We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why Do This?

I sat down to have a beer last night after my ride. It was an enormous Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale, which I still don't like after letting it sit a year. I have 1 more left which I'll probably wait another year to drink. It's supposed to get better with age but if you don't like it to begin with I don't know it that applies.

It's probably my last beer before the race. I may of course partake Sunday night when I get home but right now that's so far in the future it's hard to think about. I try not to drink too much but over the last few weeks I've been enjoying myself a bit more than usual. Between the 24 and 50k I may scale it back to minimal consumption again.

Speaking of the 50k, the 24 gives me a good springboard to get ready for that. I'm going to try peaking for that event, which equates to 50% of my normal volume 2 weeks before and 25% the week of - at least that's a classic taper approach. I'll probably lay out that plan next week but I suspect a return to intervals. I may even rig up the trainer since riding intervals in the dark for an hour isn't my idea of fun. Plus it's getting cold fast these days, not to mention the rain.

But that's too forward looking right now. After work today I'll go home and further prepare for the race this weekend. I have a huge security blanket in Steve who will be in the pit for the race. I hesitate to say he's "my" pit crew because I suspect he's going to help out whoever ends up in the pit, be it Sean or Woody or whoever. He's also there to support the team which was announced yesterday.

I'm getting way off track here but the team is why I left the EdgeCrusher team. I'm really looking forward to 2008 and whatever that brings in terms of bike racing and the camaraderie with the guys on the team. I know George still reads the blog so maybe it comes together a little more now as to what my motivation was. As you can see we have some strong riders there. George has been nothing short of great with his support this year.

None of this has anything to do with the 24 this weekend which is what I should be obsessing or at least thinking about. I am, but not much. It shouldn't take me long to pack since I've now gone through the motions enough to be able to throw it all together pretty fast. I'm charging my lights now and Steve is bringing his as a backup. The Princess is going food shopping either today or tomorrow. Other than that I just need to collect stuff and put it in the car.

This has become another dumb entry about details again. It was supposed to be about why I do these 24 hour races. Well I've said it before but I'll repeat it. These races are a way to force your hand into doing something out of the ordinary. Otherwise life becomes one mundane work week after another mundane work week. If you remember the insanity of all-nighters in college you know what I mean. Did anyone really want to stay up all night? Not really. But at the same time, wasn't there part of you that enjoyed it? That looked forward to it? That wondered what you were going to do with yourself after the last exam?

That's it for me. This whole mountain bike scene is really a shakeup for me and my lifestyle. I've never been one to get in ruts but the reality is that a routine is a rut much like a ritual can become routine which can become a rut. Getting out there for the occasional insane weekend breaks me from that. It makes the mundane work week more enjoyable. It breaks up the monotony and leaves an impression I won't soon forget.

So that's it, that's why I do this. Getting ready won't be an issue other than finding the time to take care of details while Julia is still awake. I don't want to do it all tomorrow morning though it wouldn't be the end of the world if I wait. The remainder of the details are in the bank, more or less. I have my lists and notes from last year so I can use that as a base and make better notes for next year.

So that's that. I'm off tomorrow so no blog entry, no fat guy updates, no obsessing. I have some feedback to reply to which I'll get to next week. For now I just want to pound out my work details and get home as soon as I can. I'm also off until next Tuesday so I won't be on the blogosphere until then. When I do return, hopefully I will have great tales of adventure to pass on.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Dump Truck Lives

This blog has gotten boring lately. I know it, you know it, we all know it. I find that bike blogs in general tend to suffer in the summer. People don't write as much, don't read as much, and those that do write tend to be waist deep in the season and are obsessing about stupid details nobody cares about. I fit into that category. Sorry.

Today I'm just going to tell a story. Yes, it is a bike related story. And yes, it has to do with me obsessing about my bike in the context of me obsessing about the race this weekend. But it's a story nonetheless. There are no dragons, no heroes, and no princesses though I think my wife does a really good impersonation of one. But what it does have is a happy ending.

