I've come to the realization that you have good days and bad days...but two bad races in a row is telling me something different. Both of these races were in the 90's, so the heat may have played a factor.
The temps were comfortable at the 10:00 start and I started out comfortably. With the heavy rains we had the prior week leading up to the race the course was re-routed in a couple places so it was a crap shoot for my gear selection. I can't remember what gear I had last year, but with this course design there is no gear that works well for the entire course. We had a long section of rails to trails so a bigger gear would be ideal, but once you get off that, you have a long section of two track and single track where it seemed all you did was a steady climb except for two portions of switchbacks, so it was a decision that had to be made carefully.
With that said, I used a 34x18 on my Specialized S-Works Carbon Single Speed rocket ship...well, maybe for the first 3 hours it was a rocket ship, but I'm getting ahead of myself. About the third lap I started to do some evaluation of my gear selection. I would keep track of where I would need my tall gear and I realized the only spot would be on the rails to trails. With the new single track replacing some two track, I need the gear even less, so I decided to change gears. Actually, I asked Bryan Kreger to change my gear while I rode my back up bike...this is where my demise started showing its ugly face.
I swap bikes and I'm off again...and the difference in the bikes if felt immediately, not a bad difference, but a difference nonetheless. The back up bike is totally rigid so the big set of switchbacks is a little rougher, but on the smooth part of the trails, it's like "butta". But one major issue was the gear selection on the back up bike was EVEN harder than what I had on the other bike so the next lap would involve some walking.
I completed the lap on the back up bike and upon my arrival into the pit, Bryan has some not-so-good news for me, I need a spacer on the cassette body for the new cog to work and neither of us have any spacers in our tool boxes, so I stop and Bryan figures out a plan that works for the both of us and I agree and I head out to do another lap on my back up bike.
When I get back to the pit Bryan has my bike ready and I head out again. At this point I have 11 laps in and the heat is starting to take it's toll on me. I am nauseous and pretty light headed, especially on one climb where it's all in the sun and it feels like an oven. I have to stop as I get dizzy, I take a small break and get a drink and wait until the dizziness subsides. As I wait, fellow single speed competitor Steve rolls up and both of us talk about the downward spiral of our race plans. We both head out at the same time and have a little fun riding together.
I manage two more laps with a long break before them and realize it's not in the best interest health wise to keep going, so I decide to stop and just recooperate with my friends. I don't know what's going on with the heat issue I'm experiencing this year, but hopefully we get a couple cooler races or I'm in trouble.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
My intentions for this race was to use it as a tune up for the Mohican 100 in Ohio in 2 weeks. I wanted to gauge my fitness and see what I had to work on. Pre-race bantering on the MMBA Board had me wondering about gear ratio, but I stuck to my original plan and went with a 34x18 on my Specialized Stumpy fully rigid 29er.
With the weather playing a huge role in this race, I also decided to stay with a Specialized S-Works Fast Trax LK up front and Specialized S-Works Renegade in the back, this prove to be a worthy set up as I had no issues except in the greasy spots, but then again, everyone did. So the extra wheelset with more knobbier tire was not needed.
As we lined up for the gun to go off, I spot Wayne Cook, a man who I have chased in just about every race around here. He's fast and he's good. I am unable to spot any other bikes with just one gear so I focus on him...for about 3 minutes because he takes off as soon as the gun goes off and I settle into a nice little group of 7 riders.
We wind our way through the roller coaster section of the race course and we have a pretty good clip going. Michigan Endurance Queen Danielle Musto is in this group along with 16 year old Kurt Voight. As we come to an intersection of single track going across two track, the lead portion of this group stays on the single track and I know enough to turn left onto the two track, so I shout out to them and keep speeding on and they all somehow turn around. A few minutes later, they catch up as they all have gears and I pick a nice little place in the pace line and let them pull me around.
