Normbrero

We make holes in teeth!

Friday, July 20, 2007

In the End

I expect it to work out for the Simpson children. No idea why that popped out and not sure how accurate it is. But that comes right after Millhouse bites the dust in one of the Halloween episodes. Maybe next year on the trainer I'll catch up on all my Simspons episodes, all 17 years of them or whatever it is. Man I don't look forward to that thing right now.

One of the reasons I don't like committing to rides is because my weekends, and my life for that matter, are not stable at all. So on Monday my next 2 weekends basically looked like this. Short off-road ride and Lebanon 52 this weekend then whatever next weekend. Now I'm meeting up with someone at Hartshorne tomorrow, doing Rattling Creek next weekend, and whatever Sunday. I really like to be dynamic, which isn't very good for other people making plans nor my reliability.

I'm stuck right now in Tire Madness again. I will more than likely race different tires an all 3 upcoming events but what tires are still up for debate. I'm pretty sure I'm going to pull the Kenda Small Block 8s out for the Darkhorse 40 and I'm leaning to the Kenda Blue Grooves for the marathon next weekend though I could be swayed to run the 8s for that too. The Nevegals are an option as well but I don't think I need the traction as much so the slightly faster rolling Blue Grooves are more likely. For the 24 I will likely go back to the Specialized Resolution, or maybe give the Kenda Dred Tread a shot. That's the new Tinker tire from Kenda that I'm excited to try. Also getting set of the Kenda Karmas just to round out the experimentation of it all. At some point I also need to try the Specialized Roll-X as well.

Tires are to me what purses and shoes are to many women. I find myself changing tires every week these days. My naked wheels are on the basement floor right now waiting for the latest shoes to be put on. Incidentally my front wheel is 2.5 pounds and the rear (with cassette) is 3.5 or 3 pounds 10 ounces I forget. Man that's a fair amount of rotational weight, especially that rear wheel. Slap on the 1.5 pound tire and a few more ounces of tube and that rear wheel is over 5 pounds. Those are some of the details of the dump truck.

George believes I do crush edges:

"Hey Norm, I have to echo most of the previous comments...great race report, really. Your posts are always insightful and quite humorous as well! A few things I would like to say; All your posts are underlined by a sense of modesty, I think you sometimes don't give yourself the credit when it's due. But that is also a good quality to have in my book, like you say..there are a lot of douche bags out there...lol! Let me be the first to say, that yea man, you do crush edges. "Edgecrusher" is a fictional concept from Fear Factorys 1998 release, Obsolete. Edgecrusher is one of the good guys, who stands up for what is just. The reason I chose the name is because for me, Edgecrusher is a state of mind, where you refuse to give in, put forth the effort, and always try your best. That is the racer mentality, that is you, as well as many other good guys and girls out there giving it everything they have. It doesn't really matter where you finish, it matters that you finish. So, you do crush edges Norm...and since the H2H races are class/age specific, 31st of 52 is a good solid result, and to finish 76th out of 155 riders was a well done effort and a real good accomplishment. I want to say that you are representing the team very well, and I sincerely thank you for that. Any team would surely do right by having you on their roster."

Rock on George, thanks for the kind words and good to hear you enjoy reading this mess. I try to be entertaining but sometimes I get carried away by tires or salt intake and so on. I do try to be modest because I think it's a good thing. I know how much work I put in and for a recreational bike rider I know I'm pretty fast. But there are a lot of people putting more work in, and these races show that as a competitive racer, I'm just average. I'm cool with that and don't need to trumpet myself up as more than I am.

I didn't know there was a story behind the team name. That's cool. I'm happy to have carried the Edge Crushing mantle thus far and for the next 6 weeks, I will keep doing that. Hopefully I keep representing well over that time.

Walter added a comment yesterday about the logistics of the race next weekend but I don't want to get into that just yet. Micro planning 8 days in advance will only lead me to second guess myself all week. Though I will say I'm hedging to work from home next Friday which would make going out the day before a lot easier. Didn't I just say I wasn't going to get into this?

