Saturday, June 30, 2007

15 Days: 4 Hours: 18 minutes

JayP rolled into Antelope Wells at 4:18 MDT today to win the 2007 GDR and sets a new GDR record!
Photo by Mike Curiak (borrowed from MTBR)

Not sure how Jay is getting from Antelope Wells to civilization so I am off to help coordinate logistics if I can. More on this legendary ride later.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Aspens, Singletrack, and more GDR drama

Go JayP!!! If you don't know what I am referring to with that statement then please remove your head from sand hole it has been burried in and tune into the GDR right now. JayP is still out in the front but Matt Lee is not caving in by any means. The slow stretch bewtween the Colorado border and Cuba, NM has definitely slowed our leaders down a bit which means the GDR record is no gimmee for JayP. Based on the intel I have from Jay's call-ins to Mrs. JayP, JayP is very concious of his pace and where he stands in relation to Matt Lee and the record. Knowing Jay, he is going to turn it up a notch between Pie Town and the finish and won't sleep much. That sounds so simple but it is still 330 freakin' miles through the rotisserie oven they call New Mexico!

I am bummed to see Rick Hunter drop out today as he was riding a strong race and seemed to overcome the inevitable low point back in Wyoming. Congrats on a great ride Rick!

I can't stare at the computer waiting for GDR updates ALL the Michelle and I got out for a fun ride up at the 'Ghee tonight. The trail beavers have been busy and there are some new, fun connector trails up there. Did I mention that Grand Targhee has announced the 24 Hours of Grand Targhee for Sept 15-16th, 2007? More on that soon.

As you can tell from this pic, Michelle wasn't having any fun at all. Ha!
Tomorrow morning I will be dropping the hammer on this little section of pavement.

Friday 9:00am Edit: JayP calls in from Pie Town, NM at 8am this morning where he is having a big breakfast. I am guessing he got some good sleep last night and will make a big push now to finish this thing out

Monday, June 25, 2007

Big Ride Sunday, heavy legs, and the GDR

The two max-effort rides in the last week left my legs feeling like water-logged tree trunks on Sunday. This is interesting to me because the rides were only 50 minutes and 34 minutes respectively. I don't do many "go til' your eyes bleed" rides so I guess my body is just not used to it. I had a 6 hour ride planned so I chamois'd up and headed out in hopes that I could shake the cobwebs loose. Climbing Teton Pass felt ok heading towards Wilson, WY but my HR for a given effort was way low and I had no zip. From a training standpoint, I wish I knew which is more beneficial; calling it a day a bit early when you feel like crap or pushing on like a diesel stuck in low gear? I ended up riding 4:45:00 and climbing just under 6K' but I feel a bit guilty for not slogging through the last 1:15:00 of my planned ride.

Following the GDR each day has been a blast and JayP is laying down a legendary ride so far. According to Scott Morris' GDR table, Jay is 19 hours ahead of record pace through Salida, CO. EdE was able to pull into a shop in Salida, CO on Sunday afternoon and see Jay for a few minutes while Jay had his bike worked on a bit. It was great to read that Jay is looking as good as he sounds during his call-ins.

Late Edit: JayP called TraceyP from Del Norte this afternoon to report 106 degree heat. Yow! 800 miles to go. Jay has until Sunday, July 1st at 12:56:00 pm to break the current GDR record.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Today's time of 33 minutes, 49 seconds is my new personal record for the Targhee hill climb. Two weeks from tommorrow we line up for the official Targhee Hill Climb Time Trial so today's self-timed trial was encouraging. In the 2006 Hill Climb I did a time of 00:34:19 and I feel as if I went out way too fast. I tested a new pacing strategy today and I am happy with the way it worked out. I will tweak it slightly for the real deal in two weeks and hopefully shave a bit more time off. Road time trials are not usually my thing but this one takes place right outside my front door, gets a huge local turnout, and is a really fun event.

Conditions definitely factor into this time trial as well. It was a bit breezy today so I am sure it helped me in some places but hurt me in others. I definitely felt the breeze in my face on a couple of the long uphill straightaways.

Another reason for the self-time trail is to get a current heart rate zone profile. I will take the data and plug it into Joe Friel's HR formula to come up with a current HR profile. If I understand his formula correctly, he recommends taking the numbers from the last 20 minutes of a 30 minute time. I hit the Lap button on my Polar a little over the 15 minute mark so that I would have a "Lap Summary" of the final 20 minutes. (Actually my Lap Summary is only 18 minutes, I should have hit it sooner, Doh!)

