Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My weight and some bike riding.....

A week has gone by since my big ride of the year. I came back from such a huge bike ride trip with a weight gain. Yes, I may have burnt a zillion calories climbing a mountain and riding a century... but the eating out, the road trip habits, they body trying to retain water to repair itself all added to a weight gain. I left weighing 192lbs and came back weighing 204lbs. Insane. 

Things I learned... road trips = bad choices. At least in the past. I am going to make it different from now forward. This trip at pee breaks, and gas stations turned into Sweetarts, trail mix (with M&M's and chocolates,etc) just a load of crap. This weekend I have another road trip and I am planning ahead. Presliced fruit will be the key. It's sweet and good for the body. Smarter choices at restaurants too.... .I love food too much. I just can't fall back into my old self of fried foods - it is just not healthy for my body.

The other thing I came to realize is after a big big ride (or any other huge exertion) that the body does what ever it can to protect it self and start repairing (gaining weight and retaining water). That's good for the body - but bad for the mind when you stare at a number on the scale.  The good news is that a week after, I am actually back to where I started 192. It does seem to be coming back down in big jumps again and I am anxious to see where it will stop again. Hoping to see a new low before this weekend.

Sunday was a local bike race - Newmark Center near the Dayton Mall. Put on by Big Dave Sports. Last year at this race I was blown out of the main pack and literally lapped right before the finish (approx 300 yards out). This year a little different. I did screw up and see the 1 lap to go sign but for some reason thought it meant there was one more - not that we were on the last lap.  Anyways I was just staying in the group looking forward to kicking it up the last lap and it was over....lol... I missed it - I think I could have easily moved up a good 5-8 positions from where I was... but I wasn't last. I didn't get lapped. I was actually still in the lead pack. Huge difference over last year. Even though I screwed up - I still did good. Our Cat5 race completed 18 miles with a 26mph average speed.

Here is a picture of the team that went to Newmark
Team Members from left to right: George Collins, Clint Murray, Garry Blair, Dan McCarty, Colin Payton, Fred Peters, Dan Payton, Aaron Dunaway

The other thing I have enjoyed very much this year is that my wife, Carisa, has started road riding. I can't believe how well she is doing. She really seems to enjoy it. And she is very open to suggestions, and making herself a better rider. Yesterday we had gone out for just a neighborhood ride which is approx 20-25 miles and she looks and me as says this is too much fun, let's keep going.  We ended up with 61 miles for the day. Went up through Terra Haute, to Urbana (past the 9/11 memorial), back through Northridge (stopped at my sister's house to refuel) headed to the Reservoir and then back up through Tremont City back home. I think we had like 1400 feet of climbing. The funny thing was I was totally content to just ride back Penny Pike (into a head wind) and spin, just relaxing and winding down the ride. When Carisa jumps in front of me and pulls all the way down the road (approx 2 miles) in to the wind at 19-20mph all the way. She is a beast. Yes I did try to hop into the draft... I admit.  She makes me so proud! Proud of you!

And that's all I have to say about that.... Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Assault on Mt Mitchell

The Assault on Mt Mitchell has now come and gone.
I had planned this ride for nearly a year since completing it my first time last year. This year a larger group of the Champion City Cycling team made the Journey. Returning members from last year besides myself were Dan Payton, Dan McCarty, George Collins and Paul Basler.  This years newest members to complete it were Kevin Holmes, Tony Tucker, Clint Murray, Alix Payton, Colin Payton, Garry Blair (Julie Blair also went and did the Assault on Marion), Aaron Dunaway, and Jerry Evilsizor. We also met Mike Michaelson and Mustafa Nazary there also for the ride.  So we were 16 riders strong there. 
We headed down on Saturday this time- learning from the debacle of last years (totalling a car and being pressed for time before the race with all the deadlines).  This worked out much better. We got down to Spartanburg, SC around dinner time. Unloaded the cars, and got settled in at the hotel.  Ended up heading you to eat and to pick up some last minute details for the ride.

Sunday AM came and after our free continental breakfast at the hotel, we headed out on the bikes to spin our legs and get a lay of the land. We found the start of the ride and noted some of the course before we would be attacking it on race day.

After a 20 mile spin we all got cleaned up and went to the Expo center to get our race bibs and information as well as the goody bags. We took in the Expo they had going on there, some even made some last minute purchases of nutrition and clothing. I personally liked the Boyd Wheels booth, even though I could not talk them into a demo set of wheels to “try out” on the ride. 
My Expo score for my wife - $180 Carbon shoes for $37

After this we headed back to the hotel and hit Subway up for a quick lunch. Then we had to get 4 vehicles out to Tom Johnson’s campgrounds in Marion. This was so that when everyone was done, and road the bus down we could drive back to the hotel together rather than ride the bus for another 2-1/2 hours.  While they were away dropping the vehicles Julie, Garry and Alix made a pizza plan for the team. We ordered a bunch of Pizza and pasta from Pizza hut and ate it in the hotel dining room. Everyone could sit and talk and relax before we had to get up and be ready to go in the morning. It was nice and relaxing.  We also checked with the hotel manager that night and they told us they would have the continental breakfast out early in the morning for the bikers before our ride. Very cool.
So Monday morning arrives. The dining room starts to fill with all of the members of the green train. Bikes are being piled up in the lobby waiting for launching. As we begin the fueling process for the day, there is a excitement in the air. A nervousness……  Mt. Mitchell is out there waiting.  How will everyone do? 

