Thursday, September 30, 2010

The View From The Office

Anonymous person's view from his or her office.

Here is a little time filler for you when you have nothing else to do. Yes that's right, when you are completely out of anything productive to do whatsoever.  I'm talking stare at the floor boredom.  Search for "view from the office" on Twitter.  Over the past year I've noticed a lot of these "tweets" fly by my Twitter feed.  Each time I eagerly rush to click on the link following the aforementioned text.  After a hasty click, my curiosity is immediately gratified by a photo showing an amazing view... of something completely foreign to what I think of as "the office".  Perhaps someday my perception of this phrase will fall more inline with the office view shown above.

Until then, and in the spirit of giving back I eagerly present today's "view from the office".


The amazing view from Jeff's office.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Unwinding at White Ranch

Jason Hansen - White Ranch Shorthorn Trail

I made the late afternoon drive from my office today to an area called White Ranch near Golden, Colorado to unwind from another stressful day.  This collection of trails have been a staple in my riding diet for over 4 years now but it has been months since I've made it up that way. With so many great riding areas closer, and the pressing need to get good ride time in for training this summer, White Ranch has repeatedly drawn the short straw.  Today I threw productivity aside and gave my old friend a visit.

As always, the trails did not disappoint.

I brought along the Niner SS as my trusty stead for the evening.  I also brought a riding light just in case but managed to make it back before darkness fell.  After loaning my pump to a few needy riders in the parking lot, I pointed my tire down the trail. I rode straight up belcher, a route I usually avoid in favor of other singletrack options a few turns into the ride.  While riding on the SS up the steep, loose doubletrack road I came close to reaffirming the reason for the trail name a few times.  I'm still getting used to riding with one gear.  It seems like it takes a good 30 min to convince my legs there are no other gear options and it's time to cowboy up.  By the end of the ride I was feeling really good.  One thing is for certain, I need some better grips on my SS rig. Some Ergon grips to be exact.  I have been riding with the GX1 grips on my race bike all year and can really feel a lack in both control and comfort when I ride something without them.

Here is a little summary of the ride taken from my Garmin.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's Next?

Autumn Aspens - Squaw Pass

As the 2010 MTB race season comes to a close I find myself getting restless.  The sun is rising later and setting sooner snuffing out what have been golden riding times for me for the past 4 or 5 months. Fading fast are the opportunities to sneak in a 2-3 hour ride before or after work along with some of the motivation to do so.  My last big endurance race of 2010 has come and gone.  Remnants of that last event have been tossed aside in a few plastic bins in the garage.  Park City dust still covers my race bike which has taken a back seat to the road bike and SS in recent days.  My P2P race number, with the elevation profile still attached, is tacked in place on the garage wall next to the others that have one by one found their way there over the course of the Summer.  The trees will soon start to fade from green to red, orange, and yellow and then at last will be lifeless covering the trails that guided me through an intense spring and summer of pedaling.

So with the fall transition in full swing I am left thinking: what's next?

For most of my racing comrades the answer is Cyclocross.  Many of them are busy tooling on new bikes or going through the learning curve of a first season.  For me cross is not the answer, not this year.  Perhaps 2011 will be the year for me to dive headlong into that crazy sport (literally).  I do see the wisdom in the timing of the cross season.  Those of us hopelessly engulfed in the world of cycling and mountainbike racing are indeed addicts if only in denial.  We have been fed a steady stream of training, group rides, and races for the majority of the year.  Wholeheartedly neglecting yard work, garage cleaning, and other things that take up a normal Saturday afternoon. Now, just as the high is starting to wear off, along comes the cross season to provide yet another fix that will keep us at bay well into December.

I don't know If there is such a thing as rehab for the hopelessly addicted to racing but I am about to find out.  Even if the winter does prove to be successful rehab, I will most certainly relapse once the first group rides start up early 2011.  Fortunately I won't have to go out cold turkey. I have a few more months to wean myself from the high of the summer racing season.  There are still trails to ride although the rides will be shorter, less intense, and less purpose driven.  And yes, there is that one last big race in the works - one more event to send 2010 out with a bang taking place in that mountain bike "Holy Land" known as Moab.

The 24 Hours of Moab starts October 9th.

Cyclocross Related:

CYCLOCROSS: In 10 Muddy, Beer Stained Steps

Friday, September 10, 2010


Devils Head Fire Lookout
Post Point 2 Point recovery activities for the week:
  • Monday: Family hike to Devil's Head Fire Lookout. 4 miles
  • Tuesday: Drive to work and drink a lot of Diet Coke. 0 miles
  • Wednesday: Soft pedal to and from work. 16 miles.
  • Thursday: Singlespeed ride with my 5-year-old on the trails behind our house. 4 miles.
  • Friday: See Tuesday or possibly Wednesday if I feel spunky.

