Showing posts sorted by relevance for query tatanka. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query tatanka. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tatanka 100

Tammy asked me how finishing the Tatanka 100 made me feel. This is because I am "Sense of Accomplishment Challenged" (I am sure that it will become a diagnosis and treatable by pharmaceuticals in the very near future) :-)
Well, my answer was that everything else pales in comparison. The athletes that take on these events are my new heroes. Before the Tatanka, 100 was just a number. At this point, I am not sure if I will do another one, but maybe....

How did I feel?  I felt AWE!

It transcends a sense of accomplishment.

The race started at 5am. Anybody that knows me, knows that I am not a Morning person. But recently being on the East coast and changing a couple time zones did help, albeit slightly. I slept well and got up ok.
Ryan Heerschap and I were the first ones at Woodle Field for the start. The shear wall of the cliff behind the stadium glowed ominously from the WoodleFfield stadium lights. The neutral roll out from Sturgis, South Dakota, famous for the motorcycle rally, had us pushing about 20 miles per hour. I spun my single gear and drifted back, while up front, Ryan felt like he was already on the rivet. We climbed Bulldog Canyon Road (see us coming back down from our pre-ride in the video below)
I was staying conservative and would ride up onto someone's wheel and many would just let me by, even before I asked..

There was walking involved, particularly the infamous vertical skree climb to switch valleys. I would catch people, only to be dropped later, and catch them again or not.

Endurance sports really are an equalizer between the sexes, six women came in front of me and I was not ashamed to take a draft from one of the ladies. I found out that I walk up hills slower that a lot of people and most gearies walked what I had to walk. And then there was the Mickelson, with my 34 chainring and 20 tooth cog, I could not wait for the incredibly shallow grade of the rail trail to end. I could only manage 10-11 miles an hour. Ryan said they were only doing 12-13, so I did not feel so bad. But I did draft that woman at 12-13 as long as I could; about half a mile total. Then a guy came by at 14 and I could only hold that for about a minute.

I took a little long at the Englewood aid station (last bag drop), almost leaving then deciding to leave my Camelbak and fidgeting with that way too long, a few gearies got in and out faster. I was pleasantly surprised that when the topography turn more jagged I could still climb and was immediately on two that made speedier stops than I. They split and I went right by one gearie and was closing on the next as he caught a third. One caught me back on the, not flat, but still too gradual descent, leading to the final aid station. As I could only coast around 13 mph and could not pedal faster, I ate my molasses cookies. So I only had to take on water. That gearie was trying to get an idea what next lay in store, I just went. Then another gearie, older than me even, pedals past me as I am coasting around 20 mph. He asked "Will this ever end?" I answer, "They tell me it does", then he exclaimed "What! another climb!" I just start pedaling up and past him. There was hill after hill with wicked fast descents after each one.  I was making every climb and was in the zone on every descent. Just as I entered the culvert leading back to Woodle Field, I caught up to the woman that towed me for a bit, back on the Mickelson. She was with her SO or husband and teammate. None of us were in the same class and I could not break them up as they crossed the finish line holding hands.
Finishing in 11 hours and 19 minutes. 14th out of 17
So all said, a reasonable first 100 mile mountain bike showing. Particularly since I have hardly trained for even short races. I climbed more in the first 22 miles than I have done on some of my 30 to 40 mile rides this year and twice as much as in the 50 milers and almost exactly twice the duration, from last year. See the Bear Scat Strava Link below. Consider that my average training time has only been 6 hours and 45 minutes and my longest week was 16 hours.

I have done Hillier Than Thou with that much mileage and climbing but that was on the road!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Darn Tough Socks

I am particularly hard on socks, I mean really, really hard on socks.

I used to have socks with Kevlar toes and heels even, I thought I needed bulletproof socks. The cuffs wore out, but I still kept wearing them. I took some ribbing for that, for sure.

I found that the Pearl Izumi socks were padded well enough, You see I am a masher. I used the black socks, cause I am a mountain biker and mountain biking is dirty.

I would were the heels out on the Pearls and a few toe holes. Pearl Discontinued them and I snatched up some remaining white ones.

I became aware of Darn Tough socks last year in South Dakota after the Tatanka 100.

The Life Time Guarantee particularly interested me, you can understand why.

I am on a very restricted budget and the last of my Pearls were wearing thin. So I picked up a pair of made in Vermont USA, Darn Tough socks in Duluth Minnesota, back in July, to see if they would hold up.  They did not have cycling socks, so I got a pair of cushioned 1/4 hiking socks in black of course.  I used them for just about every hard ride. 3 to 4 rides a week 2 to 12 hours each. Leaving the Pearls for recovery rides, or if the the Darn Tough socks were in the wash. Which was not often, my kit would go in the washer in the RV as I got in the shower. Three months of hard riding and they they were holding up great. So good I got a warmer pair, when the stay in Brevard NC, got extended  into chillier end of November. I was really feelin the Darn Tough love, so I reached out to them, to see if they were into doing the partnership thing and they said yes.

