Monday, August 27, 2007

Shenandoah is coming

This coming weekend is Labor Day weekend. Already? Yeah, that's what I said. That means the NEU series finale is this weekend... The Shenandoah Mountain 100.

What have I been doing to get ready? Went White Water Rafting down on the New River in West Virginia the other week and basically have just been resting. Seemed to work well for the 101.

Am I reading this correctly? Looks like Floyd will be making an appearance at the SM100. Guess I should be stockpiling my red blood cells. haha. Something tells me he won't be on a singlespeed. Slacker!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Darkhorse 40

The Darkhorse 40 consists of two 20mile laps in southern New York state right adjacent to the Stewart Airport. Great trails. Somewhat flat (relative to PA standards) with some very short, steep climbs. Terrain like this dictates super fast speeds. Its a great course and the promotors do a wonderful job of making everyone have a great time and also give back a lot to the participants and volunteers. Wish all races were organized like this one was. True grassroots racing at its finest.

In the end, my legs were still feeling the effects from the Wilderness 101 only 7 days prior. Am I expected to be 100% after a hard 100miler in about a week? I thought I could be. Perhaps my expectations are too high? Either way my performance was still really good. Read on....

So, in a nutshell..... take the 101 with its extremely steep climbs, rugged terrain, high heat and humidity. Add in a great personal performance. Multiply that with what seemed to be adequate rest in the 7 days between the 101 and 40. Divide out a recovery road ride and a medocre mtb ride mid-week. Then add in super high cadence and going as hard as one possibly can for 40miles in around 3hours. Take the square root of a(nother) stomach ache and severe leg cramps in the last 15miles and you've got yourself my take on the Darkhorse 40.

The low-down:

I knew something was amiss when I woke up at 5am and had great difficulty getting out of bed. I old myself its the same as a powder day in the winter. That kind of helped. Then whilst driving west to NY I had trouble getting my oatmeal down. Even over 3hrs before race start.

Got to the race nice and early (7:15am). I was thinking about registering Expert 19-29 on my SS but choose the Expert SS class instead. Say hello to a few people. Then roll back to my car. Got word TimmyD would not be making it to the race. That was disheartening but sometimes you've got to play it safe with regards to larger objectives. Temperature felt good. Upper 70s around 8am. Not much humidity. I was still tired so I decided on a nap for 20/30mins. (Here's a self-portrait before I fell asleep)

Got up at 8:40 for a 9am start. Time to change, fill up the CamelBag (decided to be fully self-supported so I don't have to stop riding), find my food (ShotBloks and gels). Stomach still wasn't feeling right but I mustered on anyway. The 29er got a good cleaning the day before along with a gear change (swapped back to my 34x20 from the W101 32x20) and was all set. Rode around for a bit and then found the usual suspects near the starting line (Sean from Bethel Cycle, Mike from NJ, Ed Burgess, my teammates Tim, Craig and Aaron, etc). Its gonna be a good one! Chatted a bit with everyone and then we played the lemans-start waiting game, waiting for "go".

"GO!". I got a bad running start and was stuck behind some people that ditched their bikes before mine. So instead of running straight I was running in a zig-zag motion. On the bike and took off pedaling like mad trying to catch up to Sean, Tim and Mike. Didn't see Tim and recalled him saying something about 'taking it easy' so I figured he was behind me. Found Craig and sat behind him for a bit. Then took off in an effort to move further up. The pedals were spinning so fast I don't know how my legs kept up with the cadence.

Found Mike and rode behind him for a bit. After a short detour we come back out onto the main fire road and up this climb. This climb is deceiving in that its slope is borderline requiring you to stand or sit whilst riding up. However, it'll make or break you after 40miles given the finish is at the top of this climb.

Feeling really good I attack up the climb going into the first lap. Passed Ed and another SSr and disappeared into the singletrack at the top. Now I'm behind a bunch of geared riders and we're all sitting wheel-wheel on each other. I hate to sound arrogant or pompus but I can't race tight singletrack behind a lot of people out there. I'd found over the years that I ride tight singletrack faster than most of my competitors so it frustates me when I'm constantly having to slam on my brakes goes into a turn or over roots and rocks (this happened at the Mohican). Somehow I made my way around these people (even though some would later pass me on some short fireroad sections) and was now able to negotiate the singletrack freely. Looking back this probably was not the smartest idea expending extra energy just to have some of them pass me on the next fireroad section.

