Triscuit's Blog

Monday, August 08, 2005

Cranky Monkey 2

Mike and I decided to do the Cranky Monkey race on Sunday since we were in town. It was the dirt crit. We went out the day before to preride so Mike could try some funky gearing on his single speed and I could see whether I was recovered from the Wilderness 101.

My sit bones were still very tender, and my legs were sore from a weights workout on Wednesday. But I just spun around the course a few times and felt okay.

So Sunday comes and we got there at about 9 so I could register and get in a nice warmup before my 10 am start. I rode a section of the early part of the race course that involved a little stream crossing and armour. I knew from previous races that I had trouble with this and often others did too. So I practiced it to make sure I could get over it.

Then off to the start. I entered the first hill in the middle of the pack of 8, but by the top of the hill I was in second place. Then down the single track and the tricky stream crossing. The woman in front of me went down. I almost ran her over, but hopped off my bike, ran up and remounted, getting in front of her. I held my place in front of her until near the end of the third lap. Actually, I had slowed down some, kind of hoping she would go past me so I could follow her a bit, but she just stayed on my tire. I could tell she was planning to stay there until the end and would then sprint in, so I decided to save a little so I could match her. But then at the end of the third lap, I was coming down the hill on the 495 trail, came into the turn with the man hole cover a little too hot, and my bike slid out from under me, and I somersaulted a few times before coming to a stop. A few people flew by, including the woman who had been on my wheel and another woman. I got back up, jumped back on my bike and flew around the time check. For some reason I thought this was my last lap. I went all out, and managed to pass the woman in second place, and pulled off my fastest lap time. However, then I discovered I had two more laps. I was spent, so I just went as fast as I could in lap 5. I almost fell again and the woman in third passed me again. At this point I just hoped I would not fall too far back from her and rest up a bit so I could sprint the last lap.

I entered my last lap feeling very slightly refreshed and pushed as hard as I could. Fairly early on I passed the woman in 2nd who seemed to have a mechanical. I was now in second place and I did not want to fall back again. The woman now in third looked like she was just finishing her repair, so I pushed on and gave it all I had. I ended holding on to my second place to the end.

Wilderness 101

Wilderness 101 Report

Okay, first things first…I finished. That was my main goal. And I was not DFL. Nice bonus.

Mike, Jonathan and I lined up with everyone else at the start at 7 am. I started up my MP3 player and waited for the start. We were in the back because, well, over 100 miles, was 100 feet really going to make a difference?

A little after 7 we headed out of the campground. Fairly quickly, we started going up hill. I tried to stay close to others to sort of draft, but at the same time, I did not want to go too hard. So I focused on spinning up, and listened to music. Thank god for Metallica.

The first 20 miles was all paved and dirt roads, with a pretty hefty climb to get the blood pumping. By mile 3 of the climb my thoughts were, “what the hell have I gotten myself into?” But finally we got the first killer downhill, and I started to feel really good.

We crossed a highway and started heading down a dirt road towards the first checkpoint. Déjà vu set in. I recognized this road, though the last time I rode down it I had a gas can tied to my handlebars with arm warmers. This was much easier.

Checkpoint 1 came up at the Penn Roosevelt campground. I topped off my water and went on my way.

I still felt really good. I was already 20 miles in, but since it had been all road it was not too taxing. I was averaging about 10 miles an hour. I expected I would slow down a bit when I got more tired, but maybe I could finish in under 12 hours!

There were 3 decent climbs to the next checkpoint. We had our first single track, but it was flat or down. My ability to negotiate single track was wavering, but I was still feeling good and got through it pretty well. I pedaled into Checkpoint 2 after coming down a climb on which I hit 38 mph and was under 5 hours. Still on track to finish in under 12 hours with a little slowing.

