Awesome camping weather. It dipped down in the upper 30s Saturday night and didn't get much beyond 60 during the day on Sunday. I slept like a baby but it was tough waking up at 5:30am to get ready. Race started at 6:20am.
From the get-go I'm off the front hanging with the top singlespeeders (Andy Sanidas, Thom Parsons and Greg Montello) and feeling pretty good. This lasted probably 10 or 15 miles until Thom and Andy started pulling away. Meanwhile, Greg was yo-yoing back and forth. The first half of the course is difficult in that its a constant up or down with no place to recover. By Gavin Hill (mile 20) I realized I'm at full bore, behind on fueling and losing power on the climbs. Felt like I was coughing up a lung. Heart rate felt super elevated. Strength was sucked from my legs.
Climbing up Garvin Hill into the summit aid station 4 I caught up to Bruce. [I ride with Bruce every Wednesday. He started in the wave 5mins ahead of me (with gears).] While I was refilling my waterbottle I saw Greg eating some cookies. Was I riding that fast to hang with him? Or was he just not feeling well?
Bruce, his buddy Dave and I bombed down Garvin hill and rode together for a while. Chatted about La Ruta. Chatted about Dave riding a 1x9 rather than 1x1. I was able to recover slightly but not enough to hold strength on the climbs. Every climb I felt helpless and wound up running/riding them. More running than anything else. This is not good if I wanted to stay in the top 5 SS and beat my 5hr goal.
Somewhere between mile 20 and 30 Greg caught back up and brought with him a few other SSers. They all passed me as I'm trying to run up yet another steep incline. I couldn't react to their passing me while consequently feeling pathetic. What happened? Did I start to hard? Did I not get enough rest prior to the race? Was it being anaerobic for close to 3hours? Needless to say I got myself together as best as I could and mustered on at whatever pace felt sustainable. I tried to eat and drink but couldn't get my heart rate down. "Follow Bruce and Dave. They're setting a good pace. Try to recover the best you can."
Rolled into the aid station around mile 31. Refilled my bottle and kept the on pushing with Bruce and Dave. Here comes some singletrack! What a nice relief from the gravel roads and double track. I followed into the singletrack but eventually went around them and pushed on off the front. I was able to get my heart rate down some and started feeling better. Ate and drank some more. Didn't put too much of a gap for the three of us rolled into the next aid station within seconds of each other. Refilled the bottle. Why as I carrying two if I kept refilling and drinking just one? Perhaps I'm used to 20mile aid stations rather than less than 10miles apart.
Rode hard and fast trying to catch back up to the next singlespeeder along with anyone else on the course. I knew the last 3 miles of the race were, effectively, straight up the Ascutney Ski Resort so I did my best to conserve some energy while riding hard through the next 8 miles. I kept catching and passing people but no singlespeeders. Argh! To keep myself from staying positive about not catching any SSrs I'm started playing games in my head. Focus on the race against the clock! Try to get to the finish prior to the 5hr mark (11:20am). Rolled through the last aid station at mile 47. NO refilling bottles. I still have a 2nd I haven't touched...
Argh. 3 more miles to go and I'm now at 5hrs. Damn!. I turned my 34x20 over as fast as I could going up that ski slope. Noticed a geared rider at about the same pace so I latched onto his wheel and let him pace me. We chatted and cheered each other on. Bombed any descents. Carried as much speed as possible up the rollers. Now the game is minimize the time defect on 5hrs. Oh, and catch any singlespeeders. Still none! Argh!
Exit out of the woods. Left hand traverse onto the ski slopes... Made the last left turn and started coming down the ski slope with my hands no where near the brake levers. Uh oh! They changed the last couple hundred feet. Instead of a sweeping right turn under the lift it was a HARD right turn over this roller. Well, I went wide; didn't feel like slamming on the brakes and broke through the red course tape. Immediately swung back onto the course as fast I could without slowing down. Didn't want to get disqualified with 50 yards left in a 50 mile race. Broke through more red tape to get back on course and flew across the finish line.
5hrs 13minutes! That's 37minutes faster than last year!
10th singlespeed out of 31ish
A little over a 1:30 behind 9th SS. 4th SS through 10th SS is all within 8minutes! With how I was feeling at the end I could have probably climbed up further if the race was longer (62miles? 75miles?).
63rd overall out of a couple hundred (500? 600?)
All in all... Not bad considering last year I was around 6hrs and 15th singlespeed.