We calm ourselves and mount the bikes and head 2 miles to the start.  We snap our traditional group start picture and take our places in the starting pack.

The clock in front of the Spartanbrug Memorial Hall is counting down to the start. 10 minutes…. Then 5…..  closer and closer then the gun shot – we are off.  Everyone is flying. This is were my journey begins.

First rest stop is approx 22 miles out… the group I am in gets there in less than an hour and no one stops. Next rest stop at mile 42 on top of Bill’s Hill. I determine I need to stop there to replenish the water bottles and stay hydrated. The group gets there before the second hour passes. No one stops but me out the group. I felt odd stopping but I have to do my own race…. I need water and without my race would quickly be over. I do not want to cramp. Off the bike for 2 minutes… I jump back on the road and I am back on my way. My next planned stop is Marion at mile 75. I am now no longer part of any groups… working harder at my own to keep on pace. I need to get to Marion at 4 hours to stay on target for my goal finish time.
The miles go by… some quickly and others not so quickly. I really enjoy the down hills.  Somewhere in the 60 mile zone I was on a downhill and I was cranking away by myself. Almost 50 miles an hour. If I were paying attention I could have broken the 50mph barrier, but my eyes were too focused on the road.  I rolled into Marion at 3 hours 45 minutes. 15 minutes ahead of my schedule. Zooming along. I still felt good. Refuelled the water bottles and ate some more energy gels and power bars. Needed to keep the bonk away. I have not seen any team mates since the start in Spartanburg.  That’s odd. I figured I would see someone somewhere.  I head out… up to the top of Mt Mitchell.

3 miles later I see someone. Mustafa. I ride up to him and start joking around.  I ask what the heck he is doing back here and he got shot out of the lead group just before Marion. Dan P, Colin and Paul all were still hanging in there though and looking strong.  When he got shot out the back the chase group was so far back that he couldn’t see any riders for a while and somehow made a wrong turn. He stopped to ask directions on how to get back and they gave him the wrong ones. So when he asks me what mile I am on, I tell him 78, he says he is on 94. He ended up 16 miles out of the way. Crazy. And to top it off he is continuing up the mountain.  We are riding along and he is very seasoned rider. He critics some of the things I am doing as I climb and he gives me some advice. Small ring and spin, keep up the cadence. Do not power through or waste any energy at this point. I will need it later. The next rest stop is at mile 82. He has to stop and get water. He tells me to keep spinning and he will catch up and help pace me again. I do not see him again until the end. I am in the worst part of the switch backs now.  Steep section from mile  82-87. No breaks, just climbing.  I see Clint and George in this section working away. We are all working at our pace all moving upward. Switch back on switch back. Finally reaching the top right before we pop out on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Kevin comes up to me and rolls into the rest stop with me.   I gather my water and turn around he is gone....  moving on. He is all buiness.  So I jump back on and get rolling. I never see anyone else now until the finish.  The miles are now clicking off the computer slowly. Like the kids watching the school clock at this time of year, each second feels like ten. 

I get to the park entrace. I know there are only two rest stops left.  I can do this. I am still on course for my perfect world goal time (7:15). My legs are starting to feel like they have been beaten with socks full of quarters.  I push through. I stopped on the side of the road twice – not at rest stops, just long enough to compose myself and eat some kind of mystery gel that claims power and energy with caffine. I need anything at this point that will make my body go on. Finally passing the last rest stop I know that I am less than 2 miles to the finish. My perfect world time has just passed also. Now I need to get as close to it as possible.  There is a false flat and I feel so powerfull I see 20 mph for the first time in hours. I can take Lance Armstrong on now… then the hill starts to climb again.  There went Lance.  I spin. Remember Mustafa telling me to spin. I keep my cadence up and just keep working. I see the parking lots coming. I’m getting excited. Then there they are! Champion City Cycling – Dan, Colin, Aaron everyone cheering me on! It is a blur now. I enter the cones to get my picture at the finish. I see the timing tent people looking for my number. The guy behind me stands and starts to sprint. What? You are going to try to stick it to me now? No Way Jose! I spin harder – click, another gear. I’m kicking for all I have. I crossed the line ahead of him. Who does that.  I hope he enjoys his finish picture with my in front of him. Dang dude… was it worth it?

Anyways.  I am at the top – finish time 7 hours 29 minutes. Nearly 4 hours faster than last time (and an hour fast than just the ride time alone).  After the finish I had to sit there and collect myself. I got emotional. Everything I had was in that finish. Every fiber of my raw being forced me across that line. I wanted to cry. I was so happy.

