Wednesday, May 27, 2009


A quick family vacation starts tomorrow, going down to Durango for a few days to show Seamus a new part of the state. I can’t wait, I remember going to Mesa Verde around his age and loving it, I just hope he finds it as cool as I did. The ruins in the cliff dwellings are impressive.
After a few very busy weeks, including a week spent in Minnesota and a quick day trip to Chicago travel doesn’t seem fun, but Durango will be different, the pace set by us, car travel and no places to be at any time. I’m taking the mountain bike and will get in some rides on the trails down there. I haven’t been to Durango in nine years so it will be like riding in a new place. The best part of the trip is no work. Way too much stress there recently (if you know me well enough to know the purpose of the Chicago trip yesterday you’d understand the stress) so getting away from Denver will be nice.
My new sign-off is going to be…Please Donate to LAF , Lance is doing some serious work and chances are you or someone very close to you is going to benefit from his foundations work (up to 33% of Americans get one form of cancer or another). I’m trying to raise $2,500 and have $2,200 to go, please donate what you can.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Big Weekend

I decided that if I'm going to pay the entry fee for the Firecracker 50 yet again that I'd damn well better finish it this year. That means big mile training to get ready for the race. I'm hoping that by getting in three rides of 6 hours per ride for the endurance training should help. In addition I'm focusing a lot of time and attention during other training on tempo work, since this is the fastest zone that is actually possible to ride in for hours on end.

Saturday was a two hour ride with seven tempo efforts of seven minutes each. A good effort, but not too much with a long ride scheduled for Sunday. Sunday started early, with an effort to replicate pre-race eating and getting out of the house by 7:00 to be home at a reasonable hour. I headed out on the mountain bike and spent a lot of the early ride on the road, due to rain the night before. Finally about 3 hours in I hit the dirt on a downhill from Mt. Falcon. From that point on for the next 90 minutes it was a lot of dirt, mixed with road time from trail to trail. At about 4:30 into the ride it became road time again in order to get home. On a totally unplanned route I managed to ride for 5:58 when I arrived at my door. Perfect timing for the ride, though more dirt would have been nice.

Usually after a ride of that time I’m dead, but yesterday I felt pretty solid, even managing a little yard work after resting for an hour or so. This morning I headed out for a ride and still felt surprisingly fresh so I added in a 30 minute tempo effort to the ride and got in 2:00 total. A three day total of 10:00 hours and a lot of hard tempo work and climbing should do the body good. This week I’ll focus less on total time and more on tempo work, and I think the long time/high tempo alternate weeks will be the plan through the Firecracker 50 and right on to the Laramie Enduro. I’m looking forward to a good night sleep tonight, a wake-up call at 4:00 to catch a flight at 6:00 in the morning then a late night home before riding again Wednesday.

After this trip I should be able to hang out at home until after Laramie and focus on training and life. I just need to not get sick tomorrow and I’ll be ready to get the final preparation for racing started.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Here I am

I’ve been missing for two weeks, but at some points that is how it goes. After the Front Range 50 I took off for the week to Minnesota for work. Very little down time, minimal working out and strangely no time to even surf the internet much less write any. After playing catch-up this week with work and life I’ll finally carve out a few minutes to blog, not much time though as life stays busy.
Minnesota was actually really good from a work perspective, a weeklong training where I actually learned a lot and some time away from riding, needed after the long race and not even having time to worry about not training. Taking time off from riding is frequently tough at home because I have to find things to replace my normal riding time. When I was gone, things were so busy and I was not in my normal flow that not riding didn’t even hit me.
I did register for the Firecracker 50, my next big race of the year. We’ll see how it goes as I’ve tried it twice with no finishes. This year, after already completing a 50 miler and getting ready for Laramie which is less than a month after the Firecracker I plan to do better. Tomorrow is scheduled for 6 hours to get the endurance riding in for both the Firecracker and Laramie. Tuesday is a quick trip to Chicago (in and out the same day) before heading out on a family vacation on Thursday. Sooner or later I’ll get a chance to relax.
A final note, I’m working to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation this year. The LAF does a tremendous amount for cancer survivors and their families. Unfortunately for me this has taken on a far more personal concern recently as a very close relative is just beginning to fight his battle with cancer. I’d ask anyone who reads this blog to take a few moments to donate, any amount helps far more then you could imagine. Please visit MY PAGE to make a donation.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Front Range 50

