Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Know when to fold em'

It was very early in downtown Hastings
The first race of the year can be seen in many different ways. First off, it is an opportunity to see who has done the work over the winter to test your early season fitness. Second, it is a way to get together with say 3000 riding buddies and hit the road for a group ride. Barry Roubaix was the perfect way to do this. Downtown Hastings was overrun with cyclists from all over Michigan and probably the United States before it was all said and done. The pic above was taken about 7am. Notice the frost? It was still chilly with temps in the 20's so we were all hoping the ground would stay frozen to avoid a mud fest.

Photo courtesy of Rick Plite
Then it was time to get started. We lined up in an array of colors and started the race. Pros (and super crazy people) went first for the 62 miler....but I opted for the 36 mile race. I was happy that the course had changed this year to avoid some super sandy 2-tracks but it just meant a little more pavement. GO. The start was fast. I knew it would be so I just settled into my pace and found a smaller group to draft off for a bit. Didn't last long because the pace was really fast on the pavement. First hill...which was small...I got dumped and only a few riders were still behind me from my wave. That was ok....because every 3 minutes after that I was being passed by the front of the following waves. Good news...I never really rode alone. There was always someone around. Someone in sight to help me keep my sanity. The three sisters were after the first right onto the dirt. First one...not bad. Second one....here comes Jay. I was hoping to make it over them all before he caught me but he is really fast so I wasn't shocked. He disappeared over the third and I just kept chugging along.

Photo courtesy of Jay B.
About 10 miles in is where the story changes. I had a weird pain in my hip that hurt with every pedal stroke. I rode for about 5 more miles before I stopped and stretched to no avail. I climbed back on and slowly watched as my average speed dropped with every pedal stroke. Everyone I knew was saying "just keep going" and "do you need anything" but my mind was already working against me. At mile 27 I saw an aid station and threw in the towel. Thankfully it wasn't long before a SAG vehicle was there and I lowered my head and took the ride back...bailing out to save myself to ride another day. I was done. Mentally and physically. 

My team did very well averaging about 2:18 overall. It was awesome seeing all the people in that little town. It was fun for a bit...but my mind won the battle and I am glad I stopped. I knew there were 2 more nasty long climbs and I would have probably ended up with an injury. Just a bad day on the bike, but some had worse days. One guy was air lifted out due to a heart attack. He was lucky enough to have some immediate help from a doctor and paramedics that were riding right behind him.

Next up is Yankee.....just gonna do what I can. 11 miles should be way easier than the 27 I managed at Barry. It should be warmer too! COME ON SPRING!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend update...time is flying

Time flies in a general statement. It seems like this year is already going by at a record setting pace. I realize it isn't but we are already into March. The pic below is a picture of the Barry Roubaix course from a few weeks ago. Icy. This forced me to skip rides out there and find alternate routes.

Courtesy of Laura Piippo 

This past weekend I headed down to Augusta to meet Dan S. for a ride around Gull Lake. I took the Defy with CX tires on it so I could get a feel for how it responded on pavement. The temps were much more bearable at around 35 but the wind was cutting when were stopped. Once we got moving I warmed right up. Good news...no cold toes! We rode with Mike N. for a bit but as Dan said "he brought a spoon to a gun fight". I was on my Defy, Dan was on his TCX with road tires...Mike was on his MTB with 2.35 and 2.5 tires on it. First acceleration and we gapped him. He decided to turn off and we continued on our ride. We got about 28 miles in and my legs were feeling somewhat better. The hills are still hard....and with a race in less than two weeks that has a lot of climbing it should be interesting!

Courtesy of Laura Piippo
The pic above was taken on Sunday. We opted to not ride because of the rain and it was a good thing. Early in the day the course was solid, but by mid afternoon it looked like this. This is a public gravel road that is used by the locals. Pretty amazing to see a road in that bad of shape. Hope the weather cooperates and it dries out some....or a tough decision may have to be made.

Overall a good weekend. I did a little Tae-bo with one of my daughters yesterday and I can tell just how out of shape I am. I am going to start mixing in tae-bo and running so I can get this weight off. I won't be able to compete until I do.

Hope everyone is enjoying spring! 12 days to Barry Roubaix.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Good weekend

I know I know.....I could pour out a hundred different excuses as to why my weight hasn't dropped and why my riding has been sporadic at best...but I am not going to waste time. Just know....mentally I am doing good and I know this is a marathon....not a sprint.

This past weekend was pretty good. We planned on doing the Barry Roubaix course for training on Saturday but Dan S. did a little recon and the roads were sheets of ice. We opted to ride around Gun Lake instead and keep on the paved roads. Temperature was under 20 degrees when we started. My legs were not liking me very much. We were on flat roads and I was getting dumped out the back. One of the guys leaving me is a smoker...and hasn't ridden in over 6 months. That was a boost to my confidence. Oh well, he is a 22 year old kid...with a never quit attitude...so I wasn't surprised. I take a while to warm up. I have noticed that if I warm up good I am golden. If I don't, then it might be the second lap of a ride before I feel like I should. This day didn't allow me to warm up at all. We hit a longer climb and my legs just would not go. I never stopped, but slow was an understatement. I just did what I could and figured a slow as hell ride was 150% better than sitting on the trainer for an hour. Over the top of the hill Jeff's chain broke (from sitting for so long) and we stopped to fix it. I was standing on the side of the road in the snow. When we got started the bottoms of my feet felt frozen. Not good, but thankfully we were heading back towards the car. We opted to try one of the gravel roads just to see...and it was super slick. Didn't hit the deck this time, but Jeff did....and he the ultimate slide forever down a hill. I knew he was okay when he gave the thumbs up. All in all, a chilly 15 miles with one major climb.

Sunday the team opted out of BR and decided to ride around Gull Lake. The kids guilted me into staying home so I went out and rode in the afternoon. Legs still felt heavy, but it was cold again. Temps were in the mid 20's but there was a pretty stout wind. I could actually feel the cold on my legs which rarely happens. Guess I am getting old or something. I managed 18 miles by myself. Still better than 90 minutes on the trainer.

Barry Roubaix is in a few weeks and I am really wanting to ride the FULL course. Hopefully the temps this week will do some melting on the roads....then we will have to ride somewhere else because of MUD. Nice. Gotta love Michigan!