Bradbury Twelve Recap

What a day of racing…

I have to say that I was very nervous about this race. Not really about the race itself, but how my shoulder would hold up. I heard TONS about the race course and just how rooty it was, and it did not disappoint.

I got there a day early and did my normal pre-ride of the course. Nothing too tricky, but it certainly was rooty. The one nice thing was the lack of elevation gain on the course. I think total, for the 7.5 miles, it was less than 450 feet of total climbing. I will take that any day of the week.

The race started at 8am, which is a little different than the races I am used to, but not a big deal. They staggered the start times, as the course was about 95% single track, so there wasn’t going to be much time to pass. My wave went off about a minute or so after the solo riders. When the horn went off, a quick lap around the campground and I was 3rd into the woods. Not bad. Within minutes, we were running into the back of the single speed group, so there were bikes all over the place…on your left, on your right, through the middle. It was a mess and people passing all over the place.

The key to this race was pacing. Since the first part of the lap was a little bit more technical, and had most of the elevation gain, the key was to keep the throttle turned back a bit, so during the second half, you could really ratchet it up and fly through the second part. And that is what I did.

As I was racing a 2 man team, the planning was a little different than normal. I going go a bit harder than normal, as I knew I would have some time to recover back at camp and get some solid foods into me.

Pretty much the day went without any issue. Nothing major to talk about. My partner and I took turns riding laps to keep the legs fresh while Kelly kept an eye on the leader board. Through out the day, the lap times were close, with us in first most of the time, but mid afternoon saw us playing second fiddle and not liking it. But with experience and more then 9 different 12/24 hour races under our belts, we knew that if we stuck to our plan, rode consistently, we would be able to pull it out. With that plan, and the fact that the other team started to slow down at the end, we regained the lead with a few hours to go. Once we were back on top, Kelly kept using the whip and kept us riding strong.

On my last lap, Kelly told me I needed to turn a 59 minute lap to win. My previous laps were in that same area, so I knew I had to ride as hard as I could to keep the lead. Of course, she was lying to me, but I was too busy concentrating on what I needed to do that I believed her. After the race, I checked it out and I needed to pull an hour thirty to keep the lead. Fortunately, I was under the 59 minute mark and we got the top spot of the podium.

Over all, quite a good race. We stuck to the plan, stayed the course and game home after a quick trip to the top box on the podium. There ain’t nothing wrong with that……Plus, I didn’t notice my shoulder for most of the day, so that is a positive thing..

Toed up at the line

Top spot of the box

Sorry about all the lousy photos, but that is the best we could do with the cell phone we had.  Our regular camera battery died on the drive down.  DOH!!

24 Hours of Great Glen Race Recap

The 24 Hours of Great Glen…boy where do I start with this race? It’s probably one of my favorites just because of how close it is to my house (about a 30 minute drive) and the fact that my lovely fiance is one of the event coordinators for the race…

Leading up to the race, I really wasn’t as concerned about it as I have been in other years. I am certainly not the most seasoned veteran of 24 hour racing, but I have 5 of them under my belt, so I am no rookie either.. Instead of taking all week to get my gear organized, I waited until Thursday night, checked over my check list and got all my gear piled up in the middle of my living room.

Friday morning, got it all loaded up and drove up to the venue to get settled in. I was about 95% set by noon or so, which is the earliest I have ever been. A quick food fun, some lunch and a nice relaxed lap around the course and then the rest of the day to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Once the cannon fired for the start of the race, it was business as usual with the traditional walk around the pond with the TWAF team instead of running the lemans start. With some expert advice from the TWAF guys a few years ago, they found that walking the lap puts you in the same exact situation as running it and then walking the first hill, which we pretty much did anyway.