Some of the turns contained mud puddles from Friday's rain and I came into these turns thinking I could lay the bike out and let the tires carry me. Countless times in the beginning of lap 1 this proved fatal. Lots of sliding out and foot plants through the turns. Not smooth. It also made me realize I should slow down a bit and ride smarter, not harder. As the lap went on I started doing just that.

Now I'm rocking lap one at a nice pace and pulling on everyone behind me while catching a few people infront of me. Unfortunately those people weren't SSrs so I had no idea how far ahead the next SSr was. I also thought I was top 3 thinking only Mike and Sean were infront of me. Sweet!

Still riding strong and climbing everything I rounded out lap 1 with Ed catching up to me. Hmmm... Beat him up the climb going into lap two (it felt like that climb didn't exist) only to watch him pass me about a mile into the singletrack. By now my knees hurt and precious strength was robbed out of my legs. I've been sipping on my camelbag a lot so I didn't think hydration was an issue. Couldn't really eat much and probably only used 1 gel and two shot bloks on lap one (first 20miles). I let Ed go and slowed down a bit realizing I still have half the race to go.

I eventually stopped and raised my saddle a few millimeters and this felt better on my knees. Now I was able to ride strong again. I also rode a little slower than lap one and tried to be smarter with negotiating turns. Probably halfway through the lap things started falling apart. My quads were tightening up so I would coast the downgrades while stretching them. This lasted a few miles until the insides and back of my knees started cramping (hamstrings?). Was able to stretch them since my quads were okay.

There's a section towards the tail end of each lap that had some climbing. Nice gradual grades but this felt almost impossible on lap 2. I was hurting really bad. Downed a bunch of endurolytes (all I had left) in an effort to alleviate the cramping. Drank more Accelerade. Now my pace was slowing down considerably and I let two other SSrs past me. Fatigue was also setting in fast so I wasn't negotiating the roots too wisely.

I was able to recover for a bit and ride well for a few miles. More geared riders passed but I wasn't worried about them. Many words of encouragement were exchanged. The very short steep stuff I hiked up with my legs cramping. Every time I hiked my legs got worse but I didn't have the strength to muscle up the climbs on the bike. Got back on the bike as soon as I could to keep pedaling away the cramps.

Terrain looked familar and I knew I was getting close to the end of lap 2 and the race. I rode a bit more conservatively knowing I had that climb at the end and my legs weren't feeling too good. My stomach was still not right so I didn't eat much (much to my demise). Going into the last push and climb up to the finish I rode the bottom of it in the saddle. Then decided to stand thinking I could muscle up it. 15ft later every muscle in my legs locked up. I looked up at everyone cheering, knew no SSr was behind me, and just tipped the bike over and rolled around on the side of the fireroad for a few seconds. Worked the legs, looked downhill and saw a Vicious rider. Hmmm. Tim! It motivated me to get back on the bike. I took one step and knew walking wasn't going to work so I jumped on the bike and ground it out in the saddle to the top. Every pedal stroke hurt and I'm sure you could see it in my face. Everyone cheered for I was able to get back on the bike and ride it out.

Turns out that Vicious rider was not Tim but Craig coming up the hill. Tim was in front of me the entire time and finished a whole 36mins ahead of me! Craig and I laughed when I explained what I thought when rolling around on the ground. Two jugs of water dumped over my head and down my throat helped the cramping disappear. I then rode around a bit to just spin things off. Then joined the party/bbq and hung out with everyone for a while. It was good to see Rebecca show up. Guess she was still in the area after the 101 before going back home to NC. I think she'll rock the SSWC07 out in Scotland!

When I thought I was in 3rd I really was around 4th. My self destruction wasn't as bad as I thought since I crossed the finish line in 7th SS. My time (3hrs 27min 32sec) was on-par, if not a little slower than last year.

Take a gander at these times across all the classes. Look how fast the Expert Singlespeed group was! Tim also took fastest time overall while riding his SS! Looking at those numbers I am now happy with my performance despite all the cramping and accomplishing a personal best at the Wilderness 101 a week earlier. I bet if my stomach felt fine and I didn't go crazy at the start I would have rode a better race and have finished around 3hr 10mins.

Time to rest up. Go whitewater rafting in WV. Rest a lot more and round out the National 100miler series with the Shenandoah Mtn 100 on Labor Day. All I'm concerned with is holding onto my overall position.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wilderness 101

The 7th Annual Wilderness 101 went off without a hitch.

