Friday, April 30, 2010

2010 Squiggy Classic

This past Sunday was the make-up date for the Squiggy Classic. My goal for the day was to complete 5 laps and to not die.  I can tell you, I reached my goals. Both of them. Unfortunately, I am still left feeling disappointed.

I got to Morris Bridge park quite early.  It only took about an hour and twenty minutes to get there from my house.  Amazingly, there were a ton of people already there, and I had to park quite far away.  Getting signed up was no problem, I just told them my name and I got my 'race packet'

My 'Race packet' contained very little.  I got a hammer gel and some clif and larabar samples. No t-shirt.  Really?  No t-shirt? After getting the packet, I had to walk my cooler down to the staging area.  My cooler has no wheels.  That means, I would have had to struggle with my cooler from my car - which was a million miles away - had it  not been for Tony.  He helped me with the cooler when he saw me struggling with it

The Squiggy Classic has a LeMans type of start, meaning, I had to run a good 100 meters to get to my bike - in carbon shoes. That was a comfy way to start off the day. haha. Here's me just after getting on my bike and making my way through the crowd.

Ahh how fresh I look.  This 'freshness' would only last about 3 laps. The course was nice, but had alot of sand. There were some really nice fast sections of singletrack a few ups and downs and a few rooty sections.  Right at about mile 8 started a section called 'heartbreak ridge'. This section sucked. At least, it sucked for a guy on an aluminum hardtail. I run around 30psi front and back with 29 inch wheels - usually roots dont bother me that much.  These roots were okay for the first couple of laps, however, after that they lived up to their name.

I rode 2 laps straight through without stopping.  I felt great after the 2nd lap, stopped and refilled my camelbak bladder, got another bottle of accellerade (I had prepared 3 bottles with the plan of drinking one bottle and one camelbak full every two hours or so) I was in the 'pit area' for only a couple of minutes.  My first laps were good, I averaged under 50 for the first and just over 50 for the second and third.  However, something weird  happened on my fourth lap.  I started feeling bonktastic.  I was on my second bottle of accellerade and second camelbak bladder. I had been hitting the gel or clif bloks every 30 or so minutes.  I tried to eat a clifbar, but it tasted like eating crackers in the desert. I was actually feeling a bit cold, even though it was in the 80s and I started to feel nauseous.  I was guessing I was getting dehydrated, or electrolyte depleted.  I stopped for a second and ate half a package of the margarita clif bloks and had a few swigs of water.  Was not feeling much better.  I struggled back to finish this lap.

Luckily, most mountain bikers are cool.  I got back and was feeling a little terrible.  The guys who were sitting next to me were riding as a team.  They had an extra folding chair that they let me use.  Thanks guys!  I laid there for about 40 minutes trying to recover.  Since I did pretty well for my first few laps, I had plenty of time to get out and finish up a 5th lap.  I gutted it out and finished a 5th lap with 40 minutes to spare.

Here I am after my 5th lap looking not so fresh.

Looking back, I should have had more electrolytes.  I had almost a full bottle of acellerade left after the race, and a good amount of water in my second camelbak bladder.  While riding, it really felt like I was keeping up on my drinking/eating.  However, now looking back - I wasnt drinking enough after the 3rd lap.  After the race, I went to the bathroom and my urine came out brown.  Thats a good sign that you didnt drink enough liquid.  The first 3 laps I seemed to be keeping up really well with the drinking, and must have just lost focus and paid the price.  That wont happen again, I hope.  If I would have kept up with my hydration and feeding I would have finished 6 laps with relative ease.  The garmin says - even with the last two laps of over an  hour - that I had a riding time of 4 hours and 20 minutes. The next day I weight myself, and came out 10 lbs under my every day weight.  Thats a hell of alot of water loss. I gained it all back by 9pm.

All in all, I am very happy with my performance.  I did what I set out to do, and then some.  50 miles in the woods at 4:20 is nothing to sneeze at. I have been mountain biking for five months and have come a long way. Next year I will get 6 laps without a problem.  Tomorrow is Santos for the prep for the Hammerhead 100.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Check out this new helmet!

I didnt get a whole lot of miles in last week - I rode out at the E-center twice, for a total of 20 miles or so. The wednesday challenge was cut short because I wanted to go see the last Magic regular season game.

 As  you can see, we had excellent seats.

Saturday El Nino and I headed to Orange Cycle to pick up a new helmet.  I got a youth Bell helmet for 40 bucks, that should hopefully fit for the next 3 years. It is red. Of course.

