Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hiding

The kid and I hide from each other each time we come home.  If he is home and I'm gone,  he hides when I get home and vice versa.  I have started hiding on the couch, "in plain view". 

The first time, I hid under the blanket no the couch.  It took him a few minutes because the blanket is big and floppy.

The next time, I placed pillows under the blanket to look like a person.  Then I hid behind the bedroom door.  He went straight to the couch and jumped on it,  thinking I was under there.  Nope.  Got him good!



I decided to up the game the 3rd time.  I placed pillows on the couch, covered them with the blanket,  pulled the seat cushions out about 8 inches,  slid in behind the cushions and pulled the blanket over me and the pillows.  I left a little peep hole under the pillow so I could watch and breathe!  Success.  The kid went straight to the couch,  pressed the pillows then moved on through the house looking for me.   The wife had pity on him and gave away my secret,  but, that hiding place was amazing!   

Monday, February 22, 2016

3 Hours On The Ridge

I arrived at Pleasant Ridge Park Saturday morning, unsure of what to expect.  I had heard about the race via Facebook from a friend and expected to see more Asheville folks.  It turns out, I was the only one representing WNC.

The volunteers were super friendly and I got checked in and changed.  At the pre-race meeting, everyone was slightly chilly, but the temps promised to warm up to close to 60.  After "the talk",  the race director said,  "Oh, look,  it is 10 am sharp.  Ready- Set- GO".   And that is how the race started.

20 of us rolled out of the park and up the pavement through Camp Spearhead before finally entering the single track.  We made a short loop and ended up back at the start/finish pretty quickly.  Then we started getting down to business.

The single track here, built by none other than "Shrimper" and his crew, reminded me a lot of Squirrel Gap trail, but a little bit easier and let remote.  Definitely narrow, twisty single track with some rock gardens and switchbacks thrown in for fun.

At the start everyone got a red rubber bracelet.  The bracelet granted a 1 time access to "Sassy's"  a short cut trail, which eliminated about 1 mile of the most techy section of the loop. 

I was caught in traffic and not going my pace, so I used my pass on the first lap.  It was good to get out on my own and settle in.  I figured if I got caught and passed, then,  well,  they were just faster than me.  Nothing I could do about it but keep moving forward.

Laps 1-3 went by and I was feeling good.  At the end of lap 3,  they told me the time was 11:45am.  Cut off for one final lap was at 12:45pm.  I had barely 1 hour to complete 2 laps.  I asked a fellow single speeder who was going about the same pace what his lap times were.  He told me about 30 minutes.

Ok,  do I ride hard and try to get 3 more laps or settle in and finish with 5 laps total.  My goal coming in was to get 6 laps, so there you have it.  I pushed the pace but stayed within myself in order not to blow up.  I watched the time, trying to decided if I could do another lap at this pace.

I neared the finish line and yelled across the field to Tyler Crotts and asked him to hand up a bottle for me.  He did and that act helped me out.  I crossed the lined and they called out 30 minutes left to the cut off.  The previous lap according to my watch had taken 31 minutes.  I took about 15 seconds deciding what to do.  Never give up, hammer down.  I went redline and pushed up the climb that consisted of most of the first half of the loop.   When ever my body thought it had enough, I gave just a little more.

Ugh,  I was moving forward but I had not given this type of effort on the bike in a long time.   Relax,  pedal, breathe.  Eddie Odea sat on my shoulder and reminded me to hold my position and focus on breathing and pedal stroke.  I pushed up one little grunt climb and hopped back on the bike, easing off the brakes and allowing myself to coast through the corners, powering out of the apex, and spinning through the flatter portions of single track.

I finally saw the field and the tape marking the course leading to the finish line.  I spun through the field and wanted a new bottle.  I didn't want to miss the cutoff by seconds so I skipped the bottle.  My bottle was still half full so I would use that to nurse me back to the finish.  I crossed the line and made the cut off.   I was done.  But,  I made the cut off, so I wasn't really done.  I knew there were people ahead of me, and tried to pick up the pace, but could not.  I settled in to try to recover and finish 1 more lap.

