Saturday, October 23, 2010

12 Hours of Addison Oaks

Some races are meant to be, some others aren't, this one follows the later. But for a while, it was the former.

On a beautiful fall day in Oakland County it's around 10:00AM and Brent shouts out through the loud speakers for all the teams to take off! Then one minnow later, the lets all of us solo racers go! For the next 12 hours this will be my mode of operation, in the saddle grinding out the miles. Everything went well, I was feeling very good and putting in the laps in an unexpected fast pace. I was pretty sure I had the Single Speed Series Championship locked up, so I was experimenting on my game plan by going out faster than normal and see where I would blow up.

Everything was going to plan after a stop in the pits for a little solid food and a break off the saddle. When I got back on and headed up the Water Tower Climb, my chest tightened up and I started coughing...asthma. Sometimes it will subside if I ease back, so after cresting the climb, I slow down and ease up my effort. After riding like this and still coughing I slow down even more and come to a stop and do my inhaler. I wait a few moments and get back on and start pedaling.

As I keep going my coughing will not stop and that is not a good sign. So I am barely rolling and taking it very easy on all the climbs...if that's possible on a single speed. I decide to stop after this lap is complete and take a major break, do my other inhalers that help control the asthma symptoms and see if this will work. After about an hour of non-stop coughing I decide to call it a day and have to drop out with 11 laps in 6 hours and some change and kick back, cough, relax and hang with my buddies who are doing some team racing.

I have to thank the Kreger family, they are the best support anyone can ask for, they feed me and take care of me like I'm their own.

It was a good day, despite not being able to finish.

Ride safe.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

24 Hours of Hanson Hills

I was looking forward to this race as it would be my first 24 hour attempt. I didn't know what to expect and my fitness was okay, not exactly where I would have liked it to be, but like most things, life steps in and takes away a little training time. So with that said, I was packing and getting things ready as early as 4 days before race day. The box was on top of the Jeep and I was ready to roll Friday after work.

I arrived in Grayling around 7:30PM and checked into my motel. Once I got settled in I decided to go to Glen's Market and get some 24 hour race day food. What's funny is that I normally wouldn't guy these items, so it was funny when I arrived at the check out and the cashier rang up, two Red Bulls, an 8-pack of small Cokes, a box of strawberry Pop Tarts, a bag of Fun Size Pay Day candy bars and bag of Frito's! With light batteries charging and all the junk food to fuel any endurance athlete, I was ready to go.

The alarm rang at 7:00AM. I look outside and it's cloudy and looks chilly. I immediately look at the weather on my trusty Droid X and see a large weather cell with some heavy rain not to far away and heading straight for us. I decide to forgo everything and go to the Hanson Hills ski area and set up the pit, which includes a tent and awning and a few extra things to make my next 24 hours easy. Just as I finish, the rain starts coming down and it's a steady heavy rain, whew! After I check my new home, I go back to my room and check out and get a little breakfast and head back to H.H.

I get back just in time to suit up, check tire pressure and take a last minute pee and head to the start line with about 8 seconds to spare, the gun goes off and our 24 hours of racing begins. I settle into a nice pace with a 12 hour racer setting a nice even pace, not fast at all which is good, I would hate to go out to fast. I follow my pacesetter for the entire first lap and there's actually 4 of us content to ride together, which made it pretty nice.

At the end of each lap, I would roll into my pit which was about 40 feet from the course and grab a new water bottle with some nutrition in it and maybe pop a couple Endurolytes, get back on the bike and roll. After 4 hours I take a little break, snap a pic of my pit and bike (see above) and post it on Facebook, I knew some of my biking buddies would appreciate a time out during a race to post on Facebook and it gave them something to talk about while SITTING ON THEIR COUCH!!! =;)

I liked coming in after each lap which took around 1:05 and actually getting off the bike for about 15-20 seconds and getting what I needed and then immediately back on the bike. I didn't feel any of the 4 hour blues, I felt pretty good, so that was a good sign, but this pace was slower than my 12 hour pace so I didn't expect it to be there. Where it did come was about the 8 hour mark, so I decided to take a long break and get my lights ready. When the time came, I was ready to rock when the sun went down. I only managed two laps in the dark and I was ready to take a long break.

