Tuesday, December 25, 2012

North Bend Rail Trail

Up here in WV visiting my wife's family, and since we celebrated Christmas yesterday I took some of today to check out North Bend Rail Trail.  Lucky for me they live about 10 miles from the Happy Valley Parking on the West end of the trail system.  It has rained right much the last two weeks here with some snow mixed in and it was raining yesterday.  The trail was very soggy as you can see in one of the photos which made for a slow trip and in some areas lucky to be doing 9 mph at times.  I ended up going through five tunnels and that is where I had my highest speeds with it being dry in there between 16-18 mph.  I ended up doing a round trip of 62.5 miles with my turn around in Ellenboro.  For a rail trail it had more elevation than I thought it would after looking at the elevation profile on Strava, but it is in a mountainous state.  I look forward to riding the entire 72 miles one-way and turn around for a 144 mile round trip this summer when the trail should be dry and fast.  It is a beautiful trail and well maintained.  Here is the new bike (Cannondale Super X Rival) I got about a week ago, so this was the biggest ride on it and it is comfortable and worked like a charm.  Here are a few photos from the trip.
Eaton Tunnel (first tunnel)

Country Trail Bikes in Cairo, WV

A little soggy made for some hard pedaling
Another tunnel
Ellenboro - nice to place to refuel on  future trips


It was a dirty ride
Had fun getting it dirty

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fool's Gold 100

I had been putting in lots of miles for this race with it being my first 100 miler and was ready for this race.  Mark Farnsworth and my endurance running buddy Ryan Liska headed up on Friday and did all the normal pre-race check-in.  We drove out to where Aid Station 2,3,5 and 6 were going to be located since they were all the same location.

Saturday morning came quick and we were out the door by 5:30 to head over to the race.  We got a few sprinkles of rain, but they quickly went away.  We lined up for the start and we were off.  The first 5 - 6 miles were all on the road leading us out to the big climb that would last for 9ish miles.  I was nervous about this climb since I had never climbed for that long and not knowing how my legs would take it.  Mark and I were together on this climb passing other racers going up and we had a good pace of 9-10 mph.  I knew it was suppose to get steeper the closer we got, but my legs were feeling great.   After about 7.5 - 8 miles I backed off because my legs were feeling it and somewhere around 8.25 - 8.5 miles into the climb I was not turning my cranks as hard and jumped off and started pushing the bike knowing I would save some energy and hopefully catch back up.  I got back on once it flattened out and started making up my time I had lost.   I caught a few of the guys that passed me while walking.  I skipped the first Aid Station at mile 18 and kept rolling to Aid Station 2.  The decent from the top was roughly 2.5 miles with 1500 ft of elevation loss and parts of it were steep and was winding down the mountain.  Had some more climbing and another hike-a-bike section that everyone had to push their bikes up.  I could see Mark about 50 yards up the trail, so I knew the walking didn't hurt me earlier.  I hit Aid Station 2 (27-28 miles) after some good singletrack trail and Ryan was there waiting to help get whatever I need.  Having someone there with you to be support crew makes endurance races go smoother.  I knew I would be coming back around on the other side of this Aid Station area which was number 3 (40 miles into the race).

