Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Putney XC and Holiday Farm Wednesday Race

This past weekend was the Putney XC race.  For a full race report check out the new Competitive Edge Racing Blog at .  I will periodically be sending you over here to read race reports, but feel free to keep tabs on it, it will be over on the left hand side of my blog.  The race went great, and I managed to come in 4th place in a strong field of riders!

After the excitement of Putney I decided I would make the trip over to Holiday Farm in Dalton, MA, where they have a Wednesday night race.  There used to be this great Wednesday night series locally called the Bachelor St Time Trial, however this year it does seem to happening, and a fun more casual race on Wednesday was always a lot of fun.  So when I had the opportunity to head over and check out this race, I was in.

Nate, Robin (Nate's very helpful girl friend), and my self made the 1.5 hour journey today, it was was the nicest weather we have had in a while.  It was about 75 degrees with some slight cloud cover, which was a great relief from the 90 degrees and humidity we have been fighting recently.  As we suited up the atmosphere was great, pretty casual and to my surprise the kids race had what looked like 10 or so kids.  For todays race I was hoping to ride at about 90% of race pace, because the race on Sunday was pretty tough.  As we lined up there looked to be about 40-50 people there, with about 15-20 in the "3 lap" field (which was the longest).  As the gun went off one guy really went for it, so for the first 5 minutes the pace was pretty high, and with trying to keep it at 90% of race pace, I was trying to be as smooth as possible.  The pace slowed a bit at the top of the hill, so I jumped in front to keep things in check.  At the end of the first lap there was about 4 of us together, including Nate.  At this point I had recovered nicely from a downhill and went for a sprint to mix it  up, however as soon as I did this the course marking got a bit confusing and I had to slam on my brakes!  After the four of us determined where to go, it was back to racing.  As we went through the second lap I stayed up front, and had a small gap on the others.  But as we came around for the third lap I put a little more pressure on these guys and was able to put more time in.  I crossed the line first, and Nate battled it up for a nice 4th place finish.

Overall it was a great time, with awesome weather, a really fun course, and to my surprise I had pretty good legs and thus was able to keep myself to my original goal or not going too hard.  Another awesome Wednesday race series, I suggest you check it out!

I will leave you with this nice shot I grabbed on Tuesday:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Recent Riding in Pictures

Yellow flowers on a recovery ride.

Sunset before a storm

Car graveyard (there are about 5 or 6)

Stream on a nice day

A delicious meal, chicken sandwich with peach slices.

Well time to get ready for the Putney race tomorrow!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Recovery, stress, and trying to get back to normal

After the Boyne 24hr race it always takes me a little while before I start to feel good again.  After the race I didn't ride for 3-4 days, which looking back I wish I would have gotten on the bike a little bit, but with travel and such things this is what happened.  Once I got back on the bike it took me a few days before I started to feel good again, the first few rides back my legs always feel like lead weights, however once I worked all of this out I stated to feel again, about a week or so after the race.

The first week back I ended up going on a pretty long ride on the road bike,  and it happened to be earlier in the day and the moisture in the air was thick.  Below is a picture of one of the hills I was climbing, there is no rain, this is just the water hanging in the air, preventing any sweat from evaporating keeping my temperature a little on the high side.

The ride was great, however about 20 minutes after I got home it looked something like this:

Oh well!

After I started to feel good again, work started to kick in, with a presentation in Washington D.C. it was pretty much all work, and when I could play, it was shorter and more stressful than I would have liked.  Long story short, and I will spare the details of late night and weekend shifts, we put together an awesome presentation, which was well received by our audience.  This took an unexpected toll on me, and through this time when I did train it didn't feel very effective, and on some rides I felt just plain bad with flu like aches.  I skipped a few planned races, which was a great decision as I am sure I would have felt off and just would hae made me more crunched at work.  I learned that sometimes when your stress level is too high off the bike, trying to get on the bike just adds to the stress and becomes counterproductive.

With the presentation now over I am starting to feel normal again, and I am looking forward to racing at Putney, VT this upcoming weekend.  For now, I should get to bed and continue to catch up on lost sleep! 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

24 Hours of Boyne 2010

For the past five years Memorial Day weekend has meant riding my bike through the day, the night, and then finally through the day again. It has meant two hours of sleep maximum, trying to eat anything in sight, and enough chamois problems to make an almost grown man cry. I am talking about the 24 hours of Boyne, a bike race where the race starts at noon on Saturday and ends at noon on Sunday, and to complicate things they make you ride up to the top of a ski mountain. (just ask my Dad, he will tell you how terrible this is in vivid detail).

Once again the Sofa King Fast team assembled for the race. On the team is myself, my sister Kelly, my friend Nick, and the tough ol' bird, my Dad. Also in the gang is my Mom who is the master of preparatory lists, Caroline who is the feed guru, and my buddy Steve who rides solo and his girl friend Melissa, who impresses us by taking such good care of Steve. I would also like to note that the Sofa King Fast team was up against a bitter rival, consisting of four dudes from the UMich Cycling Team, so the stage was set for a tough race.