As I curled up in my sleeping bag with a plan of getting up around 3 or 4 at the very latest I was having a hard time going to sleep, with noisy neighbors and loud music for the 24 hour competitors. So I didn't sleep much and I believe I finally fell asleep around 12:30AM. I woke up once and it was quiet, stuck my head out of the sleeping bag and thought that the weatherman was right for once, it was definitely in the 30's. So without hesitation, I got back n the sleeping bag and fell back to sleep.

I finally woke up at 5:00AM and immediately changed into dry warm clothes, the temperture was 33 degrees and the sky was super clear and I seen a million stars on my walk to the "Standings Board" to see where I was at. I was not to surprised to see I was one lap down in the Single speed category. I did a quick math calculation and figured I had time to do 4 laps and if I felt super good, maybe 5, but that would be stretching it. So I set out at 5:00AM, it's 33 degrees, pitch black and very, very lonely. The 2nd big climb of the course I come upon a cyclist, he's a single speeder, and happy to say, he's pushing his bike where I am riding mine. It happens to be the first place guy and I tell myself that "I'm riding, he's pushing and there's 5 hours to go and plenty of time to get the lead back. I am rejuvenated early on and it helps me with the next two laps.

I watch the sunrise on the tail end of my second lap and the sky change colors, it turns out to be a beautiful morning and the lights on the bike are soon turned off. I come into my pit, mix two bottles in anticipation of two more quick laps. It's funny, I have come to two endurance races and late in the game have found some energy to keep forging on!

I'm on my fourth lap of the morning and thinking if I hurry, I can make it into the start/finish in time to do another and hopefully secure first place. As I near the end, I have forced to walk the long last climb. I make it to the top and remount the bike and start pedaling. I look at my watch and realize that no matter how fast I go, there's no way I can make it to the start/finish in the next 10 seconds, so I just finish safely and roll in. I can hear Brent annoucing my name and saying something to the affect that time has run out and I missed the cut off just incase I wanted to do another lap. I wasn't to disappointed and I was ready to accept any placing I got.

As I rolled past the start/finish I ask where my nemisis was and he was actually within ear shot and shouted out, "here I am." He was changed into regular clothes and looked pretty fresh, so I assume that he stopped a lot sooner than I. I soon find out I got first place, beating him by one lap.

I managed 2nd overall in the solo categories, not to shabby for a 50 year old asthmatic on a totally ridid single speed!!!

I did learn a few things though. 1. Have your light scenario all worked out well before the race. 2. Frito's and their salty goodness hit the spot. 3. I didn't need any realy solid food besides that. I survived on few gels and Hammer nutrition, namely Sustained Energy and Endurolytes.

Ride safe!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Addison Oaks Cross Country

I like racing Addison Oaks for some reason, it's a nice "track". I signed up for the Expert/Elite Single Speed class, something I promised I would do last year. I was using this race as a hard training day as it was one week before my very first 24 hour race.

We lined up and there was 8 of us, which is a lot larger than last years entries. The gun went off and I settled into 4th place and kept the 3 in front of me in my sights. I watched them all gain about 5 seconds on each other and the gaps didn't change much until the paved trail at the north end of the park. Then it split up a little bit more, or should I say, I fell off a little bit. I was not worried, I was racing at my pace and was staying there, although I wanted to do some drafting, it wasn't imperative that I did or did not, it would just make my life a little easier.

A mechanical would take out the 2nd place guy and that would move me up to third. I could see the guys in front of me in one place on the second lap, but they were to far in front of me to make a run for it. So I settled in again and did my best to keep those behind me...well, behind me. When on the end of the second lap a single speeder come up on me pretty fast and I was ready to let him go by, he said he didn't want to and we flew through the single track in unison. We passed a few slower sport riders and kept our pace up, we came around the start/finish area and he kept up a nice pace and I slowed to grab a water bottle from a pit crew member. Got my mojo going again and I went back out for my third lap feeling good.

