Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012 Hampshire 100

This past weekends adventure took us out East for the first 100 mile running of the Hampshire 100. It hadn’t been since the National Championships was held at Mt Snow, VT that I’d made it back into the area. The course was a little more challenging than I had thought. After reading the race route preview, it seemed like the course would be a lot of jeep roads and rail trails, boy was I wrong about that.

The first 20 miles of the race is relatively tame and a large group stayed together for the most part. It wasn’t until the steep jeep climb that things began to break up. I held it together though and cleaned it to the top. My memory of the climb and slightly after seems pretty foggy, perhaps that’s because I was breathing through my eye balls trying to keep up. Soon after, we hit the powerline climb. I managed to ride most of it, but there were a few sections I had to run. I was glad it was over. I was riding with Zach Morey and Kevin Carter when I crested the top. The pace seemed manageable. Zach was riding the trails a lot better than I was, but I could power out the flatter less techy sections, so we were working well together.

I managed to get away, and for a long time, I was by myself, battling it out with the demons on what seemed like an endless session of techy, rocky singletrack and rutted out ATV trails. It seemed like the trail would send you through a few hundred yards of slow twisty rocky singeltrack, then throw you up a super steep granny gear pitch. Just repeat that over and over. The trails were slow and wet, and it didn’t look they got much use. At one point I remember walking through waste deep water with my bike on my back thinking this was insane! I remember passing Jeremiah with a flat. He fixed it and passed me right back. He was gone in a flash, and I couldn’t even stay with him for a minute. It was then that I realized how terribly slow I was riding this techy terrain.

Later on near the end of the 1st  lap, Zach caught back up along with a few others including a very young guy named Dylon. They passed me while I was in full on inner demon battle mode, and I had zero moral to chase, so I let them go. I almost wanted to quit at the lap point, but I knew there was a long stretch of rail trails that I had a chance bridge on, so I kept moving forward. I grabbed my bottles from Janet (thanks Janet), lubed my chain, and I was on my way. I was feeling 20 times better on the roads and trails and went from inner demon battle mode to full on trucker mode. I chase down Dylon, and later on during the cut-off route, I caught Zach. With John Schottler bridging up, we had a group of 3. I was feeling good, so at one the last aid stations, I powered through and went on alone in an attempt to grab the 7th spot. The trails seemed to flow much better the 2nd time through, and I felt like I was riding them a lot better, but not better than Schottler. He caught me near the end, and I narrowly pulled off 8th overall. Congrats to Christian for the win, and everyone else who finished. It was a tough course.

I was happy with 8th. No crashes, no mechanicals, and no wrong turns. It was a pretty clean race. I lost a lot of time fumbling around in the singletrack, but there’s not much I can do about that. The legs felt strong, and I had power all the way to the finish, so that gives me hope for the next race at… dun dun dun… Shanandoah. Wish me luck. Big thanks to my team mate Greg Witt for traveling with me. We had good times, and it made me realize how much fun I have just sharing the travels to these races with friends. And who couldn’t forget the folks at RBS. They’ve really been a god send this year helping me out with mechanic work and taking care of all the bike needs. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you at Shenandoah for the next one!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Training Block

So after the last 100 mile race in Pennsylvania my 2 weeks looked like this. I was getting dropped on the climbs, so I figured I needed to work out on some hillier routes, plus riding a single speed helps increase power. It's like lifting weights going uphill to build strength, and then spinning the cranks at a high cadence on the flats and downhills to develop the power. Each ride I worked on maintaining the highest average speed I could manage. The gear is a 34-14 (70 gear inches), so 19mph is about a cadence of 90rpm's. So going uphill I might be from 10-14mph, and on the downhills and flats, I'll be well over 20mph spinning like crazy trying to power up the average speed. It's a great bang for your training time buck.

Not to mention riding on the singlespeed is fun! There's nothing I love more than just hammering out long dirt rd rides on my singlespeed mountain bike. With all the new gadgets and training techniques, it's so easy to get carried away and lose sight of the fun factor. Plus I think I ride better when I'm having fun and feeling good.

Wed Aug 1st - 2-1/2hr hilly dirt rd loop on Singlespeed. Averaged 17.5mph
Fri Aug 3rd - 6hr 100 mile hilly dirt rd loop on Singlespeed. Bonked and overheated on the way out to Fox Lake. 93 miles. Averaged just over 17mph.
Sat Aug 4th - 3hr hilly dirt rd loop on Singlespeed.
Sun Aug 5th - 4hr ride on Singlespeed. 1/2 on pavement, 1/2 on hilly dirt rds.
Tues Aug 7th - 2-1/2hr ride on Singlespeed. Did 4 laps of Gen Squire/Bishop/Hough/Mill. Averaged 20.5 mph during the 4 laps.
Rest period.
Sat Aug 11th - 5hrs pavement on Singlespeed. 90 miles.
Sun Aug 12th - 5hr-40min ride on Singlespeed. 100 mile hilly dirt rd loop. 6000ft + of climbing. Averaged 18mph. Pushed hard at the end.
Tues Aug 14th - 1-1/2hr ride on poly-anne/dirt rds. Easy pace.
Rest period
Fri Aug 17th - 1hr easy
Sat Aug 18th - 1hr easy pre-ride course
Sun Aug 19th - RACE!
Hopefully it's enough to hang in there with the front runners. We'll see you out there this weekend.