Saturday, June 21, 2014

2014 Knobby 9 to 5 Race Report

Quick Stats:
Place:  3rd, Solo Men 40+
Laps:  10
Time:  7:36:50 (New PR)
Miles:  91.5
Elevation Gain:  Between 12.3k' & 14k', depending on whose Garmin you believe

Men's 40+ Solo Podium, minus Joe Jensen
Fast forward to lap #8:  Following a speedy pit stop, I tried to stay on the gas all the way up the Spring Creek climb.  By this point of the race, I had been riding alone for a while and was just trying to stay steady and focused.  Various body parts had been sore for a while by this point.  Near the top of the climb I spotted an Eastside Cycles kit and I knew the battle was on.  Andy Filler had ridden away from me on lap #3 but I had closed the gap.  There was a LOT of racing left so I didn’t allow myself to get too excited and I just kept doing my thing.  Andy let me pass and then jumped on my wheel where he would ride for the remainder of the lap.  I had a feeling he was toying with me but I was on my limit and couldn’t do anything differently.  After another drive-by pit stop for fresh CarboRocket and a Honey Stinger waffle, we were back it for lap #9.  Andy let me lead up the Spring Creek climb and the silence was deafening.  We were both working hard but I was well aware of Andy’s climbing ability.  I was having flashbacks to many Thursday Night Rides where Andy would drop me like a stinky sock on our local climbs.  I tried to open a gap on the rolling terrain and any downhill I could…but he was like Velcro.  Three-quarters of the way through lap #9, on the steepest climb on the course, Andy punched it and came around me.  Just like that, Andy put 25 yards on me.  I was able to keep the gap to a reasonable amount but Andy had more left in the tank than I did. I had been on my limit for laps 8 & 9 and I simply didn’t have another gear.  Andy’s 10th lap time of 45:29 was very impressive and secured his 2nd place in the 40+ Solo race.  I tried to stay on the gas, but a 47:44 (my slowest lap of the day) was all I had left for my 10th and final lap.  That was a hard-earned 3rd place in the 40+ Solo race and I was very pleased with my race.  10 laps in 7:36:50 was a new PR for me by 15’!  

2014 Knobby 9 to 5, Men's 40+ Solo, Top 3

Going into the Knobby 9 to 5, I knew it would be a dogfight.  The 2013 40+ Solo winner, Joe Jensen, was returning and Andy Filler added to the small but talented field of 40+ Solo racers.  More than anything, I wanted to put down a solid race and see if I could improve on my 2013 race.  I had a very good race in 2013 so I knew this would be tough and I was nervous leading up to the race.

It is always fun to race in your backyard against your homies and this year was no exception.  Hal Miller and the Knobby Tire Series crew do a great job with the race and Avimor is a great venue for a lap race with its plush soccer field for pit row and fun trails.

Although I had a great race and set a new PR this year, my race was not all rainbows and unicorns.  My nemesis, low back pain, was constant issue for me during this race.  I wonder what it would be like to race my bike without low back pain.  I might need to re-evaluate my core & stretching routine…again.  I am also going to take another look at my bit fit and see if there are any small tweaks to be made there.  This race definitely left a mark…I basically felt as if I were in a XC MTB for 7:36:50 and I felt the effects several days later. 

Through trial & error, I have settled on a handful of products that I have come to rely on during every endurance race:

Hydration & Electrolytes:  I continue to rely on the originalCarboRocket mixed at one scoop per 24oz. I alternated between Tropical Orange & Kiwi Lime for a little variety during the 9 to 5 race and tried to drink 24oz per lap.

Hands & Butt:  If your hands & butt aren’t happy during an endurance race, it can make for a long day. Ergon GS1 grips & the Ergon SM3 Pro saddle kept my hands & butt happy.  Over the years I have alternated between the original GP1s and the newer GS1s.  The GP1s are heavier and chunkier, but have a slight edge in comfort.  The new GS1s for single twist shift are a great option for XX1 users.

Tires:  I didn’t see too many flat tires during the Knobby 9 to 5 but I am always surprised to see people running paper-thin tires at endurance races.  Flats suck.  Getting a flat during a race that you have trained your ass off for, and traveled along way to get to, really sucks.  I have had great luck with Schwalbe SnakeSkin tires and I am more than willing to pay the slight weight penalty (and ridiculous price) to have the extra protection.

Cockpit:  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a geek when it comes to training, numbers, etc.  I love the data.  During the 9 to 5, I was constantly paying attention to my split times…not only lap times, but split times to certain points on the course.  It was nice to have my Garmin out in front of my bars where I could easily see it. The latest K-Edge Handlebar Mount for Garmin computers is rock solid, looks bad-ass, and keeps the Garmin out front where it is easy to see.

Next up is the High Cascades 100 in Bend, OR on July 19.  Prior to that, I will be in Sun Valley for Marathon Nationals to support Michelle and cheer on my peeps who are racing in the big show. Woot Woot!

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