2015 Hampshire 100: The Lead Up

I’ve been quiet on the blog since I had to pull out of the Wilmington Whiteface 100k race. My right leg was sore, I was grumpy and I didn’t want to subject you all to any of my whining (you may thank me later). I went in to physical therapy for my hip/hamstring problem. That helped a lot and when I combined it with a bar roller and a lacrosse ball I was able to patiently get rid of the most painful muscle knots. Being more consistent with my post-ride stretching kept those knots at bay.

Getting those things under control allowed me to ramp up a little bit on my riding and to look ahead to a race I have wanted to do for a couple of years: The Hampshire 100. This race is part of the National Ultra Endurance Series, a year long series of 100 mile mtb races across the country. The Hampshire race and the Wilderness 101 are the two that are closest to my house and have been on my to-do list since I started mountain biking. The problem was that they happened to close to Leadville and so I put them on hold 2 years ago and then I raced in ORAM with my brother last year.

This year a had a large number of friends who were going to ride at Leadville. I would have loved to go out there and race with them but it really did not work from a family side. So instead I had both the Hampshire 100 and the Wilderness 101 circled on the calendar. In the end I picked Hampshire because the race venue was close to my luge friend Jim’s house in NH. Coreen and I planned on going down and spending the weekend.

The continuing theme of this years biking has been “distractions”. I was able to ramp up my biking, but “things” continued to get in the way of my training. My short distance speed was really good. I set a couple of PB’s on local routes that I use to benchmark how I am doing. But I had a real lack of distance training (and a little extra weight) under my belt and so I opted for the 100 km rather than the 100 mile version of the race. I almost registered in the novice group (since that’s honestly where I felt my endurance to be) but knew I would take some heat from the west coast and so I went sport.

Now, the distraction theme continued and struck the night before I was supposed to head to New Hampshire with Coreen. My oldest son was diagnosed with Lyme the week before and was on antibiotics. He was feeling pretty bad with his migraines acting up severely. We decided that a parent needed to stay home and I lost my co-pilot (i.e the person to drive me the 6 hours home after the race) the day before I left. The race was on Sunday and I needed to drive home right after the race. Something about a 100k race and then 6 hours driving in the car seemed like a bad idea. There was a mad scramble and I was able get my dad to drive with me. We ended up leaving early Saturday morning and arrived in New Hampshire at noon on Saturday.

Jim has gotten into bike racing in the last couple of years and was competing in the CX race Saturday evening. I wanted to do the pre-ride for the race. We loaded up and headed to the venue.

The CX race was hard core. Mostly because a severe thunderstorm was closing in on the venue. There was rain, there was lightening. There probably should not have been a race. BUT they got it in. Jim showed his incredible leg strength by  breaking his derailleur hanger while pedaling. And then his dedication by running the last lap of the 1.6 mile course with a bike on his shoulders.

jim_cx

I did the pre-ride where they took us on some of the single track from the race. It was rocky, rooty and steep. As we headed back to the venue I asked the guy leading the pre-ride how much of the course was single track. “Probably at least half of it. Mostly like that.” Suddenly my prediction for a finish time on the race (which I had admittedly pulled out of my rear end) seamed, well silly.

Doug’s Rules on Crashing

Authors note: Hey everybody. Back from my summer hiatus. Been licking my wounds and trying to get my leg and buttocks (you have to read that with the Forest Gump voice) better. Which they are, thank you. And getting ready for the Hampshire 100 which is on August 16. Which I am not ready for, thank you. Hopefully I can kick back into having things to write about…….

This post was inspired by a friend of mine who is riding in the Leadville Trail 100 on August 15. Jeff has realized that we are much a like as we are both over analytical engineering types. And that I am a fountain of knowledge about the LDT 100 as I have raced in it exactly once (though I did spend a whole year and a half over thinking the race, so really its like I did it 10 times or so).

Basically Jeff asked first, if he should bring a 1st aid kit with him on his bike. I have developed a well codified set of rules about crashing a bike and so I thought I would help Jeff and enlighten you all at the same time.

Rule #1: Don’t crash your bike. Crashing your bike costs time and in a race (such as Leadville) those seconds are important. Also it hurts.