I was freaking out in the days leading up. Why? Worked 10hr days in an effort to take Friday off for travel to Coburn. As a result, I wasn't getting much needed sleep to recover from my weekend at Camp Jeep (weekend prior) and from long days at work. Then the thought of dehydration showed up. I didn't want another Mohican experience all over again. Hmm. Go camelbag or bottles?

Drove down to NJ Thursday night. Got a good night's sleep at my parents' house. Friday morning I headed over to pick up Tim. Borrowed his landlord's air compressor to seal my front tire. Couldn't get the Crossmark to seal so I threw on the Ignitor, which worked. So, the 101 would be seen with a Maxxis Ignitor up front and a Maxxis Crossmark out back. Heard some people on the mtbr forums are doing this.

Hit the road by 11am. Wound up being the navigator for both Dave and Bert. Seems that Tim and I were the only ones who printed out driving directions. Somehow they both turned onto PA45 heading westbound instead of eastbound. Little traffic on I80 going into PA. Stopped to get some food and then jumped on PA45 heading eastbound. Arrived in Coburn around 4pm.

Picked up our numbers and immediately changed to go for a ride with Harlan and Dejay. Rode a nice easy pace down the rail trails to the end of Fisherman's trail. Upon returning we set up camp and then headed off to dinner. After dinner it was bike maintenance time... Had to switch out the 34x21 for an easier 32x20. Also swapped in a new front brake rotor and put a handpump on the frame (didn't have enough CO2s in the event of multiple flats). Decided to tape my spare tube to my stem so I can use my middle jersey pocket for waterbottle #3. The other two bottles were on the frame.

Asleep around 10/10:30pm. Another humid night so falling asleep wasn't too easy. Awake around 5:15/5:30am. Munched on some oatmeal and took care of any nature calls.

Race was on at 7am! Lead out on the road by the police, but it was really one of the two tandems racing that lead us all out. First climb the pace seemed to pick up a bit. I immediately lost sight of Tim as he was hanging with Wes. Caught up to Topher and rode up the first climb with him. At the top he outspun me and disappeared. I desperately tried to hang onto the little paceline he created but couldn't. And so my solo adventure began...

From that point it was undulating short climbs and flats on the fireroads. Would try to latch onto geared riders as they came up on me in their groups but I couldn't. One very large group caught up to me around mile 10. I was sucked in, hung out a bit pedaling like mad, and then quickly got spit out the back. Frustrated I did my best to keep my cool and told myself "I'll get 'em on the climbs."

Rolled into, and immediately through, aid station 1 without stopping. Ah ha! First doubletrack climb. I love this climb. stood up and just pedaled away passing everyone who passed me on the fireroads. Got to the top and it was a nice long descent. I was paranoid of flatting so I kept the weight back and stayed light on the front wheel. Opened it up (read "no brakes") and bombed the descent. Onto more fireroads climbing back to another descent. This continued for a while as I'd pass people going uphill and hold onto, and maybe open up a gap, on the descents.

Eventually got back to flat fire roads and everyone caught back up to me. Huber caught up at some point and the two of use spun into aid station 2 together. Buck was kind enough to help refill our bottles (had my baggie of accelerade mix) and get our drop bags. Downed one bottle, refilled 3 for the bike, and grabbed two bananas. Huber and I were off for the first monster climb of the day just past mile 40.

My knees were bothering me. Hmm. Something's not right. Near the bottom there was a beer stop. Huber stopped for a beverage and I used that time to raise my saddle a tad (lowered it when I reset the gears the night before 'cause I moved the ECC to the bottom). Agh! Much better on the knees. Climbed some more together and I eventually couldn't hang with Huber and he slowly pulled away. Chris from Philly showed up and I rode with him a bit. Chatted about riding fixies brakeless through city streets and he, too, pulled away from me. As much as I was a bit frustrated for seeing them pull past me I was still excited for riding the vast majority of the course AND this climb (walked a bit of this climb last year).

At the top and bombed a tight singletrack descent. Partway down I started thinking of why I'm riding rigid. My forearms and wrists were killing me. Eventually found the bottom (after minutes and minutes of desending). Onto the next climb. Caught up to Tomi on the fixie and Skip Brown caught up to me. Both eventually pulled away when I stopped to excercise some minor cramping in the quads. Maybe a minute later I was back on the bike climbing up the 2nd steep fireroad climb. I knew once I got to the top of this the race gets easier (in my opinion). A while later (20mins or more? i wasn't paying attention) I got to the top and bombed another rocky singletrack descent. Again, fighting the pain of holding onto the brakes and riding rigid. Every now and then I heard the sound of rims coming in contact with rocks. Looked down and realized my rear tire was somewhat low. Not good. I don't want a flat of any kind.