The third lap was good, on pace of the first two laps and I was feeling good and I couldn't see any competition coming up, so I was happy. At the start of my fourth and final lap I climbed the Water Tower Hill and caught a few slower riders. At this point I just assume they are leftovers from the Sport race, but I come up to a group of 8 riders in a single file line in the first single track section and no place to pass. This went on for the entire last lap, although it did slow my lap time down by 2 minutes there was no mishaps that I seen and the beginners were enjoying their foray into mountain bike racing...and that's what it's all about!

I ended up with 3rd place which was a pleasant surprise.

Ride safe!

12 Hours of Drummond Island

Well, it was a wet weekend up north and it didn't disappoint for the 12 Hours of Drummond Island. Although it did hold off until the later hours of the race it made the first mile of the course pretty scary, I crashed on my 3rd to the last lap, so I was a little apprehensive after that. Once the darkness came, I was done and only managed 7 laps.

The overall series is my number one priority and I didn't want to chance another crash and yet another injury. This has been the year of crashes and injuries for me and I was the only in my class, so I was unmotivated to go out in the dark. I will save it for another day.

Ride safe!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tree Farm Shakedown

I met a few of my Cycletherapy home fries...Derek Hill, Ed Barker and The Kid, Jason Acker. We did an easy lap with some Cycletherapy club mates and had a good time. But I wanted to try this tight and twisty trail at race pace, so the 2nd lap was all business.

If you haven't rode the Farm, then I will tell you it's like a slinky all stretched out and then laid out to rest. There are a few straight aways, but few is the keyword. Lot's of roots on the corners so it makes things interesting.

We ended up having a 2nd lap time of around 51 minnows. Not bad as it's been only the 3rd time I've rode there.

We are assembling a team for the Tree Farm Relay on Saturday the 24th. Should be a good time!

Ride and smile!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The 12 Hours of Ithaca

If there ever was a close-to-perfect race, this was it.

I have to tell ya, this race was unworldly. At about the 4 hour mark I was thinking it was going to be a short day as my hands starting hurting. So I started taking small breaks (like 2 min.) off the bike when it was time to grab a new water bottle in my pit. With these short breaks it was enough to keep me going on the bike, but my lap times were falling. I was doing 24:30 minute laps for the first 6-7 laps but then slowed to 25:30 laps. But it didn't matter, I was still rolling and staying on the bike and that is what is most important. At one time I was tied for 1st overall, and when my friends (The Kreger family, Bryan and Jennifer) told me, I was rejuvenated, but my hands still hurt. This course has over 1200 turns, no kidding, which will explain why my hands hurt, I haven’t done this much turning since being lost in the new Meijer store layout.

At about the 5 hour mark is when the race just started to reach a plane I have only experienced maybe once or twice. I was riding the trail seamlessly. In other words, there were no favorites spots, or fast spots or slow spots or most unfavorite spots, it just turned into a long ribbon of single track where everything blended together, where it just flowed, no matter what I did, it just flowed without interruption. I didn't even stop at the pits except for a quick water bottle change every other lap and I just rode thinking I would blow up any minute, but I was enjoying the ride and kept going!

Up to this point I was not worried about where I was at in the race standings, but my friends would tell me every now and then. Then right at dark, I stopped to see the standings and much to my surprise I see a guy who I didn't think was racing and he was in front of me by two laps, I was a little disappointed, but I was still riding out of my mind, so I went to my pit and grabbed another bottle, some Endurolytes (an electrolyte replacement tablet), some energy gel and went back out with lights turned on! This lap turned out to be my slowest, but the transition from day to night is always requires some adjustment.

At about 10:30 PM, my buddy Bryan was telling me that I was tied for first in the single speed class again, but the guy was still in front of my by 7 minutes. So he gave me a little pep talk and told me to "get going!!!" I sped off and starting talking to myself (which my therapist tells me not too) and doing the math, I had to cut 3:30 out of his lead in each of the next two laps, which can be done, but again, I had to ride out of my mind even more so. So I was pedaling where I was coasting before, the light change was totally over and I was able to start "flowing" again and I was able to turn in lap times under 30:00, which isn't too bad after 11 hours of racing and 140 miles. I decided to do two more laps and I have one full bottle and a small handful of Endurolytes and I was ready to do two fast laps without stopping and hopefully gain all the ground I needed.

