Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Stage Race Looms

The Pisgah Stage Race is right around the corner and I'm hoping I'm going to find some confidence in my fitness there too.  

On my training ride today, I got off and walked a couple of climbs that I would normally have ridden.  I started thinking about my gear choice and realized that I am riding a stiffer gear than I was last year at this time.  That explains why I am so worked after each ride.  Combined with a couple of long races and inconsistent training......  and you get out what you put in, right? 

I don't regret the time spent with my family though.  It would be nice, just once to block of 6 months and do nothing but train,  I'd be interested to know what I could do.   I would probably not like it too much,  maybe a 2-3 month block? 

I like variety. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

That Weekend Tho

 That was a great weekend.  Nothing epic, just some ride time and family time. 

After the kid's soccer game on Saturday, I got in a quick ride before taking the family out on the sailboat.  The winds all but died when we got on the water, but we farted around for a bit before heading back to land for some Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack! 
 Spring is here in the mountains and it snowed Sunday night.  No school delays which is good. 

 I got out Sunday morning for a good mountain bike ride.   The Pisgah Stage Race
is in 3 weeks and I'm not ready!  Of course not, it is barely spring.   Due to sickness and other day to day excuses, I haven't spent the time on the bike that I had planned.  On the upside, this will be my 8th year and I'm pretty excited about that.

I'm thinking about adding a dropper post to my ride, but I'm having trouble finding one within my price range.  It's gotta be a 27.2 diameter too which limits my options.   I'd love to get the Thomson Dropper Post , but....  
Hopefully something will turn up, if not,  I'll still have  a blast! 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Green Gobbler 6hr Race

 I loaded up and headed down to Conyers, GA for the Green Gobbler 6hr race.  I made good time and got the the hotel with plenty of time to spare.  After getting checked in to the crappiest Quality Inn ever, I headed out to find a cup of coffee and then decided to get my hair cut too.  With the forecast temps to be up close to 80,  it was one attempt to keep from overheating.   This was going to be the hottest ride that I had done in a long time and I was concerned.
Before the haircut.

I found a Super Cuts and got my hair chopped,  except for a rat tail.... I've never had a rat tail and it was the first time for the hair stylist too.  I told her that this is about as wild as I get!  She said that it made her day. 
Rat Tail

 As we know, I don't tend to do well in the heat.  I had fleeting moments of regret.  I should have stayed home,  why did I register etc.  Not to mention that I had gotten the death cold too weeks ago and there was still some lingering fatigue.  Oh well,  nothing to do but get out there and see how my body responds.

After an interesting evening in  a crappy hotel with thin walls, I was able to get some sleep and then head out to the venue to get ready to race.  I found a premium spot that would be in the shade after about 11am and for the remainder of the day.   I set up my cooler filled with prepared bottles, lined up my nutrition and waited for the start time to finally creep around.  I found Carey Lowery and Zeke Lilly and we chatted for a bit,  getting some semi local knowledge of the course.

Most of the day blurs together but things turned out really well for me.

Lap 1:  Always hectic and hard to go my own pace.  I was a little above where I wanted to be, but not too much so I rolled with it.  It was my first time on the course so I tried to take it in and get a feel for the terrain.  The 8 ish mile trail snaked back and forth through the woods and into some open fields.  It was warm, but I knew that it was going to be hot later.  Two major climbs, that would involved walking in order to keep my heart rate from skyrocketing and my  core temp from exploding.   I was walking as fast as the geared riders around me.   I finished my bottle as I came through the finish line, stopped briefly to get a new bottle then headed back out.

Lap 2:  Traffic cleared up and I was able to ride my pace.  Steady, trying not to brake as much as possible and letting the bike rolled through the corners.  Only a few short techy sections and a lot of swoopy drops, two into creeks with a punchy climb up the other side.  I was having fun.  I had no idea where I was but I just rode.

Lap 3: It was starting to warm up,  I stayed steady and continued riding my pace.  A couple of geared riders latched onto my wheel and I upped the pace a hair.  I felt good and used the momentum.  After about 20 minutes, I slowed back down and felt the first affects of the heat.  Did I have 3 more laps in me after this?  Not sure.  I could definitely get 2 more in, but not sure about 3.   After crossing the finish line, I stopped to check the standings.  I was in 6th place.  Cool,  2 more laps and I would call it a day.

 Lap 4:  Keeping my pace steady and glad I only needed to do 1 more lap after this.  I got really bored on this lap and everything was hurting.  I started to put more focus on my form.  With the fatigue, I was getting lazy.  Working on my form help a bit, but I was still tired and motivation was running low. I was now drinking a bottle of Powerbar Performance drink mix and another bottle of Nuun per lap.  I was staying hydrated but barely.   I was eating regularly and my body was responding well to the heat.  I pushed through the doldrums and finished the lap.  A quick check of the results and I was now in 5th place.  I realized I might have to do 2 more laps. The lady from Smyrna at the car next to me was very encouraging. 

Lap 5:   Trying to do the math in my head, and figure out what would happen if I stopped doing laps after this.  Would I stay in 5th?  Top 5 was good enough.  I would be satisfied with my effort and feel good about the saddle time.  I spent the entire lap debating with myself about what would be best.  I also didn't want to over do it.    After finishing the lap,  I stopped to check the results.  I was now in 3rd place....