As the loyal reader fully well knows by now my Fox Float 120 RL suspension fork shit the bed on the last bomb down Stone Gate at Mahlon Dickerson Sunday. There was a lot of oil coming from one of the seals before that, which was a topic of conversation as Alex refilled his camelbak in the park during the ride. Well on that last downhill it finally gave up the ghost and called it a day. So I had a broken fork, starring as the Dragon in the motion picture remake of this story.

I scrambled, and as I mentioned yesterday I had a lot of offers of support but I chose to go with Steve's hookup with Cycle Works. He called them Monday morning and left a message on their machine before they even opened. I don't know what he said but by late morning I was on the phone with Frank, one of the owners of the shop. He said no problem, bring it in, we'll take care of it. Cool, problem solved, I hope. Until the proverbial money is in the bank, well the money isn't in the bank. Know what I'm saying?

That night I got home from work, and discussed with Natalie (the wife, starring as the princess) that I needed to drop the Dragon off in Byram, which ironically is the same town the 24 hour race is in. It's not that far away but anything near route 80 in rush hour is a headache. Well the Princess left the Castle (our house) with the Dragon on a quest to find a Hero. For the sake of historical accuracy, it was 6:00 pm on Monday evening.

The Princess dropped the Dragon off with the Assistant Hero Frank (sorry man, John is the lead when Hollywood comes calling) at around 7:00. I got on the phone with Frank to explain what I was hearing and the extremely short version of the conversation goes like this:

Frank: So what are you seeing?

Me: Compress the fork.

Frank: (Awful sound which I can hear over the phone) Hmmmmm.

Me: Have you ever heard that before?

Frank: No, neither has John and he's the suspension expert.

Me: Great (sarcastically).

Enter the Hero, John. I can only assume he was wearing armor and a sword on his belt. I didn't actually see this but it only stands to reason that was the case. Anyway, Frank claimed John had a "cross-eyed look" when he heard the sound. He also said he was putting gloves on because he was curious. It was 7:30 and the shop closed at 8:00.

I can only imagine what happened after that but apparently he found a broken rebound spring which I now have in my possession. He said he never saw a fork break like that. So if nothing else, I have special skills in one particular area. Apparently he started the project by rigging it back together as best he could but he wasn't happy having it as a working-but-modified fork, so he pulled it apart again and got the piece he needed by pulling apart a fork on one of the showroom bikes to get what he needed. Then he reassembled it and it was good as new. Mixed in this series of events were apparently some calls to Fox and some other tweaks and modifications but I don't recall the details at the moment. In the end, the Hero killed the Dragon which is what I was looking for.

Again, for historical accuracy I will note the time. It was 1:00 Tuesday afternoon. The shop opens at 11:00. That means he was able to turn the fork around in 3 business hours from getting it in his hands. To say that's impressive is an understatement. Add to this the fact that neither Frank nor John had ever met me, talked to me, or even heard of me before this and that's some pretty amazing service. That may also be an understatement.

Enter the Princess again, who went to pick up the fork Tuesday afternoon. I returned to the Castle after a long day in Brooklyn, the Princess holding a the (now good) Dragon in her hand. By 8:00 pm Tuesday night the bike was fully back together, ready to roll once again, nice functioning fork once again where it should be.

From leaving the house Monday to being back on the bike Tuesday the total turnaround time was 26 hours. That's insane, just truly amazing for someone they've never dealt with before. Obviously this is an incredible load off my shoulders at the 11th hour. Now I can go about my business obsessing about what flavor of Pringles to buy and what pizza toppings to get in preparation for the 24 hour race this weekend.

So to the Hero and Assistant Hero, I extend an enormous thanks for helping me out in my time of need. And of course to my Princess, thanks once again for being the glue that holds the Castle together.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hippie Parenting Plan

I don't know what I've done to deserve all this good Karma but man, people have really come through in my time of bike need. Through the course of the last day and half I've had since the shock shit the bed a lot of different people have stepped up with offers of help and suggestions.