We do this for about 2.5 laps, it's a blast and the pace is higher than I expected or planned, but this is a training ride and a fact finding mission, so I don't mind. This group finally splinters and I am working with Kurt and someone else. I'm happy with where I'm at and finally settle in.
Laps 3-5 I am alone and with a few people here and there, grab a wheel when I can on the flats and then make a move just before the single track so I am not held up. Just after starting the 5th lap, I come up on a few people that I'm not really suppose to catch or much less pass...but nonetheless, it's at a most opprotune time as it's at the beginning of a long flat section. One such rider is Chris Goddard and I grab his wheel and let him know it's me. He pulls me up to the famous Wayne Cook, the man I marked at the start line. I am quite amazed at this situation and us three end up working together for a little bit. Wayne and I end up dropping Chris and then we take turns pulling and take turns checking each others weeknesses and strong points out. He's fast on the flats and I can make time on him on the climbs. We both make a quick stop in the pits, mine is about 15 seconds long, enough time to grab a fresh bottle and some Enduralytes and I'm on my way.
As pull away I look behind me and no Wayne...until about three minutes later, he pulls up behind me and sits on my wheel. We have some fun together flying through the roller coaster section and he shouts out, "Jay, slow down, I don't want to race today, I wanna ride!" We both have a good laugh. But all he was doing was setting me up for a decisive move on the flat section...I sat up a little to stretch and he hit the gas and within 10 seconds he's 100 feet in front of me on a long steady climb. My legs cannot answer so I settle back into my pace and am content to watch him slowly ride away. I decide right then that I will continue to run my race and keep plugging along, I feel pretty good and only my left quad is cramping a little, nothing that a few more Enduralytes and some Hammer Sustained Energy doesn't cure.
As I arrive at my pit at the end of my 5th lap I'm all business and my friend Robin Scurr is waiting there with a fresh bottle (as he has been all day long). He knows exactly what to do and gives me some encouragement then sends me on my way. I am riding all alone on my 6th lap and have a nice pace going. I am surprised at my pace and still am feeling good. About half way thru the 6th lap I come around a corner just before a long climb and I see Wayne pushing his bike, as I ride past him he says, "the race is yours, good job!" So the competitor in me puts an explaination point on the climb to make sure he sees me and keep pedaling (which is hard to do, cause Wayne is a good guy). With him conceding I am rejuvenated, which is a great feeling so late in the race. I press on and continue to keep a decent pace up. I finish the 6th lap alone, stop to grab one more bottle and head out for my 7th and final lap. I ride all alone, pass a few people and have a good lap.
As I near the final huge climb, definitely the hardest climb in the race, I am determined to stay on the bike as I have made all the climbs all day long. I have about 5 revolutions per minute, but the bike is moving and I'm still on it. I push thru and come into the start/finish area and Brent Walk (race promoter) shouts out my name on the P.A. system. I am dirty, wet and tired, but I have a smile and I am very happy with today's effort.
I end up with 7 laps, 73.58 miles in 6:01 hours, avg speed 12.2 mph, max speed 29.3 mph, avg heart rate 149 bpm, max heart rate 169 bpm, climbed 6133 feet and burned 5870 calories!
I get 1st Place in Single Speed Solo and 2nd place overall in the Solo class...not to bad for a 51 year old asthmatic!
Friday, May 6, 2011
This is the first of the Lake Orion High School Spring Race Series. It's a week night race series designed to have some fun and get a little racing in. I use them for high efforts back slash, hard days. Even though the race is short, it's a high effort for the entire race, very similiar to a cyclo-cross race.
With that said, I take a 1/2 lap to get a good warm up in as I know the race will be face paced from the gun with the likes of who showed up. A pace line forms quickly and I am about in 9th place as we dive right down a short hill and head for the single track. My teammate Dave Moore is right in front of me, he offers me his place in line just before we hit the sweet single ribbon of dirt thru the woods...I politely decline and we are on our way.
