Monday, April 26, 2010

Bone Bender Quick Summary

Bone Bender was a great opportunity and race, and unfortunately I had no motivation to write about it back when I remembered all of the details. I will say this though, that race reminded me of something that I learned last year...gatorade doesn't actually have very many calories in it. If you're ever planning on doing an endurance mountain bike race, and you would like to not be bonked out of your mind around hour 4 of 6, then don't rely on gatorade for calories.

The le mans mass start at the beginning of the race was one of the most amazing bike race starts I've ever experienced. It was rediculously frantic and a little sketchy with 300-350 racers all storming across a beach on foot, and then simultaneously cyclocross hopping onto their bicycles after the run. I just remember thinking that it was the most fun I'd ever had starting a race.

I was in 13th out of 89 in my category going into the singletrack. I lost a few spots when I rubbed against a tree on the first lap, but I was holding onto 17-18th pretty well for hours. Then, bit by bit I had no more energy. After lap 4, about 4 hours in, I had to stop and sit down to rest and eat. It was no good, almost 10 people passed me during my 15 minute break. Previous to this, Gabi and I had been doing on the bike handoffs, with me hardly even slowing to get new food and drink. It was great and fast and had helped me stay up where the serious riders were. Resting for those minutes sealed the deal, and I ended up somewhere in the 20's out of the 89 riders doing 6 hour solo.

After the race I hung out with the High Gear team out of Emporia for a while, catching up with some friends that I hadn't seen since leaving ESU. Bobby handed me his own beer, I think knowing that I needed one pretty badly, and me and Gabi just sat around talking with him, Anne Marie, Garret, Donovan and Mike, as well as the other High Gear teammates.

Things I remember from my dreamlike 4th lap, where I was in a bonk induced haze: me and a bunch of other 6 hour guys in a long line one after another doing the step ups that seemed to go on forever, a woman on the side of the trail says, "Oh my God, It's like a pain train!"; A cigarette lighter packaged with a Gu energy packet in the middle of the trail, fallen out of a racer's pocket; riding no hands to stretch my cramped tricepts.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yesterday's Race

Yesterday was the Bone Bender 3/6 hour Endurance race at the Smithville Lake trails, which I solo'd for 6 hours, and I'm still not sure I've got enough energy to write a decent post about it. For now I'll just say that hopefully a description is coming soon, and that it was fun and painful. I knew it would be too early in my season for me to be super competitive in that long of a race, but I decided to use the race as an opportunity to train and be strong in some later long races, rather than do the 3 hour, even though I might have been more competitive in the shorter race. With that goal in mind, I think the race was a success.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Looking forward: Bonebender

Just read officially that the Bonebender 3/6 hour mountain bike race is on for sunday! I'm pretty psyched, just getting a few fine tuning type things done to my bike, and maybe some new tires tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Cat 1 at the River Trails XC Race

Well, I think it's a pretty well established fact at this point that I suck at keeping a blog updated. That's ok though, because I'm giving a try at this now, and because to be honest not much has really happened since my last post. Yes, cyclocross season happened and then ended, and yes, it was a blast. But, I didn't exactly race the whole season, instead just using some residual fitness from mountain season to get me through the beginning of it. It was awesome to be able to race with some teammates that I hadn't seen since laying off of road, and the atmosphere was great. My results seemed pretty ok to me, not having really invested much effort or equipment in the endeavor, and the experience was plenty to get me excited for next season. I plan on giving cross a much more serious effort next year, with some specific training, a break between xc ending and it beginning, and a decent racing bike.

After CX, I just rode my bike, took a nice break around Christmas, tried to get out on the frozen trails, and managed to only ride my indoor trainer a handful of times.

Now, on to the present and future!

My mountain race bike has undergone a few big changes since it was last raced, and has more on the way. The addition of gears was big, and a little hard to get used to, but it's only a 1x9 still, so not too complicated. Also added was front suspension, some nice stan's wheels, and soon to be a sweet new frame.

The first mountain bike race of the season for me was the River Trails XC race in Lawrence (UFD #1). I managed to get cat'ed up to Cat 1 (expert) right before the race, and even though it was only my 2nd ever Cross Country race I was super excited about being in the top category, racing against veterans and some pros. I had practiced some starting sprints for the hole shot on my own, and for some reason thought I'd do well at that part of the race. To my surprise, the sprint was so rediculously fast that I went into the singletrack 2nd to last. There were 11 cat 1's, so 10th. The whole first lap I was only able to find a spot to pass 1 other racer, we were going so fast. The trail is flat and fast, with lots of corners, and we were pinning it. When the trail finally widened out at the turnaround near the start/finish, I was able to attack and get past at least 3 other racers including my friend Garret. I went back into the singletrack right behind another, and managed to pass him at some point on the 2nd lap. I think that I am learning what kind of a mountain bike racer I am, and if I had to guess at this point I'd say 'come from behind.' Maybe I'm just not aggressive enough at the start line, and I'll be trying to work on that for sure, but it's a pretty good guess that I'll be passing people after the start, instead of holding or getting passed.