Scott offered me the use of his Fox Vanilla shock from the parking lot Sunday. Then he later offered to help work on mine if I wanted to try and fix it. Jake offered his bike. Steve called Cycle Works to see if they can hook me up. Then he offered his bike. Jeff offered a solid suggestion of how to get my fork back together in time. Kirt offered one of his forks. Then Zoller offered an old fork of his. Wow, all of this in a day. You guys are awesome even if some of those mentioned don't read the site. Thank you, you all collectively rock.

I decided to go with Cycle Works because both Steve and Jake give them a lot of praise and they're one of the sponsors of the site. Plus they were able to get me in and turn it around in 1-2 days. So that erases one major item off the plate which leaves exactly zero major items left. Sure we have 408 minor items but nothing major. Just me, my bike, and a few days until the big weekend.

This week is going to absolutely fly by. Work is busy, it's a 4 day week, and I have a lot of little things to think about. Thankfully it's little things to think about and not worry about. Thinking is always better than worrying. I only have 1 ride this week, a 1-2 hour cruise on the road bike either tonight after work or tomorrow sometime. The weather is crappy so I may be left to squeeze it in when I can, or possibly skip it if I have to. Not thrilled about that but I'm not getting up at 5:00 to ride in the rain. Legs feel good, I think the rest week thing is coming around right about now. It's Tuesday which is a bit early but I'm feeling pretty good. All in all coming into this big race feeling very good. As long as I keep the legs fresh this week Saturday should be fun to watch.

I'm still debating the pre-ride. On one hand I should probably save my energy. On the other hand I should ride my bike with the rebuilt fork at least once before the race. I also struggle riding after days off and if I don't ride Friday that will be at least 2 days between rides if not 3. OTOH there's plenty of time to warm up Saturday, and Friday may only serve to get my bike muddy. OTOOH, there's also the consideration of my even getting fatter if I only ride once this week.

To that end I've temporarily scrapped my mad rush to drop pounds the last 2 weeks. If I pare down my eating my rides suck. So I'm going to try to hold the fort in the 189-192 range until after the race then I can worry about dropping down later, or after the last race of the year.

Still feeling good Tuesday morning though Julia is sleeping awfully these days. I may be forced to go upstairs to get some quality shuteye the rest of the week. It's really bad right now. I think our Hippie Parenting Plan is suddenly not working. Rats. You think you give these kids all they need then they cry for more. More more more. What next? College?

I need to give Steve some direction as to how to help in the pit area for the race. It looks like at least Sean, Woody, and myself will be racing and Steve, Jake, and Brad will be at the tent some of the time. I'm a Top Down Approach guy so I look at the big ticket items first. That means:

1. Food
2. Water
3. Bike

I'm probably going to keep a running total of how much food & water I consume so when Steve shows up he can help me keep tabs on that. I'm probably going to need to eat 250-300 calories an hour and drink 36-48 ounces of water, depending on the heat. As for the bike I just need to keep it rolling which means, more or less, a clean drivetrain.

That's it. Friday I need to go food shopping which will likely happen early. Oh and I need a shitload of ice. Ice is freaking key for this event. I have 2 coolers, one of which is going to be dedicated to ice. After that I need to register, set up tent/tarp, maybe do a pre-ride, then head home for the day. I'd like to do the full weekend camp thing but I can't burn that much mojo with the family just yet. Maybe next year.

In all, as long as the fork gets taken care of, this week should go relatively smoothly. Famous last words, I know.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Will Work for Fork

The doctor is: IN

Monday morning and my roller coaster of a world (in my head) is already full-on for the week. There's a lot more good going on right now than bad. But we're not totally home free yet. Let's recap the good.

Nat went to the doctor Friday. It's all good, all in the clear. The doctor basically said, "I don't see anything." Like someone said in email these doctors are often times overly pessimistic.

Shoulder is OK. I went OTB again yesterday and landed square on the shoulder while my shin and rear shock hit a rock. Both my shin and the shock took major dings but I got up and my shoulder felt better! Is that possible? Can you partially dislocate your shoulder and knock it back in place without knowing it? In any event it doesn't hurt when I ride which is all I care about.