Race for the Riddles!
My teammate Joey Riddle had a nasty crash in the WVMBA finals race a few weeks back. He and his wife, Mandi, need your help to cover the medical expenses.
There is a benefit race at Big Bear Lake (town of Bruceton Mills) in West Virginia on Sunday October 7th to help raise money for the Riddles.
Lots of sponsors have kicked in on a raffle to help out the cause. Here's a short list of items to raffle off:
If you can not make it to the race but want to purchase raffle tickets email the promoter, J. R. Petsko, at email@example.com. Raffle tickets are $5.00 for one or $20 for five.
- Vicious Cycles Hardtail Frame (Single Speed or Geared)
- Cannondale Single Speed 29er Frame
- A team entry into the 2008 24 Hours of Big Bear
If you want to send some money Joey & Mandi's way please send it to the following address:
Joey & Mandi Riddle
101 Johnson Ave
Elkins, WV 26241
Click on the flyer below for more information about the race.
Some changes have occured on my 29er. First, I want to thank Vicious Cycles for making this happen. I couldn't have done it without them.
Introducing..... 2008 Mavic Cr29ssmax Disc in 29inches of pure bliss!
The wheelset weighed in at 1769grams (3.90lb) without tires, skewers, rotors, and a rear cog. Not bad considering Mavic's website says 1750grams.
Stan's 29er rubber rim strip w/ integrated valve core
two cups of Stan's tire sealant per tire
Maxxis Crossmark 29er tires
Shimano XTR 160mm rotors
Surly 20t singlespeed cog
Old cassette spacers and a 11t cog w/ lockring to keep it all together (eventually to be replaced with a SS spacer kit)
resultant wheel weight = 3824grams (8.43lbs)
Frame: 2007 Vicious Cycles Motivator 29er steel SS w/ Eccentric Bottom Bracket
Geometry: Stock XL size with a few tweaks here and there
Fork: 2007 Vicious Cycles rigid fork
Headset: Chris King 1 1/8" in black
Stem: Thomson X4 stem in black (120mm x 0deg)
Handlebars: Race Face Next SL carbon bars
Brakes: '07 Shimano XTR disc brakes (thanks Tim!)
Grips: Ergon GC2 grips w/ bar ends (thanks Jeff!)
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Dura Ace
Crankset: Shimano LX 2-piece crank
Chainring: Salsa 34t
Pedals: Shimano 959
Seatpost: Moots Ti
Saddle: Fi'zi:k Nisene saddle
Cages: Cussi Elite cages
Waterbottles: BKB issue
Rear Cogs: Surly 20t
Tires: Maxxis Ignitor or Crossmark
Current weight = 23.8 lbs
It was hovering around 25.5 lbs right before the Mavics came along. Ride characteristics coming soon. All I can say is the bike rolls so fast right now. I'm stoked! Thank You Aaron and Carl.
the machine has broken down
Well... hopefully temporarily:
The current diagnosis is a pinched sciatic nerve. X-Rays show my spine to be in good alignment. No MRIs as of yet (still working to get them to rule out spinal tissue damage). We think the problem is muscular. Can someone say sciatica? I'm okay sitting down. As soon as I stand up straight sharp pain shoots down through my lower back and into my right leg with a heavy focus on my calf.
Don't know what caused it. I didn't feel any abrupt pains from doing something (lifting, riding my bike, standing up, etc..). Only thing I can do is work to reduce/eliminate the pain. Physical Therapy, stretching and some light activity is the rehab.
As a result I have to sit this weekend's Michaux race out. I'm not happy but you have to listen to what your body tells you. I hope to be okay for the VT50 in a few weeks but bigger, more long term, plans are getting in shape for La Ruta.
Oh, and it looks like I might have to work all weekend anyway :(
More to come including my recap of last weekend at the Kingdom Trails.
SM100 - NEU Series Finale
I tried to get extra sleep leading up to the SM100 but couldn’t muster more than 6hours a night. Rode offroad for about 2hours on Wednesday. Did close to 20miles around Hartford on the track bike Friday.
Friday night I frantically packed everything up hoping to get to sleep early (never happened). Saturday morning I dropped Omega off at the kennel and headed down to New Jersey to meet up with TimmyD. I was not looking forward to the drive to Virginia. Guess I’m getting a bit tired of all this traveling every weekend. Once Tim and I got on the road I slowly lost those feelings and was getting excited for Sunday’s race.
