Monday, September 15, 2008

Harvest Moon Half IM

I am not too certain of the origins of the name of this race which takes place east of the Rocky Mountains in Aurora, CO. Perhaps it has something to do with the rolling hills of the rural country & farm roads on which the bike course traverses. Having never raced this event I was not too sure of what to expect from the course and it was a bit more challenging than what I anticipated.

Props to Ben Hoffman (Durango, CO - 1st overall), Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, CO - 2nd overall) and my buddy Billy Edwards (Boulder, CO - 3rd overall) for their efforts. I was 4th overall, although not within spitting range of these guys. With the temps hovering around 50 degrees, some wind and lots of cloud cover it was a chilly day of racing! I exited the water a couple minutes down from the leader, Tim Hola, and about one minute behind two other athletes. With a decent swim I was hoping to get things rolling on the bike and bridge the gap to these guys. Apparently my legs did not get the memo that it was a race as these guys opened up their lead on me. About eight or ten miles into the ride Billy came by me and politely informed me I had dropped a bottle or two. I was well aware two of my Sport Bean bottles had launched early in the race altering my fueling plan a bit. Billy rode away from me like I was standing still. Is my brake rubbing? Do I have a flat? Damn you legs! I completed the remainder of the bike with some postive self-talk and hoping the sun would come out to warm my frozen body. Onto the run I felt fairly smooth, but lacked any serious "oomph" to be a threat to the guys ahead of me. I did catch one guy early in the run who ended up with a DNF. The run course was a tricky affair as it sent us weaving, twisting and turning along a combination of trail and mostly concrete walking/bike path around the Aurora Reservoir. I found it difficult to really get into a fluid run rhythm and was glad to finally lose the "concrete" blocks attached to my legs about four miles into it. I completed my day with a 1:23 run.

A big thanks to Billy's fiance, Lara, who was our driver, cheerleader and sherpa for the race. Darrin and the crew at Racing Underground put on some very fun events with a relaxed atmosphere. They served up one of the better post-race spreads I have seen in quite some time with a hearty offerring of bar-b-q and all the fixins!

Thanks for reading and keep it smooth...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sputter, Sputter

That was the sound echoing from the engine of my trusty 1996 Jeep as I proceeded down the mountain late Sunday afternoon. Coach Z wanted me to complete my long run over hilly terrain and at altitude so I ventured up the canyon to scenic Magnolia Road (well-known among endurance athletes for its challenging terrain & high altitude). Shortly after parking my car and taking a quick leak, my Jeep's radiator took a leak of its own. Hmmm, what are my options...bag run and call for tow service (fortunatley I was in a pocket of good cell phone coverage) or complete run as if nothing happened. I chose the latter. I figured the engine needed to cool down a bit so I might as well get in the work I was there to do. Upon finishing the run I was hoping I could at least get down the canyon and possibly to the shop before blowing the engine. I used all the tricks I knew to keep the engine as cool as possible including blasting the heater to draw heat from the engine & coasting with the car in neutral. As I rolled closer to the outskirts of Boulder the temperature gauge kept moving to the right until it could move no was buried & finally the engine sputtered to a stall. Fastforward to today and I am awaiting the diagnosis, prognosis or some kind of "nosis" from the shop. This has been a great vehicle with 216,000 miles and very few problems outside of the general maintenance.

The work for Kona continues to go well as I enter the final push. As the weather swings towards fall-like temps in Boulder I am hopeful it will hold out for a couple more weeks. The focus will be on quality, rest, recovery, nutrition & staying healthy over the next several weeks. I will have one more hard race effort this Sunday at the Harvest Moon Half IM in Aurora, CO.

Keep it smooth...