Rule #2: If you do crash your bike DO NOT look at your body. Looking at where your body hurts only makes it hurt more. The visible sight of lost skin magnifies the pain receptors and causes an exponential increase in the amount of pain you feel. If you do not look at the wound, than you can rationalize in your brain that there isn’t really anything wrong and you can continue to ride.

Rule #3: If it hurts A LOT

A. Check to see if bone is protruding from skin. Sorry but if this is the case your day is most likely over. This is the threshold I have set for myself on when its time to seek medical attention. But YMMV.

B. If no bone is protruding return to Rule #2 and suck it up cupcake. (Oh and enjoy the extra pain since you violated Rule #2).

Rule #4: You shouldn’t be worrying about you, you should be worrying about your bike, which is WAY more important.

Jeff then went on to ask if he was over thinking it. Clearly the answer is yes. But well that’s half the fun. I probably had 5 lbs of unneeded gear with me on my bike when I rode Leadville, just in case.

Wheels down Jeff, wheels down.

Wilmington Whiteface 100k: (un)race report

 

I tried and tried and tried all week to write an un-race report for Wilmington and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. In the end, I did the smart thing and scratched myself from the race.

Look summer up here is like 2 weeks long and I didn’t want to risk turning myself into a limping mass of unfunness for the entire summer. Biking at any speed is better than biking and no speed.

Team Fatty Fundo Rider Jeff was there to race. Coreen and I had a room in Lake Placid (without the kids). So we went up anyway. I participated in the pre-ride with Jeff on Saturday since I figured I could do that at a safe pace for me. And it was fun. Fun enough that I almost race in the 50k race instead of the 100k race. This was followed with a Fatbike ride with Jeff and my Olympian sliding friend Duncan. Three giant massive heavy bikes. Another fun ride. But I stayed firm and while Jeff was racing Sunday morning I was having an awesome breakfast with Coreen at a very cool little restaurant we have wanted to eat at. My Wilmington race weekend was a fun get away with my wife.

Jeff had a great race and was using the experience as a benchmark/ tune-up for Leadville. I put him solidly under 12 hours. (Authors note: My official prediction right now is 11:18 at Leadville for Jeff.)

I’ve been in physical therapy for the past two weeks. It’s been helpful. We have pretty much broken up the mass of frozen muscles in my legs by daily rolling with a foam roller and a lacrosse ball, stretching, some electric stim, and some deep massage. So I am feeling better and off the DL. Coreen knew I was feeling better when I sent her a text last weekend after 2.5 hours of riding (which is what I told her I was doing) and let her know it would be another hour or more before I came home.

My second event for the summer has always been the Hampshire 100. Its a race I have wanted to do for a couple of years. I should be good to go for that. I think at this point the 100 mile version is a little optimistic, so it will likely be the 100k race. But we will see…….

Happy Fathers Day to all you Dad’s out there. Get out and do something fun outside this weekend.

Dads, kids and bikes, what could be better than that!

doug_and_noah_2014

Wilmington Whiteface 100k: First Impressions

As we walked to the waiting room I asked the physical therapist, “So is the kind of pain that indicate you are doing damage or the kind of pain that indicates that something is wrong and you won’t hurt yourself any further?”

PT: “Well I cannot tell you you won’t hurt anything by racing Sunday. Common sense would say….”

And there was a chortle from a young women in the PT waiting room.

PT: “She (indicating the laughing young woman) has a problem with common sense (which made her laugh harder) just like I suspect you do to (clearly 60 minutes was enough time for her to form a solid first impression). Common sense would say don’t race. Even if you don’t hurt anything more, the length and difficulty is going to aggravate your leg.”

ME: “That’s kind of what I was thinking too.” (Big sigh).

Back up 60 minutes to when I first met my PT. We talked for awhile about what I do and what the problem was. What do you mean by you bike “a lot”? 10 hours a week. How long is this race? 70 miles. (Eyes pop) etc. Then we did some testing. And in the end we think that the problem is coming from my mechanics.

When you pedal your knees should describe a roughly circular plane. My right knee does what they call “chopping”. When I pedal the knee comes in. I have gotten a bike fit twice and the guy who did it has never been able to fix that problem. Usually you add wedges into your bike shoes and poof it goes away. But we never have been able to fix the chopping motion with wedges. The working theory is that the bad mechanics are stressing my hip and hamstring. All bike related problems start with the knees. Add to that the fact that I am, as most bikers are, quad dominant, and the problem is exacerbated.

