Lowell 50 Race

To sign up for this race was an (almost) last minute decision. A few people approached me about doing the ride and I was going to bow out in order to stay around home and help with the new baby.

Glad I changed my mind and signed up. It was fun. The rain the night before and into morning helped make it a muddy mess, which was a blast.

Did pretty well, not sure of place results, but I saw this as the last test in preparation for next week's Iceman race in Traverse City. Same mileage, except there were more roads in this one. Felt good, my left quad hurts quite a bit now, but I know I can push harder next weekend when it will really count.

Looks like Garmin is messing around with maps again...Grrr.  So this is all you get:



...Pedal strokes. (Based on my average for the day.)

Today, it was all about miles. I had never ridden the Muskatawa trail that runs from Marne to Muskegon and I was looking for a long ride today, something different, so I decided to ride the White Pine, then Muskatawa.

The Muskatawa sucks. Well, it's not really that bad, but it IS in the middle of absolutely nowhere and at times, I didn't see a soul for 30+ minutes. Straight, flat, barren. Lots of farmland. With about 9 miles of that trail to go, I look up and see about the next 4 miles of trail layed out before me. Eff this, I'm turning around. I'm going crazy over here.

Ravenna is a trash hole. Couldn't find even one convenience store to refill water bottles. Figured I will just have to wait till Grand Rapids. In Conklin (of all place) I see this tiny sign near the trail that says "Snacks. Food. Store --->" OMG, thank you! It was a sign from heaven. I later realize without that little sign there, the rest of my trip home would be a terrible mess without water.

I was not afraid of being hit by a car today. Or crashing into a pothole. Or even running over roadkill. What I was most fearful of was dying a slow death by way of.....BOREDOM. I wish so bad that there were still group rides going on...rides that aren't run by 50+ year old men and women who ride at a 13mph pace and are insistent about talking about politics and medicare.

Maybe this is my cue to start up my own group ride next fall. (like I need something else to do)

I was struggling around the 75 mile mark to get back home. A few hills reminded me that I still had measurable miles to go. At times it was painful, like needles in my quads.

It's exactly what I needed though. It was a great day for a ride.


Superhill Interval - Egypt Valley

I've wanted to ride this route all summer. Well, not exactly "wanted to", but "needed to". The hills and climbing is intense. Up and down the entire way from work through Knapp Rd through Egypt Valley. One hour of leg searing pain. Lungs were burning too. I always hate mid-ride doing this, but afterwards there is such a sense of accomplishment. I actually went out of my way to find hills tonight. Probably the last ride home from work this year, as daylight is becoming harder to come by.

Crazy speeds. Crazy hills. Crazy Heart Rates.


Ft. Custer with 312 - Crash-tastic!

Wow, never have I spent so much time on the ground. Here's something fun...next time you go for a bike ride, just go ahead and throw yourself down to the ground every 2.5 miles - that's what it felt like was happening to me. I'm just hoping I can muster up the power to actually roll out of bed tomorrow am - I'm already getting sore.

Brief replay of my crashes: Uphill on Cardiac Hill (somehow flipped over to my back and cracked it on some cinderblock erosion control - which is a smart idea, btw), Full Endo, slow speed (right behind Marty - got caught on a root - gravity was pretty strong in this area - please see Remus' blog for a picture of bike in prone position), Forearm tree smash (caught a bad root dipping into some trenches, got offline and was fortunate enough to bash my right forearm into a 16" dia tree, jamming my shoulder - this one caused Remus to crash as well), High Speed sapling incident (going downhill - probably close to 15mph, again offline, nipping a 1" dia sapling - it got a hold of my handlebar inside my bar end, smashed my pinky and thumb and sent me endo'ing multiple feet. This one crushed my right side ribcage, I feel a deep bruise already, hard to breathe when I stretch - at first I thought I cracked something, but it's probably just a bruise), plus many other minor incidences mainly having to do with roots, sand and overall tiredness. Exercise induced stupidity, I guess.

Regardless of all the pain, one thing is for sure...not too many things in life beats rampaging through the leafy woods in the fall season, in brisk air with two of your best friends. It was a great 3 hours of pain.

Overall, none of us could believe how many times we all crashed. I guess one positive thing to come out of this is that crashing (in my mind) means that you're at least trying to ride harder than you probably should. If you don't crash, you're not going hard enough.

