Wednesday, August 31, 2016

TNR!

It's been way too long since I've been able to make a TNR (Tuesday Night Ride).  Luckily last night it worked for me to go.  Another reason I think my performance at Gravel Worlds wasn't what I wanted was my lack of attendance at TNR for most, if not all, of July.  I ride a lot but basically refuse to do any kind of structured workout, including intervals.  TNR is my race simulation with high end speed, on and off again attacks, races up hills, etc.  Last night was no different!
Even with the shrinking daylight we managed close to 60 miles through the rollers of Holdingford.  I know it happens every year but the disappearing daylight always takes me by surprise.  Night ride with lights....soon!

Hoping for a few more hours this morning before work at noon.  Nice and casual.  Weekend plans are still up in the air.  I was hoping to do Laddies Loppet at Maplelag but I thought it was Sunday, not Saturday.  Kind of depends on what the family does.  Last weekend before school starts.

Later.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gravel Worlds 2016.

Ok, it's time to recap Gravel Worlds...or what I remember of it!

My family ended about a 2 week long vacation in Lincoln, NE for Gravel Worlds, after bopping around out west, visiting many National Parks.  I had hoped to ride more while out there but it just never really worked.  I did manage a few shorter rides to freshen up the legs.  The trip was a blast and I'm sure one we won't forget.

To the race...

Standing around at the start of the race I was cold, yes cold!  Overnight it rained a bunch and a cold front had made it's way into town.  What a change from the oppressive heat and humidity of the previous year.  The first 3 miles were on pavement and led out by a support vehicle.  It was not your typical "neutral" roll out.  We were flying!  At 3 miles we took a left on to the gravel and the real race started.  Because of the overnight rain the hard pack gravel I experienced the day before during course recon was replaced with soft, life sucking gravel.
I was no longer cold and sweating pretty good in efforts to keep on the groups wheel.  Up a slight hill I was pushed to the side and all but stopped in the sand.  That was enough to have me lose the group.  For the next ten miles I put my head down and gave chase.
I was able to close the gap and joined the group of about 20 riders.

The group soft pedaled through a town, giving me false hope of hanging on!  On the other side of town the pace quickened and I once again found myself off the back...chasing.  I never felt "on".  The legs were ok as were the lungs but I was just missing the extra something.  I was bummed.  I put a lot of effort and work into riding in hopes of maintaining or bettering my results from last year, 6th.  I struggled with the head games a bit.
The first checkpoint came quickly and I stopped long enough to check in but didn't refuel, a benefit of the cooler temps.  In doing so I passed several riders.  I joined a group of about 6/7 riders.  Which contained the previous 3 year winning single speeder, another single speeder, and a fat bike...what?!  A few miles out of the second checkpoint I rode away from the group.  As I rolled up I saw Ted Loosen waiting for me!  Man was I stoked but also hated being "that" guy that someone had to wait for.  I apologized to Ted and he reminded me never to say sorry and that who cares if you get 12th or 20th.  The race up front was gone, it was time to ride for fun!

I filled the bottles, slammed a Coke, and we were gone.  I was feeling pretty good and was able to ride with Ted pretty equally.  We reeled in two riders, one of which was the 3th place finisher last year, and rode with them for several miles.
As the miles ticked by and the hills (never ending) continued I started to fade.  Eventually I realized I hadn't been eating very much.  Doh...I know better, damn.  After the food made it's way into my system I felt better again.  However the depletion of energy was there and would plague me the rest of the ride.  My attitude, once again, got to me and I let the group of 3 ride away.  I encouraged Ted to go on but he refused and stuck by me.
On the way to the last checkpoint we were joined by a few other riders.  We took our time filling bottles, eating sandwiches, Dorritos, drinking Coke, etc.  While there more riders trickled in.  Not liking crowds while biking I was getting antsy to leave.

With a bit over 20 miles left the end was nearing!  That alone gives you an extra push!  We fell into a group of about 6 or so riders, one being the 2nd place finisher of RAAM this year.  For the most part I felt pretty good during this stretch.  Maybe I just need 100+ miles to warm up!  We lost a rider or two on our way to the finish but nothing crazy happened.
I ended up finishing 16th, which is better than I would have thought, with a time of 9 hours and 8 minutes.

I wasn't as bummed as I thought I may be.  A lot of that goes to Ted as he helped remind me it's for fun and that we all have good and bad days.  Despite being a hilly (10,000 feet), long course I love Gravel Worlds.  Never does a 150 (145) miles go by so fast.
I do think 2 weeks off prior to the race may have been a bit much...for me...mostly mental.  I am still a bit annoyed I let my nutrition slide, I'm usually spot on.  Live and learn I guess.
Already thinking about next year!

Thanks to Corey and the Pirates for a great event!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekend.

Boy I've sucked at getting back into the routine of blogging.  Baby steps I guess, as I did get back to work and managed to have a solid week of riding.  Of course I was hoping for more riding but life happened and it's another week today.