The first 5 or so laps were pretty uneventful. Some light cramping around lap 2 or 3 from the extreme heat, but that wasn’t too bad. The next 4 laps were pretty status quo with a quick break for dinner. Everything was going according to plan in terms of my nutrition plan and hydration, except for the heat. By lap 9, I had about 15 bottles of liquid in me, roughly one a lap and one between laps, yet it took me more than 18 hours to have to pee. That was a bit of a concern, but there was nothing much I could do about it. I hung around the pits for a little while to celebrate the completion of Robert’s, my pit-mate, first 12 hour race and a sip of champagne.

The problem with having no pit crew, is once the mind breaks down, the body will soon follow ans thats a tough one to over turn. I had made up my mind, I was done for the night, and there was really no one to push me out of the pits to keep riding my night laps. So, I slept….kinda. Unfortunately, the neutral support crew for the race was quite loud and didn’t really follow the “quiet hours” rule, even after been asked to quiet down on more than one occasion, so I just drifted in and out of sleep listening to loud mouths talk and compressors run all night…not a good time. I guess when the boss of the shop is out racing, the shops rats are free to do as they wish and don’t have to follow the rules.

I finally got out of bed around 6, got some breakfast in me, some dry shorts and I was out on the bike again for more laps. After the little rest, I was turning some quicker times on the laps. I got through about 3 and actually felt good. I was riding more overall and walked less than the previous night and made up well over 45 minutes on the person in front of me pulling myself back into 11. Then it happened. I went down….hard. I laid in the woods for about 5 minutes thinking I broke my collarbone..but I could still move it. I figured if I could still move it, then it wasn’t broken. I haven’t broken many bones in my life, but from all I have read and seen, if you break a collarbone, there is no if, ands, or buts about it, you know it happened. No questions asked. So, I got up after a little, dusted myself off, and continued on my way. My thought was if I can make the rest of the lap, I should be ok, at least enough to walk the entire last lap. Surprisingly, I rode the rest, with some pain.

I got back to the pits, waited for about 30 minutes and knew I had to go out again for my last lap and be on course at noon. If not, I knew I would DNF. Carl, from the Red Jersey was coming through for his last lap, so we went out together, both expecting to take it wicked slow. We had 1.5 hours to complete the lap, and we were going to make sure it would take us that 1.5 hours…

By about 11:50, we rolled back to the start line, stood around for the 10 or so minutes until the cannon went off and strolled across the line.

Over all, I did 13 laps in the 24 hours, a bit shy of what I wanted. My original goal was to just ride for the 24 hours hours, not caring on lap total. But, with out a pit crew to just push me out the door, I was weak mentally and slept. Its pretty amazing how once the mind quits, the body quickly follows. Over all, I give my physical prep about a B, B+, as there weren’t any issues there, but mentally, about a C-. It is tough to turn it around mentally once you shift in one direction…Either way, a good showing and time to start thinking about next year.

Some images from the race:

Pre Race smiles

Racing Hard

Dropping into the Plunge

Laying the smack down on Sven, racing for the dismount area.  Ok, we weren’t really racing, just soft pedaling that section, but I still beat him.

Fueling up between laps

Leaving on the last lap

Finishing up the race with beer in hand

What’s on tap now??  Just recovering up, especially my shoulder, and then the Bradbury 12 followed up by some cross racing…

**Photos were taken by both Dennis Morgan and The Vines

Any one actually remember this blog?

Wow, it seems as if this thing still works. Who would have thunk it?

Sure, I still want to post to this blog, but there have been times I have been busy, VERY busy.

First and foremost, training. That always takes first priority when I have free time. Things have been going just ok on that side. I had a SUPER strong April. I believe that had to do with only having 1 car in the family, and it was much easier for me to commute by bike than it is for the Misses…So, I racked up a ton of miles and killer training time.

Then May came and things dwindled down a little. I went and did 2 races, one hill climb and one time trial and feel things were progressing as well as they needed to be for this time of the year. With both races, it was pretty much an all out effort for about an hours worth of time. Something that will matter later come cyclocross season, but doesn’t do much for the endurance season. Then, a few injuries came about. A pretty torn up ankle (that I am still having problems with) and also a mysterious leg pain. The Dr thought it had something to do with some exploding veins pooling in muscle compartments and such.

