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!