The spoke held up well to 3 hours at Mahlon yesterday.

Seam sealed the tent and seems to be keeping water out.

Used the Infinit Nutrition stuff yesterday and felt good. But the temps were low and staying hydrated was easy. So I'm not sure what to credit there. I'm leaning towards actually going with this for the race. I may start the first lap with Heed/Accelerade because I seemed to start really sluggish yesterday. But eventually it really seemed to do the trick despite the lemon lime tasting like ass.

Had a great weekend of riding. Friday I squeezed in 90 minutes at Chimney Rock before Nat's doctor visit and yesterday we were out in Mahlon for 4.5 hours. Really good stuff, fun times.

I got my suspension dialed in even better yesterday. I dropped the rear shock to 195-200 with maybe 2 clicks of rebound from slow. Tires both at 40 PSI, running the Blue Grooves still and NO FLATS for the first time ever. Steve asked me why I keep giving them another chance and I had no good reason. I suppose it was because I want to make sure I've given them a fair shake and after yesterday I think I may finally have them setup right.

I dropped the front fork from 100 to 90 PSI and that seemed to suck up a little bit more of the chatter which is sweet. But at some point it started to leak some oil and then then my bad news for the week came into play. The fork shit the bed. Coming down the last hill that baby crunch-crunch-crunched its was down the whole thing. I guess realistically it works fine but that can't be healthy for the fork. Not good. This is 18.5 hours of riding after it was rebuilt.

So everything is coming together right now save for that pesky suspension fork thing. Thus I am in a Calling All Cars mode to try and cover my bases this weekend. I have a few options but I think right now I would prefer to rebuild my shock and use that. I'd really like to minimize the number of variables if possible.

Call me crazy but I think I'm in a decent spot for the race this weekend. We were out for 4.5 hours yesterday, and while we did only ride for 3 of those hours I felt pretty darn good at the end. I'm not going to ride for 24 hours straight this weekend so that's pretty similar to what I'll be doing. As long as I work out the actual bike details it should be pretty fun.

While we're here I might as well lay out my strategy for the weekend. Since I haven't figured that out yet I'll be thinking out loud here. Let's assume I have a bike to ride. OK, good start. I'm considering starting lap 1 5-10 minutes after everyone so I don't get caught up in the mass craze to climb the hill out of the camp. But we'll see. As far as laps go I should probably take a small break between laps to top off my water, get a new bottle and maybe swap jerseys or shorts. I expect to take about 1:30 per lap so a double lap buys me nothing. Plus a little down time gives me a little time to catch up on food/water.

Beyond that I don't really have enough experience to say what my strategy is. I would still like to get 10 laps but don't know what the course is and what the rain/heat situation will be. Steve is lending me his lights so I'll have my lights which are good for 2 laps and his which are good for at least 2. So that gives me an option for 4 night laps at least. The night laps officially go from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am. I'm probably looking at a general plan like this (the race starts at noon):

Say 3 laps before the 6:00 mark, possibly start the 4th before that so I don't have to lug the lights around the 4th lap. I'd like to do 2 night laps, and maybe a 3rd if it's not too late and I'm still feeling OK. So that's 5 laps minimum and 7 laps max, with 7 being a fairly unrealistic and overly ambitious number. Take a snooze, then wake up by 4:00 or so and get a dawn lap in. After that it's whatever else I feel up to. I don't think I'll end with 9 unless something unexpected happens. In other words, if I'm at 8 I doubt I start a 9th unless I have a chance to get a 10th. My target should be 7. I did 5 last year and we could have easily done a 6th. But I wanted to get home because our daughter was still only 4 months old at the time. So I bagged it and packed up camp. So if I could have done 6, I need to set 7 as my target for progress this year. Last year it was 4 and 1 the next day. So 4 and 2 possible. This year I guess the idea would be 5 and 3?

This is all overly ambitious. I'd like to sleep and get some night laps in. Other than that enjoying myself is the main priority.

Need a lot of rest this week. And a working fork. Will work for fork.

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