Sunday, June 29, 2008

Levis/Trow 100: If it doesn't kill makes you thirsty for a Brew House Growler of Oatmeal Stout!!!

With only very limited access to an online computer this summer (my wife takes ours with her to UND for her studies: so I only get to report via the Internet on Saturday and Sunday morning), my public observations are most constrained...So the following are just some quick "off-the-top" of my bruised head re: the last two racing events-
*Dismal personal results of late have ensured that my amateur status is quite solid, so I will not be quitting my job to pursue a professional racing career.

*During laps 5 and 6 of the Levis 100 my mind was cleansed of any semblance of was like clarity thru suffering, like the Sundance of antiquity...NOT really, I was completely immensed in the proverbial "hurt tank."
*It was great riding with Tim Ek for the whole endeavor!!!
*Both Mont du Lac and Levis Mounds are very challenging for balanced-challenged riders inflicted with dementia and overactive glandular afflictions (like the author).
*The recuperative powers of fermented barley and hops is based on fact.
*Everything I do in life is in anticipation of the Iditarod (Knik to Nome) on bike.
*The Levis Mound course is certainly one of the best I have ever raced on ever...
*I have been training too hard...itz time to back off.
*May be there is something to those fancy pants plastic bikes with all their fancy pants suspension-systems, smart brains, and hydraulics when it comes to riding a 100 miles on techy single track?
*That Jesse Lalonde is the real deal!!!! WOW that dude is soooooo fast!!!
*Doing the Levis 100 from Duluth, car-to-car leaving at 2:30 am on the day of the races and then returning back to Duluth 22 hours later is good training for the 24 hours @ 9 Mile...

* More to come...when da wife moves back in mid-August

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ridin' in the caboose @ Mont du Lac....

Sunday's race @ Mont du Lac was a real man's mtb I took a back seat and enjoyed the ride...A full race report to follow in a few dayz. This coming Saturday, itz a 100 miler @the WEMs...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Training while keeping my eyes on the Prize....

This season the focus is on getting lots of saddle time with the main goal being a top 10 finish at the National Championships for 24 Hours @ 9 Mile, near Wausau, Wisconsin (August 2nd & 3rd)...Last year I earned a 12th place finish at the big race @ 9 Mile without nearly as many hours on the bike, but many more regular mountain bike races...So far for the last 23 weeks, (the beginning of this training macro-cycle) I have sat on the bike for a total of 325 hours or a little over 14 hours of bike time per week...So I am feeling strong for the long haul, but I sense that I lack speed for the race pace, I got smoked at the only regular race that I did a few weeks back. For the immediate future the plan is to really go hard for the next week, and train right thru the local Mont du Lac race on Sunday (maybe 20+ hours, including riding to and then racing the Mont du Lac!) and then attempt a mini-peak for the 100 miler on June 22nd. I plan a big time two week taper going into the big race at 9 Mile...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The price of gas is forcing me to reflect and reconsider...

I just don't think I can justify going over to Houghton, Michigan this Saturday to participate in a two hour mountain bike race...a quick calculation puts the price tag at over $100.00, plus nearly eight hours in the car and 400+ miles of travel...itz just not doable any more, too big of a carbon footprint, itz not "sustainable" anymore...Dylan's right: "the times they are a changin." So instead I am going to plan out a local adventure...May be try and hit all the single track in a single day...
For the season, I am gonna focus on races that fit the following formula:

Race time* must be greater than drive time...or itz a no go, unless itz a full on classic....this formula will still allow for a fully productive season and will also allow for more training for the PEAK RACE of the summer phase--The NATs 24 Hours @ 9 Mile...

*Time on the bike during a race...For example, total drive time to Wausau, Wisconsin (7 hours)...the race is 24 Hours itz a go.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Great Workout...Solo DBA ride ends in failure to "break on through..."

DBD workout ends in failure…The author invites others to accept the challenge.

In an effort to empathetically honor those brave soldiers as they made their intrepid trek across the barrens of our neighboring lands to the North (THE RED ASS 300); Saturday‘s ambitious goal was to get a HONDO+ in tough conditions. Because of family commitments, the given time constraint was a maximum of eight hours, with the self-imposed challenge being to “break on thru to the other side” from the southern aspect of the Munger-Shaw Road, which appears on several maps to end at some point a few miles past the tiny Hamlet of Taft. In contrast to these other geographical sources, my trusty Minnesota Gazetteer indicated that they were indeed two options in the form of “forest roads or trails” that would connect to either CR 49 or farther up to CR 4. So, with the ultimate plan being a big loop, the whole proposition rested on my ability to get through and then gain the Kelsey Brimson Road and then return home via the Rossini Road, CR 42, and then finish it on the old 61 highway. Essentially, I figured that if I could find a way using the forest roads, the loop would be well over a HONDO, maybe even 120 miles, with more than half of the course being on gravel or even unmaintained dirt. Therefore, I loaded up a lot of water, calories, and equipped my trusty Kelly with Kenda 35C cyclocross tires.