So Hartshorne tomorrow and a few road hours Sunday. Some dad required stuff on Saturday after the nap and Sunday is free. Should be a good weekend overall. I need to stay away from too many Scottie Pippens though (Michael Jordan here). I had 2 last night and boy do they pack a punch.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rattling Creek

I mentioned yesterday I'm going to race in the MASS Rattling Creek Marathon next Saturday, somewhere out in the sticks of mid-Pennsylvania, just north of Harrisburg. I'm not sure how the course shakes out in terms of terrain, but there's "only" 6000 feet of vertical in the 48 actual miles of the race. It is being dubbed an "easy" way to do 50 miles. Another account from the guy promoting the race said his GPS reported 5000 feet. While those are ballpark figures it does put it short of something like the 50k, which is a good thing.

I don't know about easy but it does look a little less brutal than some of the other half-century mountain bike races. From what I can gather a 6 hour goal is not unrealistic though I would do well to plan for something in the 7 hour range, just to be conservative.

I'm pretty excited and yet nervous about this race. I'm excited because it looks like a good race that should be something I can complete, yet nervous because I haven't done this much saddle time in quite some time. In distances like this I always seem to have pacing problems at the start so it's something I have to be concerned about. Plus heat, hydration, and fueling always become an issue with rides this long. Should be fun regardless, in either a good or painful way. I'm sure you'll read all about it.

I guess I'm looking to take the good vibes from the LMC race and either extend them or destroy them. Smart money is on destroy, though sooner or later I'm going to get this stuff right. This is a great primer for the 24 hour race in terms of fueling, pace, and hydration. Like I said, both nervous and excited.

When it comes down to it I don't have the confidence I'll be able to pull it off. Strange in a way when you consider that I'll take off for an 85 mile road ride with 7200 feet of vertical and have no qualms about that. But put it in the woods and it's a whole new ballgame for reasons I am yet to put a finger on. Mental blocks wear many different hats.

So it goes. Now the decision becomes whether or not to camp out there the night before or get up early and drive the 2.5 hours early. I should probably float it out on the message board and see if anyone else is going. The decision gets tougher since it's a Saturday race, meaning that Friday could just be a killer day of commuting in and out of Brooklyn then driving to Harrisburg that night. More than likely it has to be an early morning drive.

Today's ride was an hour plus on local roads. No link this morning for the same usual reasons, no time before work. To be honest I don't think linking these weekday rides provides much to the reader so I'm going to stop linking them. You can always find some/most of what I've been doing on my MotionBased account here. I don't log all my rides so if you do look don't be surprised if you see big gaps from time to time. I will continue to link the big rides though. They seem to be more interesting to look at than these weekday 20 milers.

As always I aim to serve the customers so here's more feedback.

Steve

"if this is beverly hills, mtbnj, i hope to be knocking boots with shannon doughtery real soon. good stuff, 3rd party."

You know I was always lukewarm on Shannon Dougherty. My favorite was Jennie Garth. The funny thing about those shows was that we all used to watch them in college. I don't know how it happened but slowly they grew into Must See TV until literally everyone was watching weekly. In reality it was probably just another reason to sit down for an hour and drink beer.

Jake

"i did see that guy, all yardsale'd out right @ the switch. i guess he came in too hot and couldn't get the red knobs outta the corner fast enough and swamped the bow resulting in him getting all tweaked."

You kids and your jargon. All I am reminded of is the Jive Scene in Airplane (YouTube link here). "Oh stewardess, I speak jive." A brilliant scene in a brilliant movie. Terren and I were discussing how it always seems better "back then" but I wonder, do they make movies of that caliber anymore? It seems to me the days of Blazing Saddles and Airplane are over. I don't think Blazing Saddles passes the PC Police if it's made today.

