30 August, 2009

Tipperary Creek and Koppenburg

Did Tipperary Creek. It kinda sucked because I cramped majorly after the end of one climb. Nutritional supplements don't help lack of riding fitness. It was fun though. Click here for the course profile/details of this challenging course. It's a one lap, 25.8 mile course with 4000 feet (1223 m)of climbing. From the get go we were flying and by the time I was in the single track I was probably top 15. It stayed that way for a while until I had the leg cramps of all leg cramps. Thought my climbing legs were too good to be true. Me being in the top 15 leaders that made the break from the beginning was for nought because about another dozen or so people passed me as I was doing my Fred Sanford walking imitation (both the quads and the hamstring of my left leg!). The downhill was crazy. There were people on both sides of the singletrack fixing flats due to the nastiness of the babyheads and tree roots. My poor hardtail couldn't hang with the dual boingers when the entire trail was strewn with rocks heading downhill at warp speed (o my god it was fun). It'd been pinch flat city. It was a wicked fun course. All manner of alpine rocks, roots and run-offs made for a fun day. Came in 28 out of 60 or so (the list stops at 50). This was Saturday.
Today was the Koppenburg (in Boulder). Here's why it's called the Koppenburg

The race is road cycling event with dirt road sections modeled after the infamous European Roubaix race. The 5.5 mile loop consists of a 2.5 mile dirt section that ends with a short but very steep hill. The 200 meter long "Koppenberg" hill has a 17% slope and takes its namesake from the legendary hill in the Tour of Flanders hill in the Tour of Flanders. The remainder of the course is rolling paved road. There are no dirt downhill sections and the entire course is rideable on a road bike which makes for a very safe course.

But don't be deceived last year's race proved to be difficult and a true test of attrition. The number of laps may be short, but between the climbing and dirt sections, its not as easy as it sounds. Good Luck !

I probably wouldn't've done it, but I registered on-line for it and it got snowed out (twice!). So the day after Tipperary Creek was the new date and I figured I paid for it, might as well enter.
From the gun we were cruising. In the dirt, sand bar sections made people's rear wheels all manner of squirrely; it made for pack riding a gigantic leap of faith to follow those wheels so darn close. The first gap formed the first time over the "hill". People who couldn't turn the pedals fell into other riders or spun out causing some major portaging going on. The leaders took off. Me and three other guys chased but I popped on one of the uphills. When the second group caught me I worked in there. After our pack dwindles to just the four of us we caught some people that got shelled from the leaders. So our four became seven. We noticed that a couple of people in our pack didn't take their fair share of pulls but we didn't yell at them or anything. After the 5th time up I said to our original three that we should regroup at the final climb and go like gang busters! Chris said he'd accelerate at the dirt road. At the dirt road, Chris took such a monstrous pull, he and Douglas had a sizable gap of about 20 meters and the gap kept increasing and I got dropped. I looked back at the other three and they were looking gassed so I dropped in the small cog and attacked as hard as I could to bridge. I caught 'em at the base of our last climb and we rocketed away. At the little climb before the stretch Douglas attacked and had a good gap. Chris kept him in sight and took an awesome uphill pull. As we crested, I came around him to catch Douglas's wheel. I motioned to Chris we should go hard left so that Darren couldn't catch our draft on the downhill but he caught us anyway. We were flying at the last, downhill right hand corner before the finishing line .5 kilometers away and Douglas took off again. He was marching such a huuuge gear, he cracked me before the finish line and that's when Chris came around me. It was a great weekend of racing and my legs are pooped!

24 August, 2009

Getting Ready for Tipperary Creek XC

Can't get in huge chunks of time on the bike nowadays but whenever I could, this week, I tried to squeak in an hour and a half every now and again. Saturday did Mt. Falcon in the blazing-a$$ heat! Did an hour and a half there. Not too technical but climbing in the heat's about a beeyatch. Sunday, squeaked one in while Mason was napping and after I vacuumed the house. Did a pretty intense climbing loop but that only took an hour and fifteen minutes. Today-my girls' first day of school-I got in another hour and twenty minutes at Mt. Falcon again. My girls were looking pretty snazzy on their first day of school. They were so excited they got up super early to get a head start on the day.
I felt pretty good climbing at Mt. Falcon, even with this annoying cold, and it was threatening rain the entire time so the weather was nice. It finally drizzled (Snoop-dog's favorite type of precipitation) at the top and made descending on the rocks oh so fun. I was in the zone though y'all. It was as if a phosphorescent green line appeared on the fall line beckoning me to follow the sweet line (of least resistance--obstacles) between the gnarly rocks with your knee's name written all over it. I was flowing so hard that I passed four people in dual suspension bikes on the way down not feeling it from their steeds and the phosphorescent line apparently hidden to them. It was shweeeet! Tipperary Creek's this Saturday. It's a tough race because of the altitude gains and a local masochist designed the course (but it sure is fun). 25 miles o'pain y'all.

On a sad note: RIP Charles Fuller-my Texas ex-pat, we will miss you. Etymologically speaking, you were a good egg.

16 August, 2009

Got in 6.5 hours in this week!

Great week of riding. Two mountain bike sessions with Billy et al. and one road riding session today. Tuesday. Billy, Jeff, and I go do White Ranch. White Ranch is ranked 44th globally from the website singletracks.com; and is considered advanced. So there's this wicked cool cross-country race in WinterPark coming up and what else than doing White Ranch to get our chops in fighting shape? It's a series of loops looped onto other loopy-loops that can get one loopy looping it all together. We do two loops that make it long-ish and here are three guys that normally don't ooze testosterone but when our three chemistry's mix, it turns out to be an oh-so friendly $hit on your neighbor ride. Truly though, we are friendly. It was a hard ride and I tried to push it (i.e. where we normally rest, I tried to drop it a gear and march on). We've ridden with people-not even doing the long-ish loop-where it turns out to be a three hour ride; but with us, it was two hours 11 minutes (Jeff's time). Coulda been shorter if my boys wouldn't've taken a break. I still love them though. You should've seen us climbing, we looked like a synchronized mountain bike team. You couldn't've put a penny between the rear tire of one leading and the front tire of the followers. It gave me chicken skin when I was tail-gunning the formation. Got a scratch on my right arm cutting an apex a wee bit tight and not watching the tree branch sticking out (boo-hoo). Not a whole lot's being said when we're in the zone. Friday. Did Mt. Falcon. It too is rated advanced and has a climb that just flat out sucks the life out of you. Alec, Kevin, and I started before Billy and his wife got there due to my time commitments. I didn't climb it was well as I liked but got my salvation/penance through self-torture for the transgressions I committed during the work week. My new fork's a winner-albeit heavy as all hell-and the U-lock feature gives me more (or less) travel on the fly. The lockout feature's cool too on long, sutained effort climbs. My only performance caveat is when I have maximum travel (130 mm), the bike rides like a chopper and is not so fluid around real tight switchbacks; but on the downhill straightaways? Forgetaboutit. The weekend was spent with my son since all the girls went hither and yon in various configurations. Melissa had a girl weekend in a posh house at a ski resort whilst my beautiful daughters had a sleepover at Grandma's. That left me with the Moose. We had a great time. We spent it cycling, reading, doing chores, and eating salmon steaks and various junky items along the way. It was great! Sunday, Grandpa watched him for two hours while I got my road climbing session in near my house. A great week! As Mr. Miyagi said, "Balance Daniel-san (except my name's Michael!)." Here's me capturing the ever-so-crafty North American Moose on the move!