Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ride as you feel

It is that time of year, no structured training, no upcoming race to tweak for, no taper to work through, just time to go ride a bike, have fun, enjoy friends, and look forward to the next season. It is that time of year they call "Transition." These days are great, if you wake up and don't want to ride, then don't, go do something else. It is weird, even on these days, I wake up, look at my mountain bike, and want to go ride. I guess I have this bug really bad.
Today Chris and I rode at O-hill. Part way through we were both busy falling off our bikes on a leaf strewn uphill, and ran into Johanna, a local pro-rider. She rode with us for a bit, always nice to have some one else along, especially Jo-Pro. She rocks.

Tomorrow is a day off, Trails on our farm are getting leafy and I hope to finish clearing them tomorrow.....oh yeah, and Dad wants to put siding on the house.

Go ride, that is my answer,


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre-Turkey Day Ride

So a group of us got together to ride at Walnut Creek today in this great 75 degree weather. What a treat that was. Things were top notch and the only complaint about the trails, there are lots of leaves down, but that did not seem to slow Jeremy and I down. Both of us were on the gas pretty heavy for around two hours. That ride combined with about 3.5 hours yesterday, and I think that I have earned the right to eat really, really big tomorrow.
Best wishes to all our readers for a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.
We all have many things to be thankful for this time of year, and every time I get to ride my bike, I am reminded of that......good health, great friends, and incredible place to ride my bike.......to name a few

enough preaching, go ride (or eat)


Monday, November 19, 2007

18 Hours of Cold

First things First-
Thanks to my crew for the night, you guys and gals all rocked. Caleb W., Nolan and Becca L., Denelle G, Dave T., Shannon R, Luther B, Jon C...........

Now the race:
6pm start time.
Line up on the front with the other guys, look around, and realize, this is a large field and most of these people next to me are racing duo or 4-person. Make the decision to not go out guns.
6:01pm Neutral start behind a single speed, roll out on gravel, then grass, start into single track. Pace car out of the way, race on.
6:54pm- First lap done, feeling good. Charles Clarkson and I are together. I pit quickly for a bottle, and back on course. Charles is just out ahead, but soon we are back together.
7:47pm Through on second lap, realize I am not getting enough drink in, start focusing more on eating and drinking.
9:00pm Come through the pit area, get news that Denelle left pit area just ahead of me and I am supposed to go catch her.......
9:10 Find Denelle on course, helping one of the kids from the Boy and Girls Club team. She is riding a lap with him. Sure is great to see these kids started into the sport young....Luther and that group are doing a great job.
9:50? Through pit zone on lap ? No idea what is going on at this point, just know I need a new bike, this one is clicking and crunching funny, Dave latter tells me I broke a middle Chain ring - XTR carbon Titanium- that will be expensive. They set up a new crankset on the bike
10:50? Through the transition, take a slightly longer break to grab a bottle and gel. Back out and rocking. Kevin Cox is off the front, I am third, Charles Clarkson is in third and only slightly behind. The time gaps are all less than 10 minutes though, so really we are all riding together. I arrange for my crew to start warming my next set of clothes for the 6 hour change out.
midnight- In the pit zone- time to change and get dried off. The sweat has started to soak and I am getting chilled. Cycling shoes and shoe covers are swapped for full on winter cycling boots, cold weather gloves, balaclava and fleece lined tights. Dried and warmed, I am out on course, now behind both Kevin and Charles, I set to work.
2am- In for a new bike- Swap the carbon Top Fuel out. Was supposed to go back on the Top Fuel 8, but apparently something is wrong with the cranks and the bolt won't seat right. They have prepped the Fuel EX 8 and put it in service. This bike rocks and will scream. The Jones XR tires are probably the right ones to go to now anyway- the course is starting to get to a churned up peanut butter-frost-slime type consistency, so additional cornering traction on the roots will be good.
3AMish- Charles and I are together, I am riding behind him. He is starting to struggle a bit, so he lets me by and I go. Full on time. Through the pit, hardly a stop for a bottle. Make the request to swap the Revolt Super X tires out on the Top Fuel 9.9 for Jones XRs with the way the conditions are working out, things are really slippery now, roots are treacherous in places.
5:45 AM In the pit zone, nauseated. Too much liquid- drinks and gels have left me with a sloshing stomach, a guaranteed way to get that ill feeling on a mountain bike. I am in the trailer for an extra layer of clothing and a clif bar. Back out on the bike.
6:50ish Through transition, Bike Swap time, back on the Fuel EX, lights out.....day has arrived.
By this time I have managed to lap the field, and I continue to press forward, trying to do the math of when I have done enough. Denelle meets me in the pit zone...kitted out in her Xterra champion garb, ready to go ride a lap. Really nice to have her along for the lap....she sings to me, even askes for any requests, but I have nothing I really want to hear, so she sings what she knows.
8:00amish, Through transition, I now have two laps on Charles and one and a half on Kevin, the rest of the field is at least a lap behind them.
9:05ish. Through transition. Dave comes out on a lap with me. I make him ride every log over and uphill log jump, he does it no problem, I struggle to follow suit by this time. On this lap, I pass Kevin, that give me two laps. I can stop on this lap when I get in.
1000am In my pit, chocolate milk in hand, needing to shower and dry off. My race is done, I have done enough to this point and even stopping now, they would not be able to catch up and get in one more lap. 14 laps done- about 130 miles of single track and 21,000 feet of climbing or more. Time to start recovering.

