Monday, April 26, 2010

Shut up legs!

Farmer told me about this! Hilarious. Here is a link if you need the tee shirt. I will think of this every time I suffer and I will crack up.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Race #36: Big Leap at the Big Frog!

WOW! NO CRASHES! NO MECHANICALS! NO FLATS! TOP TEN!? I will be paying for this later...

I had no idea what to expect from my first endurance event. I have been training a lot, pretty 33% more than last year, but still nervous about a 65 mile mountain bike race with over 10,000 feet of climbing.

I love how just speaking to a few friends gives you great nuggets of wisdom you latch onto. Joe's response to a previous blog post gave me great nutritional advice. Layne narrowed down the proper amount of calories per hour, and I read this Hammer Nutrition article as well. Former teammate Chris told me to look around and take in the scenery, and beware the final descent! Teammate Kris mentioned that it is so fast it is easy to maintain 11 mph on the trail (this became my magic number). Farmer mentioned watch for the wooden bridges.

Bridget couldn't zip her jersey before the start and we roll up and got into the middle of the field just as the gun went off! I followed wheel for a bout 2 seconds and then Bridget starts weaving through people. That puts a little spur in my butt and I freak out and take off — thinking she has my wheel. I even jumped up on the grass for a bit and CXed around a big pack (but lost Bridget like a jerk). It was great, the first 3 miles of the race were an uphill highway that really separated riders by their fitness.

Then we hit the trail. I was really killing it (compared to my recent rides where I only averaged 6-7 mph on trails) but I was tending to "rally car" by accelerating then braking in the blind corners. I told myself to chill out as to not waste a bunch of energy I would need later. Did a great job at being no slouch on that first trail section. And glad I didn't beef it huge on the wet rock section in front of all the spectators.

We hit the first long climb. I was still riding like it was a short MTB race. I was trying to average 8-10 mph on the climb, reeling in riders left and right. It was so fun to do a nice 20-30 minute climb where my little diesel engine can jump pump out a comfortable rate. Brought back memories of Oregon.

Flew in an out of first aid station, just got topped off on water (I had a Nuun tablet to drop in later, but mainly was drinking Heed in my pre-prepped bottles). We set out on a loop of fire roads. Still flying and reeling in people. Blew through aid station 2 and finally caught up with teammate Kris. He was all like "we gotta be in the top 20!" I was mystified but this stoked my fire even more. I was still riding like an idiot — riding the middle chain ring in the climbs. We rode together for about 5 miles or so when these 2 riders caught up. I got that hunger of defending my position and took off up a climb like a bastard. I was stopping for anything — I was peeing off the bike on a downhill!

Then I rode with this one dude from Florida who I kept exchanging positions with 20 about 15 or 20 miles. I would pass him on the climb, and he would descend past me. So we rode a climb together as I settled into a more reasonable rhythm. He flew down another hill and I didn't see him again.

About hour 4 I started to cramp a little. I was popping enduralites and sport legs like a madman after that. I was worried about water but luckily the last aid station popped up. Took on a bit too much food and water just in case...

I was hunting down that guy from Florida but couldn't see him. Then I got slower. I started doing climbs at 4 mph. I was riding with a single-speeder when we finally hit more trail. It started to rain. I put in another dig of speed to keep the wolves at bay but it didn't last too long. I think I ended up losing a spot or two in the final 20 miles, but I was happy to maintain a pace where my legs didn't turn to concrete.

I did the final downhill in the pouring rain during a thunderstorm. AWESOME! Pure fun and adrenaline. It was like a log flume — the trail being acting as a gutter for rain coming down the mountain. I would bounce down these switchbacks over moderate roots and rocks, the dab my leg as I slid my back tire through these blind corners with crazy drop offs over the ledge. It was like a movie (and not Pee Wee's Big Adventure, jerks)!

I hit the final road and killed myself with a final effort just in case anyone was gaining. It turns out my suspicions were correct — there were 2 riders just over a minute behind me.

This was the text message I sent after I saw the results: "F'yeah! 8th place with 5:41:34! Thanks to my homies for some great advice and BioWheels for making my bike flawless!" I am floating on a cloud even though I know the results would have been different if there were more miles of trails and if all the heavy hitters weren't racing the 100 miler.

Congrats to Kris for getting 15th, Teri for also getting 8th, Bjet nabbed 10th on some rough form, and homie Bill got a 7:34 (one of his first races)! Other homies Nathan and Layne crushed the 100 miler with 9 and half hour rides, half of which were in the rain!