Steve

"*Today's installment of Beverley Hills, MTBNJ can be found here. That's just good stuff. Third Party, your sarcasm is being paged.* Huh. Nothing there."

Well it seems the Drama Pot has been emptied so there's nothing for me to stir. With that I'm going to have to close the book on the Beverley Hills, MTBNJ series and move back to my fueling, hydration, and pacing issues. Thanks for the usage rights, Third Party, and those who were not injured in the filming of this docudrama.

George left a big comment that I will give attention to tomorrow. In the meantime, good luck, we're all counting on you.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Race Manners

I mentioned it yesterday so let's talk more about it today. In any race you do you will pass, and get passed. It happens no matter how strong or weak you are. In my experience there are generally 3 kinds of passers when the passing gets difficult. It doesn't really matter on a doubletrack trail. The real fabric comes out when it's tight out there:

The Friendly Approach

This actually happened to me Sunday. A guy comes up behind me on a tight section and says, "Hey how's it going up there?"

"Good, how have you been?"

"Good."

"I assume you want to pass."

"If it's not too much trouble."

"At the end of this little stretch is a good spot."

"Cool."

At the end he passed, added "have a good race," and went on his way. In my opinion everyone should have this approach, more or less. Now to be sure this guy was way more friendly than he needed to be and I hope he did well overall because people like this is one element that makes the race enjoyable.

The Direct Approach

"Come on guys let's get a move on."

This generally comes out of nowhere. You could also call this guy an asshole but at the same time there a lot of people who simply refuse to get out of the way even though they're just completely out of their league. So you come up on a guy wobbling his way up orange and you either announce you're going around in an unsafe area or you slog up with them. And sometimes when you ask to pass they ignore you. So then you're forced into hostile move territory which sucks more energy out of you and is dangerous as well.

So the guy with the direct approach is usually sick of the riffraff and that's understandable. I did this a little bit coming down yellow at the end of my first lap. We were a train of 4 or 5 guys and the lead guy was riding his brakes on the fast stuff. Finally I got sick of it and yelled, "Stop riding your brakes!" Of course that did nothing and I made the power move after that and left too much out there too soon.

Silent But Deadly

This guy is the real asshole, just blazing by you when there clearly is no room for 2 bikes. These are the people who you hope to see stacked (OK I'll take it easy on that word after today) 50 yards up the course. It's really not hard to say, "Hey can I get by?" There really is no reason to make it a savage affair.

So there are your 3 main types of race passing. Each has a subtle set of subclasses but that's beyond the scope of my experience and this blog.

Knowing the course Sunday was nice and it allowed me to make some passes that would be hard otherwise. On the stretch before the far lot I went left around a tree where the main path goes right. It was a move I announced with a quick, "On your left" and the guy even gave me a "nice move" when I was done. Feels good to hear that.

I think I'm more or less tapped on the race stories for now. I did ride today but it was for 30 minutes and then done because it was raining so hard. It's not the rain that gets me I just get nervous with the cars and visibility in the rain. So I packed it in early. I'll go back at it tomorrow and probably scale back the weekend ride which means likely bagging the Lebanon 52. I do have the ride link from yesterday here. The pattern is pretty all-over.

Today's installment of Beverley Hills, MTBNJ can be found here. That's just good stuff. Third Party, your sarcasm is being paged.

I do have more comments than I can shake a stick at so here goes.

Steve

"Great race report, Norm. It is interesting to read about your falling into your own pace as opposed to racing others. I think you should have smiled at the guy from Marty's one last time and said something to the effect of, "Nice day for a spin" before you opened up the gap."

Yeah I guess in a real Clint Eastwood way that would make for better copy but the reality is that I usually play it conservative because I just didn't feel that comfortable that I would beat him.

As far as riding my own race I think I did that well except for that screwup at the end of lap one and the start. You really have little control over the start unless you accept starting out in last place. I think our mutual friend Jake might have benefited from that but I wasn't racing just to finish so I didn't want to do that. If I want to do better than 15th in class or so I think I need to be able to come out faster. There are other races to try that out on, though not until September. I'm certainly not going to do something like that next weekend at the start.

