Monday, October 24, 2016

Saturday Gravel.

Considering my week started out with 3 days off the bike I ended up with a solid week.  Almost 3 hours on Thursday, 5.5 hours on both Friday and Saturday, and 2.5 hours on Sunday.  The best ride of the bunch was on Saturday.  Charlie, Kris, and I headed out for a gravel ride on what was seemingly the best day of fall thus far!
We didn't really didn't have a planned route (the best kind) but I had us running west and south.  Eventually I figured we'd end up in Darwin, home of the biggest ball of twine.  Coming up on a town we assumed was Darwin we got Charlie all excited for a selfie with the ball of twine.  Oops, not Darwin but Litchfield!  I love when rides get you turned around!  After a refuel stop at a gas station without pizza (sorry Kris), but they had minnows, we made our way back north.  We meandered a tad so we wouldn't double back on already traveled roads.
Because there was such little wind it really didn't matter the direction we were going...always a tiny headwind.  I ride most of the time with my Garmin (1000) in the map mode.  I prefer to look at that versus how far we've gone and how fast...I save that for the end.  I did check in Litchfield for the distance.  I was surprised to see we were averaging 19.6.

Having ridden much of my longer rides solo this was a refreshing change.  The time seemed to fly by, as did the miles.  We were shooting for 6 hours but we were more than satisfied with a bit less than 5.5 and 105 or so miles.
A great day on the bike.

I got out and spun a bit on Sunday.  The wind made it hard not to go too deep at times but I did manage to get the gunk out of the legs.
Bagged 12 bags of leaves, knowing I will most likely have to do it again next weekend, and headed off to my folks for dinner.

Not the 4 days Jen nor I imagined but it ended up being just fine.  Two of the kids are still battling colds.  I'm pounding fluids like mad.  So far it's working!

Back to work.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Not a good week for posting!
It's MEA week so it was a short 3 days of school, but damn if those three days weren't jammed full!  Then toss in a sick kid and poof, it's the weekend.
My mom takes our 3 kids and my sisters 2 kids on a mini vacation every MEA.  This was to be Harper's first time going.  She was still a bit under the weather on Thursday so we kept her home so she could nap well and hopefully be good to go.  I had taken time off of work too so Jen and I could hopefully do something, but with a sick kid plans were really never made.

While Harper slept I got a nice ride (gravel) with Kris and Kyia.  Later that afternoon Harper was ready to join her sisters and cousins.  We dropped her off on our way to the championship Lynx game.  That was a good time.  I hope to get the girls to a game next season.
Harper wanted to come home so we picked her up on our way back to Cloud Town.

Friday she was doing great so plans were made to bring her back, this time to stay the night too!  Jen headed to the cities and I headed out for a road ride.  The winds were predicted light but they sure felt strong to me.  I headed south on 8 to 24 making my way to Waverly and Winsted.  At least the wind stayed constant so I was able to enjoy a great tailwind on the way home.  I ended with 106 miles.
Shortly after my finish Jen showed up and we went our for dinner...just the two of us!  We tried to go to a movie but the options weren't great and the one we agreed on only had a few seats left.  We opted out.  The Andersons invited us over for a sauna so we headed that way.

Today Jen is meeting up with her mom so I'm hooking up with some friends to ride a solid day on the gravel.  Looks to be almost perfect.  I love light and variable wind with sunny skies!

While not the getaway we envisioned we are having a good time nonetheless.  We don't have "date night" often, or at all, so anytime we do it's a win!

Rock the Saturday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dirt Bag.

My legs hurt!  After racing the Dirt Bag on Sunday my quads have thrown in the towel!  Maybe riding 80+ miles the day before the race wasn't too smart, but as I've said before...if time allows I'm usually going to ride.
The race itself started off mild enough.  Quickly a group of 10 formed.  I did some pulls on the front but nothing crazy.  On one such pull Mark Skarpohl came around me and got to work.  I jumped on his wheel and we were off.  It was a solid pull, hard enough that I didn't look back until the next turn.  I was a bit surprised It was just 3 of us: Mark, Noah, and myself.  This happened at mile 25.  We kept the gas on for about 10 miles.  We could no longer see the chase group and let up some on our efforts.  Noah was on his road bike with road tires.  For the most part this was a great choice.  A couple mile section into a cross wind was pretty loose and deep gravel.  It hurt!  Noah fell off here.  It was just Mark and I.

