Saturday, August 23, 2008

Racing to get caught up on updates

Whew, time goes by – 4 additional races to update on since the last entry.

Well, here goes, coming off a big three weeks of hard training it was time for a recovery week in late July/early August. What better way to test the results of that training than cranking out a road race…. Only one problem, my wife, Kate also plans a 4th birthday party for our son, Marshall, that same day. Hmmm… sometimes you just got to work with the situation. The first Saturday in August puts Grand View, WI on the cycling map as the site of largest road race in Northern Wisconsin the Firehouse 50. The event carries a choice of road races and time trials. Fortunately when a birthday party is scheduled for 10am, it leaves the Fantasy 50 as the only option to pull things off.

Start at 8am, finish the 33 mile course in under 90 minutes, jump back in the car for the ½ hr drive home and I should be safe, right? Got it done & back home with five minutes to spare as it turned out! As far as the race -- it’s the much more relaxed version of the two Firehouse races yet still there’s adequate competition. I got to the start line with about 30 seconds to go – I wasn’t stressed by it, at least not in the same respect as fellow racer, Scott Chapin who was at Grand View to do a team time trail with girlfriend Julie, he happened to be parked next to me assisting with some minor bike adjustments when the count down over the loudspeaker was announced. He’s like “Would you get out of here already! You’re making me nervous!” I just chuckled and told him “Thanks”.

The race rollout was smooth and as long as I was within 15-20 spots of the front I was comfortable with my racing position. It was a moderate pace with everyone staying together for the first couple miles. Upon reaching the steeper sections of the climbs that make up the first 5 miles of the race, I decided to move up to the front and push the effort, to see who would be racing at the front and who would be sightseeing the race. I pushed it enough to cause separation with the larger group and by the top of the Great Divide (5 mile mark) it was down to 6 racers with 2 more later catching on. There group of 6 consisted of two sets of 2 person teams, myself and one other lone rider. Interesting dynamics & tactics come into play anytime you have a small group with more than one rider from the same team.

Two against one isn’t the odds you want to be stuck with so most of the time so making a break away move is sometimes better than hanging in the group. When the other lone racer made an effort that got him 50 yards out front and held it for awhile I decided to bridge up to him on the short climb after turning onto Pioneer Road. Fortunately, the move stuck, but at the same time it was a big commitment to make with 20+ miles to go. It was the two of us to hopefully work together in a team time trial effort, to hold off the group of 6 other racers. That group of six didn’t make it easy forcing us to hold a high pace in order to keep the 200-300 yard lead we’d built from going away. The guy I was with wasn’t overly talkative – maybe cause he was constantly pushing it but he shared he’d done the FH 50 in the past and a FH time trial.

With the chasers closing things down we needed to push it on the Ryberg Rd just prior to Lake Owen drive about half way into the 33 mile course. I assumed if we could just get out of sight with the rolling hills and winding corners maybe they’d give up their valiant effort. It must have had some effect as we didn’t see them again til well into the final 8 mile section from Drummond to Grand View.

With the final miles closing in and the break away appearing to that it would succeed the pace stayed high and how the race would play out remained a question mark. My idea and that of the rider with me must have been different. Having worked together to make this opportunity possible for both of us, I thought it only right to have a gentleman’s agreement to drag race it out side by side at the end. Instead, after taking equal pulls, he failed to come through to the front when I pulled over. Rather he sat on my wheel. In hindsight I should have really eased up and starting conserving energy to prep for the move he was going to make but that’s what you get for assuming such things. He dogged me – rather than having a friendly understanding, he jumped hard at about a mile out after sitting on my wheel resting up. I gave it a go but my long effort at the front didn’t leave enough to pick back up. It was 2nd place on the day for the one road race I do a year. It was very satisfactory but also a very hard effort as we averaged a greater mph pace than any of the 2 person TT teams or even the large pack in the full FH 50 race did that day.

My coach Josh Powers had preferred me pass on this road race to get more rest going into the first big MTB race I was hoping to peak for this year, Marquette’s Ore to Shore 48 mile Hard Rock. As usual he’s probably right so maybe I burned up a few more of the “matches” that a season of bike racing gives or it was excellent late season high end interval training. Only the remaining races and the duration of this training peak will hold that answers. Given last years early burnout I’m hoping for some a turn of good fortune this year.

Getting home at 9:55am was just in time for Marshall’s birthday party. Great time had with family and friends coming over. A pleasure in life that can’t be beat is watching your young kids celebrate and grow. A good friend once told me of the best things about having kids is being able to do your childhood over again. You know, sometimes I think he’s gotta be right.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fixin' Tubeless Tires

Ok, ok, for those of you who know there's been a bunch of racing going on my apologies for not yet getting caught up on the recent race reports. There's coming....

In the meantime, I thought I'd pass along a super helpful link on how to fix your tubeless tires when you get a slash or puncture that any of the interior sealants (Stan's, Bontrager Juice, etc)can't quite handle. If you're a tubeless tire fan it sure beats having to throw out a decent tire and drop another $40-$50 for a replacement each time.

You'll find out more on why I tracked this info down once the race reports are updated. There are three of 'em, Grand Views Road Race, Marquette's Ore to Shore and a last minute additional to the race schedule Calumet's (MI) The Great Deer Chase.