Our plan of action is some stretching, muscle strengthening, massage and a tape job. The tape runs from the inside of my right knee across the top of my leg and then around my waste to my lower back. This is a tape method for runners who collapse their knees and restricts the inward motion of my knee. The idea is to re-train my leg to be more stable and have better mechanics.

I left the PT’s office pretty well decided that I would not race on Sunday. But I had my mtb at work and took it onto the trails behind my office. It was the best, hardest, and first real pain free ride I have had in a while. I call it the “adding insult to injury” ride.

 

Wilmington Whiteface 100K: Pre-race Press Conference

I would like to thank you all for coming to the Team Fatty/Hoops/WBR Wilmington Whiteface 100k prerace press conference. We are here to discuss the team status going into one of the most important weekends of the year.

We are first of all pleased to announce that Jeff D., Team Fatty Fundo rider, will be joining us this year in Wilmington. Jeff is prepping for an assault on the course record at Leadville and he brings real excitement and buzz to the Whiteface race.  We know that Dave Weins is looking forward to racing Jeff. We are confident that Jeff will not repeat the start finish/line confusion experienced at Boggs. (Aside: See Doug’s Perspective, Fatties Perspective, and Jeff’s Perspective for 3 views of the same incident.) Well except that someone should tell him the finish at Whiteface is a little confusing because you have to do 2 laps. Well, we will see what happens there.

Oh, one more announcement, due to injury I may not be racing. Thanks for coming.

Wait a minute. What do you mean by you “might not be racing”?

Hi Yeti, so glad you showed up. I think that statement is pretty clear.

Back up a minute where is this coming from? I don’t remember reading anything about an epic crash or anything like that.

Nope no epic crash. I have been fighting a sore hamstring and thigh since coming back from Boggs. I cannot put a lot of power into my pedaling, especially when I am climbing.

So what’s the problem?

Wilmington is all about climbing.

This is really about you being under trained and not wanting to embarrass yourself. 

While it is true that my training has not been optimal for this race, and that I am likely to embarrass myself, that is not the reason for this potential scratch. I mean I am more than willing to embarrass myself.

doug2_ct_easter2015-1

chicane sunday race

 

And before you ask its not even about it hurting while I am racing. It’s more this. This is the beginning of the biking season and I want to be able to ride this summer. I don’t want to really hurt myself to the point where I won’t be able to bike at all.

What about the magic chiropractor who fixed your knee in an hour during the Leadville year?

I’ve seen him, twice, since coming back from California. This injury is stubborn. I’m even going back to the PT I also saw that year tomorrow.

Bummer.

Yeah, bummer.

So what’s the plan?

Coreen and I are going to go up to Lake Placid without the kids. I’m going to do the group pre-ride. We will have a nice evening Saturday alone. And then we will see.

Bummer.

Yeah, bummer.

 

Boggs Epilogue Addendum

I posted this on the Book of Face on May 4:

“Elden and Jeff. You left 1 day too early. Dave took me on a newly completed flow trail. 4 or so downhill miles of smooth big banked turns and bumps. Video to follow when I have access to my computer to edit.”

See Elden and Jeff left California Sunday night to go home. But I stayed behind to ride some of the local tastiness. Dave took me to the Soquel Demonstration Forest on Monday. It’s a forest that is managed by the state for multi-use purposes and holds some really spectacular MTB trails. In particular we heard rumors that the newest trail was finally complete. “Demo” is on a mountain. You park about midway up the mountain and ride a mix of single and double track up to the top. At the top there are a series of trails down the mountain (kind of like a mountain bike ski area). The newest trail is what is known as a “flow” trail. Flow trails are usually rock and root free. The corners are heavily banked and there are usually large bumps in the trail. Flow trails are intended to be fast, flowy rhythm trails. Over the past two years volunteers have been working on sections of this trail. It was finally complete. And we were going to ride it.

Dave and I arrived ready to ride. A “quick” 40 minute climb up to the top of the mountain and we were ready to roll down. Instead of describing the trail, here it is in video form. Not sure if this qualifies as what the youngsters call a “sick edit”, but hopefully you get the idea.

(Elden, that’s Mumford and Sons.)