This point in the race is the only part that I was disapointed in. While trucking along in 4th or 5th or whatever I was in, I was passing riders in other categories pretty frequently. While trying to pass one of the women in Cat 2 I ended up running into a tree pretty hard, messing up my wheel just enough that I didn't think I could finish. I decided not to stress my now injured body and messed up bike any more so that I could be sure and get to next week's race. So, I only did 2 of the 5 laps, but felt like I was just coming into my own and could have kept gaining on the guys in front of me, if not catching them. So, I was happy, because I accomplished the goals I'd had going into it: get to cat1, prove I can keep up in a fast paced shorter (than endurance) xc race, and go race hard.

Just got my Colavita pasta, sauce, and olive oil from volker. Sweet to have a food sponsor considering I needed groceries anyway!

Also, I must thank my bud Lelan, this post is largely in existance because of him, telling me to "update your blog, dang it." And congrats to him on winning the first road race he's ever been in, in a 4/5 field too.

Me in the pack

So, I guess in summary, I'm just looking forward to my first endurance race of the season next weekend, the Bonebender 3/6 hour at smithville lake. Should be a great time, although I haven't decided what distance I'm doing yet, and have yet to preview the trail...hopefully tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Video From Chris Cross

Click here to view this video

A summary of the Chris Cross Cyclocross Race in Leavenworth will be up soon, as well as possibly some video of teammates, but for now here's a video that my Dad took of me racing the SS category.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Boss Cross #1 and 2

Well, it was a busy weekend that started out with me throwing my 29er on the back of my car and heading from Emporia to KC. On my way I called Shawnee Mission Park to see if the mtb trails were open, looking for an easyish offroad ride after several days in a row at Camp Alexander. They weren't, but Britton had mentioned to me that the new stuff out at Swope dries up nice and quick, so I pointed the car thataway. Getting to the trailhead, there was only one other car, but it had a roof rack, so I hoped that meant the trails would be good. Wow, were they ever, had an amazing ride, although it only lasted for a couple hours, the conditions were perfect. With the rain midweek, they were just moist enough still that tires couldn't help but hookup great. I really have to say, despite not being too sure about swope at first, every single ride out there has me more and more convinced of its quality.

After that, I rushed over to Volker to grab my new cyclocross frame from Britton. I was really trying to hurry, so that he wouldn't have to stay late helping me put it together, but it wasn't meant to be. I desperately looked to the GPS on my phone, hoping it would get me there quicker; instead it took me right through the Plaza for no reason at rush hour. Getting into the shop, we worked at making all of the parts I'd contributed fit onto all of the parts Britton had ordered. I ended up with an awesome bike, but with a few quirks (such as the lack of shifters combined with a full 10 sp cassette). During the process, Britton and other teammates wanted to know if I would be racing the next day...Hells yeah was the answer. So, I promptly went home, had a beer or two, and tried desperately to learn how to get on and off of a moving bike.

At the race, Gabi and I arrived around the same time as buddy and teammate Steve. Seeing him pull into the farmer's market parking lot, Gabi and I waited a second and we all walked over together. I was pretty excited to try out a totally new discipline, but really had no idea what I was doing yet, so I decided to race the cat4's and get the hang of it from there. Riding the course with Steve before the race, I had an issue that foreshadowed bigger ones to come. My bike shifted. Normally, this wouldn't be much of a problem, but on a singlespeed that just happens to be carrying some extra cogs, it sure is. I sat around not warming up, but instead playing with my chain tensioner for a bit. Thought I broke it once, but everything worked out and I was able to get lined up to race.

Started at the back, just so I wouldn't have any pressure and could have a good time. Actually passed about half the field, raced hard and had a blast! Wasn't nearly as bad as I'd expected at the mounting and dismounting, and I'd say that 16th out of 31 isn't too bad at least for SS in a geared category. Given my pleasant surprise on Saturday, I thought to myself that I should just go for it and race the SS cat on sunday, even though it's full of fast guys.

At the shop after the race, switched out my handlebars, stem, for some with a little shorter reach. Had a few Fat Tire cans, provided by Joe, and generally had a good time. I got to use the bike stand at Volker, and looked a whole lot like I worked there in my volker wool jersey.

Photo thanks to Joe.

