Friday, April 30, 2010

April in the books

Clearly someone was watching over us
Zack and I headed out for our pre-race ride at Fort Custer. I feel really bad for him because he doesn't ride a lot and then we make him If he didn't like it, I wouldn't make him do it.
The woods were looking very interesting tonight. It went from view like the picture above to just plain brown ugly woods with a light brown path tucked in.

This picture is from early on the race course, Blue Loop. At this point I knew it was going to be a long ride. Zack was more concerned about the scenery and sounds than actually riding. The trail is in amazing shape. The rain scheduled for tonight will do nothing but help to keep the dust down and firm up the sand. The sand won't matter much because of how many laps will be ridden before we ever get there.

Zack didn't want to ride down this, but I told him to just do it. It is part of the race and he needed to have it under his belt. He nearly crashed because he tried to stop....which if you have ever ridden this section you know it is a bad idea. The fun came later. We took a side step and checked out the 'old and eliminated' creek crossing. After resting for a few we headed back to the blue loop and finished our ride. The last two miles were a fury of pedal strokes and peeking around open corners. Zack saw a 'hot chick' and felt the urge to chase her down. Little did he know that she was my age. It was very interesting to see the surge of testosterone in his body...because he was hauling ASS! And I mean hauling.....13 MPH around the end of blue on flat ground.....which was WAY faster than what we averaged on the entire ride.....LOL. So, we at least had a fun ride and got some good father-son time in.
Now that April is done I need to look at numbers. Final numbers for April are as follows:
Miles: 159.19
Yearly: 866.34
For anyone that cares....I had 17% more mileage in 2010 than I did in 2009. Total Mileage to this point is 91% higher than last year. I did dip in mileage this month, but I had the right kind of riding....DIRT. I barely rode on the road and Fort Custer was my key. If I can keep that up I will do fine next month. I should blow May out of the water because I barely rode after the Stampede. More on that later....
For now. Good luck to all my friends racing this weekend. I am hoping for a good finish in my class and then routing for Zack to do well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Put that in your water bottle and SUCK IT!

Well is Thursday night before the Fort Custer Stampede. I had a very good road ride on Monday and a blast of a ride on Wednesday at Custer. The good people from the SWMMBA posted the race route so now I know exactly where I am going. I am pretty confident that I can do well in this race. I have been riding the course (most of it) twice a week for the last month. My times have been getting consistently faster and I am feeling much more comfortable on the Epic. I wonder if maybe I was too tentative last year on the new bike. Now I can manipulate myself and let the bike flow below me. It is a weird feeling to just let off of the brakes and ride my bike....instead of holding on for dear life.

Now....why the title? is just kinda how I feel right now. I should have taken the bike to work with me today and ridden a longer ride, but I didn't. I will take Zack tomorrow for his training ride and I am sure it will be a blast, but I am just kinda ugh. My mileage has taken a huge hit because of soccer, dance, and work. My singletrack mileage has increased because of working by the Fort, but still....I had two awesome months....and now a mediocre month. With my distance tomorrow I will have about 160 for April. Not enough, but better than last year. SO PUT THAT IN YOUR WATER BOTTLE AND SUCK IT. LOL. I am ahead of last year at this point by 90%. Meaning....I have 400 more miles to this point than I did last year.

My plan for Sunday is as follows:

PEDAL HARD, hydrate, smile, pedal hard, hydrate, smile, PEDAL PEDAL PEDAL FAST, hydrate, SMILE!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wait....which way?

So tonight I attempted to ride the Fort Custer Stampede course from last year. I know exactly where the course leaves the Red loop and rejoins the Red loop. What I don't know is where to turn......clearly. I had an idea because I had looked at the map before I started riding, but I turned left instead of right and ended up riding into last years start/finish area backwards. LOL. I turned around and took off again down the Blue loop and then my memory was working better. I felt okay on this loop. I got soaked in the creek crossing and I think I got a mental block because of it. The water was freezing...and unexpectedly deep. I got passed by a woman the the freeway section, which was a surprise to me for a few reasons. One, I haven't been passed by anyone while training and two I haven't been passed by a woman since Jody caught me a few weeks ago. The bonus was staying with her for the next 6 miles. She caught me but then I was motivated enough to chase her and keep her in sight. I filed this experience under 'racing' because now I know how to keep a person close enough to beat them at the end...maybe.

