Coach Drew

“You are breaking up with Drew?” Coreen asked.

“Ummm. We are just taking a break.” I answered.

I have reached the end of my season with Drew. And we agreed to breakup. (Actually I think by contract Drew and I technically ended at the end of August, but he kept giving me stuff to do. And I kept doing it, well mostly.)

When I started this year Drew and I talked about my goals and what I wanted to accomplish. Some of them were easy to identify. I wanted to shave 30 minutes off my time at the Willmington Whiteface qualifier. (Got over an hour faster. Check). I wanted to finish Leadville. When pressed my goal time was 10:20 (for no particular reason other than that is the average finish time at Leadville and I am OK with being average there). I call 10:30 good. I also made some noise about not wanting to finish Leadville in crisis mode, but on my own terms. Well, we know how that one went. But I take responsibility for that. (Yep we know where THAT finish came from. Shut up Yeti.) And it was memorable if nothing else. (I may need to go back someday to get a picture of me crossing the finish line with a smile…You know that’s silly Doug, WHEN you go back you know you are going to go harder. SHUT UP YETI!)

My other goal was to learn about training.

Drew has been a fantastic coach. He answered all of my why questions about what we were doing. It’s somewhat counter intuitive to have a 6 hour ride be the longest ride you do for a 10 hour race. He redirected my crazy ideas (like riding too hard right before Leadville) and in the end I was rested, strong and ready for that stupid crazy ride.

The original idea had been that I would learn training from Drew and then work at training myself next year. But you know what? It was fun to work with someone else. In a strange way you get just a little bit of motivation when training sucks. Even if Drew wasn’t watching everything I did, I had that picture in my mind. I didn’t want to put lame efforts into my record that he would see. So I went just a little bit harder.

The plan has been updated a little bit. I am going to work with Drew again next year. But first the breakup. I am on my own for the winter. Drew is busy in his off season growing oranges (sorry I cannot get oranges from you Drew, but I have family connections that I need to use to get oranges!) and prepping for his own next racing season. Sometime around March (when I can get back outside again, unless Santa brings me this that is.) we will get back together. Things will happen fast. I am tossing around the idea of a race in May (The Wildcat 100). Then quickly into Willmington where I have already declared that I will do the course ANOTHER 30 minutes faster. (That would put me in the top 25%.) Then ORAMM (Not sure on the goal there. Finishing w/out breaking me or the bike would be nice). And then I want to try to get some shorter races in later in the summer. XC racing was fun.

I would recommend that anyone who is interested in hiring a coach look at Drew. You have to find someone who works for you, but I definitely think Drew is someone you should consider. He knows his stuff. Drew’s website is here: http://www.coachdrewedsall.com/ (If you contact him tell him Doug sent you. Heck maybe if enough of you contact him I can get something for so many referrals. Something like a Kenda jersey 😀 )

Advertisements

Leadville Day 9: Uberfit

The riders are really rolling into Leadville now. Specialized has set up a shop for its team riders. Gu is here. There have been a lot of team kits riding around town. The uber fit team guys have arrived. The Leadville average BMI has dropped significantly.

You know what? It’s easy to look at those guys and feel…well like I have no business being here.

They are skinny guys, riding on expensive carbon bikes, with team cars that hold extra wheels in case they have a problem.

But here is the thing. I put my time in. I trained hard. My Titanium bike is cool (and probably the only Ti, Basso here in the race. Lots of Moots though). I’m well almost skinny (certainly skinnier than I have been in a long long time 😉 )

I have as much of a right to be here as any of them do. This race isn’t about them and their teams, and their bikes. It’s about me and the course.

Tomorrow my super crew starts to roll in. Coreen, Bailey and Noah come. Thursday Jenni, the super domestique, comes. I wouldn’t trade them for any team.

Picture of the Day

leadville_begin-1

Beginnings and Endings on Many Levels

Leadville Day 7: Boom Days

Today was a day of rest from biking (I get two days off this week, lucky me). So nothing much on the riding side to post. Instead I spent the morning at Leadville Boom Days. And what you may be asking yourself is Boom Days? Well in Leadville you dress up like gun fighters and shoot it out in the streets:

leadville_boom_cowboy

And if you are not racing a mountain bike, well you get to race a burro:

Leadville_burro

Seriously. Here are the women heading out onto their course:

(I love the woman being basically dragged by her burro down the road. I also love the burro that decided he wanted to go off into the crowd.)

This is apparently a pretty serious sport. They have an association, rules and race around the country. Now to their credit the open course was about 25 miles and the race takes about 4 hours. That’s a pretty significant run.

As an aside. I was talking with a couple of grizzled race vets this morning when a rookie came up asked some questions. Questions like: How much single track is there? What do people eat and drink during the race? Is the course steep? Is the course rocky? What kind of clothes to wear? (You know things you should really know before you get into this, like when you are training.) After he left I asked the vets what the over/under was on him finishing. It was not high.

Thought for the day:

1. Feeling rested time to get warmed up.

Its going to get busy here this week. I trust you will forgive me if the writing slows down a little. In the end it will all be covered.