I refilled my hammer gel flasks, topped off my water, rubbed some icy hot on my back, was by now intermittently cramping up, stretched a bit, put my arm warmers in my drop bag, and hit the road again

From here, we immediately hit the single track. It was not too long, and back on the road. It started to rain. Then my computer died at about mile 43. I would have to estimate by time now to know how much farther to go. This stage had two killer climbs, including the steepest and highest climb of the race. I was still feeling pretty good, though my back was cramping more frequently. But I could still do my in saddle stretch most of the time and make it stop. But I was starting to get tired. After the massive climb, another fast downhill.
Another climb, and some single track. Really getting hard to negotiate that. I still felt like I could keep going, but I was starting to feel it. By my watch, I was thinking that I should be hitting the checkpoint any minute! I passed a guy and asked him what mileage we were at. He told me we were only at 56! The checkpoint was at 60, so if he was right, I had really slowed down, and unless I could make up time somewhere, I was looking at over 12 hours, but hopefully not too much over.

He was wrong. Within 10 minutes I came upon the checkpoint at 60 miles. I was still behind my 12 hours, but maybe if I did not hang out at checkpoints too long, I could make up some time. I had passed a few riders on that stage, so I was feeling pretty good.

Then I had the BAD STAGE. It was a 15 mile stage, rather than 20, but almost immediately we started climbing again, this time on single track. This stage seemed like it was mostly single track with a really loose sandy, rocky, sometimes off-camber, steep down hill. A guy I had passed awhile ago passed my on the downhill, which I was walking some of, because I really didn’t trust myself to negotiate it safely. At one point it seemed to get a little less rocky and steep, so I climbed back on my bike and headed down. Suddenly I was flying over the handlebars into the woods. I untangled myself and there seemed to be no major damage. I proceeded to walk down the rest of the sketchy hill. I got back on when it seemed to flatten out some. All of the single track seemed really hard. One trail, called the Beautiful Trail according to the directions, was one giant rock garden, which was wet from the rain earlier, so it was really slick. Under different circumstances, I could probably have ridden more, but I ended up walking a lot of this stage. I abandoned my dreams of finishing in under 12 hours, and went back to my original goal of just finishing, hoping that I would not be last.

In what seemed like hours, I finally came to checkpoint 4. I had now been riding for 75 miles, and 10.5 hours. By this time, by mp3 player was repeating itself, but it was still keeping me going. My second drop bag was here. For some bizarre reason I convinced myself that I would still be able to finish before dark, but just in case, I took one of my lights from the bag, and one of the batteries.

I filled my hammer gel flasks and water. I realized I lost a waterbottle, probably when I endo’d into the woods. But the next checkpoint was in 14 miles, so I didn’t think I would need to worry about it. I was feeling really good at this point. Tired and sore, obviously, but since I had just walked a substantial portion of the last 15 miles, I was feeling a bit rested. I downed a redbull, and headed out, just as a woman I thought was much farther behind me pulled in (I had passed her in stage one or two).

I headed out, and was fiddling with my earphones and gloves and then heard someone yelling. I looked back and one of the volunteers was running down the road, and I realized I had missed a turn into the woods. Ugh, more single track! But at least they noticed and I was able to get back on track with a hearty wave to the volunteer who helped me out.

I looked at the elevation map (the number tag had one across the top, which I had been using to track my progress). It was up, but I knew it was not as steep or long as the other hills I had done to this point. And I also knew that once I reached the top, it was the second to last real climb of the race. I was pretty numb by this time. This stage was a mix of single track and road. A lot of large logs on the single track, which I could not negotiate any more. I got really angry at the logs, but kept pushing through. My back hurt, I was a bit chaffed, and my right quad was threatening to cramp. But I had never ridden a bike this long—road or mountain (my longest training ride was about 70 miles)—and there was no way I was giving up now. But I could not remember whether the cut off at checkpoint 5 was 8 or 8:30, so I tried to pick up the pace to make sure I got there before 8.

I pulled into checkpoint 5 at about 7:45 (12 hours and 45 minutes of riding so far.). I asked for an extra water bottle to replace the one I lost earlier, and figured that would get me to the finish along with the water I still had. I hooked up my lights, because I realized I would not finish before dark. I changed my glasses lenses to clear, and talked a bit with two guys at the rest area. Again the woman behind me pulled in, so I decided it was time to leave.

