Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Breck. 100

I have heard of 8 to 10 mile climbs, wondered what it would be like to climb them. over the past couple of years I have learned to love climbing, maybe more of an obsession with them. I had heard of the breck. race a couple of years ago but thought it would be imposable to do because of the whole acclimation thing. After doing the 24 last year and all of the miles I got in through the winter I figured at the very least it was worth a try. So before I knew it I was waking up at 4 in the morning looking out to some killer mountains that I would be climbing in a few hours. Race day mornings or all about the same, loads of energy and well loads of energy. other than waking up at about 2am with a major headache from the altitude? Things were off to a good start. Me and Mitch rode the bikes from the room over to the staging area at Carter Park. The most mellow pre race I have ever been at, most likely because it was not even 6 in the morning yet!! So before I knew it we were off. The first climb was pretty fun, you could see racers up around the switchbacks ahead of you and down below you. (very cool) Finishing out the climb we turned onto some single track. I guess the altitude was hitting me pretty good because I was having a hard time staying straight, Fun stuff!! The downhill off of wheeler pass was just killer. Still wished I could of hit it as hard as I normally would but between being pretty light headed and worrying about doing something stupid like tearing a sidewall I just road it very conservative. The first lap went by so fast. Highlights from the first loop, crossing my first snowfield and sinking up to my knee, again very cool stuff..

The second loop was a little tough. I always felt good on the bike and had it set in my mind that I wouldn't push anything above a 159 hrt rate on any climb. I did better than usual on drinking but never did have much of a appetite which caught up with me a little on the third loop. Anyway the second loop I was riding a lot by myself checking out some killer views and not really paying much attention to anything. I kind of felt like I was in a dream. This loop had pretty much everything you could think of. Big climbs fast downhills, technical stuff, loose stuff, a nice hike a bike section. The only real tough thing on this loop was I had a hard time staying on course. Missed a few arrows my own fault and stopped and waited for some racers to show up on a few other turns to make sure I was going the right way. This loop didn't go by as quick as the first loop and it felt like I had a ton of racers pass me. I was trying to keep a pace to finish in 12hrs. Before the race I had no idea how this race was going to go, how the altitude would affect me, basically you name it I thought about it. So going into this race I was just hoping to finish, dreaming of 11hrs hoping for 12. Finishing up on the second loop I felt confident that I could finish the race as long as I didn't have any major problems, and that was considering that I thought it was 2 30 when it was only 1 30 probably a polish thing thinking that the garmin would change from STL time to Breck. time on its own.....

Going into the third loop was cool. The legs were feeling better than they had on the second loop and other than the stomach feeling a little weird I was having fun. I new the third loop had a long climb up and over Boreas pass but past that my brain was filled up long ago with just trying to remember everything for the first and second loop. This was one of those climbs that just kept going. I remember at one point asking a person walking up the road how much farther to the top. Oh yeah its not that far, oh you mean the very top, the verrrrrry top! So when I got to the gravel road I thought I was getting close (not) I ended up stopping to get something to eat, I have only a few times ever stopped on a climb and took a break. The good thing is I ate pretty good, better than the rest of the day. So I got the wheels rolling made it to the top and hit the aid station and topped off the bottles. This was the part that I made the biggest mistake of the race. When I was going down the other side of Boreas Pass I am guessing that there were some bikers (non racers) standing in front of the arrow to go down the single track. Heck at this point in the race I couldn't remember what I was supposed to be riding on, all I knew is I had to go down the mountain and get to Como so I could come back up and over the Pass to finish the race. So long story short I went at least 3 miles down the mountain turned around and road back up to the top to get on the single track. Pretty much the single track went fast, was unsure until I came out to the road that I was even going the right way so seeing the aid station got me pretty stoked. From there I hammered the 8 mile climb up to the pass in about 50 minutes. ( probably should not of done that) I felt great going up but not so good going down. Luckily we got to turn off of the dirt road on to some cool single track. There was a another guy with me that was hurting pretty good also, so I stopped and asked him if he needed anything. He was pretty much cooked so other than just wanting this thing to be done he was good. Myself I was craving caffeine, so I offered some to the other guy, he was good so I ate the whole thing. It was just what I needed to finish up the rest of the downhill back to Carter park. The cool thing was I ran into Mitch somewhere on that downhill and got to ride back with him to the finish. If I could do it all over again I would of figured out a way for me and Mitch to of rode the whole thing together. Maybe next year!

Finishing this race was for me was the biggest accomplishment yet. total time 12.47 I had 107 miles in at the top of Boreas Pass when the battery went dead in the garmin. other than a few mistakes the race went perfect. and thank god no mechanical or flats!! Thanks big again to Mitch and Michael for making it a more than perfect trip. there is so much more I could say about that but this post is waaay to long already......

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mitch's awesome write up! Colorado

We made it! What a trip. Michael, Dwayne and I with Dan Libby for a few days had a picture perfect trip in the mountains with the help of Jim and Judy. It started after an all night drive with almost no sleep by first picking up Michael in Denver Friday morning. Breakfast and picking up supplies and we were soon in Breckenridge at 9600'. Little time to settle in and go for a 3 mile ride with over 1000' of climbing. Tough to get much sleep that night.