Arrived at the Stokesville campground sometime before the sun went down. Picked up our number plates, realigned our front brake calipers (before we ran out of light), packed our drop bag(s) and started making the rounds saying hello and shootin’ the schit with everyone. Finally had the chance to meet Dicky himself and a few others. Asleep by 10/11 pm.
5am Chris Scott, the promoter, is out waking everyone up with the ceremonial gong. I got up at 5:30 to eat some breakfast and then went back to sleep for a bit. We’re both officially up around 6am getting ready for a 6:30am race start.
6:30 the race is on. Rollin’ through the campground out onto the road. Down the road for a while and a left onto a Jeep trail. TimmyD was out front from the get-go in pursuit of that SS win. I was enjoying having this 34x20 ratio ‘cause I was able to keep up with everyone on the road. Found Topher and rolled with him for a bit. The Jeep trail started. Didn’t feel like I was pushing myself anaerobic so I was comfortable with hanging with Topher for a while. He eventually pulled away from me prior to us summiting this climb.
At the top the course ducked into some nice rocky singletrack. This was my first taste of the jarring my rigid fork would provide me. Somehow I faired well since no one passed me along that ridge and through the descent. At the bottom we’re out onto a fireroad going through aid station 1 (didn’t stop). The fireroad later turned into pavement. Lots of geared guys passed me but I found myself hanging onto this one group of riders letting them pull me for a few miles. We rolled up on Dicky as he was spinning his arse off but couldn’t seem to latch onto the group I was in. Left turn onto some more pavement and I still seemed to be sticking with this group. Maybe a mile up Dicky came by pedaling some ridiculous cadence and buzzed myself and the group I was in like we were standing still. I was in shock but also had no intentions to try and hang.
Couple more miles later I’m chatting with two geared guys and we happen on a Cannondale rider on the side of the road. Oh no. Not Tim. I stopped to offer help and/or a hand. He seemed to have everything together but had some issues with his Singleator. Not good. This concerned me for I knew how much he needs/wants to podium this race.
I mustered on without Tim. Left turn onto some doubletrack. Saw Chris Eatough and a fellow racer fumbling with Chris’ rear wheel. That doesn’t look good. As I rode by I heard something about a broken hub and its not trailside repairable. Trail turned into singletrack and so did what I consider the first big climb of the day (up to what I believe is Wolf Ridge). Rode most of the bottom singletrack as it meandered up the ravine. Then it crested onto a ridge which became rocky and climbed even steeper. Now I’m off the bike hiking along with just about everyone else.
Crest the top and now we’ve got a nice singletrack along Wolf Ridge. What do you know? As soon as I had a nice pace going and was riding the ridge fluently I came into a sweeping right turn a bit too hard. Pinch. Somehow punctured the rear tire. It seemed to be slow (which told me it wasn’t a huge hole like Michaux) so I kept on riding thinking Stans will seal it up. Not quite the case. The tire went flat. I pull over to watch lots of people go by. Rear wheel is now out of the bike and I’m shaking it hoping that Stans will seal the puncture. I couldn’t find a hole and it appeared to be near the bead. The more I messed with it the more I couldn’t find the hole. After wasting a lot of time because I didn’t want to put a tube in, I resorted to popping the bead, removing the rimstrip and putting a tube in. As I’m doing this Buck (’05 SSWChamp), Keith (Topher’s buddy) and a few other SSrs rode by. Damn, that’s not good. I finally got it all back together and jumped back in line in and around Danielle (Slingshot).
The ridgeline had a few bends that brought you to a short 10ft hike-a-bike. This was frustrating with everyone stopping so I shouldered the bike (good cyclocross practice) and ran around everyone. Did this a few times and got pass the bottle-neck. I eventually caught up to Michelle (VisitPA.com) going into the descent. She offered to let me pass but I declined knowing my rigid fork would slow me. She disappeared and I took a beating on the descent. My hands were moving inside my gloves and my right palm was burning. My waterbottle cage was also rattling now. WTF? I checked everything out prior to leaving Saturday and my bike was 100% good to go. First a flat, now a loose bottle cage and pump. The descent continued and I was on the brakes way more than I wanted. My right hand was getting worse.
Eventually got to the bottom and rolled out onto some fireroad. I knew aid station 2 was right up the road so I left the waterbottle cage alone. I also had a funny feeling that descent put a huge blister on the palm of my right hand. Not good. Slowly caught up to this fixed rockstar but couldn’t quite catch him. Rolled into aid station 2. Refilled my bottles and tightened up my water bottle cage. Didn’t think to ask for gauze to wrap my hand (go figure).