Rolled into aid station 3 with some minor cramping and a slight headache. Refilled all 3 bottles but didn't have my baggie of accelerade (left it in my drop bag for aid staation 4). Went with two bottles of Heed and one of Gatorade. Popped 1000mg of Ibuprofen for my head and pumped my rear tire up with a floor pump they had. Ate some Pringles for the salt and grabbed two bananas. Chatted a minute or two with the moto guys and then headed up Sassafras trail.

Sassafras trail is daunting. I got about 100ft in and realized I didn't rest enough and my legs were cramping. Time to rest. I pulled over and sat there eating my bananas and drinking a whole bottle of Heed. Saw a few people come past me, maybe 2 SSrs. And also saw Gary from High Gear come up the trail looking good. Got back on the bike and took the last spot in the line pedaling up Sassafras trail. Since I'm SS and everyone else was geared we were going a bit slow for me. The two SSrs who passed earlier pulled over to walk (they obviously weren't feeling good). I eventually got around most of the geared guys as each one eventually stopped to take a break and walk a bit. Bottom line. I rode most, if not, all of the trail. Maybe not the fastest but I rode it (another personal best given I walked a bit of it last year).

At the top another nice descent. This one was very steep and off camber. I was on the brakes (as were most other people) the whole way. Passed a few people. About halfway down there's a sharp right turn. I used this as a place to stop and let my wrists rest. My brakes also heated up a lot. Enough to expand the mineral oil within the lines (later found out a common problem with XTRs because of the small reservoir). Probably 30sec later I'm back on the bike heading down. Eventually got out to the bottom in some awesome singletrack. Feeling pretty good I picked up the tempo a bit. Passed some people, a few SSrs.

Eventually had to climb back up a bit on a fire road into some nice singletrack (did I say the singletrack is fun? its so tight that you can't even walk it with your bike beside you). Came across Keith (Topher's teammate) on the fire road. he wasn't looking good. Stopped to see if he needed anything and then kept on going. At the top it was time to descend an off-camber shale (nothing but rocks) descent. I'm on the brakes a lot for my arms were killing me with the rigid fork. Just as I was thinking I'm riding a decent pace and playing the 'how few times can you put your foot down' game I hear another rider behind me. Pulled over to let them by. Turns out it was a singlespeeder with a front suspension fork. Passed me like I'm standing still. How demoralizing? I eventually got to the bottom and knew it was a short fireroad out to a paved road, down the paved road maybe 1/8 of a mile to aid station 4. Knowing this I spun my ass off.

As I'm spinning up to the road to the aid station I caught back up to that singlespeeder. Rolled into the aid station to refill my 3 bottles, get my aid station bag for my gels and ate two bananas. Just as I was getting ready to leave Keith rolled in and layed down on the ground. He looked beat. Looked like three singlespeeders (including Keith) were in the aid station so I took off knowing I have the second to last grueling climb infront of me. How about that? a singlespeeder infront on the climb. Didn't see him earlier. He got off to walk and I kept on riding. Rode up the bottom section and did the walk/ride thing on the upper section.

Now the heat was starting to take its toll on me. There was a slight breeze in the race all day up to this point, and most of the course was in shade. This climb was in shade but I felt no breeze. It was also a doubletrack climb with rocks sandwiched in between grass. Hard to keep your momentum going when you're tired after racing for 70miles. I fell into the same place I did around mile 75 at last year's Shenandoah Mtn 100: mental breakdown. Not good! I just wanted to crawl into a ball, lay down on the side of the trail and take a nap. Somehow I pushed on albeit very slowly. Slower than I wanted to. Slower than my pace all day.

Eventually got out of that climb and onto some fireroads to recover. Needless to say I lost a lot of precious time. I was shooting to be around 9hr 9hr 30min overall but that was fading fast as I saw 9hr creep up and I'm only around mile 75. I knew at the top of these fireroads it turned to singletrack, then doubletrack through some old campgrounds, and back to some very rocky singletrack. Looked like someone bought some land 'cause an electric fence was up where part of last year's course went in. We were rerouted around the fence in a counterclockwise direction (right up against the fence). It was hot and in the sun. I moved through this as fast as I could to avoid direct sunlight.

