Sunday, July 17, 2011

Holland 100....and 4

Up early on Saturday morning to get Zack ready for work. Dropped him off, had a small bowl of cereal and started to get everything ready for my first century ride ever. Here is a timeline effect for you.....

4:45 alarm going off

5:15 Dropped Zack off

5:30 breakfast done....packing commences

6:30 Time to go to the start.

7:00 Arrive at start, getting ready to go

7:20 First pedal stroke with Chris, Terry, and Bruce

Now I need to switch to miles...because time was a blurr.

Pacing behind some people is nice. 100 miles is going to be easy if this keeps up. Never really drafted in a group so this will be interesting...as long as I can hang on. Pace is perfect and I am doing good.

5 miles......take a drink....go to put the bottle back in....jack the handlebars and drop the bottle. Turn around......pick it up.....group gone.

Mile 5-30 went by pretty quick. I was trying to catch the group again but not going super hard. I caught a group that was doing a decent pace and dropped in behind them for about 7-8 miles until the second break area, Pancake breakfast. Found Chris, Bruce and Terry and after getting some food and refilling the bottles headed out again.

I was still doing okay, but the group got split up and I got spit out the back on a climb. Pushed really hard to catch them....when I did.....the road kicked uphill again and I promptly got spit off the back. Next aid station was at 47 miles. Refilled the bottles...and hooked up with the group again. It was awesome for about 10 miles. Just cruising along and enjoying the break. I was feeling pretty good....but I was reaching my "longest ride ever" point.

The next aid station was not for 39 miles. And once the group when up a climb I got dumped again and was riding solo. I found a few other people to ride with and just drafted for a few minutes then moved on. I was in my own pace and didn't want to try to match someone else. I finally see Chelle with Izzy and Zoe about 70 miles in. I was happy to see them and get some encouragement from the family. Stopped at the rest area, chamois cream applied, sandwich thingy, filled bottles, fruit, gel, off we go.

I pretty much rode by myself for the last 20-30 miles after the aid station.

80 miles.....20 to go...keep going.....

90 miles.....10 to go....it is getting warm....keep going......

100 miles.....I am done!!!! Wait....I am still 4 miles from the car. thankfully a couple passed me and I drop in behind them and draft for about 3 miles. Right when I needed it most. The heat was starting to radiate off of the roads and I was totally out of gas.

104.08 miles. Done. Glad to be off the bike. Total time was only 6:48:56 for my first ever century. My saddle time was 6:05:37 for a riding average of 17.1 mph on a borrowed road bike. This will surely not be my last because it was a lot of fun. Next time I would like to have a group to ride with that I can hang with on the climbs because I think it will be more fun. I do enjoy suffering alone....but being pulled along at 20 mph is always better ;)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time flies.....

It has been nearly a year since we lost my brother-n-law. I am planning the "1st annual remember Big Timmy ride" on Monday the 18th to start the celebration of his life. As such, I want you to read the following and just take it in. The story of how I started riding in letter form to Tim.

Dear Tim,

Do you remember that hot summer day at Pioneer Park? The kids were ripping thru the woods and hitting that little dirt jump. We ended up going to Meijer and buying two of the coolest bikes ever.....those red Mongoose bikes with the shock seat posts that never worked. We brought them back and promptly started to destroy them on that little dirt jump.

About a week later you came home with brochures for Trek and started to hunt a "real" bike. I took a different path and headed to Cross Country Cycle where I was introduced to Specialized. Time went on and we kept riding the Mongooses....but not much because they were junk....let's be honest. Eventually we convinced our wives, with the help of a shop mechanic, that there was indeed a difference in the bikes and that we needed to spend some money. You came home with that shiny black and red Trek 4500 and I got a great deal on a Schwinn Moab 3. We went out to Pentwater pathway on our first actual rides. You found that trail in your enormous Michigan trail atlas that you had bought earlier in the year. I fell completely in love with riding after about 3 minutes on my new bike. You did too if I remember correctly.