I headed out with the two guys. It was pretty flat for awhile along an old railroad grade, though I knew I had one final hill coming up. After awhile, we turned onto a road, and started going slightly up. I was ahead of the two guys until my back cramped up. I did my in saddle stretch which slowed me enough that they caught up and passed. Then they stopped to pee, and I moved ahead again. A sharp turn to the left and there was the hill. I started grinding up it and saw a critter on the side of the road.

At first I thought it might be a skunk so I stopped. Then I realized it was a porcupine, probably even more dangerous! By this time it had started crossing the road and had frozen mid-step to stare at me. I was out of quill range to the best of my knowledge, but did not want to approach it. Finally I got frustrated and yelled, “MOVE!” And it did. It started waddling up the road, not across it, which really did not help me. It stopped and froze again. I yelled, “KEEP GOING!” It started waddling again, veering slightly towards the side of the road. Then as soon as it reached the other side it froze again. I started clapping, which was pretty loud with my gloves on. It climbed about a foot up a tree. I clapped some more and it moved up farther. I kept this up until I estimated it was far enough up the tree that it could not get me, and I hoped it did not come down before the two guys behind me went by. They were not in sight yet for me to warn them.

I rode by the porcupine without incidence and continued grinding up the hill. At the top, it was finally dark enough that I decided I needed the light. I turned it on, and then realized I was an idiot. Why did I not bring both batteries? What if this one died? It was supposed to last 2 hours at full wattage, but the battery was a couple of years old. But I was also flying down a hill and needed the light, so I moved it down to medium wattage, to save some power and make it last longer, and mentally berated myself for not grabbing both batteries. At one point I had to stop to defog my glasses—I was afraid I would get a bug in my eye if I took them off. The two guys caught up and passed me.

After the hill, the final bit of single track. I passed the two guys by riding some of it, and walking fairly quickly on what I could not ride and quickly lost sight of their lights. I knew this was the last single track and the road after it was pretty flat, so I did not need much left to finish.

Finally I came back out on the railroad grade. It was really dark here, but I was still afraid my light would die (by the way, it had never failed me before). I decided that I would move the power up to max because I could use it on its lowest setting once I got back on road if I needed to. I also knew the two guys were behind me, so I could always follow them in if I absolutely needed to. I hit the bridge over Penn Creek and the old railroad tunnel. That was creepy.

Then it was paved road! I switched down to lowest wattage and kept riding. The two guys caught up to me and passed me. We flew down the road and I recognized Coburn, we were almost there! I turned onto 10th Street Alley and pedaled as fast as I could to the finish. I made it!!!

I ended up finishing in about 14 hours, at about 9 PM. And I was not last!! My endorphins were pumping, I felt great, though exhausted. Mike ran up to make sure I grabbed my pint glass and banged the gong.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Wolf Gap Weekend

Mike, Jonathan, Vin, John, Jen and I went to Wolf Gap for Memorial Day weekend for some camping and moutnain biking. We decided on Wolf Gap after our plans for Jim Thorpe fell through and Davis and Slaty Fork were vetoed by group members. John sent around some new ideas, and Mike and I had been backpacking to Wolf Gap and Big Schloss over Easter weekend, so we were somewhat familiar with the area. When Mike and I had been there, the visibility had been about 15 feet due to fog, so we figured it would be like going to a new place entirely. We remembered the 4 miles of the trail we had done was a bit rocky, and would probably require some hike-a-bike, but nothing too severe.

Vin left DC at 5 am on Friday to find a place to camp. He had called during the day to say that we were staying at the Wolf Gap campground. We arrived there by about 7, and set up camp.

The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we set out to do what I thought was a 12 mile loop, down route 675 to fire road 92 to Stony Creek Trail, a short bit on the Big Blue Trail and back to camp on the Mill Mountain Trail.

The road part was fine, a good warm up. From camp, 657 is a fairly steep and curvy downhill. Then 92 was rolling up and down. But it was all a good 2 miles longer than I had estimated. Stony Creek was really nice for the first 3-4 miles. It went up, but fairly gradually. There were a few wet spots, but nothing too bad. Until it started raining. I didn't mind too much. As long as we were moving I stayed warm enough. We were riding up along the side of the creek, so a few places overlooked little waterfalls and such.

