Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the silence is broken...

I haven't posted in awhile, I haven't taken very many pics of the great places I have been riding my bike, and now I have broken that silence. Last weekend consisted of a nice ride at Tiger Mt on Friday, followed by a night of work. Saturday it was up and adam packing the car and heading out towards Cyrstal Mountain and the 410 highway for some epic riding. It took longer to get there than I would have liked and we forgot out camp rests think no padding for a relaxing nights sleep. I final got riding around 3pm and it was great. I headed out for a loop on the Sun Top trail, and long fire road climb followed by a steep single track grunt and then some amazingly fast descending. There was a 50 mile running race happening on these trails and our late start worked out perfect as I was climbing the fire road up to the top I got to cheer on the runners as the came down. It was amazing how many of them cheered me on as well, they were the ones doing the real hard work, running 50 miles on technical trial doesn't seem like fun at all to me. It was a nice change of pace to be cheering others along on their journey in what the human body, mind, soul, spirit is capable of. The weather started to change from sunny to overcast to misty as I reached the top and it got colder my wool jersey started to frost up. A few hike a bikes later I was blasting down the trail. It has been a wet summer here and the trials were in perfect condition, lots of traction. That night we sat around the camp fire and laughed it up. I ended with a total of 4000 ft of climbing in just about 20 miles.
In our packing we forgot some key items and ended up having to make due. We cooked by wrapping our food in tinfoil and throwing it in the fire, some things burned as we were trying to deal with a broken tent. It all worked out for the best and we kicked back had a few beers and watched the fire.
Sunday we woke up early and headed out for another epic, the previous nights sleep without a camp rest left me a bit sore to begin with. The ride called for more climbing followed by an epic descent. It was the Noble Knob trial to the Palisades trail. More of the same. This trial follows a band of cliffs, periodically you are traveling along the top, with spectacular views, that need to be enjoyed off the bike. As soon as the ride finished the rain came in. We stopped for a beer and a burger and then headed home. Man did the bed feel great on Sunday night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cascade Creampuff 100

I can't remember the last time that I slept to awake at 4 am for any reason, usually I am seeing 4 am from the other side, leaving work, aboard my bike looking at the Space Needle, that dominates the Seattle skyline on my pedal home. You can only imagine how in shock my body was as I awoke on Sunday morning after a few hours nap to grape nuts and a banana, my favorite still after all these years. I was filled with memories of humming and just plain loving grape nuts, ah the times of my younger days, just now I need a little coffee to kick start my day. We left our cozy room, read really tight quarters and headed to the start of what I hoped would a good finish, but mostly I to put a stop to the nerves and demons of the last few years, which where dominated by lack of fitness, illness and what I like to call life happening moments. The Creampuff, it's easy just look at the name, is a joke often overheard, take note this is no walk in the park, with 6,000 ft of climbing per lap and 3 laps of pure love it is both lots of up, on fireroad, all except for that last 1,500 ft on singletrack. An all singletrack descent that varies from the Jedi section, think Ewoks, and turns that could cost you more than you are willing to part with. The view from the top is just amazing.
Happy campers
I could go on but I will get to the details of this epic race. After a "neutral" start which meant that the pace car sped away and we were left to our own devices, nothing neutral about it we were at the bottom of the climb. Lap one is somewhat of a blur, Kevin and I were feeling great, half wheeling each other all the way up. "you need to slow down" I heard as I blazed through Aid 2, the party stop. I had a rumbling in my stomach, and was a bit bloated, this was a sign of things to come. Like all races and especially endurance races there are always obstacles to overcome, both physical and mental, the first lap brought none of those, I was just having a great time. "Nothing like morning laps with your buddy" Kevin shouts over the wiz of freewheels and the sound of dry disc brakes. It was awesome, and it looked like we might ride the day out together. We pass our friend and fellow singlespeeder Bart, who is running a rigid fork, drop bars, and a 34x20 gear on a 29er, he was going to run 34x19.
On our return visit to Aid 2, mark says "your in 5th, keep it up." Kevin and I continue the descent and start to pick riders off, we are just flowing down the trial. We near the bottom and have picked off most of the single speeders in front of us, later we found out it was all of them. We hit Aid 1 grab some supplies and head out. At the bottom of the climb my stomach takes center stage, I hang on to Kevin for a bit and then have to slow down, damage control. I watch him pedal away. This is where the mental games come in to play, the mind over matter. I soldier on, telling myself it will get better. Here is where I force myself to eat, and drink to feed the machine. I arrive at Aid 2, resupply get some back work done and head out. I start to feel better and by the time I arrive at the top I am feeling it again, down I plunge all the way to Aid 1 feeling great, hit the River trail, a short nasty little 3 miles along the river I was feeling good again, and paced it out deciding that reserves need to be conserved. Then the wind went out of the sails and I was forced to dig deep in the bag of tricks to make it through to Aid 2 for almost the last time. I wanted to quit, to call it a day and enjoy some of Wade's Porter, but I had told Danielle "If i make it up here on the final lap, tell me to get on my bike and ride walk, fuckin crawl if you have to, you are going to finish." That is exactly what she did. So I did.

