Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 Trek 100.

Well, the Trek 100 is a done deal. It was on Sat June 6th, things were a little unlike how I planned them to be for this ride (isn't that how it always happens!). It started with a 1-1/2 hour drive, then a diversion to a different parking lot than I had planned on; I was originally planning on parking at the Waterloo High School lot, it was only a mile or two down the road from the ride start. And afterwards, I could hop in a nice hot shower.

Well, I got diverted to a parking lot in a field, nowhere near the HS. So, I drove out there dressed in my clothes, and had to figure out how to get changed into my bike gear. Well, nothing like changing in a field, next to your van. Oh well, no big deal. I get dressed, opting to wear some extra layers due to the cold temps (low 50s) and chance of rain. Yeah, glad I did wear some layers, let me tell ya.

So I ride to the start, grab a hot cup of coffee and some food, again great support for this event, many tents, lots of food, music, great tech support, as they have each year I've ridden it. The Trek factory, yes the one where they hand assemble the carbon fiber Madones, was smaller than I had envisioned, much smaller in fact. I talk with a few guys about the ride, one guy was doing his 1st century (I feel sorry for him later in the ride, for sure). We getting rolling late, about 30 minutes behind schedule right away. I've got to get done and drive back for a cookout this afternoon, so I think, well, I will put the hammer down a bit, make up some time. it worked, at least initially it did.

The riders are bunched up at the start, even with the start of different waves spread out each few minutes. I pass many riders, and eventually I hook up with two guys who know each other, we are hammering along at 23mph. A few other guys jump on, and we have a group of 7 or 8 of us flying past most everyone. Great pace, to the first rest stop. I stop for some water, snacks and bathroom break-keeping my breaks short, to about 5 minutes.

I get riding again, and before you know, 50 miles are done. I'm feeling pretty good, despite having not been on my bike in about 3 weeks. I was averaging over 18 mph for the 1st 50 miles, so far so good.

Well, at the 100k/100 mile split, the riders really thin out. Its much harder to find a group to ride with, and the winds are kicking up good now. Its also starting to mist, and it is still cold. Much of this time is now riding into a headwind, gusting 20 mph or more. And the rain starts in earnest, hard at times, light at other times. Yeah, I'm starting to feel my lack of training, basically running a little since getting done with the long ride on May 12th, no riding at all to speak of.

Well, by mile 70, my legs are fried. I was feeling a little weird too, almost nervous, like butterflys in the stomach. Oh, did I mention there are many hills on this ride too? Yeah, this is central Wisconsin, so there are mucho hills compared to my normal low lying flat land near Lake Michigan. So this doesn't help; it becomes a mental battle, as much as a physical one. I think, hey, I just need to HTFU, only 25 miles to go. In the rain. And the cold. And not feeling really good....

I start riding with a guy on a Trek TTX tri bike, talking about the course, about his doing an IM, and things to pass the time. It was still fairly hilly, and I am shifting back and forth between my 53 and 39 rings, as needed. Well, we hit a bit of a downhill (slight) run, and I go to shift into my big ring, but the chain will not kick up. I shift the lever down, then up, down/up, down up, trying again and again to get it to kick, but the chain won't budge off the little ring. I tell the tri guy my FD is DOA, and tell him not to wait, so he takes off and is up the road in a minute. So I solo it to the next rest stop, with about 20 miles or so to go. I stop at the tech support/repairs tent, and I see 3 tech guys standing around. Good, no line. I hand them my bike, explain the problem, and tell them it looks like my FD is bent (it was at a weird angle to the chain, best way to described it, not straight like it should be). They confirm, it looks bent.

So I go grab some Famous Dave's BBQ and dessert, making the best of the repair time. I walk back over to check on the bike status, the bike is still on the repair stand. Hmmm. One of the guys tells me, "Well man, your FD is FUBAR'd. It broke off". I am a little shocked, but ask him what can he do for it. He says he will pull the entire FD off, and I can ride in the little ring to the finish. Great, do it, I say. Turns out there is a metal bracket (brazed type FD set up) that bolts to my CF frame; the FD bolts to this bracket. The tech guy explains, its not Shimano's fault, its the cheap POS China/Taiwan/fill in the blank piece of crap metal bracket.