A month later you handed me a brochure for a little race called "Iceman Cometh". We figured why not and signed up for this race that was held rain, snow, or shine. Fun was not really what we had during that race. We didn't know what the hell we were doing....we were just riding along pounding at the pedals. The discussions however started on the way home about how we would train for next year....

We never raced it again together, but we did to the Fort Custer TT where you took 4th. We were all very proud of you for your efforts....even though you felt like you didn't deserve it. It was later that year that you scared me, and yourself, really bad. You did a super-endo over that log. No damage to your bike, but you had a black eye, stitches, and a concussion to deal with. I could tell your courage left you after that crash.....and you were never really the same on the bike.

Time went on though....and even though you stopped riding you still had an intense interest in how I was riding and the newest products to hit the market. I want to thank you again for sparking the interest that I have now for bikes....and for taking me out of my comfort zone to try a race. I owe you indefinitely.

Just wanted to remind you about how all of this got started in the first place. I also want to let you know that we miss you. Your family, your mom, your daughters, your sister, your nieces and nephews, and myself. We are going to celebrate the life you had....and how you made us all laugh. And I am doing this silly ride for you on Monday. Gonna share some silly stories and a little of our history. Thanks for watching over us.....it is appreciated.

Your brother,
Sean


After reading this I want everyone who reads it to think about the person that got them started riding or gave them excellent advice about bikes. Find them.....and thank them......because you may not get another chance......

Monday, July 11, 2011

Boyne Marathon

Last year this race was awful. The race this year was better....but the course was still brutal. I drove up Friday night and camped in Glen and Ali's yard. Slept like a rock! Woke up before the alarm and took the tent down. Loaded the bike back up and headed up to Boyne.

9:00am: arrival, got butterflies when I saw the ski hill on the way in.

9:15am: get registered and start looking around for everyone I know. Head to the car to change, line at the bathroom too long...as usual.

9:30am: head out to warm up. Warren rode up and we did a quick out and back while discussing his knee issues. It held up for him and I believe he took 3rd.

10:00am Expert riders start....Talking to Dave....trying to figure out how many in my class....

10:10 (or so) Brent calls up the old (not sure on age group) beginners and then the cyldes. We step to the start line and I am guaranteed podium. Only 3 of us. Brian, who is faster than me, Dave, and myself. Dave and I are evenly matched so I knew it was going to be a fun day!

Time goes out the window now. The start was slow. We just formed a line and started down the trail. There was very little separation until the first climb. When Dave and I got to the top we both knew it was going to be a long day.

Second climb......struggle. Third climb.....struggle. Get the picture? Here is where I started to think back to last year. Were the climbs really this hard? Were there really no flats? Begging for a downhill I trudged onward and upward. Eventually reaching the paved cart path. Climbing legs be my friend. My road riding paid off a little here as I was able to spin the cart path to the top. Not fast...but still made it. On my way down the back side of the ski hill I saw Dave on the cart path. At least I think it was him.

Now the downhill. Wanting to rock it...but unable to. Too tight, technical, tough. I did well....just staying upright. Some people were crashing and we ran down one section because it was so steep and nasty. Onto the flat, I paced a guy back to finish area and headed out for my second lap. Danielle thankfully handed me another bottle and off I went for lap two....comfortably in second. Brian was long gone.

Lap two....well....it sucked. I was out of gas and the climbs just kept coming. Then I heard Jon....COME ON SEAN.....he was on his third lap just ripping along. I pounded my last two gels and just kept going.....thinking that Dave was gaining the whole time.

I got to the last downhill and just let it go. Go....speed. As fast as I could go without crashing. Cleared the steep section and was feeling fairly confident. Got to the last flat section and gave it all I had left. Crossed the finish line for my highest place ever....a hard earned 2nd. Dave had to abandon because he wasn't feeling well. I feel bad about that because we have a nice competition going on!

2nd. Doesn't matter if there were only 3 of us......only 3 of us were brave (or stupid) enough to do this damn race.

Next up.....Holland 100.....what have I gotten myself in to?