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Showing posts from July, 2014

Hike-a-bike

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Usually, it's something to be avoided. The dreaded hike-a-bike. Instead of steady pedaling up fun trails, hike-a-bike involves pushing, carrying or dragging my bike up unridable trails - or trails that would take more energy then it's worth to ride. Most people - myself included - try to plan routes to ride our bikes, not take them for a stroll. But...

There are two seperate hike-a-bikes seperating aid station one and aid station two during Vapor Trail 125. A short, maybe 10 minutes to the roof of the continent over the Alpine Tunnel. And then dreaded Canyon Creek - 30 minutes at least of shelping my bike over rocky steps and up boulders. At night, at 12,000 feet.  Those two sections are both challenging under any circumstances - it will be a different world at night, with miles under the tires already. Hike-a-bike is a skill, like hucking off rocks or finding the right lines thru tight trails. But it's not a fun skill, so gets neglected until absolutely needed and then we …

Into the inferno...

Okay, it might not have actually been that bad. But it was bad. I'm better at managing heat then I used to be, but yesterday was kinda nuts. It was already 90* when I got home from work and the hottest hours were yet to come. I knew it would be rough and had frozen one water bottle near solid and had plenty of ice in my hydration bladder. I was off into the shimmering heat of Chyenne Canon - planning on two trips up for my workout. I was sweating before I got halfway through Stratton, a glistening sheen of moisture on my arms. And then I reached the gate and started up the first time. That glow of sweat quickly became rivulets streaming down my face and back. The air was heavy and still with the heat, like the blast from an oven. I started out strong, but as the salt caked my jersey and the sweat stung my eyes I was struggling. Despite being on my Fate and having the low MTB gear range instead of my road bike, I couldn't get the cadence up. It should have been easy to just spi…

Consistency

A hallmark of endurance racing - consistancy over time. Consistancy was one of my goals at the Ascent Cycling Series CMSP 50 mile race. It was nine laps of a 5.2 mile course - one with a decent amount of climbing, some very technical rock gardens and a fun descent. So consistancy would mean staying steady on the climb, smooth thru the rock gardens and safe on the descent - over extend on any section and the next one would suffer. Especially in the last few laps. Another goal was to meet or hopefully beat my time from last year, even with another five laps to ride. We raced four laps on the same course last year and I'd finished in 2:24:51. So - there were a few things I was looking at during the entire race, besides the usually hydration and food.

One thing I did differently this year was a slower first lap. I hadn't had a chance to preride and I didn't know how the recent rainstorms would have affected the trails. With nine laps at least, there was plenty of time to learn…

The crash after the high

When I was running marathons, I'd read about it all the time - the emotional letdown after finishing an event. Never had an issues with it it then - maybe because I always had another race coming up quickly and I used most of them as training for a few key events. When I had great race, I used it more as a learning experience for the next race. What went wrong, despite having a successful race. What worked - in training, recovery and nutrition. There wasn't time to have the let down after a race - it was already time to build up for the next. If I had a bad race, it was the same thing. I always had another marathon in the cue, another shot for redemption. The few really bad races were always followed by some great races and I was honestly reaching way outside my ability levels at that time. So even with the crappy races, I was still pleased with my progress towards the long term goals. I never reached those long term goals, but it was more due to me modifying my goals. It was …

Lentils and Collard Greens

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This year, I've been trying something new - a CSA share full of veggies and such. More on that later - but one issue I've had is how to use up some of the awesome greens I've gotten. Example one - collard greens. I've never cooked with collard greens before and the few experiments I did with the first batch weren't all that tasty. Then a coworker suggested steaming them overnight with bacon - getting the flavor of the bacon and softening the greens to point they could be eaten. Now, I didn't see the point of just cooking the collard greens if I could make a full meal with little fuss. Hence the lentils. Cooking is an inexact experiment and art form in my house, so this is more of a guideline then a recipe. I was also trying to use up a few of the items from my box besides the collard greens...

In a slow cooker or crockpot, combine: - about 1.5-2 cups of lentils - six (or more - depending on how meaty you want it) slices of uncooked bacon, chopped into small pie…

Dodging Rainbows

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Day two of our three day exploration weekend. We'd discused paying for the Monarch Crest shuttle and doing the entire section from the pass on - including Starvation and Poncha. But neither of us were motivated to get up early enough for the 8:00 shuttle and the 10:00 would be too late. So we decided to ride back up Poncha Creek and join the Crest at that point. We'd miss the fun alpine sections from Monarch to Marshall, but it would still be a solid ride and tackling Silver Creek and Rainbow after the Poncha climb was something I was nervous about. So off we pedaled, back up to the 11,000" and Continental Divide. We would earn our fun on Silver Creek... The climb up Poncha seemed easier this time - knowing how long it was and the twists and turns helped. Will I remember come September? Who knows. I was able to set a nice steady and sustainable tempo. Hard enough to keep it honest - I was actually able to keep up with Nick and even force the pace a little! But not so hard…

Sampling Starvation

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Starvation Creek. It sounds scary. What happened in the hay day railroad and mining history of Salida that would warrant the name Starvation Creek?  Well, I still don't know the answer to that, but I know Starvation is more then a sign off the well traveled Monarch Crest. And that was our goal this weekend - ride a bunch of hours and learn a little more about the Vapor course. With another three day weekend, it was the perfect opportunity for both of us to ride new trails. A later then we wanted start Friday had us rolling up Marshall Pass road just after 10:30. We found a sweet campsite and quickly got ready to ride. Clouds were already forming and we were heading up into the sky to great them. Up Poncha Creek Rd, a gradual climb until the Starvation Creek trailhead. And then it got steep. Very steep, loose and rocky. No talking as we both settled into the business of climbing. Thunder rumbled all around us as the clouds thickened. And still we climbed. The miles creeped by on my…

Independence Day

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I normally work most holidays - but not this Fourth of July! With Nick having a long weekend, I decided it was time to take a day off as well. Not to go any where, but to get up into the mountains and just ride. Two bigger days with a rest day in between would test my still recovering legs. But September is coming up quickly and it's time start getting those longer days on the bike. On Friday, we headed up Gold Camp at a chill pace. Once we got past St Mary's, the road was empty. It was perfect - quiet and just us riding. Nick let me mostly set the pace and we cruised up the hill, meandering away from the noise of the city. I tried to go a little faster, but Nick reigned me in - reminding me that I've only ridden the next two chunks of singletrack a few times. Instead of blowing up on the easy road, I needed to be smart and be ready for the trail. Its something I'm gonna have to remember for later - the roads are easy but real time can be had with the ability to ride d…

The Next Adventure

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Time to start looking forward to September and the next big adventure. I've been told this race is as hard or harder then racing for 24 Hours solo - only it's one big loop instead of the many little ones. While there are aid stations along the route, I'll need to be mostly self supported - no stopping every hour for a fresh bike and bottle! There is alpine singletrack, classic Colorado descents, and long hard climbs. You cross the Continental Divide twice and spend miles traversing the edge of the sky. There is night riding - seven hours of darkness - and I'll be be greeting the sun on one of the most demanding technical descent I've ridden. The Breckenridge 100 is an appetizer compared to this - and it kicked me in the tail back in 2012 (the three part novel - part 1, part 2, and part 3)! This is a riders race - where being smart and being prepared trumps pure speed every time.

The Vapor Trail 125. Starting at 10:00pm, heading into the mountains for one hundred an…