Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mohican race report

Yesterday I lined up with 400 other racers for the start of the Mohican 100 races in Loudonville Ohio. The start was right on Main Street going west and up a long climb to spread the pack. The siren went off and I settled into a comfortable pace without red lining at the beginning, I didn't want to burn too many matches in the first mile. We rounded the first corner and headed to the first section of single track I sprinted ahead of a bunch of riders that were going too slow. My team mate Steve told me that as soon as I saw or smelled the pig farm to try to get ahead of as many riders as possible before hitting the single track. In retrospect I probably should have gone all out and then try to settle into a comfortable pace, it was a long snake or riders I was following. I must have entered the single track somewhere in the top 150 riders. In what has become a habit when I race the mountain bike, I fell 3 times within the first 5 miles. The first time I hit a wet root while I was leaning on a turn and went down hard but was able to get up quickly without anybody passing me. The second time I was very close to the rider in front of me following his line when he took the wrong line but was able to correct himself, I wasn't fast enough and hit a tree stump (big one) with my right pedal and went down harder than the first time. I hit the stem with my stomach and lost a bit of air. Still I was able to mount up as fast as I went down. But then the noise started, when I fell the front derrailleur got bent and the chain was rubbing and making a terrible loud noise. I rode a few miles like that because I didn't want to loose any more time, finally I had to stop to make repairs and it was another few minutes. Didn't get it fully straight but it wasn't making as much noise. Through out the next 15 miles or so of single track through the state forest I played a game of cat and mouse , chase, catch, rest, pass. Made it through the first aid station took a quick pit stop and took off, 14 miles to the next station. Made the mistake of not filling one of my empty bottles and rode the last 3 miles to aid station 2 without any liquids. Made it to station two and downed one full bottle of water while one of the volunteers went to get my drop bag. Pulled out my hammer stuff re-filled my bottles, two on the bike one in my back pocket and took off, in and out in less than 3 minutes, 12 miles to the next aid station where I decided to have my second drop bag. This section had mostly gravel and paved roads but the hills where long and steep. I fought cramps after the first aid station when I lost all my endurolytes somewhere in the trail and didn't notice until I reached for them. Everytime there was a hike a bike section I was begging for any type of electrolytes from the other riders and was lucky enough to find a few riders with extras, I even took 3 Ibuprofens from one of the single speed racers. The electrolytes helped but once you start cramping is like they are always present every time you try to push it. The way I fight cramps is hitting the area with my nuckles until it alleviates the cramp. It works, try it sometime. Made it to aid station 5 and only had 6 more miles to go. Took a few more endurolytes from one of the volunteers own stach and took off, caught another two riders, rode behind them for a few seconds to catch my breath and then passed them. 4 miles of the state forest single track that we had rode in the morning but this time in reverse. rode those 4 miles like the devil was chasing me but it was just a racer from Indianapolis, enough to give me insentive not to let him pass me which he said he tried a couuple of times but that I was going too fast to pass. When I race I'm a totally different person, I take more chances and ride stuf that sometimes I dismount and walk it. We made it to the bike path together and thought it was over when we took a turn and started going up the same trail we had come down in the morning. This is where he couldn't push it anymore, it was the last hike a bike section (too steep to ride) I threw the bike over my shoulders and practically ran up so he couldn't follow. I passed a few more racers that had very little gas left and made it to the finish line in what appeared to be 6:28 and second place in the masters 50+ division. I was happy to say the least, my goal was sub-7 hours and top 5 in the 50+. Decided to go back home and take a shower rest and go back to the awards presentation at 7pm. Showed up to the awards and to my surprise they had changed my time to 6:46 and 3rd place. I asked the promoter and he said the times had been adjusted. I'm not one to make a scene and start and argument and decided just to go home and send the promoter an e-mail asking why were the times adjusted and hope that he answers. As soon as I hit the line I was loooking for the time clock but they didn't have one so I asked my time and I was told 6:28. My bike computer says 6:26 and I figured I lost a few minutes on the hike a bike sections but not over 20 minutes. I've talked to several people that have done the race and they all have the same complaint, no timing clock and there's always some type of controversy with this race.
Overall I had a lot of fun doing the race and felt good most of the race other than a few miles after aid station 1 where I started feeling fatigued as the race went on the stronger I felt.
I was surprised as how many people just hung around the aid stations wasting time. I was in and out no waste of time, did what I needed to do and that was it. My Team mate Steve finished second overall in the 100K race in the open division. I think Ross finished in the top 10. Denny Stevenson aka Bruce finished as one of the top single speeders.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Great Race Screwed Up Finish

