Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The week leading up to this race was filled with doubt and wonder. Would my single speed cross bike make it all 100K? would i have legs to ride 100K? did i really sign up to race my longest off road race, and my longest single speed race this fricken early in the season? does this finally prove i have lost all my marbles? (i mean i figured i did when i quit my job to be poor and back in school, but this might be the official flag that signify my leap over the edge.) To late, so off i went

Friday night was spend at Amber's apartment, the girl friend of Jason, my friend and only other Wisconsin member of Half Acre. It was a nice relaxing night of pasta and being geeks about our iphone, yes all 3 of us had iphone. its a good think i had mine because Amber told me i wouldn't be my friend if i didn't have one... i hope she was joking. This was also the first time i met Scout, Amber's rabbit that had free run of the house. She was nice, and we bonded surprisingly nicely. After a night of restless sleep i woke at 6am, thanks jason! (i enjoy sleep and normally wake shortly before i need to leave, not 2 plus hours early.)

The morning of the race went pretty quick, a toasted bagel thanks to Amber (she was like a mom away from house) and off to the start with Jason. after checking in and getting our sweet ass H8terville water bottles we headed back to the car to debate what to wear. I choose my Pink Floyd Darkside of the Moon jersey, a pair of black bibs, underarmour winter longsleeve mock turtleneck, underarmour winter hat, and some old school Planet Bike winter gloves, with a pair of SixSixOne gloves in my back pocket just in case i got too warm. (i choose not to wear my jersey knowing that i was going to suffer horribly, and i have too much respect for our kits to suffer like that in team kit, plus it wasnt an official race so i choose dark colors to keep me warm in the 50ish degree weather.) I believe i only saw one other person wearing only bibs, ie no knee or leg warmers or leggings of any type.

After the standard meet and greet, we were told the order of business and head out for our 100K race, this is where i should say it was more like 50miles, the head of the race cant count i guess. After a short lead out for safely, and a very loud tired blow out we were off. After the blow out someone asked if it was a gun shot, to which Jeff Kao said, "if you live in chicago you KNOW that wasnt a gun shot." back to the race, the lead out was short, but the lead out was mainly to control the few who believed they had a chance at winning, ie it was not for me. after a mile of nice even clean pavement we were off to the "unfinished" part of the course/trail. they call it unfinished, i call it hell. think of single track thought a farmers field, on an over geared single speed with no suspension while scraping your legs on very bush possible. now repeat for about 8 miles! After about 6 miles i took off my winter hat and switched gloves. i was working up a good sweat and didnt want to over heat yet.

once the trail hit the crushed gravel/limestone it was nice, i grouped up with a few people, but was feeling really demoralized and seriously debating on turning. i know at some point i would run into the tunnel, but i seemed like forever. But hitting that tunnel was the best thing, mentally and physically that could have happen to me. it was dark, cool, and slightly damp, it was nice i would have love to explore that tunnel some more, but it was a race. I must say that my newly purchased Planet Bike light, i got just for this race, worked wonderful!!

after the tunnel it wasn't long before the turn around, and the 10ish mph head wind the whole way back. The way back had a twist, instead of going back thought the tunnel, you would ride the mountain stage of the race. it was a series of uphills that sucked on a single speed. i ended up walking part of the hills in an attempt to save the legs some. than back to the trail for the ride back.

I finally got in a groove and started slowly caught people, place didn't matter but i was just tapping out a steady rhythm on the pedals. I came upon Jeff Kao, and Jamie (unknown last name) fixing Jamie's flat, so being a good friend i stopped and offered help. as he was changing his flat we started talking about all the flats we had seem that day, i counted about eight. he finished his change we were off again. three miles later i got my flat, a slow leaker in the front. but again jamie and jeff stopped to help me, karma can be a good thing!

back on the bike and off we set, the three of use ended up slowly separating, regardless how much we tried to stay together. in the end we just split up and finished the race on our own, with me being the farthest ahead, still just tapping out a rhythm on my pedals. this is when the mind starts to wonder, like singing "just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling", to a song for Finding Nemo, you know the song i mean, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming!" the mind also wonders to better things like attract female you know, some of your past, some of the present, and the wonder of the possibility of some in your future. and other random things like umpa lumpa taking over the world.

The final part of the race had to be the hardest, it was back to the unfinished section, on tired legs and with a tired body. I did my best to tap out a rhythm a slow slow slow rhythm, but a rhythm that kept me going. finally back at the start i fell over and laid on the ground and attempted not to cough up a lung. after gaining all my strength i rode/walked/hobbled to the car and changed, than back to the start of the raffle. i ended up winning a pint glass, but i was happier on the ground sleeping than i was to get the glass. (i was one tired puppy)

after the raffle i head back to Amber's with Jason to shower, rest, and get some SUSHI!!!!!!! i had not had real sushi in, well ever so this was going to be a treat, and it was! it made my trip so much nice on the way home.

more training this week, and the slow start of a diet. i need to go buy healthy food to have in the house before starting a diet, it would have made this week more successful and cheaper. more than likely i will do the madison crit this weekend and pass up the mountain bike race. until next time

PS as a side note, Jason killed me by about 45 minutes in the race. he was a beast and a monster on the bike, i predict a good year for him, he is stays health.