Then we hit the switchback. After that the trail got much narrower, steeper and rockier. I started walking a fair bit of it, but figured we weren't too far from the top. After about a mile, I caught up with Mike and Jonathan at the PATC cabin where we waited for the rest of the group, ate some Luna bars, and relaxed a bit. There were a bunch of backpackers up there too.

After everyone caught up and rested, we headed off again on the Big Blue Trail. We continued going up a bit, but the rocks had toned down some. Then we turned onto the Mill Mountain Trail for the trip home. There was still a bit of an incline, but nothing too hard. Then finally we reached the top of Mill Mountain, and what looked like a jeep road across the top. It was pretty flat and smooth and quite pretty. We passed the area that Mike and I had camped a couple months earlier, and the trail was quite rocky again. We continued across the ridgeline, a combination of hiking and biking for me, with all the rocks. Mike got a flat tire, which, since he was running Stans, was a little more complicated than it would have been for anyone else. He did have one tube, and put that on. He had punctured the tread on one of the many rocks. A couple miles later, he slashed the sidewall of his front tire. He was out of tubes now, so I gave him one of mine.

Another mile later and finally we hit the real down hill-- a mile in which we lost about 1000 feet of elevation that we had climbed up that morning.

At the bottom of the hill was camp where we all collapsed. The total trip was 16 miles.

John, Jen and Jonathan decided to take a trip into town for a few things, and headed out after we changed into civvies. They were gone a long time because on the way back they were delayed by an accident. Mike, Vin and I had been hearing sirens, but we thought it was someone playing around. It turns out that just outside the campground, 2 vehicles hit head on on a curve on 675, and 4 ambulances, at least 2 fire trucks and cops from at least 3 jurisdictions came to the scene. Since it was barely a two lane road, no other traffic was getting by this.

After that, it seemed like it would be a fairly typical camping night, food, fire and beer. But then the wind suddenly picked up. It was short-lived, but we all huddled under the ez-ups, which thankfully did not blow over in the wind and rain.

And now I let too much time pass to really put in a detailed description of the rest of the trip. The short: Mike, John, Jonathan and I did another ride on Sunday. We rode down 675 to 789, then rode up, up and more up on fire roads. We kept going up for about 6 miles or so to the ridge where we turned onto a trail Here we went up some more and hit unridable (by me anyway) rocks for about a mile or two. Then we had some nice mt top meadow, then a screaming downhill. We were on an old Virginia state championship race course, and all I could think across the ridge was that at least a few riders must have died trying to race this course.

After the screaming downhill, we did a nice, fairly easy two mile loop and then hit fire roads again back to camp. All the time we knew we had to climb that hill on 675 and that was going to be a killer--2 miles of pretty steep grade with no breaks. In the end, we had done about 22 miles of hard riding. I felt exhausted, but really good at the same time. We relaxed a bit, then went down to town for ice cream, had dinner by the fire and slept hard. The next morning, Mike, Jonathan and I hiked to to the top of Big Schloss, which was quite beautiful, and then headed back to the city.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


IT'S OVER!!!!! Posted by Hello


U.S. Postal (winners of men's sport team) waiting for their teammate to finish Posted by Hello


Jonathan coming in on his second to last lap for the hand-off Posted by Hello


Off to do my last lap Posted by Hello


YA-A-AWN Posted by Hello


And they're off (2) Posted by Hello


And they're off (1) Posted by Hello


He looks a little more pensive... Posted by Hello


He looks very excited at this point... Posted by Hello


CityBikes teammate DT getting ready to go. Posted by Hello


Hmm, how do you put this on?? Posted by Hello


My duo pair, Jonathan, gettting ready Posted by Hello


Mike getting ready to start 12 Hours Of Lodi Farm Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lodi Race Report

This was my first "endurance" race. Jonathan Wheaton agreed to ride with me because he decided it was a bit early in the season for a solo 12 hour race. We made a couple of attempts to find a third, but gave up pretty quickly. For me this was mostly preparation for Big Bear, since I have never done a race like this. I wanted to see how well my lights worked, what it was like to ride at 3 am, what it was like to do a lap, then take time off, then do another, etc, on no sleep. I also figured I was going to be there anyway, since Mike was doing it solo, so I might as well ride. And the entry was pretty cheap, relative to other races.