There was some more fire road that we were on and then it dumped off onto the single track and it was more good flowy trail.  I was coming into a downhill section around miles 37 when another rider was standing there having us slow down for an injured rider.  There was only 2 other riders standing there and I stopped not knowing if they needed help moving him or what the deal was.  Come to find out he was going fast into this blind turn and went wide left and hit a good size bump that sent him over his handlebars landing hard on his hip area.  We were figuring out where all the injured rider was hurting when he said he had a warm feeling in his pelvic region, his leg looked to be shorter than the other, and over the next 2 hrs of waiting his leg was changing colors.  One of the other riders there Eddie is a ER nurse and Robin was an anesthesiologist which it was great to have those guys there to keep an eye on Marcus's vitals and any change that most people may not have picked up.  We talked to the rider a lot because Marcus was in some serious pain and was trying to make him as comfortable as possible until EMS got up to us.  We were trading off between us on standing up the trail to slow riders down coming down the hill and around the blind corner.  After my buddy Ryan running the 3 or so miles from the Aid Station and he hung  around for about 30 minutes.  He told us that EMS had been at the Aid Station for at least 15 minutes before he made the run and by this time they may have been there for at least and hour.  We decided that he should run back down and grab a litter since the EMS down there seemed to not be making there way up even though they were trying to have a John Deere "Gator" come up a different way which would not work in this terrain.  You should know it is a lost cause with the Gator when you are having to cut trees to make it down the trail.  It took Ryan and 2 other guys to get this litter with some big wheel under probably an hour to make that mostly uphill climb to us.  In the meantime a couple other volunteers had made their way to us also.  It was time to move him and they got him loaded up and we started the trek down the mountain with roughly 6 people on the litter at a time constantly rotating out.  It took well over an hour to go the 3 miles.  While another volunteer and I hung off the back of the group by 10 yards or so to keep riders from running up on us we came across a yellow jacket nest and both of us got stung at least 2-3 times.  We got him down to the Aid Station and my buddy Mark was coming through with roughly 21 miles left to the finish.  It took close to 5 hours from his accident until we got him to the Aid Station and then EMS took him to the helicopter.  There were so many more details, but this was the Reader's Digest version.

Ryan filled a couple bottles for me and I took off on the bike to catch Mark and give him some company to the finish.  I ended up catching him after a good 6-7 miles and he was very appreciative of that extra push, and I would have been the same way.  He cross the line in 9:45 and next thing you know they were calling him up for 5th place in the single speed category.  He rode a good race and was well under what he had expected for his finishing time.  This course was great that I had ridden and Mark said the other parts were awesome also.  The promoters put on a great race and had done all they could do with the situation from placing the phone calls and there were some great volunteers that made multiple trips and helped get Marcus off the side of the mountain.

Unlike the local EMS that sat on their asses for at least 2+ hours at the Aid Station instead of making the effort to hike up there and do their job.  They are willing to put on the uniform of a civil servant then they should uphold the oath they took to protect the injured. Maybe they need to go back and read what they have on their website:  "It is our mission that the men and women of Lumpkin County Emergency Services provide protection of life, property and rapid emergency response services to the citizens of Lumpkin County and its visitors. Above all, be courteous!"

On Sunday we got up and went over to the Fool's Gold Trail Race for Ryan to run the 6 mile course of hills.  Ryan didn't know how he would do after putting 12ish miles on his legs the day before going up and down the side of the mountain.  He ended up placing 2nd overall and 1st in his age group.  As Mark said, "Those 12 miles were like priming the pump for the race today."

I'll be back next year to race it again.  Great location and well organized by 55nine.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Huck-A-Buck 2012

Another Huck-A-Buck at Lake Crabtree is in the books and for once it was not 100 degrees.  The race is put on by Happy Fun Racing and they do one hell of a job.  This race always draws a pretty big number of riders and the Single Speed Category isn't lacking either along with the competition in it.  The trail got some rain last night which helped tighten it up since it has been dusty and slick, but the trade off was slick roots and bridges along with 80 degree temp with about 85% humidity.  We had three 7 mile laps to sort it out on the trail.
Rockin' the 29nsngl kit
Photo by On the Mark Sports
They let the Single Speed Category loose on the course at 12:20 and it was on from the start when the siren went off.  The start line was maybe 40 yards from the entrance to the trail, so I had to mash on the pedals hard to hopefully get the hole shot or at least be close to the front.  I hit the trail running 3rd, but there was a nice line behind me that was pressing hard.  It seemed 1st and 2nd were trying to keep the pace down and with really no passing areas on the trails were going to be tricky.  So, I thought I would be nice and ask to pass, so that is what I did.  I can't blame the guy when I asked I got the response of, "what?" So, I asked again and he said sure at the next time that it was possible.  I went around in the first 2 miles and sat on 1st places rear wheel until about 5.5 miles when it widened out and was smooth, so I took a drink from the bottle and let 3rd go around me.  We crossed the start/finish line nose to tail and stayed like that until about 10 miles when 2nd made his move and he was gone.  We tried to stay with his pace, but backed off since 4th on back looked to be maybe a minute behind us.  I spent the rest of the race seeing 2nd through the woods and looking back and seeing 4th and 5th not that far behind me also.  There was no letting up for the entire 3rd lap for it looked like 4th was trying to close the gap and he was.  I crossed the line in 3rd at 1:32:19 for 21 miles (3 laps). 