I was not done riding when I finished my non-race route loop. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do so I headed down the Red loop again. After some thought I decided to turn down the Green loop for some extra hills. Jody keeps telling me to "love the hills grasshopper" so I figured riding in them would be helpful. I only had to put a foot down once....on the long switchback that rises away from the lake on the Green loop. I just didn't quite have enough oompf to get over one of the roots. I continued on and had a good day on the bike.

Total ride distance: 23.63 miles at a 10.7 avg speed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A burnt Fort Custer

The DNR has been doing the controlled burns this week. The Fort looks very interesting right now.....lots of black and burnt items with a perfect ribbon of brown singletrack going right through the center of it. It stinks like an old fire, but the feeling of devastation is very evident. It is an eerie sort of way.

So, I rode two loops at Custer last night. The red loop was first and then I rode my red to green combo for the second loop. The first red loop was fast.......for me....really fast. I am feeling pretty good on the bike. I was having a front derailleur issue which I solved before I left the trailhead...thankfully. I was able to drop to the middle ring on the climbs and shift back to the big ring for the rest of the trail. I was feeling good and I flew around the red loop. I averaged 11.2 mph for the red loop. I don't think I could have gone any harder, unless I was racing. The trail is starting to fly by...minus the climbs. I still struggle with the hills...but I am getting stronger. A few weeks ago I couldn't muster 10 mph on the red loop....and now I am up to 11....dang. I think some kind words from a few friends have helped. Niel told me to just have fun. He is really fast so I listened and I had a blast at Yankee Springs. Brian told me to stay off the I don't brake as much....and I can feel my handling skills improving. So, minus a few slow climbs I am feeling good about the Fort Custer Stampede.

So, second loop. I was hurting by the time I got to the Green loop. I almost made it up the switchback, but ran out of steam on the roots at towards I end of the climb. I dabbed and then climbed the rest of the a nod to 'Erin' as I reached the summit. After that I started to feel better but I could feel myself slowing down on the climbs. I was very surprised when I caught a couple of guys stopped and talking on middle of the long climb in the pines. I was even more surprised when they never passed me back. I had the opportunity to show off my skilz when I approached the step-up climb towards the end of the green. The hill goes vertical when the roots jut out. I cleared it and then noticed a group of people standing at the top of the hill. They all kinda had surprised looks on their Then I cleared the huge log jam on the other side of the hill. At this point I was feeling good....but it was short lived as I ran out of steam on the next climb. I managed to average 10.2 mph over those 10 miles all was good.

I am riding tomorrow....going for a Dirty Thirty...which is 30 singletrack miles. I am thinking it will take me about 3 hours to complete....and I look forward to the task. Gotta ride!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The purpose of a goal

I have always been a goal setter. I want to complete a certain task by a certain time, or get to a place by a certain time, or make enough money to do stuff....ect. What I have found is that the goals I set are flexible. They seem to move to wherever I am at that point in time. For example, I have had a goal of losing weight for many years. I would lose a little and progress towards my goal only to lose focus and gain weight back. Progress comes in small steps for me. I am finally refocused on my weight loss and it is showing. I have lost about 20 pounds and I am much stronger from cycling. Which leads me to the point.....or the purpose of this post.

A goal should have strict guidelines. They are as follows:

1. Set a goal
2. Make sure the goal is within reach
3. Never change the level of the goal if you are not reaching it....make a different goal

So...basic....right? Well, I have found that if a goal flexes down to an attainable level it was set too high. At the Yankee Springs Time Trial I set a goal of 1 hour and 15 minutes for my race time. I have never been within 5 minutes of that time and I figured in the race I would push myself harder to ensure I met the goal....which I did. The goal was just on the edge of being out of reach. 1 hour 10 minutes was too steep, so I took the low road (which was still faster) and hit it on the head.

Now I am looking at the Fort Custer XC in a week and a half and wondering what I should set my goal time at. Last year I have no comparison because I took a DFL after going flat 3 times. I can compare my times from this year on the Red loop (which is most of the race course) and get a decent idea of where my times will be. The problem I have is how low do I set the goal. I want to hit it, but not be disappointed by a low finish....and I don't want to miss it and be disappointed by a SLOW finish. So....hmm.