This is where I get to my slice of humble pie. I watched the leading lady fly by and then a couple singlespeeders and then the second place lady right as I hit Aid 3. I had a nice hike with my bike up to the top, and then descended like a child, everything hurt so bad, that is sometimes what happens in these races, and we always forget the bad and remember the good that's how we end up back on the start line race after race, year after year. Needless to say I cracked and fell apart, not without a little PBR for the last descent though. After my return to Aid 2 for the last time, I just wanted to finish with no problems so unlike my usually character I headed down with conservation in mind. Crossed the line, after pedaling with one leg for awhile the other was all locked up. I drank lots of water, took endurolytes probably not enough, and finished, I am unsure of my finish time, but it was way off what I did in 04, but then again these are different times.

The Creampuff is a big family, and it sure was great to see the old friends and make some new ones. The memories will not be forgotten soon, and my love for Oakridge has returned. Thanks to all the volunteers for their help as well as encouraging words. I think I forgot to thank them at the time, but I was a little out of it.

Kevin ended up winning the singlespeed class, what a great gift for a soon to be dad. There is a great write up by mark here.
I will add more pics, but flickr doesn't seem to want to cooperate and neither does blogger. there you have it. I will leave you with a shot of the pre race meal....I got it uploaded before it all went to pot.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

with a huff and a puff

This past weekend I had my first experience riding in Eastern Washington, we had a large group so is was not a race, we hiked a bunch, there was a lot of steep hike a bike sections and a lot of loose talus to be dealt with. My friend Brett, who will also be at the Creampuff was our ride leader, the scenery and trail conditions were vastly different than the Western side of the Cascades, think extremely dry, rocky and loose, although I have said since living here who ever put in the forest service roads here looked where they wanted to be and went straight up. we climbed 1000 ft in the first 2 miles of the ride, most of that in the last 3/4 of a mile. The views were worth the agony, my favorite quote of the day goes to Keith, who after 2 plus hours of riding and hiking and hiking some more was overheard saying, "the only thing that will make all that worth it is if this ride ends in a field of beer and handjob." To which the rest of the guys responded, "handjobs, I prefer blowjobs." There you have it. While the ride didn't end in either, the last half of the ride was much better and the last descent was fantastic. Thank you Brett.
On to my fear about the Puff, I just want to finish and not be destroyed, with all that life has been throwing at me I think that this is all I can hope for. I could list all the stressors, but that just isn't the point. I feel as though I am making excuses, but they are not excuses just the truth about what has taken priority this year. Riding has mainly been a utility to and from the daily grind. Training, was limited and my health has been an ever present challenge. Nuff said. I am going to go out and have some fun and see what the day brings. It is a race, but I plan to ride it, if I feel like racing later in the day, I will, if not I will just try to maintain a consistent pace, eating and drinking so that I stay away from the dreaded bonk. This is a large challenge and I pray that I am not taking on too much with all the health issues I have faced. I think that I have the physical fitness, the mind is a terribly hard monster sometimes. I would just like to have a good ride, and finish before the cut off time in good spirits. Funny how goals change from year to year. The biggest challenge for me is knowing that I am going back to a race that I have done well at and that I most likely will not beat my time from the previous year. Not impossible, but not very probably given the shape I was in that year. The goal is to have fun. Not regrets, I will have lots of time to converse with myself, somewhere around 11 hours I hope. thats all for now. as always keep pedaling.