Shortly after I am regretting my decision as the first six guys slowly pull away. There is no place to pass and I am relegated to letting the lead pack go away. No worries, this is all for fun. As we hit the first open area I make my pass and I am all alone. I see one of the guys has fallen off the pace of the lead group and I slowly count the space between him and I and it's roughly 1 minute. I do some quick deductions and it will be hard for me to make up the time in this short of a race, but I try nonetheless.
As we weave in and out of the turns, berms and valleys I get the false sense I am closer to the one in front of me, but I don't let if fool me and keep pushing the pedals. My goal is try to catch him before the finish line with a few hard efforts, I am unable to bridge the gap. As I look behind me I am making some good time on the people I started the race with. Although I don't know this for sure, but the fact that I can't see them is a pretty good sign that I am. I keep the pace to the end, just to keep my intended 'hard work out' in tact.
I end up finishing in 49:44, 2nd place in the Advanced 40+ group. Bernie Wendel and I are the only cats on single speeds in the group and it's fun to mix it up with all the gears and suspension and what not!
The next race in this series is Wednesday, May 11, another good weekday night for a race...and some fun!
Friday, April 29, 2011
I was suppose to do the Cohutta 100 tomorrow, but my son needs me to help him move out of his dorm room, so I shall be northbound, instead of southbound tomorrow.
With nothing to do on a beautiful Friday evening except ride, I decide to do just that. I don't know my route, I just start riding. Within a few miles I decide to do a big loop and work my way over to Fox Lake Road. This road has a climb that's a mile long and a little over 100 feet in elevation. You may not think that's much, but on a single speed mountain bike on an unimproved road, it's a grinder. My goal is to do this climb three times...I feel real good after my 3rd time, so I do it one more time and make my way back home.
My ride was 31 miles, 2:13 ride time, 13.0 avg speed, 26.5 max speed, avg heart rate 128 bpm, max heart rate 167 bpm, climbed 1564 feet and burned 1601 calories.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
It's another Saturday, I have no plans/obligations so that must mean a long bike ride! Again I will hook up with my two friends/team mates Jay Atwater and Derek Hill at the top secret location in Waterford. We head out pedaling into the wind and kind of know pretty quick that the day will present it's challenges. Our route isn't decided yet, but the first part will lead us to wherever we decide, will it be Fenton and the French Laundry or Holly and the Bittersweet Cafe...we'll decide in a few more hundred pedal strokes.
As we hit the first gravel road, we can see it's going to be a muddy ride which is no problem for the two of us who have fenders, but the one who doesn't, he's going to get dirty. Along with the first part of the gravel road comes a nice long steady climb. I take the lead and set a pace which I believe my two buds will be able to follow. About a third of the way up the climb I stop hearing the noise of an extra set of mountain bike tires following me, but I like my pace so I keep it and much to my surprise, they did not stay with me. Last week in the same spot, it was the opposite way around, I was in the back hanging on to their pace. As we finish the first part of our ride and are ready to cross a paved road I suggest we use some pavement for part of our route, both Jay and Derek agree. We hit the pavement and have a few "downhill coasting" races and a lot of fun. But Derek isn't having the best day and is suffering a wee bit on the climbs, so they decide to make it a shorter ride and with me having the Cohutta 100 in two weeks, I must get some miles in while I have a chance.
With this in mind, I quickly check the weather on my handy dandy smart phone and see there is a dark green swath of rain heading my way. Instead of heading to Holly or Fenton, I turn south directly into the wind. I am feeling very good today, so I decide to go as hard as I can at a comfortable pace. I am doing well and ride some roads that were part of the Tour de Cure from two years ago. Traffic is light and the roads are cyclist friendly.
I make a turn on White Lake road and head east back towards my starting location. I take White Lake road all the way back to the Waterford area and wind my way back to the top secret starting location. I go around the block one more time to get in an even 40 miles.
My totals for the day 40.01 miles, ride time 2:28, avg speed 16.1 mph, max speed in the coasting races 39.6 mph, avg heart rate 140 bpm, max heart rate 167 bpm, climbed 1268 feet and burned 2046 calories.