I only ended up drinking one bottle of fluid and two Gu packets the entire race.  After uploading my Garmin 500 to Strava it really showed what kind of suffering was going on during the race for me by my heartrate.

For placing 3rd I got this nice poster of vintage Tour de France image of the racers drinking that I plan to frame and hang in my office at work.  Along with it was one of these handy dandy recycled bike parts bottle opener key chain that will get plenty of use.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Run from the Cops 4 HR MTB Race

photo by Preston Scott
It was a Hot Metal day out there today.  This was a great race put on by the Greensboro Police Club and many other sponsors.  Nothing to exciting actually happened during this race for me which was a good thing.  It was more about not blowing up and overheating in 4 hours.  The temperature was around 80 and humid when the race started and by the end was 97 with a heat index of 103.  There were a few people creeping and some standing on the side of the trail nursing cramps.  I was making sure I was drinking plenty of water and electrolytes to hold off the cramps.  I ended up getting cramps on the inside of my thighs on lap 6, and to fight this off I had a gel bottle filled with pickle juice (yes, it sounds gross but it works).  It took about half a bottle and roughly five minutes and no more cramps for the rest of lap 6 and lap 7.  Another trick to keep the core temperature down were ziploc bags of ice that I would put down the bag of my jersey for 2 laps at a time that I starte at lap 3 and it really helped.  One of the trails (Owls Roost aka Owls Roots) is a rough trail because of all the roots and because of this I switched out my rigid fork for some front squish for this race and glad I did.  Really didn't want to deal with the jarring since it was a hot day and wanted to conserve as much energy as possible.  It was a very dry and dusty course and by the end I was covered in dirt sweat.  At the end of the day I ended up putting in 48 miles in 4 hours and placing 6th in the Single Speed Category.
photo by Preston Scott

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2012 6 Hours of Warrior Creek


This was my first time racing the 6 hours of Warrior Creek and my first time riding the trails at Warrior Creek in Wilkesboro.  The week before the race did not go as planned because of being out of town for work all week and working some crazy hours.  Drive 5 hours back home on Friday then the 2 hour drive to Wilkesboro followed by some camping the night before.  I knew when I woke up on Saturday morning it was going to be a rough race because of how the body was feeling.  Since I wasn’t feeling fast I at least looked fast in the new METAL Kit.  I sucked it up and lined up about mid-pack since I knew the road section at the beginning I would be eaten up by some people with gears.  With the mass start and about one and half miles to sort it out and hopefully make up some ground before hitting the single track.  I fell in with a group of about 5-7 riders and made my passes when possible since some people geared down and spun up the hills unlike I was doing on the single speed and mashing up every hill.  Never riding here and not riding a lot of berms it made for a fun first lap with some learning at the same time.  With each lap around 12.5 miles and the first being slightly longer I was hoping I could make up more ground in the single speed division.  IT was difficult to know exactly where you may be in your division which made me want to not back off the pace on the first lap.  First lap down and as I roll into the pits I let my buddy know that is there as support that I am over geared and should have put an easier gear to spin.  There was a lot more climbing involved then I had suspected.  It ran through my head a few times to take the time in the pits and switch it out, but of course I decided not to do that.  This is where I will start to pay for that decision toward the end of lap three and through lap four.  A little over halfway through lap three the cramps started setting in slowly and I tried to fight them off, but turning the harder gear was taking its toll on the legs.  Lap four was a tough one, but I sucked it up and pushed on until I got to the top of one of the longer climbs and had to stop because the legs were cramping pretty bad.  I ended up rolling across the finished line in 18th out of 37 in the single speed division.  Not what I had planned, but this was the hand I was dealt.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Curse at the Crab 2012

