Monday, April 27, 2009

Splish splash Tim takes a bath!!

Yesterdays duathlon left me semi paralyzed from my insulated 4 pack down so Tim and I went on a recovery ride this evening to spin the legs out and maybe get some blood flowing.

The ride was uneventful until we came back into town. The bridge on the Sippo Trail was burnt down by local dysfunctional juvenile derelicts so we went over the side and crossed the wooden ties laid acros the water at the bottom. I rode across and watched Tim make an effort but before he started I predicted an 80% chance of wet. He chickened out and walked.

We ended up riding down the creek on the gravely bars and beds crossing back and forth to the highest ground making our way back to town. Each time we’d cross the water got deeper and the last crossing was the deepest. I made my way across getting both feet wet and was just getting off the bike to wait on Tim when I heard two very distinct sounds but separate sounds that were merged together. It sounded something like OHFUUUSPLASH. I couldn’t get turned around in time and when I did all I saw was a head, an arm and part of a leg clipped into a pair of spd pedals, the rest was water and a few bike parts!! Luckily for Tim, I could stop laughing long enough to get the camera phone out!! The last mile home was wet as predicted.

Suposedly in France Bonifant means good water. So Mr Bonifant, how was the water?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hinkley Buzzard Duathlon and Biathlon

In the words of Josh McClay “Holy Hanna”!! I was afraid I might be getting in over my head and this week hasn’t been the greatest as far as getting rest and prepping myself for a race I‘d never done before. We were supposed to leave at 7am but Josh called at 6:30 to tell me he was ready, damn early birds. Turra was worried about me using running shoes on BMX pedals instead of changing into cycling shoes. With 2 transitions back and forth and the bike only being 15 miles, there wasn’t much to worry about, I thought. Like any hard workout I try to weigh myself before and after to gage water loss. Damn!! I’m 3 pounds too light for Clydesdale (200+) so I’m racing with the mid-life crisis old guys.

We arrived on time, registered and took a lap by bike and the 1st thing I found out, the course was hilly! There wasn’t a flat spot to be found except for a hundred yards every now and then. The warm up run proved that my legs were in fact still dead from the Wednesday night ride. To make things uglier for me was the fact some sadist placed the start line at the base of the longest hill. The course was 1 lap run, 5 lap bike, 1 lap run unless you were doing the biathlon which you didn’t do the 2nd run. (wimps) I racked my bike with a spare tube, Co2 and a little snack,… time to get my butt kicked.

Run 1 - The passive side beat down the aggressive side and I started mid to back of the pack so I wouldn’t get run over by faster runners but not have to pass stragglers. It didn’t work as I was tripping and stumbling around trying to pass people who were slower. By the time I crested the hill there were runners strung out for hundreds of yards. I have a little of Moto Dog in me and when I see something moving, I chase it. (competitors, not groundhogs!) mixed in with the group were people wearing cycling specific team jerseys so I fixated myself on them and used them as rabbits to motivate me. It worked pretty well and by the end of the run I had made some decent progress but was worried I’d burned one too many matches getting there catching a Stark Velo and a couple Snake Bites along the way.

The Bike - More like push a bike as you can’t ride your bike inside the transition area. My set up was simple, flip the brain bucket on (yes I have a little left to protect) and stuffed my pockets, snatched the bike and ran cyclocrossed onto it and realized “NO RIDING IN TRANSITION”!! Shit, jump off run out of the area and a little extra for good measure to brown nose the officials and remounted.

The last thing I wanted to do was blow up so I eased into this leg only to have a couple guys on full blown tri bikes pass me right out of the gates. Luckily for me these guys can’t climb hills worth a damn on their sport specific bikes and I easily re-passed them long before the top then let my heart rate settle in before hitting it hard. In a time trail you pace yourself to bonk or blow chunks as you cross the finish line but here I had to save energy for run 2. This was going to be hard to gage since I’d never done one of these before. I did the same thing as on the run making forward progress picking off every bike I could see. A few times guys would re-catch me on the easy stuff but as soon as we hit the harder hills they dropped off like they had the brakes on.

The course was 4 cornered so I treated the course like a criterium and dove into them as hard as I could without killing anyone or myself. The downhill 90 was the best for passing as everyone hit the brakes early. I melted my pads trying to get stopped passing 2 and 3 people while braking and nearly wiping the safety cones out each lap. The aggressive riding was taking it’s toll and I had to coast a short bit and stretch my back before it seized. I caught and passed 3 of my friends who do this stuff all the time so I was feeling good but worried about how many were burned that I would need later. At the end of the 5th lap I was so anxious to get the 2nd run over with I turn onto the bike path by mistake where the runners go for transition, DAMN!!! I slammed the brakes on and swerved into the grass, across the gravel berm and back onto the road before too many people could get a good laugh at me.

