Friday, August 29, 2014

Four Horsemen

So are small field took off at 4 am in the dark, with our que cards for the first sector stowed in our jersey pockets the feel of a Rapha video came to mind almost immediately . The climbing started 6 or 7 miles into to it soon Jammie and I had started to put a gap on our compatriots we continued to push on with the sun coming up over the Ancient Bristol cone pine forest. The climb was toughened up a bit due to a slight head wind but nothing to dramatic when we hit the dirt section at 10,000 feet Jammie wasn’t happy and he fell off the pace, It was the most Brutal section. Sharp diamond shaped rocks some the size of grapefruit littered the wash board lined road road the climbing was still steep and the lose dirt meant standing was not an option. When the 3 miles of climbing in the dirt was finished we had to turn around and descend. I did not descend much faster than I climbed worried about destroying my wheelset but my margin gained on Jammie, I almost collided with another rider coming up while searching for a “clean” line. I was so relieved when the dirt section was finished, Jammie caught back on, on the descent, and passed me, the man descended like a stone. I was a bit tentative descending at first getting used to my new fork. We rolled back in to the hotel. Section one, 58miles and about 7000’ of climbing were completed.

    After a quick change of bibs and shoes (I wanted to rotate the hot spots on my feet) Jammie and I set off on sector two. We worked well together across the flats rotating frequently the heat and wind started to pick up on our way into Bishop. We started to climb the road to South Lake the heat was stifling sweat was running off my face like I was on the trainer, I was suffering like a dog but Jammie looked a bit worse so about 2 miles away from South lake Lodge I put in a bit of a dig, I don’t know why I just put my foot on the gas. The gap opened and I decided to push on. The thought to take it easy and wait entered my mind but something Lisa told me once came to mind “if you have the knife in you might as well twist it” . So I grabbed a gear and just went for it. At the top of South Lake I had built a 5+ minute margin. I descended with more confidence knowing I had to protect my lead. I put my I-pod in and pushed hard on the climb to Sabrina Lake trying to increase my margin. I would dance up to threshold but did not dare cross it. At the summit of Sabrina Lake I was 100+ miles into the race and had a 10+ min gap. I have to admit I took more than a few chances on the 20 mile descent.

    I pushed hard into the head crosswind fueled by a good playlist  I started to really believe in myself and my ability to pull off the coup d’├ętat. When I reached the fire station on the Lower Rock Creek Rd climb the race director told me I had a gap of just over 30min. Near the summit of the climb I was a bit bonky and very emotional this song came on  and I almost cried. After a Coke and a bit of food at the summit I started to get my shit back together and fought a stiff head wind for the next 15 or so miles. I thought a lot about all the people who have helped me but, Mark, Rob, Lisa and my wife where the people who stayed at the forefront of my mind. Rob’s text of “crush some shit” and Marks words “to repay me, go win it!” kept repeating in my brain. I made a right turn and had I tail/crosswind and I knew that the chasing groups advantage of numbers would be slightly neutralized so I raised my pace, HR was starting to seem like not much of a good matrix anymore. The race director told me that he would be my sole support car now because the gap was big enough that the other vehicles couldn’t leap frog the course anymore. I ticked off two more moderate climbs at a 141 and 176 miles respectively I was feeling good but I had no pop in the legs, fear of being chased down and insecurity fueled my head. I just kept eating and drinking with the knowledge this race would be done with my stomach. 

    At 14hrs 36min, 205miles and 20,532’ of climbing the battery in my Garmin died. The sun was starting to fall over the Sierra Nevada’s. I was still super motivated even though my body was starting to hurt everywhere. My feet had hot spots, the palms of my hands felt as if they where bruised and every joint in my body ached. 15 or so miles outside of Big Pine  the race director asked what my longest ride was I responded LOTOJA at 210 miles, he smile and said “not anymore you’re at 240 miles!”

    At the start of the final section I was filled with self doubt and wasn’t sure if I could complete the race, I was fried! I was a complete emotional wreck but I set out into the darkness alone with only the voices in my head . On the way up Death Valley Rd I was cracking mentally I couldn't hold a line and I road off the road more than twice. I was having problems distinguishing the grey road from the grey gravel next to the road, my focus returned monetarily after a Jack rabbit jumped into the middle of the road and I almost hit it. I was in a deep hole mentally and physically, images of last year’s Tour de Park City kept entering my mind ( where I saw a rabbit take out half a pelaton and sent a few guys to the hospital with open fractures), I  was feeling doomed! When the race director finally pulled up next to me I was so happy not to be alone in the desert anymore, he asked how I was doing, I told him I was cracking. He said he had had the right to change the course at anytime and had decided to make it a summit finish and neutralize the final descent. I still doubted if I had it in the tank but put my head down and just peddled I felt like I couldn’t hold a consistent pace, I forced some gel down even though my stomach was doing flips. I’m not sure how long the final climb took but it felt like donkey years, more suicidal rabbits and a big fucking snake added to my overall stress level. My feet screamed when I would stand and I felt like I couldn’t generate any power sitting but I just kept telling myself “This is what I signed up for”. A little motivation came from this when my i-pod tried to give me some salvation.  When I crossed the line I could barely unclip, I thought I was going to fall over. The race director told me to get into van I was done.