A few links on the topic of recovery from people that actually know what they are talking about.

How to Recover (Joe Friel)

Monday, September 6, 2010

2010: Park City Point 2 Point

Finish Line!  8:25:14.1 (chip time). I thought I would never make it.

Race Plate

I lined up with over 200 people last Saturday morning in Park City to race the Park City Point 2 Point endurance mountainbike race.  The course consisted of roughly 75 miles on 98% singletrack with around 14,000 feet of elevation gain.

It was a demanding race.

My course profile cheat sheet.  Red=climbs, Orange=aide stations, Green = pain

I felt good riding off the lead 8-9 hour group from the start with a consistent pace that lasted well through Round Valley and to the first aide station at Deer valley roughly 29 miles into the race.  From there the course pointed skyward and took us up what looked like a downhill course.

Yes I said "up" the downhill course.

This climb topped out around 9,200 feet before circling back down to the Deer Valley aide station again (I received great support from the Mad Dog Race Team out of Orem, Utah during the whole race).  From here the course launched into another 30 miles of solitude and another climb back up to the 9,200 foot range again before dropping back down to the bottom of the Park City Ski area.  I think it was on that last hill down to the ski area I let off the brakes and hit my max speed on the course of 41 mph.  I think I was way too tired to hold the brakes so I just let the bike go.

41 feels pretty fast on a mountainbike.

After the Park City aide station at roughly mile 57 most of the hard climbing was over but by this point in the race any climbing was hard climbing.  The climb from mile 58-63 introduced cramps to the equation for me - something I had dealt with in the past but not this bad.  It was a clear sign I was low on electrolytes and possibly water and possibly training.  I thought I was drinking enough but honestly wasn't really paying much attention other than making sure I finished my bottles off before each the next station.  I climbed alone in misery trying to ride hard but not hard enough to push my legs into cramps.  When they would come on I would stand up on the climbs and ride in a slightly larger gear with fewer revolutions.  This is opposite advice from what I have heard others say to push through cramps.  Based on some follow-up reading, the most common advice is to stay in the saddle and spin a very easy gear.  In any case my approach seemed to work best for me ... until it didn't.  I stopped quickly at the last mini aide station around mile 70 for a couple of shots of Coke and cold water, then pushed on up the last little climb before the drop into The Canyons.  It was here I rode past Jonathan Davis of the Trek Store team here in Colorado.  He mumbled something, obviously feeling about the same as I was just as we both pushed over the crest of the last climb.  We rode together bombing the downhill all the way until the very last climb (yes the climbs just wouldn't go away) prior to turning towards  the finish.  We climbed for the first 1/2 mile or so into the last uphill effort before my cramps surfaced again and I motioned Jonathan to pass as I stopped for a quick stretch.  I rode to the top and started down the hill to the finish line only to be delayed yet again by a flat.  The Stans sealant stopped the leak but the tire was too low to ride on.  Even though I could smell the food grilling at the finish line, I had to break out my Co2 and put some PSI into my rear tire.

My final result was 8:25:14.1 (5th 30-39 and 25th overall).

Some race coverage from Park City TV.  Look for me at 24-25 seconds and 55-57 seconds (yes that's 3 whole seconds of fame).

POV from the Pro leaders Alex Grant and Josh Tostado.

POV from Miles Pitcher on the 8-9 hour wave.  This is what it looked like for those of us that lack the super human powers of Alex Grant, JoshTostado, Kelly Magelky, and Chris Holley.

Dave Harris footage.

My trusty steed: 2006 Specialized Epic Marathon. Yes, I do need the seat that high.

Drool. Miles pitcher's 2010 Niner Air 9 Carbon.  I could have shaved at least 30 seconds off my time with this rig.

Pre-stage of the 8-9 hour group.  I'm in the upper left with a glowing oval on my head.  I moved up to the front just prior to starting the race.  My buddy Bill Wheeler is on my right (your left).

Swag!  Yes I raced my guts out to get a pair of XL socks. Only the finishers will be sporting these on next week's lunch rides.

The last 1/4 mile of the race (taken the day before).  Yes it was here I had to stop and add air to my tire.

Dirty legs post-race.  I am flexing really hard here to make them look tough.

I sucked down 4 gel flasks and about 10 bottles of CarboRocket.  It was clear I didn't drink enough.  Pee breaks = 0.