It was a great ride, I didn't want to stop, but the wind and rain had other plans.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
With my busy schedule I do most of my training all by my little lonesome self. So when I ride with some friends it's always enjoyable. Then throw in a route I've never done before and its like a whole new adventure.
The plan was to ride the city of Holly from a top secret location in Waterford. We pounded a little pavement before hitting the dirt. I'm on my single speed cross bike and the two cats I'm riding with, Derek and Jay Atwater or on geared mountain bikes. So I'm pretty sure I'll have my work cut out for me. The warm up wasn't much of a warm up, we had a pretty good clip going...not the most ideal conditions for this old man, I need a little bit slower and longer warm up, but no worries...I have to able bodied cyclists to draft from! =:)
As we head out of the township of Waterford we find the solace of dirt and then some of the climbing starts. We head out Pontiac Lake road to Cuthbert then wind our way north to Rattelee Lake road and I-75. We turn west and hit some longer sustained climbs, after Derek doing most of the work to this point, we take turns pulling and seeing who can do the most damage on the climbs. It turns into a little contest and we have some fun.
Upon entering the little hamlet of Holly our conversation turns to food, yes, this is a food ride where our turn around destination is some place to grab some grub and then head back. When we pull up to the appointed eatery, we realize they are closed. After some quick thinking by Mr. Atwater, we point our bikes to the Bittersweet Cafe. So one block later we are relieved to find it open and the place was hopping. We are greeted with a Chamber of Commerce type person who is happy to see us and invites us to experience the downtown area. We enter the cafe with our bright orange kits on and grab a table. We are greeted by one of the owners and they too are very appreciative of our visit, and inivte us back and plants a seed for a group ride.
As we saddle up and head back after some good food we head out easy this time and get ready for some hills. My plan is to attack each hill and see what I have. Some hills I can get my rhythm with one gear, the ones with a steep pitch, not so much. Either way, I am working hard to test my limits and if I can drop my geared buddies, well, that's just icing on the proverbial cake.
We have a good hard ride on the way back, take turns pulling and we end up with a nice cool down on some pavement and one stupid driver who wanted to see how close he could get without hitting us...in the words of the great Bugs Bunnny, "What a maroon!"
Other than that, it was an awesome ride with 50.3 miles in 3:21 average speed 15.0 mph, max speed 30.1 mph, average heart rate 141 bpm, max heart rate 176 bpm, climbed a total of 1959 feet and burned 2618 calories!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Let's see, spring has officiallly arrived, the robins are singing and have been so for a week or two, and the bicycle race season has officially been kicked off...so why is it still 32 degrees out for a high temperture? Who knows.
Any who, I went out for an easy recovery ride...a day late, I should have went yesterday. But it was not meant to be. I have a lot of little, middle size and large loops I can do on gravel roads around the hood. Today I wanted to go for about an hour and 15-30 minnows.
I put the fenders on and was ready to combat any conditions the roads may dish out. I've never had fenders before so it's kind of nice not to have a trashed bike. The conditions ranged from ice...dirty ice, to some soft light mud. All rideable and all good.
My ride time was 1:13, 17 miles, average speed 13.8 mph, max speed 21.4 mph, average heart rate 136 bpm, max heart rate 164 bpm, climbed 570 feet and burned 885 calories. So, with those stats, my ride plan was accomplished, nice and easy...with a few harder efforts up the hills.
A good ride, but I really wanna get rid of the winter tights! =;)
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Otay, I love this race, I love the course. It mimic's a lot of how I train, back roads on my single speed cross bike. And most of my early season miles is on the fixie...so this race is nothing new, my body is use to this type of race.
What I wasn't use to was the gear ratio that I selected. I've been running a 38x17 the past two months. Last year I had a 39 tooth chain ring along with some different cranks, so I assumed I used a 39x16. So I decided to switch from a 17 tooth to a 16 tooth and I thought I would be okay.
