Friday, July 29, 2011

Over The Bars

You know the feeling. Helplessness, Impending doom, questionable amounts of pain are coming to you soon. In the next elongated seconds you will question your mistake, come to terms with pain, Attempt to avoid something, excrete adrenaline into your bloodstream, maybe even experience clarity. This whole experience will take only seconds, it will likely make you think of unpleasant thoughts, anger, fear, etc. These few seconds will likely be the most memorable seconds of your ride. When you complete you will say something to the tune of "awesome ride", "amazing day on the bike", etc... Followed quickly by "did you see that bail?!?" or "oh man, you missed my OTB!!".

The question now being is an over the bars something we secretly hope for on a ride or something we fear?!? Maybe both, maybe neither...

Enough with the deep thoughts after my OTB from last nights race...

I'm out...

Image borrowed from

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The race I Almost Didn't Finish

The night before the race I had all the usual excitement of a pre race. I even stopped at The Epic Ride in Orangeville and picked up a new Chain, lube, a tool, and a cycling computer. That night once we reached the cottage I tore the bike down and did some fixing. I lubed up the new chain in the morning and was headed 30 mins south to the race. We were a little behind on time so I was stressing a little but all would be well. I finished off my registration and picked up my race package. From there I dropped off my 6 pack for the 6 pack throwdown of the Solo Singlespeed group (A fun side race which includes beer and conversations after the race). Back at camp I got in my gear gave the bike one lst go over and headed down to the start line.

At this point everything was normal. This is what a race start feels like. go Go Go, wait for a bit then go. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the large beads of sweat building all over me while standing still. Then the race started and off we went. A cloud of clay dust immediately lifted from the course and our eyes and lungs were filled quickly. I passed by My wife and kids smiled and waved and then put my game face on and rode.

The first four laps were awesome even with some course congestion on the first two. It was a fun course but most of the trails had just recently been cut and we had been in drout mode for well over 2 weeks. The trails needed some wet and a pack down. It ended up being very washboardy and dusty with loose corners and a decent amount of technical challenges. All in all fun with only a couple real climbs and the rest was just short ups and downs. 1'st half of the course was a gradual climb and second had more decent. You always finished off each lap with more energy than you had 1/2 way.

All in all writing this I am beginning to wonder what went wrong?? About 4 hours into the day I let the heat get to me. Even with sponge baths and watermelon at the Solo transition area i was overheating. I was drinking lots and even dumping more water over myself in solo pits. When the heat got to me it got into my head. I unfortunately was also studying results at the transition each lap and finding myslef further back than I wanted to be in the results. If I had been paying more attention I had had a slower first lap than many and was actually fighting back well.

I met up with another rider who had caught me in the solo pits after I had a fairly long rest period. I thought he was a slower rider but he ended up being the eventual 3rd place rider in the race. I rode with him for most of our 8th lap and picked up on some of his tricks for riding this course. Late in the lap i decided to pass and loose him. I hammered out most of the rest of the lap and when getting my sponge bath and looking back there he was. A crucial mistake had been made. I used more energy than necessary. I should have waited a few laps to try to pass. A lap or two later I met another rider in the sponge transition and assumed he was in position 1 or 2 and I was being lapped. This tore me down a little further. I went to camp and ran into another Singlespeeder who had just dropped out due to heat exhaustion. I had heard just before that my family was coming back in a couple hours and that they were making signs.

I think the only thing that kept me in the race battling the heat and my mental demons was the idea of those signs. When they arrived I had a surge of energy and finished stronger than I had been. All in all those two guys I let pass between lap 8 and 11 were 3rd and 4th place. I was happy to come in 5th in the singlespeed solo category as I had thought I was riding around 8th or 9th all day. It is amazing how much of a race is mental.

Looking back I would have been really pissed at myself if I had quit and I am glad I pushed forward. I thank my Family for their support.

More photos over on my tumblr here...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Endurance Fuelling Mind F#@K!!

Yup, It's almost race day. Saturday I have my first real workout for 2011 an 8 hour mountain bike race. All of my other rides and races this year have been either shared team pain or short races. This one is 8 hours of pain in heat and humidity. I have been here before but I am feeling the same thing I always do. A routine question keeps popping in my head: "What do I eat?!?". I am racing in the Solo Singlespeed category and although I am not truly vying for a podeum position I don't want to bonk either.

Last year in this race I did the Perpetuem and Heed thing and it worked ok but I ended up with late day gut rot as usual. The next race I added Endurolytes and even though it was fall and cooler weather I think they actually helped. This summer at the Summer Solstice 24 hour I cut out the Heed completely and had no gut rot. I did include endurolytes again though as well as some new foods.

Sometime this spring I was introduced to Powerbar Gel's. The first one I grabbed felt kinda weird and liquidy compared to the hammer ones I had had in the past. Examining the packaging I was pleased to see there were more caffeinated flavors and varying amounts of caffeine options per gel. May 1 I ran my first Marathon and decided to fuel with on course refreshments and these Gel's. It felt kinda bold as I had yet to eat one as i generally don't train with Gel's and powders. I had one 1/2 hour before the run, it was awesome (well as awesome as a gooey substance in tinfoil-esque packaging can be). It was much easier to ingest than any hammer gel I have ever had. On course I had 2 more during the run and found the same. I also found the energy did not die off quickly on me.

When packing for the 24 hour I decided on an interesting mix which worked well for a 5 man team approach to eating. 2 hours before lap one I had a Peanutbutter and Banana on whole wheat wrap(Race Taco?!?). 1/2 hour before the lap I had one Powerbar Gel which I was preaching to my teammates about and gave them each one to try, and Endurolytes. I then took water on the bike and stuffed a just in case gel in my jersey pocket. The lap felt great so upon finishing I had a Race Taco, a scoop of Perpetuem, and a can of Pepsi (I know that does not sound right). Before each lap Powerbar Gel and Endurolytes. On each lap Water. This became the routine until approx 3am when the pre-lap cocktail started to contain a little RedBull (eh well). Anyways during and after the race I felt awesome and my lap times were more consistent than they have ever been at one of these events.

So I am writing this and learning a bit at the same time. From what I have said before my body seems to like: Race Taco's, Powerbar Gel, Perpetuem, Endurolytes, and Water. It seems to dislike Heed for some reason.

Saturday I will likely try to pre-fuel with a solid meal and go with the powder/gel mix mentioned with a backup plan of Race Taco's in the cooler if I need something solid. As always apre-race I will be craving grease/salt/beer but what can ya do?!?

Thanks for listening to my notknowingness of it all... I'm out...

egggman's Zazzle