I'm not sure why, but he does not seem pleased - and yes, that is a Spiderman bike from Walmart.

Here he is with a determined attack - leaving me in the dust. I especially like the calls of  "You're losing!"  Sunday was puppy training class for Max.  He is an absolute nut, and Im having some difficulty getting him potty trained.  He wants outside, then inside, then outside. It is very difficult to tell when he actually needs to go the bathroom or when he just wants to fart around outside.  My back yard is not fenced in yet, unfortunately.  Kim picked up a really long leash thingie that we can hook outside, so that will let him wander around out there without getting lost.  Even though he occasionally craps in the house - how can you be mad at this face?

It is ridiculous how cute he is.  Sunday after the class I rode 80 miles out to Sanford and back in a non stop drizzle.  Ill say this: Riding in the rain sucks. My eyeballs were constantly on fire from the salt dripping into them, and now my road bike is disgusting.  Tonight I will need to clean it.  My neck hurts like an SOB today as well.  I am not nearly as flexible as I used to be - so I think a shorter stem is in order.  (I would like to just get a new road bike)  My 10 year old road shoes also finally blew out.  Yes, I was riding with a toe hanging out for the last hour.  Ghetto!  Ill have to post a picture of my absolutely destroyed shoes.  Unfortunately - I have older SPD-R pedals, and they dont make spd-r shoes anymore.  Looks like pedals and shoes for me.  boo.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easton Monkeylite bars and EC70 Zero Seatpost

I recieved and installed my new parts on saturday.  The Easton Monkeylite bars and seatpost are beautiful.  The handlebars are ludicrously light while being wider than the Ritchey riser bars.

This picture shows the Ritchey Comp bars up top and the Monkeylite bars down below. There is also a slight backwards sweep in these bars - moreso than in the Ritchey bars.

The seatpost uses a really simple two screw clamp that is similar to the Thompson's clamp.  You dont have to remove the screws all the way in order to put the saddle on.  This is a really nice feature.

Sorry for the craptastic photos - but I had to take them with my phone.  It only took a few  moments to put the saddle onto the seatpost, then install it into the frame. The handlebar took a few minutes to remove the old, then put the new one on. 

I put the Edge on the stem, and clamped everything together just hand tight. I also threw on the Salsa skewers to replace the garbage that came with the bike.

These Salsa skewers are so nice.  The springs arent as flimsy as the old skewers and the lever itself is shaped nicely so that it bends inwards to keep from getting snagged on brush.  And - they are red. Ahh. Red.

I took the bike out for a ride at the e-center to see how it handled after losing almost a pound of flab.  I really liked the wider and more swept back handlebars.  I felt I had more control of the bike, while not being so wide that I couldnt fit through any narrow passages.  I found myself going a little bit faster than normal.  Unfortunately, the seatpost slipped about an inch and in the process scratched nicely.  Thats probably my fault for being afraid of over-tightening.  I tightened it up some more and it didnt slip the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, there is a pretty nice sized scratch in the surface of the seatpost right at the clamping area.  Im sure its not a big deal, but Im not going to risk it on a mountain bike. I can imagine sitting down hard after a bumpy section and the thing snaps, sending my balls into a sharp carbon dagger. Therefore, I have relegated this seatpost to the roadbike.  My road bike had a generic piece of crap seatpost on it since the standard GIANT branded carbon post got stolen.  Long story.  I will think long and hard about having a carbon seatpost on an MTB before spending the money again. If I do get another one of these posts I will use some of that carbon goo that supposedly helps keep carbon from slipping.   To be honest, the Easton seatpost is beautiful, and worth the money on the clamp alone. It looks really really nice on the bike, and helps with the fit a little because of the zero setback design.  However, I think it will be more at home on the road bike - where the scratched/gouged bit is not right at the clamping area.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Soldier Creek challenge.... again.

I went out to Soldier Creek yesterday again for the 10 lap challenge - even though I was still feeling a little residual effects from the stomach virus that left me bedridden monday. The guys have been doing great work on that place.  The areas that were mud-filled were no longer mud-filled since new drainage was added, a really terrible sandy area was re-built to flow better, and a new mile or so of trail was added. 

We started out and did one lap including the new bit of trail.  Its a little more tight and technical than the flowy part that we use as the 'challenge'.  There were some tight turns and thin bridges (one of which I nearly came off of) It was really a nice little section of trail - and I think I will go out that way this weekend to get a few laps in.