Onto the doubletrack as I did my best to pedal as fast as I could while keeping a decent pace and not slacking off. Mentally I'm back in the game (found that near the electric fence.... and I didn't even have to touch the fence to find it!). Heard some chainslap behind me... geared riders.... and decided to play a little game. How fast could I ride through the rocks and roots and not let the geared guys catch me? Silly game to play since all day I've been concerned, and paranoid, of flatting thanks to my last Michaux race. Played it anyway. Whoa hoo! I flew through that section super fast. Eventually didn't hear any chainslap. Rolled up to a gate, and went around it. Then hopped onto a fire road knowing aid station 5 (the last and final one) is a short skip down the road.

Not long as I was on the fire road those geared riders caught up to me. Exchanged a few nice words to the tune of "nice negotating that technical section!" and "props to the rigid singlespeeder" we rolled into aid station 5 together. Somewhere between aid stations 4 and 5 I lost my m&m mini container of endurolytes. I popped five at the aid station and put a handful in my jersey pocket. Refilled my 2 bottles (lost one when I flew through that rocky double/singletrack) with Heed. The next mile or so was an old converted railway so I desperately needed to sit on someone's wheel. That worked by l
atched onto the rear wheel of one of those geared riders I rolled into aid station 5 with. The rail trail ended by going through a tunnel and onto some fireroad. Two very attractive women were sitting trailside watching the race (guess they were waiting for someone). I said hello as I rode by. Sometime after that a hard left turn was made onto the last, and final, climb. A grueling jaunt up this fire road. On most days it isn't that bad but at mile 90/95 its insane!My quads started cramping at the bottom (where the grade is steeper). I pulled over and downed a water bottle, gel and more endurolytes. Now I'm over 9hrs so I set a new goal of doing it in under 10hours (last year's time was 10hr 37mins). Back on the bike!

Rode up the rest of the climb slowly. Wish I could have gone faster but I couldn't. Each slight turn I would trick myself into thinking the top is there. Then I'd come around the turn and be crushed. However, I'd combat that crush by playing the same trick on the next upcoming turn. Strange games but its 90+deg, very humid and I'm over 9hrs into a grueling bike race. Eventually got to the top and I rejoiced by pointing it down the backside (fireroad descent).

At the bottom we're on fisherman's trail. A technical section along a riverbed. I rode it conservatively hopping off and running through tough sections. Didn't want to cramp my legs and I knew I was tired and weak. Out of that and onto another converted railway. I spun my butt off trying to keep a decent pace. No one infront of me, no one behind me. I was all alone. The converted railway had dense tree coverage so it kind of looked like a tunnel. It never seemed to end even though I knew every foot of this section having ridden it the day before. The end was marked by a narrow bridge to ride across. We were making fun of Dave the day prior for not being able to ride it for his handlebars were too wide. Rolled across that into the second tunnel. This tunnel has some big rocks so you have to be careful. Its pitch black and you can't see the rocks. Got through it cleanly and onto the road for about a mile to the finish line. I pedaled my butt off on my way to the finish.

Into Coburn we're on the main street and then a sharp right into Coburn park for the finish. Typical sleepy PA town, all the houses are right up against the street. As a result, the turn into Coburn park was somewhat blind. I'm taking it fairly fast working from outside to inside to outside of the turn. Well, there just so happen to be a car pulling out leaving the park. I find this out as I'm halfway through the turn. Not good! Quick slam on the brakes to scrubb speed and pull tight inside the turn narrowly missing the car. Then a sprint to the finish.

To sum it all up:
9hours 58minutes was my official time. A whole 39minutes faster than last year! Last year I was on a 26er with front suspension. This year its 29er with a rigid fork. Probably could have been even faster if my bike had a suspension fork.

Took 19th singlespeed out of a huge field of 40 or more singlespeeders. Same finish as last year but with a faster time and a more competitive field. So competitive that Wes Shempf ( took first singlespeed setting a course record of 7hr 49min and taking 7th overall! I was 1hour 33mins behind Tim who took 5th SS. My time was also
73rd overall.

Very HOT day. Don't know what the temps were but I'm willing to bet somewhere in the 90s with high humidity. Hmmm. Similar to the Mohician. The good news! No dehydration like the Mohican 100. I didn't even get much of a headache after the race either. Guess 3 bottles and drinking every 15mins worked well.