photo taken by On The Mark Sports
This past weekend I raced the Curse at the Crab 6 hour race at Lake Crabtree here in Raleigh, NC.  What makes this race really awesome is it runs from 2pm to 8pm, so you get at least 2-3 laps in the dark.  Going into the race I knew the course was going to be a fast 6.75-7 mile course.  No major climbing just lots of hammering the pedals.  The Single Speed category was 10 deep with some really good racers in it, so I knew it would be a fight to take a podium spot.  They started us about half a mile down the main road in the park to try and get us spread out.  When we started it was a mad sprint to be somewhere up front since we had about 75 racers jumping into the singletrack at once.  I hit the woods running around 4th in the single speed category being sandwiched between two other single speed racers, James and Mark.  These are two buddies that I ride with, so I knew what they could do for the next six hours.  Not even 2 miles into the race by buddy was running in front of me and he wrecks, which moved me up to possibly 3rd in the SS Category.  Somehow I came to a stop without leaving him with a tire tattoo.  Then not even a mile later going through some switchbacks I was carrying to much speed into a 90 degree turn and ate it.  I got up and never lost my spot in the four person train we were running since they had no way of getting around me.  Somewhere during all of this 2nd place fell off and moved me up another spot.  The next three laps were the same with me leading the 4 person train through the woods until we got to this flat straight away that I would use for eating and hydrating.  I backed off and waved them around while I ate some food moving me back to 3rd place.  Somewhere on lap 5, I moved up to 2nd place without knowing it.  Then on lap 6 I rolled into the pits and saw who I thought was 2nd place off to the side getting some food or something.  At the time I had no clue that I was now in 1st place, and tried to pick up my pace or at least stay consistent.  So, in my mind I was trying to chase 1st place down, but at the same time I was running scared and hoping to not get caught.  Halfway through lap 8  it was time to switch on the lights.  The last two laps were in complete darkness and my goal was to not let any lights catch me and try and catch as many as I could in front of me hoping it would be 1st place.  I started my last lap 10 minutes before the cut-off time, so I knew there was plenty of time for someone to still catch me.  Lap 10 was uneventful and I crossed the line at 5:58:37 with 10 laps/70 miles.  It was not until I got to my pit that I found out I won the Single Speed Category and when I started looking at the results I learned I had been in 1st place since lap 7.  Lesson learned:  Hammer it like you are chasing and running scared at the same time.  Stay Metal.

This race like all the others wouldn't be possible without TORC (Triangle Off-Road Cyclists) and all the volunteers.  On The Mark Sports provided the timing and photos.  It was really cool that they did live updates on the website every few minutes and had the photos uploaded within hours on their facebook page.  The trophies were really bad ass also.

I think I have finally dialed in my nutrition also.  I ended up with no cramping or stomach issues for the entire race and that was a first.  More on this in a future post.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fresh Rubber

