Thursday, July 30, 2009

Full Throttle Finale

Since the Laramie Enduro is Saturday my plan for the final Full Throttle race was to go hard for 30 minutes or so and pull the plug as soon as I started feeling tired. After the start sorted out I hopped on Drews wheel up the service road till it flattened out before the singletrack where I got around him. I tried to drop him and the other guys around me on the service road at the top but Drew was having none of that and he was glued to my wheel when we hit the singletrack descent. Coming into the 2nd lap climb Drew and another guy got around me and it would have taken too much to keep up so I eased off on the climb and took it real easy on the final DH to avoid a crash. There was a huge turnout for the series this year and I was only able to finish in 6th overall and out of the money. Rhonda finished 3rd overall though and collected $200 which pretty much covered both of our entry fee's for the series. Gotta love racing for free. I didn't win the grand prize of a Solitude Season Pass in the number plate drawing at the end but I did snag the consolation prize donated by Cannondale and Revolution. It was a sweet Cannondale duffel bag full of goods worth over $400 total! Year after year this series does not disappoint. It's well run, has the best midweek race series courses in the state and they give almost all of the entry fees (almost 7 grand) back to the racers in prize money.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rocking the Tweety Chair (by default)

Holy crap! It's two days later and my legs are still sore from the state championship smackdown at Solitude. Rhonda's race was scheduled to start at 8:30 so we arrived at the butt crack of dawn to get her registered and warmed up while I sat in the car and drank two mugs of coffee trying to stay warm. Rhonda rode well and grabbed another 6th place finish. She would be an absolute force out there if she actually trained. It was pretty warm by the time my race started but I'm OK riding in the heat so I wasn't too worried. I think everybody realized it was going to be a long day so the pace was pretty mellow up the road on the start. Matt and Jared picked it up as soon as the singletrack started with Brian and Jake hanging on behind them. I picked up my pace once I hit the Honeycomb climb but by this time the other classes started mixing in and I lost sight of the leaders. I knew I had no shot at catching Matt and Jared but I've beaten Brian and Jake every time we've raced so I pushed it pretty hard on the first climb trying to catch back on to them. I caught up to Jake as we hit the service road and saw Brian up ahead so I pushed it a bit more to catch Brian and towed Jake up to him. Hit the DH on Brain's wheel with Jake right behind and got around Brian on the short climb in the middle of the DH. Tried to open a gap on him but he was having none of that and he got around me near the bottom. We hit the 2nd lap climb all together. Jake tried to make a move in a real bad spot on the first steep pitch in Honeycomb and blew up never to be seen again. I tailed Brian all the way up the climb dreading the super steep section of road near the top. By this time my energy level was getting low and I hadn't been drinking enough. When the last steep pitch came I caved and came off my bike. Brian rode away. I thought I could catch back on but I was blown and the DH was ugly. I was all over the trail, bouncing off rocks, riding in the bushes and all over the brakes. Headed out for my third lap in survival mode. I drank a bunch of water at the base of the climb and was recovered enough to actually ride near race pace by the Bess climb. Drank a bunch more water on the service road and had a strong DH into the finish. I ended up 4th which was my best ICUP finish ever but it comes with an asteric since most of the really fast people moved up.

Solitude was also the world debut of my new (to me) full suspension 29er. I'm happy with my Salsa hard tail 29er 90% of the time but the aggressive XC geometry and scandium/carbon frame is not meant for abusive rides down south. My Blur works OK down there but it's always been way to small for me. Enter the Asylum OCD. Asylum cycles licenced the Racer X design from Titus, perfected it for the 29" wheel and had Titus manufacture it for them as the OCD. When sales started taking off for the bike Titus bought the design back and began selling it as the Racer X 29er. The only problem for me was when Titus bought out Asylum they quit building the XXL 25" frame which is the one that fits me perfectly so I've been scouring the net for awhile looking for this bike. I finally found one listed improperly on Ebay and won the auction at a rock bottom price. Sold the Blur frame for the same amount of money I paid for it a few years ago and built up the Asylum. I've been riding it for a couple weeks and really like it. The more I thought about how rough and long the Solitude race was going to be the more I though full suspension was going to be the right choice. I swapped out a few parts the night before and brought the Asylum on race day. I think it was the right call especially when I was getting tired and sloppy on the DH the combo of the rear suspension and 29" wheels kept me from flying into the woods.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Park City's Best

Friday: 7 hour recovery ride with Rhonda.

Sunday: Rich is finally done with Iron Man stuff for the year and was aching for some quality singletrack so I took him on tour of all my favorite trails in PC. CMG, Shadow Lake, Keystone, Apex, Steps, Empire Bypass, Sunset, Spin Cycle and MM from DV to PC to name a few. It was the first time I've ever linked all those trails and it's my new favorite 40 mile loop.

