x 1.7 Kenda Kwick tires. Nearly new. I think I used them in one cross race a few years ago on my old MTB. If you only have a MTB w/26" tires and need a narrower tire this is for you. Also have 1 set of 26 x 1.5 tires that would also work. Great for gravel grinding and CX.

1 Sun-Ringle' front wheel. 0-XC rim. Good shape and true. Rim brake only. I have the rear wheel somewhere. Still looking.

1 29er White Brothers CX-1 fork. V-brake only.

1 Cloud Nine rear shock. Lightest shock I have ever seen. Which it would fit my Giant, but it doesn't. Maybe it will fit your bike?

All have found a new home...6 sets of cyclocross tires. 700 x 35. Plenty of life left in the tread. These would be great for both cyclocross and gravel grinders.

One set left....4 sets of 26 x 2.0/2.1 mountain bike tires. One of the Ritchey's are brand new and the other only rode in one event. Two of the sets are Maxxis tires.

Gone...1 set Tufo road tires 700 x 23.

1 Salsa road bar. Used once. 38 cm wide.

Both have found a new home....2 women's specific saddles. A nearly new Serfas and older Terry

3 are left....6 stems. All 1" quill style.

I believe both have been spoken for...2 wheel sets. Both 26" with rim brakes.

More to come.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Xterra Epic Race Report

Ten months ago I was sitting in my living room recovering from one of my many injuries. Many things go through ones mind when in this state (drug induced and depressed). Would I ever be able to swim again? Ride my mountain bike? Was it time to stop this "silly racing stuff" as my mom once said. Is it time to take up drinking?

Well I did not take up drinking other than the occasional wine at dinner or a post ride beer. One thing I did do was decide that if I was able to recovery fully that I was only going to do events that were fun for me and offered an occasional challenge to stimulate my soul. The Xterra Epic - Iron Mountain (1 mile lake swim / 34 mile mountain bike / 9.6 mile trail run) was one such challenge. This distance off-road is basically a half ironman and the finishing times should be about the same. I would be happy to finish in 6 hours. 5 hrs 30 min if everything went as planned and maybe a podium spot.

Carolynn, my soulmate and support crew, arrived early and had plenty of time to pre-ride the Iron Mountain course. We both really enjoyed the trails. My best description of them would be the Lawrence River Trails on steroids with a few small rock gardens and some elevation change. I wish the trails were a bit more technical to give me a better advantage, but then again, it was most likely best they were easy so I would have less chance of crashing :-)

After the ride it was time for a nice lunch and double check everything on the bike. I went with the Kenda Nevegals for my tires. Ran them at 30 psi. My bike was a Giant Anthem X supplied by The Wheel Cyclery. Pedals were the new Crank Brother Candy 3's . All systems check in O.K.

Plenty Ironman finisher shirts around packet pickup and some big names including Xterra Champion Kyle Grieser and even local pro Benjamin Schloegel from KC. The athletes participating in long distance off-road triathlons are what race director Fred Phillips calls the "pioneers of the sport". Long distance off-road triathlons are a newer sport with limited events to participate in. I remember being in this same small group over 20 years ago when I did my first Ironman distance triathlon in Florida. When the The Great Floridian was created not many people knew about triathlons ... now just look at the sport. Ironman distance events are selling out. I see long distance Xterra events growing in years to come.

Race morning brought an eerie view of the area. As we crossed the dam, the valley was covered by fog. Needless to say the water looked cold as hell. I had been up for several hours with a mild migraine. It was getting worse as the race start approached. Carolynn gave me some Excedrin Migraine medicine which helped a lot.

