Tuesday, July 31, 2007

24-9 Report

What does finishing a 24 solo singlespeed feel like? About like this:

No, not the woman to the right; she looks great. (It's Namrita btw, from whose blog I swiped the pic.) I mean that nasty looking gent to the left. I look exactly how I felt; like a warmed-over piece of a$$-meat.

I was going to do one of those lap-by-lap reports, but lots of folks beat me to it. I'll just focus on the things that were maybe a little different for me.

First, I started the race without my usual compliment of ointments for 'down under', if you catch my drift. I left all my personal lubes and whatnot at the hotel. My support person went back to get them, but for reasons beyond his control (more on this later) he didn't get back in time. I was able to get some chamois cream from Eddie but I didn't have my lidocane jelly or my Body Glide. Not a great way to start. I have to say that this lack had less effect on my race than I would have expected. However, I am paying for it now. Let's just say that things down there are a little sore and, well...scabby. Not great.

The race went very well for me. Sure, it hurt. My feet hurt, but not as bad as in some other races. I never had to switch shoes or pedals. My neck hurt, but not as much as at other times. I never got nauseous, probably because I was only eating about 175-200 calories per hour. Yet I never really bonked, although I came very close.

I had a couple of slow laps that were due more to mental than physical weakness. I stopped at the IMBA tent to eat chips, because chips were the only thing that really sounded good. I also spent a bit more time in the pits than was necessary during those laps. And lets face it; I was walking a bunch of the course at that point. I felt like hell and just wanted the race to be over; like I always do.

Funny story; I stopped at the big bonfire at the road crossing located about 2/3 of the way around the course. I was cold, tired, and needed to stop and drink from my bottle. One of the guys there recognized me from earlier in the race. He had invited me to stop by and have a cocktail, and he reiterated his offer. I declined and sipped my Hammer cocktail instead. Then, from out of the shadows steps a tall man, his face concealed by a mosquito net. He says, "Man, you can't say here; you can't quite now. Everybody wants to quite now, this is the worse time of the night. You are doing great, you have to get moving!" You know what? He was right, and I'm glad he reminded me of what I needed to do.

During the night I went from 5th to 2nd to 1st (I guess for a while) to 4th. The last night lap I was trying to figure out if the podium was for 1st through 3rd or 1st though 5th. I was ready to settle for 4th in the latter case and just finish the race already. But then dawn broke, and *as always happens*, I suddenly became a ball of fire. I ripped off two strong(ish) laps, and my pit crew told me Dallas Sigurdur, a cool guy and TI veteran, was sitting right in from of me and in 3rd position. This was bad for me, since on the last lap *when I was feeling strong* he had blown past me like I was standing still. I had tried to get on his wheel without success.

I figured there was no point in chasing. But I chased anyway. I had no energy, but I found some energy. I didn't care anymore, but damned if I didn't care just enough. I threw everything I had into catching Dallas, and did so pretty quickly. I blew right by him and just kept my head down and pedals turning. I assumed he was right on my wheel and I never looked back. I caught Nat Ross (!) and told him I was trying to hold on to 3rd place in solo singlespeed. Would he mind if I sat on his wheel? Not a problem says Nat. Awesome.

I crank out the last two laps on adrenalin and I don't know what else. My knees are on fire; my feet are really starting to hurt, my neck and shoulders are just burning. I was ready to be done.

Then, like these things always do, it ends. Sure enough, I held off Dallas. Sure enough, I got 3rd Place. Sure enough, the podium was 5 deep--good thing I didn't know that!

As I was just starting to enjoy the afterglow, my support guy Dan says "I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you why I was late getting back with you lube products. There is a problem with your car..." Hmmm, not what you want to hear when you are supposed to be on the road in about four hours. We decided to skip the awards (Sorry race promoters!) to try and find someone to fix the trusty VW. Well, believe it or not, two guys that have been up for about 30 hours might have a hard time finding someone to fix a VW in small town in Wisconsin on a Sunday afternoon. After much head scratching and calling around, we figured out that we just weren't going to get it fixed that day. So we did what any red-blooded American men would do: Took a nap, then went out for steak and beer!

In some ways, it was good that we didn't have to leave right away. We got to have dinner with Eddie and Namrita, Scott and Danielle, Aaron, Jason and the rest of the Slingshot crew, and maybe a few more people that I forget. It was great to chat about races past and future; the good and bad seeds in the sport; and, well, the state of our nether regions. Good times.

The car was fixed the next day without further event. Strangely, I started to feel very good. I mean, *very good* considering I just did a 24-hour race. My drive home was fine; I had achieved the sort of rare calm state that I sometimes get after these races. I had done all I had set out to do; now I got to enjoy it for a bit.

Work up today feeling almost...normal. Not quite; my legs are sluggish and my neck and shoulder are quite sore. But I was able to do the team ride tonight, and I could hang with the pack for the most part. That is just incredible--usually after a 24 I don't ride my bike at all for most of a week and don't do any hard efforts for two weeks. I wasn't on top of my game tonight, but I did far better than I ever would have thought possible. I'll have to think about what this means...

Anyway, special thanks to Dan for pulling his first (only?) stint as a support guy. Thanks to Jason for all the help with bottles and, well, that was an awesome sponge bath.

It was great to meet and spend time with Namrita and Eddie. I knew of them before the race; now I feel like I *know* them, at least to some extent. I look forward to racing near them again. It was great to see Paddy, Dallas, and Skip. You guys rule; you almost make me want to camp next time so we could hang out more. Or, on the other had, you could all join me at the Hotel. You know, where there are no bugs but there is ample air conditioning and a very nice pool/hot tub. I'm just saying...

