Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A ride at Boone

I went for a ride at Boone today. I was hoping to clear my palette after yesterday's ride at Peterson's. My two trusty steeds for the day':

Joel was working on getting ready for the ski season, so some of the trails across the ski hill suffered:

It was also a little wet in spots. Overall it was pretty good but . . .

Apparently somebody has been watching too much Cops, and has been throwing stop sticks out on the trail:

I ran over it with both tires, but didn't flat, thanks to my home-brew "slime".

The bridge is out from the south side: I sent an e-mail to Kyle.

And the view from the top is grand:

Post ride recovery - H20 and Recover-Ease

Monday, September 25, 2006

Horse Shit

I'm not going to ride at Peterson's anymore.

OK. I'm still going to race at Iowa Games, and if Keaton wants to go down there, I'll go with him. Other than that, I'm not riding (or working) there anymore. I'd encourage others to do the same.

Let's face it, Peterson's has very little to offer a mountain biker. Story County uses a Gator to maintain the trails, so there is precious little single-track.

And then there are the horses.

Tonight I went out to Peterson's with the intention of riding a two-lap time trial, as a way of judging my fitness. Since it was a Monday night, I thought the trail traffic would be light. Before I could even get the first lap started, I encountered a pack of 7-8 horses and riders. I dutifully moved to the side, and let them pass. I hoped that would be the end of it.

I was wrong.

In the first lap, in the little single-track section on the east side, the horses had tromped through, defecating as they went. I caught up to the horses shortly after that (with the fragrant smell of fresh horse feces still assaulting my senses). I said something to the leader about picking up after their animals. He was pretty indignant, and said that they were within the rules. Apparently, once the shit leaves the horse, it’s not their problem.

I rode away in disgust, muttering to myself.

Then I went back. I had visions of blowing by their pack at mach two, but I didn't do it.

Instead, I caught them at a point where I could talk with them at a reasonable distance. The leader of the group stood his ground, and maintained that he didn't have to pick up after his animals, because it would be too inconvenient (he actually used these words) to have to stop every time one of their animals defecated. He instead focused on how horse riders were losing trails, that there weren't many places left for them to ride. Gee, I wonder why? Could it be the shit on the trail? It's hard to call it a multi-use trail, when one user shits where another user walks or rides.

After a few minutes of talking, I realized I was wasting my breath, and my time.

I'm not riding (or working) at Peterson's anymore.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Ride with Keaton

Keaton and I went for a ride at Peterson's tonight. Keaton is going to to enter in the Iowa Games mountain bike race in a few weeks, and he wants to get a few rides in before the race.

He did a few stoppies in the parking lot to get warmed up.

"Hey Dad, watch this!"

Then we're off

I gets dark in the woods early this time of year.

A Kerkove inspired shot

And another Kerkove-esque shot. Check out the new Oakley Half Jackets with carbon fiber finish frames and Titamium CLear XLJ lenses. The lens tinting it perfect for woods riding. I also got the G30 lenses for early spring/late fall when there is less leaf cover, and clear lenses for night riding.

One final stoppie to finish the ride.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rest/Trail Work Day

It was time for a rest day, so I used the unseasonably cool (60 degrees) evening to do some trail work that I had promised to the Story County folks. I spent my time cleaning up the only real single-track section at Peterson’s. It is a small section on the east side, just south of the parking lot. It had gotten a little overgrown, and is covered with Poison Ivy (for now, I’m immune).

While out there, I ran into Andrew Carney, who was finishing up a training ride for the 24 hours of Moab. We chatted about the Boone 24, IORCA , and endurance racing vs. cross country. It was a good day off the bike.

Flickr sucks. I've tried to upload the few pixs that Christy took this weekend, with no success.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stage Race at Boone

There was a two day stage race at Boone this weekend. The weather forecasters were dead on. We got 0.3 inches of rain on Friday night. On Saturday night, we got more.

The racer turnout on Saturday was on the light side (15 sport and 5 expert?). I think the conditions scared away some folks. The first race was a time trial around the whole course in the traditional direction (clockwise). Some much for my backwards pre-ride on Friday.