As I kept going, I was thinking I may catch up to him on the 2nd of these two laps, the trail is quiet and hardly anyone is on the trail at this time of the race. Every now and then you can see a headlight or taillight, but you don't know where they are as the trail twist and turns all over, so I relegated myself to 2nd place but in the back of my mind I was hoping that maybe the 1st place guy was ready to pull off and call it a day. At this time of the race you don't know exactly what's going on, so if you have enough gas left you should be planning on staying out as long as possible and be as fast as you safely can, so I come in to the start/finish area at 11:55 with my two planned laps done and I decide to do another lap. I shout out to the volunteers that I am going out for a last lap, that way they know I'm out there and still racing. (This race format allows you to start your last lap up to 11:59:59 if the race ends at 12:00 midnight) I felt surprisingly good and was ready just to go slow on this last lap, but I wanted to push it as hard as I could without wrapping myself around a tree or cramping and see if I could pull off another -30 lap time….soon, it would be all over.

I came in to the start/finish with a sense of relief as I knew I was done, but I was also very, very surprised at how well I felt. My buddy Bryan came up to me and told me that my competition ended up stopping at around 11:00 or so and I ended up doing 3more laps in that time frame. So I ended up beating him by 3 laps, which was very cool.

In the end, I was first in my class (Solo Single Speed) and 5th overall. I did 27 laps on a 5.6 mile course, so I ended up racing over 151 miles!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bike Away From Diabetes

As some of you know, I am an Objibwa/Potawatomi Indian. My reservation (where both my parents were born) is Walpole Island Indian Reserve on the St. Clair River. But what most of you don't know is that on a national average diabetes in Native Americans are at a much higher rate than the average white person.

Here are some alarming statistics;

1. American Indians/Alaska Native adults were 2.7 times as likely as white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes. 2. American Indians/Alaska Native adults were almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes in 2006. 3. American Indians/Alaska Native adults were 1.6 times as likely as White adults to be obese. And 4. American Indians/Alaska Native adults were 1.3 times as likely as White adults to have high blood pressure.

So with this in mind The Walpole Island Health Center asked me to come for a few visits to help motivate and educate tribal members on cycling and cycling safety and more importantly, promote a healthier life style thru exercise. We had 4 Saturdays set aside with the first one to talk a little bit about cycling and some of the rules and throw in a smaller ride. The other days we will slowly increase our mileage on our rides and hopefully conclude with about a 10 mile trip.

We had riders from age 12 to 40 something's. Everything went well and our first trip included a rest stop for drinks, fruit or a snack bar and then we headed back. We took turns having ride leaders and we practiced our single file riding and hand signals.

We also handed out small log books to keep track of our time spent on the bike. This would help them keep a few minor details of how they felt during the ride, the wind and weather and the time on the bike. At the end of the our four schedule rides, we would award the participant who had the most minutes.

The four sessions went well, we had a little humidity and heat, but no rain and the participants ended up doing a 2 hour ride with a lunch stop in the middle. Our rider with the most time on the bike won a bicycle and another boy won a unicycle! We averaged 12 participants per session and to me that's a success story indeed!

Back Road Ride

Hey, long time no has been busy, a good busy. I didn't ride the bike much but managed to get back in the groove of late.

Saturday a few single speed buddy's and I set out to do a back road ride. We had planned for a "3 hour cruise" or maybe a little bit more. Four of us set up at a leisurely pace and the usual banter came just before the first climb for the Polka Dot card. We hit the climb and sized each other up to see who may "win" the first climb, I personally like to let everyone lead out and see who's feeling it today. Everyone's techinque is different and sometimes tells a different story. I like to stand and "dance" on the pedals and this time was no different. With the final turn out of the way and just Chris Werth and myself out front, it was time to hit the gas and see what you had.

After it was all said and done, the heart rate up to 177 bpm and me seeing stars (not really), I looked forward to the long downhill and just take it easy. As we all go together again, the usually comments ensued and we kept going.

