Monday, July 27, 2009

24 Hour Virginity- LOST

Can you think of anything better to do than ride a bike for 24 hours? Only about about a million, right! Well I know two Sisu boys who lost their 24 hour endurance virginity this past weekend, for one, Tom Carpenter, it was a great experience, I think ? and Tyler had a memorable experience as well, but one he soon would like to forget! Tom Carp kicked butt having the fastest night lap and one of the fastest averages overall and Tyler having severe gastric distress and still turning in one of the fastest laps of the day, including one lap to the Wausau Hospital E.R. for a 2 liter intravenous pit stop. Mechanicals were in store for Glen, broken chain in B.F.E., with no tools, time for heel-toe express! A good Samaritan at Red Bud Road donated Glen a bike, wrong pedals, a single speed, no light (its pitch F'n dark) and five miles through a rock garden to go to transition! As you can see Team Sisu had some serious obstacles to overcome! We went from First to Worst in a hurry!
A definition of SISU is "intestinal fortitude" (a.k.a. GUTS) and that is exactly what I saw from this team. Tom turning in stellar night laps and Glen riding a borrowed bike, we slowly clawed our way back up the leader board. With 2 hours and 23 minutes to go and Team Sisu in third place, being 12 minutes out of 1st and 11:45 out of second , our strategy was set, Glen had to ride his fastest lap of the day and Tom (riding with only one lap's rest) had to ride the fastest lap of THE race. "Sisu" should be emblazoned on Tom's chest because he pulled us 7 minutes closer in one lap after racing all out for 24 HOURS! We only obtained a third place podium spot but it was definitely not a lack of SISU!
Team Sisu had a HUGE amount of support from the "WSG Girls"(who by the way took first in the 12 Hour race) and all of our SIGNIFICANT" others! Its nice to hear a cheer from Patty P.(a girl who never sleeps) for Team Sisu at 5:30 a.m. when your tongue is hanging out and you've got severe tunnel vision from sleep deprivation. Kudos to the "Houghton Boys" for placing 4th!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WORS #6-Sunburst Showdown Race Report

Photo by Brittany Nigh

After an embarrassing performance at my first Elite WORS race, I felt a bit defeated and wasn't sure I belonged in Cat 1. I arrived in Kewaskum expecting to improve on the first race and hoping I'd finish the day feeling like I put in a good effort that was competitive at this level.

I was a little more aggressive at the start of this race and moved up a few spots before entering the singletrack climb up the ski hill. On the first lap I narrowly averted disaster on a fast downhill when my shoes inexplicably unclipped from my pedals simultaneously. I learned quickly that you have very little control over the bike when your only points of contact are two hands and your taint.

I tried to hold back a little bit on the first few laps to avoid bonking. The first three laps were within 3 seconds of each other, so I knew my pacing was good. The last two laps slowed down just a touch, but I held on to get 26th place out of 47 finishers, 11 minutes behind the winner, Brian Matter. Full results are posted here.

I rode hard, didn't bonk, felt good and improved my results as measured both by overall placing and % time back from the winner. The improvement is encouraging, but I am still shooting for a top 20. It is within reach, but I need to get myself in better position in the starting chute and ride quite a bit faster.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

12 Hours of Potluck

In attempt to add a little variety to a years worth of point to point racing and prep for next weekends 24 hour of 9 mile I decided to do the 12 Hour of Potluck. I entered the 12 hour solo freak division in hopes to push my fitness beyond comfort knowing that if I could withstand 12 hours on my own I would put myself in the best position to help my team next weekend at 9 mile.