It took me closer to 45 minutes to finish, but I did.  They didn't really keep track of standings after the top 3 but by my calculations, I wound up in 5th place men's, and 4th single speed.  Complete results are the only thing that I would like to see different at the event.

It was great to get out in some new territory and experience the burn in my legs and lungs again.

This event was awesome and here is why:  It was so simple.   No t-shirt, no swag,  1 table for neutral water support at the finish line.  Simple prizes 3 deep, 3 categories.   And it only cost $25.  That's it.

While I love the races that are around and have grown, and throw a huge party,  I appreciate the grass roots feel and low cost provided by 3 Hrs On The Ridge!   I hope to be back!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Snake Creek Gap TT #2 2016


I got packed up headed out for Dalton one more time.  I love the drive through the Ocoee Gorge so that is the route I chose to go.  It was really pretty, with snow on the ground and flurries in the air, but for some reason it felt like the 4 hr drive was taking a loooong time. 

I finally got to Dalton and drove up to the Quality Inn where I had made my reservation.  I suddenly realized that the hotel with outside access rooms,  several other hotels nearby and a restaurant right in front might have been a bad choice if I wanted to get some sleep.   I drove over to the hotel I normally stay at and asked if they had any rooms left.  Yes, they did, but only a jacuzzi room.  And it was cheaper than QI.  Sweet,  I called to cancel my reservation and moved in.  I wasn't sure if this was a good sign, but I was giddy.

I went up to "The Snake Pit" checked in and then back to the hotel to enjoy my evening of solitude and relaxation.   

I slept well enough that the 5am alarm went off and I rolled out of bed excited.  After years of struggling with pre race food intake, I was trying Ensure before this one and had high hopes.  I had tested it over the past couple of weeks and looking forward to how my body would respond this morning.  I sipped on Ensure and coffee, got packed and prepped. then drove down to meet Ron Marcus and Daryl for my shuttle out to the start. 

I'm excited that the Ensure did the trick and I was able to get nutrition into my body and did not get the empty stomach jitters or motion sickness that I usually get. 

We lined up and took off one by one. 

It was cold.  24 degrees cold.  I felt good but my body did not respond.  I wondered what was up but found out later that everyone was feeling the same.  Sluggish and little like riding underwater.  It is hard to get the body to go at temps that cold. 

So,  I assumed my pace and rode my race.  Several times I wanted to slow down and enjoy the ride, but kept reminding myself that if I did that, I could easily slip into 3rd, 4th 5th.....   I kept the hammer down. 

Other than the bitter cold, I felt good, so I was pleased about that. 

I finally ticked off the miles and hit the normally 40 mph pavement decent.  Today, however, thanks to a strong headwind, I could only hit 30mph.  Bummer, I always look forward to that drop in elevation!

I rolled to the finish in 4h1min,  2 in faster than last month.  After changing into warm dry clothes, I ate 2 bowls of chili and a bowl of peach cobbler.  After all the single speed riders finished, I landed in 2nd place with 3rd barely 1 minute behind me.   I was really glad that I had not slowed down to enjoy the view.

Great start to my season,  looking forward to what the year holds!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Feb 2

 Headwinds had me riding slow.  I had no power,  couldn't even spin.  I could not figure out what was going on.  It was going to be a long day.   30 minutes later the front tire finally went flat.  I had forgotten to twist the valve closed and the air had slowly leaked out.  I didn't realize it at the time though.  I went to replace the tube and found that my spare was a previous flat..... 
 What now?   Co2 and ride to Epic Cycles in Black Mountain.  The tube held but I replaced it anyway.   It was cold, drizzly and windy.  I wanted to go to Old Fort to feel some warmth, but it looked like rain.  I cut the ride short.

 At the Eastern Continental Divide on Hwy 9 there was still snow,  and wind and drizzle for shizzle my nizzle. 
And of course I found a gravel road to ride on.