Saturday, March 26, 2011

Barry Roubaix 2011

Wow how this race has grown in just 3 short years! Over 1000 people entered!!! Rick Plight must be doing something right, and I believe he is. I won this race 2 years ago and I thought the terrain suited me well, so after skipping last year, I thought I'd give it another run.

We woke up to morning temps in the teens. After training all winter in MI, I thought great! Everyone will be stunned by the cold temps and I'll feel right at home. My new RBS kit came equip'd with all the cold weather trim. No prob... Well needless to say, the cold temps didn't bother anyone. We rolled out nuetral with ol' Ward Wilson at the helm with the trusty KTM. Yes, he managed to get it started one more time for us. Once we hit the dirt, the pace quickly escalated, but it was manageable. We hung a right onto the pavement and I knew Sager Lake was coming up. I rolled up the right side of the road and took the holeshot into Sager Lake.

I immediately went into red, and after that, Graham and Anderson danced around me leaving me gasping for air. I thought, OK, we'll deal with the early attacks here, then it will all come back together... sure sure. But the pace didn't seem to let up. We hit the hills just after Sager Lake and I couldn't recover. The roads were dialed. They were almost like pavement. I probably could have rode a road bike. I had to let the front group go. Meanwhile, my seat rails managed to self destruct. My bike was spewing out pieces of titanium tubing all over the road on Sager Lake. Bahh!

I struggled for a bit and decided to wait for the next group. The nose of my saddle was about 1" too low and my back and knee's were starting to cramp. Double Bahh! I would hang with what I think was the 3rd group for a while. My legs felt terrible, every hill hurt, and I just didn't seem to have it. I decided to pull the plug going into the 2nd lap rather than risking another 35 miles without a seat. I think it was a good call.

I think this year was the year for the CX bike. Seemed like these guys were zipping back and forth with no problems. I found myself pedaling on the downhills to keep up with the guys on CX bikes coasting. My training has been going pretty good. Been getting in lots of miles, and I did a lot of cross training. Perhaps I'm just missing a little bit of intensity in my legs? Were the CX bikes that much faster? Was my seat issue a big deal? Was I tired from all the miles I've been putting in? Am I just getting too old? Am I missing something in my diet? Was I dehyrated? Did I tie my left shoe first? Did I forget my rabbits foot? It'll drive a cyclist crazy, but these are all questions I'll have to sort out in the coming weeks. The good thing is that it's still early and these early season races give you a chance to see what you missed in the off-season. I think I've got better races in me for sure.

Congrats to my fellow compratiots who finished on the podium. Next up is Paris Ancaster. Hopefully I'll have things a little more dialed in by then. Thanks for reading, and if you missed the Barry Roubaix, make sure its on your calendar next year!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A little glimpse...

into the joys of training in Michigan winters. As some of you know, I work 9hr days and have every other Friday off work. This was my short week, so I had my eye on the weather and it kept getting worse all week! I knew pulling off a hundo in the conditions they were calling for was going to take every trick in the book.

I thought I had it nailed. I swapped my tires and laid out all my clothes on Thurs night... I even filled up my Wingnut and stashed it in the fridge. I went to bed feeling ready for whatever mother nature had in store. Sure enough when I woke up, I found a 1/4" layer of ice covering everything... the only thing I wasn't prepared for. Bahh! I thought it was over for a minute. Then I remembered about the old Kenda Klondike CX tires I had hanging in the garage. The perfect tire for the job. I think Mitch was preparing to go into work late, but when she heard me tearing the tire rack down out in the garage, she quickly made her escape. Even Buddy and Tigger ran and hid behind the couch. I think everyone was still traumatized from the last tire swap. The animals had Stans juice in their fur for weeks after an unexpected blowout!

A couple bloody knuckles and about 6 oz of dish soap later, I had the Klondikes seated up and I was out the door by 9am. It didn't occur to me till I got a few miles down the road that these tires didn't roll very fast. It felt like I was riding on velcro but it was nice on the ice. Studs along with the 11 lbs of Gatorade strapped to my back and single speed bike had my legs burning instantly. I quickly realized pulling off a hundo was going to be tough.

I had a tailwind pushing me out to sea. I decided to roll one of my trusty old century loops up to Columbiaville. It's a nice loop with minimal traffic, and it's all pavement. The country scenery of old farms and small towns keeps my mind fresh and interested. I rolled into Columbiaville at mile 50. The rain was on and off, and by now all of the ice was melted and roads were just wet. Good thing I had the studs... ugh. I flipped and head South into the headwind. My legs were starting to get stagnant and the little aches and pains were creeping in, especially my back. There's a few bailout points along the route to cut the hundo short, however I wasn't going to let the demons win today. I was pulling this off even if it would kill me.

I pulled into the "hell of Elba" and cringed at the headwind. This is a 10 mile section of the route with endless rollers that escalate back to Hadley. I knew if I could get thru Elba, I'd pull it off. Sure enough, I silenced the inner demons and pressed on to finish out the full century loop in just under 6-1/2hrs. Not too shabby for a single speed bike and studded tires. I stepped into the house completely exhausted greeted my old pal Buddy. I slammed my recovery drink, hopped into a hot shower... and began preparing to do it all over the next day.

Keep up the motivation! Spring will be here soon!