Away I go climbing the second big climb of the day. I remember this one from last year for we do it twice in the race (at mile 35 where I was and at mile 90). It was a gravel climb around Trimble and Elkhorn Mountains and up onto Hinkley and Lookout Mountain. I felt good and rode it strong. There was one singlespeeder who passed me at the bottom and I couldn’t quite bridge up to him ‘till near the top. Somewhere up on Hinkley Mountain (near mile 40) the fire road turned into singletrack and it got steeper. Now I was doing the old walk/run and ride routine. This got me up to that SSr and we stuck together for a bit. At the top we ducked into a nice, smooth, singletrack descent. This descent is my favorite for it winds around the mountain with plenty of time to see far up the trail so you can really gain some speed. Its all mostly a traverse with lots of tight tress you can hook your bars on. Reminds me of the descents on Brush Mountain down in Blacksburg VA. Somehow I was out front leading a relatively large group down this descent. I’m hand is irritating me more now and I felt like I was holding everyone back but I couldn’t quite hear anyone right on my wheel. Guess I was going fast enough.
We caught up to quite a few people and they let us pass them. Also came by my teammate Joey as he was messing with his rear SS hub. Once at the bottom we had a short doubletrack ride into aid station 3 at mile 45. On-track for a sub-10hr finish. I picked up my drop bag and asked for a medic. Pulled off my right glove to find a blister the size of a half dollar and the outer layer of skin pulled off. The medic put some antiseptic on and wrapped my hand in lots of gauze. My lower back was killing me from the climb so I asked for 1200mg of Ibuprofen. Got a warning that 600mg is the max dose but I insisted on 1200mg. Refilled my bottles, had a few words with Joey as he was trying to fix his rear hub and then was on my way.
This part sucked. We’re on the road (state route 250) going up to the next climb. Its false flat and is deceiving. No place to rest, pedaling constantly. I cruised this with the SSr I followed up the last climb. Cool guy from DC doing his first 100miler. Finally off the road to the next singletrack climb. I couldn’t ride this last year and rode most of it this year. Felt good and was stoked to ride it. One SSr pulled on ahead of me. I went into the singletrack descent with no one infront of me and a fixie behind me. It was a fun descent but, alas, the rocky sections killed me with my hand and lack of suspension. Again, going slower than I wanted to ride. Eventually got to the bottom and rolled into aid station 4 (mile 57) at Braley’s Pond. Refilled a bottle and took off. Spent very little time there.
Back on the road past aid station 3 (we just did a 12mile loop) and enroute for the biggest climb of the day…. It was a relentless 18mile climb to aid station 5 that spanned 1500-2000 ft of vertical. All on fire roads and mostly in the sun. That was just to aid station 5. From there we had probably another 1000ft to the summit. I caught up to the SSr that pulled away from me on the previous climb. Nice to see him a 29r. We chatted for a bit. He was running a 32x20 I believe and I was on my 34x20 (hence how I caught up to him on the flat). I pulled away and was on my own again. This fire road seemed to be pretty busy with vehicular traffic too. I kept sucking dust. As the road slowly pitched upwards I was gaining on a few people. One of which kept standing up and was pedaling slowly (oohh. Another singlespeeder). This is good news. Couldn’t quite catch up to him by the time we got to aid station 5. I stopped and he kept on going. I needed a break. Refilled my bottles, grabbed my drop bag, sat down and figured out what I wanted in my jersey pockets. From here its still a bit of a climb to the top. (A climb that mentally broke me last year for I wasn’t ready for it.) Then a descent into aid station 6 (also aid station 3), then another climb to a descent to the finish. I knew once I crested this ridge things were smooth sailing. Maybe a minute or two goes by and I somehow convinced myself I’m good to go. On the bike for some more climbing.
I knew this climb had a bunch of false summits. It would climb and then you’d get to a field thinking you’re at the top. This is how I fell apart last year. This year I used those fields to convince me I’m one more field down rather than “Am I there yet?”.. Yup, positive reinforcement. The funny thing was I had no idea how many fields I had to go through before I got to the top.