Now June is here and I feel like I am a tad behind where I need to be. It is really hard to tell though due to the duration of my events. It is hard to go out and test run a 24 hour race.. BUT, with Pat’s Peak 24 hour race coming up, that is something that I might be able to do.

I did the Pat’s Peak race last year, and it was a tough one, mostly because of my single speed. It pretty much went up the ski slope, down, across, then up and down again. I think with gears, I would be all set. The nice part about this race is I can do a 6, 12 or 24 hour event…not sure which one I will pick. Only about 3 weeks till race time, so I better get to figuring it out..

The other thing that has kept me busy has been the formation of my coaching/nutritional supply company, Precision Endurance. Currently, I am still working on all the logistics of everything (insurance, logos, graphics, websites, blah blah blah), but it is keeping me busy. Hopefully, things should be up and fully running my mid July..

Thats about all. Hopefully with this post, I can get myself out of the funk of not updating and things can get rolling again. Later this week,I travel to Seattle to check out some new FSA products….so hopefully I should have some pictures of new and good things to come…

Ohh Mike, say it ain’t so

Well, it seems like time flies by when you are having fun, or something like that.  At least that is the way it seems when you are riding in 40+ degree temps in February in New England.

While the mid-Atlantic states have been getting pounded pretty hard with snow, here in New Hampshire, it has been a balmy 40 or so and I have been taking advantage of it.  I’ve been out on the Pugsley a couple times, but that really hasn’t been much fun.  With all the warmth, I just end up riding through the slush.  Then on the weekends, been out on the roadie, putting in the time and mileage required for some 24 hour races..

Other than that, I have been working on figuring out my race schedule.  Every time I think I have it figured out, I change my mind and think something different.  I think I have it figured out now though.

Last year,I did a whole year of endurance races.  That took a LOT of time to train for.  It always seemed like if I wasn’t eating, sleeping or working, I was on the bike.  And some of the time, I was doing my eating on the bike.  Yes, I love to ride my bike, but I also want to spend my time doing other things as well.  So this year, in hopes of having a better cyclocross season, I am dropping some of the endurance races, now only doing 2 24 hour races, adding some shorter XC races and signing up for something completely different.

I have always been a roadie and feel that I am pretty strong when it comes to certain things.  That, along with the short time span of suffering involved in cross racing, has me believe that it is time to get out the road bike, get me some snazzy shoe covers, a cool aero helmet and do some time trialling.  This year, I am going to be doing the Maine Time Trial series.  It has 13 races, a final and should be just the right amount of torture and pain needed to whip me into shape for cross season.  At least that is the plan, so let’s hope it works out that way..and no, I most likely won’t be getting an aero helmet….or will I??

The happenings of 2010, so far.

Almost a month since the last post.  That has to be somewhat close to a record.

I am still here, sticking with the bike, doing the things that need to be done for another year of racing.  Let’s get caught up since we last left each other.
For the end of December, I went back home to Pennsylvania, to visit the fam and got to take the bike with me.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t all that cooperative, so I only got to ride once.  Ohh well.  Nutting you can do about that.

Since then, I am back here in North Conway, doing my best to keep my sanity during these few months of cold weather.  I got out the cross county skis a couple of times (1, 2, 3) hit the trainer a bunch and also have been outside on the bike as much as possible.

For some reason, getting up and going this year has been more difficult for me.  I am not sure if it is because of how much time I have spent on the trainer last year and I know the amount of suck that is involved, if it is because I have a new coach (more on that), or if because I haven’t inked a partnership with a team yet.  It’s gotta be one of those three, a combination of the three, or something completely different, but the motivation isn’t there.  I need to do something to change that and unfortunately, it mostly involves the trainer.

Last year, the XC skiing was pretty good due to the amount of snow we got.  This year, it has been pretty chilly out there, but the white stuff just hasn’t been falling.  At all the local cross country ski areas, they keep grooming, but the bare spots are popping up all over the place and it isn’t something I want to run my skis through.  So trainer riding it is….I guess.