PSS i owe Jason and Amber a huge thanks, for letting me hangout the night before the race and taking me out to sushi afterwords. and to Scout for letting me not sleep in a cage while you ran around the house.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vindication, Hillsboro style

2008 edition recap
Cat 4/5 44 mile race
dropped in the first 10 miles or less
bonked after 30ish
road another 5ish before getting off the bike and walking. thankfully com car 2 (i believe) picked me up and took me back to the start.

2009 edition
Cat 5 22 mile race
dropped ?? i dont remember when i but i am a big guy who doesn't go uphills well, i try but we all know how well that goes, of course unless your Ulrich.
no bonk!
I FINISHED!!!! 40, but i finished, and i wasn't even last!

Now of the details

The 2009 edition of Hillsboro started with a trip to and around chicago on a friday afternoon, bad idea!!! i started with a trip to my wonderful teammates Julie's work to get my brand new spank'n kit, i heart our kit, than to teammate Mia's apartment to gather her things and head to Hillsboro. The idea was to leave around 3 so we can miss as much traffic as possible on the way to Springfield, the location of the hotel for the night. We failed, we hit bad traffic, and our 3ish hour drive ended up taking 5+ hours, and with the forecast of 60+ degree we were both drinking plenty of water which means plenty of pee stops.

once we were out of the traffic, it was pretty smooth sail to our hotel, which is were we planned on meeting some other teammates of ours. The reason Mia and i traveled together was with my huge bike, her small bike was an easy fit into the back of out Honda Element, ie big bike plus tiny bike make an easy fit into any vehicle. once we checked into the hotel it was off to Subway for some rude service and some good food. than back to the hotel for more waiting and sitting around until the teammates arrived. Upon there arrival it was bed time for the 7am rise to get to the course early enough that Mia could register... yes it is good to be female somedays, like those days were you stay up all night to make sure your still awake 2 months before a race just so you can register, yeah she did not do that, she just walked in and registered same days..... no fair at the least.

the drive the next morning was uneventful, and before we knew it, we were checked in and preriding the brick section of the course. being the non-climber i am, i tried my best to convince my legs they had to climb today by climbing all the hills i could at a nice slow study pace, it seemed to work. several pee breaks later its go time.

being a cat 5 race you expect stupid things to happen, but not normally within the first 200 meters after the neutral zone. But that day, someone locked up there brakes and slide sideways, on a DOWNHILL! they didnt fall but to prevent running into the back of everyone, as they slammed on there breaks, i had to swing out past the yellow line and ended up passing the whole field, opps! in my attempt to avoid a penalty because if i didnt swing i would have started a pileup, i slowed and waved everyone past me, so i could just back into the spot i started. i got there with no momentum at the bottom of the hill, bad news for any big guy. a nice hard effort to stay attached ensued which involved a lot of dodging in and out of traffic. i stayed with the group for a few more climbs but as with all hilly ride i got snapped off the back.

After the snapping, it became ride for vindication, sure it was a shorter distance, and i had actually ridden my bike during the off season, but i still wanted it finish, and not finish last. knowing that i wasnt the first one dropped, it helped the mental part of riding alone while being passed by small juniors who can cut thought any headwind, while i act as a parachute for the slightest gust. finally a guy passes me, we worked together for a little bit, but it was one side and not in a good way. so i let him go, but kept a close eye on him. as we neared the end of the race, we had the final 2 climbs still to do i could still see him.

i decided if i kept a nice steady rhythm on the pedals i could probably cut into his lead on these hills and just use my weight advantage and pass him before the brick section. And slowly, pedal stroke by pedal stroke i slowly closed. with lactic acid reaching the eye balls, remember i dont live near hills and i am 240lbs, i just kept climbing. at the top of the final hill i was within 5 bike lengths, with only one left hand turn until the bricks. he lead thought the left and as the road rose slightly before starting the downhill into the bricks i attacked, went over the top and hopped into my 53x11 and hammered down the hill. with it being a short hill i hit the bricks around 45 mph, and held on for dear life. (the cobbles travel by a lot faster and are a lot smoother when your flying over them) another left at the bottom of the hill and over more bricks, and i attempted to keep whatever pace i could, I DID NOT WANT TO BE CAUGHT! one more left and on to the final straightaway, take a look back do i need to sprint? i saw nothing, where did he go, check the other side, still nothing. i guess i keep pedaling until i hear someone yell or i cross the line.

He, the guy i was chasing, never caught me and ended up 15 second behind me. but the important thing for the day is that i finished and wasnt last. My legs did hurt, and my winter training proved to be nowhere near enough, which means i have lot of work to go still. but the season is young, and i still have no DNF on my record, lets hope it stays that way.