I ordered some new tires from my local bicycle shop Flythe Cyclery this past week.  Mounted them up yesterday and it rained today.  It is looking like the maiden voyage on the fresh rubber will not be until this upcoming weekend during the Curse at the Crab 6 hr race.  Six hours of racing will be a great place to put these to the test.  The tires I ordered are both from Maxxis Tires.  I will be running the Ardent 29 x 2.4 on the front to help with the rigid fork I run.  It is roughly a 800 gram tire, so it is solid.  In the rear will be the Ikon 29 x 2.2.  This is a true racing tire coming in around 500 grams.  On my way home from the bicycle shop, everytime I  would stop at the stoplights I kept picking them up one at a time and that 300 grams is a huge difference.  After mounting them on the bike it gave the bike a feeling of it being evenly balanced from the front to the rear.  It is going to be interesting to see how low I can run the Ardent since it is a high volume tire.  The Ikon seems to feel like the Continental Race King I had on there.  I took some logs I have stacked up beside the shed and put them in the yard to simulate roots and  see how they felt with the air pressure I picked to try.  Ardent was at 18 psi and the Ikon was at 21 psi.  These are the same tire pressures I ran with the tires I just took off the bike.  I will see how they do and add to the review as time goes, but 6 hours will be a good test to start with.

Feed Zone Cookbook Empanadas Review

Here is another review from my favorite new cookbook.  I made the two empanada recipes for the Buffalo Curry Empanadas and Jalapeno and Potato Empanadas.  I also used the crust recipe from the cookbook also.  I made the crust earlier in the day and put it in the fridge until I needed it.  The recipes state that these are labor-intensive foods and combined time from crust to finished products was roughly one and half hours.  That includes  chopping, cooking the ingredients and cool time before stuffing the empanada crusts.  In my arsenal of cooking utensils to make it easier is an empanada press.  You can get these online for no more ten dollars.  Lets move on to the empanadas.

First up was the Buffalo Curry Empanada recipe with of course a change in some of the ingredients.  I have stomach issues with beef, so I changed it up to turkey burger.  My ingredients were taco seasoning, minced garlic, minced onion, and minced jalapeno.  These turned out great with excellent flavor that no one ingredient really over powered any of the others.  I need to make a larger batch next time and have them ready to warm-up for later.  Next was the Jalapeno and Potato Empanada recipe.  I didn't change anything up with this one and it came out great.  I used a bag of shredded mexican blend cheese and some russet potatoes.  Either one of the recipes would be great for breakfast also with an over easy egg.

The next time I make these I am thinking of combining them together into one.  We like to go camping and these would be perfect for making the day before leaving.  Wrap them in aluminum foil, store in a cooler and set them over the fire for lunch or dinner to warm them back up. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bushwhack Mountain Bike Challenge

photo by biketriad.com
This was the inaugural Bushwhack Mountain Bike Challenge and it was limited to 100 riders, and I was one of the lucky ones that got a spot.  It wasn't that hard to get one as long as you signed up early and didn't wait until the last minute and then hope someone would back out so you could have their spot. This crazy cold front that came through had the temperature at 28F and a wind chill of 20F at the start which is not normal for Raleigh, NC. This race was every man or woman for themselves, no categories, just straight up racing.  They had us start with 1 mile on the road before hitting the singletrack to get us spread out sort of. It was great accept for everyone with gears went flying down the road which made it harder on the single speed to get a good spot going into woods. I spent the next 7 miles slowly moving around people before we hit the fireroads for the next 19 miles. It was fairly flat for the next 2.5 or so miles which made it easy for some the geared guys to come back by until we hit the uphill sections and I would make up time on some. Spinning out going downhill didn’t help when I would be within quarter mile or so of some others and they would just pull away. I think I only ended up passing 3 or 4 on the fireroads. Finally I hit the singletrack again and that is where I made up some spots passing 7 guys. I ended up covering the 35 miles in 2:37:49 and finishing 33rd out of 90 riders. The race didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but better than not showing up and not finishing.

Photo by Reward
Yes, I ran the rooty climb.  People were stopped at the top.

Lesson learned - Even though it is cold as hell outside you don't have to put on every cycling related piece of gear you own.  Well, the one extra piece was not actual cycling gear, but none other than running tights.  Huge mistake, not because they were running tights, but because when you slide your leg warmers over top of the tights the leg warmers like to slowly work themselves down over the miles.  This didn't happen with both legs at the same time, they somehow took turns sliding down.  At least 3 times in Umstead I slowed down to a crawl to pull them back up.  Only happened once in Crabtree, but it was flopping around by knee, so I had to come to a complete stop for this, it sucked.  So, next time I will have to not be a big wuss and HTFU and go with just the leg warmers or just hope it is warmer.

