We make holes in teeth!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Was It Fun?

I want to address Maurice's comment first because I wasn't clear at all about one aspect of Saturday's race.


"Hey Norm. Did you have fun during what you rode? How did you feel while riding? Mechanicals suck, but they happen (tubeless? I've got a pair of XT/816 wheels laying around, I'll do a nice price for you). I tackled NMBS #6 and my rear der. shifter kept getting stuck the entire race. Then I did the short track and the effect was that of getting my lungs ripped out of me. But I had a heck of a time. Wouldn't change a thing. I'm way tired from the driving/racing/riding but what a blast. Plus what an inspiring moment watching the pros race. 4 seasons ago I weighed 180# and thought Chimney Rock was not a place for bikes. Then I entered my first race..."

Without question this was the most fun I've had at a race yet. I felt good, no cramping though the legs were working hard and getting tired. But that's racing. You ride, you get tired, you sweat, bleed, vomit, shit yourself - it's what you do. Coming down the big fat bomb of a downhill where I got flat #3 was just absolutely fantastic. Pure unadulterated good old-fashioned speed. Good stuff. So when I wipe away the disappointment of the mechanical, it really was a good time out there and to use a cliche, I can't wait to go back. But, you know, maybe with those tubeless rims next year.

One thing I didn't mention yesterday was after the race, I was hanging out with Jay Dodge and Tim Dickson. Jay was first in the vet class and Tim was 3rd SS. When I went to get changed Tim was sitting on a picnic table resting and he gave me the thumbs up as I walked by. It was as if, by finishing, I was being accepted into this fraternity of "real bike riders". Quite frankly it made me feel like a poser, as if I had no business being there at all.

So I didn't enjoy the post-race as much as I should have. Jay and Tim are fantastically nice guys but I honestly felt like a total loser hanging out with them. Reflecting on it, there is now nothing I want more than to finish a race like that because I don't want to be the tool who can't ride a bike without having something go wrong. So it really serves to motivate me more.

After my brief foray with trashing the whole season I was once again looking at the race calendar yesterday to see what the next race is. For better or worse that would be the Darkhorse 40. So all indications are that right now I'll be there. But on what bike?


"your welcome to the fuel or the mary. as for the DH40, i've also decided to call it. my reasons are similar to fitness level just isn't there to do it. and i'm 200lbs."

It looks like I'm going to grab the Mary and run it for a bit at LM this weekend at some point. If it all feels good I may very well jump in the SS class for this race. Am I an idiot for entering the SS class on a bike I'm going to ride once or twice? Almost surely. But to be honest this race holds no appeal to me so I need to make it interesting at some level. Jake has a 32/20 on it which might be a bit light for Stewart. But then again do I want to push a gear that's too big for me? Who knows. Maybe I ride it this weekend and decide the old rigid Trek or the Stumpjumper are better options for me. Totally up in the air right now.

Another option is to go for a big ride at Allamuchy instead. Too many conflicting thoughts. Completely undecided but something that nags at me is that I hardly have room to be disregarding a race of any kind. 40 miles is still 40 miles. I have all week to think about it.

Here are some thoughts I sent to someone in a message this morning:

"I'm probably an idiot for even considering a new bike for that race. But I have to be honest I'm just not stoked about that race at all. But then who am I at this stage to shrug off a 40 mile race of any kind, even if it's all downhill? The sensible thing to do is to probably put the Resolutions back on the bike I'll be riding 2 weeks later at the 24, pump them up to 50 PSI, and stiffen up the rear shock quite a bit.

"Hmm, that's the kind of nonsensical rambling I usually put on my blog. But that probably makes more sense than running new tires on the Stumpjumper, riding a totally new bike, or riding my old full-rigid Trek with gears."

But hey another comment popped up so let's forget that for now:


"Another spin on the idea of being in over one's head is being ambitious. My take on things is that you are categorically NOT screwing around, the organization and focus you demonstrate is evidence of that- but you're still just getting started as a racer, so there is an interesting relationship occuring between your training, your mindset, and your race experiences. I think you're setting yourself up for a lot of satisfaction in the long-term, but that will mean weathering the steepness of the learning curve you're currently encountering on race day."