We did a nice loop towards Romeo and Wayne and Bryan had more important things to do so they turned around at about 40 minnows and Chris and I kept going. We did a nice loop just on the Romeo city limits and then towards Rochester. I was planning on doing the Watters Bump and Run race, a fairly gnarly (you will get wet) 4 mile running (yes, running) trail race with some He-Man drills thrown in. When we got to Bloomer the tailend finishers were just coming in and they were wet from head to toe. During our ride out we quickly asked two participants if they liked the race and both raved about it, so, I may have to give up a future 50 miler to do this race, sorry.

Any who, it was back on the bikes, ride to the Paint Creek Trail back to home, and as we passed Chicken Shack, Applebee's, Sagebrush Cantina and finally Buffalo Wild Wings our attention turned to food, but we had a nice spin and cool down all the way home.

50 miles, 2480 calories burned, avg. heart rate was 132, max 177, fun factor 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Single Track...finally!

Well, it's that time of year, the spring thaw is gone, the trails are dialed and I was ready to ride some singletrack. I grabbed the Stumpy this morning, threw on top of the Jeep and went straight to PLRA after work.
My buddy Richard called at the last minute and met me out there. We got there about the same time and took off. The trail was actually pretty dry. It's been a while since I've rode out there and with a rigid fork, it reminded me why I don't go out there to often, it was a rough ride! What made it worse is my sprang hand, which is painful on the bumpy downhills while braking, and as we all know, the first 3 miles at PLRA is all that. So I backed off a little and had a good easy ride. I forgot to turn on the Garmin, so no vital stats to give, but PLRA is in good shape and ready to rock!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ride Baby, Ride!!!

A good friend of mine always tells me that when it's time to get the bike out. So today, when he emailed me and said, "RBR!!!" (ride baby ride), I had too!
27.5 miles with an average heart rate of 143 and a max of 171. I burned around 1600 calories, so the Frito's I had at lunch were fully justified and enjoyed! It was a nice ride, good average heart rate and when I looked at the Garmin print out, it was like a good EKG read out! Nothing eratic! The sun was out and it was beautiful...tomorrow, PLRA!!! Trails...for the first time this year!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Specialized Romin SL Saddle

The latest bicycle component that I have purchased is the Specialized Romin SL saddle. While it is designed for the road, specifically time trialing and triathlon, I thought it's design would lend itself well for the needs of my backroad rocket ship the Specialized Tri-cross single speed.

The Specialized Body Geometry components are designed for comfort which in the end will equal performance. The saddle is medically proven to assure blood flow to sensitive areas, while I'm not a doctor, one ride on this saddle proved to be one of the most comfortable saddles I have ever had the pleasure of throwing a leg over. The cutout in the middle of the saddle is not felt in the least bit, which is probably the intent of the design, no pressure points or areas, just pure comfort.

With the nose of the saddle almost an inch longer than a regular saddle like the Toupe, it gives you valuable real estate fore and aft to gain valuable traction or get aero. The titanium rails keep the weight don and the tough Micromatrix cover is water resistant.

You may ask yourself what difference a saddle would make on a bike primarily used on the gravel and dirt roads of rural Michigan. With one gear, you are forced to use a different riding style than normal, momentum and power is a key element. For instance, if you are on a long sustained climb where you can stay in the saddle, I'm usually sliding foward on the seat to throw more power down on the pedals. With the Romin SL, I am able to do this more effectively with a more comfortable position, thus holding the position longer and if it's a longer ride or race, I can do this more often without fatigue.

When it's all said and done, the comfort of this saddle and its ability to provide me a more efficient ride far outweigh (no pun intended) any weight weenie saddle I have had previously. The Romin comes in two versions, the Romin SL (tested here) with titanium rails and a slightly higher price tag and a comoly version along with a smaller price tag, but the same great ride qualities!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Barry-Roubaix 2010

The first race of the season was a real test of mettle. With not knowing much about the course except for what my misleading buddy told me, =;) I was able to make the proper selection in gear choice and weaponry. With a 1.5 mile rollout and over 600 cyclists, the first part of the race was probably the most eventful. I could tell the "roadies" from the mountain bikers and I each have their own uniqueness, some good, some bad, some that shine and some that doesn't shine. If you can determine who you are with, you can use it to your advantage.