This race will be on my list every year they run it.  It makes you hurt in a good way.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Feed Zone Review

The Feed Zone
I purchased The Feed Zone Cookbook a little less than a month ago and have been making a few meals and portables from it.  So far, I am highly impressed with everything that I have prepared.  Today, I made the Brown Rice Muffins and my main reason for this is the nutritional value it has for long endurance rides on the mountain bike.  It has 248 calories, 3 grams of fat, 49 grams of carbs and 25 grams of protein that will not leave you short of energy.  They are extremely easy to make as you can see from picture below.  Only things I used was a rice cooker (highly recommended), blender and muffin tin.  They are easy for me to eat at 5am during the week as I head out the door to hit the trails for a good 15-20 miles before work a couple times during the week.  I also will have an extra with me to eat right after the morning ride to help with recovery.  Also on weekend rides lasting more than 2 1/2 to 3 hours they can be put in a sandwich bag and stuffed in the jersey pocket or I can swing back by the car and grab it.
Brown Rice Muffins


To date I have made the following recipes:
Egg and Chorizo Sandwich
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Allen's Rice Cakes x 2
Chocolate Peanut Coconut Rice Cakes
Rice and Banana Muffins
Brown Rice Muffins
Angel Hair with Bacon and Sweet Corn
Pizza with Tomato and Basil
Chicken Tikka Masala
Spiced Black Beans
Spicy Cabbage Slaw

One of my favorite recipes to make is the Spicy Cabbage Slaw.  This has some great flavors and so far I have had it on Fish Tacos, Shrimp Tacos and just by itself.  There are other foods that it would be great on also from BBQ, Turkey or Veggie Burgers also.
Shrimp Tacos w/ Spicy Slaw and Homemade Guacamole

I have also been using PROBAR on my endurance rides for energy for sometime now because they are another great source of natural energy, and they are made of natural whole foods.  I have used gels and other products like them and after awhile they make my stomach hurt if I use a lot of them.  I have cut back on the number of gels that I use on a ride or if I use any at all.

I highly recommend picking up The Feed Zone Cookbook and PROBAR.  Both have changed the types of foods that I use for endurance rides.  I believe they make a good combination for getting energy from natural food sources that your body can easily digest.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012- what's be happening...possibly

This year is the year that I plan to focus on endurance races.  I have found that is more of my comfort zone (as comfortable as you can be sitting on a bike saddle for 6 hours or more) vs. the shorter cross country races.  Nothing against the cross country races, I just would rather suffer for 6 hrs + instead of 1 1/2 hrs.  Not saying I will not go and suffer for the 18 miles of cross country racing to support my local mountain bike club and trails.  This year I have already hit HTFU endurance rides once and put in some other roughly 20 mile days along with time at the gym.  The weather has gotten in the way somewhat as much as work has.  Excuses...I know suck it up and HTFU, either way the more rides I get now the less suffering to happen on race day.

For the second year I will be racing on the TWIN SIX METAL TEAM!!  If you are not wearing Twin Six then you are missing out.  The quality of their jerseys, bibs and the t-shirts are superb.  Getting some of my fuel for the year from Honey Stinger again, and the waffles are freaking awesome and their gels seem to be very easy on my stomach.

As for the race schedule:
2/12/2012 - Buckwhack Mountain Bike Challenge
2/25/2012 - 6hr Curse at the Crab
3/24/2012 - 6hr Meltdown at Harris Lake
4/7/2012 - 6 hrs of Warrior Creek
9/8/2012 - Fool's Gold 100

There is a 5 month gap there that is up in the air on what races I want to compete in.  It will be my first 100 miler and really looking forward to the suffering.