Lap 6:  I rolled out at and looked at my watch.  I glanced back and the guy in 4th place was still at his truck.  I knew that if I upped my pace, I would drive myself into the ground.  I wondered if I could complete a 7th lap.  I rode steady and forced myself to drink and eat.  At one spot where the trail doubles back I spotted 4th place.  I reminded myself that since he had not caught me in the past 5 hrs, that he was hurting as much or more than I was.  Pedal, form, relax, ride.   I monitored the time vs my energy level vs my body's reaction to the heat.  I was getting a headache and feeling a little light headed here and there.  I wanted to get another lap, but for the sake of my health, I knew that it would not be wise.  I stayed steady.  I rolled across the finish line right around 3:15pm, leaving me 45 minutes to finish one more lap.  I checked the results and was still in 3rd.  One more lap might get me into 2nd, if I finished by the 4pm cut-off.   After a minute or two of pondering, I pulled the plug.  4th place rolled in and pulled the plug too. 

I am pleasantly surprised with my finish and super happy with how I rode my race and handled the heat.  It has been a long road, learning about racing and I'm glad that things have finally come together and I'm able to get on the podium.  It feels good.  Hats off to all the fellow racers who suffered out there. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Adventures are Imminent

 I got out for a spin on the single speed for the 1st time in 3 weeks.  I actually felt pretty good,  just stuck to the gravel and some easier trails.  Trying to decide if my 33x20 gearing is something I want to keep or if I should go back to 33x21.   I like the gear, but on the steep stuff, I just don't  have the power,  especially for something long like p111k.
 Spring is just around the corner.   I'm finally feeling better after the death cold.  It has taken a while to get my energy back, and then I have to work on some muscle memory, and with that comes the confidence that I can ride long again! 

Temps get into the 70's this week.  Adventures are imminent!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Fun Times

 Friday it was cold in the valley and snowing up on the ridges.  Windy too.  I thought I was overdressing, I wanted to, because I'm still recovering from death cold.  And I was going to ride slow, get some miles in the legs.  It turned out I was dressed perfectly and enjoyed the ride. 

 A steel road frame and fork with disc tabs came into my life.  I have been hoping for a gravel grinder for a while now.  I needed to replace the Siren John Henry that was a bit too small for me.   The bike was fun and took me a lot of places, but too small is too small. 

I can't wait to get this dialed and take some long trips on it....  I have plans!
 Sunday, I took the kid to Wolf Ridge to shred one more time.  It worked out well because we had Groupon lift tickets and it looks like this would be our last chance to dance!   We had a fun time carving the granular slush.  The kid has no idea what premium snow conditions look like, so as far as he was concerned, conditions were amazing.  I adopted his philosophy and boarded to my heart's content. 
 Sometimes I have little moments of panic, when I realize that I'm not quite the dad that I wish I could be.  I still deal with the demons and try to make the changes to teach the kid, to lead by example.  Sometimes, believe it or not, I'm a straight up jerk.  But, the difference is, I know I'm being a jerk now, and it usually hits me pretty hard.  At that point I have the choice to ignore it or do something about it,  make things right.  I have found that ignoring it only leaves a dark cloud hanging over my head and I gotta deal with it.  Hopefully the kid can see that I'm trying to deal with it and continue to break the cycle. 

And then there are times like this morning.  The pre dawn wake up call for school.  I'm content and the kid is on the couch giggling.  That's when I know I'm doing things right.  The kid wants to be around me,  he likes following in my footsteps,  he likes copying me and being my image.   

I was pushed away a lot as a kid.  Stood up by friends, told to "just leave me alone" or "go do it yourself".   I "learned" early on that people did not want me around.  And I in turn, started pushing people away,  rarely letting anyone close enough to really know me.   I would make people work and prove themselves to me before letting them in. Most of the time, they were never "good enough". 

That is something huge that has changed for me over the past 12 years after moving to Asheville.  I had formed a handful of lasting friendships before, (for some reason, those friends put up with my crap).  But since moving here, I have been accepted and loved by so many different sub cultures within our mountain community, that it has brought healing and change of perspective.   I don't have to prove myself,  even more important, others don't have to prove themselves to gain my friendship.  

We are all here, in the same boat, with a lot of similar baggage.  We are in this together.   

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Finally Riding

 I finally got to ride outside.  Almost warm enough to get rid of the arm and knee warmers but the headwind and clouds on the way back in made it just chilly enough.  I felt better than I thought I would, considering I've been off the bike for most of the week. 

I kept my efforts low so I wouldn't bury myself again.   So nice to be outside again.   I'm not sure the best way to get back up to speed fitness wise, so I'm just going to get some miles under me and then work on my "speed" again.  

My goal for the year is "be fit and have fun".  That is working out great for me so far!   3 Hrs on the Ridge was fun.  It got me excited about exploring some new events this year.  

I almost signed up for Southern CX,  but with the late registration price combined with The Snake expenditures,  I couldn't swing it.  I think I'll go for it next year and skip The Snake. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2016


I got knocked down, last week, but I got up again.  Some sort of flu/cold crap.  Mostly just energy sapping.  I was good and laid around, taking herbs and meds, trying to recover.  I rode the rollers for 20-30 mins a couple of times.  I chopped some wood.  Walked around the yard in my pj's like an old man. 

I also wore out Netflix.  I watched a movie called Charlie's Country, about an Aboriginal who was having a rough time adjusting to "civilization" encroaching on his mother land.  Thought provoking for sure.

I'm hoping to get back on the bike today, outside, in 60 degree temps!  Just gonna get some miles, not push hard yet.  I definitely don't want to relapse.  

Spring is just around the corner.