This year I decided to fly back to Michigan, so I had to get tons of bike stuff into small bags. As you can see below it was about a weeks worth of gear and food, and it all fit very well into the three small bags. Also, when flying with a bike you get to pay extra, luckily Southwest does not charge you a ridiculous amount, however as I didn't want to miss too much work, I got to leave at 6:00AM Friday morning, so it was great to start the weekend already in need of more sleep, it at least prepares you for the race. Once I arrived in Michigan it was time to head to northern Michigan, and on Memorial weekend this is always a challenge, and this year was no different, we had lots of traffic on the way up. Once we got up north, we celebrated my teammate Nick's birthday, took my bike out of its traveling box and put it together, and then finally off to bed!

Before the race went off we got a special visit from some family members. As you can see below our hang out tent was very full, my grandparetns, Aunt and two cousins made it out for the start of the race, it was great to see them there and it really makes the race more fun.

The race did not start in the traditional Le Mans fashion so it was a normal start. Right out of the gun Sean from the rival team took the hole shot, however about 20 yards into the trail there was a tight turn, and I was on his wheel, and unforuntaely Sean was going so fast that he flew right off the trail into the brush. I took this opportunity to step on it, I wanted to come around the lap first, for my self, but as I noted before our tent was full of supporters, and I wanted to send them home happy. After a few minutes it ended up being just me and another guy, and he was riding pretty fast, which of course meant that I had to ride pretty fast. Long story short we were riding pretty fast, and when we got to a longer extended climb I put the heat of and finally got rid of him. I came across the line first, got my bottle from the cutest water bottle girl in history, got some great cheers from supporters and went back into the woods for some more. This lap I slowed down a little bit, I could not keep up that pace forever, and I made it across the line again and then sent Nick out. Nick ripped it up, in fact he broke a spoke, and took Kelly's wheel for lap two, let it be known that there was literally "no time". This meant my Dad had to step up and ride the next lap out of turn. He tore it up in style, and by this time Kelly had her wheel back and then rode a rocket lap. At this point we had 6 laps, and it was my turn to start the rotation again. We continued to run smooth all day and all night (I would like to thank Brendan for his late night pacing), and when noon came the next day we had ridden 28 laps, the most of any team at the race. As you can see below, we had some pretty awesome handoffs throughout this event (my favorite being the tunnel for Kelly who rode the last lap of the race for us.)

The two teams at the banquet, Sofa King Fast got first and Arm Chair Prince Quick got second.

Overall this was my best 24 hour race to date. I rode strong the entire time, was able to eat consistently which typically gets extremely difficult around 3AM, handled saddle sore and chafing issues, and in general was in a great mood. I ended up with 10 laps, 1 less than last year, but I rode much faster on average, riding all of my laps under 48 minutes with a ripping lap of 39 minutes. Chafing is normally the most difficult part of the race for me, however this year I came over prepared, and developed a 5 layer chamois miracle system, which worked great.

So much of this race happens in the tent, and this year we put up two tents for increased coverage and awesomeness. Also, we rent a room for showering and sleeping, a necessity for a successful 24 hour race. Not pictured is my Uncle Jim, who stopped by once again on Sunday morning, thanks for the support and keeping it lively in the morning.

We always rock awesome tattoos, somehow we forgot to get a pic of everyones, so here I am sporting some PowerBar tats, as well as Thor with his hammer.

Five years ago Steve and I first entered this race as Sofa King Fast with my Dad as our pit crew. My Dad then for some reason went crazy and wanted to race too, so Steve went solo and my Dad and Nick joined me, which meant that we recruited Mom, Kelly, and Caroline for our pit support. Kelly was the next to go crazy and the past two years she has joined in and Melissa jumped into help Steve.

I really enjoy how this has evolved, and although we suffer in numerous ways, we all come back for more. With the future of the race in question, I would like to take this moment to thank everyone who has helped. I appreciate all the racers who compete against Sofa King Fast because without you I would not have to push so hard at 4AM to gain/catch up a few extra minutes. All of the supporters through the years, especially my Grandma and Grandpa who even in their mid 80s cheer their hearts out, my Uncle Jim for comic relief on Sunday mornings, and the countless other supporters who have come and gone over the years. The support crew holds a special place in my heart, Melissa always willing to help even though she clearly has her hands full with Steve, Caroline keeps us running smoothly during the race so all we have to do is pedal, and my Mom does so much behind the scenes work to make sure that the racers never have to worry about food. Finally I would like to thank my teammates. Steve got me out there, and when I needed help that first year he rode some laps for me, thanks Sensei. Nick who has been nothing short of astounding, riding laps upon laps while pushing me to keep my lap times down, I hope Nick knows that I really only cared about beating him (Purdont anyone). Kelly for going head over heels for bike racing, and deciding that a 24 hour race with her brother and Dad was worth losing sleep over. Finally, I would like to thank my Dad, who stated out as pit boss, getting the tents set up, making sure we have lights, deciding that a generator is a must, and most importantly making the famous team banner. He then went from the pits to the race course, and has impressed me every year with his dedication to training, getting faster over the years, and always stepping into his role when necessary.

The Sofa King Fast crew, thanks everyone for all of your help, riding or feeding, it all means a lot to me.