Until next year Fort Custer. I will conquer you yet.

Blood: Nature's skin adhesive.
(I had to leave the blood, so it would hold the skin shavings onto my thumb.)
Actually, I can't remember the last time I've left the grounds of Fort Custer and NOT been bleeding.

This was after I fell (uphill) on Cardiac Climb the second time. Crashed, then fell over and whacked
my back on the cinderblock erosion control you see there.

This fall crushed me down HARD. I endo'ed VERY quickly and went straight down with a thud.
All I could do was lay there motionless. Remus had plenty of time to come back down the trail to snap
this shot of me crippled by the blow. Look how my bike (somehow) landed perfectly on bars and seat.

Here are some of my other activities from this week:

Saturday night (yesterday) I went for a "knee check" ride. High rpms at slow speed to check the stability of my knee (see next post). Everything checked out good, at one point got up to 31 mph on a flat stretch near my house. Fast!

Tuesday Ride: Luton with Remus

Remus came over to ride Luton Park for the first time. As I become increasingly confident on this track, I am getting faster (and braver). Not even 1.5 miles into the ride I skid through a 90 degree (flat) left turn and the bike comes out from under me. Soon after, I realize my left knee is not very stable. It starts to swell and I end up limping very badly the next day. The pain has "torn ACL" written all over it. (Since I've done this twice, I know the feeling.) The pain subsides days later - it still feels unstable - not sure of the actual injury, but it was dumb how it happened. Wish I had at least gone shooting off a cliff or something. Remus crashed while trying to take video of me. I turned around and heard BAM, squeeeel! and man down. Camera face down in the dirt under his hand. The funniest part was watching the look of Remus in panic-mode as a hot chick in full kit almost run him over with her 9'er laughing at his crash.

Anyways, the rest of the ride was not notable for much, except that we rode the trail quickly - quickly enough to ride part of it twice and still have time for a Sam Adams in the parking lot as the sun set and we watched some homos drink wine at the plastic picnic table they set up out of the back of their Suburban.

OH, and this was my first sighting of "Stumpy" (Remus new 29'er Specialized Stumpjumper). I had to dip my bauls on the top tube - it gave me wood I'm pretty sure. I must have one. It is a beautiful machine.


Few Rides

Trying to get on the bike every other day or so. Missed out on Thursday, but shooting for every Tuesday, Thursday and a longer ride on the weekends. All MTB so far. Feeling way better than just a few weeks ago already - Luton has become easier (faster) to ride.

Tuesday was Luton by myself. Missed Thursday. Saturday I took the road bike into town to check out all the hillbillies at Red Flannel Festivus. At the car show I stopped at a General Lee clone to check it out. From behind me I hear a hillabillie say "That ain't no real one. The real one ain't got no doorknobs." Okay, jacka$$, they're not doorknobs first off, they're handles and c'mon, you think this would be a real one here in the CS!? Retarded, I can't wait to move away from here.

Then Saturday afternoon went with Marissa to her school's fundraiser Bikeathon. It was on the rail trial closer to the city. She rode 5.4 miles - all without complaint. She's my little superstar, ready to go for longer rides with daddy now. Patti is excited because now she can ride along side her while she starts back into running in the spring. Then later Saturday hit up Luton with Marty.

Today I went for a longer on/off road ride with Matt Longest. VERY hilly - was a good challenge. It was very cold this morning - freeze warning last night and it was 30 degrees out. Got all the winter gear out and shed that pretty quickly as I was starting to moisten up. (Moist...it's a good word. HA)

So, that is 68 miles this week. It's okay - I guess especially for MTB just after work and on the weekends. I'd like to be more near 100 miles a week. I think it's what will be needed for the rest of this month if I'm not going to die at Iceman.

I'm sure that all I need to do is build my stamina and I'll be good for Iceman. I don't think that race is at all about skills, just physical fitness. I'm not the most physically fit man I know, but helluva mo' better than earlier this season. If I could deal with eating salads all day every day, I'd be better off, but I'm a man and I need to eat greezy meat all the time. My goal is 2 hours 30 minutes. A guy at work said his best time is around 2 hours and he's a good rider, so I think 2.5 hours would be just about right. We'll see - hard to judge never having done the race. The key (for me) will be to not start too fast so I don't peter out quickly.