To give my non-MTB readers a sense of this trail, here is my analogy. This trail is like a long wide comfortable steep banked ski trail. The kind of trail you never need to scrub any speed from. The kind of trail that all the turning comes on banked corners. The kind of trail that has fun little modulations in the trail.

We have some flow trails around me. But what really makes this trail unique is the length. Its long enough that you can totally get into it and feel the burn when you get to the bottom.

Authors Note: For the record, David H took me riding the next day as well. His bike ride had evil ulterior motives. We rode some trails next to the UC Santa Cruz campus. Somehow we ended up on the UCSC campus. Then somehow we ended up downtown Santa Cruz for lunch. We even managed to stop at a couple of houses that were for sale to pick up brochures so David could “look” at them. It was the most loosely veiled recruitment activity ever attempted……. ;) 

Picture of the Day

redwood_Ti

“Ti Redwood”

Boggs: Epilogue

As I go through life it becomes more and more clear to me that happiness comes from shared experiences. Spending time and connecting with people. Maybe just an afternoon playing ball with your child or dinner and a movie with your wife or riding with a group of friends.

For me THE highlight of my trip to California was getting to spending time with friends who I don’t normally get to see. We set the RV’s up so that our little virtual campfire was between the two campers. Virtual because real campfires are a tricky thing in California. But it doesn’t matter. The campfire is neither necessary or sufficient.

boggs_postrace_relax2

boggs_postrace_relax

At the campfire we talked about lots of things. Leadville was a big topic. (Hey we Bike, so where did you think the talk would center????) 4 out of 6 of us are going there this summer. Some rookies with the goal of finishing under 12 hours, some sophomores with the goal of finishing under 9 and some who are institutions at Leadville with the goal of finishing under 8.

We ate. We talked about eating. We talked about what might possibly be the worst tasting thing a company has ever produced as endurance “food”. (I am groaning with disbelief in the picture above.) We ate some more. We talked about amazing blunders that large companies have made. We talked about what constitutes dessert. We ate dessert (well most of us). We talked about bikes. We talked about families.

We talked about snipes (both the legendary “purple” snipe and the much less known “arctic” snipe).

The other “campfire” I spent time at when I was in California was the Thompson family campfire. The Thompsons are a remarkable family. I saw this picture on the Book of Face and it made me think of them.

the_lama

Several years ago Amy and Dave’s son Rob had a serious accident, one that changed their lives forever. I know that like any family they have their moments (good and bad) but they face that challenge together with humor (sometimes highly inappropriate, but being part of a family that had someone who worked at Hospice, I certainly appreciate the need for inappropriate jokes) and a remarkably welcoming attitude.

This year Team Thompson are World Bicycle Relief Ambassadors. One of the WBR slogans is “The Power of Bicycles”. I was fortunate to have a chance to ride with Dave and Rob while I was in California. After the accident Dave built a custom tandom bike for him and Rob to bike on.

rob_bike

That bike proves the power of bicycles. The doctors, nurses and other care givers were amazed at Rob’s progress after he started riding. But here is the thing I learned while riding with them. Biking gives Dave and Rob a chance to be be together and share the “doing” of something that is independent of the accident. It’s pure connection. They get to do, something that most of us take for granted like playing ball or hiking with our kids. When they are riding they are actively experiencing things, they talk, they bicker. Rob told me that he likes to bike because his accident doesn’t matter when he bikes. (Authors Note: Dave and Rob are maniac’s on that bike. I wouldn’t ride tandom with either of them.)

Team Thompson, thank you for opening your house and family to me for a couple of days. No there cannot be too much Mexican food. Amy it was awesome to see you get your new dream bike (hopefully they got the frame thing straightened out!)

Yes. THE highlight of the trip to California was getting to spend time with friends. The kind of friends who I could have lunch with next week or next year and pick up as though I had seen them the day before.

 

Addendum: When we were talking about deserts, which all proper FoF do while eating, we discussed what may be the most repulsive desert flavor ever used by chef’s on humans. Lavender. Lavender is good in soap, but it makes desert take like, well soap. This was something I brought up having personally experienced this crime against humanity at an expensive local restaurant back home. In a strange twist of fate, Dave H. brought an assortment of birthday cupcakes. It was his Birthday. One of the flavors was lavender. It went uneaten. Jeff kindly reminded me that this was forgotten in his write-up, Elden’s write-up (to date) and mine. I added this so that the record of the horror would be complete.