I take off, with about 8 working gears to get me by. There are more hills, some shockingly steep for this phase of a 100 mile ride. I am glad I've got the small ring for the hills, I curse it for the downhill runs, as I can't get up much in the way of speed. About the last 7 miles, I start to actually feel better. Maybe it was the BBQ. I certainly ate and drank enough during the early part of the ride, so I don't think it was a bonk, just a little soft on my part is all. I end up riding with a guy I catch, he looks like a Trek employee (maybe), he is riding a very nice Madone (a 5.1, I think) and has some Trek kit, leading me to believe he works there. We ride along for a bit, and then a few more hills just in case we weren't tired enough. We hit one longer uphill grade, Trek guy blows up. He simply pulls over and can't ride on, he tells me to keep going, so I ride on. I finish like this:

ride time: 6hr 8 min 20sec
distance: 101 miles
kcals: 4119
HR: 141/161 avg/max
speed: 16.5/30 avg/max

All in all, this was a hard bike ride for charity! Maybe it should be this way, not an easy stroll but a torture ride, makes you feel alive and thankful for being healthy.

I did not have my Polar CS200, so I had no idea about cadence on this ride. I sent the Polar back in for a service estimate, thinking it would be time to upgrade to the Garmin. Nope-Polar fixed the CS200 for $45, installing a new case/back, batteries, seals and cleaning the insides up (some moisture was in, as was apparent by the rusty parts they returned to me). I got my Polar back, and need to get it back on the Giant. And I need to get up to the LBS to get that new FD bracket, as well as a new chain and cables. Time for some servicing on the Giant.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Shout out to the Pens!

Way to go Pittsburg Penguins, a great game tonight! Awesome 2nd period, 3 goals in 5 minutes. Crosby and Malkin are alive and well!

The series is even at 2 games a piece, game 5 is Sat back on NBC. The announcers were right, Detroit looked tired tonight.

Looking forward to the next games!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Well, at least the 1st mission of the season. The FLETC/PUT ride was grand, one minor crash (had to bail off the bike when a fellow rider crashed on some rail grade in front of me in the pouring rain, I was OK, my bike, well, some nice deep scratches on the frame and fork). Here are the final #s from the entire ride:

Ride time: 67 hr 32m 43s
# of days riding: 11
k calories: 37,746
HR: 122 avg/174 max
Speed: 15.5 mph avg/47.5 max
Distance: 1,069.3 miles

We should have ended at 1,060, but a group of about 10 of us (yeah, Dennis, you know it was fun!) had to hammer through DC traffic, near the Capital, across the 395 bridge, with a police escort (read: one squad leading us) at 22+ mph nearing rush hr traffic to get to our hotel. Crazy hammer time. Wild, I wish we had video of it! The long days, we actually hammered out some decent avg MPH's. Like day #1, 118 miles total, 16+ mph average speed.

It was a blast, not much time for much else other than this typical daily routine:

Get up, eat/have cup of coffee, ride all day (almost 8 hrs on the longest day), hit the hotel, shower, eat, pack for next day, clean the bike (some nights), wash the jersey (some nights!), have a couple beers, go to sleep.

Get up, repeat.

The hills in SC and NC were CRAZY at times, like nothing we have around SE WI. One of the females had a Garmin GPS, she said we did over 16,000 feet of climbing, all in about 2 or 3 days. The grades were steep, 8-11 % at times, possibly a 12-13% for the steepest sections. Imagine a 4-5 mph climb in your biggest gear, yep, thats it, crawling along. Bombing downhill, you could easily hit 50+, if you hammered it, one stretch you could have seen 60+ (near Lowe's Motorspeedway at the NC/SC border, Mecklenberg CO), I topped out at 47.5 mph without trying. Crazy steepness, crazy long hills. I got the front wheel "death wobble" once at about 37 mph, scary scary stuff.

All in all, a great trip, one I will remember the rest of my life!

Oh, one other stat I should post; we finished off 15 cases of beer on the trip as well (well, during the 1st 8 days, that is ;). 18 riders for the 1st 8 days, but about 3 or 4 did not like beer.

Now, on to running as well, started my Milwaukee marathon training (Oct 4th). First, I've got the Trek 100 century (benefiting the MAAC fund, battling childhood cancer in SE WI) this Sat June 6th. Then, the Spirit of Racine Tri in mid July, and the Dairyland Dare Aug 15th, this will be a 200k ride in central WI with 15,000 feet of climbing! Yeah, it will be a fun summer!