My overall goal was to stay on the bike as long as possible and if breaks were needed to make them quick. Little did I know I would end up in an epic battle with Dave Grant, Ace Hardware Team, that pushed both of us to insanity. Both of our goals quickly changed. His, to keep the pressure on and not let the small gap he had on me dwindle into the night. Mine, attack every lap to catch him until my body blew up.
The day started dark, drizzly, and cold. The race promptly started and the 12 hour clock starting ticking. For the first 3-4 hours I kept a high zone 2 low zone 3 pace trying to establish every lap I could early on while I felt good. The plan panned out as it left me feeling really good at the half way point. As hours 7-9 approached I realized Dave's gap was growing slowly and I had to come up with a plan. The plan was to attack 1 lap and rest for 2. It started to work as at about hour 9 I had taken his lead of over 20 min down to 15 min. Knowing the night was coming to an end I attacked again at hour 9 1/2 and hour 10 resulting in cutting the gap from 15 min to 11 on the 1st lap and from 11 min to 7 min on the 2nd lap. The 2nd attack ended at hour 10/12 and totally did me in. At that point I attempted to attack again and my body would not and could not respond. I had nothing left in the tank and used every ounce of energy just to finish the 12 hours. In the end Dave held off the attacks and increased his lead back to 15 min. We both completed 22 laps (a new Potluck record) but Dave did in a bit faster. Congrats Dave.

It was a great day of racing and I truly enjoyed my experience. The day left me with 12 hours of non stop riding, 22 laps, 129 miles, countless feet of climbing, too many cliff bars to count, gallons of Gatorade, 2 Culver's Chicken Sandwiches, and 10,000 less calories.

During a 12 hour race you have no time for rest. This picture truly represents fast food. Thank you to my sponsor, Culver's, for the well needed nutrition. (Check out my right hand, chicken sandwich).

A huge thank you to my parents who were there to support me. Without them it would have not been possible to stay on the bike as long as I did. Thank you for your love and support.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Leadville 100 Training

DG is doing the Leadville 100 this summer. Yesterday I tagged along on one of his training rides with Msrs. Asmus, Daggett and Lackey. Nicole and Jack dropped us off in L'anse and we rode dirt roads back to Marquette. 'Twas a lovely day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

WORS #5-Eau Claire Race Report

I had a big slice of humble pie at yesterday's race, which was my first WORS race with the big boys. I went in thinking a top 20 was feasible. Nope. Top 40? Nope. Top 50? Nope. I arrived at the race a little late, didn't get a warmup and was staged in the very last row of a big field. The rollout wasn't all that fast (the dust was suffocating); I just maintained my spot at the tail end. There was a big bottleneck as we entered the first singletrack and we actually came to a stop as people tried to fight for position.

About 10 minutes into the race I crashed when a signpost appeared in the middle of the trail (I think some flagging accidentally got moved). Shortly after the crash I realized I lost my lone bottle of Heed. I had a half bottle of water and a few GUs, but knew that would be insufficient to finish the 2+ hour race. I was pissed. The course is fast, flows real well and is fairly flat. The trail builders in Eau Claire know what they're doing. The second lap went well as I just hung on to a couple of 40+ guys who were cruising. At mile 20 I bonked and quickly lost contact with my pacers. I stopped and picked up a water bottle someone else lost because I was out of fluids. Shortly thereafter, something grabbed my shoe and pulled me off the bike. Crash #2. I limped through the rest of lap 3 feeling really, really bad. I got passed by 7 guys in that single lap and thought I was literally in last place.

I was still hurting very badly as I started the final back was screaming at me to stop, my guts were tied in knots from all the bouncing, my legs were cramping and refusing to turn over the pedals. As I entered the singletrack I told myself I'd just ride the trail like I was there to have fun. I'd play a trick on my body and make it think I wasn't racing. As I leaned hard into a right hand turn a 4 inch maple tree presented itself on the inside of the corner. My handlebar and shoulder made contact simultaneously and I went down hard. I had to realign the handlebar with the wheel, remount and continue. The fun didn't last long.

I finished in 2:27, 22 minutes back of the winner. 53nd place overall (of 63), 42nd among Cat 1 riders and 16th in my age group. I've got lots of room for improvement. This is the first WORS race I haven't medaled in...I think I'm finally in the right category.