Mike, John and I left DC at about 10 am on Saturday morning. For some reason I got it my head that we wanted to take 66, and it was not until we were on 66 that Mike suddenly asked why we were on 66? We want 395. Luckily we had time to jump on GW Parkway, take a relatively quick detour to Spout Run (with poor Jonathan following, wondering what we were doing) and finally get onto 395. We had planned a stop at REI to get stove fuel, which took awhile, and resulted in a lot more purchased than just stove fuel. But then we were back on the road by noon. The traffic was really awful pretty much the whole way. We all picked up sandwiches at Sheetz, and arrived by 2 PM, only an hour later than we had planned. Finding the race was kind of hard...no signs were up when we started driving in, so we drove up and down Hollywood Farm road a couple of times, picking up more vehicles obviously looking for the trailhead as well. Finally a sign was put up and we followed a dirt road into the woods. After another wrong turn, we finally reached the right field and began to set up camp.

We took a pre-ride and all were surprised at how hard the trail was, and by how long it was. I took two falls, one into a tree bruising and scraping my upper arm, and one on a very scary downhill, which resulted in a few more bruises on my legs and lots of noise that caused Mike to turn around and come back to make sure I was not lying in a bloody heap at the bottom. I quickly decided I would plan to walk that hill during the race.

We got back to the field and noticed a lot more people had arrived and started seeing some familiar faces. We had prime real estate since Mike was riding solo, and some friendly folks set up around us.

Jonathan made some yummy ravioli while Mike and I registered. Then Mike supplemented with some spaghetti. Then we all settled in for a nap. We all got up around 10 to start getting ready. There was a rider meeting at 10:30 when they explained the race to us, how laps would be counted and such and answered questions.

Jonathan and I decided he would do the first lap because we figured he would do 5 laps to my 4. We also decided that we would start out with 1 lap each and change our M.O. if we felt the need later on.

Midnight came, and Jonathan and Mike walked down to the stream crossing to line up for the LeMans start. I stood kind of in the middle of everything and held both bicycles so they would be able to find them easily. I also prepared to take pictures, which proved to be unsuccessful. Mike showed up first and grabbed his bike, then Jonathan. I tried to get out of the way without getting run over or in the way of anyone.

Then I began my final preparations for riding. I filled my camelback, checked my bike over, and attached my battery to my bike frame. I couldn't remember where I had attached it before, but figured it would work. Then I did some yoga to stretch out and warm up.

I stood near the hand-off area beginning about 12:55 to wait for Jonathan. He showed up almost immediately and we did the hand off. I plugged my lights in and quickly realized that this is not where I had it plugged in before and it was not going to work. The cord was too short. I unhooked the battery and tried to attach it to the seatpost, but that was not going to work either. Finally, I threw the battery into my jersey pocket and took off. There were no markings at the beginning of the loop and no one else was around so I became worried I was on the wrong trail. But pretty soon after I saw some tape, and more confidently was on my way.

The first loop went fine. My lights worked great--better than I remembered from previous night rides (Light and Motion Cabeza Logic MV--a halogen digital light, multi-power--not as nice as an HID, but much cheaper). I did not bring an extra battery, which I meant to do, just in case. I had my little LED light hanging around my neck in case my headlight failed, but I hoped for the best. Up in the fields, I switched the power down, just to reserve some power, since the battery was supposed to run for 2 hrs at full power, and in case there was some kind of mechanical, I might need the extra time. I was going kind of slow because I was tired from lack of sleep, and the roots were really slippery, plus I had not done a lot of night riding, so I was a little nervous about that. I decided I would rather finish with minimal injuries than break any speed records. I looked at my computer and I was almost half way done! Awhile later, I looked down and I was only half way done, then it seemed like forever and I was only a little over halfway done. That middle few miles seemed really slow. I came upon a big downhill that I did not remember being so sketchy in the pre-ride. I walked it. Then I came to the first steep down hill that I did remember. I had ridden this twice in the preride so I knew the line I wanted and made it down that hill. Then the sketchy down hill of my pre-ride crash--I walked that.

