Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Berryman Epic 08

This race was super fun, I really had no idea what it was going to be like. Back in May when I registered for it I figured I would be lucky to still be racing with what I already had planned, but figured if I was registered I would have to do it. After the Burnin at the Bluff race I was thinking this race was going to be more of a ride than a race for me. Well two weeks is plenty of time to recover so when I picked up Jim Vandeven at 5 am Sunday morning I had some super motivation going on.

Sitting on the start line with guys like Eric Pirtle, Brad Huff, Chris Ploch just to name a few was going to make this race a fast one. The race started out with a neutral start until we got to a long gravel climb then we were off. Nothing to crazy fast like I expected. There was some passing here and there as we were going up the gravel road and the pace was picking up a little bit. It wasn't long and we were flying down some pretty cool single track with I think Brad Huff leading the way. Eric was on my wheel and it wasn't long before I let him by, it was a lot more fun following him down the hills than being in front of him. Before I knew it we were at the first checkpoint.

From the first checkpoint to the second was pretty fun, I was riding in a group with Chris, Mike Best, Clayton Bell from Arkansas and Matt Keeven not to far off of my wheel for most of that lap. At some point Brad Huff had gotten a flat. I was stoked to get to the second checkpoint was feeling pretty warm so I wanted to get rid of my jacket. Chris pretty much went through and never stopped. Mike and Matt were getting water bottles so I decided to make it quick and lost the jacket and jammed. Leaving the Berryman campground I headed down the dirt road, when I came to a split in the road I saw the arrows pointing left, I didn't see the trail just thought I was supposed to stay left on the road. It didn't take long to figure out my mistake. I made it back to the trail that was perfectly marked and started trying to make up lost time. My heart rate at this point was averaging 169 and I was worried about putting my self to deep into the hurt zone. At this point I had no idea how many people had passed me when I went the wrong way. The first person that I came up to was my road riding buddy Jim, This was cool he was riding pretty strong. At this point I probably should of just stuck with Jim but I decided to go up a head. I passed Jeremy and made my way up to Richard Maycheck (sp). I am thinking this was probably around the 30 mile mark. I was starting to hurt pretty good from the hard efforts of trying to make up for lost time. Making it to the next checkpoint just barely ahead of Jim, I was going to wait for him but he was taking to long to fill his water bottles and Rich was taking off. This was a long gravel road section with a paved road section that led to a pretty big climb back up to the Berryman Campground. So as hard as it seemed me and Rich were riding I never could get on his wheel and Jim was coming on strong. Going up the steep climb I did what I could but Jim and Rich got a way from me a little. Going through the Berryman Checkpoint I was focused on making it back on to there wheel and it wasn't long before I caught back up to Jim who was hurting a little. Me and Jim ended up riding the rest of the miles together and by the time we reached gravel road section he was teasing me just like he does on the road by letting me get within ten feet or so and then hammering it again. We never did see Rich again, he ended up finishing a couple of minutes up on us. Finishing up the last race of the year was awesome, I owe it to Jim for helping me build such a killer base with all of the Big rides last winter. There is no way I could of felt this strong this late in the year without it. And to Mitch for all of the great summer rides and races. Congrats Mitch for a huge sixth place finish!!! And to Chris for a huge win.. Me I will take top 10 any day with the amount of talent at this race. Congrats to everyone that finished this race. And a huge thanks to all of the people that made this race happen.

Stats for the race. The highest average I have had for a 5hr plus ride since using a hrt rate monitor and the funny thing is I didnt turn it off as soon as the race was done. I will post results when I get them...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

12hr Burnin at the Bluff

10 was the only thing on my mind for this race. last year I did 9 laps on this pretty tough 13 mile loop course. I needed to shave off about 49 minutes from my time last year to be able to go out for a 10th lap. Chris could of done it a couple of years ago but they wouldn't let him go back out, nobody other than him has ever been close. So figuring it up pretty easy you need to average 1hr and 20 minutes per lap including pit stops to get the big 10.

