Sunday, May 30, 2010

Beautiful Day for a Bike Race

scenic backdrop for the Morgul Bismarck road race
12% climb to the finish
It was a stellar morning for bike racing with cool temps and bit of wind on the course. Today's road race featured the return of the classic Coors Morgul Bismarck course with it's famed "Wall" to the finish. We actually had to climb up this bad boy four times during our three-loop affair. My goal was to hang towards the front and cover any major attacks while staying clean of any unfortunate encounters with the pavement. I consider the day a success with a hard 40 mile race which required some awareness and tactics as we began to mix with other categories on the second and third loops. The guys were quite chill for the most part as we hit the tight spots and corners with good communication within our front group. I went to the front on the second and third loop without an attempt to make a break, but simply spice things up a bit. Hitting the final climb up The Wall and the 12% grade to the finish I quickly realized a 39x21 was not going to be a winning combo. The legs were flooded with lactic acid over this final push and I can only imagine what kind of sufferring and pain is endured within the pro peloton. Fun way to spend my Sunday morning!
Keep it smooth...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Little Slice of Heaven

Beautiful view at the top of climb heading into Estes Park. This particular day was the windiest I've experienced up there, but it is always worth the effort!
Keep it smooth...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bag Balm is the Bomb

Having grandparents and extended family on my mom's side who are a group of hearty New England dairy farmers from coastal Maine, I was introduced to this magnificent salve at a young age. My grandmother used it on those tiny, but painful cracks in the skin around the fingertips during the cold Maine winters. My grandfather swore by it as a cure-all for just about anything and I surmise he would even put some on one of his classic sardine sandwiches if he had a toothache. Of course as a little kid visiting in the summer months I always got a good chuckle out of the mysterious green tin conveniently placed in the bathroom medicine cabinet.
Over the years I have tried numerous chamois butters and creams to soothe the sore bum and fight off those dreaded saddle sores. Several weeks ago I started using Bag Balm instead of my high-end chamois butter. To my surprise and delight it worked even better. Not only does it prevent chaffing, but it also prevents inflammation in areas you'd best not be inflamed. I have found it best used during rides and while sleeping.
Finding myself out of this super salve, I ventured to some of Boulder's finest stores in seek of a new tin. After stops at two Whole Foods, Sprouts & Vitamin Cottage I finally found it at Target. Thanks to the Whole Foods employee who steered me in the right direction on this. Even though you rolled your eyes and stated, "No we don't carry that product. We have a lot of people asking about it, but it is mass-produced and you won't find it at a health store like ours." Whatever dude, but thanks for telling me I might find it at a place like Walmart or Target.
Keep it smooth (espcially on the bum)...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Widlflower - classic race weekend

view from the deck of our house
view of Lake San Antonio

Widlflower is one of my favorite race weekends - festival atmosphere, great competition, tough, honest course, beautiful scenery and good times all-around. I made the trek out west with my buddy Billy. Our travel into San Jose and the two and a half hour drive to Lake San Antonio State Park went down without any hiccups.
Overall, I had a solid day of racing improving my time by about three minutes over last year. My swim was a bit slower, bike was faster and run a tad bit faster. I am looking forward to the next phase of training as I begin some IM-specific work in preparation for IMUSA in July.
Swim (27:50) - With a fairly large field of 35 guys toeing the line I suspected I could secure a draft reasonably well. I was right...for about 25 meters. For some reason I fell short on this and swam on my own just behind a small group including my teammate Nicholas Thompson, Rutger Beke and a couple of other cats. Last year I exited the water in that group with Rutger. My new Helix from blueseventy felt extremely comfortable throughout the 1.2 mile affair. Approaching the swim exit I was looking forward to getting on land hitting the bike.
Bike (2:33) - One of my main goals for this race was to have a solid bike. This meant riding smart and aggressive. I had a significant fade at Superfrog over the final portion of the bike and I was committed to having a good go at things over the fun & challenging WF course. Rutger and Nicholas rode away from me pretty easily and I was content to stay within my range while keeping the workrate sound. I pretty much rode solo aside from a few guys who passed me midway through the bike. Upon reaching the bottom of Nasty Grade I caught a couple of guys and was feeling primed to finish the bike strong. Shortly into the climb I heard a holler from my buddy Billy as he made quick work to drop me on the climb. Next was women's champion Julie Dibens. Man can that lady ride! (and swim and bike of course). Towards the top of Nasty Grade I caught two others, one of whom was weaving like a drunk sailor. I watched Julie and Billy play a little game of cat and mouse on the fast descent and over the rollers leading back to the park entrance. Heading back to T2 I passed two others and was prepping the mind for a hard run.
Run (1:18) - If you've raced WF then I don't need to describe the run course. It is the most challening run course I have encountered, but makes for a lot of fun. Julie exited T2 just ahead of me and was looking strong as I passed her with some encouraging words. Twisitng my way through the campground and woods I could see flashes of others up the trail. Despite some minor cramping I was able to sustain a pretty good clip. Coming off the trails and back onto pavement I found a good rhythm. Miles 9-11 cover the only out & back section of the entire course and provides a good opportunity to take in the competition. As I made my way towards the turn-around marker I opened things up to take advantage of the downhill. I believe I caught three or four more guys with Billy and my teammate Nick in my sights. Halfway back up the hill from the turn-around I caught Billy, who apparently had a burr under his saddle with this passing as he let out a GD. Nick was having an off-day and as I passed him I shared some encouraging words. The final 600 meters of the run course is a screaming downhill called Lynch Hill and I could see my buddy James Hadley taking some looks over his shoulder. I worked hard to catch him, but came up short as I crossed the line in 4:23 with twenty seconds on both sides between James & Billy.
It was a fun day of racing. Michael Raelert & Julie turned in stellar performances! I also enjoyed the FCA-E IronPrayer service as it always presents a great opportunity for praise and fellowship with other athletes. With the return of many Aussies to Boulder I can sense the build-up to another full season of racing. Gotta love it!
Keep it smooth...