Went to Mid-Ohio today for a race around the race course at 5pm. 12 laps 33 miles and change.
Average speed 21.8, Max speed 39.1, Average cadence 92. The first lap was a fast one then the pace settled a little bit. As usual I didn't get comfortable until around lap number 5. The first 4 laps were painful and my body kept telling me to fake a cramp and pull out. I know myself well so I just keep fighting with my body until it just snaps into race mode. After lap 5 I started feeling good and was able to acelarate with no problems. There's no flat ground there, even the start finish is a false flat. The rest of the laps it was just the same with some guys trying to jump but were quickly chased down. We go by the start finish and the race promoter yell two laps to go, after we started going up the longest grade one rider jumps and gets a gap. I was boxed in in the middle of the pack and couldn't chase, nobody chased for that matter. We go around for what should have been the last lap, coming around the last turn another rider jumps and gets a gap, my friend Rick quickly jumps and I follow, we close the gap and now is just a matter of who's going to take 2,3, and 4 since we had a good gap on the pack. Rick and I outsprint the other rider for what should have been second and third and then we hear the bell lap. The promoter screwed up when he told us 2 laps to go when it was actually 3. I'm half wasted the pack quickly closes in swallows me and spat me off the back. I fought hard to stay with the pack and managed to move up to about a third back of the leaders, I'm thinking I still have a chance for a good sprint. All of the sudden one of the inexperienced riders in the group starts to take the turn at over 35 miles and hour goes too wide and bumps another rider on the hip which looses control of the bike, clamps on the brakes flies into the air with the bike flying higher than him and goes down right in front of me. I had to slow down or hit him while he was laying down on the tarmac and that was it, the pack accelarated I tried to chase but I used too much energy on the sprint that never was. Check the videos and you'll hear Rick yelling at the promoter about how many laps where left.
There where two accidents, the other one a rider took his eyes of the wheel in front of him and overlapped it, went down and took a couple more down with him.
Too many riders with very little racing experience tonight, all over the course overlapping wheels and making everybody nervous. I had to yell at two of them that almost took me down when they crossed from one side of the pack to the other. After the second time I told him that if he did it again I was going to taking him down myself. Never saw him in front of me again. Sometimes you have to be like that or risk going down and braking a bone or getting road rash.
By the way the rider that went down hard broke his collarbone. Too bad he rides for the University of Cincinnati cycling team.
Overall even with the sprint that never was I had a good workout. This is my last hard workout
before the Mohican mtb race.
Thanks to my daughter for taking the pictures and video, she'll do better next time now that she's done it once. Even the wife made it to the race tonight which was nice to see her there.
Butt Butter anyone?

What is he smiling at?

The real finish

The sprint that never was.

The week

The week has been going well. Monday took the day off and only did weights and the spinning class on Tuesday. Wednesday rode to work and felt good in the morning and the afternoon was a totally different ride. All day at work my legs kept getting heavier and heavier as the day went on. To top things off I had a head wind all the way home. Head wind + heavy legs = pain. I felt I had some power but couldn't put it to use. After trying to do an interval I decided to shut it down and limp home. Most of the time is the morning rides to work that hurt and the afternoon ride home is good. Yesterday went out for about 2 hours of easy spinning getting ready for todays race at Mid-Ohio race track, same place as in March. Tomorrow and Monday I'll probably go to Reagan Park in Medina for some mountain biking. Went Thursday and the trails are in perfect shape. From Tuesday on is tapering for the Mohican 100K mtb race on Saturday. Hopefully it'll not rain or it could be a death slog through the mud.
The other races or rides I'm planing on doing are:
Wayne Ultra part of the west Virginia endurance races. June 28th.
Rain Ride ride across Indiana, 160 miles in one day. I did this one in 2006. Top 40 finisher out of 1200. July 18th.
Off road Assault on Mt. Mitchell, NC, 60 miles of mostly climbing. This one is going to be a hard one, specially comming the week after the Rain Ride. July 26th.
Cheat Mountain Challenge in West Virginia, 10,000 feet of climbing in 106 miles. August 15th.
After those I'm looking at a couple other endurance races in September and November. Yes, I'm going to need the whole month of August to recuperate.
Write up and pictures about tonight's race later.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last few days

Have been riding getting ready for the Mohican race. Went to Mohican state park Saturday and Sunday. Saturday I was by myself and rode at my own pace to start and once I warmed up and my body snapped into racing mode I ended up with the fastest lap I've ever done there 2:37:25. Later in the summer I'm going to try for a 2:30 time. I'm not like a bunch of the guys I ride with, they can jump on the bike and go fast from the get-go. I'm like a diesel engine, I need time to warm-up and let my body get into a grove. I've always been like this, even after I warm up for a race it takes me a while to get going. Saturday I was able to hang with Ray, Ken and Frank until the parking lot at the top of the mountain thanks to the pace they were riding at. After that my legs told me it was time to go slow.
Today (5/20/09) rode in to work and what a great morning to ride. Not many cars passed me and I dressed perfect. It's great to see the sun shinning so early in the morning. Let you know tonight how the ride home went.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What a difference