So, it seems like it is up to my new coach to get me motivated.  And that certainly adds up to problems.  You see, this off season, I did some studying up and passed my test and became a USA Cycling certified Level 3 coach.  Do I plan on doing much with the certification??  Probably not, but I did it to help myself out.  I figured that if I knew the basics of coaching, I could relay more valuable info a a coach in order to help out my current plan.  Since I am going at the training on my own this year, the feedback isn’t helping.  I think last year, when I was working with Grasky Endurance, I felt an obligation to them, not to make them “look bad”.  I felt that if I didn’t do what was prescribed, and didn’t achieve my goals, it would make him look like a bad coach, something that he certainly wasn’t.  He was a great coach and I learned TONS from him.  Either way, I am now out there by myself, and I need to get my keister in gear.  Nothing more needs to be said.

As for a team, I have some things in the works, but it just seems as if any of the final paperwork has not been passed back out for the 2010 season.  I know when I got my contract signed with GT last year, I worked extremely hard to show my team mates what I really could do.  Hopefully the paperwork will come through soon and the same effect will happen.  Which also might mean a new bike……YEAH!!!!

As for races this year, I will not be the 1 trick endurance racer I was this past year.  I have decided to branch out a little bit and do some other races, to make me a more rounded rider.  I have decided on a road race, or two, as well as some of the shorter cross country races in the area as well as as many endurance races as I can  and still have a positive season without killing myself.  With all of the different style of races thrown in, it should help when it comes to cyclo-cross season (scheduling the races with some recovery time is a VALUABLE lesson learned from last year).  Last year, when I made the transition from endurance to cross, I feel it was too late.  This year, along with the long rides, I will be throwing in some shorter rides to prime the system.  Now, I just need to look at all the schedules and races I am thinking about and put together a solid season.

That’s it for now… to ride the trainer….ugh..

Back at it

Well, judging from my lack of posts, when I take some time off the bike, I apparently take some time off from writing on the blog. Ohh well. Let’s all get caught up to speed.

The last few races of the year went pretty well for me. The second to last cross race was much better than I had anticipated, and fished 2nd. Nothing to complain about there.

The last “set” of races went well as well. The race was the Porky Gulch Classic. If you have never heard of this race, gotta say, it is petty sweet. Its a 2 day stage race. The first day, stage 1 involves a climb up the first 2 miles of Mt Washington, which is known as the world’s toughest hill climb. I only did the first 2 of it and if that is an indication of what the next 5 are, I can say I don’t want any part of it. Either way, I got all geared up and took my place at the line. We stated every 30 seconds, and there were 4 people starting behind me. My only goal, as I am not known as the best climber, was to not get passed by all 4. About 5 minutes into the race, the 5th person, who was the first elite rider blew by me. It was quite impressive on how fast he blew by me. My time put me near the back of the pack for the intermediates, which is what I expected.

Garmin Data – Not so impressive

Day 1, stage 2 was the Story Land Crit. Story Land is quite the little playground for young kids. If you have a youngster, and are in the North Conway area, take them there. They will thank you. It is almost like a mini Disney Land. Either way, things were going well, and was up near the top 5. I was swapping places with another gent for 6th. I would pull him through the entire park, and he would pull me on the long flat stretch. That was, until I skipped a pedal, which made the bike hop, unseating the bead leaving me with walking the bike out on my shoulder with a flat tire.

Garmin Data – If you watch it in the player, you might get dizzy.

Day 2 Stage 3 was the cross stage of the race. Even though I was out of the running for the overall title, I wanted to have a strong showing for the cross race. The gun went off and I led almost the entire first lap. With the lead, I knew I would drift back a bit, but it put me in a good position for the rest of the race. When the dust settled, I ended up around 6th of 7th. Not too bad I guess.