Morning temps were in the low 40's. Water temp was 65 degrees. As many of you know I do not do well in cold water. Yes I know 65 degrees really isn't that cold, but for some reason as of late my body just does not respond well in it. As we all entered the lake for the start the water actually felt warmer. But as we waited, I started to get very cold and I freaked out every time I put my face in the water. I just could not breathe. Cold water effects everyone differently as Cold Water Survival explains. Before I knew it the event had begun. As I started to swim, I was surprised at how well I felt. That feeling sure was short lived. About 1 minute in to the 1 mile swim, I was having difficulty breathing and started to freakout. I rolled onto my back and started to backstroke which helped some. At least now I could breath. The one thing I could not do was navigate. I tried to stay on course by using the guy behind me who also was having trouble (he later was rescued from the water and did not finish). But when the guy behind you is swimming off-course and toward the rescue boat this does not help. I finally navigated to a buoy and stopped to regain myself. I was very cold, fearful and mad at myself. As I watched everyone swim away I was just about to call for a rescue myself. Something inside of me said to at least try. I gave it one last shot and soon my body/mind came around. I began to exhale like normal underwater and really focused on rotating my body so I could breath well. This helped so much and soon I found myself feeling much better and actually catching up to other swimmers. My first lap took me 25 minutes. On the second lap I kept on course and was able to catch 3 groups of swimmers. I was passing them with ease and as I approached the finish I realized my swim time for the 2nd lap was 16 minutes. With two laps like that I would have gotten out with the leaders but as it was I finished in 41 minutes with the mid-pack swimmers.

I was happy to get out of the water and onto the bike. The course was so much fun especially the first lap. I was catching and passing riders at a steady clip. My first 11 mile lap was done in 58 minutes which was actually the fastest in my age-group for the day! I backed it down for lap 2 to a 1:01 because I didn't want to blow up. The pace didn't seem fast, but I know all too well that your effort can be deceiving and before you know it you hit the wall. I focused on refueling during the entire bike and felt I did well. It appeared I was digesting everything well and I rolled into T2 after the 3rd lap I was ready for the biggest challenge of all. Well, except for that damn swim. If they would have asked me after my 3 laps on the bike do you want to do another 3 laps, swim again or tackle this run course, you bet my answer would have been there isn't enough money in the world to get me in that water again...

Fred told us before the event that the swim was going to be easy, the bike fun and the run HELL. Well he was sort of right. The swim would have been easy if the temps were warm. The Bike was indeed very fun and I would soon find out the run was indeed hellish.

After a quick T2 I was off running. I was in 2nd place in the 45-49 age group behind early leader Michael Grote out of Austin, TX. Mike is a solid runner so I had no thoughts of catching him, but after the first mile I was feeling very good and confident that I might just indeed finish in my 5:30 goal and be in the hunt for one of those sweet custom awards. I hit the John Delaughter Memorial Trail with spring in my steps. Damn I was feeling good. Then as I approached the first aid station I got a serious cramp in my right hamstring. Shit! A fellow racer gave me some Hammer Endurolytes which did eventually help. I started a jog/walk ritual that kept my cramps at bay, but did not allow for much a running pace. At about mile 3 the leading womea Karen Robertson passed me and I gave her some words of encouragement. She told me "great bike" which made me feel good. Now if I could only run as well as I bike. The run course was hard. Some of the hills required walking which was fine by me. So I walked, jogged and watched as others passed me by. Some of the guys passing me were the leaders who were now on their 2nd lap of the run. They all had these wrist bands on that signaled to the race personnel they had completed the entire run course and could proceed to the finish. I tired to buy the band of off the leader, but he said "you do not have enough money". I then offered one guy a "flash" from my wife who was on top of the hill, but Carolynn would not do it so off he went. I was just kidding with those guys as I would not had accepted the bands. I was going to finish! Sure I was not going to meet my goal time, but I was going to finish none the less. Finishing should always be ones first and most important goal.

End result was 27th out 45 finishers (51 registered participants) and 5th in my age-group. Time to chill out for the winter, heal up fully, and get 100% rested. I am looking forward to a break. I plan to ride some gravel grinders, do some orienteering and I will hit a cross race or two if the course is fun and the event is well put on. One thing is for sure, I will have fun at anything that I do. It is good to be alive, pain free and happy.