Me and Britton both did SS, which was almost the first race of the day on Sunday. Warming up, I saw some guys lined up, so I went ahead and went over. Didn't see Britton pull up to the line until just about a minute before the action started, but when he got there he sure looked better warmed up than I felt. Starting out near the back again, I passed a few racers pretty quick, then almost wiped out going into the first sand pit on the dismount. Ah, well, still getting the hang of it. Chris from Rennaisance who was in front of me, asked if I'd tried to ride it, probably thinking I was better than I was. Still, passed another guy in that sand pit during the remount. 14 guys in ss, makes me in like 11th then. Barriers are the next thing I remember, because I thought it was so funny that I passed somebody while running them. Right before that I'd heard Steve say, "Start moving up after these barriers!" Well, Steve, I did ya one better. Had my sights set on another guy who had a bit of a gap on me. Then, bad things started happening. My chain fell off the ring, partially, but I kicked it back on only to have it off again immediately. Got passed by a couple guys while I put it on with my hand, then took off in hot pursuit. A minute later, it came off again. I guess when chain tension is off, it's just really off. This time I stopped, and sat down, thinking I should drop out. Oh well, I paid 25 bucks, I'm racing. Took my time, and redid my tensioner. At this point I was in last by whole minutes, maybe 2 or 3. So, I went as fast as I could. Managed to pass one ss'er. Then another. Then, on the last lap I came up behind Chris, and was just trying to draft and rest on the paved roundabout. He noticed me and very politely let me by, not knowing that he was dooming me to more torture. But honestly, what a guy. I was afraid that I'd hold him up by going too slow, or crashing, so I went really hard for the rest of the race, taking 11th. Would have liked to have seen how I could do without the mechanicals, but whatever. Had even more fun on Sunday than on Sat, so I'm sure not gonna complain. Britton evidently had an amazing SS race, because he took 2nd.
After the race, I got to cheer on and hang out with teammates, which was great. Had a free IPA, and Dan was gracious enough to share some Pabst after he got 2nd in his 3/4 race. Went on a nice lap with Eric Stull, cooling down while he was warming up, and talked a lot about some real good stuff with Joe, Steve, Adam, and Philip.

Eric running some barriers in the 3/4 race.
Dan kickin some ass on his moustache bars. (Slow shutter speed, overexposed on purpose)

Britton in the middle of it.

Joe in the 4's race.

Britton climbing a steep rise

Steve doin what he do best.

Riding one of the tricky parts of the course.

Chasing a 360 guy through the sand volleyball court.

Eric running.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Clean Blog, Yoga for Cyclists

Cleaned out my blog, and set up a new, even more earthtoned color scheme in honor of my new love of playing in the dirt. For anyone who doesn't know, I pretty much now love any kind of bike riding that happens not on pavement. (I am amazingly excited to try out some cross racing, I'm hopeful it'll give me a chance to enjoy dirt and mud all throught the winter, and also reconnect with teammates I've neglected for too long.) Lately when I'm not resting or on trails, I've been doing 40 mile road rides on my steel fixed ss. It's beautiful, and very simple. No shifting, braking, no anything except the wind and the Kansas prarie and farmland around me, which is btw filled right now with wildflowers.

I've raced a little bit lately, doing a nice quick xc race at a local trail called Camp Alexander, and a 5 hour endurance mountain bike race, which I did solo. The Endurance race was called Cruise the Blues. It was an excellent event, well put together, and on some amazing trails. I showed up the night before with my rigid ss, girlfriend Gabi, and a tent, ready for a good time. I was NOT disapointed. Being new to endurance off road racing, I figured the worst that could happen was that I would suck, and still get to enjoy some sweet trails for 5 hours while getting constantly lapped.

I won't bore you with ALL the details of a 5 hour race, but I will sum it up. The race got off to a slow start on the first lap, as everyone was getting sorted out. I was racing Men's Solo, which is kind of like open in cx. Other categories might have included teams, so that either member of the team might be out on course, allowing them to take turns over the 5 hour race. This made for a ton of riders on the 13 mile course, around 170 to be a little more precise. So anyways, there was a whole lot of sorting the first lap, but the pace wasn't so slow that I didn't get to witness some spectacular crashes. The second lap went great, except that my water bottle cage broke right at the beginning from getting jarred in a rocky section. I didn't notice right away though, and so the bottle was lost to me. 13 miles without fluid = pretty sucky.

I pulled in to the pit area at the end of my second lap and immediately downed as much water and gatorade as I could. The third lap kind of sucked, I had actually put in a really good time on that second one, and now the lack of fluids really hit hard. At the end of that lap, I had to lay down in our tent for 10 minutes. After the rest, I felt a whole lot better, and decided to start my 4th lap.

It was feeling fun and fast, and I thought maybe it would be another lap like #2, but then about 4 miles from the lap finish, disaster struck in the form of one more flat than I was equipped to handle. Earlier flats had left me out of tubes, so I started walking...and walking. At the time of my flat I was in 6th (I think). After a really nice guy loaned me a tube, and I switched it out, I rolled through the finish in 16th out of about 50. All in all, a great race, and I'm not disapointed at all.

A few pics from CTB 5 hour (Photo credit Gabi):

Gabi and I, before the race, our tent in the background.

My category at the start. I'm at the back, lol.


A little muddy, and a lot happy, coming in for a pit stop.

And finally: an interesting link to an article about yoga for cyclists. I can't decode about half of the anatomical terms, but I might give a few of the positions a try, see if they can loosen me up some.