Went all was said and done, I fished 13th overall. Not quite the results I was looking for, but I guess it will have to do being I am not quite built like a climber and had a flat. Being that is the only mechanical I have had in 12 races with hundreds of miles raced, I cannot complain.

Along with the Porky Gulch race, the 3rd cross race in the Great Glen series raced at the same time. So it was really tricky to gauge where I was, position wise, for that series. When I crossed the line, I believe I was in 5th, which put me in a total of 3rd overall for the series. I wasn’t expecting to be on the podium, so it was a nice surprise.

No GPs data.  I don’t like racing cross with it on my bike with fear of losing it.  Plus, I know my heart rate is pegged the entire time anyway.  If it isnt, you aren’t racing hard enough.

So there it is, the last 3 races of the year. Overall I think I had a pretty solid year on the bike as it was my first year out there racing a full endurance season.

So what have I been up to since then? Nothing really. I took some time off the bike to get mentally recharged, rode a couple times here and there. But as of yesterday morning, I am back at it with workouts getting ready for the 2010 season. This year, things will be a little different. I have on board a new coach, ME. I actually went as far as becoming a USA Certified Level 3 Coach. Pretty swanky eh? Hopefully, I now have all the tools to help myself become a bit stronger. I have been doing tons of reading on things to try and make myself a quality training plan, so I am hoping for the best.

On tap this week and next, some nice easy riding, mostly commuting, with low heart rates to just get the body used to being back on the bike before a start in with a fitness test to really nail down my zones…

No racing, or much else, going on

I lied.  There as no racing for me this weekend.  But I do have a very good excuse for it.

You see, ever since Kelly has taken her new job up at Great Glen, she has been forced to work weekends.  After all, that is when the majority of events are taking place and visitors are visiting Mount Washington.  So we haven’t had much time together since then.  There is nothing I can do about it, so no use complaining.  She has had a few weekends off here and there, mostly the ones she took off to watch me race.  The last weekend we were “together” we spent Friday night driving to southern Vermont to register for a race.  That Saturday, she stood in the cold rain for about 9 hours waiting for me to come across a finish line, then  cleaned up a soaking wet camp site and got in the car and drove back to North Conway.  On that day we were both up from about 4am until about 11pm.  That’s a long day.  On Sunday, we both did work around the house.  Not what I would really call a great weekend together, but I have to give it to her.  I tell her I am racing, she will stand in whatever conditions for however long and wait for me to finish.  I’m a pretty lucky guy.

So, on Friday afternoon, she told me she had the weekend off, the last thing I wanted to make her do was get up at 5am on a Saturday, drive to Portland Maine, stand in the freezing cold (it was supposed to rain, but not sure if it ever did) and watch me kill myself for 40 minutes riding around in a circle, then drive back home.  As much as I want to be in every race, and gain as much experience as I can, I know my limits, and what I can push her to do.  With that in mind, I bagged it.  I didn’t even hesitate.

During the weekend, we didn’t do anything over spectacular (except going out to dinner with her work which they called “prom”) but the point is we were together.  After about 9 years of being together, I really still enjoy spending time with her.  I guess that’s a good thing being we are prepping to get married.

Other than that, motivation to do any training during the week has been super low.  I think it mostly has to do with the weather getting wicked cold and the fact it is getting darker much quicker.  In my mind, there isn’t anything worse than getting up before work, going out into 30 degree temps and getting a workout in.  Ugh, not for me, no thanks.  With the Great Glen weekly cross series starting up this weekend, I better get my act in gear.

It’s all over

The last day of Interbike is finally over. I checked out all the new goodies from companies and now my “wish” list is longer than ever. There certainly are a lot of new nice and shiney products out there.

So I sit here in the airport, finally relaxing. I knew this Interbike was going to be different from past years and it was. I wish I would have worn a pedometer to see how much I actually walked, because I am sure it was a lot.

On task now it to get all my riding gear together and head down to southern Vermont for the last endurance race of the year, the Vermont 50 on Sunday. Nothing like a race 2 days after Interbike. Once back from that, its time to get the cross bike up and running.

