Monday, May 24, 2010

Finally, A Win

No, not in a race, that might never happen again. However, the fundraising ride I was organizing for obtaining funds to create a Flow Park in Gateway Park went off without a hitch.

I have to admit that a small wave of depression hit when I got to Sunrift and it started raining. I was thinking to myself “not again” as last time it rained and therefore our main mission to raise money was befuddled.

This time was different though and we had great success with raising enough money to say we are 1/5 of the way to our goal.
Two rides were led out of Guion farms with some helpful volunteers leading an intermediate ride and myself leading a 28 mile ride that touched the three main lots in Dupont. A big thanks to everyone who helped make it possible. (Pictures are courtesy of Paul Mayni and John "I don't know your last name)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Did I Do That?

So this weekend started off with a bang, literally. Next thing I knew, I was running my first 5K in a race format ever. With close to 3,000 people at the start line, I only concentrated on not getting tripped up for the first ¼ mile and not re-injuring my ankle. It was maddening with people everywhere so as soon as I saw a hole, I took off way too fast.

I couldn’t really refuse this challenge as it was only a few miles from my house so I rode my bike to and from the race while also running the 5K that supports the Swamp Rabbit that has finally opened from end to end making downtown Greenville accessible to me via 13 miles of greenway. All it takes for me to get to the greenway is three miles of 35 mph road. I am also currently working on a project to help improve Gateway Park for “Flowy” types so it wasn’t hard to throw down $11.00 for a good cause.

I forgot how much farther things seem on foot and got lost trying to follow the course prior to the race on my bike. Eventually, I found the missed turn and realized there were two significant hills on the course. I figured if I could power up those two hills, I would be home free for a fast cruise to the finish.

My ankle felt fine while running so I let it all hang out the best I could. I have not trained for shorter events so I was in significant pain when I passed mile marker one at 6:48. Mile marker two came at mid fourteen minutes. All I had left was a very gradual climb up the swamp rabbit to the finish for the final 1.2 miles but I was spent. Guys pushing strollers started passing me, small children that came up to my knees went flying by and I just suffered.

I was so spent at the finish I didn’t even look at my time, however I saw on the website today that I came in at 23:45. So I ran the last mile in 9 minutes, that’s ugly!

Sunday was one of the shortest mountain bike rides all year with the dogs. They loved the 90% single track route picked especially for Shade. We flew around the loop and made it home a little after Noon.

Fisherman’s Trail -> Trace Ridge -> Spencer Branch -> 50?? -> Lower Trace -> Fisherman’s

Monday, May 03, 2010

PMBAR 2010 – OUCH!!!

It feels like the very first time. . .

So I know you reader, you came here for the catastrophic failure of yet another component on me or my bike that will entail an epic Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race report (PMBARR). If epic involves carefully placing my foot for every hike-a-bike step, extreme cramping and an overall 19th place finish, then sure, read on.

As though on cue, I woke up Saturday morning and immediately the bottom of my foot cramped, YIKES, maybe beer isn’t the best hydrator for the human form. By now, Joe and I have our pre-game down, we ate our breakfast, had a little coffee and were off down the road carless toward the start.


I said to those standing around me, what are we going to look at the maps for? Will it say Black is off limits?

I pretty much knew the way we were going due to my ankle’s circumstance. I wasn’t going to egg my ankle on with more hike-a-bike up to Turkey Pen when I knew the top was not yet clear, stepping through deadfall would equal death for an already injured foot.

The start of this race is always the most entertaining part of the race for me. I love watching everyone’s ‘technique’ for climbing to Pressley Gap.

Joe and I made quick work of Pressley and headed down Maxwell and up Clawhammer. At the bottom of Clawhammer, I took a peek at the checkpoints and for the climb up Clawhammer, I went over routes in my head.

I have been talking about my ankle, but how bad was it you ask? I am not sure but I can tell you that when I sat out Cohutta the week before, I had a huge cankle and it was a pretty color of purple and green.

Now, climbing Clawhammer, my ankle was still different colors in small spots but most of the bruising was gone and all the swelling had receded. So even though Joe and I had been talking a big game all year, I was route finding for four checkpoints rather than five.

With this in mind, I knew we were skipping 225, it was only a question of Pilot first or dropping down South Mills for a counter-clockwise route. As much as anyone wants there to be a “secret” route that will give you an advantage, there isn’t. I was leaning toward Pilot for numerous reasons but I thought I would ask Joe. He seemed to confirm that Pilot early sounded like a decent idea. So after a quick map check to make sure that 476 by the gauging station wasn’t closed as in past years, it wasn’t so off we went.

We made quick work again on Pilot hiking all the switchbacks with every rock looking like a swollen ankle but it was holding up fine. Joe was obviously stronger than me as he was leading all the climbs.

A quick conversation with Shane at our first Mandatory checkpoint, and we were off. We hadn’t seen anyone hiking up Pilot and now we were headed down Laurel Mountain. Descending Laurel was the greatest fun of the day, I laughed out loud as we flew past some of the gaps. Its hard to beat giddy mountain biking on a hot spring day. Well except for maybe, a cool spring day.

As we rode over Yellow Gap toward FS 5000, we started seeing teams again and I knew most had made the alternate decision to head counter-clockwise. We stopped for water at the campground and worked our way to Spencer up 5000. This is where I started to feel bad, it was hot and I was turning the cranks slowly.

Nabbing Spencer, a COLD PBR, YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! I drank a mini red bull and started to feel a little better. Joe started questioning our route choice when he found out most teams had 3 checkpoints as we only had two. I said “yeah but now they have to climb Laurel or ride 1206 all the way over to Pilot.” I kept up with Joe finally climbing back to Yellow Gap, it was still hot.

Down 5015, Joe commented “I thought this road was down to Bradley?” I said “it is.” It just goes to show that perception changes when you are out there for hours on end.

I chatted with Allan quickly at Bradley and Laurel. He confirmed our unusual choice by saying that we were a rare breed heading clockwise.

I started leading the climb to the switchbacks up Laurel Creek and it took the wind out of my sails. When I got to the hike-a-bike I started falling behind and feeling like crap.

On Squirrel I had the first twinge of cramps, I thought to myself “great cramps on squirrel, now is not the time to flail.” I realized I had dug a hole, so I did my best to fill that hole up eating and drinking but it was obvious I was slowing way down. I had hoped that if we could keep a decent clip on Squirrel, our route would work out just fine.

Eventually we made it to the Sermon (literally 20+ guys with overnight packs speaking the gospel) at Squirrel and Cantrell. I filled a bottle at the creek and heard clapping as I took off continuing on Squirrel.

The rest of the day, climbing S. Mills River and Buckhorn, I was fighting cramps bad, punching my inner thigh with every pedal stroke to stave off the debilitating cramps.

Besides passing out and backers on 1206/5000, we hadn’t seen any teams all day and finally climbing Maxwell, it felt like a race again. We were passing teams and being passed. Once we were back on Black, we railed the descent as fast as our cramping hands would allow us, ultimately being the 5th four check point team into the finish but ultimately we were pushed to 19th.

A huge thanks to Pisgah Productions and all the volunteers!!! No swelling on the ankle today means one hell of a fast recovery, thank you ice and Advil, you do wonders.