Here's what the numbers look like:

HR Average for entire ride = 175
HR Max = 185
HR average, 1st 15 minutes = 170
HR average, next 18 minutes = 179

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cache Creek to Game Creek XC Race

I typically do one or two local cross country races per season just for fun and to experience a new all-time high heart rate. Last night was my first time doing the popular Cache to Game point to point race over in Jackon and it was a hoot! 5:15pm start, 86 degrees, and 74 racers lined up to pin it from the word go.

The race pretty much goes up for 5 miles, then goes down for 5 miles, and ends with a mile of flat double track and the last chance to pass anyone ahead of you if you have the legs. For me, it was 50 minutes of joy and pain. For the supa-fast freaks, it was 45 minutes or less. Sam Jurekovic (currently racing the NMBS Series) holds the course record at 37 minutes!

Racers milling about before the start
Fun scene at the finish line
TraceyP with a solid finish and PR in the women's race

As if the GDR wasn't exciting enough already, now we have drama. JayP blows throw a construction zone and pisses off the flag lady which makes life hard for Pete. Pete finally caves into the lady, rides in the car, and then 30 miles later feels guilty about it so he turns around and rides through the construction zone again. Holy Crap!

There are lots of opinions over on MTBR regarding JayP's actions at the construction site. However, at both pre-race meetings the racers were clearly told "do not get in a pilot car". After hearing that message at the pre-race meetings, I would have been very concerned about being disqualified for getting in a car and would have blown through just as JayP did.

Side note; I have ridden behind pilot cars in the caravan of vehicles many times on my road bike so I am not sure why they wanted the cyclists in the car and not behind the car as it drove through the construction zone.

Late Edit: Jay may have also ridden through the construction zone behind other cars following the pace car.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Great Weekend

Following the GDR and riding fun singletrack with friends. JayP, Matt L, and Pete B are setting a record pace. I wonder if the leaders avoided the snow?

Incredible Audio updates
Current Standings Table by Scott Morris of Topofusion

Friday, June 15, 2007

2007 Great Divide Race Begins - Go JayP!

With the Great Divide Race kicking off today at 12pm MDT, I wanted to post a tribute to my stone-cold homie JayP and wish all the participants safe travels in this mother of all epics.

It is hard to wrap my brain around the raw numbers involved in this one. To equal the current record owned by Mike Curiak, a racer will have to maintain the following pace:
155 miles
12,500 feet of climbing
For 16 Days straight
Holy Crap!

I am excited and nervous for Jay. He is mentally tough like nobody else I know and he has been planning for this for a long time. His gear system is dialed in and he looks to be as fit as ever. His new bike, a carbon Orbea Alma 29er, is perfect for this purpose and his complete rig has to be one of the lightest at the start line. For long hours in the saddle he added aero bars, with some cutting edge machine shop work, and extra padding to the grips. He has a complete bag system from Carousel Design Works and is racing without a rack of any kind. Out of respect to Jay I told him I would not post this any earlier than 12:01pm on race day just in case there are any spies amongst us. :)

Here are few pics of the race rocket:

I met Jay for breakfast Tuesday, June 12th at the Bunnery in Jackson to see him one more time and to wish him luck before the race. He agreed to a quick interview for the Blog. Of course after we were done and I was driving home I thought of many more questions but at least I got glimpse into what his thoughts are on this race.

Me: How much does your bike weigh set up with the aero bars, unloaded?

JayP: 25.5 lbs

Me: Damn!

Me: Do you want to share your overall race strategy?

JayP: Race to the finish. I have it written down as one of my race notes to remind myself late in the ride to keep racing. It would be easy during a ride this long to just start riding and forget about racing.

I would like to ride every daylight hour as well as one hour before daylight and one hour after dark. So, ride until 10 to 11, bivy, get up at 4 or 5am, and keep moving.

Also, my initial strategy is to ride off of the front at the beginning and try to mess with people’s heads a bit and cause them to deviate from their initial plan. I am sure the guys who have done this before, like Matthew and Pete, know exactly where they want to sleep the first night, the second night, and so on. I want to cause them to question their choices. I think that just making them alter their plans one or two nights would be good.

Me: How are you carrying your water?