Now I am experiencing the finish a totally different way. The snack bar is open, people are walking around and joking, watching and cheering other riders in to the finish. It is all new to me and I like it. Last year I finished in the rain and 40 degrees. I just wanted to change my clothes and leave. This year it is nice to see everything.  I put on my shirt that says “I paid for this shirt with Paul Basler’s money” and went to find Paul. The bet between us was a blow out in my favor. Thanks Paul for pushing me to better myself. Next year I want to do even better.

I boarded the bus to head back down to Marion. I was looking forward to the free dinner there. Last year it was gone by the time I finished and got back down the mountain. We pulled up and everyone on the bus hit the bathrooms first then to the shelter house for food. Spaghetti dinner with salad or BBQ Pork, cole slaw and roll and Brownies for dessert. Soft drinks, tea and water for drinks. I had a little of everything and a water.  We are not sitting there for more than 40 minutes with the skies open up and pour on us. Not just a rain but a monsoon. I mean I had to get a jacket out of my bag because the shelter I was under (maybe 150x80 feet) I was still getting wet in as the wind blew the rain and hit us under the center of that place. I felt bad for Tony and Jerry who were yet to be accounted for at this point. Turns out that Tony was on the next bus and did ride through some rain, but was happy to be done. Jerry road through some rain and HAIL. That is insane. He was doing everything possible to finish. The Sag vehicle was trying to pick him up like a vulture on his prey. They wanted him to get in and be done… but he was less than 2 miles from the finish. Jerry did it. Nicely done my good man. It’s a proud moment of your determination.

Congrats  to all my team mates. Everyone finished. Some did it with style, some smashed it, some persaveered in a way I cannot even comprehend. But I want you all to know that I am proud of every single one of you. Awesome job! Thank you to Paul for pushing me harder this year - it was totally worth it! Thank you to Mustafa - your words of encouragement and tips made the ride better, I will always remember them.  This was by far a better trip and a great expereince for the Champion City Cycling Team.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Calvin's Challenge and Mount Mitchell

OK - since my last post I did the Calvin's Challenge. I did the 6 hour challenge. Ride as many miles as I could in 6 hours. I was there with my team Champion City Cycling. We had almost 10 riders there in the green. It was pretty cool.

The start of the 12 hour race

An hour after the 12 hour guys took off - the 6 hour race was on! For the first 25 miles we were out front... completing the first 25 miles in a minute over an hour. We were scooting. The Green Train was rolling along. Clint (one of my team mates) had a flat and didn't have a saddle bag, so I pulled off with him to help out. The pack totally disappeared. They were still flying!!

We got the tire back together and were starting to move along and we saw a pack behind us and figured we would be swallowed up soon. We started just working together... and low and behold we lost sight of the group behind us. Alix had also pulled out of the pack and waited for us. Now we were a group of 3 working together. A forth rider (someone unknown) joined us and worked with us to finish the first 50 mile lap.

We got back and were on the way to the truck and I stopped at the port-a-jon and there was a line. I was kind of taken back as the race volunteers were standing in line and made no effort to let a racer, currently in a timed event, go first. They didn't have to, but if the shoe was on the other foot I definitely would have let a racer go first, instead of suggesting a different bathroom for me to use on the other side of the school away from the race course (where these were). So after nearly 10 minutes of waiting I got my turn, and then went to the truck to get new water bottles. 

At the we met up with Garry and all headed out together. Now the group was Clint, Garry, Alix and myself. We headed out and got moving again. About mile 70, I started falling apart. I could hang with the group but only to survive, I could no longer work on the front. I think it was a nutrition thing. Garry and Clint worked hard the last 25 miles to drag me back.

My view for the last 25 miles....

I finished the 100 miles I had wanted for the day in 5 hours and 31 minutes... including 18 minutes off the bike. I was pleased. With only a mild bonk and a left foot cramp - I felt pretty good. I think that was my fastest century on a bike in my life.

At times in the ride I questioned myself... then at about mile 85 I ran into this guy.....
it taught me that that the 'discomfort' I was in was nothing compared to the real troubles people face everyday. That no matter what I felt, it was going to be ME to hold me back. This is going to be on my mind at Mount Mitchell. The only thing holding me back there will be me... and I want to do Great!

So Mount Mitchell...... dant dant dahhhhh. 10 days away. TEN. It is almost upon us. I weighed in today at 191lbs. Down  34 pounds from last year, and a ton stronger. I have over 1,100 more miles in this year over last (actually almost three times more miles).  Being lighter and riding more I think should translate into something special for me at Mount Mitchell. Now I do realize that it could rain, be cold, etc... but what ever happens I am more prepared than I was last year.  I had earlier said that I wanted to hit 7 hours 15 minutes total time for this race. I still think it is possible, but after Calvin's I would like to re-adjust it a bit... definitely under 8 hours regardless of weather, I still think if the weather is the same as last year, I can do the 7:15.
10 days..... 240 hours..... only 14,400 minutes.... it is not far away.

Game On