The cycling socks have a more breathable top. I got them with the cushion as well. Masher remember.

Still Looks great after months of intensive use.
Darn Tough,
Great Stuff,
No Guff! 

 Made In Vermont USA

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cohutta the 2nd Half

See the first half here. On the subsequent climb a woman came by.  Most of the girls were gearies, with that and long endurance event being the great equalizer between the sexes, I have humbly accepted the occasional pass by the fairer sex.  Not this girl, she left her gear bike at home because of the muddy conditions.  She ultimately got 6th among the women.  When Bonsby came by a little later he said he has seen her race before and she was a force to be reckoned with.  I dropped her on the next descent only for her to dance away up one of the succeeding climbs.  She seem to climb about twice as fast as me,  a feat I could not match on the DHs.

Now back to the numbers game.  I was still averaging about 10.5 mph at this time.  My metric century was done in 5:44.  Thing were still looking up.  But that damn rest stop #5 would just not materialize.  Mike came up just before the crest of a hill, we both lamented over the 35 miles between rest stops, he was out of H2O.  I told the full suspension riding Bonsby that I would follow him on my rigid bike for the descent.  He said he was not going to go to fast and let me pass.  The fire road turned up again and some time had passed, as well as a few other rider and I started to worry about Mike.  Hoping that he did not crash or flat.  But shortly before the climb out to rest stop #5/4 he passed me.  I had another fast pit and left as Mike was getting his camel back filled, only for him to pass me on, what I call the bonus climb.

My average speed from 62 to 77 miles had started to drop.  There were several riders walking up the bonus climb, I think they were stragglers from the 65 mile Big Frog version of the race.  At least I was going faster than walking pace!

Finally back back at rest stop #3/6.  A volunteer asked how I was liking the single speed now.  I felt a slow grin come across my muddy face and sad the bike hadn't given up yet, but my body may have.

The final climb.  It would end just over the next rise or around the next bend, but it seemed like it never did.  A short false flat or small dip and I was sure it was down hill from there.  After all Mike said the the last Single track was all down hill too, Great I thought.  But first I had to climb the same hill we first came down on the fire road.  Blue sky, That is a good sign we are near the top right?,  Not! The road would turn and keep on climbing.  We had to dodge the occasional car on these narrow gravel road from time to time, as well.

Just when I just about had it,  A bearded single speeder with a full hip pack passes me on what was really the top of the Fire road.  I caught him back on the descent, but confused the entry into the single track, which turn immediately up, not down and he was on my wheel, so I let him pass. I headed into the Quarry loop as Bosnby headed out.  I was dead tired and parts of the quarry did not care.  As for the rest of the single track, I am sure it would have been great fun an hour or two earlier, but now it was anything but the DH single track I was hoping for!  A girl on gears passed me on a particularly SS unfriendly stretch.  I thought she was gone until the hard left hander, that pointed up a moderate to steep climb with rooty technical bits.  She was walking about a couple hundred yard up.  I asked how she liked the DH single track, she replied that she did not have anything left in the tank.  I was walking before I got to her and pulled off as a guy on gears  was coming up.  He saw why I got off and got off as well.  He said "after you", so I remounted after the big root that I was too tired to to attempt and was on my way past the girl, with the guy in tow.  He and I replayed that same scenario a few times, before a definitely pro gearie section came up, where I stepped off to let him do that gearie thing they do.  This Single track may have been loosing elevation, but it was not giving it up with out a fight at every turn, literally.  When it finally did pint down, it was like, "Wait What, that was it?!" and we were out at the power station, not the finish line like TK and I had thought.  Nothing left and nothing left to do but pedal the very slight grade on the pavement back to the start finish area.  Pedal I did, painfully slowly.  I have never really needed a cheering section to motivate me, but here on this plain old, nearly flat stretch of pavement, going about 7.5 miles an hour, through the parking lot, I soaked up every cheer and clap and good job that came my way.

I ended up 15th out of 21 single speeders that signed up, but was the 2nd to last that finished on this day, at ten hours and thirty eight minutes.  I would have been 13th out of 34, with only 21 finishers.

As slow as this was, just two weeks prior to the event, I would have happy with 11 hours, and consider it an improvement over the eleven hours and nineteen minutes that the Tatanka 100 took me, with similar elevation gain, but a completely different profile.

I was happy with my start and the first 20 miles of single track and even the early fire road climbing and I was super happy with my fire road descending through out.  I was good until about 10% over my training duration and miles and I finished and got that mug.  Over the last 10 miles I was thinking I got to finish to get that mug!

TK had to take this Picture quickly before I fell over!

Recovery ride with Tom

Lunch the day after....
We Crown thee the Hundred Miler

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cohutta Prep

So on February 11th, I get a phone call from my good friend Tom Kruse, Spelled with a "K" not that other guy.  He is taking on the National Ultra Endurance Series this year.  His first one will be Cohutta, which just happens to be only three hours away from Brevard.  Does this sound familiar?  Well the same thing happened for Tatanka.  You guessed it; he asked me to consider doing Cohutta on April 25th, just a scant 11 weeks out.  I had hardly been on a bike since early December and my first MTB ride since November was just February 1st.  It was my first single speed ride since October.