A great race, a few things learned from the racer side.
1st-Solid food early- Power bars, Clif Bars, Chips, and Pop Tarts----anything to settle the stomach a bit

2nd-Knobby tires as soon as conditions change- Don't wait until you start slipping out a bunch, get the right stuff on early. The Bontrager Revolts hook up great on everything except wet roots and peanut buttery rocks, their low- rolling resistance was great early, but when traction needs to happen. Get on the Jones XR's

3rd And maybe most important- The Fuel EX is perhaps the best bike in my arsenal- This bike can do anything you ask of it. It climbs like a XC machine, descends like downhill bike, and truly is a no-compromise solution to bike choice. The extra travel and stability were much needed at 3am. For all out cross country speed, the Top Fuel still gets the nod, but when it you are talking enduro riding, the Fuel EX design is incredible.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We gonna Barbeque

18 hours of racing solo in the dark. I'll do some quick math for you:

1 hour/lap

18 laps

1500 feet of climbing/lap

That's somewhere around 27,000 feet of climbing over the course of the race.

In the dark.

In the cold.

By himself.

By contrast, and it is indeed a stark contrast, here's what the pit crew will be doing under my keen-eyed leadership:

Two grills and one smoker

two pig shoulders, a venison hindquarter, and some pork ribs.

around 3 gallons of barbeque sauce

space heaters



trek/VW jersey shaped beer coozies

piggy pops

the tertiary responsiblity of making sure Shawn's bikes are somewhat functional when he comes around the turn. Lights charged. Bottles full. OK, there's some responsiblity here, but in comparison to what he's doing to himself out there all night, we've got it pretty easy.

Racer Forecast:

Partly cloudy. Chance of showers. Snowdrifts in the 2 - 3 foot range. Suffering. 3 AM hallucinations. Intoxicated road hunters with high-powered rifles on the "adjacent" properties, shooting at anything that moves. Whining. Not wanting to take a pee break at midpoint of lap at 5AM because pecker is too cold. Etc.
It's going to be a long tough race. For Shawn.
I'll see you at the grill.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Final Prep for 18 hours-in progress

Today was a rest day, I got to set the Fuel EX up with a new Monarch Shock, but I am waiting for the correct spacers for the Monarch 4.2 that goes on the Top Fuel. It seems that RockShox has tried to go with the same sizing for spacers and bushings that Fox uses. A great thing for converting a bike to Rock Shox, but not so great if you already have older Rock Shox and just assumed that things would fit. But we all know what happens when you Ass-U-Me.
Oh well, the Fuel EX feels good with the Monarch on it, very plush still, firms up nice when the gate is flipped on, but does not truly lock out....a nice feature for a real mountain bike setup. I will get more of a report up on the Top Fuel and the Monarch after a get a ride on it tomorrow as well.
Off to get things packed and ready for the race this weekend.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Walnut Creek Ride

