Monday, August 08, 2011

Pierre's Hole 50 - Single Speed

This weekend was my second time racing the Pierre's Hole 50 on my singlespeed. Last year went well with me finishing 4th in 5-1/2hrs. This year I was anxious to race the event and compare this year's fitness to last. Adding to my excitement was the chance to race my new Niner One9 that the Hub had set me up with. It's been a great bike all summer and has really improved my descending. I hoped this would help me take advantage of Pierre's 7500' of downhill.

As always the start was full gas in an effort to split the group before the single track downhill. I was pegged immediately, but was able to stay with the front group into the descent. After a few minutes of being outside my comfort zone I began to pick up some of the geared riders who were in front of me. As always, everyone was super polite and moved aside letting me pass. On the climb up the Targhee road I caught single speeder Dave and we rode together until the Bustle Creek descent where I was able to get a gap. At this point I was third on the road with Hamilton in second and "Salt Lake Dude on a Pink Bike" in the lead. (His name wasn't really important since none of us would see him the entire day, and he won by over 8 minutes.)

Thoughts of riding the entire Bustle Creek climb disappeared quickly and I was relegated to walking for a few minutes. Luckily Dave was walking as well and upon gaining the pavement I went hard to the top and got comfortably in 3rd. At this point I hadn't seen Hamilton from the start and thought he was out of reach. Through Rick's Basin I went as fast as possible, using the geared riders ahead of me as rabbits. Dave must have had a great descent of Mill Creek, because when I looked back on the Targhee road climb he was right there and starting to close. I thought I should try to drop him before the next descent, since it seemed clear he was much faster than me on the down.

Luckily I got a good gap on the road, stayed upright on the descent and went into the Bustle Creek climb alone. I tried to focus on just getting the cranks over the top but then I saw a glorious sight: Hamilton. And he was walking. My exuberance quickly faded as two seconds later, I was walking as well. After that section I caught Hamilton and we rode side by side up the double track and I joked that I promised I'd get off and walk if he did too. Thirty seconds later the terrain had us both walking and me envying Hamilton's 6 foot strides.

We came out on the Targhee road together and I started thinking about how I could win our little battle. I felt like Hamilton was stronger on the steeps and the thought of trying to attack on the steep dirt climb of Rick's Basin didn't seem like the best bet. So I began to launch a few attacks at Hamilton on the road. (Attack at this point in the race meant I rode about 2 mph faster for 30 seconds and then sat up) Each time Hamilton reeled me in until my last effort near the top of the climb got a gap of about 30 seconds.

Fortunately I was able to hold that gap and extend it through Rick's Basin and ended finishing a satisfying 2nd place. Hamilton came in a couple minutes behind me and we exchanged congratulations. It's always better to race hard against another strong competitor and it's even better when that guy is a friend.

Congrats to the organizers for a great race and thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Winter in Wyoming

Click above to see the extent of ice buildup

The beauty of a completely glazed over bootie is that it then
becomes very waterproof.

Think you have to train in bad weather where you live? I think I might just have you beat. Here are a few pics from yesterday's ride. We decided the ride was over when we lost all ability to brake or shift due to ice build up.

Of course the view does make up a little for it.

Monday, June 30, 2008

K is for Kampground

Before I blog about the stage race this weekend, I must extol the virtues of the KOA in Pocatello, Idaho. Not only did we have a quiet campsite, complete with large shade trees, picnic table and water, but we also had: free wifi, power at the site, laundry, showers, a basketball court, convenience store and we were walking distance to the community pool. All this for the lofty price of $25/night. Holiday Inn was $80/night without wifi. And no basketball court. Enough said.

The Gate City Grind is a stage race in Pocatello. First day is a road race and time trial, second day is a criterium. My road race started around 10am. When I noticed the temperature was 90° during the warm up I thought I might be in trouble. Luckily it never exceeded 95° that day. My race was just 2 laps around a 20 mile circuit. Lots of steep rollers, so the short distance is fooling. Everything stayed together and easy the first lap, but I knew things would start to heat up at the first set of rollers. And they did. Immediately five guys attacked and I went with them. This was wittled to three, and by the top of the roller it was me and one other person. We maintained a good pace, not really attacking, until we realized no one was accelerating to catch us. After a few seconds of doubt, we decided to just drill it for a while and see what happened. About a quarter of the way through the lap we had about 30 seconds on the group and decided we should try to stay away. Tony and I worked really well, taking short pulls all the way to 1km to go. We pulled along side each other and decided we should try to get as much time on the group as possible, and so we sprinted for the line. Luckily, I had more left than Tony did, and won the sprint.