What a difference a day makes. Monday on my ride home from work I had cement legs. Turning the pedals at a decent cadence didn't work and it was actually painful at times. The whole ride home I was looking for something to make the ride better. Needless to say, I never found anything that would have helped me. I even thought about making the call of shame but I'm to stubborn to make a call and have my wife come pick me up. I have called my wife to come pick me up but that's when I'm in a hurry riding home from work, usually at 130th Metropark parking lot. Wednesday I rode to work again and felt ok. The ride home was great, I made it to 130th in the fastest time this year 1:28:30. And that's after doing the 5 intervals I do on my way home and resting in between. The human body is something else, I didn't do anything different or ate anything different. That's just the way it works, sometimes you have it sometimes you don't. If we could only know how our body is going to react during a race...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's up

Haven't posted for a few days figured is time to post again. The last few days have been busy but I've been lazy too when it comes to sit down in front of the computer to blog. I have been trying to log hours on the bike in preparation for the Mohican 100K race. My goal is to do it in under 7 hours. If it rains it could get really ugly. Over the years I've done several endurance events but nothing longer than 50 miles. I still remember my first endurance event back in the mid 80's like if it was yesterday. It was called the Punxsutawney 50 and it was horses runners and bikers. I don't know if they still have it. It was all word of mouth and I haven't been able to find if it' still alive. The horses took off first then the bikers and finally the runners. I never saw a horse and I lapped a bunch of runners. Finished 13th out of about 50-60 riders. Not many people did long races back then. I've always liked them but my preparation back then wasn't very good in terms of nutrition. Just before the race I had a couple of donuts and gatorade. Wow, breakfast of champions. In my pockets I had candy and a pbj sandwich. The funny thing is I don't remember bonking or not having energy.

Anyway, Saturday I went out for a ride at 11am and I got caught in huricane force winds. It was a suffer fest, survival of the fittest. A couple of times I almost got thrown off the bike by a cross wind. rode again Sunday morning for a couple of hours and other than my hamstring tightening up a bit I felt good. Monday I rode to work since it's ride to work week and felt good in the morning and in the afternoon my legs felt very heavy. To top it all off I had head winds again.

Today I just did my Spinning class and I'm riding to work tomorrow.
I've been trying to take pictures while I ride but most of them don't come out right.

The Giro De Italia started Saturday and already an american rider is out. Christian Vandevelde got caught in a crash and was hurt really bad. Broken ribs and a bruised tail bone. There goes the Tour da France for him. It's going to be painful to take a deep breath. But Levi and Lance are in the top 10 in the early stages of the race and after the first mountain stage today. We'll see how they do as the race goes into the second week.
Let you know about tomorrows commute tomorrow of course.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yard work sucks

I love doing yard work and some gardening, but I decided it really isn't for me anymore. Everytime I do yard work at the beggining of the spring I get hurt. If it isn't my back is something else. This time I tweaked my right hamstring during edging pushing the shovel with my right leg. And I know it was that because my left leg is fine. It hurts like heck. I had to use less resistance than usual during my spinning class this morning. I can ride standing up but as soon as I sit down and try to put the power on it, it just hurts. I'm taking the afternoon off and have my lovely wife give me a rub down and hit the whirpool at the rec center tomorrow morning. I can't afford to miss to many days, Mohican is just around the corner and I want two healthy legs to ride on. And I still need at least 3 more yards of mulch and two more yards of soil. It's not happening anytime soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What have I've been doing

Doing a lot of yard work that's what I've been doing. Getting everything out of the way early so all I have to do is cut the grass and have more time for riding.

Went to Mohican Sunday afternoon and rode for a while with Carl from Dayton. He was riding the trail for the first time in preparation for the Mohican 100 mtb race May 30th. which is why I was also there. Mohican is a great place to ride, an mtb trail built by mountain bikers. It flows real good with a few rock gardens and lots of roots to keep you awake. Speaking of rocks, last week I went over the handlebars in one section of the trail when I hit a big round rock head on and didn't react on time because I was fatigued. This time I was ready and feeling good. As soon as I got there it was like "not this time you *&%*$%" I powered over the rock garden and never stopped. I do have to say I fell again. I was flying down the trail like a maniac and came up to this very short right left around a small tree stump and had to make a split second decision, go right and risk going down the side of the hill or go left and see if I can control the bike. I went left and for another couple of seconds it looked like I was going to make it until my front wheel hit the trail again and I lost control. Down I went but the ground was soft with all the pine needles and rotting leaves from last fall. Got up went to the covered bridge pulled out the first aid kit, cleaned up the elbow and kept going. It was a good day.