A Day in Pictures

I got my pictures from Zazoosh yesterday for the Willmington Whiteface 100k. Here is a day in pictures…..

Start

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Neutral?

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Vista (This is my favorite picture. It looks like I am leading ;))

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Dirt

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Home

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Plan B

Yesterday was supposed to be a very special training day. Coreen arranged for me to have a 4 hour private mountain bike lesson as a birthday present. But in the continuing saga of our wet spring (which I guess has not transitioned into a wet summer) we were scheduled for heavy rain, which on top of the rains we have been having made much of the single track pretty much a wet muddy mess. So we have to cancel the lesson. Tim for plan B.

The training schedule called for 4 hours a hard mtb riding. Ride all zones. OK. How to make this into a real intense ride? Well I have a ride that I call the hill ride. Where I made a route that hit a couple of the local hills people like to ride. With 4 hours to be accomplished I rearranged this ride so that I could hit ALL of the local hills. Here is the map:

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And here is the profile:

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The first 30 miles of this ride I have done many many times. But with 4 hours I got to add a couple of new “exciting” hills to the ride. French Pond Rd (it really should be French Pond Hill Rd) has a steep (over 20%) section on it with a good bit of lesser grade hill. Its a short but fun test. East Hill is basically “across the street” from French Pond Rd. I’ve driven it a number of times (one of the local granite walls you can top rope is near the top of it), but until yesterday I never rode it. Its a good, pretty steep 400 ft climb. I highly recommend it locals if you have not ridden it (its paved so road bikes will work).

The ride was 62 miles long with 5500 ft of elevation gain. No real epic climbs, just a day filled with what feels like continuous up hill riding. My goal was to get close to 1000 ft of gain / 10 miles of ride. Got pretty close.

The Last Big Build

Alright boys and girls. Time to put on your helmets and buckle up your biking shoes. Get out your big boy (or big girl depending) pants. Leadville is 46 DAYS AWAY!

I feel like I am in a good spot right now. I realized yesterday when I was cleaning up from my bike ride that the Wilmington race was very different from last year in one very important aspect. When I finished I didn’t feel like it was the hardest thing I every did. Nope. I was tired (and bruised) but not at all beaten. And that is a good thing. I also feel like something clicked for me in Wilmington. I did an all out ride on Wednesday and set a couple of PB’s on local segments during my ride. My legs got tired, but I am OK with that, I was still recovering. Clearly I am biking fast right now. (Authors note, “fast” is something of a problematic term. I saw the leaders of the Wilmington race coming back after the turn around. I’ll never be “fast” like that and I am OK with that.)

So there are about 6 weeks until Leadville. Just enough time to do one last big build and looking at the schedule, yup, there is going to be lots of riding coming up. This week is almost 17 hours of biking on the schedule. That will be a new record for me. My longest week before this year as just under 14 hours. This year I have done 15.5 twice. I wouldn’t be shocked if this week actually goes to 19 hours, but more to come on that later this week.

Next week is a light 14 hour week. I am on travel so my training is going to be impacted. But don’t feel too too bad. I am going to a conference in North Lake Tahoe. There is a MTB already reserved and waiting for me in Incline Village. I am calling that pre race altitude training. Then there is a big blank hole in my schedule waiting to be filled in by Coach Drew. I’m hoping there will be some epic long rides in there. Maybe Saranac Lake and back (road bike of course on that one). Maybe the Wilmington course again (but I could add in going up to the top of Whiteface at the end to make it really exciting, hummm). Lots of intervals, and lots of “easy” days. Drew and I have to talk, but then there is a pre ride of the Leadville course over a series of days. I am hoping to ride as much of the course as I can two weeks out of the race while I am acclimatizing. The week of the race will be a nice light taper down to the race on Saturday.

Here we go……..

Ribs

Every now and then something happens to make you aware of just how important different parts of your body are. For example, when my appendix ruptured I learned, not how important an appendix is, but how much you actually use the muscles in your stomach for every little thing you do.

Current case in point: ribs.