Jake

"nice work norm! congrats. i was behind you for awhile then i started feeling funny...dehydration. not sure how as i had plenty of water. then my legs cramped up. completely blew up. i guess you could say...kaboom?"

I was a big Kaboom fan when I was a kid. I was really good at it, and many years later when I got to college I was sensational at Tetris. I mentioned in the comment to Steve that I don't like to do the Clint Eastwood thing but with Tetris I will. There was nobody who could hold a candle to my Tetris skills back in the day. People literally used to watch me play for hours. We didn't take turns, I just played and they watched. I was almost autistically good.

Anyway thanks for the congrats. I know what you went through having gone through it myself a few times. The DNF hurts to say the least and I wish you would have managed to bang it out but you didn't. By the time I finished you were gone otherwise I would have dragged your cramping ass out there for that 3rd lap with you.

Next time, my man. That Darkhorse race is just around the corner. Maybe you should trade PMs with Kirt since he did that race last year and cramped badly.

ChrisG

"Good stuff. To me, a significant element is the learning experience a race provides. No matter how many you do, there's always lots to be taken away."

To be sure I took a lot away from this race, it having been my first real XC race. The 50k doesn't count in my world because it was a middle-distance event for me. Like I said I wish there was another H2H race next weekend but the 48 miles of Rattling Creek are going to have to suffice. I'm actually pretty excited about that race right now.

Walter

"great read today norm, and congrats on a great effort and a great race"

Great great great!!! Well I'm glad you enjoyed it, it really was a great race even if my results were just OK. I'm trying to dig up another memory from the race but I can't right now, so this recollection from my past life will have to do:

This one time, at band camp...oh wait I better not go with that one. Sorry I'm tapped right now.

Maurice

"Sounds like you had fun. I was waiting to see that. Great accomplishment, keep it up!"

Well thanks for the encouragement and the words of advice after Granogue. I think you were at least partly right when you said that most people don't train hard enough. I think that was the case for me and I've been slowly putting more into my training rides. I think it takes years, especially at my age, to really build a base to work off of. I did a good job ramping up but there's still plenty of room to improve and a lot of this high-end stuff just fatigues me a lot, as does waking up at 4:45 am.

Anonymous

"Just caught on to your blog courtesy of a link from Greasetruck.org. Do you have a post anywhere that tells how you upload your racing and map data?"

Wow, there's a crossover between my biking and the Rutgers sports board? Amazing. I mean FatCat doesn't really count because he just reads to read, not because he's a biker. To answer your question, no I don't have a post. I use a Garmin 205 and download the stuff to my PC and upload it to the MotionBased website with their software, which is free. It's really pretty easy. This assumes you have a GPS of course.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Do I Crush Edges?

The team I race for is called Edgecrusher Racing which is a subset of p9 SportsGroup. I have never officially come out and said that I do, in fact, crush edges but I did refer to a team previously, Steve did ask, and I answered with a few details. So now the question becomes, do I crush edges? Really?

I don't know that a 76th place showing warrants a tag of having crushed edges. Categorically speaking, I did place 31st in my age group out of 52 people who started. I don't consider it good or bad, it merely is what it is, middle of the road, 6 minutes from 18th and 6 minutes from 36th. After a few more of these races I can better say how I feel about my placement in this hierarchy but for now I'm just living in the bliss of having had a nice race on Sunday. Again, I really wish there was another of the series races sooner than mid-September.

Regardless, that's not edge crushing at all which is why I have told my team captain (George) that I'm going to play out the string this year then move on. There are other opportunities coming in the year which could prove interesting but for now, I'm still going to Crush Edges through the 24 hour Allamuchy race then see what I feel like doing for the rest of the year. But following that, edges around the world will be safe from my influence.