I was in Wave 3 with all the people over 40, single speeders and fixed geared racers. There were a ton of fast cats, so the roll out was fast and I could see the lead group pull away, which is no big deal so the panic button wasn't hit just yet. The pavement treated me well with my gear selection...I was rolling along, spinning at about 110 rpm's while working a little on the climbs. I was happy. Then we hit the dirt and a few climbs. In traffic, with a long line of cyclists in front of you, it's hard...no, impossible to ride the single speed style which is gain some momentum before the climb, so I was working real hard near the top of the climb. After a couple of these, I was unable to recover as I would have to keep pedaling down the other. With this said, I didn't even bother hitting the panic button, I threw the whole thing away. I knew my day was done and it was confirmed when people that I am always in front of starting passing me.
With each proceeding climb, I was digging deeper and spending more money than my account had. I decided not to worry about the race and my standing as I did have some big plans. I stilled raced when I could, but with this gear ratio, I lost way to much time on the climbs.
I ended up finishing in 2:26, a whopping 18 minnows slower than last year! I never cramped, just couldn't turn the cranks like I wanted too. I have a good baseline of where my fitness is at and let's just say...I'll be riding more real soon...just don't run me over on the pavement...
Monday, March 21, 2011
24 Hours of fun, hanging out with all my cycling peeps and more importantly raising funds for the Waterford Coalition for Youth (WCFY). This organization helps promote a safe and healthy way of life for the youth in Waterford, Michigan, which is the same city my favorite bike shop, Cycletherapy resides in.
Our goal was to have at least two riders riding at the same time. A few times throughout the 24 hours, we would have up to 5 or 6 riders at one time. My time was from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Saturday afternoon and then from 10:00 PM to midnight Saturday. I ended up going to 5:00 PM on my first shift as there was a misunderstanding in our time assignements and there was no one to ride. I didn't mind, it was good to be one the bike.
After my first shift I got a massage for a donation which went to the WCFY. It was a good choice as my legs were fresh for my later stint. I hung out for a while and chatted bike nerd stuff with other bike nerds. Families were there and a lot going on.
As 10:00 PM neared I got into a fresh kit and set my bike back up on my rollers...which were borrowed by others throughout the day, so setting up was just throwing my bike back on. As I got back on the bike, it was apparent the bee-hind would be a little sore, but not too bad. We popped in a new movie and the two hours went by fast. Just before my 2nd shift ended, others were setting up for their midnight shift...three riders, pretty good for a midnight gig.
Overall I was on my bike for 5 hours. It went by very fast. Lots of funds were raised for the WCFY and Ernie had a great sales day! So overall, it was a huge success. Thanks Ernie and to all those who pedaled!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Did a nice little ride tonight, nothing to long as I did a "Power Pump" workout at work today during lunch. You may ask yourself what's a Power Pump class? Well, it's kind of like a P90X routine, non stop fun. So tonight was just a spin on some back roads, just me and the mud. I have a read fender on and it kept me pretty clean on the back side. With a skinny cross tire on the cross bike...FIXED gear of course, the wearing of mud was kept to a minimum.
I managed 17.3 miles, 1:15 ride time, avg speed 13.8 mph, max speed 22.0 mph, avg heart rate 141, max heart rate 177 bpm, total feet climbed 515, total calories burned 815.
I'm somewhere around 400 miles this year...yippee!!!
I managed 17.3 miles, 1:15 ride time, avg speed 13.8 mph, max speed 22.0 mph, avg heart rate 141, max heart rate 177 bpm, total feet climbed 515, total calories burned 815.
I'm somewhere around 400 miles this year...yippee!!!
I signed up for the Cohutta 100 in Ducktown, Tennesee. I Can't wait, I love this part of the country. I have friends not to far from there and will make this a mini vacation...Question: What's a vacation without the bike, some pain and a little work? Answer: Not a real vacation. (Just kidding.)