Good thoughts, and great usage of the expression "learning curve" there. This is something I've come to realize lately as I find myself inching up that curve, much like I was doing in the first 5 miles of the race Saturday. It's kind of neat to see the progression, like "hey check it out I think my pacing and calories are actually right today. Can you believe it?" I've gone through these things in other walks of life before, with hiking for instance. Experience is the best teacher, as they say. Or the best lessons are the ones we learn the hard way. Having said that I haven't learned anything in a particularly hard manner yet. Let's hope that doesn't change.

A lot of these guys have 10 times the races I do. Some of them literally 50 times. When I line up at the LMC any number of people who don't really know what they're doing will be there. Saturday, every single person out there knew what they were getting into. When they staged the racers into expected finish categories (honor system) I just moved right to the back. There weren't many of us back there. Most of those guys have been there before and are ready to lay it on the line. Right now I have to realize I'm just out there for the ride. Maybe I actually race the bottom of the Bell Curve someday. Not today.

Without question I need to step back and realize I've only done 6 races ever. I have a bunch of charity rides in there but really they amount to little when you compare it to the races. It's going to take time to learn a lot of valuable, and sometimes painful lessons. The guy Jay I mentioned earlier told me he's 47. There's a lot of riding and racing for me between now and then and it would be silly of me to blow up when I'm really only just getting started.

Good stuff all. Thanks for the comments. Some more random ramblings from an email I sent to someone else. Yes it's sad that I'm quoting myself but hey, full disclosure you know? Some of the comments are repeated:

"What is fun is certainly subjective. Some people like brutal pain but you need to do well. I like pain if I make something out of it. If I trash myself for.a DNF that's silly. I agree a lot of it is when you look back. It's why I keep going back. Now I just want to train harder. I want to hit 35 miles before I DNF. Then 40. Then I want to finish. I also think it evolves. But some people aren't having fun. And I have to not do that. It's unhealthy.

"The guy Jay Dodge won the vet class and he told me he's 47. Man that's a world of riding from now until then. The point is to be riding still then. Not to blow myself to the point I quit before I'm 36. So a lot of this is me saying to myself, OK I gotta make sure I don't burn out. I'm not smelling the roses by any stretch but I'm also not puking on them. It's a good mix for me right now.

"Hey I know I'm not going to win anyway so why not do it slow and steady?"

The smelling versus puking on roses comment sums it up nicely right now.

I did get on the bike this morning. I was going to do my Warren 35 loop but once I got going I ran to the hills. Then I ran for my life. I don't know any more lyrics than that. It's been a long time.

Holy shit the guy who just sat next to me smells like he's been drinking all morning. You don't usually get that from the button-down shirt and tie set. Goddamn he stinks! And he needs a shave to boot, not that I'm one to talk on that front.

Anyway I did my favorite up-down-up-down route this morning. 22 miles with about 100 feet of vertical per mile, including 2 monster climbs. At the top of the last climb I was at a 14.1 average. I finished at 15.8. I think we can get caught up with averages sometimes but on the other hand, a ride like this can end up being too easy if you don't press the pace on the rollers and flats. I think hammering for the last 20-30 minutes to bring up the average helps keep the ride as a solid training ride as opposed to a too-casual morning spin. It's also like "in session" intervals.

I'm making a push to drop weight again. To hell with this "performance eating" horse shit. So I'm going public with my daily numbers in an attempt to embarrass myself into not eating like a cow. This morning I was 212. No no, not really. It was 191. I need to be in the 180s consistently by the 24 hour race though. I'm carrying too much useless fat up the hills.

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  • At 1:26 PM, Anonymous el bonefishjake-o said…

    i spit water on my keyboard when i read the "this morning i was 212 comment" while thinking "no wonder norm wants me to bring hotdogs to the 24 HOA!! :)"


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