Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Indie #2 - The Tucker Classic

Some stories seem to repeat themselves. I was asked to share my experience at the Tucker Classic @ South Seatac anyway:

I got a strong start working out on the bike this year. February was great. Then came March. Blame it on a sinus infection, or perhaps the constant snow and rain, but whatever the excuse, I worked out on the bike 3 times that month including one trainer ride. Keith told me no problem; I could get in racing shape in a month. I had 3 weeks maybe that would work. I actually remember very clearly knowing I could prep for Junior High Track in one week. It turns out that Junior High Track was a long long time ago. Who knew?

With my euphoric pre race wisdom, I decided I should race single speed. After all it’s all I have ridden for the past 7 months so why not. I even put on my fast new Schwalbe 29 inch Racing Ralph’s for the occasion. I also decided to use a single water bottle cage for the race, but I thought ahead and brought another that I sat at our tent to grab as I went by. After all, even though I hoped it would be shorter, the race could go as long as 90 minutes so I had better prepare.

The race start was perfect. The sun was out, the temp was probably around 60. The road start was even up hill so I wouldn’t be spun out on the single speed. I dropped into the single track at about sixth out of eight single speeders, right behind my old cyclocross friend Jason. We tore it up and before the first half lap was over we were working out way through the general sport class that had started in front of us. I passed Jason and kept reeling in geared riders through the first one and a half laps, then I felt it: Just a little twinge of cramps, but a very bad sign at only one third of the way through the race. I tried to pedal in smooth circles, but by the end of the second lap I knew I was in trouble. I slammed down my NUUN, and a GU, but the cramps were on. I picked up my spare water bottle from Joel and ate my second GU, but it didn’t matter. I was in trouble. On the third lap I cramped up so bad on the little root climb that a spectator asked me if I needed help. I did. He caught my bike and I fell to lean against a tree. My left leg was locked straight. I pushed with all my might on the back of my knee for what seemed like 30 seconds before I could get the darn thing to bend. Finally it did and I thanked the guy, grabbed my bike and started hobbling up the trail. I was in strict mode of walk the hills, spin the flats and downhill sections. It felt like I was alone for a while, then another single speeder I had passed earlier, caught me and blew by. Then on the back side with the berms, Jason caught me and told me to jump on his tail. I tried, but the legs wouldn’t do it. He thought we were on the last lap. I prayed he was right, but I thought I knew better even though we had been going for over 90 minutes already.

I kept seeing Jason in front of me until we hit the little jump coming back into the infield. Something was wrong and he was in the bushes. I had flash back of the Steilacoom cross race where he went down in front of me and broke his arm. It was nasty. I hollered back at him and he said he was ok.

I hit the finish line and indeed had another lap to go. Joel came to my rescue with some more GU and Shot Blocks. I’m not sure Shot Blocks are a good idea when out of liquid, but I would have tried anything at that point.

I limped out the last lap just stubbornly wanting to finish and driven on by the fact that I didn’t want to drop out with my second grade daughter watching. I think I finished 5/8 Sport Single speeders with a time of 1:57, my second longest ride of the year, and my longest race ever.
I’m writing this on Tuesday, and I can barely walk. The stairs are especially treacherous. I need both hands on the railing to safely make it down. Tonight I’m going to try a Cinco de Mayo cure involving lots of limes. 

It was a blast to hang out with the team again. What a great bunch. Thanks for all the support!


Thursday, January 01, 2009

4th Annual New Years Day Ride

Keith Joined me for my 4th Annual New Years Day Ride. Zach bailed which is probably a good thing since I told him the snow was gone and that it was 70 degrees and sunny. Not only was it only 40 degrees, but there was a considerable amount of trail covered in unrideable slush, snow and ice. I was mostly aiming to ride in the streams and puddles as I figured they were the best places not to slip. Oh SH*T, that puddle is not it's normal 6 inches deep, now it 12 and it's freaking cold! All and all we had about 90 minutes of dirt double and single track and it left me smiling and just starting to get cold. A perfect start to the new year! Get out and Ride!

