Wednesday, July 28, 2010

8 Hours of Epic Encouragement

WOW, had a super fun ride/race Saturday. Made up for any negative feelings I held onto from the previous race for sure.

The week leading up to the race had me very weary of weather conditions as they were calling for 15-20mm of rain. I had also spent the week prior to that relaxing at the cottage and let my training slide completely except for canoeing, swimming and 1 measly 8k ride. Back at the office last week I did my best to get in at least 21K per day except for Friday when I only rode 6k to wind back down. I was feeling pretty good about my return to conditioning by Friday except for maybe mild lack of sleep. All week my wife and I had things going on and did not get settled in until late. Friday night my daughter did Jr. Cheer for the Toronto Argonauts which was great but again left us up until 12:30am.
Saturday morning I woke up in a quiet house at 6:30am. Careful to be quiet and not wake my wife, in-laws, kids, or niece I made and ate some breakfast and began mixing Perpetuem and gathering other foods which would not be used. Grabbed 2 Gatorade bottles on the way out the door for morning beverage needs.

I was off, put the Hardwood Hills co-ords in the garmin and headed for the fun. Part way there I stopped for water and found Red Rain on for 74cents a can so decided to get 4 for post-race wake up. A little further on and got a text that Mike had forgotten his water, stopped in Barrie at an everything store that was equipped with a Water depot and got him 4 gallons of water. Again, I was off...

A short drive further and I was at Hardwood Hills unpacking my bike and daily needs into Mike's tent. Headed in and got my plates and race schwag and got into my racing garb. Day was shaping up well. It was hot and humid but not raining. Mike and I headed down and got in line at the race start. I positioned myself behind a few people I knew were in my category. I also met a couple guys at the start. Always great meeting people in person at these events that you have talked to online. Almost time to go and then time stands still for a bit.

Go!! And we are off. Up the first hill and playing early pole position with one of my competitors. Got ahead and set my sites on the rear tire of another pair of riders led by Peter. I loosly held the tire in question for the next 1.5 laps but they snuck away in traffic after that. My plan was to do 3 laps between first pit and 2 there on out. I had been feeling great early and was not drinking my Perpetuem and started to notice lack of calories. Drank back quite a bit and was right back. Ended up doing 4 laps before first pit and was feeling great. Went in for my first pit stop and refilled my Camelback and grabbed a new bottle of Perpetuem.

Lap 5-6 went well except for my new bottle was a little too fast pour. I decided I was going to do 3 laps but did not have any left in the bottle after 2. Quick pit and back out. Not sure what happened the next lap but it was a game changer. Was pounding through feeling great until I got in the midst of a bunch of other riders and got sloppy. Literally fell off the bike at the crest of a hill between two large trees and hung there from my cleats for a sec. "You alright??" Yup back up and going. Over the same sections that I have already hit 6 times and things are just sloppy this time. Just before the end of the lap within the last 1K i go over a familiar rock that I have found a great line to cross successfully at high speed and... Bang, twist, flop, smash... Head - meet fallen log, hey that guy just asked me if I was ok back there too. Take inventory, head check, neck, check, bike, check, helmet, well sorta check it is not sitting anywhere near right. Ride the few hundred meters to transition and repair the helmet. Great encouragement from the sidelines continue and a how was that lap? I just shook my head and headed for my pit.

Plans change. Time to ease off a bit and stop for fuel and cool-down a bit more. I dumped 2 bottles over my head and took an advil for that new pain in the back of my head. 8th lap was great and the water bottles over the head and Heed at the campsite really brought my temp back to normal. I decided to do so for remaining laps. At the end of lap 8 I was given info that the rear wheel I had chased early in the race had dropped out as well as my early pole position which put me around 4th place. Still feeling too far from the podeum I decided pacing myself was best. If I had realised that I had just been passed coming into transition and was close within fighting distance of 3rd I think I would have played the late game differently. Lap 9-10 were very much the same as 8 and had no bails or anything and energy bursts were good. Nothing to report about bails etc and my hand eye had came back after the cool down sessions. Lap 11 was a slow start. Could not muster my normal attack the first couple climbs and get into it. Pulled away later on the lap than usual. Ended up about midway standing for a little breather atop the hardest climb of the race pounding some heed and ran into Mike. "What are you doing?" I'm dead. "No you are not" and with that it was back I felt like I sprinted the second half of my last lap leaving everything on the course. It was a super fun race and I want to do the fall Epic 8 now. I am very happy with a 5th place finish in Solo SingleSpeed at my first 8 hour solo.

Late in the race I was greeted with a bellowing of egggman, egggman, Mike how you feeling from behind. I said I was hurting and called a pass for the guy in front of me. I wnt out to the right and was passing when he swirved or at least that is my story. My bar end cought in his brake lever and we went down. At this point Mark Somers of Joyride 150 rode by with a little laugh/smirk/you ok kind of thing. Another last lap mini bail came from missing my water bottle cage and doing a little butt over teakettle kinda roll. Ah the comic relief of it all.