JayP: 200oz MSR bladder in a pack. That is the only thing in the pack.

Me: What are the Top 3 items you will look for at a convenient store when you stop?

JayP: The first thing I will grab is an ice cream and I will be eating that ice cream while walking around the store doing the rest of my shopping. Then I will grab a coke and a hot meal that I can cook in their microwave. Then I have to grab things that I can take with me to eat on the road.

Me: How many showers do you expect to take during the race?

JayP: 1 or 2

Me: What are the three biggest concerns you have about this race?

JayP: #1 – Being alone for such a long period of time
#2 - Encountering weird/scary people in the middle of nowhere
#3 – Staying healthy the whole time

Me: I would have thought that bears might have made the top 3

JayP: Nah, I am not too worried about the bears. Maybe a little bit in Montana.

Me: Are you taking a music player of some kind?

JayP: (with a smirk) I have a small XM radio with headphones and a 7oz solar charging unit for it. I can put the solar unit on my pack and it will hold a charge so that I can plug it into the radio when I sleep and it will charge the raio. I will be listening to music, talk radio, the weather…how cool is that to be able to check the weather?

Me: Do you have a pre-planned amount of sleep you will aim for?

JayP: 3-6 hours per night…but I am not sure how little I can get away with. Mileage will dictate the sleep as well. If I am feeling good and ticking off the miles then I will keep moving.

Me: If you could have any meal waiting for you at the end, what would it be?

JayP: The classic…a big greasy cheeseburger, fries, and a coke, and maybe a beer.

When Jay laid down the "Race to the Finish" comment it really hit me. This guy is going to stir some shit up! I would expect nothing less from my man JayP and I wish him the best. This is going to be really fun to follow over the next 15 - 21 days.

Check HERE for race updates.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Review, Recovery, and Root Drops

I have gone over my 12 Hour Steamboat race a hundred times in my mind since the drive home on Sunday because that is just how I am. I am very happy with the way I kept the pedals turning on the BIG climb but I could have "raced" a little bit better and I will learn from this one. When I reviewed my Polar file I saw that my times on the actual climb were within 9 minutes for all 7 laps. Cool. Then how did I have a 2:00:00 lap 6 and a 1:56:00 lap 7? I spent too long in the pit and too long putting on layers at the top for the descent during the night laps. 12 Hours seems like such a long time but a few minutes here or there can make a huge difference.

The recovery is going well and I got out for a little mtb ride this afternoon with supa-fast Nate and J9. J9 led the way and showed us some new (to me) singletrack with great root drops, jumps, and climbing through the forest. I probably rode a little harder than I should have but it was so fun and I was mentally into so what the hell. Next time I will snap some actions pics I promise.

Monday, June 11, 2007

24 Hours of Steamboat, 12 Hour Solo Race Report

As I rolled into Steamboat at 2pm Friday afternoon there was controlled chaos all around as the organizers were organizing, campers were pitching camps, and solo racers were setting up their pits. Despite the buzz I felt very calm and this was a nice change from my normal pre-race angst. Spinning out the legs after seven hours in the car sounded good so I went for a lap to check out the course and I was surprised to find very little mud and a super-fun singletrack descent with just enough surprises to keep me honest. The tagline for the race is “The climb of your life”…they aren’t kidding. 2200’ of climbing is more than I usually like to do the afternoon before a big race but seeing the course once would help the confidence and I was careful to keep the HR low. After the pre-ride lap I set up my canopy, table, and chair and headed to my room to rest up.

I love the noon start. I have time to sleep in, make breakfast, finish setting up the pit area and go over my plan once more with time to spare. During the night the race footprint had exploded and now there were people, dogs, tents, and bikes everywhere. Woohoo…Let’s light this candle!

As everyone lined up for the run I still felt calm and was focused on not getting caught up in the moment and going out too fast on the first lap. I am no runner and planned on shuffling my way through the run regardless of how long it took me. Bang…we’re off. It was comical to see most of the solos in the back trotting along. I joked with Marko that the run was too far and that I might have to drop out before I ever got to my bike.

Laps 1 & 2 went well and I was careful not to go too hard on the climb. I did push it on the descents which contained a few sneaky short “ups” that usually caught me in the wrong gear and required a hard, middle-ring burst to clear them. I started the race with 80oz of water in the pack and 780 calories of Perpetuem in the bottle and when I stopped in my pit 3:01:00 later after Lap 2 I was almost totally empty. I filled the pack with 80oz of water, grabbed a new bottle, took 6 Endurolytes, and left in about 3 minutes.