Before the time trail, Thad told me to save something for tomorrow. Good advice. I tried to follow it. Because of the rain, the course was a little sloppy on the first climb. On the backside, it was pretty messed up. I got through it, but it was not pretty (I pretty sure I fell somewhere, and I have the bruises to prove it, but it’s all a blur now). After the back section , when I thought I was through the worst of it, my chain broke. I was already in survival mode, so I really wasn’t too bothered by it. I fixed it and was on my way. I finished in a disappointing 1 hour and something.

The short track was run on the infield. 20 minutes + 2 laps, with sport and expert running together because of the small field. I hung with the leaders for about a lap, but I mostly rode alone. As the lead group lapped past me, I hung with them for another couple of laps, until the organizers threw out a prime, then I got dropped again. Oh well. I finished.

On Saturday night, we got another two inches of rain. There had been talk on Saturday of shortening the course if it rained on Saturday night. The word on Sunday wasthat we would leave the whole messy back section out. At the top of the first climb we would turn toward the campground, and leave the worst part out. It was a great choice for the conditions! Most of the course was very ridable. Sport class did three laps, while experts did five laps. I finished in 80 minutes +/-.

Thad won the Sport class overall. I think I finished in 1st in +45 Sport for the weekend. We’ll find out later.

I’ll try to post some pictures tomorrow.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Boone Pre-Ride

I went for a pre-ride a at Boone this afternoon. I did one lap on the time trial course (backwards on the regular course). I have been working on a training peak/race taper, and this ride was to blow the cobwebs out before the next two days of hard racing. However, riding the course backwards took much longer, and was harder than I expected. Because I was trying not to overexert myself, it took me 1 ½ hour to get around. I rode slow, enjoyed the day, and stopped many times to clear sticks and branched from the trail. I think I’ll ride faster tomorrow for having done it.

Given the sketchy forecast for the weekend:

And the radar:

I am going prepared.

I moved the Rig’s Ergon climbing bars to the Fuel:

I put toe cleats on my Pearl Izumi mud shoes:

I put Michelin A/T mud tires on the 8500:

And I’m packing the Pearl Izumi rain jacket:

I hope I don’t need any of it!

In other news, I got some new cogs for the Rig. Maybe with 32x23 gearing (nearly 1:1) I can drag my fat ass up the Boone hills. We shall see.

Before the ride, I stopped at the shop to get a new chain for the Rig. I was chatting with some of the guys about the Boone 24, and Tom said he had been riding with the Eagle Scout that I mentioned earlier. I told him my story from the Boone 24. Tom said he was and surprised, and that he didn't think that this guy would intentionally cut the course. Tom also said the guy was a strong rider, and capable of turning 38 minute laps at Boone. I hope the eagle scout shows up this weekend to redeem himself.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Training Peak = Rain

It would be hard to look at my results so far this season and say that I have had bad luck. I’ve been very fortunate in the way things have worked out. At the beginning of the season my three goals were to: 1) Move to the sport class as soon as possible, 2) Finish a race on the podium in my age group, 3) Finish on the podium in the IMBCS for my age group.

As it turned out, goal #1 was never an issue. I’m little embarrassed now that it was even a season goal. In my defense, at the time I set that goal, I weighed 230 pounds (I’m now at 200 pounds), and could barely ride one lap at Boone.

I achieved goal # 2 in the second race of the IMBCS (Boone) when I finished third of four in my age group. It was a lucky achievement because of the small number of people in the race. Oh, well. I told myself that Boone was tough, and only the most committed even showed up at the starting line.

Which brings me to goal # 3. I figured that if I showed up at most of the IMBCS races, I would do well in the series points. This goal was a way of saying that I would race the entire series. Once again, luck prevailed. After the second race I found out that, instead of breaking the Sport age classes at +30 and +40, this year they were divided at +35 and +45. Because I had to good fortune to be 46, I was above the fray, and many of my IMBCS series competitors were still in the +35 group. I will achieve goal # 3, but I was looking for a tougher battle.

I’ve also had some bad luck this season. It has mostly been related to building a fitness peak for “Big” races. In the two previous times I have tried to build a fitness peak/training taper this year (Iowa NORBA Championships and Iowa Games), the race has been rained out (or should have been – in the case of the NORBA Championship). I had planned a fitness peak/training taper for this (and next) weekend. Once again, it rained. Not just rain, but, as Cory would say, torrential downpours of Biblical proportions. The Sycamore Time Trial was postponed, and another training peak went by to waste.