We mostly took turns pulling with a bit of chatting.  We kept the pace solid.  I had my Garmin on the map page so I had no idea how far or how fast we were going.  Despite feeling the legs I was still able to put in some efforts.  Mark was clearly riding strong and seemingly effortlessly!  When we hit the section before South Haven I really started to feel it.  I was still taking a turn pulling but I wasn't matching Mark's speed nor duration.  At the top of a switch pack climb in Fairhaven I told Mark my legs were hurting...kind of hinting that it was ok for him to go on without me.  He told me to never tell another racer your legs hurt!  Playing poker!

On Delwood road we were battling a cross/head wind.  I really suffered here.  After doing my poor attempt at a pull Mark would surge ahead.  He would always wait up for me.  At this point I had already decided he was the clear winner (stronger) for the day.  It truly is a "for fun" race.  I have never been able to ride with Mark in the past.  It was a super fun day...glad I got the opportunity.  I mailed in my Trans Iowa card yesterday.  Mark is doing it too.  Next April we ride again!

We finished 85 miles in 4 hours with Mark crossing the line before me.  It wasn't a sprint finish but more or less a ride to the finish.  I had nothing left to sprint had it come to that!  I was shocked to see we averaged 21.3 mph!  What a great day.  Thanks Mark.

Thanks to John, Susan, Justin, Ruth, Greg, and Chris for putting on and supporting the Dirt Bag.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Into the Weekend.

On Wednesday I did get a solid ride in with Matt.  We left my house in the direction of the Dirt Bag course.  The old route used a lot of the current course but doesn't venture as far south and had a few extra loops.  The gravel we did ride was pretty much "hero" (hard and fast) gravel.  But just getting to the gravel was work.  Man was it windy!  Windy seems to be the theme of this fall.  It was great to get out with Matt and great to get 4 hours in and still make it to Brinna's swim meet with time to spare.

After work on Friday there was no way I was going to fight the crazy wind out of the south.  I only wanted a spin so I hit the North Loop up for a bit over an hour.  You know it's windy when you can feel the wind inside of the North Loop!
Our busy weeks and weekends have caught up with the Dooms.  We had a lazy Friday night: pizza, Netflix, and maybe some Ben & Jerrys.  We were all in bed earlier than any night of the week.  We whoop it up on Fridays over here!

When I found out the makeup date for the River Falls, WI MTB race was Saturday and not the presumed Sunday (day of the Dirt Bag) I strongly considered doing it.  Last year it was one of my favorite races.  I got the go ahead at home but in the end opted out.  During the week we (the family) see each other but it's so systematic that it sometimes feels like we don't.  So this kept me home as well as my back.  It's finally making a turn for the better.  Mountain biking is what aggravates it the most.  Plus there are some solid hills at River Falls, sure to toss my back into fits.  Yeah I'm a bit bummed I'm not going but glad too.  So a spin today and the Dirt Bag tomorrow.

After the Dirt Bag it's time to just ride.  The Dirt Bag will be my 4th weekend in a row racing, with the shortest race being 4 hours.  I'm a bit tired! to the road bike and another South wind.

Happy Weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wednesday Chaos.

I usually work noon-8 on Wednesday.  This week,however, Jen had conferences to I had kid duty.  No biggie.  Ha!  Wednesdays are chaos!  Leave work, pick up Harper, pick up Avery, stop off at home, get dinner, pick up Brinna, drop off Harper and Avery at church stuff, bring Brinna home, get her food, bring Brinna to her chruch stuff, pick up the other two kids, get them ready for bed, snack, and bed.  Jen does this every Wednesday, blah!  So yeah,  no time to ride.

I get to grab a solid ride this afternoon.  Heading out for some Dirt Bag recon, it's on Sunday.  Then it's off to Brinna's swim meet.  Yesterday I learned the makeup date for the River Falls MTB race is this coming Saturday and not Sunday.  That got me thinking!  That may be too much: marathon MTB race and the Dirt Bag.  I may let the weather decide this one.  May be raining there on Saturday.  If so I am out.

The roster was posted for the Arrowhead 135 last night.  I'm in, as well as some good friends doing it for their first time.  This makes that race and the prep up to it all that more exciting!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Getting Used to Fall.