This race is amazing, with everybody pretty much showing up the day before to camp and check in it creates a awesome atmosphere. Mitch got us a really good campsite close to the start/finish so it made things much easier. Most of us arrived late Friday and it didn't take long to get everything set up and go for a pre ride. The pre ride went awesome got to try out the new lights that John got me on last minute notice thanks big John.
The race started out great, they didnt make us run too far and before I knew it we were flying down some sweet single track. I knew Zach and Mitch were probably not too far behind but wasn't to concerned about it, I mean after all we still had 12hrs of racing to go. The first lap went by quick I remember last year finishing up the first lap and being about half dead. This year the first couple of laps were gone with a blink and things were going too good. The times I had written down on the board for where I wanted to be after each lap were right on. Usually when my races are going good I pretty much blank out everything around, when I used to train by myself all of the time I never had a problem when I felt real good to push to the point of no return, I still wonder how I made it back from a few rides. As I get more comfortable with racing I am getting more to the point of that, If I feel good I got to go for it and that is where this race was going. I knew I needed a perfect race to get what I really wanted and if I couldn't I would probably need Mitch or Zach to get me to the end. When I look back at the Mohican 24 it was Mitch that got me through that one when I pushed too hard through the first 10hrs or so.
So laps 3 and 4 were about the same as the first two, I had slowed down a little on each lap to get closer to the 1hr 20 mark and felt comfortable with eating and staying hydrated. I had switched to the full suspension bike by now, I wanted to ride the hard tail for the first half of the race but on lap 3 I got a small hole in the bottom of the tire so I switched after that lap.
Finishing up on the 5th lap I was only a minute behind where I wanted to be and other than loosing a water bottle on that lap and getting a little dehydrated I still felt really good. In every long race I usually have one really tough lap, the one were your body tries to tell you you shouldn't be doing this. Lap 6th would be the one, I wasn't too concerned about it I have been here plenty of times before and knew I would work through it. I was happy to get this lap done, after looking at the times on the board I was about 1 minutes off of where I wanted to be and still had to get some food and water bottles. I am usually not a fan of setting goals in a 12hr race, What has always worked best for me is usually to go out hard on the first lap then set a really comfortable pace and then if I have anything late in the day to pick it up a little. I knew I would need a lot more than that to get in 10 laps so when I was off of my pace after the 6th lap one half of my brain was telling me it was impossible and the other half as usual was telling me anything is possible as long as you just keep moving forward.
I was hoping the 7th lap was going to bring some better legs but by the time I reached the first big climb about the only thing that was moving at any kind of speed was my brain! My hrt rate was really down and my mph average was even lower. darkness was coming but not quick enough. I milked that lap out for all it was worth and was trying to figure out how in the hell I was going to do 2 more! At this point I was wondering were Zach and Mitch were. I knew Mitch had some really bad Mechanical early on and at one point someone had said I was about 20 minutes up on Zach. When my race is going really good I give little thought to where everybody is at and just keep the pedals turning. But by now with how slow my 7th lap was and how bad I felt I was just thinking how cool it would be to have someone to ride with. Going out on the 8th lap was cool I rode with one of the seagel guys for a bit and that helped big. I had been having really bad cramps for about 3 laps but was blocking them out of my mind. I remember the first year I did this race it was just a goal to do 8 laps and I think it took me like 14hrs. Thinking about that gave me a lot of motivation to keep going on. It wasn't too far before the beach area when Zach caught up to me, more than he knows that was kind of a refreshing site. Zach was definitely stoked and he should be, he was about to be leading the race. I remember him saying we should ride this thing together but how I was feeling at the time and wasn't planning on it getting better anytime soon I told him to go. The thing is with these long races when your feeling good this late in a race you got to take advantage of every chance you have and so he was gone. I been on that side of the fence before and its a great feeling.
Finishing up the 8th lap was good. I was only 5 minutes down. Jim and Keith were at the pits trying to get me pumped up. This would of been awesome had I felt at all like racing. But I was pretty done and the only thing I wanted to do was finish one more lap. going in to the last lap I was starting to feel a little better, hung onto a few wheels at times and was starting to enjoy the rest of this race. Never did put much thought into catching Zach and was still figuring that Mitch would catch up but had no clue after his mech. how the rest of his day had went. So when I reached the dam I did what I had done every other year I have done this race, I took a break looked at the stars and thought about how much hell I put myself through to get to this point and wonder if its worth it, the answer is always simple.
The first 7 laps of the race, only got part of the 8th when the Garmin went dead. was bummed a little for not getting to 10 but that was a long shot anyway still stoked on finishing another 12hr. solo

Friday, October 3, 2008

Super Fly vs HI FI 29er

John from CYCLEWERX mentioned the full suspension Gary Fisher HI FI 29er early last month. I thought it would be cool to compare the two to see if one would be faster than the other. I thought for sure the Super Fly would be way faster. After getting in two laps on each at council bluff last Sunday the Super Fly felt faster, but after downloading all of the info from the Garmin I definitely conserved more energy on the full suspension. I made it out to Chubb today and new the only way to solve this problem would be to ride the place I know best, with all of the times I have ridden this place I would know for sure if there were any spots that the full suspension would be slower than the hard tail. Long story short I had one of my fastest high water route chubb rides yet. Both of these bikes or amazing and I will still definitely use the hard tail for the shorter races but it would be hard not to use the full suspension for the long stuff. Other than a few trees down and a big hole in the trail just past the tracks the trail was in pretty good shape. ride on!