The first race of the year is now in the books and given that yesterday was a big goal for me for the season it was tough to have the Front Range 50 as my first race. Had I been able to sneak in a race, either on the road or mountain bike prior it would have been nice. I clearly have no speed right now and the competitive juices have been laying low for a long time, but getting out and racing felt good.
Late last year I made a decision to focus on endurance races more so then cross country. Races in the 50+ range (and hopefully at some point a good 100 miler) are where I want to really race. Part of this is from years of racing and knowing I lack the fast twitch muscles that are needed in shorter races. I just don’t tend to have the top end speed needed, but I’ve always had solid endurance, though prior to yesterday I’d never finished an endurance race (two previous attempts). Over the winter I focused on time on the bike, nutrition while riding and getting comfortable with long days riding. Early on I put an X on the Front Range 50, it is a race close to home, early in the season and as far as the local endurance races go an “easy course” since there are no long climbs. I figured it would be a perfect race to build confidence in the longer distances, practice nutrition in a race and learn.
With five laps of a 10 mile course feeding was easy, I set up a cooler with the masses of others and planned to stop for a brief period each lap to take on water or energy drink and if needed extra food. In the end I went through three bottles of water, three bottles of Gatorade, nine gels and four Hammer Endurolytes in the race. Looking back I need to increase the Endurolytes but overall my nutrition plan seemed to work. My goal for the race was to ride steady and complete all five laps in equal time splits. Based on previous results on the course in cross country races I wanted to finish in 4:00 hours, equating to 48 minute laps or so. I knew steady would be the key to finishing and that was the main concern.
The first lap of the race was crazy, with 200 or so racers, lots of single-track and various skill levels the course was tough. I settled into a nice pace, tried to drink every 10 minutes or so and made sure to eat 1 gel in the first lap. Coming through I finished my first bottle of water, stopped to pick up another and saw I had ridden a 44 minute lap. This was faster than planned and given the traffic pretty good, also I didn’t feel I had over-extended myself. On lap 2 I stayed with a group most of the time, focusing again on eating and drinking and keeping the effort steady and 5-10 beats below my threshold level. Lap 2 was completed in 42 minutes with about a minute spent pitting for more drink. At this point I was well ahead of the pace I had planned but still feeling good. I started to think a time of 3:45 was realistic, this was kind of my best case scenario time and now I was thinking it would happen. Lap 3 was again steady; I was making good time on the single-track, riding the climbs well and not getting dropped too bad on the downhills. At the pit on the third lap my race time was 2:11 for the first 30 miles. Last year in the 30 mile cross country race on the same course my time was 2:15, yet this year I wasn’t feeling near as bad. I took a longer break after three laps, dipped into the Endurolytes for the first time (I should have been steadier with eating them and taken a few earlier) and switched glasses. My first pair were so sweat covered I couldn’t see anymore so I was glad I had put an extra pair with my food.
Lap 4 is where the mental game began; I was moving into new ground on distance in a race and needed to remain steady. The climbs were tougher at this point, moving down a gear or two from the first three laps. I was still riding well on the single-track and felt I had maintained a consistent pace for the race thus far. At the end of four laps I grabbed a last bottle and glanced at my heart-rate monitor 2:58. Four laps down and all in the 42-45 minute range, well above my targeted pace. Lap five started with a cruel reality, the cross country race for the pros and experts had just started and I was soon being passed by some of the fastest racers in the world (JHK, Georgia Gould and others) starting their race of 30 miles while I was slogging along in the 40+ mile range of mine. While thoughts of glory came to mind, like trying to stick with my peers in the expert category as they passed I knew that would kill me so I kept riding and let people pass, though some of those who passed me on the single-track were soon passed back on the one major climb up Mt. Carbon. Even with 45 miles in me I was riding strong and was able to repass a few racers from the Expert group. Coming down from the second climb I knew that 3:45 was possible if I didn’t let up. On the last steep climb I could feel my energy leaving and I struggled over the top, shifting to the big ring and pedaling all the way down the descent. A mile or two of rollers and the clock was nearing the 3:45 time, as I jumped out of the last corner I saw my clock at 3:44, sprinting as hard as I could to the finish line I crossed at 3:45:26.
I learned a lot in the race, especially about pacing and eating. I still have a lot to learn in endurance racing but it was fun, a far different challenge from cross country. Right now I’ll take a few days off then start to train and focus for the other races I have planned later this year.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Front Range 50

Sitting in the car relaxing after the race. Finished in 3:45, good day of racing with consistent lap times. Full race report later.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Racing Starts in...

Just over 13 hours until the season kicks off for me. Fifty miles of pain on the mountain bike at Bear Creek. The course is riding fast right now, but very tough with lots of short steep climbs and flats that let you power.

I went out today to pre-ride again. I'm home now working on resting and drinking. Hopefully I can finally finish one of these long races.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Getting Ready

The first race of the year for me is a week away, the Front Range 50. Today I went out to the course and ripped a couple of laps to get the feel for the course. Given this is one of the few races all year that is really close to Denver (about 20 minutes from my house) it is tough. There are no big climbs, no super technical downhills, no endless miles of twisty singletrack, just a mixture of it all on a course with no shade.

Today is was cool, cloudy and the lack of trees was not a factor; however, I've raced here in the past in 90 degree weather and been left helpless because of the heat. For me today was about getting use to the few technical sections, practicing what kind of pace is reasonable on the course (while estimating 5 laps versus the 2 I did today) and just trying to feel comfortable on the course.

The first lap I took easy and was just making sure I was paying attention. The second lap I put in a few good efforts and tried to rip through with a good lap time. I didn't sustain a race pace for the entire lap, but at times went hard and tried to ride the technical stuff at speed. I felt good, though the rear suspension was a little stiff and am looking forward to next week.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Another Double Header

Another double post, though this one is much shorter than the one last week. Got on a team for 2009, really late and kind of unexpected, but a few things fell into place in the last few days so I’m set. My big focus for 2009 is endurance racing (front range 50 and Laramie for sure maybe 1-2 more) so I didn’t really know what else I would do. Winter Park seems to fit in with my schedule (less the Laramie weekend) and the racing is always good so when the chance to race for Grand Sports came along last week I took it. I’ll get to ride with two guys from last year (Jason and Dan) and a few others I’ll soon meet. It’s always nice to have a few teammates out there so I’m looking forward to the team.
Second, as many people know, I’m trying to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation this year. It started out to help support another cyclist/blogger Fatty and have a fun event in Austin to hit up. Recently it has turned a bit personal. Let me just say that the LAF has a tremendous amount of information and resources available to family and survivors of cancer. I hope the only reason you need to visit the site is to donate money, but if not be glad that Lance Armstrong has put so much effort into cancer advocacy. I’m sure over the next few months especially this will be a favorite site of mine. The person I know very well who has been impacted is lucky to have the family and finances to fight this battle and find resources, but even so efforts like LAF need support. Please consider donating, even a little, in my name for the Austin ride or on your own accord. You may appreciate it down the road.