The initial hour or so was a boring straight shot (complete with a significant head wind) from my house just below East High School out to Pike Lake via the Martin Road. From Pike Lake, the course takes a series of hard lefts and rights following the Caribou Road to Industrial Road to straight north on Cty 15 crossing the Cloquet River and up to the junction of Cty 48 (which angles right) and the Shaw road, which quickly turns to gravel. Working hard against the wind, it took me another hour or so to get to this point. Also, I did stop on three different occasions to offer respite to wayward painted turtles that were apparently steadfast, even in the certainly of instantaneous death, to cross the road. I saw the devastated shells of several of their comrades who had not been so lucky in their quests to cross the road of death. Follow the gravel road for about a mile or so until the road forks; with one going slightly to the left and the other to the right. According to the Gazetteer (which I had along with me), the right fork seemed more sporting, so of course I went that way. The map indicates that this road will go for a very long way; I estimated that it was every bit of fifteen miles, and maybe twenty miles, with it terminating at CTY 4 and the Kelsey Brimson road. I pushed it at a good pace for seven-five minutes heading northeast on the road as it increasing grew more vague, rutted, and rocky until it essentially morphed into an ATV trail. Abruptly the road ended in a kind of swampy morass. Not one to give up the ship without a symbolic fight, I parked the bike on a small tree and hiked around for fifteen minutes trying to discern where the trail may start up again, but to no avail. The mosquitoes were ravenous, as were the ticks (I picked off six off my legs in just the short time I was off the trail), so I jumped back on the bike and headed back the way I had come.

Once back at the fork in the road, I met a young man unloading a burly ATV from his burly truck. He was from the nearby area and yet did not know the endpoint of the trail of which I had just negotiated; as he took a bold, long pull off his cig, he stated unapologetically “never been that far up that road…the huntin’ aint no good up thar” So it goes. In any event, since I was only about 3 and half hours into the adventure, I decided to head up the left leaning fork, still in the hope of getting through to at least Cty 48, so as to complete the loop. As alluded to earlier, this was the fork that from the map looked to be more user friendly and for the first ten miles this conclusion seemed to be spot on. Yet amazingly after the initial ten miles the road became increasingly sketchy, as I ascended a small hill and wove around a corner the road quickly deteriorated even more so to the point of being on par with a mountain bike course complete with freshly downed trees, (forcing lots of dismounts) and small, but substantial creeks flowing across the path. Finally, I could no longer discern any semblance of a trail, so with a heavy heart I turned to backtrack home…defeated…but hopeful to return and battle through. Perhaps this would be a project more conducive to winter travel as I am sure that snowmobiles frequent this trails after freeze up.

Feeding the Rat:
All in all it was a great training ride taking a total of nearly 8 hours (7:48) covering 107 miles, many of which were hard fought on tough terrain.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Red Ass 300

Good Luck to all the racers at the RED ASS 300...Itz a great race and I am so jealous, but my end-of-the-school year commitments, coupled with my wife's schooling requirements has forced me to stay home; may be next year....Last year was a blast, one of the highlights of the 2007 season!!!
Update [6/06]: A quick check of the weather forecast indicates that it will rain all day up there near Winnipeg, which will make the 300 mile course a challenging endeavor for even the most ardent cycling aficionado. The good news is that the rain is suppose to abate by the start on Saturday morning. Yet, the prospects of a wet 300 miles of gravel and dirt could very well lend itself to the STUFF by which LEGENDS ARE MADE...Good luck to Dave Simons and the other Nordacoedians...and special kudos to Lindsey Gauld...Blair is the clear favorite, but I want the OLD Stalwart Lindsey to win!!!! Blair rode away from the rest of us last year, but Lindsey was suffering from a bad shoulder...In any event, I wish I was gonna be there...itz a great event and I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Unorthodox training, but very effective?

Not to brag or anything, but I did one of the "sickest" DBD workouts ever on Friday/Saturday: Check this out: After downing a whole pot of life-giving coffee from Sumatra, I Rode to Esko early Friday morning around 5:45 am arriving to work around 7:15 am, lifted weights for 30 minutes @ noon during my lunch break, rode for home leaving around 3:20 pm, got home around 4:30pm....Ate big dinner and drank two recuperative beverages, rode back to Esko for Graduation leaving my house at 5:30 PM and arriving at the school at ~6:40 pm, leaving at 8:30 pm rode home from Esko after a wonderful Graduation ceremony, got back home at 9:45pm in the dark...with frenzied zeal gobbled down cold pizza and downed two recuperative elixirs; stayed up and watched Bill Moyer's Journal on the continuing political & military debacle in Iraq on Channel 8, The local news on Channel 10 about the continuing political debacle in both St. Paul and Duluth, and then Nightline on the continuing political debacle in Washington DC on Channel 10...At Midnight after slamming three big cups of life-giving coffee from Sumatra, jumped back on my trusty Kelly and rode back to Esko taking the longer route via the Munger Trail arriving around 1:45 am and then partook in the ALL Night Grad Party in the role of supervisor for this year's class of TOP NOTCH Young, but savvy Graduates and to eat tons of nasty, but deliciously processed/chemically enhanced snacks, so Saturday from 1:45 am to 5:30 am...At 5:45 am as the sun rose over the horizon, rode my trusty Kelly home via Jay Cook State Park; got back home around 7:45 am...Ate a big breakfast complete with sausages and fried eggs and four cups of life-giving coffee from Sumatra and then mowed the lawn from 9:00 am to 10:17 am...Total time on the bike just under eight hours and 107 miles....Total time including weight-lifting and mowing 10.5 hours all in about 29+ sleep...Livin' the Dream....SWEET!!! Good training for the Iditabike as "every thing I do is in anticipation of the Iditabike..."