Sunday, May 15, 2011

6 Hours of Stony Creek

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!

Go race!

Friday, May 6, 2011

L.O.H.S. Spring Race May 5

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!

Go ride.