In hindsight I love how this race was ran, unsanctioned and on the Fight Club paradigm everyone can apply but not everyone is welcome. It was cool not to know the course or have any idea what was coming next, just ride and try to have the courage to be bold.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Everest Challenge Day 2

The best laid plans...
My plan today was to make the race hard from the word go. The block head wind  down  canyon down canyon block head wind made my tempo just hard on me, every one could just sit on me happy and sheltered. I was happy when a random guy attacked and the GC leader followed, I knew it was a fools move, but it did get some other folks animated. We chased the GC leader Up the second climb and his gap grew on us, his break away companion blew up sky high and was never to be seen again.
On the start of the final climb I attacked trying to get into the top 3. The little rollers and hot stagnate air sapped my strength and I was in a bad way. I ate a bunch of gel dumped the remnants of my water bottle on my head and started singing an old Slapshot song. I was no longer attacking but defending the ground I had.

Fininshed 5th on the road and 5th on GC. (double nickels on the dime)

*This was also a note sent to some a few feinds

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Everest Challenge Day 1

I’m not sure what to make of today. We started off crazy easy for the first few miles then we stopped and pissed, fucking casual... We started Up the first climb to South Lake and a big guy (this fellow makes Blevins look small) went to the front and proceeded to rip the legs off the Pelaton. At one point he got into the drops like Marco Pentani and proceeded to lay waste to the group never to be seen again. At this point I was on the back foot, sitting 9th on the road and well into the red zone. I got my shit back together and when on the hunt.I passed one guy on the Screaming descent. I caught another guy part way up the Pine Creek climb. On the final climb to Mosquito Flats I caught a waif of a climber near the base, he sat on me all the way up the climb(we also had the pleasure of fighting a block head wind), and he attacked w/ 500m to go and got a few seconds on me. I’m not surprised by this as he did no work in the wind and I was more concerned about time and didn’t really try to dispatch him (maybe a mistake but I was thinking about tomorrow and closing the gap to the top 5.

We will see if my thinking was correct.

The worst part of the day was the hot and windy ride back to the car. SUCKFEST!

*this was written as a note to a couple of friends

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hero Worship!

Piss and Vinager

This weekend was my Everest challenge lite. Saturday Mt Evans; Sunday Pikes Peak hill climb.

Mt Evans was Fucking Brutal this year! Windy as hell. We started off fast but I didn’t realize how fast, we split the group 3miles into the race(most years the selection is made at 7miles at the big left hand switchback). At 4 miles a very strong guy, who is more than capable of winning, attacked no one wanted to chase so I did the donkey work bringing the selection back up to him. I continued to work bringing back the attacks when I blew up. I recovered a bit got my shit together and went back on the move catching others as they popped, dragging a few with me along the way. At summit lake I drilled it, only one could fallow me. It so happens it was the squirreliest Mother fucker in our group. The wind above tree line was a bastard and meant drafting actually helped. We dodged citizen riders giant ass pot holes. I dragged him too much, but I wasn’t concerned with my passenger I wanted places back. Citizen riders made a clean sprint impossible and I got pimped on the line by fractions of an inch. 1min faster than last year in worst conditions but only good for 9th. Surprised how fast the group was.

Side note: I didn’t know most of the guys in the top 10(maybe 3), most the guys who I usually battle with in these climbing races blew up the first few miles. A friend who is a very talented climber said he was over threshold 5min into the race and he was sitting in.

Today was the Pikes Peak Hill climb. I really like this course. It’s steep lots of 10% + grades. With in the 1st mile I went in a break away with two others, one guy I race with a lot and know he can TT but hates surges so I wanted to get rid of his asap. So armed with my spastic climbing style I popped him off the back. I wasn’t worry about the guy on my wheel because every time I would surge he would lose 10m and have to chase back on, he only went to the front once and when he did he slowed. At about 8miles in I was confident I would win today but my rear quick release came loose (probably from yesterdays descent), and my tire got jammed, 2nd Place attacked. After getting my bike sorted out I went back on the attack and was making up ground. With a little over 1K to go 1 was 30m behind. He looked back and jumped the wheel of a guy from another CAT I went for it but... I guess that's bike racing. Never felt so shitty about a 2nd place.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 Race Results

Deer Creek Canyon TT- 6th
Mount Evans- 4th
Pikes Peak- 3rd
Cottonwood Pass TT- 2nd
Mike Horgan- 8th
Dead Dog RR- 14th
Guanella Pass- 14th
Sunshine- 9th
Superior Morgul RR- 14th
Deer Trail RR- 22nd
Cobb Lake- 9th
Maverick Classic- 4th
Tour de Park City- 9th
Tour Del Sol- 25th in RR(27th GC)
Everest Challenge- DNF (11th after day1)

Team Body Sinc 3rd place overall in Colorado Climbing series.