Sunday, August 30, 2009

Last Winter Park race

The King of the Rockies is the 6th and last race in the Winter Park series. It is a 25 mile point to point race that includes a good mix of what the area has to offer. We started the nearly 4 mile lead out at a pretty relaxed pace for a group. After about 2 miles the attacks came. Two riders sprinted off from the group, and then there was a second attack. I was able to cover both of them. After the second attack, there was a 200 yard or so gap between about 12 riders and the main group. I was hanging on to the back of the lead group knowing we had a good climb in front of us. We hit the climb and caught a bunch of riders in the group before us. I felt pretty good and snaked through some of both of the groups up the climb. Even though it was my first race in quite a while without my heart rate monitor (died this week, sweet) I found a good tempo that I could push without cracking. The backside of the climb is an equivalent distance and elevation change. I did not ride it well last year. This year I bombed down and felt great descending. We ducked into some single track that reminded me quite a bit of north central WI. Twisty, turny, rooty trails with pine trees. I stayed on it here. A long gravel road climb lead to the most technical part of the trail, and we got to climb that. WTB has a lot of rocks and roots and really saps the energy out of every rider. From here, I knew all of the trails except the very last part. I did not make the main creek crossing as two riders dismounted in front of me. I was forced to get off and run my bike through freezing cold water. I rode the rest of the trail pretty fluently and felt good until the finish. I hit the last section and sprinted to the finish passing a couple riders and dropping two riders I worked with in the final section of the race. I felt pretty good from start to finish and I think I am going to be in good form for Chequamegon if I can get two more good weeks of training in.

Saturday night a few of us camped. Jeremy and I got up and rode the race coarse backwards from Vazquez road to the start and back to the car. It was a good ride. I felt pretty good for the day after the race. It was nice to finally ride Winter Park for the fun of it. There are a ton of really good trails there and I need to ride it more often. The ride was fun and the weather was really good. Surprisingly, hardly anyone was out. I noticed as I was going down Tipperary, my front tire was a little squirley. About halfway down the trail, I hit a root and got thrown off of my bike. I landed in a puddle of goopy mud. My left arm looked like I dipped it in Hersey's chocolate, though I doubt it would have tasted as good. 60 miles of mountain biking between Saturdays race and Sundays ride. Relaxing by the camp fire both Friday night and Saturday night was great.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mt. Evans Hill Climb

For August, Jeremy, Chris P., Erik, and I decided we would climb Mt. Evans. For a century. From Morrison. The elevation at the start of the bike ride is somewhere near 6,300 ft. The elevation of Mt. Evans is 14,130 ft. That is a lot of climbing. 10.900 ft counting all the ups and downs on the way to and from the car. We started a little after 7:30. Ouride started up from the beginning. It took about 18 miles to get to Idaho Springs, and we had to ride on I-70 for about two miles. We got maybe a few miles of downhill in the first 18 miles. My max speed was 49 mph during the second short descent. From Idaho Springs, it is 28 miles to the top. Though we restocked as we had some cars with food and water waiting for us. We started the next leg of our climb which took us from 7,600 ft to 10,500 ft. I started to set the tempo here, and due to the elevation and constant climbing, the conversation and screwing around ceased. It was time to work. We rotated through a bit and took a few breaks along the way. At Echo lake, we resupplied and took off again. It is 14.2 miles to the summit, and there are mile markers every mile. We thought it would be great fun with 3,500 ft. of elevation in front of us to sprint at every mile. I think Chris won the first mile. Chris and Erik crashed the second mile, and the fun continued. It took us 4:51 of ride time to reach the summit, which was really cold. Fortunately for me, Erik brought along more warm clothes than he needed, because I did just the opposite. The first leg of the descent is really bumpy with a lot of cars, really narrow roads, and tight switchbacks. It is ok, but really rough. The ride from Echo lake to Idaho Springs is just the opposite. We could carry a ton of speed through turns, keeping speeds of 30 to mid 40s. We had two climbs left once we left Idaho Springs, and they were not big, but they were painful by the time we got this far. The second hill climb was at the end of a stretch on the freeway. Erik and Chris started to sprint. I joined in shortly after. Erik won, and I was able to gap Chris a bit. After this, it was all downhill to cars and pizza. The weather was perfect. It was sunny, and warm at lower elevations, and we did not really ever get threatened by rain. There was a little headwind, but not bad. Michelle and Marni climbed from Echo lake to the summit. Thanks to Kim who drove the car the whole way bringing food and warm clothes.