The pace was "peppy" for me and I felt really good at the end but this ride was approximately half of the PCPP. That race is gonna hurt........bad.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Full Throttle #6 The New Course

Fun course. Lots of climbing. I got dropped hard on the start and actually entered the singletrack near the back thinking it might be a long night. It took some time to work off the previous nights thrashing at DV but by the Bess climb I was warmed up and feeling good. It was there that the fireworks began as one by one the dudes who went out way to hard popped on the climb. I passed countless people on that climb and got a few more who were trying to recover on the road. I even made a pass on the DH which is nice and becoming more of a habit for me. On the 2nd lap climb I caught the back of the expert field for the first time ever. If I would have known it at the time it probably would have given me a nice little burst but I didn't realize it until I caught Mark P on the DH. Didn't feel great on the 2nd lap climb though and I think I noticeably slowed down but I was able to hold my position. Since I started so far back I'm unsure how I finished but I felt like it was a good race regardless. Only three more of these left and it's kinda sad hitting the beginning of the end of another MTB season.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Full Throttle #5 Deer Valley

The quote of the night was from Jon Rose after we pre-rode the course...."maybe we should have listened to Bob and done trail work". I'm glad we didn't. The climb was short but painful. It started out pretty mellow but got steeper and steeper as we got closer to the top. The downhill was at times fast and flowy, other times twisty, but always technical. The last 150 yards of the downhill was a tree run including some of DV's manmade features; ramps, log bridges, and small drops.

The start was fast as usual. A descent sized group opened a gap on me early but I kept them in sight. About five of the lead group popped as the climb got steeper and we formed up a little chase group. Dropped a couple of them on the DH and as the 2nd lap climb began I could still see the lead group of three in the distance but I wasn't making up any ground on them. At the very top of the final climb I tried to make a little attack but everybody answered and we hit the final DH together. Jay gave us the option to skip the really techy parts at the end and take the cheater route but everybody I was with chose the difficult line and I followed suit. By this time my legs were worked. The climb was tough and there was no rest on the DH since I needed to stand the whole time to keep it together. I got a little wide on the log plank bridge and into the aspens I went. Did a quick check to make sure everything was in one piece and tentatively finished the race out. I think I finished around 7th of over 20 starters.

I was worried that the June Monsoon was going to totally screw up my prep for Laramie and PCPP but I feel like I'm finally rounding into the pathetic level of fitness I call my form. Looking forward to a fun 2nd half.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Full Throttle #4

I am finally over my cold and had been looking forward to the weekly throwdown at Solitude. I was a little disappointed because between vacays, work trips, newborns, racing fatigue and the lure of air rifles none of my friendly competition could make the race. Apparently I'm one of the few people crazy enough to not want to ever miss a silly midweek race. At the opening sprint I settled comfortably in mid back (one of these days I'm going to contest that sprint....really). Once the climb started I efficiently began working my way through traffic until I ran into a train of about eight dudes snaking up the ski run near the top. I knew there was no way around this cluster so I settled in and rested till the road. Got around everybody on the road and nailed it in order to try to make up some time. I saw Janelle in the distance but couldn't quite get around her before the DH. Luckily she was nice enough to overcook the first hard left and I snuck around her. Finished the race out incident free for a PB time of just over 50 mins. Next race we're shifting to the new course but hopefully we'll race the old on one more time this year so I can try to break 50 mins.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

SLC->DV and back

Last Friday I had the day to myself. I knew I was going to killed being on call for two hospitals that weekend so I wanted to get in a long ride. It was raining when I woke up but quickly cleared and by 11am I was out the door. Up Millcreek, backwards up Crest, drop down into PC and took some high trails over to DV. As I was approaching DV the skies turned black and just as I pulled into the lodge for a pit stop the rain came down. I sat there for about 10 minutes hoping it would pass and when the rain slackened about 10 minutes laer I hit Mid Mountain over towards PC. I dropped down Empire bypass and by the time I hit Johns 99 the clouds were clearing again and I thought I dodged a bullet. Grabbed MM over to the Canyons and took another pit stop at Red Pine where they were having a wedding under the tent. I sat down in the sun on the patio for a bit sucking on a Gu and texting Rhonda with a status update when the photographer for the wedding party came over. I guess the bride thought it would be cool to have a picture with me and the wedding party, them being all clean and beautified while I was covered in a thin layer of mud from being dusty and getting rained on. They took the picture and since it was getting late I mounted up for home. The clouds came back while I was climbing back out of the Canyons and as I popped over the ridge into Millcreek the skies opened up in a torrential downpour. By this time it was nearly 8pm and I just wanted to get home. I took the direct trail down and by the time I got about halfway down there was at least 4" of running water in the trail and I was soaked to the bone. I popped out in the upper parking lot and hid in the outhouse for awhile trying to get warm. After a few minutes I peeked out and saw nothing but clouds so rather than waiting who knows how long for the storm to pass I headed down the canyon. Descending Millcreek was a blur of shivering, numb hands and feet and trying to keep the road spray out of my mouth so I wouldn't get sick again. Just as I pulled into my house at 9pm the rain finally let up. Still a great ride.