Once I cooled down and the adrenaline went away Sunday well things began to hurt in my chest.

I went for a massage on Monday (Bliss Massage) and then for some acupuncture on Tuesday (5 Elements). Yeah alternate medicine! (As a funny aside. The last time I went to Bliss Massage was a day after I had my worst wreck on a luge sled ever.) Shelby from 5 elements commented that my ribs looked bruised. I never looked at them. Sure enough. They were bruised. But I knew that, and I digress.

Breathing was exciting on Monday. Well more precisely sneezing was exciting. Imagine taking a deep breath to prepare for a nice sneeze getting half way into the breath and having a sharp pain in your chest stop you cold. Half breath in, sharp pain, sneeze in limbo. Yuck.

Monday I had a short recovery ride on tap. My legs felt great, just sitting on the bike hurt. When I got done I went to stretch, that hurt.

The ribs have been getting better. And I know that they just hurt and do not interfere with anything (well except breathing but that’s overrated anyway).

So my review of bruising ribs? It teaches you know how much you actually move your upper body. My recommendation: Pass on it if you can.  🙂

http://fiveelementsliving.com/

Wilmington Whiteface 100k Part 2

You know, I sat down to write this up and I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Yeah there was a lot of the typical stuff you see in a ride report. “I didn’t sleep well. I pooped a couple of times before the race. The start was a mass piece of choas where the goal was to stay upright on the bike. It hurt a lot.” While true, that all seems pretty typical and boring. (Banana bread with Nutella, Hot Chocolate, oat meal, BTW.) Where did the drama really start?

It really started with me feeling very slow with dead legs on the very very fast 5 miles descent on paved roads to the first climb. By that I mean right from when the gun went off. I felt like I was being passed by a lot of riders and not passing as many as I remembered from last year. Then I settled in, and thought, “this is NOT yet the race, you know that, keep it positive”.

We hit the first climb and the race really began.

And I started to feel good. I began to pass people. Yup I was passed. The people who passed me motored passed me. They were so much faster it wasn’t even close. But I motored passed other people too. I got to the top and bombed the back side.

Then I got to the second climb and powered up that. Somewhere on that climb I caught and dropped my brother. It was the same thing, some very fast people passed me, but I passed a lot of other people. I never felt that strong on that climb. And then before I knew it I was at the aid station, 10 minutes ahead of my split time from last year.

I have an awesome regular crew. Bailey my oldest son, Coreen my wife, and Noah my super 11 year old crew member. You might remember Noah from our day at Columbine Mine in Leadville last year. This year they were joined by my brother’s family and my mom and dad.

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A fast bottle change and I was off.

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More climbing and still feeling good.

The next segment is where I really lost it last year. The mistakes I made with my nutrition and hydration killed me. A long descent followed by a single track section (with a lot of climbing in it) followed by a climb up what was just prior a long descent. But I felt good and kept going.

The funny episode of the day happened on this segment, slowly. On the descent I was swapping a bottle in my cage and dropped a full bottle. Then I started doing some math as too how many I would need to get back to the crew station. Did I really need the bottle? Was I going to have to stop at the aid station to get water (I didn’t want to). I decided I had enough liquid and emergency calories with me to get by and didn’t stop. On the way back up I saw my bottle and stopped to pick it up. The guy next too me asked if it was mine. “Yeah, dropped it on the way down. It’s full and I need it.” “Right on Brother!” (I love mountain bikers).

The annoying episode of the day happened in this section as well. As I left the single track section my brother caught me from behind. He’s faster on the single track, and so he made up time.

Up again. 8.8 miles of up and again I felt strong. I dropped my brother (Again. This time however it was for the rest of the race. Cannot be beat by the little brother 🙂 ) and passed a bunch of people. Got passed by one guy who was going FAST (he had to have had a mechanical, because he was WAY faster than the people around me). And before I knew it I was at the crew station for a second time, 30 minutes ahead of my split from last year.

Two bottles, a quick coke and I was gone.

