Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I dig the Solitude Tuesday night race series. It's almost too fun for words. Due to the way the distances are set up most beginners decide to race in sport for the extra distance. This sets up a scenario where I have an abundance of prey. Because of the early singletrack climb most of the beginners think they need to blast off the line at a dead sprint to hit the singletrack ASAP. Normally it's a good strategy but unfortunately after sprinting for half a mile to the singletrack they're blown and it gets ugly for them quick on the climbs. Early in the climb I pass people who are standing off to the side of the trail gasping for air as I motor along but later in the climb is where I find my true prey. These are the racers who are strong enough the continue to climb after the sprint but are too blown to climb well. I hear them up ahead blowing like a freight train and the hunt is on. I slowly creep up on them and try to keep noise to a minimum, you don't want to scare your prey too early. As I get right on their wheel I calm my breathing and politely ask "can I get by". Immediately I see their shoulders slump with resignation when they realize the game is up. They'll try to be polite as they grunt out a yes but I can sense their displeasure. After making the pass I make sure to give it a little extra juice just to make sure I demoralize them enough so they can't grab my wheel.
Last night the prey was particularly abundant. The sport group was bursting at the seams for the start with maybe 20 or so total riders. The all mountain crowd was well represented with maybe a third of the racers on 5" rigs with fat tires and baggy shorts. It's good to see those guys out racing because some of them will get the bug and eventually evolve into XC types. More racers is good for everybody. I was probably too slow off the start and let most of the field get ahead of me. As soon as the singletrack climb started there was a massive pile up of blown beginners cursing at each other so I just picked my bike up and ran around them as best as I could. I picked off close to ten people on the climb and as the singletrack opened onto the service road I could see the lead group a minute or so ahead. The lead group got strung out on the road but I didn't push as hard as I should have to try to move up. I got caught behind one of the stragglers on the downhill and couldn't make a pass until the climb. I was feeling pretty good on the second climb up but still couldn't close the gap much. I wanted to hammer the road at the top to try to bridge up but I didn't have anything left in the tank and the people ahead were gone. Not sure how I placed but my time was less than a minute off my personal best from last year. I'm pretty happy with that since the snow on the course slowed me up a bit and I was re-learning the downhill. I just wish I didn't have to wait till next tuesday to do the race again.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Rhonda and I pre-rode the Solitude race course last night and the title above pretty much sums up our experience. Most of the course was in perfect condition and a lot of the short steep pitches that were pretty loose last year are nice and firm now. Certain sections of the course are in pretty rough shape from the runoff. Specifically the section of trail near the end of the Serenity climb where it switchbacks across a ski run is eroded and has a narrow tire trap in the middle where the snow melt has been running off. There are also ten or so snowdrifts on various sections of the trail. Some of them are rideable, some not so much. The last part of the downhill seems rougher than last year as well but it's hard to remember for sure. All in all the course is good to go and even with the bad sections it will be fun to race tomorrow.
It's funny what an off season will do to your mind. I remembered Solitudes climbing as not being too bad last year. Man was I mistaken. Serenity singletrack is a steep, rooty, rocky and difficult climb. In other words it's pretty cool. I think what I like about that climb is that the harder you push yourself the easier it is. I have a problem with losing motivation during some climb's but not with this one. I can immediately sense a difference in climbing ease when I redline it versus letting off a little bit. As soon as you let off the throttle your momentum is gone you get shut down quick.
The end of the road is melting fast and should be good to go by ICUP time
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Some other ride highlights were bombing down pipeline dodging unleashed dogs, trail runners and the jean shorts and t-shirt MTB crowd in what felt like arctic temperatures. We then warmed our numb appendages post ride with some killer grub and suds at Porcupine.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
I've had 48 hours to digest the Deer Valley race and I'm still not sure what to think about it. The facts:
- It was cold, crazy cold for June which my skinny ass is not a big fan of.
- I spent my entire warm-up time thinking of reasons to go back into the heated lodge.
- I rode the 1st seven mile lap in 45 mins and the 2nd four mile half lap in 37 mins. Seems like a big drop off in lap 2.
- The max HR I've ever recorded was 179 at a roadie TT. During MTB races my HR hangs out in the low to mid 160's. Max HR up the starting climb was only 168 yet my legs felt weak and I was huffing like a freight train.
- I enter each race without a real goal other than riding fast. I'm very goal oriented yet I can't come up with a realistic goal for most races. The only race I had a goal at was 5 Mile Pass (sub 2 hr time) and that was my best race. Since then I haven't had time goals since the courses are new to me. I also doesn't work to have a goal of trying to beat a specific person because the regulars in my category are either way faster or slower than me. I had a lot of relative success at the Solitude series last year because there was one guy who raced every week who was just a bit faster then me and another who was a bit slower. A carrot and a stick almost every race.
- I was 11th out of 14th but only 10 mins back from first which doesn't seem too bad for a guy with a total racing career consisting of four beginner races, three sport races and five mid-week races. I also don't have any kind of a training plan other than lift weights in winter and ride as much as possible in the summer.
- I've been very unhappy that the last two races have been shortened. My best sections (middle grade climbs) were removed from the 2nd laps of both races and even though my 2nd laps are a lot slower for some reason I feel better on them.
- I probably need to get a better warmup in but between stretching, eating, the early ass start times and being coach/trainer/physician/mechanic to team Hypio's real racer it never seems to happen.
That's a lot to think about but I have until Snowbird in July to try to figure some of it out. In the meantime I'll be surfing the net and picking peoples brains for ideas. I'm also open to any words of wisdom (or criticism) from people in the blogosphere who read this.
Rhonda has been bouncing back and forth for the last month or so about moving from the 35+ to the sport categorie. She wanted to race the longer distance but was worried about getting her teeth kicked in and was quite honestly enjoying the podiums she was getting in 35+. She was going to make the move in Draper but decided to wait when they shortened the race. They shortened the DV race as well but since she might not be able to race Icup again till Evanston she decided to make the move. The worry of getting her teeth kicked in proved unfounded. She added to her large stack of ribbons by finishing 6th. She climbed pretty well but the unfamiliar wet conditions slowed her down on the DH or she might have done even better. Next race for her is the Super D at the MTB nationals back in Deer Valley in a few weeksRhonda reaches down to turn her weapon to "full auto" for the descent.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Cars have finally starting outselling Fords F-series pickups. This is a very good thing for everybody except for the knucklehead American car company's who refused to see the writing on the wall.
7:30 AM (warm up and registration) 40 deg
9:00 AM (race start) 49 deg
11:30 AM (appx finish) 53 deg
update- Now they've added a 40% chance of AM showers. This might work out for the best by scaring away some of my less motivated competition. If only 6 other people show up I just might get lucky and collect one of those fancy ribbons!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
We hid from the rain and watched Juno on DVD last night which I must highly recommend. I was worried that the high expectations I had for the movie would be let down after all the hype I've been hearing. Happily the movie is the real deal. It was a wonderfully original story that didn't let you down by being predictable. The comedy was in just a large enough dose to keep the serious subject matter from becoming dreary. Go rent it..... Fer Shiz