Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Leadbelt XC

I can't believe it's Wednesday already?! And 3 o'clock too boot. Man, June and July alway seem to fly by. 

Last year maggie was starting her third year of med school at this time and began with the most time, energy, and emotionally intensive speciality- Surgery. I basically didn't see her much last summer so I'd take Cassidy too school as early as possible (Maggie would have left the house at like 4:30), go into the lab, get some experiments cooking, then ride for 2hrs from work, come back and work until 4ish, pick up Cassidy, then go home too cook and hope too eat dinner with Maggie (I do 99.8256% of the cooking around here). Now things are finally slowing down a bit, although my day's are almost identical! I'm even doing pretty similar rides as last year: 2 to 2.5hrs with 2-3 20min subLT intervals. Anyway, this is supposed to be a race here it goes:

St Joe Park near Farmington, MO is awesome. Next time you get the chance, go ride there. The way the course ended up this year, with some rain the night before, made it my favorite course I've raced this year. There was one pretty decisive climb with a few hundred meter flat and non-technical section at the top, so laying it down and keeping on the gas for the flat at the top seemed to have been the golden ticket...for the first time ever in a XC mtn bike race I was able to run almost exactly even splits for the 3 laps and even a negative split between laps 2 and 3. Too me that's the ultimate measure of a good performance and is one of the most satisfying feelings I can have in a race. My cross country (running) coach in college taught me about that and always emphasized that if you can pace like that, it doesn't matter if you're winning or not, it's pretty much the goal of endurance racing in my's like being in this zone right on the edge of your limits. The feeling reminds me of a quote from this old runner named George 'Doc' Sheehan: "Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach". 

If you're looking for a good book to read sometime, check out his book called "Running and being". Very applicable stuff to any endurance sport, e.g. "The mind's first step to self-awareness must be through the body" and "The distance runner is mysteriously reconciling the separations of body and mind, of pain and pleasure, of the conscious and the unconscious. He is repairing the rent, and healing the wound in his divided self. He has found a way to make the ordinary extraordinary; the commonplace unique; the everyday eternal".

On another note, it's hot out. We need lots of Na and some K, Mg, and Ca when we sweat. There was an interesting article in outside magazine that I didn't really agree with...but posted on twitted to Skratch labs and received a good response from Dr Allen Lim, this is his response to the article:

"Water Alone Can Kill You:
    All of this may lead people to think that if hydration were the primary goal then just drinking water would be the quickest and most effective way to hydrate. In fact, because water can be transported passively along its osmotic gradient and also co-transported with sodium and glucose, having some salt and sugar in a drink solution that is hypotonic (less concentrated) or even isotonic (same concentration) compared to blood would actually be the fastest way to hydrate. While drinking water alone is just fine if you’re sitting around or having dinner at home, drinking water alone is not fine if you’re trying to rehydrate when you’re sweating or have some illness or hangover that results in diarrhea or vomiting. In fact, drinking water alone when we are exercising can be risky since we can lose an appreciable amount of sodium in our sweat (400 to 800 mg per liter of sweat) and if we don’t replace that sodium then an influx of just water can dilute the sodium in our body.  This can lead to a scenario called hyponatremia, which include symptoms like headache, confusion, a drop in performance, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, irritability, muscle spasms, seizures, coma, incontinence, and in some very rare cases death. 
So the point is that you CAN drink too much water, but if what you're drinking is balanced properly you need to drink before you're thirsty.  Allen weighs all his riders before and after training to teach them how easy it is to loose massive amounts of water even when they're drinking what they think is enough.  Staying hydrated (ie not losing more than 2% body weight) is one of his points of focus with his athletes. " -Dr Allen Lim

Monday, June 11, 2012

Say What? MO State championship mountain bike race

I wanted to win this race. I hoped it would be hard and that the course would be a good combination of fitness, skill, and strategy. I guess there are some things you can control and others you can' was there, I've been practicing the dirt biking 2-3x per week and hitting the road for some speed worshipping. After crashing at Greensfelder, I've been seriously reminded how important it is too either:
 A.) SLOW THE HELL DOWN when you're redlined on singletrack and you're coming to a technical/loose turn, or
B.) be like Eric Pirtle and virtually never be redlined or always able to floss the trail and remain upright.

I was actually hoping E.P. and a few other strong dirt bikers from across the show-me state would show-up. But, the race was a little bit of a trek since it was ~4hrs from STL, 2 from Columbia, and 1-2 from Springfield and KC.
J.P. Brocket and family (his daughter is crazy fast!), Travis, and Caleb from Momentum racing were some of the guys I knew were fast standing at the start, but everyone else was a big question mark.

The course was pretty awesome. I'd call it a state-championship-worthy course. Moderately technical because of abundant sharp rocks, some dips, and only a few spots too really attack. Mac and the folks down in Warsaw are really doing some great things for mountain biking and if you ever get the chance, definitely check out their next race.

The family and I drove out saturday morning too camp at Truman lake, check out the course, and hangout in Warsaw. I don't know how old I was when I first started camping or sleeping on sail boats, but outdoor-sailing-muddigging-fishing-shooting guns-bow&arrows-threewheelers and other proper-childhood activities always allowed a nice balance growing up in urban St Louis. But i definitely remember when I started mountain biking: 7th grade (1992 or 93) @ Chubb trail on a rigid yellow/green Trek 800 purchased from Touring cyclist. 2 summers later my mom and I took a trip to Vermont just to go mountain biking at Mt Snow and Mt Stowe. It was pretty awesome and Maggie and I are committed to keeping some 'country' in our little girl. So, we took her camping for the first time. She slept outside for the first time, fed fish, dug holes, and steered our car while sitting on my lap on a dirt road. She's well on the way.

Back to the race. At the start, there was flat double track lead out too start the race. Caleb was going pretty good off the line and I jumped on his wheel. I knew he had also pre-rode the course and that he's young and fast, so I was psyched too follow at first. We split-up the field pretty quick. J.P flatted early leaving Travis, Caleb, me, and a few others. There was a little kicker of a climb at 3.5 miles into the course. I distinctly remember taking note of it as a good place too attack while pre-riding...and luckily Caleb must have felt the same way because at the top we both kept on the gas and next thing we knew the two of us had a little gap on Travis and everyone else. I went to the front and kept things pretty steady. We'd be doing 3 laps and the day was in the 90's, so hydration, salt, and good pacing were going to be key. But I also wanted to take advantage of the little gap on Travis so coming through the start/finish at the beginning of lap 2, I went pretty hard. Next thing I knew I was by myself and super focused on ever little turn and rock ahead of me. The next 2 laps were fun and just on the verge of beginning to hurt without ever really going over the top. I never saw anyone again so didn't know what was happening behind me. But after finishing, I found out that both Caleb and Travis had flatted, so there was a pretty big gap between me and 2nd after the race.

I just have one picture at the moment, and it is a podium shot where I'm inadvertently giving the team seagal salute while my medal is hanging off my finger, so I don't think I'll post it.

A huge thanks to my awesome wife Maggie for putting up with my competitive athletic pursuits! There's only one like you, ain't no way they could have made two.

And also a big shout out to Walt's bike shop...thank you guys so much for your support!

Oh yeah-almost forgot...we ate dinner saturday night in downtown Warsaw at this really cool restaurant. We ordered sandwiches, salads, and dessert, then after eating the waitress came up and said, "did anyone tell you that we're not charging for any of our food today?" We thought she was kidding, but she wasn't. dinner because they aren't normally open on saturdays and opened up for a festival happening in town and wanted to do some good for the people coming to visit Warsaw! WOW!