It was great to ride with all the people around you giving you props for doing it solo and a few minor heckles about sanity and doing it Singlespeed Solo. I have always had an appreciation for Solo racers but that increased 10 fold over the day. The weather held out other than a couple minor sprinkles late in the day and my wife showed up on my second last lap which put a smile on my face. The picture below is me on the final turn of the final lap taken by my wife. I did not feel like I had as much energy left as the picture shows.

I think I learned a few things about Solo racing Saturday, mostly regarding keeping the fuel coming at the same rate and don't let up or you will get weak. Also make sure to do whatever it takes to cool down when possible. Next time I hope to need less breaks as if I am able to schedule it it will be early fall and much better temps. I think that's all I have to say for now... I'm out...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Motivation or lack there of...

Work motivation fails but work gets accomplished. Today is a day of excitement, nerves, weather network refreshes. Excited to see my daughter cheer at a pro football game tonight. Excited to race in my first solo 8 hour tomorrow. Nervous about racing for 8 hours in humid rainy muck. Nervous that I am improperly nutritionally prepared. Nervous that I am just not in the shape I was last year when I did the 6 hour. Nervous that the course has been said to be verry climb intensive.

Excited to ride!!!! Ride I shall do!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An unnececary hard mental journey

I have not written in quite some time, partially due to frustration regarding my last race. Partially due to vacation (Which helped me squelch the frustration).

Summer Solstice promised to be an amazing 24 hour race after great spring showings and lots of early season training. I was on a great team with great guys and we were there to have fun. All of these things happened. It was a great time, it was a great race. We all had a great time.

Friday night we arrived at the campground and setup camp. We went to the local town and I ate a great heaping dinner of Liver and Onions at the pub with a couple of beers. Best plan would have been to go back and go to sleep at this point. However we went back had a couple more beers and went up to the on-site brew pub they have setup for these events. I did not by any means have too many drinks that night but enough, coupled with lack of sleep to bring my on-bike performance much lower than I was expecting.

My first lap my Odometer failed and I spent too much time fiddling and not enough time riding which ended me out with a 57 minute lap. I was disappointed with this time and it would only get worse from there. I was too hard on myself and probably drained the others on my team a bit too with my mild negativity. I pulled the fastest laps on our team and was still negative about my times at camp, this was not fair to anyone.

To boot I tried different race nutrition which kept me full but never actually energetic. Not sure if this was more due to lack of sleep the night before. As you can clearly see in the image i was just worn down during this race.

In my first night lap I had decided that I was going to put the negativity behind me. I was riding hard thru the first 1/3 of the course when something I have never seen in a race happened. Medics cleared us off our bikes and had us wait as they carried a rider past on a backboard. When we were given clearance I shot off again and within seconds bailed on a wet root only to land right beside the bike of the injured rider and the shiny metal sheet they must have used on him for some first aid. The rest of the lap I rode cautiously ending me up with a 1:07 lap time which I was not overly upset with considering the time we spent waiting on the sidelines.

My second night lap I was ready to take on the world. I had had sleep, my nutrition was coming into order and everything was great! I hammered thru a little 3/4 of the lap and was just killing a hill when my left pedal felt funny, 3 more cranks and my foot hit the ground... My left crankarm had completely fell off the bike. I luckily was able to find all the parts and had the right hex head on my toolkit to get it all put back together altho it took me way longer than it should have. I ended up with a lap time of 1:25 which took a little wind out of my sails.

More sleep more food and a 4th lap. Great lap daylight again, trails still muddy from the rain and slippery but with daylight I could actually navigate around slippery roots instead of sliding across them. Nothing crazy in this lap. 58 minute lap which I was ok with after everything was said and done. Got back to the tent and I guess my team did not think I had a 58 minute lap left in me as no-one was there to take over. A couple fello singlespeeders were heckling me to take a second lap but I had no calories or water left. A couple minutes past and a teammate showed up and went for a ride.

My teammates did good times in their next laps 1 each. The last guy to go out estimated himself to do a 1:35 lap which would not have allowed anyone to get back on the course by over 15 minutes so we showered up and went up to cheer him in. He came in at 1:12 with time to spare and there I was in sandals and comfy cloths. I should have just kept the grungies on and got a great late morning lap in. Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.

Anyways afterwards we all had a couple beers and relaxed before my wife and kids showed up to pick me up. I took my daughter up to the awards area and introduced her to a few people. All in all it was an amazing event with some minor issues and alot of rain which postponed the race by 2 hours. I cant wait to do another 24. I had a blast but was too negative on myself at and after the race. My team was amazing and we ended up in 8th place out of 20, would have moved to 6th if I did that extra lap.

I finally came to terms with the fact that it was great while at the cottage. It was the first race since i started racing that I did not do better than all previous races. I will call this one a learner.

Next adventure is this Saturday. I am doing my first Solo 8 hour race. I did a 6 hour last year so it should not be a stretch. I am going in with a positive mindset. Proper rest and a better nutrition plan. Wish me luck. I will be racing the Hardwood Summer 8 in Single Speed Solo category. Fixing to be a load of fun!! I'm out...

egggman's Zazzle