By the way, as you may or may not know, it gets hot in Florida.  Last week was cool, and I was able to grind through 10 laps using one 24oz bottle.  Not so this week.  After six laps I was done - I felt like I could not drink enough liquid.  I went through almost 2 bottles in 45 minutes. My stomach was groaning, and I guess being sick for a couple of days really dehydrated me.  I should have known better - since Tuesday I went out for about 30 miles at night (and it was pretty cool) and I drank almost an entire 100oz camelbak. I did manage some decent laps, though.  Each lap is about 1.3 miles and my best lap was 6:57.  I have to say much of the night was frustrating, as there were a lot of people just dicking around on the trail.  I got stopped by some dude just standing in the way at the top of a sandy climb, and I got stuck behind some guy and his dog going seriously slow on a couple laps.  So, I called it after 6.  There is always next week!

Oh, some of the bling for the bike has begun to come in.  I will post some pics this weekend after getting everything installed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Downtown Urban Ride

Met up with a bunch of folks downtown to ride through downtown and winter park on mountain bikes.  I rode my bike from home to downtown for the meet up.  Unfortunately, I had to be home by around 9:45, so that cut my ride short. I was hoping to get in 40 miles, but I only rode about an hour with the group and then had to head back home. All together I got 30 miles in. Next time I will make sure to leave time time open that I can do the whole ride and hang out with the group afterwards. 

It was a huge group of mountain bikers though.  I would say about 20 people showed up to ride.  Im kinda glad I had to leave early though, since my headlight died before I got home, and I lost my tail light on some random stair or curb jump.  Arg!  I need good lights if I want to ride at night, for sure.  Oh - and I bought more stuff for the bike: 

Salsa skewers
Easton Monkeylite lo-rise bars
Easton EC70 Seatpost.

The skewers that came with the bike are complete crap, and have let go several times during rides - once this past wednesday at the E-Center ride.  That is something that is super dangerous and either a> destroy your wheels and/or b> send you off the bike.

E-Center challenge is on again tonight after work.  I am hoping to beat the 1:19 of last week, but I was sick for a couple of days Sunday/Monday. I feel mostly better, but last night after riding I felt a little sick.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Soldier Creek 10 Lap Challenge/Santos Ride

I never did post about my Santos ride from last weekend.  I will keep this part short:

I went to Santos to ride the 23 or so miles of landbridge out and back.  I was feeling awesome and keeping a nice pace of around 9.5 mph.  At about the 15 mile point I was coming down a whooptie-doo and at the bottom of the whooptie do was a pool of sand.  Of course my front wheel came to a halt, and tossed me off the bike.  The front wheel was bent so bad it was hitting each side of the fork when spenning.  So, using man-muscle, I bent the rim back into semi-ridable shape and made it back to the car.  20 Bucks and 40 minutes later my rim was truer than when I got the bike in the first place. Big ol' bummer though, since that really wrecked my rhythm and I didnt get back out for another lap of Nayls.  The new shoes worked great, however I wasnt wearing the proper socks, and they seemed to bunch up at the toes and bug me a little.

Every Wednesday a local meetup group does what they call the 10 lap challenge out at the 1.4 mile loop at Soldier Field near the Environmental center off 419 in the Longwood area.  This last Wednesday was my first time out there to give it a try.  It doesnt sound very difficult, but it is alot harder than it sounds.  The terrain is pretty fast and flowing with numerous little bridges over the creek(s).  I started off really slow and worked my way up to a pretty good rhythm and completed 10 laps in an hour and 19 minutes.  Unfortunately, I did not set my lap timer correctly and I didnt get my lap times down.  My feet felt great, but I know for a fact now that the garmin 500 without the speed sensor is absolutely not measuring distance correctly.

For example:  The Greenway map shows the ride from landbridge to 484 and back to the landbridge trailhead is right around 22.3 miles.  My ride over the weekend displayed it as only being 19 miles.  The 10 laps out at the E-center showed up as being 12.2 miles, when a guy out there who was using the 705 was coming up with 13.5 miles.  That kinda screws my average speed/etc up. Lets calculate this.

According to the Edge 500 I did 19.5 miles in 2:08 moving time with an average speed of 9.1 mph.  When in actuality I did 22.3 miles (according to the OMBA epic map) in 2:08 which would be 10.4 mph.  That is an enormous difference, and considering the last 8 miles were ridden on a rim that looked similar to a potato chip - I think I could have done a lot better. Im going to keep working on getting my landbridge lap down under two hours and the 10 lap challenge down closer to an hour.