Friday, December 19, 2008

14 Month Lapse

Well Loyal readers, I know you have anxiously been waiting on an update on my biking exploits! 2008 was a crazy year. Only got in one race, but had some good rides including a two night bike camping trip to Lost lake. Next year I'll post more! Really all I have to do is post twice in 09 and I'll have 08 beaten!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

SCC #3, #4, #5

Ok, I've been really lazy in posting. Basically until this last week, I haven't felt too good about my racing results.

SCC #3 was at Kelly Creek Farms. Warm dry and fast with no run ups. It favored the stronger riders. I managed 13/66.

SCC #4 was at Fort Steilacoom Park near Tacoma. It has reportedly the biggest run up in the US. Again it was dry and fast, but at least there was the run up. Of course with a big run up, comes a big descent. There was a rutted corner where my computer showed we were doing 25mph going into a 180 degree turn. I narrowly missed hitting Jason as he slid out in the corner both dislocating and breaking his ankle. Ouch. At the finish I did have a fun time sling shotting out of the last grass corner onto the pavement passing a guy who happened to look back right to see where I was as I went around on his left. I managed 13/54. What's up with 13th!

SCC #5 was at Donida farms. I finally felt good and managed to hold first place for the first half a lap before fading back a bit. There was a good muddy section through the woods that helped me a lot. I pulled off my first top 10 finish since Snohomish finishing 8/60. There was also a photographer there to snap a photo of me coming into the solo barrier in first place. It's a sweet photo because if you look behind me and to the right you can see our team tent with our sponsor, Therapeutic Associates banner flying.

Date: November 4
Mileage: 12
Ride type/Bike: Race/Tricross
Nov. Miles: 33
Year to date mileage: 2300

Date: November 2
Mileage: 21
Ride type/Bike: Road/Allez
Nov. Miles: 21
Year to date mileage: 2288

Date: October 25
Mileage: 12
Ride type/Bike: Race/Tricross
Oct. Miles: 74
Year to date mileage: 2267

Date: October 23
Mileage: 12
Ride type/Bike: Double track/Tricross
Oct. Miles: 62
Year to date mileage: 2255

Date: October 21
Mileage: 9
Ride type/Bike: Cross Race/Tricross
Oct. Miles: 50
Year to date mileage: 2243

Monday, October 15, 2007

SCC#2 - Evergreen: The Worst Start

It was a beautiful morning at my house. The sun was popping out, the birds were singing, it was going to be great. Then I left my neighborhood and descended into the fog. I arrived at the Evergreen Sports facility in South Seattle plenty early and helped Joel set up or tent and chairs down on the infield. I took a took two leisurely laps around the course which had a lot more tight off camber turns than last year. I warmed up nicely on Joel's trainer and didn't have to rush over because I knew I'd get called up to the front for the start because of how well I did in the first SCC race.

The gun went off. The crowd went wild. Ok, Nix that part about the crowd, but it was one heck of a start. 64 racers just in my 35-45 group. The total that started in 3 waves separated by 45 seconds each was over 143 racers. I settled into 4th as we flew around the cinder running track. We exited the track, hit a few bumps and went into a hard right, uphill turn on the grass. That's where things went horribly wrong. I think I clipped someones rear wheel and down I went. Bad as that was, when I got back up, I couldn't get my chain unstuck from where it had wedged itself in behind my front chain rings. I pulled and yanked. I ripped my gloves and bloodied my fingers and finally the dang thing popped out. Of course by this time over a minute had passed and not only had my whole 35+ group gone by, but half of the 45+ group as well. I finally got back on my bike, mad as hell and seeing red. The field was packed, and got bogged down at every corner or slight incline. I passed people everywhere I could. I finished 31st out of 64 so I guess I'm guessing I passed well over 50 people. I suppose I should feel good about that, but I'm just mad at myself because If I hadn't gone down I wouldn't have had to deal with the crowds. Ah well. live and learn. Now I have to keep racing to redeem my self!