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One more serious climb, some flowy single track, some road, some muddy single track and 25 miles later I was in a familiar spot, walking a familiar kicker hill into a parking lot at the base of Whiteface.

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Back at Whiteface, 40 minutes ahead of my pace from last year.

They changed the Whiteface section (i.e. the last 3 miles of the race) this year. Last year it was 45 minutes of hike-a-bike up the ski slopes followed by a very fast very technical descent into a very technical single track section. It was my dark place last year. This year the climb on the mountain was smaller but we had to do two laps to make up the elevation gain.

My dark place come this year again with the finish in sight. I got up and down the climb fine and descended into the single track. This single track is made up small steep hills with what are essentially root steps. I missed a line by just a little bit, hooked my handlebar on a tree and ran myself into a tree, stopping my forward motion with my rib cage. I heard a voice behind me: “Are you alright brother?” (it was not my bio, it was a mtb brother). I took a deep breath and there was no pain. I figured I was OK. “Yup.” Back up and riding.

I made my second lap without incident. I was cautious on the single track and walked a fair bit of it. (I did not want to screw up at this point.) And then I crossed the finish line.

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6:01:09.  That’s over an hour faster than last year. (I’m a little bummed about not getting in under 6 hours, it more a point of pride than anything. But I figure not running into a tree will fix that one.)

My brother crossed the line 15 minutes later.

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He had an adventure himself. Broken chain on some single track coming back to home. Good thing he picked up that master link eh? Dave did well. It was his first long, high elevation gain race. Pretty sure he liked it too.

So some final thoughts.

I’m sore. I won’t even lie about that. I don’t think I broke anything rib wise, but they are definitely on the bruised side of things. They are better today (2 days out) and I do not expect any long term issues from them. Knee’s fine. No issues there.

I totally love doing MTB races like this. The people who race them are awesome. I had so many quick talks, contacts etc. with people. One woman I biked with for a while said “Hey we rode together last year for a while too”. The people in the story above really did address me as “brother” and they meant it, its just like that. The Dave I met (not my biological brother) is going to be in Leadville this year. His friend Curtis was trying to get in. Hope you made it Curtis!

I felt really good on this ride, better than I ever have before. I uploaded my ride to STRAVA and this is what I saw:

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That’s a whole lot of PB’s. In fact, every segment was a PB. I am not sure why STRAVA didn’t have PB next to all of them, but I checked they were all fastest ever. I think the combination of the training and being lighter really helped on the climbs. I was able to get into a nice gear, with a nice cadence and just settle into them. I felt more relaxed on the descents, and except for hitting the tree felt good on the single track.

I love my family dearly. They are the best crew every. Lifetime folks, you cannot have Noah this year, he is mine!

Leadville is just over 7 weeks away (holy sh!t).

Wilmington Whiteface 100k Part 1

I’m back home, had a nights sleep and I feel like I was hit by a truck. Clearly this weekend must have gone well. It was Wilmington Whiteface 100k weekend.

My brother Dave came up for the week. He races XC in Florida and wanted to see what this endurance mountain biking stuff was all about. The plan was to spend Father’s day weekend in Lake Placid so that his family could enjoy the region, and we could do the race.

Dave and I went up early on Friday with my dad and Noah. We stopped at Placid Planet so that Dave could pick up some last minute supplies. While in the shop I asked Dave if he had a master link for his chain. He didn’t so he picked one up. That would turn out to be one of the best moves of the weekend. (Que the cheese mystery movie music.) After the stop at the bike shop we went out to Whiteface for a little pre-race volunteering setting up the venue.

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When we were done the start line was finished. Here is why I love the area we live in:

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We were staying in Saranac Lake at a hotel called Gauthier’s. Gauthier’s is a throw back which makes you feel like you have stepped back into the 50’s with Patric Swazy. They have canoes, kayaks and paddleboats for the guests to use. Noah and his cousins used the boats to play bumper tag with their grandfather.

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Seriously, how can you go wrong with a place that has this for its guests?