By 3pm and the beginning of Lap 3 the sun was shining intensely on the entire climb and we were baking. I had clipped my iPod Shuffle to the back of my helmet and was rockin’ out to Metallica, Reverend Horton Heat, and Screaming Trees on the climb when I was alone. When I was around other racers or on the singletrack I would switch it off so I could be social or hear when a rider needed to pass. The heat was already having an effect on my caloric intake but before my stomach went totally sour I backed off the Perpetuem and just drank water. Lap 4 proved to be my “test of resolve” but I didn’t expect it to come so early in the race. The dreaded inner-thigh cramps, my nemesis, showed up and I was forced to jump off of the bike and long-stride several times on the climb. It was a mental blow for sure because walking “felt” slow. I drank more water, took more Endurolytes, and hiked anything remotely steep on Lap 4 and by the time I reached my pit after Lap 4 I felt recovered. Yeah baby!

I had enough time to do one more lap without lights but I had to stop in the pit for water plus calories and then was onto the climb again for Lap 5. I have learned that my inner-thing cramping can be triggered by a shift from low to high cadence on a steep climb. I decided after Lap 4 that I was not going to shift into the “granny” any more during the race. My wacky little experiment seemed to work because I didn’t cramp again for the remainder of the race and I was maintaining a good pace on the climb. The cooling temps plus my mental victory over cramping contributed to a respectable 1:41:00 Lap 5 including the pit stop.

My pit stop after Lap 5 was slow. I was fumbling, bumbling, and stumbling to fill the hydration pack, mix a bottle, lube a dusty chain, put on arms warmers, grab a vest and warmer gloves, and add lights to the bike. I didn’t sit down or waste any time but I could only do one thing at a time and I was antsy. About 8 minutes later I was off again. The beginning of Lap 6 was a magical time on the course for me. The sun was setting, the air was cooling fast, and I had zero doubts that I would achieve my goal for this race. I turned my lights on about halfway up the climb of Lap 6 so my eyes could adjust as the sun set. The temps went from comfortable to chilly in half a lap so at the top of the climb I had to stop, switch gloves, and add a vest for the descent. Riding the twisty singletrack through the aspens at night was one of the highlights of my race and I was WooHoo-ing out load through the banked corners and root drops. My Lupine Wilma lights were blazing and I could go as fast as my body could stand.

During the descent of Lap 6 I decided that I would make an unscheduled pit stop instead of simply rolling through as planned. So after Lap 6 I stopped in my pit, ditched my hydration pack for a plain bottle, grabbed one more layer for the chilly descent and headed out for Lap 7 which I knew would be my last lap. I wanted to finish strong so I pushed it on the climb and I was able to turn over the same gear as the previous two laps but didn’t walk any of the steep sections. As I rode by each small group of cheering spectators camped out along the course enjoying their bonfires and adult beverages I thanked all them for their encouragement throughout the day.

The final descent was so cool. In addition to the swell of emotion I got cresting the big climb for the last time, I now had a rabbit to catch. Just as I was exiting the treed section of the descent I could see several tiny red tail lights below me and in my tired state I imagined that they were all 12 Hour Solo racers. It was big ring time. The bottom third of the descent is a loose service road & singletrack mix and I was full throttle trying to catch these lights. It was like one of those silly moments you dream of while riding the trainer in the middle of winter where you imagine yourself sprinting for the line during an interval (c'mon, you know you do it too). I caught the group of three riders at the bottom where we make a 90 degree right turn into “Pit Row” and then have 200 yards of flat grass to the timing tent. Going into the corner I dropped into my middle ring and then unleashed a furious sprint that caught all of them by surprise and must have looked curious to anyone watching the race. I have no idea whether my midnight sprint finish improved my race standings or not but it was fun to be “racing” and felt damn good to finish like that.

It feels great to uncork a big effort and achieve a personal goal and that is a big reason I like endurance racing. Another reason I love it is the people I meet through racing. In my relatively short racing career I am fortunate to have met some wonderful people who have shared their knowledge and have been supportive. I am looking forward to the rest of the season and beyond...

Sunday, June 10, 2007


24 Hours of Steamboat - Quick Post

I had a great race and learned a ton. Here's the quick summary of my race with a full report to come soon.