I woke up this morning trying to figure out why my left hip was so sore. Oh yeah that's what I landed on. Here's a video that includes the Cat 1/2 racers going through the section where I bit it.

Here is a photo of Jim Albright who was winning his Cat 1/2 class until he flatted. He still pulled off 3rd. Pretty impressive.

Thanks to Ann, Jen, Bob, Joel, Jim and even Logan (wearing a funny jersey) for coming out and making it a great day.

Just found a video of the 9:30 race here:

Date: October 14
Mileage: 9
Ride type/Bike: Cross Race/Tricross
Oct. Miles: 41
Year to date mileage: 2234

Date: October 12
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Road/Allez
Oct. Miles: 32
Year to date mileage: 2225

Date: October 9
Mileage: 9
Ride type/Bike: Road/Allez
Oct. Miles: 9
Year to date mileage: 2202

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

SCC #1 - Snohomish

I had been sick again and not worked out once since the Oyster race, but I committed myself to at least starting the first Seattle Cyclocross race of the year in Snohomish. I've found that if I miss the first race of a series, it's all too easy for me to blow the whole thing off. I woke up about 5:30 AM on Sunday and it was still pouring down rain. The good news was that the thermometer read 48. At least it wasn't too cold. I headed out the door around 6:40 and arrived at the course around 7:30 for a leisurely checkin and warmup. I had two sets of riding clothes and shoes so I warmed up by doing a couple of loops of the course. It was very similar to last year and was very very wet. The sawdust on on there XC running course was some of the worst. Just like I'd imagine trying to ride on a wet sponge.

The race was to start at 9:30 so I hit the start line about 9:20. There were a lot of other folks so I ended up starting in about the middle of a group of 48 racers. The race didn't actually start until about 9:45 due to some of the difficulties getting everything running for the first race of the year. That was bad. I really started to cool off.

The gun went off and about 5 seconds later I was able to start moving. I couldn't see a thing because of the spray being thrown up from the red cinder track. I eventually moved to the very outside where I was able to see and start passing people. My years of mountain biking in sometimes questionable conditions paid off very nicely in the mud as I was able to maintain momentum and slide around corners better than a lot of the other racers. I think that is my favorite part about cyclocross. There is just nothing like a two wheel drift around a muddy corner on a skinny wheeled bicycle.

By the second lap I realized I was in the top 10 and decided I better try to hang on to that. One guy flew around me on the last lap only to slide down the hillside. He got back up quickly, but didn't seem to have it in him to try to get around again. I ended up 6th out of 48 in the Master Men's Cat 4/5 35-45. The interesting thing is that my lap times would have put me in the top 10 in any of the category's if I could have sustained my pace. I don't think I necessarily could have. I also think that my success was largely due to the mud. You have to love getting dirty!

Date: Sept 30
Mileage: 7
Ride type/Bike: Cyclocross/Tricross
Sept Miles: 221
Year to date mileage: 2193

Monday, September 24, 2007

Seattle Oyster Race

Yesterday I competed in the first annual Seattle Oyster Race. I entered the corporate six-pack division with 5 other guys from the neighborhood; Anthony, Ben, Justin, Kevin and Scott our team captain who's company Therapeutic Associates sponsored not only us, but the race itself.

I have never watched the TV show the Amazing Race, but I heard this race compared to a single day, single city version of that event many times.

We met at Scott's at o' dark thirty to pack the bikes, roller blades, coolers and chairs into mine and Scott's Explorers. We hit the road just past 6:30 and made it down to REI just after 7. We got a close parking spot and got our camp set up inside the REI garage and were ready to go when the passports were handed out at 8AM. I had ants in my pants so I grabbed my running shoes and hit our first challenge with Anthony and Justin. We had to get our passports stamped at the Space Needle, and at a grain elevator on Pier 87? We also had to locate and get our photo taken at the "Wandering Rocks" in a Seattle park. That part was a little tricky, but we eventually located the artwork, and had our photo taken. We got back to REI in the top half of the teams and it was game on from there.