Dwayne woke up first at 4am bouncing all over the crowded room like he was on crack, we couldn't stop laughing. I soon rose to nervously get ready for our 6am start (total sleep in the last two days, about 6 hours). 5:15 and we were off, riding to the staging area with everything we hoped we would need for the next 14 hours.The race began with a slow ride to the gravel road that led to Wheeler Pass. As soon as we got to the dirt it was on and we began our 7 mile, 2900' climb, 1:35 for me, a lot less for D and a ton of others. A killer downhill with a near death experience at the bottom made it worth it. The next 5 miles was a downhill bike path and we had a serious advantage with the typically over geared 44 X 11, 29" wheeled bikes, dropping all the 26" bikes. The remaining miles were beautiful but really tough, climbing another 1200' to finish the 30+ mile loop in a little over 3:35, six minutes behind Dwayne. The second loop did me in. Tons of climbing (not my thing), an intense sun and a lack of acclimation made any steep climb nearly impossible. My heart rate would remain low, legs were weak but still fresh and my breathing out of control. I had to walk a lot and stop a lot. I would let everything go any chance I could going down. I rode with Michael and Dan for a bunch of it, although Dan was just hangin out with us. We thought we were almost finished when we began a long ass gravel road climb with about 1000' of climbing. Before that I was thinking about finishing the race, after I was done. We finished at 2:30. Dwayne was over an hour ahead by this time. He took over 5 1/2 hours to do the last loop with a little bad luck. He missed a turn and added a bunch of miles and a fair amount of climbing. He said I made the right call, the last loop was hard. He finished in 12:47, I'd probably still be out there right now. I had about 8900' climbing we figured Dwayne had well over 14000'!

The next morning we drove to the base of the first descent and rode(walked) up to Wheeler pass the opposite direction of the race, another 2650' of climbing in about 3 1/2 miles topping out above 12400 feet! We looked around, took pictures and cruised to the bottom. Both Dwayne and I felt better climbing that morning than we had all through the race. I had a close call with Dwayne on my heals but pulled it out with some fan fair, only he knows just how close! At the bottom both Michael and Dan avoided the section I almost died on the day before. It was a series of big drops with bad spacing and we were going crazy fast in the race so I had no choice but to hang on and I made it. Dan went back to Denver and we made our way to Jimmer's.

J&J then took us out for a fast 13 mile ride that was a blast. Some BBQ and we were off to bed.Monday morning, day 4, ride 5, Monarch Crest. We shuttled to the top of Monarch Pass after leaving Judy's Jeep at the bottom. I won't go into detail but the Crest, Silver Creek and Rainbow trail is a must. You climb to way above tree line and ride there for a long time, ride scree fields(rock slide remains), fast stuff, technical stuff, flowy stuff and everything in between. Jimmer-4 flats. Dwayne-2 flats. Michael-2 flats. Me-1 flat. Add em up, NINE. Oh, Judy-no flats! We used every tube we had and still had a blast. Crossed 3 snow fields but no bad weather. I would do it again tomorrow. 35 miles with 2700' climbing, 6200' descending.

Michael, Dwayne and I drove north a little to the Mount Elbert section of the Colorado Trail the next day. A two mile climb took us to some of the most beautiful single track you will ever see, I'll leave it at that. We got to see a male and female Moose reasonably close, a rarity. 12 1/2 miles with 2200' climbing. Dan met us the next morning after sadly parting with Jim and Judy to ride the Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass section of the CT. As soon as we started the thunder began as did the rain and lightning. We retreated at 3 1/2 miles in and rode back to a dry parking lot, Oh well.

After driving back to Denver, spending a nice evening with Dan's family and staying the night, the next morning Michael caught his flight back to camp and Dwayne and I rode every trail Mount Falcon had to offer. As dusty, hot and dry as could be, we loved every minute of it. Another 13+ miles and 2600' of climbing. Topping out at 7800' we noticed easier breathing.

Dwayne and I had hoped to ride Landahl on our way home but woke up this morning to a rain soaked parking lot in KC. Got home early and surprised the kids. Thanks to Jim and Judy, it couldn't have been more perfect! Thanks to Dan and his family. Thanks to Michael and Sherri for the use of the van. Thanks to Michael and Dwayne for making every minute fun. Thanks to all our families for letting us go! Mitch

I could not have said it better my self. climbing for me in the mountains was awesome, it made me realize how much more I love going up! Following Mitch on some of the downhills was totally crazy!! As for as the race I think sometimes we have to question how far we should go and I think its easy to know when its enough. Mitch found his limit for this day and did the right thing by stopping and recovering. When I was on my way down from the last mountain Mitch had met me about half way up to see if I needed anything. He had recovered quick and was ready to ride again. If it wouldn't of been for the time cut off I thing he probably would of went and finished the race. Everyday of this trip Mitch and Michael were always ready to ride. For me the race was
awesome and maybe I will actually do a write up of my own....

Friday, July 25, 2008

nothing but smiles!

Just got back today from Colorado and me Mitch and Michael had a incredible
trip ended up riding
over 200 miles and a little over 30,000 ft of climbing. The race went great other
than adding a few extra miles and don't think I ever quit smiling the whole week.
I will do a better write up and add some pics later when I get some sleep!

We did this trail on the first loop, the town of Breckenridge is in the background. this is one climb I will probably never forget, especially since we did it Sunday morning also!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The 5 counties ride.

Had this idea for a super loop some time back and Mitch had the same idea. I had planned on using the big ride loop from my house and wanted to use some of the big west county hills. Mitch set up a perfect route for us finishing up at my house. with the big Breck 100 race a couple of weeks away it became the perfect set up ride for us.

We picked the perfect day and everything went great. with no real hard efforts we just wanted to keep a good pace. Thanks Big for the ride Mitch Colorado is going to be awesome! would love to add another 30 miles and a few more really big hills to this ride.

After finishing up the ride took the family down to Bobs place for some great food and fireworks, wish everyday could be this much fun!