Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ups and Downs

Todays ride with Eric started off with big plans.  The route had a lot of climbing, was going to be all roads of different types, and done on mountain bikes.  They are way more fun to ride and there is still some ice on the paths and dirt on the roads from recent storms.  I had a good ride Saturday, but did not think my legs would be that tired from it.  The headwind out of the south we rode against for the first hour was enough to tax me a fair bit.  Then we climbed.  Deer Creek to High grade.  It was painful.  I didn't have anything and my outlook on this ride was quite down.  Turning the pedals was agonizing.  I stuck it out and made it to the top where I ate some Honey Stinger Limeade chews and a Honey Stinger Berry Banana Buzz bar

After our short break we doubled back down to the High Grade Deer Creek canyon intersection.  It was so cold I stopped to do jumping jacks to warm up while I waited for Eric.  During the climb up to the top of Deer Creek canyon road I started to feel better.  Not great, just better.  Parmalee Gulch was much better.  I was feeling good.  A few hard efforts and a failed attach to far from the peak changed my outlook on this ride.  On the ride down to Morrison, I even tried to reel in a few roadies (I was still on mountain bike).

A little over 5,000ft of elevation gained and 5 hours.  It was frustrating that it took me two hours to get my legs under me, but the last few hours were great.  Looking back though, I guess I did have a decent rolling 7 days of training.  Info from todays ride here.

Monday, February 6, 2012


After Saturday's snowfall in the city, Ben, Les, Amy (did not race) and I headed up to Leadville for the Tennessee Pass Night Jam, the second race of the Leadville Winter mountain bike series.  It was the first time a pinned a number on the Pugsley and it was the first race of the year.  Thankfully Leadville did not get anywhere near the amount we received in the front range (15-50 inches).  We stopped at the Tennessee Pass Cafe for first dinner and 4-5 cups of coffee.  Conditions were near perfect.

Ben (right) and I (left) warming up in 5 degree weather
Les and I just before staging

The start of the race was pretty cool.  65 mountain bikers with lights on all set to go.  Two short but decent climbs lead to a long winding decent.  The course was groomed and in great shape, but its still snow.  The easiest way to descend in snow is to just let it go, but that gets pretty sketchy with turns and trees.  Add in a few noticeable "ruts" in the snow where people in front of me wiped out, and negotiating the descent became interesting to say the least.  Case in point, I started wandering a bit to the left halfway down.  Braking hard would have surely caused me to crash.  I continued to head to the left, sort of planned as it looked untracked.  All of a sudden my front wheel hit soft snow.  My bike stopped instantly, sending me cartwheeling over the handlebar.  Les passed me just as this was happening giving him a great vantage point and something to laugh at.

Now the chase was on.  I had to catch Les.  Once I got to the open meadow I upped the tempo a bit and began to pick riders off, including Les.   I latched on to a single speeder and we would end up yo-yoing the rest of the race.  The rest of the race was pretty uneventful.  Some fun descents and a pretty difficult climb for a 35lb bike in snow lead to the finish.  Even though the temperatures were around 0, I was not cold at all.  My Northwave Artic Celcius shoes were amazing-cold toes are the worst, everyone else seemed to complain about them.  The Leadville races are super fun, and I especially like the night races.  They are usually a great test of fitness, with summer like XC race efforts.  167 heartrate for Febuary, that is crazy, as my effort was pretty much pinned the whole time.  Race data here.

Les's sweet new Twenty2 Cycles Bully
Still fueled up on caffeine and telling the story of going over the handlebar