Something clicked for I was motoring up this. I felt great and kept on pushing along at a pace faster than I held on all the earlier climbs. Passed Cheryl Sorenson (Trek East Coast Factory Team) and eventually caught up to Michelle. Encouraged Michelle (or rather later confused her) by stating Cheryl was a way back and didn’t look too good. Kept on pushing and finally reached the summit (around mile 82 I presume). By now I was riding for 9hours and my hopes of finishing the race in under 10hours were fading fast. Time to start the very long, rocky singletrack descent down Chestnut Ridge. My right hand was killing me and I was on the brakes way too much (hmmm. See a common theme/weakness this year?). I figured Michelle would catch me but she never did. I came across that SSr from earlier changing a flat tire. I had no idea who he was but as I rode by we both stared at each other thinking as if something big is happening. Well, that was an important point in the race and I’ll explain later.
Finally got to the bottom. Took me way longer than I really wanted. Right turn onto a paved road and I’m at the final aid station (#6 at mile 88). Refilled my two bottles and saw Cheryl roll into the aid station ahead of Michelle. Huh? Last I saw Michelle was ahead of Cheryl. Either way, I took off up the last climb of the day. This was the same climb I did earlier at mile 31/35 only this time we didn’t go all the way to the top. Something clicked and I was once again motoring up this thing at a pace faster than any climb I rode earlier (including this one).
If the last grueling climb didn’t kill anyone, this one will. It’s a kicker at mile 88/90 and you have to do it to get over the mountain range and down into the Stokesville campground. I didn’t see any singlespeeders but passed quite a few geared riders. They were crawling in their small chainrings and big cogs out back. I passed them like they were standing still. It felt so good for it made me think I was flying and also I had no ounce of cramping or signs of muscle cramping. So? I push harder knowing this it the last climb and kept staring at my watch hoping I can reach the finish in under 10hours. I was breathing as hard as I did at the start and knew I was on the cusp of being anerobic. It didn’t matter. If I did cramp I could nurse it along for I wasn’t too far from the finish.
Got to the top and started the descent. Again, rocky singletrack and my right hand and upper body were saying “NO” but I ignored and pushed on despite the pain. Son-Of-A….. I just saw my watch tick over 4:30pm (10hrs of riding) and I’m not at the finish. Not too far later I round a few bends on this doubletrack and I see some people and a ton of flags pointing into some singletrack. “You’re almost there. Campground is right down the trail.” Sweet!
I let go of the brakes and ignored the pain in my right hand. Flew through the upper portion of the campground locking my rear tire and sliding the bike around the turns in a drift. Then it opens into the grassy field. There are two rollers I launched over and then a sharp 120deg turn and a 30yard sprint to the finish.
- 10hours 7minutes 14sec (just shy of my goal of a sub-10hr finish)
- 41minutes faster than last year (and on a rigid fork this year -vs- suspension last year)
- 17th singlespeed finish out of 60+
- 101st overall finish out of 400+
- 12,000 to 14,000 ft of climbing in 100miles
- 1 flat tire
- 1 loose water bottle cage
- 1 blister the size of a half dollar in my right palm
- 1 warped brake rotor due to excessive heat
- 1200mg Ibuprofen for lower back spasms
- 5 Gu gels
- 6 Endurolyte pills
- 4 flasks of Perpetuem
- 10 bottles of Accelerade
- NO cramping
- solid levels of strength the whole day
- 34x20 was my gear ratio of choice for the day
TimmyD and Buck were sitting just beyond the finish watching everyone. I walked over to say hello. Saw Keith. He finished 19mins in front of me. We exchanged identical thoughts of “Will I catch Keith at the next aid station?” and “Will Doug catch me at the next aid station?” like my comeback at the Mohican. Hahaha. So funny that we both thought of that independently. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite bridge that gap. I contribute it to my numb hand and my willingness to let the rigid fork get the best of me.
Remember that singlespeeder I passed on the Chestnut Ridge downhill? The one changing his flat tire? Well, I saw him cross the finish line a few minutes behind me. Turns out it was Thomas Greene (Blesso Consulting). I’ve never met him until the awards ceremony but he was the guy trailing me by a few short points in the overall series contention. I was freaking out a little leading up to this race not knowing who he is, what he looks like, and how to keep tabs on him during this race. I finally decided to just ride my race and let things work themselves out naturally.
The Shenandoah Mountain 100 was also the 2007 National Ultra Endurance 100miler Mountain Bike series finale. The events of the SM100 led to Dejay Birtch taking first overall SS with myself coming in 2nd and Thomas Greene coming in 3rd.