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Noah is a lot like me in many ways. We both woke up early on Saturday morning. After getting some hot chocolate we spent some time outside, enjoying the morning.

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On Saturday Dave and I had a pre-ride with my old friends Dave Weins and Rebecca Rusch on the schedule. Before that I had to stop at the bike shop myself. Last week when I was riding my bike felt wonky and I discovered that headset was loose. I tightened it up. BUT Saturday morning it was feeling, well a little crunchy. Off to Placid Planet. They were super helpful and fit me right in. When we pulled my headset apart we discovered that my bearing were totally rusted out. 15 minutes later, new bearings and we were ready to roll.

Off to Whiteface for the pre-ride. We were joined on the ride by about 50 people. The ride consisted of the first 5 or so miles of the course, one section of single track and the route from that single track back to the mountain. Then we did the new and improved finish at Whiteface. The organizers changed the finish because they felt the last two miles from last year were a we touch dangerous. It was certainly “challenging” last year. This year it was easier, but you had to do 2 laps before you could finish. This would prove to be an “interesting” way for me to end my race. (Que the cheese mystery movie music.)

I felt good but not great on the pre-ride. Others were going a lot faster and we went a little longer than I wanted to. But I tried to keep my own pace and do what I needed to. After the pre-ride Dave and I walked around the retail tents. The woman who runs the Lifetime Fitness retail operation said “Hey I remember you, you were here last year right.” Its remarkable how friendly the Leadville people are.

The day ended with a nice pasta dinner and an attempt to sleep.

Taking Stock

The Wilmington Whiteface 100k is this weekend. Just a mere, um, 4 days away. And while in the bigger picture that means that Leadville is only 58 FREAKING DAYS from today it’s not my focus right now. This weekend is.  It’s a good time to see where I am at and how I am feeling right now with 70 miles of fun on tap for Sunday.

Physically I feel really good.

I checked my weight this morning and I was 159 lbs. That’s 13 lbs lighter than I was last year. Actually that’s 13 lbs lighter than I was in March. The clothes I bought the last time I did a pretty substantial drop in weight, well they don’t fit anymore. As Coreen would say, I am looking like a hobo again. The scientist in me would love to isolate that one fact and see how much of a difference it makes, but it doesn’t work that way.

Authors’ note:  I was at a Luge meeting on Saturday. They kidded me I was going to wrong direction in my with my weight. They also recommended I change my coat order (I ordered a winter luge coat for officiating races) because I was too skinny. Going up versus down a mountain definitely requires 2 different bodies. I think I am going to keep this one even for luge. I may just need to order some extra lead in the fall.

I feel like my training has gone well. Even with the knee problem after Battenkill I feel like I am in a good place fitness wise. I would have liked to have riden the Wilmington course more than the once I managed to do this spring, but that’s neither here nor there. At least I have some experience on the course and so I know what to expect. (Oh and my pre-ride showed I was faster than last year for the first 3 hours anyway :).)

I “think” I am smarter about riding long and hard this year. I have a better nutrition/hydration plan. I have been playing with drinks this spring and have pretty much settled on CarboRocket 333 and a Infinite long distance mix. I’ve ridden up to 6 hours and been fine with those.

I’m feeling pretty good on the single track right now. There is nothing really technical this weekend, so hopefully I can do those sections quicker than I did last year. Its going to rain tomorrow and a little on Friday, but should dry out Saturday and Sunday so the single track sections should be in really nice shape.

The bike is in pretty good shape mechanically. I’m not super happy with the rear derailleur I got after the stick incident. This bike deserves something better but it was what I could get quickly. I may have to address that before Leadville, but this week is not the time to mess with big things on the bike. The bike is cleaned, lubed, trued and tuned.

So what are my predictions for this weekend? I am hoping that having an actual clue on what to eat and drink while doing a long race, along with having a lot less mass to haul up the hills, along with a good training plan, will mean I can be stronger (i.e. faster) during the second half of the race. That’s where I think the real gains will be made.

I’m excited for this weekend.