Finally the lap was over in 1:25, and I handed off to Jonathan.

I sat for a little bit, and suddenly Mike showed up pretty angry. His HID had stopped working 2 miles out from finishing the second lap, so it lasted less than 2 hrs, even though it was supposed to last 4. I offered him my backup light, which was only a 10 watt halogen commuter, and really not bright enough, but if he went slow, it would work okay, but he decided to wait a bit before making a decision.

I drank some soy milk and refilled my camelback. I was not hungry at all, and will definitely bring soymilk to future races. It went down pretty easily, provided necessary nutrients, and a little hydration to boot.

I taped another gu to my frame and went to the porta potties. I came back, swapped my battery for a fresh one, and was getting my gloves and such together to go to the hand off area. And suddenly there was Jonathan! By my watch, he finished the lap in about 50 minutes, but I may have been a little off. It was almost 3:30 am. I grabbed my stuff, and madly put on my hat, helmet and gloves. I did not have a jersey with a pocket, so I again struggled with where to put my battery. By this time, Jonathan was back at the ez-up wondering what I was up to. Finally, I strapped the battery onto my camelback, and I was off.

I don't remember this lap as well. I finished it in about the same amount of time, and the middle few miles again seemed to stretch on forever. I handed off to Jonathan, he asked if he should do two laps. I said I would be ready for him in 50 minutes, but if at that time he felt like doing a second lap, he was more than welcome to.

Mike was still hanging around the ez-up, though he seemed much cheerier now, and had decided to just wait until the sun came up and start riding then. It was still pitch black, though it was now 5 am. I didn't think there was any way it could be light by 6, so I prepared to do another lap in the dark. More soy milk, a couple of darth peanut M&Ms (the greatest invention EVER!). I drank some iced Java Moonshine tea. It is a combination of black tea (caffeine!) and roobios (antioxidants!). Since Mike was not going to use my third battery, I strapped it to my camelbak (I had planned on taking the two partially used batteries, hoping between them they had enough juice left to get me until daylight. But suddenly it was light out! At about 5:45, as I was making final prep for my next lap, I decided to not take my light at all. Mike also got ready to get back on the trail.

I headed to the hand off area, determined to not be late this time and waited for Jonathan. A few minutes later, he arrived. We had both realized at this point that for each of us to do 6 hrs, he would have to do 6 laps to my 4, so he told me he would double up next lap.

I went out happy to have natural light. It was still a little dark in the woods, but not too bad. It was still slippery, and I was totally exhausted. I sped up in the flat areas now that I could see better, but took it very carefully in the technical sections. At some point, I fell, probably slipped on a root, and landed pretty hard on my left hand and scraped up my knee. But nothing serious. In a bit of a daze, I finished the loop, and handed off to Jonathan relieved that I would have a little more time off.

I lay down for awhile, setting both my watch alarm and my cell phone alarm to go off at 9, figuring I should be ready to go by 9:30. I was a little bleary at 9 when I got up, but prepared for my last lap. It was painful and I was exhausted. I realized that Jonathan was going so fast that we actually would probably be able to do an 11th lap if one of us wanted to do it because we would finish our 10th at about 11:50 or so. But there was no way I could do another lap after this one.

As I was riding in the fields my left pedal started to feel really weird. It was spinning all wonky. I unclipped and looked down, nothing obviously wrong. I clipped back in, and it was still off. All of the sudden the whole left crank arm just came off!! So there I am with a crank arm attached to the bottom of my shoe. I stopped and was thinking how would I get back to the campsite? I unclipped the crank arm from my shoe and picked up the bolt that fell off. I was in a pretty narrow area, so I did not want to try to fix it here because I would get in other riders' ways. I walked to a slightly more open space and looked things over. It looked like the bolt just came loose and I could put it all back together if I had the right tool. I pulled my kit out and was quite pleased to find I had the right size allen wrench. I put everything back together and the tools away, wondering how this happened, but pleased that I would be able to pedal back to camp. I tentatively started riding again, a little worried that I might damage the crankset somehow, but everything felt fine.

