Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Solstice TNR

Rick, Cory, Mark and others have put together a great ride for June 21. The group departs from Military Reserve dog park at 5:30 PM. It will be HOT!!! bring your own fuel....and lights (just in case)!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Maskenthine Classic MTB Marathon – Stanton, NE

I was trying to figure out a training plan for the 10 days prior to the 9-5 that I would be out of town visiting family in NE.  What to do?  Typically, I would bring the road bike and log extremely boring miles on country roads while occasionally passing a tractor or getting buzzed by the many big rigs.  Not this trip though, this time a quick search on USA cycling website lead me to a Northeastern NE mountain bike series called Pyscowpath.  The series offers both a XC and Marathon race the Saturday before the 9-5.  That’s perfect, what better way to prepare for the 9-5 then doing a 4 hour race.  So I entered, packed up the gear, and hit the road. 
Race day is here, we arrive at Maskenthine Lake recreation area.  It is a small fishing hole lake surrounded with dense wooded areas, just 3 miles outside of Stanton, NE.  While the area is very scenic it is hard to imagine a MTB race here.  As I start to warm up, I check out the start of the race and the first section of single track.  The start is a 200 yard sprint to a single track descent into a technical wooded area full of tight turn, big dips, logs to ride over, and a slippery creek crossing.  Ok, I think I know what to do now.  Time to plan. 
The plan:
·         Sprint and get the hole shot (as I was going to do that anyways J)
·         Setup the Garmin screen to count laps and show average lap time so I can maintain a steady pace.
·         Start with one bottle of water and at the start of the 2nd lap have Sarah hand up the bottle of perpetum.  And then from there have a bottle of water with a Gu tablet in it after every other lap.
·         Take an occasional gel for a little more energy.
Race starts!  I show off my sprinting abilities and steal the hole shot from a guy.  10 seconds in and everything is going well.  Hit the technical area and start to build a gap.  The course was amazing.  All single track switching back and forth through wooded areas.  They even had built in an 180 degree banked ramp section and a man-made rock garden. 
Into the first lap my Garmin beeps at me that is was powering down. Crap! I never started it.  There goes tracking my lap progress.  Alright now the plan has changed from keeping a steady lap pace to keep hammering as hard as I can.  This is my first failure.  End of lap 1, I finished it in under 31 minutes.  Almost 2 minutes in front of 2nd place.  Now time for the next failure, the bottle hand up at the start/finish line.  Note to self, a bottle hand off on descent into a technical section is not smart.  After coming to a complete stop at the bottom of the hill to put the bottle into the cage, I start back into my hammering plan. One hour down and I have not seen my heart rate below 170bpm yet.  Wow… is this a cyclocross race?  The weather is hot and humid and I am already covered in salt.  Now on to the main failure of day, I never communicate to Sarah my plan of having electrolytes in every bottle of water.  So when I asked for a bottle of water that was exactly what I got.  Oops… oh well HTFU and keep hammering.  Two hours in now, HR rate still redlining.  Finally was able to get some electrolytes in my water.  Too late, here they come CRAMPS!  And to top it off someone is gaining.  Alright, maintain a steady pace, ride through the cramps and he will drop eventually.  Lap after lap, I look back and he is still there.  Course Marshall manning the rock garden would give me an update each lap.  One lap he would gain on me the next I would gap then he would gain again.  Over 3 hours in, going into the last lap, and it finally happened, legs completely seized up and there he goes.  Once I got the legs to move again, I bridged back up and started the last lap on his wheel.  New plan, stay on his wheel, once the legs recover completely, take the lead back.   Ten minutes into the last lap and this guy is riding strong.  Then it happened again, legs seized up and there he goes.  Crap, I just lost the race.  I was never able to reel him back.   
Side note to MTB racers in NE…Kegs should be located at the finish line (if BYOB It should be announced in the flyer) and cowbells are used to cheer the riders on!
1st Loser once again.  That’s ok, it was a very fun course, great event, and a lot of lessons learned.  Thank you Elkhorn cycling team and Pyscopath series for a fun painful day.  Thanks also to Tom from Des Moines for the education in proper pace setting in a Marathon race. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thursday Night Ride (as told by Dave Byers)

Dave Byers posted a great blog of Thursday's ride...click on the link for more info!

Thursday Night Ride - 5/31

Team Eastside Cycles is infamous for their Thursday Night Rides, aka: TNR's. Our fearless leader, Rick Holscher was MIA for the last 2 TNR's so we had a couple substitutes. In typical TNR fashion, the rides were maybe a little overzealous. On the 17th, Mark Schafer proposed a ride up 3 Bears to Watchman, from their, take 5 Mile Gulch, aka The Trail of Tears, up to Ridge Road. From there we were to ride across the ridge to Dry Creek for a spirited descent. It was clear that some of us were more excited about post-ride beers as we made a few stops along the way to the Ridge. It was a gorgeous evening albeit a little chilly on the ridge. We realized we didn't have enough light to make it to Dry Creek. This meant a quick detour down Trail 4a to Trail 4 to 8th Street. Our group kicked up quite a bit of dust coming down 8th Street on the way to Scotts and we had a couple near misses with some big ruts.

Eric Zuber burped his front tire in what could have been a nasty wreck in an "unseen" rut. (see the yard sale photo and the mini-pump photo) At least we had a nice sunset to enjoy while we waited for Zuber to complete 1000 pumps. (29'ers take more air) I believe one of our newcomers "tacoed" his wheel in the same rut. Luckily it was a rear wheel and he was able to ride home.

We descended Scott's, Corrals, and Bob's and head down to Sunray for the ever popular beer and pizza.

Thursday Night Ride - 5/24

For the second week in a row, we were missing Rick Holscher. Rick is good at coming up with an epic ride that allows us to finish at Sunray before they shut off the pizza oven.

I thought we would ride Hard Guy to the ridge, descend 8th Street to 4 (Dave's) head back up to the ridge, descend 5 Mile/Watchman/3Bears. Somehow we left the Dog Park at Military Reserve and headed up Mountain Cove Rd. instead of heading up Bogus Basin Road in attempt to get to Hard Guy the quickest way possible. Oops, bad leadership on my part for not explaining the route better.

So, we zipped up the Military Connector to Freeway. We ran across West Water sponsor, Clay Landry, and his fiancé, Jen just before reaching the Hulls Gulch junction. We continued up to the Motorcycle Parking lot and crossed over to Corral's. Zuber and a couple of the others made the executive decision to climb Scott's to 8th Street as we wouldn't have enough daylight to make it up Hard Guy and across the ridge. This ride basically became a reverse of the week prior. We stopped to snag a couple photos at the Trail 4/4a junction before heading up Trail 4 to the Ridge. (group photo and Zuber playing on Trail 4) We had a chilly descent down a much chewed up "Trail of Tears". (see the photo of the sheep)

Instead of riding Watchman, we descended 5 Mile Gulch to Rocky Canyon Road. I don't think I've looked forward to climbing back up to 3 Bears as much before. (it was really chilly -- and I personally was wondering if watching the Exergy Prologue would have been smarter) The nice thing about a chilly Thursday evening is there was almost zero traffic for the descent of 3 Bears.

Pizza and beer at Sunray came along with the usual tall tales from previous adventures.