Feeling very, very spent...and hot...Aly and I headed back to the shade and breeze of camp. Aly worked on her sheep project, I converted the bike for the time trial, ate some food and then we were off. The start of the TT was something to behold. We calculated, conservatively, $10 million in bikes. Million...with an M. The Boise Youth Team was there. These are kids 10-14 years old. Each one has a road bike, a carbon fiber TT bike, skin suit, aero helmet, aero and disk wheels. I felt low rent on my road bike with aero bars. I expected someone to come up to me and ask if I knew this was a time trial. I soldiered on and set up the trainer in the only patch of shade for 100 miles. Behind my car with the trunk open. I started at 7pm so the heat had subsided to around 90°, which was great. 10km is short and I left a bit on the road, but I ended up getting 2nd place, 5 seconds back, so I couldn't complain. I had also gained about 15 seconds on Tony who was still in second.

Sunday was an early start as my criterium started at 8am. This day was truly cool, with a balmy 70° at the start. Having zero crit experience and being in the GC lead I decided I would just mark Tony and not let him get away as he was the only person capable of beating me overall. Twenty meters from the start Tony attacked, I went with him and then, half a lap later he sat up for the group. Being scared of riding with the group, I decided to drill it and see what happened. What happened was I led from start to finish with a 10 second gap. Perhaps not the best strategy, but good style nonetheless. And I didn't have to ride in the group.

So with all my winnings packed in the car, oh wait, I didn't win anything. Not a water bottle. Not a pair of socks. Not even a tube of sunscreen. It's ok, I'm not bitter. So Aly and I enjoyed a nice drive home after a great weekend. And now it's raining.

Monday, September 17, 2007

24 Hours of Grand Targhee

24 Hours of Targhee - Pro Men's Podium (L-R: Dave Byers, Jay Petervary, Forest Dramis)

With a season's worth of training and a week's worth of logistical preparation, all for this race, I thought the hardest part of the weekend would be just getting over my nervousness. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

The 4 star accommodations of our pit area.

Twenty-four hours races all begin with a Le Mans Start. This means the bikes are set up in the start gate, racers walk behind a line and everyone runs to their machine for the start. Organizers love this and think it creates drama and excitement for spectators. Racers hate this. Hate this. Bikers don't run...we bike. The start was uneventful, as with 24 hrs in the saddle ahead of us, no one really ran. One notable exception was the enthusiastic guy from Colorado who jumped on his bike, got out of the saddle, took two pedal strokes and promptly broke his chain 5 meters from the start line. That kept the mood light.

Relay team members went straight to the front on the first climb, as did Jay P., and from there rode off the front of the group of solo racers. We were in no hurry, and rode together, chatting, for the first few laps. We were all surprised to see that Rebecca Rusch was at the race since it was just last weekend she won the 24 Hr World Championships. We were also later surprised to see that a "pro" setup includes a massage table and personal rub down after every few laps. We were not surprised to see her passing us. Often. After a half dozen or so laps the solo guys seemed to separate out and I think we all started thinking about actually "racing".

It's hard to think about going a bit harder, knowing you have 18 hrs left to ride, but my personal strategy became "go fast on the flats and downhills, and as slow as possible on the climbs". I saw my main competition as Dave Byers, Kris Quandt and Rob McCall and I tried to keep track of where they were throughout the race. Unfortunately, Kris had some knee issues and was forced out in the night, but he was able to tough it out for another lap the next day and finish. Rob, it seemed, chose the unorthodox method of riding a few laps super fast, then resting. I thought this tactic a little crazy until I noticed he posted 20 laps and ended up in 4th or 5th. This left Dave Byers as my main threat. Strangly, Dave and I never crossed paths, it seems we were riding pretty much the same lap times but on opposite ends of the course.

I rode from noon until 6:30pm without coming off the course, figuring then would be a good time to eat real food, get the lights set up, lube the chain and sit for a bit. A bunch of friends stopped by throughout the day, to help out and cheer. A big thanks goes out to Amy, Lauren, Dennis and Cheryl. And a HUGE thank you to Paul who drove over to take the midnight to 4am shift!!

The night was....interesting. In a race as long this, anything new, any change, is good. Riding at night, it must be said, is a blast. Lap times went up slightly because descending got slower, but the climbs were the same. I was still passed by Rebecca often, once I think she passed me twice during the same lap, but I may have been hallucinating. I saw a porcupine, a herd of deer and almost hit a deer on a descent. One would think they'd move when bright lights approached, but one would be wrong. The forecast was for rain and snow, but all night we were treated to cloudless skies and just a light breeze. Shooting stars were fairly common and the temperature stayed reasonable, with the exception of the low lying "bridge area". All the racers were shocked by the change in temp there. If I had to guess I would say it was 25°F within a 1oo meter circle of that bridge. Frost on all the vegetation and the bridge itself. Quite slippery. I came in again around midnight to eat, warm up and have Paul adjust my brakes. Surprisingly I felt quite good. I've always done well without sleep and my legs were feeling pretty good considering I'd been riding for 12 hrs.