So now what? Well I guess the big item on the radar is the 24 hour race which I probably need to plan for in some way, though to be honest I'm considering just showing up and letting it fall how it may. A really good idea would be for me to do the Rattling Creek 50 in 2 weeks then the Darkhorse 40 2 weeks after that. Then the 24 hour race is another 2 weeks after that. Lots of stuff to do if I can swing it. I actually have the sign-off from the wife for all of those so it could be a pretty packed 6 weeks from here on in, especially when you throw in the Lebanon 52 road ride we're doing this weekend.

After rereading my entry from yesterday I have to say I don't like it that much. It sounds so overly dramatic for a 76th place finish. There was one funny moment I forgot to relay though. I once read one of those joke forwards that asked, "Why don't you ever see a low-speed chase on TV?" Well on the third lap, first climb up orange there were maybe 6 of us slogging up the hill going about 4 mph. And one guy made a move to pass, going about 4.5. One of the guys yells out, "Oh look at that aggressive move!" Now that's a low-speed chase. Good stuff.

After inspecting my bike again this morning I'm not sure there's a click in the suspension, it may just be making a boat load of noise again. Whatever, this is par for the course at this stage.

I never talked about the exciting news items from last week. Oh there I go again getting all dramatic. There were no high speed chases in the making of this story, though it is a bit of a soap opera of sorts. Anyway, the first thing is that Steve and Jake bought mtbnj.com and are looking to reshape the site, or re brand, or liven it up. Not sure how you want to label it but you can see the post here. Anyone who cares has already read it of course. The other bit of news is that Albert launched another bike site called aroundnj.com without Steve and Jake having any knowledge. A third party (not myself) referred to it as Beverly Hills, MTBNJ. That's quality material, folks.

Today's ride I was shot out of a cannon again. Don't you love how I say that shit? Yeah yeah yeah, every other training ride it's a cannon but the races are excuse excuse excuse. OK fine. I felt good on the bike today. I have no ride link because I was cutting it close and didn't have time to download it. The basic ride was a warm-to-hot pace with smaller hills and rollers thrown in. Basically the idea is to get in some sprint-like or medium-range climbing mixed in with a tempo pace. It was an aggressive ride that I would classify as "putting it all together" where you mix that warm tempo pacing with the interval training.

I think the week after the sick/rest weeks plus the race Sunday have totally revitalized my motivation. Don't get me wrong, waking up today was still rough at 4:45. But it wasn't as bad as in weeks past. And I woke up and looked forward to getting on the bike. It was a beautiful 63 degrees when I went out. When I got home, I took a rare summer hot shower that felt fantastic. It's the small things in life. That's what I think.

I want to get one of the Trek full-rigids up and into race shape for the Darkhorse 40 in just under 4 weeks. It's not a technical course and there's not a lot of downhill bombing so the Stumpjumper may be a bit of overkill at that park. I need to find out more about that race. On the other hand it may be the case that the lack of climbing makes the Stumpjumper perfectly fine, and since it is 40 miles the added comfort might really come in handy. Regardless I want to make one of those frames into a light rigid race bike and the other will be the single-speed.

I have some comments to make up for. I don't think I can get them all in this post because you guys have rocked the comments lately. But let's go with everything from Friday at the very least:

Steve

"good luck on saturday. do they start the races by class/age group? you have truly peaked my curiosity: "In mysterious foreshadowing news, those of you who follow this blog from the bike site are in for some interesting developments (note the plural). So Monday's race recap will probably only be part of the discussion. Stay tuned""

Thanks for the well wishes, it always helps to know that someone is watching and if you totally shit the bed everyone will be there to see it. They do indeed start by class and age. So all sport went at 10:00 and the age groups were staggered by a full minute. As for your curiosity, well...

Terren

"Hey Norm - Good luck tomorrow. If next weekend you guys want to stop off for some water, I've installed a tasty new garden hose. Just kidding, it's the same old hose. But really if you guys don't show up before 7 am there's a real chance Cher or I will be up. And then you'll get water from an indoor fixture! Zowee!"