By the time I passed the camp almost half way through I had forgotten all about it, thinking completely about how I just needed to ride another 5 miles and I would be able to sleep. I finished the lap at about 10:55, and told Jonathan that I could not do another one, so please take his time, unless he wanted to do 2. I was happy with a total of 10 (1 more than I expected!)

I was so exhausted I was barely coherent. I wanted to stay awake to see Jonathan and others finish, but I just couldn't do it. Plus I was going to have to drive home soon, so I crawled into the tent and fell asleep.

At some point, Mike came and woke me up. I told him to wake me up at 1:30. But at about 1:20 or so, I heard the awards ceremony start, so I got up to see that.

Mike had only done 4 laps, after the light fiasco, and he was not happy with his bike arrangement. Matt Donahue was walking around with stitches in his face from the scary downhill. Ricky's team had won their class and Becky took first place for solo women. I think the top duo class did 12 laps, maybe 13. I was happy with Jonathan's and my 10. I had ridden 40 miles in the past 24 hrs with no sleep, and was quite pleased with that. I think it was a good measure for where I am at in preparation for the Wilderness 101--I have a ways to go with the training, but I have a couple more months to increase my endruance and I will be doing that with a full night's sleep in me, which will also help a lot. I also think it was great preparation for Big Bear.

I was very impressed with Jonathan's 6 laps (plus a 7th with the pre-ride!).

Monday, May 09, 2005

Greenbrier Race Report

This is my first one, so lets see how it goes…

I started with about a dozen women because they combined the 20-29s with the 30-39s to start. There were actually 6 in my class, including Becky and Paula from CityBikes, too.

The start was fine, nothing spectacular, I was in the second line because I hate sitting on the starting line cooling off from my warmup, so the first line was filled by the time I got there.

Went up the gravel and onto the trail in the middle of the pack. I am a slow climber and was passed by at least one person, but pushed as hard as I could. It really helps to know the trail as well as I know Greenbrier so I didn’t burn out near the top as I often do. Then it was a nice down, and I was able to catch up with some folks. I followed closely through the rock garden, maybe even passed someone, can’t really remember. (How do you all give such detailed reports?!?) I got passed by a couple of the guys who started behind me near the little stream crossing. Then soon after the big hill. I walked most of it, as did everyone else around me. I was able to make up some time by walking faster than some, and reached top with Becky and Ann not too far ahead. I got back on right after the downed tree and rode on. I kept those two in sight for awhile, but then lost them. I bombed down the middle downhill, passed a couple of guys from earlier classes. I caught up to Ann again and passed her, and then was passed by her and Scud on the next up hill. In practice I was able to make it up this hill, but at race pace, I had already expended too much, I guess and had to walk the last steep part. Then I knew it was pretty much all down hill from here. I got back on and went as fast as I could. On the orange trail I got behind some kid who was going a little slow on the down, and I was about to pass him, but then we hit the little uphill section and he put some distance on me. I think I caught and passed him on the rocky wet downhill, though. Then it was around the lake and off to do it again.

My back was cramping up really badly, so on the first up hill I decided if I had to get off the bike to let it uncramp (usually only takes 15 or so seconds of standing up) I would lose the least amount of time on the uphill. I remounted, went as fast as I could, dismounted again on the big uphill. I passed the third woman who was ahead of me, she appeared to have some kind of mechanical by the downed tree. Hopped back on the bike, flew down the hill, walked some of the next up again (gotta add some hill sprints to my training!!), and then went as fast as I could to reach the finish. Somewhere along the way, the woman with the mechanical passed me. I used every ounce of energy I had left to get to the finish line as fast as I could, and ended up with a 4th place finish.

I was within 4-5 minutes of Becky, who finished first, so I was pretty happy with the result. If I can get a little faster on the hills, and keep my back from cramping up, I maybe could have podiumed. I was psyched that I seem to be pretty fast on the downhills, and was able to pass some people there.