Leadville Day 6: Sugarloaf

Yesterday I was talking with some bike racers and they mentioned that Sugarloaf was a great climb. With one last “hard” day of riding left before the race I decided to climb Sugarloaf and do the Powerline descent.

Simply put Sugarloaf is a great climb. It’s graded in such a way that you can gear down and get into a rhythm and go up. Its loose in a couple of places but not really bad. The view from the top is awesome.

leadville_sugarload_top-1

Once you get to the top of Sugarloaf you transition into the Powerline descent.

leadville_powerline_top-1

(Can you hear the powerlines crackling? They do. Its kind of freaky.)

The powerline descent? Well that’s pretty much NOT underplayed in the movies. It’s rocky and steep and loose. Oh, the “really” steep part? Well that has ruts in it that are a couple of feet deep. You pick a line and are pretty much stuck with it. But I made it to the bottom without much difficulty. And that’s the key on race day. I won’t win a belt buckle on this descent, but I could loose it.

On my way back into town I rode the Boulevard. Found my line and cleaned it.

Thought for the day:

Today was the best day I had on my bike since getting to Leadville. I’ve now gone up or down 3 out of the 5 major climbs in the race. Not been on Columbine (saving that for he race). The climb to Carter (the last major climb)…its paved. Except for the fact that it comes so late in the race, its not too bad.

Tomorrow is a rest day. But worry not, I do believe I will have some very interesting pictures to post.

Speaking of pictures. Here is the picture of the day. Luckily we do not have to go all the way to the top of the Powerline:

leadville_powerline_top-2

Leadville Day 5: Is it race time yet?

There are good things about having come to Leadville two weeks ahead of the race. Mostly those have to do with acclimation, pre-riding parts of the course, meeting new people.

The bad part, well you are living the Leadville Trail MTB Race 24/7. You cannot get away from it. The mountains are looming. Kind of sitting there taunting you. It’s hard to get away from thinking about the race.

This might come as a shock to those of you who know me (especially to my wife 😉 Love you!) but if given the chance I can spend some time in my head. And its so easy right now to do that. To make something that is big into something that’s even bigger. And so that’s the challenge right now. Having fun, enjoying the experience, and NOT making it bigger than it actually is.

Today’s ride was an easy 1 hour spin. So that left a lot of time. What did I do to keep myself busy? Met a bunch of riders who were gathering for a pre-ride and talked with them (I finished my ride before they rolled out). Hot chocolate at City on a Hill. Then I put some new brake pad in my front wheel disk brakes.

Then I figured out my goal split times for the race.

Then a few hours of work (prepping for a new class back home). Then into town to chat with some more riders. Then dinner. Then writing on the blog 😉

It’s going to pick up starting on Sunday. My mom and dad get into town. Then some other people I know start coming. I actually have some dinner dates starting on Monday. That will be a nice distraction.

Thought for the day:

1. Take the race 1 mile at a time. Don’t worry about anything except what is right in front of you. It’s kind of like when I Luge. The only important thing is the curve in front of you. The curve behind you totally irrelevant. Two curves ahead…not yet.

Picture of the day:

leadville_boom-1

Boom Days. A Leadville street fair. Oh did I forget to mention I went to that today? No riding on Sunday, but I do believe Boom Days will be providing some excellent picture opportunities. Stay tuned.

Leadville Day 4: Middle Earth

The Leadville race course is interesting in that it has this on one end:

leadville_powerline_bottom-1

(Powerline)

and this on the other:

leadville_columbine-1

(Columbine)

Between those two riddles that need to be solved is about 25 miles of paved road, dirt road, and single track. I needed to ride a 4 hour tempo ride today and so I thought the middle section (out and back from town) would fit that ticket nicely.

I am going to say something really stupid here. The movie Race Across the Sky totally over plays this section. They say something like deceptively hard, rolling, etc.. On a hardness scale this rates a 2-3 compared to everything else (say Columbine and Powerline are 10’s). (Author’s note: I do hear that this is where you can hit winds during the race. A strong headwind would hurt on this section. The winds were manageable today. But that’s why you need a paceline!)

This section was fun and the miles ticked away, quickly. I felt strong and found a nice tempo that I could have held for a long time. I felt, well close to normal.

Half way through the ride was Twin Lakes (where the second aid station is)

leadville_twin_lakes-1

And even though if you look just a little bit to the left you are reminded of this…..

leadville_columbine-1

(Man does that look high, why aren’t there trees on the top BTW??? Are we really going up that????)

…I felt good.

Then I turned around and retraced my steps back to town. Ending my ride crossing what will be the finish line. Then I stopped for my recovery drink:

leadville_recovery-1

(Chocolate peanut butter milkshake. Yumm….)

Thoughts for the day:

1. It was nice and refreshing to do a ride and be close to what I could do at home. Good for the confidence.

2. I hope these MTBer’s know how to ride in a paceline, because that middle section is so calling out for one.

3. I didn’t feel great when I woke up today or when I started my ride. I felt progressively better as the ride went on. Remember that Doug, it happens to you a lot!

4. Starting my ride at 7:30 am was the BEST idea of the day. It’s raining pretty good right now.

Pictures for the day:

leadville_sunset-1

Sunset at the cabin.

leadville_sunrise-1

Sunrise at the cabin.