Friday, July 27, 2007

Train, Work, Train, Train

I know it's been a few weeks but it has been so crazy at work, the last thing I want to do after 5 is turn on my computer! I even missed a race report( I DNF'd so there is not much to talk about! I'm still a little disappointed!) So sorry for the lapse of excitement! J/K.
I have been trying to put in the miles and the hours to get ready for September, October, and November. Unless something fun comes up, I will not be racing until September. A little premature fireworks....I believe I managed to win the Southern California points series! I will celebrate when the jersey is in my hands! I am really excited though!
I have been doing some really fun riding! On July 4th I went on a group road ride with Westlake Cyclery and some of the Fast Friday's race team! It was a really fun but very tough ride. We started at the shop at 7am to beat the heat. We left the shop and headed down Agoura Road towards the valley. We went out Las Virgenes and then headed up Topanga to old Topanga! We then dropped down into the canyon and made the turn up Fernwood. This is where it got tough! It was about 9 miles straight up at an average of 9% grade! It was really tough but we grinded up the hill and the descent made it all worth it! It was about 50 miles with 4800 feet of climbing. By the time we got back to Las Virgenes the temp was 103! The sad part was that we had another 30 minutes to get back to the shop. It was really fun riding with the race team and watching them! Those guys can accelerate like a ferrari on the open highway!
I have been riding a lot on the road! It has been really fun because the opportunity to ride with others on the road presents itself more often than on the dirt. It's also easier to get in more miles and more time on the bike as I can leave directly from work and head straight out on a ride. It has also helped that I finally got a new road bike! I had been saving since I purchased my mountain bike and a great deal presented itself! Being that Trek redesigned their Madone line for 2008 they were blowing out the rest of their 2007 line. I was able to get a Madone 5.2 fr a quarter of its retail price! This bike is freaking sweet! First, it's the right size for me! It's also a complete carbon frame and fork with the Bontrager race light wheels, stem, seatpost, and bars! It has a Shimano Ultegra set-up with a Dura-Ace rear derailler. This bike is almost 8 pounds lighter than the one I was riding! That tends to get me up the hill a little faster! I will try to post a picture this weekend!
September will bring the So-Cal series final in Big Bear. With the week I will be spending in Salt Lake City I hope to get some higher altitude training in! Then at the end of September I hope to be doing a two man 24 hour race with Rory. The very thought scares me to death but I would really like to make this happen. It also looks like the opportunity has arose to do another 24 hour race in October with a team of either 3 or 4 guys. These are guys that are out to win so it would be a blast to give it a shot! November will bring the fall classic at Southridge and the last 12 hours of Temecula. My goal is to do the 12 hour solo! That's right race fans, SOLO! These are my goals for the end of the year.
I think that next I will change up my racing completely. As it stands now, I want to do the Southridge winter series. Then instead of doing the Southern California XC series, I would like to concentrate on the endurance races. I would like to also participate in some road races. I want to do a couple century races as well as a couple stage races. We will see what happens.
Let me finsh this post by stating that DOPERS SUCK! I understand why, (money and fame) I just think it's lame!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Scary Day on the Mountain

I went into the weekend a little freaked out about racing at altitude, I wish I could say that was the extent of my fear after the race was over! The fifth stop on the Southern California Race Series was in Big Bear California. Big Bear resigns about 8500-9000 feet above sea level. This was my first experience any where near that high and there was definately a learning curve. I had recieved tons of great advice from friends that had raced there before and after a very tough week I headed up the morning of.
After the 2+ hour drive I had enough time to relax and register. After registration they told us that we need to pedal "up" to the start line which is about 10-15 minutes(by bike)away. My legs felt really good pedaling for 20 minutes plus up the hill towards the funky start. I met up with some friends along the way and chatted about what the race may hold? When we arrived to the psuedo start line everyone seemed a little confused about how we were supposed to stage and Team Big Bear seemed the same way! Usaully they run things well, but this time there was not a lot of direction. Some racers even missed thier start times.
As soon as we took off we started to climb. The dirt was loose and the temps had hit high 80's maybe even 90's. I started well but quickly started to feel very fatigued in my legs. I was a little upset that I couldn't force anymore out of my lower body. Any flat areas that we hit I was able to take off like a roadie and pass those who sailed by me on the climbs. We finally hit a cool singletrack and I quickly caught up to some slow descenders. One goofball hit some sand and swerved right at me pushing me into some tree branches. I yelled out an expletive and he turned to apologize. I got back on course and tried to make up the lost few seconds. About 8-9 miles into the race we were flying down a fire road when the unexpected happened. A rider about 20 seconds ahead of me went down and went down hard!
Jim Garwood of the Platinum Racing Team out of Santa Barbara had pile drove himself over his bars and straight onto his head. The next 30 minutes was really scary. His head was bleeding and he was unconciouss. He had horrifically labored breathing and only came to maybe twice during that first 30 minutes. Finally a doctor who was racing stopped along with a local firefighter and an EMT. They took control of the situation much to our relief. When the race medic finally showed they were able to administer oxygen. That really started to help as the paramedics did not arrive for another 15 minutes. Once the medics arrived the 12-15 of us that were there decided to pedal out. They airlifted him out about 10 minutes later. When we finally came through the finish we were told that he was finally responsive as they flew him to the hospital. The only information that I have been able to find is that he had multiple facial fractures and had been in ICU for 2 days. It also said that he would recover but that it would be a long road. Please keep Jim and his family in your prayers in the coming weeks.
At the awards ceremony I found out that I was once again the only rider in my class and that I had won?! I am definatley looking forward to the end of the season and moving towards the next stage in my racing. As my desire for endurance racing continues to grow, it also reminds me how I am at the beginning.
I recieved some great advice from the Stephenson brothers of Team Sho-Air. They shared with me that the road to dominance is a long one. They warned me of over training and burnout, and shared stories to go along with that. All that they said made perfect sense and inspired me to be careful in the way that I train. There are days that I wish to do nothing but ride and days I get mad at myself for not getting out of bed early enough to train.
Well it's Friday and time for a ride so have a great weekend and watch for my post about our July fourth road ride!