Thanks, and thanks! We won't be starting the ride until about 8:00 so no worries about being there too early. Not sure if it makes sense since that's only 12 miles into the ride. It would be better to get as close to the midpoint as possible. Maybe you could meet us out on 513 with a few gallons of indoor fixture water! Now that's a real zowee!!!

Walter

"good luck this weekend norm, cant wait for the recap and other good stuff"

Thanks Walter, I hope you enjoyed the recap yesterday. I imagine there will be more tidbits as I remember them, like my remembering the low-speed chase today. I guess I forgot to mention the guy who really stacked it (thanks Maurice, I love that expression) at the top of the switchbacks on yellow going down to the far lot. I mean there was nothing there for him to lose it on but you could hear the crash from like 100 yards. When we got there he was bleeding down the side of his face and he was tangled in his bike, but he was coherent and 2 guys stopped to help so most of us rolled on. Jake, did you come across that guy?

Then there was the guy I passed on the third lap on purple, he was struggling and I was just keeping my pace. I went by and said something to the effect of, "Keep it rolling man you're doing great." He replied, "Thanks man!" You could hear in his voice that he really appreciated the encouragement and it made me feel really good. I have said before there are a lot of douche bags that do these races and I still maintain that's the case. But there are also a lot of good people out there and you have a lot of good - and very short - exchanges through the race. I could probably make a post about passing and trail courtesy out there. Maybe tomorrow.

Holy shit, getting really sleepy on the train. My body often goes into coma-mode after hard rides but that's usually limited to the weekends. It only lasts for 15 minutes or so but we're just about in Hoboken so I can't exactly take a cat nap right now. Oh well.

As usual, the best thing about Tuesday is that Saturday is now in the 5 day forecast. Do your best to enjoy it.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Race Weekend

In every race I have ever done there has come a point in the race where I declare, usually in a good amount of agony, "I'm never doing another stupid race again."

Until yesterday.

Let's start from the top, which isn't what those of you with short attention spans will want but you can skip to the bottom if you wish. The weekend didn't start with flying colors as I slept poorly Friday night and struggled to wake up Saturday morning. My 50 mile ride plan went on a diet and came out as my lean and sexy 38+ mile loop in reverse which I started around 7:00.

I shot out of the gate which often worries me because a) I should need to warm up, and b) it probably means I'm going to have pacing problems later. Well I tried to take it easy but inside of 20 minutes I was up and over a 17 average and by the time I got to Far Hills 9 miles away I was at 18. I kept at it and took what I had until the 1:15 mark when I was up at 18.4 for the ride.

"What am I doing?" I asked myself, literally out loud. Does this make sense to keep banging this out for the whole ride? I backed off for the last 50+ minutes and dropped down a bit and ended with a 17.9. Ride link here:

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/3314744#

The idea was to go out and get a fair distance ride and throw in some hard efforts but not go crazy. For the most part I accomplished that only because I came to my senses at the right time and toned it down. My high-end was off, without question. Steady climbing and tempo were really on though.

The rest of the day was proper nutrition, proper hydration, and not overdoing it with yard work or anything that would just tire me out. Overall that plan went fine.

All that was left was the race. Now I have to admit I knew what the course was going to be this year. I had gotten my hands on a race map and I knew that a) the course was run in reverse, b) it was shorter by probably 3 minutes, and c) there was actually a tiny bit of connecting trail being used that I may have ridden once but that I was unfamiliar with. All in all I thought it was a good change because it took out the toughest climbs and made the nasty rooty downhill a climb instead. The same general rule of a negative split still applied though.

Race day was just normal wake up, blah blah blah. I think something happened with this particular race such that I no longer get juiced up and nervous for these things. I slept well, didn't really think about the race at all the day before and didn't lay in bed thinking about it either.