My goal for Fort Custer XC is to finish in the top 5 with a time of 0:50:00. Do you think I can hit it? I do....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yankee TT

And my 2010 race season begins. Today was perfect weather for me. It was a little cool but the sun was shining and NO RAIN. We loaded up and headed to YS Rec Area with only two bikes this year. Izzy and Megan decided not to race the kids race this year, but Zack decided to do the long race. His report first:

Zack did sweet. I was a little worried because this was his first race and he had a change of heart on racing after last Sunday, but we made him do it anyway. He finished 8th in his class which was last in his class...but he was far from the slowest person on the trail today. He raced in the 11-14 Beginner Men category and finished with a time of 1:50:10.7 I am super proud of him and his results.

Now for mine:

I stated earlier that my goal time was 1:15 for this years TT. I had a decent training ride that planted me with a goal of shaving 5 minutes off of my best time from this year. The funny thing is that I actually did it!!! I finished with a time of 1:15.15.5 for an 8th place finish. I managed to shave 9 minutes off of my time from last year....and drop 3 places in the standings. LOL. Anyway, I am very happy with my results. It was a fun day of racing and camaraderie. I had to help a guy get his foot out of his clipless pedals when he fell over after clipping a tree. I asked if he was okay, then made a derogatory comment about clipless pedals....and offered to help him. He took my offer and I went on my way. It was a ride full of getting passed and passing a few people myself. It was fun to go flying past the skinny beginners while I was still feeling good. I had a nice short ride with a guy from across the state too. He was suffering. Now I see he was a sport racer that was in for a little more than he bargained for. He had never ridden over here and was not feeling well. Unfortunately I didn't have anything to offer him. When I got about 1/2 mile from the end I saw Sarah.......then Megan.....then Chelle. After a short jaunt and a climb I saw all three of them again. This is the best part for me because when I am suffering I find strength from seeing them. After the gravel section towards the end of the trail there is a downhill next to the road and then the finish area. I hammered it as best as I could to the line. I could hear some friendly yelling and then saw Kim and Jessica. My finish felt awesome. I was hauling ass when I got to where the people were standing and I hope some of them were impressed....I know I was...
All in all....good day of racing. Now looking forward to Fort Custer Stampede in a few weeks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

One for the RODE......

So.....I had my last training ride at Yankee Springs last night. I left work and got a little turned around on the way north...but got there eventually. I was glad I was a little late because I ran into Niel and Jody as I was heading out. I knew they would catch me...but more on that later.

Yankee Springs is a wicked trail. Sand, roots, rocks, sand, hills, sand, sandy hills, rocky sand, rooty rocks, ect. I wanted to get one fast (for me) ride in before the TT. The strange thing is that I started strong, but the 80 degree air was killing me. I was wheezing from asthma, which hasn't happened at all this year. The resulting lack of oxygen in my lungs was depriving good blood for my legs and I started feeling like dirt. Determined to keep pushing on I just decided to walk the longer hills and not kill myself. At the 1/2 way mark I still hadn't been passed by Niel or Jody. Then, I hear..."Hey you feeling?" as Niel approached. I was walking and he was out of sight in a hurry. I kept pushing onward and started to feel a little better, but my breathing was still a mess. With about 2.5 miles to go I hammered it as best as I could. I went super hard on the flats...then when the trail tilted uphill even a little I felt dead. Just no energy......but Jody still hadn't passed me. With about 50 to go I heard "HEY" if my heart wasn't beating fast enough....she scared the bejeebes out of me and it started beating harder. LOL.

I almost made it around without her catching me...and I will take that as a victory.

Ride time: 1:20:20.

Now with 11 people in my class I know this will not be fast enough, but I will do my best. I am shooting for 1:15 or better because I hope that my race pace will be faster and that I will feel better. So, good luck everyone. I will post a race report on Sunday evening or Monday.

Let the season begin!

Monday, April 12, 2010

"I think I dislocated my......."

These were the words that my son used yesterday at Yankee Springs. He asked what the body part was called...the proceeded to use it in a sentence. It was as follows:

"I think I dislocated my urethrae"

While trying not to laugh because I could tell he was in pain.....I asked him if that was even possible. It drew a smile from him....thankfully. We were about 3 miles from the end of Yankee Springs and he was completely running out of gas. We had a good ride out there for his first time. He is about as ready as he can be for the TT on Sunday....and he will surely just might take a while. Good thing there are least he will have someone to ride with.