Run 2 - Now I know why triathletes come to a stop when dismounting, holy cow I had gummy legs!! I jumped off at speed like in a ‘cross race and just about bit it. Luckily my rack was at the far end so was able to use the bike to steady me while running. I racked the bike and tried to run doing my best impersonation of a drunken runner. I guess the fun was over as the final run was boring as as a political debate and I only saw two people the whole time. All the bikes that I had been gaining on in the last two straights were only doing the biathlon and didn’t have to run again, wimps!! (I wish I had been a wimp) ½ way into the final run 2 guys behind me slowly reeled me in and one got by. Luckily he was in a different age group, woohoo!! I didn’t think that finish line would ever come into sight and when it did I was trying my best not to let the 2nd guy catch me. To my surprise they handed me a medal when I crossed the line and it took me a few minutes to figure out I placed 3rd in my age group and of course I immediately wondered if there were only 3 of us entered! I finished in about 1:25, 15 minutes faster than Turra predicted and about a day and half sooner than my own prediction.

The finish line was cool, a whole box of donuts were waiting there for me!! Josh came in about 10 minutes later and when I offered him one he turned white and looked like death warmed over. I forgot he doesn’t do well with the thoughts of food after a big work out, sorry Josh! I got harassed by my friends for using running shoes on the bike but it was from all the guys I had passed! We grabbed our bikes and did a warm down and to my mistake, forgot to check my computer to see my bike split which was worthless as I forgot to start my stopwatch too. Lets see if I can get rested up before Saturday’s 100 mile time trial.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

OCC Sufferama

If having my legs ripped off by Scott wasn't bad enough, I went against better judgement and went to the Orrville Cycling Club Team ride last night.

The ride started ok with me feeling not so ok. Part way through I felt like I might be coming to life. About 3/4 of the way through I somehow managed to out sprint Big Dave for a green sign. A few miles later I was at the front taking my turn pulling. I had been keeping them shorter than usual due to my lack of confifdence in my fitness.

Then it happened. While at the front I was thinking about the pain in my back and my legs. I felt like I was burrying myself for the satisfaction of going fast and getting a work out. It didn't take long to make up my mind and I pulled off to the left, way off. I sat up and just left them go trying to decide if this is really what I want to do.

I've pretty much decided that this year is going to be my year to say screw bicycle racing and just ride for fun.

Maybe next year.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Michael Challenge

I really would like to do a few races this year that require endurance. I’ve been trying to ride long on the weekends and it has been slowly kicking my butt. The 1st attemp was following Scott Luikart where he pretty much destroyed Mark Sclater and I in only 65 miles.

The 2nd attempt was last weekend where I tried to do a hilly Atwood Lake ride on the single speed. Everything went fine until I climbed New Cumberland hill. I didn’t think you could pedal that slow and not fall over. 71 miles later, I finished not feeling too bad.

Today was a totally different story though. The 1st week was Scott killing me, last week the hills, this week it was Mother nature and her blowhard ways. The day started off bad from the beginning as my chain kinked a ½ mile from home. I could have fixed it but went home and replaced it instead. Now I am late and hauling but trying tog et to Bolivar by 9am. Made it on time and headed south with the group. I haven’t spent that much time fighting winds in a long time. The trip down south was pretty spirited as Bob D and Mike took pulls in the high 20’s and sometimes 30mph. I only took my pulls at 25mph and for a good reason. The tail wind we were enjoying was going to turn into the devils breath on the way back.

We left Newcomerstown and headed north and just as suspected, it was a sufferama. I pulled as long and often as I could to build on my endurance hoping for 2 things, workout and keep the cooking so we weren‘t out there all day. The plan almost backfired as 2 of the riders joining me started to hit the wall with 10 miles to their cars. Luckily we were near where I wanted to split off so Chuck waited for the stragglers while I headed home.

I could feel the energy slowly leaving me and the miles started to take longer and longer. I tried to think about racing the KTM but that only made me pedal faster and make things worse. For some reason when I think about racing the motorcycle I get a little tense or hyper depending on what I am doing.

Strasburg, 15 miles to go, 4 climbs along the way, I praying for a limping truck I can draft, no luck, they’re all flying. 10 miles to go, I’m in Stark County and climbing the longest climb before home. The hill is blocking the wind so it is easier than the open flats, still sucks. I’m finally over the 3rd hill, thank God I didn’t ride the single speed!!

Things are looking grim. I keep reaching for my phone but resist the urge. I opt out for the towpath trail and bypass the final climb up Warmington. My legs are cramped, my butt is burning, my back and kidney area aches, still 3 miles to go. Praying for rednecks on 4 wheelers to shot me and stop the misery. I finish off my 4th water bottle and 4th granola bar and 2nd goo pack was downed a few miles ago. ARGH, I forgot by going this was I still had to climb both sections of Walnut!!

97 miles and I finally reach the garage but I am afraid to unclip thinking my leg would collapse upon standing. All goes well and I am able to collapse in the bathtub where I slept for a ½ hour.