I think my morning ritual needs some fine tuning, though I hesitate to use the word "ritual" when it's just a training race. I did my toast, eggs, and cheese breakfast and drank enough water but not crazy amounts. Felt fine but not amazing. Got there too early and had a banana, some water, and chugged some instant breakfast before the race.

I did 15 minutes of trail to warm-up then spun around a little more. Given that this was going to be a 2 hour race I didn't want to put too much into it because that's a lot of time to make up lost ground early on but also a lot of trail to string yourself out on. So played it conservative all around as my helpful readers suggested last week.

Lined up with Jake, and we continued to bullshit until it was our turn to go. The horn sounds and I turn what I would call a warm pace into the start. Within 15 seconds I am passed by probably 25 people if not more. These guys come absolutely zooming out of the box which, given the nature of the course, is pretty fucking stupid if you ask me.

We go up yellow, then up orange, then down and up orange again. This levels off and then we start to climb purple. No matter the direction the course goes up more on the first half. On the purple trail I start picking them off, not one by one but like 5 at a time. I'm totally in my own race at this point. I don't pass people because they're there, I pass them because my pace is just faster. And of course some of them have blown up already.

First lap went well to that point. The start of these races always uses more energy because you have to navigate through the guys who really don't ride well. So you simply use more energy doing the same pace. I should have kept this in mind but I didn't, and on the back 2 miles of the course I sort of let it eat me a little bit. I was gummed up behind maybe 5 guys and these morons were riding their brakes on all the downhills scrubbing away speed for no good reason. So at the very end, at the hairpin turn before the wooden bridge, I passed the lot of them as well as a handful in front of them. Major power move to blow past them and then a few more guys ahead of them. A few guys followed me there.

Well this was stupid. I came across lap 1 at maybe 36:30 a bit winded and started on the climbs again. Some of the guys had repassed me on the fire road and when I hit the second part of orange I knew I had to dial it back on this lap or I could be in trouble. As I went up switchback it was painful and I wondered how the hell I was going to climb that thing again a third time.

In all the second lap was pretty uneventful. I ended up going back and forth with a group of maybe 4 guys on the second half. We kept passing each other and ended the lap with them out ahead of me. I didn't want to make the same mistake as lap 1 so I took it easier. Lap 2 I was at 1:14, pulling 37 minute laps for the race.

The third lap I let it just come to me. I passed the group of 4 guys on the purple climb for the last time, never to be seen again. They had collectively gotten caught up with each other and were all blowing up in unison. When I passed them they were probably going about 3. After that I was basically solo for the next 3 miles until I caught up with a Marty's team guy who was stopped on the last steep climb. He clipped in before me and I followed him up the hill. At the top I passed him, my last kill of the day.

Or was it?

Being a local team guy he must have known the course and of course I know the course also. He jumped on my wheel and tried to follow me down the steep descent. I could hear him back there but I had opened a gap fast. The rollers hurt so I took it easy to leave enough for the last mile. He was back there and trying to catch me, but there was no way in hell I was going to let him catch me.

I bombed down the end of yellow to the bridge where I had made my mistake passing before. In general I think it's a waste to look back because it only slows you down but I glanced sideways as the trail turned 90 degrees then 90 again. I saw him back there not that close but not totally dead yet either. I ran the rollers aggressively and dumped out on the fire road, where I gave everything I had in an effort to gap him as much as I could.

It worked, and when I crossed the finish line and stopped pedaling I cramped up. The balls-to-the-wall ending left my legs shot and they did exactly their job then said, "Fuck you we're done." Fair deal, you guys did well this day.

So there it is. I like it. The bike did well but again it's not a race bike as it's far too heavy. I ended up in 76th overall of 155 or so who started, I think 31st in my class. Nothing special but a fair showing.

Good stuff. I have to say I'm kind of bummed that there isn't another H2H race until September. Of course I may be doing distance races every other week for the next 6 weeks so my plate is full enough right now.

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