24 Hours of Great Glen Race Recap

24 Hours of Great Glen.  What to say about this race.  As a local, this was to be my A race for the year.  The one I REALLY wanted to do well in and get the top spot of the podium.  The days leading up to the race,  even with the race efforts of the Wilderness 101 still in my legs, I thought I had a good chance.

I got to the venue, got camp set up and was right on the start finish line.  You couldn’t have asked for a better position as far as spots go for service (I had no crew to help me out).  I pretty much walked  around the venue, chatting with folks, had a great dinner to fuel me up and got to bed pretty early as I knew it was going to be a long day.

I woke up nice and early, had breakfast and got all my gear 100% dialed in.  I was completely ready to race, race hard and race for the next 24 hours.  We lined up at the line for the Le Mans start and I staged myself at the back.  I knew from other years, if you weren’t one of the first 20 people into switchbacks on Blueberry Hill, you were walking and going pretty slow.  Still healing up from some blisters from the Wilderness, I decided that it was in my best interest to just walk the start, get on the bike and work my way through the pack during the fire road section.  BAM, the cannon went off and I left the line with some type of speed people have never seen (note the sarcasm).  After the .6 mile walk, we were working our way through the start line to grab our bikes, Abe from TWAF mentioned that he would give 5 bucks to the person who sprinted the last 10 yards.  One to never pass down 5 bucks, or to make a spectacle of myself, off I went running, screaming the entire way.  And, no, Abe never came through on his 5 bucks.  I’m still waiting, but my hopes for seeing it has vanished.

I grabbed the bike and off I went.  The legs didn’t feel to bad and I worked my way through a good section of the field on the first lap.  Came into the pits, changed bottles, grabbed more food and off for lap 2.  Pretty status quo, just keep the heart rate nice and low, drink and eat often and just ride my race.  Lap 2 was about the same time (both about 55 minutes) as lap 1.  Another pit, another lap.  Times crept up by a few minutes each lap but I wasn’t concerned.  By the middle of the 4th lap, I knew I was in BIG trouble.  It seemed as if the effort put forth the week before was killing me.  I could hardly make it through anything.  I stayed calm, as I knew this was going to be a long race.

I came in from lap 4 and decided to take a little breather.  I thought, maybe the body just need to recoup a bit with some cold drinks and some quality food.  After about 45 minutes, the jersey went back on and out I went.

The 5th lap was still somewhat consistent with the rest, only adding another minute or 2, but the tiredness came right back.  for the 6th lap, I could barely move the pedals.  There was just no power to put into them.  When I got back to my pit, I talked to the folks next to me, who’s rider was on lap about 9.  It was less than 7 hours into it, more than 3 laps down and that guy was in 3rd place at the time, and looked strong every time he came through.

I had a major decision to make.  With the Hampshire 100k coming up the weekend after, I had to decide whether to keep going in this race, to completely bury myself, putting myself in to the pain cave, big time, not letting me ride the next week.  Or, to bag the rest of the 24 hour race, save myself and give all my effort the next week.  After talking to some people, I figured that no matter what I did, there was no way to close the gap to the leaders, no matter how much hurt I put myself into, so I put the bike down and changed out of the team gear.  So much for a 24 hour race, more like a 7 hour race.

After a good nights sleep, I woke up early, cleaned up camp and got ready for the last lap around noon.  In order to not get a DNF, I needed to be on the course at noon.  Around 11, I grabbed the bike and went out for the slowest lap of the day.  I got back around noon, walked across the line and called it a day.

Overall, I finished 7th in the single speeds, which honestly, isn’t all that horrible.  I must say, calling that race at 7 was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make when it comes to riding, but I know it was the right one and the more I talked to people, the more they agreed.  It was better to take a hit on the one race, then to completely ruin 2 races.

The goal now, was to prep my legs for the Hampshire 100k….

Here is the data from my Garmin 705.