Picture to follow. Dan took a bunch, now if he would just send them to me. (Hint hint)

Monday, July 30, 2007

24-9 Quickie

3th Place.

Had a couple rough laps, but overall a good race. Feel pretty good today. Had car trouble, had to spend an extra day in Wisconsin. All is well now.

Report and pictures to follow shortly.

Special thanks to Dan, Jason, Scott, Eddie and Namrita. More on all this later.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Car? Packed.
Chains? Lubed.
Carbs? Loaded.
Chamois? Buttered.

Time to rock and roll...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Quick Random Update

Scrambled to find a back-up bike for this weekend when my long-awaited bike arrived and turned out to the be the wrong bike. Sigh. Bike found, parts being transferred. Future bike #2 plans still up in the air.

Traveled to Toronto to see The Police reunion tour. Awesome. Spent part of the day in Toronto today; lots of fixie hipsters. Saw some cool bike shops and a neat bicycle co-op.

Becky is doing very well. Her training for the Chicago Triathlon is back on track. Thanks to everybody for asking about her and wishing her well.

Resting up for this weekend. Feeling good, but more importantly, looking good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How to Finish Trans-Iowa

Ride 50 miles looking at this:

Turn around, and ride back 50 miles looking at this:

Best done while riding this:

Smile for the camera!

So, so you think my allergies were acting up that day? Endurance riding is a dirty sport!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More Updates

Becky is doing better. She got the last of the stitches out today, and her face is looking much better. She is starting to get up and around more, and I suspect she will be ready to get back to work on Monday. Got the report on her bike; $640 to get it back to pre-crash condition. Now the wrestling with the drivers' insurance company can begin...

Did the team ride yesterday. It was a good one; fast, hot weather and lots of attacking! There was a fairly large group, and everyone got a workout. The crazy weather prevented the GPS from acquiring any satellites, so I don't have details. All I know is it was crazy fast.

MTB tomorrow and I need to figure out what to do for the weekend. Next weekend I'll be out of town and the following weekend is 9 Mile--time to get busy planning!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Rider update and Ride update

Becky is doing better today. She got two of the four stitches removed from her chin, and her skin is healing up nicely. The concussion has some lingering effects, but I predict a full recovery.

Even with all the drama, I was able to get two long rides in this weekend. I did 100 miles the hard way on Saturday; solo, single-speed, and self-supported. In the heat as a bonus. Becky's mom was in town, so I rode for all I was worth. Pretty much confirmed my setup for 9 Mile.

Sunday I did the Taco Ride 2.0 with Jason, Ralph, Shawn, and Chip. It was 80 miles on the road bike at a fairly slow pace. The heat was hot, and the humidity was nasty. I flatted, but Ralph came through with the old-skool frame pump. Lots of miles, but the legs still feel pretty good today.

The rest of the week is pretty much old news; good rides on Tuesday and Thursday with active recovery in between. Should get the damage estimate on Becky's bike tomorrow, and maybe a plastic surgery consult near the end of the week.

Good times? Could be worse.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Rider Down Update

Becky is doing somewhat better today. She is sore and having road rash on your face is not fun, but we both know it could have been much worse.

I took her bike to the shop today. They said the front wheel is shot, and they are looking over the rest of the bike; frame alignment, fork/steerer tube/dropouts, shifters, handlebar, etc.

I've started dealing with the insurance companies. Strange at it sounds, I have to make a claim against *my* auto insurance for medical coverage because Michigan is a no-fault state. Somehow I have to make a claim against the at-fault driver to get the bike (and pain-and-suffering, lost wages, gear, etc?) covered. I'm sure this will be a joy. But at least we have someone to go after; it could have been a hit and run.

Do me a favor, wear your helmet...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Rider Down

At 7:45 PM on Thursday, my wife Becky was hit by a car while riding her bike. A car parked on the side of a fairly busy street pulled directly into her path. She was traveling at about 18 MPH. She hit the left front quarter panel, flew over the hood of the car and impacted the road.

She is fine, for the most part. She has significant abrasions to her face and shoulder, and four stitches on her chin. We just got back from the ER. (It's 1:15 AM...)

As for the bike, the front wheel might be salvageable. I haven't checked the fork, steering tube or headset yet. Every else seems ok.

Her helmet is pretty scuffed up, and the Oakley half-jackets are trashed.

So, no triathlon for her this weekend. I'll skip Boyne to make sure she has what she needs.

Be safe out there.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Team Ride

A huge group turned out for the team ride yesterday. We enjoyed a shortish ride. The pace overall was moderate, but there were a few times when the hammer did drop. Super-famous roadie Mark Hekman made an appearance. After the ride we hit Little Mexico and then back to Nate's place for a few beers. Since almost everyone had the day off, we stayed out a bit later than usual. Good times.

No riding today in honor of out forefathers and the birth of out great nation. Back on the mtb tomorrow to test some position changes and think about the Marathon race this weekend.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

100 Miles of Fun and Tacos

Well, ok, more like 80 miles. There were seven of us on the ride. It was a good group, although some of the participants were more MTB-oriented. One of the guys was some kind of super-fasty roadie, and he put the hurt on us! I had a couple of decent pulls, but I am dealing with a saddle sore the size of Nebraska so I had some trouble with the seated climbing. All in all, it was a good time. The weather was picture-purfect and we ended the day at Founder's. What more could you ask for?

It should be a good ride this Tuesday. Many of us have the next day off, so we can push harder than usual. And I guess we will end up an Founder's once again. Good times.

I'm hoping to make it to the Boyne marathon race on Saturday. I'm still not 100%: not sure what gear I'd run, and not sure what class (expert or ss) I'd run in. Time will tell.