I’m beginning to think that I have some psychic power to bring rain by reducing my training time. If only I could harness this power for good.

I’m still going to proceed with my plan to taper for Boone next weekend. Right now the forecast calls for decent conditions for the next weekend. Just wait till the weather gods get a good look at my light training schedule for the week.

Even thought this year is not over, I've already started thinking about next year, and what my goals for the year might be. Some of my candidates are 1) Lose another 20 lbs this winter (target weight 175-180) 2) Compete in Sport open instead of my age group 3) Boone lap time of 45 mins. (currently 53), 4) Move to expert (unadvised unless goals #1 and 3 are well in hand). 4) Enter a few Road Races and Crits, 5) Race Cyclocross.

I'm open to ideas. Got any?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I went out for a one-hour spin on Tuesday, and then tonight went out for 1-½ hours with a little more intensity (but nothing to rough). I am trying to taper to a secondary peak on Sunday for the Sycamore Time Trial, and then a major peak the next weekend at the Boone two-day stage race. I was surprised that early on today I was still feeling the effects of the weekend. Either that, or I just had dead legs from not riding much this week. Later in the ride I felt much better. I think I’m on track. Sometime next week I plan on riding the course at Boone backwards, because that is the traditional time trial event on Saturday. I have also heard talk of a short track race (in the infield), and a hill climb. We shall see. For now I am focused on the Time Trial at Sycamore.

Thanks to Cory for pictures of me from the Boone 24. One of them now resides in my header (minus a few vehicles in the infield).

On another note, on my ride Tuesday I was riding through the backside of McFarland, and was thinking about the course-cutting event of the past weekend. I came across a downed tree. Because it was at the bottom of a hill, and I was one the Rig (SS), I had to walk up the next hill. At the top of that hill was a bench (which I have previously gone by at Mach 1 hundreds of times). Because I was walking the Rig up the hill, I paused to read the plaque on the bench. The plaque said that an Eagle Scout erected the bench. That Eagle Scout was the same course-cutter at the Boone 24 this past weekend! Freaky.

I’ve always associated Eagle Scouts with people of integrity. People like Marion Barry, Donald Rumsfeld, L. Ron Hubbard, and Bill Gates. OK, never mind.

I still think there is more to the story. Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

24 Hour Hangover

I rode in the Boone 24 hour race this weekend. Our Team 14 4-person team (Thad, Rob, Sean, and me) achieved, and exceed our stated goal, which was to have a boatload of fun!

We started out strong (here is Thad after the run in 5th place overall):

09 02 Boone 24 019

We continued to ride well through 10 laps. We had been as high as second place, and, at 1:00 AM I think we were sitting in a tie for third. All but one of the 4-person teams was done for the night (the Rassy guys rode all night). I rode the last night lap for the team, and was ready for a beer or four when I got back to camp. Since the others on the team had a head start, I played catch-up (picture the high school girl in “Animal House”). We had some good times BSing with the Bike World guys, raiding the Irwin’s camp, hucking cookies at Nick’s truck while he tried to read “Runner’s World”, and getting all WTF over some guy doing 40 minutes laps in the mud and dark without ever passing anyone else on the course (He was later DQed).

Next thing you know, it’s 5:00 AM and our plan having someone up at 6:00 AM to ride has evaporated in a haze of beer and “Tilt”. I was up at 7:30 AM with a measly 2 hours of sleep. Any further laps on my part would have been hazardous to my health. Thad and Rob were in the same condition. Sean had been the voice of reason the night before, and had gone to bed early (2:00 AM). He redeemed our team by doing two more heroic laps on Sunday, giving us 12 laps total. Once the sun got warm we decided (“If you only applied yourself”) that we could do really well in this race if we tried. Maybe next year.

A picture is worth a thousand words. This is at the start and shows Kerkove in third:

09 02 Boone 24 018 Circle

In the yellow circle (in front of Squirrel’s trailer):

09 02 Boone 24 018 Crop

I think this is the unnamed rider that finished the first lap (and many more) in front of everyone. All without ever being seen by, or passing any of the lead riders. WTF?

In the end teammate Dennis Grelk put on lap after lap to win the solo race. Nice effort Dennis.

The other start pictures are here.