The big ride last week was the Off the Back Century on Saturday.  I'm guessing about 20 or so riders showed up to tackle a century in overcast skies.  The group I was with was 9 strong.  While we never absolutely killed it we held a solid pace throughout.  The rain held on longer than predicted, over half the ride...the bike needs some loving.
The ride hurt more than I thought it would.  Maybe I'm not recovered yet from Gravel Worlds and my vacation, combined with a week of riding.  Either way it was still a blast to get out and ride with friends, it's been too long.
Thanks Greg for putting the ride together.


Happy Monday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Home.

After hitting the road on August 8th we, the family and I, are back home!  The trip was great and something we will all remember but it is good to be home.
I have about a day and a half at home before heading back to work.  I thought about heading in sooner but it's amazing the things that pile up in a couple weeks!  Mow the lawn, renew the drivers license, eye exam, grocery shop, unpack, laundry...

Work is my second home and the people that work there are my second family...I miss them, excited to get back!

I'll try to get a gravel worlds post up tomorrow or Friday.


Sunday, August 07, 2016

Race Day!

Today we are hosting the Revolution Single Track Escape Mountain Bike race.  Usually it's mid September but it got moved up this year.  I believe this is our 11th year running the race!  I still stress a bit but not as much...it always seems to work out just fine.
I was planning on riding the course yesterday but got a text that a few friends were planning a road ride.  For various reasons we haven't been able to ride together since the end of June!  Matt dubbed it the Band is Back ride...I was in!
Due to work, life, etc. I hadn't ridden in 5 days.  Nothing like jumping back in with a 75 mile road ride.  And I hope to race the marathon class (4 hours) today too!  No regrets, it was a blast.  I did hit up the North Loop to check out the course in the early evening.  I'm pretty excited for the new layout.  Mr. Anderson always has a good vision for theses things, while I just blindly follow along.  It was also my first ride of the season on my Salsa Spearfish.  Prior it has always been the single speed.  Man that bike is so nice.  I always forget how nice full suspension can be.

Time to rock...later.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Back Home but Still no Riding.

We got back yesterday early evening from Madison, WI.  Jen, her mom, and the girls tagged along.  While I was at Trek World they explored Madison and hung out with Jen's brother.  Man do I love Madison!  Such a great town for cycling...even though I didn't do any.
Prior to heading to Madison we were back up at my folk's cabin for a wedding reception/celebration.  I did get rides in both Saturday and Sunday.  Ironically I brought my Evergreen to ride gravel but ended up on pavement both days!  Saturday I fell short of 100 miles by a few due to time constraints and Sunday Chad and I did an awesome 35 mile loop.
Sunday was the end of the Strava July Distance Challenge.  I randomly signed up but slowly got sucked into it...as I do most challenges.  My goal became top 200 but as the end neared I was closer to 100.  I ended 106th of some 240,000.  July was a good, fun month for me.  August will be much more laid back.  I hope to get my first ride of the month in this afternoon.  Maybe mountain, maybe road.  Depends on much rain we get today.
Sunday is our mountain bike race here in town.  The shop is the sponsor and the club is putting it on, so I'll be busy the rest of the week with race prep.  I still hope to race the marathon class.  Should be a good time.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Product Testing.

As mentioned earlier this week rides have been hard to come by, either because of a busy schedule or the rain.  Yesterday afternoon I headed out on the Evergreen to test some new tires I may use at Gravel Worlds.   I also put them on some new wheels, Hed Ardennes + LT.  Hands down the easiest wheel I've used to set up tubeless.  Held air without sealant, of course I've added some.  The Nox wheels are awesome but almost too wide.  I've yet to have great success setting them up tubeless.  I've been blaming the tires but now I'm starting to wonder.  I will set these up with a more aggressive tire and make the call which to use once I do a bit of recon out in Nebraska.

When using tubes I usually run the tires at 60-65 psi.  I had the tires yesteday around 50 psi.  I actually stopped to see if it was leaking air, nope!  The ride is so different...in a good way.  So much more comfortable and despite the lack of tread in the middle I rarely slipped out on climbs unless I was really pushing it.  Because they are 34c's I wasn't super confident going into soft corners at speed.  This may come as I get used to the tires.  On the initial running I was very happy with this set up.  On Saturday I will use them up at my parent's cabin.  The gravel there is softer, chunkier and much hillier...a good test.

The ride itself was great.  The humidity was all but nonexistent and very low winds.  The last several times I've done gravel I've gone south but yesterday I was able to go north.  I even found some new to me roads.  Morrison County has some of the best gravel roads...narrow, windy, and not well maintained!  I ended with 70ish miles in a bit over 3.5 hours.
Today the older girls have a play performance so I'm heading out soon to get a ride in before hand.  After the play we head up to my folk's cabin for a wedding reception type thing tomorrow.  Taking the road bike out and heading east.  That means a "flat" ride!

Sunday, or Monday (haven't decided yet), we head to Madison.  Jen and the girls will bop around town and hang out with Jen's brother while I will be at Trek World checking out the new stuff for 2017.  Back Wednesday next week to scramble around finalizing everything for the mountain bike race on the 7th.  Hopefully I'll race!  Then the 8th we head out west for our family vacation!  Can't wait.

Happy Weekend.