The worst moment of the race occurred around 5am when, for the first time since I was about 12, I had a very bad asthma attack. Unfortunately I was only about half-way through the lap leaving about 3.5 miles to ride before I could get my inhaler. I rode slowly, walked a couple of the hills and finally got back to the start line where Aly then ran back to the pit and came back to find me sitting in the dirt, wheezing. My inhaler didn't really work very well, but I thought maybe it would pass and headed out for another lap. Sadly, it never really went away, though I will admit, it made no difference in my speed over the next 7 hrs. I had only one speed. Slow.

The best moment of the race, for me, came when Jay P passed me around dawn and we stopped at the side of the course to watch the sun rise over the Tetons. It was a beautiful sunrise and just a great moment. One of my favorite things about races like this, is that even though you are trying your best to beat the guy next to you, the guy next to you is still your friend. Around 7am I came back into the pit for more real food, a change of jerseys and to get an update on the standings.

At that point I was 1 lap behind Dave and 2 laps behind Jay. With a lap averaging around an hour now, I knew I'd never catch Jay, but I had hopes of catching Dave. However, my body decided that going faster really wasn't an option and all I could hope for was that Dave was feeling as poorly as I was. Turns out he was feeling as poorly, he was just feeling poorly at a little faster speed then I was. On the second to last lap Dave passed me with a word of encouragement and a pat on the back, thus increasing his lead over me to 2 laps.

Two hours later I crossed the finish line, very happy to be finished, very proud of my effort and very empty.

Final results, 1st Jay - 26 laps :: 2nd Dave - 25 laps :: 3rd Forest - 23 laps.

Aly C. in charge of the nerve center of the operation.

One last thing that needs to said, "Thank you", to Aly for such huge support. None of the solo racers could have done this race without a great crew, and mine was outstanding. Not only during the race, but though all the weeks and months of training that went into this. Whether it be making great food, giving massage, giving up nights out or just providing encouragement; this was a team effort and I never could have done it without Aly. Thank you.

Thanks again to: Amy, Lauren, Dennis, Cheryl, Paul for cheering and race day encouragement. Cary for training rides, training plan help, mechanic duty, wisdom and encouragement. Stenlight for providing the lightest, brightest and longest lasting lights in the race. And thanks to Twinsix, Gu and OR for season long support.

Some numbers that you may find interesting:

Total laps: 23
Total elevation climbed: 24,656 ft
Total miles ridden: 161 miles

Fastest lap: 39 min 45sec
Slowest lap: 1hr 20 min
Average lap: 1hr 3min
Average speed: 6.7 mph

Average HR: 145
Maximum HR: 177
(Max attainable Hr during the last 5 laps: 141)

Approximate calories in: 8,950
Approximate calories expended: 11,300

Food consumed during race:
22 Water bottles with Perpetuem and Gu2o - 3300 calories
5 Honey Stinger Protein bars - 1500 calories
22 Gu packets - 2200 calories
3 Packages of Clif Shots - 600 calories
2 Cans of stew - 300 calories
2 Turkey sandwiches - 600 calories
1 Banana - 150 calories
2 Handfuls of potato chips - 300 calories

Time for sleep.....

Friday, September 14, 2007

24 Hours of Targhee - PreRace

Gear is ready. Bikes are ready. Food is ready. Crew is ready.
We'll see if I am. One day until race day....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Big Hole Duathlon

Last weekend was the Big Hole Duathlon in Driggs, ID. Having run about 2 days in the last 2 months, Cary and I decided we'd drive over and do it. Multisport races are always a lot of fun and it makes it easy to get a hard day in. Attendance was fair, hopefully more people will come out next year.

As you can clearly see, I immediately had a lead on Cary; a lead I would hold for at least the next 10 meters. My goals quickly changed from keeping Cary in sight until the top of the first climb, to keeping "Z" in sight until the top of the first climb.

I was the 3rd person into the transition behind Cary and Z, but with Z competing in the co-ed team division, that put me in 2nd place in the individual race. I pushed as hard as I could on the bike which mostly involved two long climbs and a long descent.

I ended up passing Z's rider while they had a mechanical on the first climb and came in at 2nd place overall. A good day for me, and a good reminder that I always enjoy a running race when I make it to the start line. Also a good reminder that 3 miles of steep downhill, when one is not a runner, does not feel good the next day.