7 Laps
15,400' of climbing
12 hours, 10 minutes
5th Place, 12 Hour solo men

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Steamboat Prep

I took Monday and Tuesday off of the bike and used the spare time to get my pit area stuff in order and to give the Flux a good once over. I will be self-supported for my 12 hour solo race but I think I have a good system worked out. The only pit stop that will be a bit slow is when I have to add the lights for the beginning the night riding.

Nothing makes a bike feel "new" like new shift cables & housing. Is the orange too over-the-top? I like the Jagwire Ripcord cable kit (similar to Avid's Flak Jacket system) because of the plastic tubing + needle nosed ferrules that help to shield the cable the way full-length housing does without having to drill out your cable stops. I typicaly just buy bulk housing but I am impressed with this system so far.

Tech tip: the black plastic tubing that runs between ferrules is very stiff & curly when you take it out of the packaging. Let it sit in the hot sun for a while or use a blow dryer to heat and then straighten it before installation. This makes the job much easier and looks sexy when you are done.

I have resisted the urge to try Co2 due to the numerous stories of failure and because most people I know carry both CO2 and a pump. Plus, there are so many devices to deliver CO2 to your tube that it's hard to decide which one works best without investing a small fortune and trying them all.

So I bought the Big Air kit that comes with a Big Air can and a tiny Microflate head. I also bought a 12g CO2 to practice with and a 25g CO2 to have in my pit as spare along with my trusty pump. The Microflate head relies on the screwing & unscrewing of the can to control the inflation rate. My first attempt with the 12g cartridge and a road bike tire was a success and seems straightforward. Ironically, the 40g Big Air can weighs less than the 25g traditional cartridge. My trusty Topeak mini pump will be in my pit area just in case.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Testing 1, 2, 3...

Yesterday's ride was an informal test of my body and mind. My two-week cold at the end of April, plus the KTR taper, then the KTR meltdown, and finally the road trip to Minden, NV had me questioning my fitness compared to this time last year. I have been riding a lot but many of my recent rides have lacked "training purpose".

I decided to get on the road bike and see where I am by riding a route that I do several times per season. The route is 78 miles and climbs Teton Pass twice for a total gain of 5800'. I try to ride the route at the same pace I would ride a 100 mile race.

Last season my two best times were 4:41:00 and 4:45:00. Obviously wind is a huge variable and over this distance it can really affect the time.

Yesterday I did the ride in 4:49:00. My initial climb up the pass felt good and my time to the top was solid. The out and back on Fall Creek Rd was a little slower but it could have been the breeze. The true test of this ride is climbing back up Teton Pass from Wilson, WY after I have 50 miles in the legs. Many parts of the climb are at a 10% grade and it is 5 miles of pain. I always forget to time my split from Wilson to the top of the pass. This would be a key piece of data for this ride so I need to write myself a note and stick it on my stem next time. The final leg is from Victor, ID to my home in Driggs and is mostly flat but the wind is a big factor here. Some days I can average 23 mph and others I can only go 15 mph. Yesterday was a 15 mph day due to a stiff headwind and tired legs.

So I learned that I am probably very close to where I was last year at this time fitness-wise. This is a little disappointing considering the early start I got this year with the addition of snow biking but I think I can make big gains in the next month. I definitely need to put more time into climbing in the next two months and this weekend will be a huge dose of that.

Steamboat has 2100' per lap! Bring it on.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Nevada Road Trip Details

The highlight, and the main reason for the road trip, was my Grandma’s 80th birthday party. I am very luck to have a healthy, active, and happy grandma so attending her 80th birthday at my parent’s home in Minden, NV was a no-brainer.

Other trip highlights include:

- 4 rides in 4 days

- Breaking my EC90 carbon handlebar while riding, and not crashing and/or dying

- Hooking up with our friend Kevin from the Bay Area for a great ride on the Tahoe Flume Trail

- Discovering an incredible section of the Tahoe Rim Trail 15 minutes from my parent’s home

- Hearing Michelle repeatedly yell “Woohoo, made it!” behind me after cleaning many of the granite ledges and drops on the Rim Trail. She really raised her game on the last day.

- Grinding out a 4 hour road ride with 5200’ of climbing on my 5” travel bike with 2.4” tires after my carbon road handlebar broke that morning.