The second leg was 3 individual events. Two biking and one climbing. Since I had just ran, and the others were anxious to hit the road, I sat this one out while Ben biked to Gas Works park and back, Scott biked to Husky Stadium and back, and Anthony being the strongest of us climbed the REI rock wall.

Leg 3 was up and I wanted back in. Anthony, Kevin and I ran to a boat rental shop on the NE side of Lake Union. From there Kevin ran back to Jillians where he had to hit 45 with 3 darts before running back to REI. I suspect he managed this quickly and had a beer while watching Anthony and I suffer, but I can't comfirm it. Anthnoy and I had to paddle a 2 person kayak down to the south end of the lake and back. I've got to say I got quite a rush when a Kenmore Air float plane took off less than a 100 yards away from us. That rush unfortunately didn't last long as Anthony and I both agreed that this was the hardest leg for us. We used muscles that either we didn't know we had, or in my case, probably didn't have. At one point we got passed by a guy and a gal flying through the water. When we got out she said, that's what you get from two ex rowers. We lit it up running back to try and warm ourselves up, and to pass the rowers!

Leg 4 was a group bike event. I jumped in because I didn't want to miss out on all the biking, and I wanted to keep stretching out and warming up after the cold kayak paddle. Scott, Ben and I headed to get our photo taken with the Freemont Troll, and at the Ballard locks.

Scott and Ben know their way around Seattle really well and we took an awesome short cut back on our bikes. It did involve carrying our bikes up some stairs, but I think it cut at least a mile, and a couple of hills off the route we came by.

Leg 5 was a run to Pike Place Market where Anthony, Kevin, and Justin had to find the bug hut, or bug man or something like that. They took off and Scott did some research and called them with the exact location where I am told Anthony ate a cricket without a moments hesitation. I can't wait to hear what his girls though of that!

Leg 6 involved riding to Green lake and traveling by little wheels around the lake twice. This meant Scott, Ben and Kevin because they were the ones versed in roller blades and scooters. I felt so bad for Scott. I don't think he had biked this decade, and here he was doing every bike event. Anthony and Justin and I figured we were done and started to pack up. We were about to head to the car when Anthony said I wonder if there could be another leg? We decided probably not, but left our gear out and headed out. On the way, Anthony asked one of the timers, "There are just six legs right?" She said there could be 6-8. We went to a really nice Irish pub and I asked Justin what he thought the odds were that there was another leg, he replied since they were already sweeping the course, and the way the time keeper looked at us when we asked there was zero chance. I took his word for it and started in with gusto on a smooth pint Guinness and a shot of Jamison Irish Whiskey. We were cheering the Seahawks on and I talked Justin into ordering breakfast with me. I have never had such good corned beef hash with eggs and hollandaise sauce. It was soooo rich, but sooo good and salty. After another Guinness we decided we needed to get back to cheer our team on as they returned from the final leg.

WRONG. As it turned out, there was a 7th leg. Oh crap. There was no way to ask the guys returning from a 2 hour ordeal involving biking, roller blading and towing a team member on a scooter with an inner tube to run the hilly five miles to pioneer square and back. Off we went. Could I keep my meal down? I like races where you learn something about yourself. I didn't expect to learn that yes I can keep down two Guinness's, an Irish whiskey and corned beef hash and eggs while running 5 miles in hilly downtown Seattle, but I did. It hurt. It didn't feel swell at all, but we managed. I'm the one on the left in this photo. If I looked a little dazed, It was only because I was.

We finished 6th out of a 12 Corporate Six Pack teams. Pretty darn good for a team with no training, whose wives predicted heart failure!

These guys were studs. I'm already signing up for next year!

Date: Sept 23
Mileage: 15
Ride type/Bike: Road/Allez
Sept Miles: 214
Year to date mileage: 2186

Date: Sept 18
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Road/Allez
Sept Miles: 199
Year to date mileage: 2171