No stomach pains. As much as oatmeal is a 'heavy' breakfast I ate well over an hour prior to the start. Think that helped.

Maxxis tires are the shit! The Ignitor up front tracked very well in the sandy turns and such. The Crossmark out back had plenty of traction for the dry course.

Starting to rethink this riding rigid thing. Every muscle in my arms was super sore at the end of the race. So sore that it limited me in my climbing on the last two big climbs (had trouble pulling on the bars for leverage). I definitely couldn't ride as fast as I wanted to in certain sections because of the rigid fork. Gotta figure out what I want to do.

32x20 worked well for the steep climbs but, as expected, I spun out early on the flats. Perhaps next year I'll be a bit stronger and can rock a 34x21 or a 32x19?

Thanks to Chris Scott and the Shenandoah Mountain Touring Company for another quality venue. Thanks to Curt for letting me use his air compressor to get rid of that tube in my front tire and go back to tubeless. Good to see everyone again. Great to see Bert out rocking the enduro races again. Been a while for him but he had a blast and is looking forward to the 101 next year. Good to see Dave back after some issues in last year's 101. Way to be back in the game!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

camp jeep, off-the-front

Took a few days off (6 to be exact) from the bike. Spent them down in Charlottesville Virginia at Camp Jeep. My 'vacations' seem to leave little to be desired in regards to rest. Worked a full day on Wednesday, then went for a 2+hr mtn bike ride. Afterwards Omega and I cruised down to my parents' house in NJ. Dropped him off, slept for about an hour and then hit the road again around 1:30am. Pushed it through the night to arrive at our campsite bright and early Thursday morning, just in time to jump in my friend's TJ and head over to Camp Jeep for the day. Spent three days there offroading, baking in the sun, hanging out with Red Bull girls, getting Tony Hawk and Sean White's signatures and have a great time quoting our favorite movies. Sunday was spent driving back to CT with a stop at Cabela's in eastern PA and an overnight in NJ. Monday I felt like I was sleepwalking at work.

This week has been spent playing catch-up on sleep. It isn't helping that I'm working long days to take Friday off. Not to mention the fuel filter on the AVant decided it wanted to clog up so I had to replace that one evening. House is full of dog hair and needs a good vacuuming. Hallway and bedroom painting needs to commence. Grass is tall. The list keeps on going.

Went out on the weekly group ride last night (switched from Wed to Tues this week). Rocking a 34x21 and was content to work on my climbing. The ride started right up a decent road climb. There I was; out of the saddle pedaling away at a decent clip, not realizing that I'm pulling away from everyone. Onto a gravel access road and then a left onto a nice steep powerline climb. Again, I pulled away and everyone felt it was necessary to ride fast in order to keep up. Hmm. Wasn't my plan but my climbing off-the-front sort of provoked it.

From that point forward the remainder of the ride was somewhat fast and my knee was saying 'no no'. My body also felt like crap. Definitely didn't feel 'fresh'. Perhaps I need more sleep? Perhaps it was the heat and humidity? I began to get worried about the prospect of just carrying two bottles at the 101 this weekend. My Camelbag sounds inviting. Hmm...

A little over an hour into the ride I started recovering and feeling better. Knee pain also went away. This is a reoccuring theme I've noticed. My body doesn't seem to want to cooperate until 40-60+minutes into a ride. If I go out hard early I pay for it up through the first hour. If I take it easy for the first hour life is grand.

The later half of the ride saw trails we rode last week. One particular rocky and steep climb. I was stoked and, again, was out of the saddle off-the-front pedaling nice and easy. Got to the trail junction and was about to head right (to the steep stuff) but got out-voted to go left. So, what do I do? Push it hard with Glenn and 'Lap through the singletrack until we hit the forest service road. From there I was cursing Glenn for running his Mount Snow gear (32x22) and spinning like a madman up this forest road climb. I dug deep down for the energy and strength to keep up with him. Bombed the forest road descents just thinking about the 101. 'Great Success!'

Saturday is the Wilderness 101. I should be able to get all rested up for it. Still running the idea of bottles -vs- camelbag through my head. Also trying to figure out if I want to stay with my 34x21 or drop to a 32x20. The 34x20 is similar to what I had last year (26er) and it felt great on the steep climbs later in the race. I'd rather be comfortable on those climbs. Commanding decision to come on Friday.

La Ruta
Conformation through email late last week: I am officially (page 2) a registered participant in this year's La Ruta. Now to figure out the airfare...