I'm usually reluctant to mention I'm feeling a bit "blah" about riding, as I get a ton of comments about being over trained blah, blah.  Honestly, it happens around this time every year.  Mostly it's the shrinking day light, cloudy skies, and school stuff (kids) that get me wanting to stay home and not push the pedals.  Monday was such a day.  I had lots of work stuff on my mind and it was a gymnastics night for the kids.  Instead of going for a ride I took the night off and went to gymnastics with Jen and the girls.
Tuesday I would ride.  But I felt the same.  I forced myself to go out, knowing I wouldn't be able to ride Wednesday due to kid duties.  Even if it was short I needed to get out.  That's all it takes...just getting out.  Even with cloudy skies, misting rain, and a seemingly head wind every direction I had a blast.  I took the Evergreen out on paved and gravel roads.  I ended up with over 3+ hours and 55 miles.  I forget how much I like riding with lights!  It makes old routes feel like new ones.
So yeah...just get out!
I need to remind myself every ride doesn't need to be some all day event.

Hump Day.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Salsa Oremageddon and Such.

Friday Mike and I headed up to the Cuyuna area around 2:00.  We met Charlie at our campsite.  Thankfully Mike brought his camper, its was pretty chilly. We headed out for lap of the the race course.  With overcast skies, high wind, and occasional mist it was pretty chilly (36 degrees), not making me excited for the race the next morning.

Saturday morning was pretty chill as the race start wasn't till 9.  I was more than ok with that!  I was cold at the start but pretty much nailed the clothing for the race.  Bibs, long sleeve jersey, undershirt, and a vest.  The vest got unzipped 1/4 way and I was good.  Well, minus the hands.  I have messed up hands...they get cold pretty easily.  Once they finally stopped being cold I struggled from keeping them from "falling asleep" or going numb.  Not from the cold but riding.  However this tends to happen more in the colder months...blood flow.  I can usually work through it but it was hard to find a solid chunk of time, during the race, that I could work some blood back into my hands.  It wasn't painful just a bit concerning on the downhills.  I wasn't sure how much my finger was on the brakes as I couldn't really feel it.  But I never crashed!  I do believe this was exasperated by my tweaked back not being able to hold be up as much, thus I was resting too much on my hands.

The race itself went well.  The start was fast but nothing ridiculous.  I was able to enter the single track in the top 10 or higher...I think.  They do spit us out onto some gravel roads or snowmobile trails every so often  to offer some passing lanes.  At the first passing lane I went around a few riders and closed in on the next a 100 yards up.  Just before the single track I was able to pass him too.  Of course this gassed me and the single track started to get a bit more technical and more hilly.  I hate being the guy in the front.  I don't want to slow anyone down or screw up.  At the next passing section two people passed me as I fought to catch my breath and get some blood flow back into my hands.

Eventually we formed a group of 4.  I was riding in 2nd position.  Around mile 18 or so (of the first lap...two laps of 25) I pulled over at let the other two behind my go.  I was getting gassed pretty good on the climbs and getting a bit clumsy in the single track.  My legs were still heavy and tired.  The back to back weekends of racing (this was race 3) were catching up to me.  They got a gap on me and I was ok with that.  The end of the lap dumps us out on to some snowmobile trails.  They were a bit soft making the going hard.  I caught back up to my group here.  Once in the single track on the second lap they started to get a gap on my again.  About 45 minutes into my second lap my legs finally stated to come around.  I was flowing through the trails much better and able to pound up the hills.

As we rode through the mid point of the second lap I was closing in on my group.  I joined them shortly and the lead rider pulled over and let us pass.  Soon I was in the lead of my group of four riding my own race.  I put a sizable gap on the two chasing riders.  On the last few climbs before the trail smooths out and dumps us onto the snowmobile trail I noticed one of the riders closing the gap.  I pushed it a bit harder, but not too hard that I would crash.  On the snowmobile trail I pushed the pedals as hard as I could.  My heart rate was pretty high for me.  I kept looking over my shoulder but no one ever came.  I crossed the line in what I thought was fourth place.  Turns out it was second!  I had a friend watching the race that told me I closed the 10 minute gap on the leader from 10 to 4 minutes.  I guess I do better at the longer races!  More a diesel than a sport car.  If it was a 100 maybe I would have caught him...maybe.

Being my first Salsa Oremageddon I was stoked.  Such a fun race on a great course with great people.  Definitely check this one out.
My back was pretty jacked at the end.  Getting off the bike was not a pretty sight.  It's on the mend once again.

Yesterday Jim, Matt, and I set out to hit up most of the mountain bike trails in St. Cloud: Quarry Park, Plum Creek, and the North Loop.  Yes there is some road time but damn that was fun.  We were able to get 35 miles in 3 hours.  Super fun day...super fun weekend!

...and on to another week.  Dirt Bag this Sunday then I'm done racing for a bit.

Happy Monday.