My second concern was with the fixie and how much time I would lose on the downhills. Being a fixed gear bike you HAVE TO PEDAL all the time, no coasting. So with that said, I would actually have to use the brakes to slow down on downhills so I could keep pedaling. Any group I was working with would be long gone. I was getting a little bummed out but soon realized that everyone in my class would be facing the same issue.

After the first part roll out we got to experience the most "technical" part of the course, it was very reminiscent of the certain sandy area's in a certain first weekend of November race near Traverse City complete with carnage and tailgating racers, which induces even more carnage. Once past this section, it was wide open racing with some good and challenging power racing. And when I say power racing, I mean climbs that are not sustained, pitch differently and just require some power to get up and over. I seen a fellow fixie racer on such a climb walking his trusty steed and I thought this would be a good time to pounce. He had other ideas as his gear was more condusive to higher speeds everywhere else. I stayed with him for a short time, but was unable to keep it up on the downhills.

With each successive climb and downhill, I would be losing time until my calves starting cramping and I was forced to do something about it, this would be the exact moment I would learn something about "fixie racing". I would unclip after a burst of energy and let gravity take over. It must have been a sight to see and one fellow racer commenting on my technique, little did he know I discovered it out of necessity, but it allowed me to go faster on the downhills, sometimes 4-5 mph faster!

With my new technique I am somewhat reenergized or maybe it was the fact my calves werent' cramping anymore. With part of the last course being all downhill, literally, race fans and volunteers just weren't saying that, it was all downhill and I could tell as geared folks were flying by at high rates of speed and a tandem passed me like I was standing still. But once it flattened out for the last 3 miles, I put head down and gave all I had left, spinning like a madman, drafting off some gear folks and then once we entered the park road, it was soooo much fun. Along side of me was Dave Massey the Specialized Rep and some other fast cat, we all took turns turning up the heat and it as a blast, with the last chacane thrown in complete potholes it made for an exciting finish.

I ended up finishing fourth in the Expert Fixie Class with a time of 2:08:13. I learned a few things about the bike, the race and will return with some different fitness in mind and a few tweaks of the gear...and the technique...the technique will be improved!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dog bite ride

I have a favorite loop that I do, I've done this loop many times with friends (all two of them) and all alone (which is normal...sniff, sniff). Anywho, about 10 minnows into the ride is a long gradual climb, along this climb is many houses and a dog. I've never seen the dog until tonight and I seen it under a good head of steam and I seen it's teeth up close and personal...and my ankle not only seen it, but felt it's teeth. Yes, I got a bite. 35 years of serious riding and this is my first dog bite! It's not really a bad bite, it didn't break any skin, but it made some contact and it bruised a little.

After the dog altercation I got my mojo back and started to get going again. This loop has Rattalee Lake Road hill and Granger Road hill, two climbs where a 64 gear inches ratio will be put to the test...or more like 64 gear inches putting me to the test. I survived all climbs and did the loop 22 minnows faster than I have done it before...excellent!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Back Road Ride

I just completed a 1 hour and 50 minute back road ride with my good friend Richard. I am in Barry Roubaix training mode and am looking forward to the B-R on March 27. The bike of choice for this race will be my Specialized Tri-cross single speed and it's "fixed". So no coasting for me, just pedaling my little heart out until I cross the finish line.
I have enjoyed the "fixie scene" so far, I've racked up a fair number of miles this past winter being "fixed". It has been an easy transition from the my usual single speed riding and I have been fortunate enough not to have the dreaded Superman-over-the-handlebars-
because-I-forgot-I-couldn't-coast crash.
But back to today's ride, it went well, we did one of my favorite routes that includes the Rattalee Lake road climb, it's long and has a nice steeper pitch at the top just to remind you that you are human. A lot of the roads were freshly graded, so the skinny tires were dancing a little more than normal. According to the Garmin, my top "fixed" speed was 25.9 mph, which is some serious spinning with a 39x17 gear!
Tomorrow at 10:00am at the Cycletherapy Bicycle shop will be the 24 Hours of Spinning for the Waterford Youth Coalition. Our team and others will be spinning from 10:00am Saturday to 10:00am Sunday. Lot's of stuff to do, trainer drive-in theatre, seminars for everything concerning bikes and racing, a fashion show at midnight and some good ol fashion spinning! Everyone is welcome!!!