So pumped — can't wait for Mohican!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Great preride with Bjet at Cohutta! Nice trails - long climbs, great flow. Fire roads brought back fond memories of Mt Klickitat in OR & Pat & Bri

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Special! Localvore VeloFeuling!

It's no secret I love to eat. I used to be 205 pounds and fortunately cycling has allowed me enjoy a tasty bite and not completely curb my appetite. Here is a list of hip Cincinnati eats created by local crafters — they're better for you and reduce your carbon footprint (even more so when you peddle to get them).

I have had a super crush on Coffee Emporium for years. The owners roast their own beans, travel on vacation to meet the growers and make sure when they brew the coffee they pay respect to the product they worked so hard to create. Plus mochas are recovery drinks right? They also serve delicious soups (from Myra's, one of my old favs in Clifton), salads and sandwiches at their downtown roasting café.

Sugar in Milford has an incredible variety of cupcakes made with organic ingredients. I love how the owner gets the best quality ingredients and really makes great icing (not overly sugared or fatty) and untraditional flavors. Get there early, she sells out! Frida's in Madeira has incredible high-end indulgent deserts. I am so happy they are just outside of my bike shop! Chocolate LaTour are high-end chocolates for your sweetie. They are sold in Findlay as well as Park and Vine, Cincinnati's Mecca for Green-Bike-Riding-Foodies. DoJo Gelato at Findlay Market offers some very unexpected and delicious gelatos and sorbets. The Porkopolis bowled me over last year, it is Bacon in a Maple Gelato.

Shadeau Breads create hearty loaves that will provide substantial fuel for any cyclist. This is real bread — wonderful hard crust, nice round loaves and a wonderful texture. Taste of Belgium Waffles are truly delightful — very eggy, briochy batter that is speckled with crystalized sugar that creates a carmelization on the outside of each 5 inch disk of delight. Ohio City Pasta is a pasta maker from Cleveland (okay, some carbon emissions) that sells their at Findlay Market — they can supply you with unique flavors for carbo loarding.

You're only as fast as your bowels. Fabulous Ferments provide a variety of healthy, probiotic rich foods and drinks that keep you healthy and strong. They make delicious sauerkrauts — even inventing unexpected and delightful flavor combinations. They are make a beet kvass juice that makes me feel like Popeye.

I just learned about Rivertown Brewing Company, I better try them soon. Last year I discovered Mt. Carmel Brewing Company and I think I love them, they have a great IPA and Nut Brown. I can't wait to try their Blonde and Stout.

Park and Vine provides a list of local places to rent a video or practice Yoga. So throw on some skinny jeans and get ready for a date because Melt in Northside, Lavomatic in OTR, 20 brix in Milford and The Works Pizza in Loveland are some places to ride to for a nibble. Some of these places in Downtown will offer a 10% discount to cyclists (I think it starts in May).

I got inspired to write this because last year I made a local food basket for my Father for Father's Day and I rode my bike around collecting local delicacies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Was that a gunshot?

No, homie Bill's tubeless tire just exploded! He was rolling a high tire pressure getting his tubeless tire to seal. Better now than at Cohutta.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Any advice for a MTB Enduro Rookie?

Cohutta, or in my case the Big Frog 65 miler, is going to be my first endurance mountain bike race.

I get 3 one-gallon ziplocs for aid stations. Any unique/wise suggestions on things to throw in there? Go Mid-level Rucker style with Organic PopTarts? WetWipes for a little refresh? Tons of Gels and Energy Bars?

Still unsure if I am running a CamelBack or just water bottles. If I run a CamelBack I will still have a bottle of Hammer Perpetuem mixed like a gel ready to dilute. Went for a 5 hour ride at Caesar Creek last weekend with the CamelBack and still forgot to drink. Bonked super hard and nearly fell off the bike! Might try only bottles in the race this weekend.

I don't know if my rim strips will be in yet and may still be runnin' tubes! Plus my rear derailleur is acting up! Ugh.

Still super nervous! Been training like crazy but worried the hills will eat me alive! Pray for me!

Found a great place to stay just a quick warm up away from the race start!

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BPMs to push your RPMs

I have been checking this site called RCRDLBL for about a year now. They offer free downloads and remixes of indie rock and techno bands. It's a great way to listen to new music without forking over the cash you were saving for a new fork.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Messin' with Texas Pt 4: Blazin' More Trails

I hit the trails again Wednesday. I saw a few classic signs you might be in Texas:
– Armadillo roadkill in the bike lane (should I be concerned?)
– Blue Bonnet flowers (pretty)
– Cacti (gnarly, Jimmy keep that wheel on the trail!)
– The leftover confetti carnage from Mexican Easter Eggs

Had a great training ride. About two and a half hours off road. I did this one trail called the "Serious Consequences Loop." There was this scary tight corner where if you missed the turn you could take a 20 foot drop into the limestone creek bed! I rode a bit better — minus a few bobbled technical climbs. One climb was 50 feet of rocks and roots. I told myself that it was okay because I was fully rigid but I still hate pushing the bike up climbs. I need to work on my punchy power.

