Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This past Sunday was the Greenbrier XC race in Boonsboro, MD. This race is a national qualifier race, not that I was intending on going or qualifying for that matter. The temps were in the high 80's - low 90's at our 2:00 pm start, with 4 laps on the just over 5 mile course. I've come to actually know this course after racing there 3 years in a row - just about the time it takes me to remember a course.

There were about 13 guys in the Expert 35-39 field, and clearly 12 faster than me. I talked with Josh West from the team a little bit before the start. Checking some stats from last year, he did some really fast lap times but DNF'd last year - not sure why. But I knew he was one to chase. I tried to keep him in site, with a decent climb off the start I felt OK around mid pack. But that changed quickly as the next climb I saw the pack pulling away up the climd, and I couldn't hang on that pace for the climbs.

I never really got into a groove in this race, I think the heat was really getting to me. I came through on my first lap at 30 minutes flat - about 3-4 minutes faster than my previous years lap. However, on the 2nd lap the climbs were making me suffer even more and I really slowed down - 36 min lap time. At that point the heat was really getting to me and I was really nauseas, so I DNF'd myself and jumped in the lake to cool down. Yup, that's right I quit! Kinda like I did at Leesburg Bakers Dozen.

Moving on to a less sucky subject, I rode my bike twice yesterday. I got a quick hour climbing workout in at Hawk Mtn (to help with the first part of my post) and I did a fast paced ride at Salisbury with Vegan Rob. I think I broke my previous times by a few minutes, probably has something to do with having Rob following me around. But I actually felt good on the bike for the first time in a few weeks, so thats a good sign.

I'm thinking maybe I was just still a little tired from Leesburg, possibly under hydrated (causing the cramping at Leesburg) and heat issues at Greenbrier. Or it could be I just plain old suck, we'll see how things go this weekend at Granogue. GO REGISTER !! here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leesburg Bakers Dozen..

Friday a bunch of us headed down to Leesburg, VA for the third annual Bakers Dozen 13 hr mountain bike race. The vibe at this race is very cool, and was a great time last year. This year I did this race solo instead of the 2 person team I did last year.

My plan was to ride roughly 40 min laps and go steady all day. Well all plans change, at the start a few guys got a little too excited and were sprinting off the start like an XC race. Unfortunately they crashed into each other, then crashing into me - twisting my stem/bars and seat. I had to run over to my pit area and straighten everything out. Now I was out on my first lap behind the train of people, most of them walking the rock up. Just about now I noticed my knee is cut up and hurtin' and there was a golf ball like knot in my calf - from the crash at the start.

I pulled in on my first lap and went right back out for another lap, probably putting down a little quicker time than I should have. That wasn't really in keeping with my plan of steady. The next lap I switched over to my Jet9 full suspension, as I was already noticing some lower back issues from either effort or the rutted access road between the two loops. This was a great decision as I could immediately feel a difference, until my fork started giving me some issues. It was bottomed out on travel, so I locked it for the remainder of that lap.

Next lap I jumped on the Cannondale 29'er, and asked Josh from Saucon Valley Bikes if he could switch out the fork from my SS bike I brought for Dan K. as a back up. He worked on it, getting everything switched over, so when I came back through I switched back. Great work Josh!

So the day started with the crash, some fork mechanical issue, and then I started to cramp. My legs were cramping, and stomach was starting to feel kinda knotted. I was taking some time off the bike between laps trying to get the cramps to subside. The cramps kept on coming, so I decided to just chill for a bit and see how things would go after some more time. Dan K, Pete, and I went out for another lap - I think number 10 for Dan and I, and like 12 for Pete. At the end of the lap I was done - I figured I got 71 miles in, not quite what I wanted. But no biggie, since I got to hang with some good friends and ride my bike for quite a few hours.

Now my legs are still a bit sore, probably from the cramps I guess. I had some off site training for work today, and was able to get out for a nice hour spin after the training. It was an amazing day, until right around now (7ish) when its starting to get a bit ugly out.

We'll see what's next on the schedule, probably Michaux or Granogue. See ya soon!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baker's Dozen...

Tomorrow a bunch of us are heading down to Leesburg, VA for the Baker's Dozen - a 13 hour lap race. I unfortunately have to work today (It's damn nice out) and still haven't ridden all week. Good thing I'll be good and rested to take Pete's $5.

The weather is looking perfect for the weekend. Fit Chick, Mr. Fit Chick, Pete, DanK, Straus, Bowman, VeganRob, Liz, and Josh are making the trip from the local area. What a crew, it's gonna be a fun weekend!

Race report to follow.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Roller suffering...

I picked up a training program from LW Coaching. She has pre-built plans for various disciplines of racing, ranging from beginner/sport/expert xc plans to 100 mile prep plans. I picked the expert build/peak/race plan - which is a 12 week plan. Tonight was my first interval workout on the program, and it was definitely a tough workout. Here's a screenshot from WKO+ with a gridline at my FTP 277 watts.

The workout was max effort 3 x 3 min on 3 min off, 3 x 2 min on 2 min off, 3 x 1 min on 2 min off. With the warm up, intervals, and cool down this was my longest roller session. After the workout I did some work with The Stick, and used the foam roller on my IT band, quads and hamstrings. Feeling pretty good now - but certainly tired.


I've been looking for a light, fast, decent cornering tire for the 29'er. I found a Bontrager XR 29x2.25 that weighed only 560 grams, mounted right up tubeless on the Stan's 355. It seems to have sealed up with minimal work. Hopefully it hooks up well, looks like a decent cornering tire.



Sunday was my first expert xc race, and first xc race of '09. This is a whole new level of hurt from last year. The race was the AFC Sugar Hill Patapsco XC race, to raise money for Extreme Weekend Children's Diabetes Camp and Kupenda For the Children. These guys run a non-profit organization to raise awareness for Diabetes, to show those diagnosed with Diabetes and their families how leading a healthy and active lifestyle can move you beyond your perceived limits, and to raise funds for Diabetes research. Several of these guys have comeplete RAAM (Race Across America). I think they even did it on fixed gear bikes one year.

The race was held at Patapsco Valley State Park in Elkridge, MD. Its about 2.5 hours from the Lehigh Valley area. They have many miles of multi-use trails, mostly fast and flowing with one longer climb and few short steep climbs. The course was well laid out, marked well, and well supported.

There were only 14 people in my class, of which 1 or 2 were pro's. Chris Beck (Gary Fisher) started the race at a pretty fast pace - sprinting the first climb. I guess he went out and kept the lead the whole race. He ended up winning with a time 9 minutes faster than 2nd place - he finished in 1:26. I finished in 7th place at 1:45, 19 minutes behind Beck, I'll take that for my first expert race.

I know some things I really need to work on, climbing, pacing, and that extra lap is very challenging. Time to up the training a bit and stop just riding around with no goals. I've always heard of that time called "junk miles" not sure I agree with the term, but understand the concept now.

Next up Baker's Dozen, 13 hours solo - this will be my longest race so far. I did this race last year as duo team with Mike Carter, and we placed 7th which I felt was pretty respectable. I'm hoping for a top 10 finish, but this should really test my pacing abilities (or lack of abilities) as last year I could go out hard and bust out faster lap times as I had some recovery opportunities. Regardless of placing this is gonna be a lot of fun! Lots of people from the area are making the trip to VA for this race.