Wednesday, August 19, 2009

obsession or healthy hobby?

august is a busy month for me. i'm taking a year off from med school and doing a year's fellowship in our pathology department...lots of random tissue pieces, body parts, dead bodies, and knowledge re: cancer. in august my schedule is 6:45am-5 or 6pm; at the end of the day, i've been too tired to want to ride (hard) so i decided to ride before work...getting out at 5am with my light each morning. cross season is so close i can taste it, so everything is focused on that: 4x6 (15sec on 15 sec on) all-out, 2-3x15-20minute threshold intervals, skills practice with lots of hill run-ups and stairs.

septemer is almost here and some fun races are on the horizon: 6hr binder, sswc in durango, greensfelder. the mtb season was unfortunately truncated to only the last half of the season for me, but i still managed to get some good results in the single speed class and am looking forward to racing expert on my ss next season.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Spanish lake

With the thermometer reading around 95 and the returning missouri humidity the single speed open class was off to a start that felt like diving into a hot tub. We began on a double track gravel road that narrowed into a tight single track within a few hundred feet. I was on pace and experiencing my usual early-race over-tenacity. After a quarter of a lap I was pulling up front with Justin from kansas city in close pursuit. Our first lap was pretty fast, I'd have to compare the time to the expert category but we were doing our best to haul.

My lysnkey pro29er was set up w/ 32x16 and around 30psi in the tires. I felt like the gear was a little lite in the first two laps then about perfect for the next 3.

After 1 lap, myself and Justin settled in and kept a fast pace, opening up a gap of probably a minute or two. The rest of the race was basically a suffer-fest in terms of making sure we were drinking enough water and battling the heat. Throughout the 5 laps I drank 1 full bottle of H20 the first lap, then took in a gel and later drank a full bottle of hammer heed w/ a little BCAA added in, then later another gel. That intake kept me feeling fueled and strong but I definitely didn't have enough water. I needed 2 more bottles at the pit. Justin ended up giving me a few drinks off his bottle, which was pretty bad-ass considering we were obviously at a similar level and also each competing for the win. Both of us want to ride expert next year and both are currently pretty(?)fast on the single speeds.

The pain came during the last lap, which we both wanted to ride quicker but I'm not actually sure if either of us did. I think we both knew that the win would come down to the last few hundred meters, where the unforgiving tight, yet flat single track of spanish lake opened up to a big field, that we would ride around before finishing.

We both also knew that he was running a 32x18....which may (or may not, I don't really know) have given me an advantage for that last section. The last drive to the line was a good minute of all-out-efffort and rather quickly, the pain came into the legs as I tried to keep my motion smooth and continuous. At the line, I was just ahead...enough to take away my first win in a MWFTS event this year. Exciting, but also completely and utterly exhausting given the heat.

As I had said in the last post, I was riding today with Susan Nelson in mind; so I was glad to just be able to ride hard and give it my all.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Susan Nelson


Unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything.

Tomorrow is for Susan.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Holy shit! Castlewood was in such great shape on sunday. What an awesome race put on by the DRJ folks and the MWFTS. I'm currently typing this we a bum wrist (hopefully not broken, but if it keeps hurting then I'll probably get xrays this week).

Maggie and I both raced on sunday. I was on my new lynskey 29er currently set-up as a single speed (although it can be ridden as a geared bike at any time). The bike came together beautifully and still needs a few tweeks but so far is the nicest bike I've ever ridden...seriously log-scale magnitudes better than any other mountain bike I've ridden. I'll post some bike porn later this week or next once the custom wheels are complete...but I'm thinking that with the suspension fork it'll probably be around 21lbs, maybe less. And man, titanium rides so well. Stiffer than steel, more compliant than aluminum, and much more 'organic-flowy' than carbon. Jack at Lynskey is awesome and really hooked it up for me...super nice guy and very easy to work with.
Oh yeah, the race. Maggie rocked it again, taking 2nd in a field of around 6 or 7 beginner women. I'm so ridiculously proud of her...she's really pushing her comfort zone and having a great time while doing so. We also made the after work journey from Columbia so that she could race in the last thursday night alpineshop dirt crit. I just hung out with our daughter and watched everyone (well everyone except for one of the most agro mountain bike racers I've ever seen...who was also at the race today) have a blast.

My race was interesting. Unlike last week I finished. But similar to last week I had a flat on my rear tire. This time, I ran into the finish/starting area, changed it, and kept on going. When I flatted I was hauling-ass and riding in second place with one lap (of three total) to go. For some reason my CO2 cartilage thing would dispense the CO2 every time I tried to screw it I ended up wasting 2 cartigages and a ton of time before we finally borrrowed a floor pump from someone. Once I got it filled up I was probably in either 6th or 7th place and I still felt good, so rode my ass off but whilst doing so managed to have a pretty serious crash going down the last switch-backy down hills (Justin's or Jason's). I think I came across 3rd or 4th which I feel pretty good about. The dude that won the single speed category was pretty damn fast. I had him at the starting line, but he past me on the first climb. I realized that he was fast and started to settle onto his wheel. I think I could have held his wheel on an empty course, at least for a while, but when we encountered other racers, he got a good line and I got a bad one while trying to pass...he gapped me and I never saw him again. Oh well, it is always nice to see where I am as far as riding. On that note, later in the first lap Dave B. (who had flatted) followed me down the rocky switch-backy down hill (Justin's or Jason's) so I'm curious to know if he thought I was slow, decent, or par for the course in terms of the expert category. I think my goal for next year's mountain biking will be to ride in the expert category.