He did a great job for his first time out there. No major crashes and he climbed most of the beginning hills on his bike. When he got tired he started pushing but he kept right on going. He says he is feeling okay today, thankfully! I thought maybe we were going to have to take him in for that dislocated urethrae.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dropping in the standings....

This week really sucked for weight lost. Not only did I not lose....but I gained. I actually gained everything back that I lost last week. Upon further investigation I realized why I gained it back. There were numerous factors. They are as follows:

1. Easter Sunday. I ate all day.....good food.
2. Easter Candy. I started Saturday night and ended when the candy was gone....on Wednesday.
3. Rain. It makes me hungry.
4. Only ONE bike ride.
5. Deep Dish Pizza

These added together equal a weight gain.

On a positive note....I did two laps at Custer tonight. I wasn't feeling too good on the first loop and my legs were trying to quit on me. I was a little slower than last week, but the temps were about
30 degrees cooler too. I decided to head out for another lap knowing that I could take the road back if my legs gave out on me. I decided to ride the Red loop again but skipped the Amusement park. I did ride the Crazy Beaver loop and the new longer section towards the end and managed to hold my avg speed up. It is amazing to me that I was as fast as I was considering how I felt...but I will take it.
The standings....I am now guaranteed at least 3rd at the Yankee TT because there are only 3 people in my class. I am sure I will have to kick some ass to podium....and I am up for the challenge. 11 days to go.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nature induced rest days

The last few days have been rainy. Today is snowed....not enough to stick on the ground....but was 70 degrees two days ago. I did manage to ride on Tuesday evening. 10 miles of climbs followed by 10 miles of fairly flat. It was good to get out and ride for an hour and a half after no logging any mileage for 4 days. Wednesday and Thursday (today) were both nature induced rest days. It was rainy yesterday and snowy today. I am heading to Custer tomorrow for some good riding. I have heard that the trails are not muddy and that is all the green light I need. I am thinking of riding the Red and then the Red to Green combo again like I did last week. 19 miles of kicking my ass.

Yankee is quickly approaching. As of this post I am guaranteed at least 3rd because there are only three people signed up in my class. I know that will change and I will have to ride my best to get to the podium....but that is what I am shooting for.

Podium. GO!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fried nerves....

I started a new job two weeks ago today. I have managed to ride Fort Custer twice a week for those last two weeks...with a great ride last Thursday. Unfortunately, I haven't ridden since. Saturday we were busy and Sunday was Easter. I was going to get up and ride on Sunday but I didn' I wish I would have. Last night I had no babysitter and then the forecast had rain until Thursday. Right now I am looking at partially clearing skies....and I have no babysitter. I really really want to ride and its looking like I will be riding in the dark....but that is okay....because I ride faster. Yankee is about 12 days away and I am already getting nervous thinking about it.....just thinking about it?!!? are you kidding? I have a little more riding on my race season this year because I am on a team and I am gunning for a series award. I want to be on the Podium on April 18th. I feel good...but need more miles. I am more confident...but need to lose weight. Good thing is this......I will ride my best and hope that it is good enough. Hopefully I won't worry about how Zack is doing in his first 'real' race and I can just focus on my riding.

12 days.

good news! I might have found a babysitter...gotta go ride!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

'Fast" is a relative term....

Something strange is happening. I feel like I am pedalling the same speed....but I am covering more distance in less time. I almost made it around the entire red loop at Fort Custer tonight without putting a foot down. I got hung up on one root that stopped me....but other than that I never stopped. I can climb hills....but I still feel slow. I think the major difference is that I don't have to stop and rest at the top of the hills anymore. I can pedal a little slower for a short distance and get my lungs back. I have a mental block that tells me I am slow. After not getting passed again tonight I am beginning to wonder exactly how fast I am. I have a good feeling about the Fort Custer XC that is coming up in May. I know the course well enough and I can ride Custer twice a week until the race day. Yankee is the course that is bothering me.

Will I be 'fast' enough?

Tonight solidified my feelings that my training is definitely helping. I rode 19.28 miles at Fort Custer and averaged 10.38 mph. I have been trying to break into double digits on MPH for a long time. I have been close this year.....and the only other time I have been over 10 is during races. If I can hold over 10 on a ride (that is not a race) I should be able to ride faster than that during a race. Anyway.....I feel good and I am getting faster. Now, if I can lose more weight I will be seriously dangerous.