I know, sounds like every racer on the start line right?

Single Speed is my favorite way to ride, but I went down pretty hard on my left shoulder back in early September.  It has taken several months to get it to 95% and I was not willing to risk most of Pisgah on a SS.  Up until early December, I was doing a ton of endurance work exploring the forest service roads and back country single track of Pisgah on my geared bike.  Still pretty harsh on a rigid, but I was learning the area and it was pretty cool.  And then...

With all that, I was pretty sure Cohutta was a non-starter.  I had already planned to refocus on my kettle belling and hikes with Tammy.  But I had until April 1st to decide, if registration did not fill by then.  Following TK's call, I did several endurance rides on the road through our few weeks of winter, but then I decided to try something completely different.  Just two rides a week (one long, one short), only on my single speed and only mountain biking, two kettle bell sessions, some yoga, a hike and /or the occasional walk per week and log it all on my special TSS spreadsheet.  TK noticed all the SSing I was doing and said, "You're not thinking about doing Cohutta on a SS are you?", like I was crazy or something.  I said if I was doing it, it would be on my favorite bike.  He said I could put gears on it.  I said "Uh Uh".

When I started, I was on a 34X22 and North Slope was darn tough,

I added Lower Sycamore for a little fun.  That first ride was 11 miles and it was rough.
Was I nuts even considering doing 10 times that much in 10 weeks?!  I added Upper Sycamore the next week.  In a month, I replaced Upper Sycamore with Thrift Cove and then switched out lower Sycamore for Upper. It was a good month and a half before I changed to the 21t cog.  10 more days I was on the 20.  Finally Thrift for an FTP two fer

I had been adding about half an hour each week to my long ride.  April 1st came along and we were hosting at Cascade Lake.  I had been thinking about riding up the 6.5 mile Cascade Lake Road to Dupont from camp for my long rides.  I was not relishing this on a SS.  Long and gradual and then the reverse coming back down with that steep last nut heading up Little River Road.  Tammy kept asking me geared or SS.  I said "I do not know".  At the last minute I decided to stick with the SS game plan.

Along with the kettle bell strength training, I had been working on standing a lot.  My average speed started just below 9 MPH.  11+ hours for Cohutta then!  My AVG MPH slowly climbed to 9.5 over the last few weeks.  Better but still 10+ hours for Cohutta, if I could hold it.  My rides did seem to have more climbing per mile than Cohutta, but still.  I had hoped to go to a 19t cog, each tooth meant more speed but harder to turn over on the steeps.  It was getting close to go time.  I had to switch wheels because a bearing went out on my older Powertap hub.

It meant a tire switch, so I put on the steeper cog as well and went for my last long ride.  Five hours, tapering down from six the week before.  I felt faster and slower all at the same time, it was weird.  I thought my wheel size setting might be different between hubs, but my AVG speed seemed up.  Later, the down load would confirm the 10 MPH AVG.  Now I have a shot at 10 hours.

Compared to the 20t the 19 gave me a little trouble on the steeps, but not much, and some steeps seemed easier.  I could pedal in more situations.  I could stand more effectively on lesser grades, 4% and up instead of 5% and up.  Seemingly contradictory, I could stay seated and maintain momentum, instead of coasting and then standing on rollers.  That is where I picked up half a mile per hour from the same ride (except in the wet, plus a bonus climb) as 2 weeks ago.  Even with some training effect and I had my Black Sheep titanium fork back in place of my Salsa steel fork, some of it has to be the 34X19.  Don't ask me which elevation is correct.  Just trust me there was more on the 4/17 ride than the 4/4 ride.

After the Little River Crossing

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tatanka 100

I was going to say and that ain't no bull, but I am sure that cliche is as tired as I will be after the race in Saturday. 5 am start. Anybody that knows me knows that I am not a morning person.

There was one big happy coincidence. We cut our stay short at Wilson Lake, near Sylvan Grove Kansas, because it was forecast to be 100 degrees or more, most of the week. "So why not extend our stay near Mount Rushmore". That way we could do more site seeing and there has to be good riding in the area as well.

Well, one of my Bulldog teammates Ryan just happened to be coming out to do a 100 mile race that weekend. I managed to get a late entry.

Of course I was running low on my favorite calorie and electrolyte source Powerbar Perform.

Ryan had left before I could wrangle him into stopping by Cycle Craft to get me some more.
So Gatorade and rest stop fare will have to do!

On single speed, I have done the Bear Scat 50 a couple a times and a 4 hour race at Iron Hill Maryland (I think)
Years ago I did the Twelve O'Muchy, which ended up being mostly on a single speed, due to the mud. Not only was this my first time racing a single speed, but my first time riding more than around the block on one!

The Mickleson is what concerns me. It is 10 - 20 miles of barley up hill. It makes gear choice tough. High enough to rock this section and I may be walking a lot more of the other climbs. Hmmm

Here is the course profile;