I made one major error during the ride: I was riding in a slick limestone creek bed and I needed to jump up a 6 inch ledge to get out of the creek. Well, my front wheel slide along the edge and down I went. I scratch my carbon cross fork and landed on my bad left shoulder and banged my left elbow and knee on the limestone. I cursed for a minute and kept riding.

Later I did hill repeats on the Powerline Climb. I think it was a semi-long climb with a gradient that was in the teens. I was trying to get ready for Cohutta and Mohican, those races are putting the fear in me.

Getting a lot of great time on the bike this week. A lot of new scenery and soul riding was just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Messin' with Texas Pt 3: Hittin the Dusty Trails

Monday I took off early and rode 6 miles from my sis's place to Walnut Creek Metro Park. At first I just found a dirt path loop that was pretty lame. But after I crossed a creek I found a treasure trove of badass trails! I think there's over 11 mile of trails.

The cross bike handled most of it well except a few rooty short uphills but that could be operator error. At one point I was taking it easy, picking good lines for my fully rigid ride on a technical downhill, when I could hear a full-suspension disc braked wanker bearing down on me. I had already ridden this section so I just opened up a can of whoop ass on the climb and I never heard that dude again. I'll hit that trail up again!

Tuesday I went out for a long ride. I rode way out to Lake Travis via 2222 and 620 then down Bee Cave. A ton of hills! Great training. Unfortunately I thought they were going to be scenic and semi-rural but it was urban sprawl. Then I rode into the city and stopped for lunch at La Boite Café. I was chowing down on a chocolate brioche, almond croissant, a cookie and a latte when I met this guy from VendrTV, they make webisodes about street food. Badass.

After that I jumped back on Austin's public rec paths. They are a combination of gravel and a little pavement. The cross bike was a good choice! On public path even had some creek crossings! Crazy, the urban paths were more scenic and peaceful than my ride out. I got just over 4 hours in.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Messin' with Texas Pt 2: Texas messes back

I had one of those rides planned that looked perfect on paper. The Gooogle maps showed that the Barton Creek Greenbelt as a bike only super safe path — but in actuality it is completely an off-road trail that littered with large rock garden of limestone.

My ride started with a drizzly but scenic ride out Austin's 360 loop — a highway with an entire lane on the right where cyclists can play. I was having a blast. 360 is very hilly and the drizzle was keeping cool for rizzle.

I got to the beginning of the Barton Creek Greenbelt and tried riding down a gravel hill with tons of drop offs. I took a side trail hoping it would lead me down into the valley. There were some scenic views of waterfalls and pastures of flowers. But quickly my soul ride became terrifying as the trail began to resemble a downhill course with drop-offs taller than the front wheel of my cross bike.

I finally get down the hill and ride a few miles over some really fun trail. I was having a blast and it was interesting to see the different lines I chose with a fully rigid bike. Eventually the trail gets tougher and I encounter extremely technical rock gardens that just whooped me. I got some directions from a guy and he said I should cross the creek because it runs out of trail on my side of the river!

So off come the shoes and I cross. It was very novel and I was still having fun. I rode a bit more but the trail remained technical. Even my shoes were slippery on the wet limestone and I fell down with my bike on top of me just as a trail runner came by! At another point I had to walk along a limestone ledge while shouldering my bike. Still, a lot of nice and cool people gave me directions and kept me going.

After a few slips and falls and a few more creek crossing I come upon some rock climbers. One guy was amazed I was riding a cross bike and we talk for a bit. He also raced cross and it was cool to meet another hip dude. He basically let me know I still had a few more hours of ass-kickin' ahead of me. So I gave up and ascended back up to another part of 360.

I was so bushed. I rode for almost five hours but barely went anywhere. That Barton Creek Greenbelt really f'ed me up.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Messin' with Texas Pt 1

The warm sun peaks over the horizon as the morning mist rises from the pasture-lined road. Cows raise their heads from their feed to gaze upon bizarre sight — a single runner passing through their landscape.

Staying just outside Texarakana — traveling with my Parents to Austin to see my little Sis. I went out for my morning constitution and ran along the quintessential Texan road.