I rode at Walnut today with Chris. It was day three of three hard training days, so I was not inclined to get out and ride, so I was glad when he said he was riding. Having worked all night at Pegasus, meant sleeping all morning, and that alone is enough to kill your 'get up and go'. Chris crashed hard yesterday thanks to some leafy wet bridge incident, so he was in need of a good ride to work out the resulting mental haze. We opened with a great lap around the Dam Side trail, dodging more hikers and riders than we had seen in a while. Chris seemed to be getting his flow back on this section so we headed up towards the back side of the park. I managed to get my 'Tempo pace' intervals done on the climbs and portions of the flats, so I completed my training that Adnan had thrown at me.....plus some. I was really glad I got out, gorgeous weather, felt good to get the final tuning done on the Top Fuel 9.9 for the weekend, and Chris rode really well also.....so great day all around.
Tomorrow is a rest day, so I will try to finish the preparation of the Team Trailer and my bikes for this coming weekend. Inclusive in that: New Monarch Shock for the Top Fuel.....keep tuned about this one, but it looks like it will be a great upgrade.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

18 hours is coming

The 18 hour race is right around the corner. I did the pre-ride on Wed. night. What a great course, flowing, fast, good climbs, tight corners, some cool bombing descents. Nothing really technical to have to fight for the 18 hours, but still tough enough to keep you working and make it fun. 1500+ feet of climbing per lap are gonna make it interesting as well.
I think that I am ready to go, bikes are together, mostly dialed in, and the nutrition stuff from Cytomax should be here any day. If you have not tried the new Cytomax Naturals Orange, give it a shot. No added flavors or sweeteners seems to sit better on the stomach on these really long ones, and the taste is really pretty good.
The final decisions on tires choice and pressure will have to wait until race day and seeing the weather in the days ahead, but I am leaning towards the Jones XR's at 25-30 psi, especially given the heavy leaf fall in the past week. Bikes for the race, Top Fuel, hands down, the winner. I will have a Fuel EX in the pit in case I get really clumsy and need the additional stability of longer travel, but the course itself is made for cross country endurance racing, so even a good hard tail would rock on this one....but that Top Fuel suspension is so nice for the long ride.
The race can be followed on the website www.ride424.com My pit crew will be posting audio bits throughout telling just how bad I am suffering and whining. So check it out.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Overdue Paranormal Report

Well, I am sure most that care about the results have seen them now. They are up and linked to from the CAMBC web page. (www.cambc.org) Our team did incredible. We started nine racers, and all nine earned places on podiums by the end of the night.

Denelle Grant 1st place Women's Solo (6 laps)
Kevin Murray 1st Place Men's Single Speed (8 Laps)
Ted Gayle and Jeremy Senn 1st Place Men's duo (11 laps)
Chris Shelley and Mark Gordon 3rd Place Duo Clydesdale (6 laps)
Nolan Lavoie 2nd Place Solo Clydesdale (7 laps)
Shawn Tevendale 2nd Place Men's Solo (10 laps)
David Tevendale 4th Place Men's Solo (9 laps)

Perhaps most impressive was that in this field of 90 plus riders, with both solo and teams included in the placings: Jeremy and Ted had the most laps overall and took 1st place, Shawn was 4th, and Dave was 9th overall. When Solos get mixed in with the Duos on the results, you know they raced hard.

My race started well, from the beginning Charles Clarkson and I were head to head. We both started in the non-costume group and as such, opened with a 4 minute deficit on Mike Walling (the eventual winner of the race). Charles and I held a high pace for the first several laps, trading off who was in front and who was following. He finally came around and put in an attack that held. I watched him ride off ahead, hoping that over the next 4 hours remaining, I would be able to pull him back. He never quite got out of sight though, and by lap 5 or 6 we were back together, and I managed to push past him. All of that effort though on Charles' and my part had taken a toll. I needed a bit to recover and my next two laps slowed perceptibly. Mike pulled away further at this time, as he had apparently seen us behind him at one point, and launched a few really hard laps. By the time I came through on my 7th lap, I was back on track, and started to really go to work. Charles, I learned later, never felt great again and continued to cramp behind me. I started dropping my laps times and even despite a lights out time on the trail, managed to pull some time back on Mike, with my last two laps both being faster than his by a fair margin. Mike never let go of those four minutes he got for his costume though through the entire time and added two minutes by the end of the race to beat me by a total of six minutes. So the margin of victory for Mike by the end was slim, but man, he rode awesome, never letting up and by the end, he really deserved the win. In my mind though, he got me by two minutes only, after racing for six hours!!! (guess what is fueling my interval sessions for the next year)

Thanks to everyone who came out and rode, I had a blast....