Me and Dzangel

Me and Dzangel
RMC 5K 2007

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chequamegon 40

Bikes lined up at the start of the Chequamegon 40. Mine is at the other end!
It's been a little over a week since this years Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. If my recollections and memory didn't fail me, this was number 19 for me. And it was my first 40 in about 10 years. To say I was nervous is quite an understatement. I just wasn't sure if I was ready for 40 miles on a course like Chequamegon.
I've been racing fairly well this year. The only problem is all my WORS races have been around 15 miles. I did have a 24 mile race a few weeks before Chequamegon, and did well and felt strong. But 24 miles of mostly flat ski trails is not quite like the roller coaster ride that is "the 40"!
I got to the start area around 8:00 a.m. and put my bike in the start area-behind over a thousand bikes! I knew I should have gotten there earlier if I wanted a better starting position, but I figured I had 40 miles to improve my standings. Next year I will get there a little earlier, as it took me over two and one half minutes to actually reach the start line!
After that, I had a good race. After the road roll out, I hit a bit of a bottleneck when we actually hit the trail. Again, I just took a deep breath and kept telling myself to be patient. After all, with 1900 riders, I knew I wasn't going to win-DUH! Things finally opened up and I settled in for the long ride to Telemark.
It was a perfect day for the race. Things started out chilly-34 degrees when I left the hotel-but warmed up nicely. The course was in great shape, maybe a little dry and dusty. Only a couple wet spots, and those had a way around them.
Since my number one goal was to finish, I just settled in to a hard, but what I hoped was a pace I could hold. I passed when I felt good and followed a wheel when I could. Although I had to get off and walk a portion of the Fire Tower climb, I rode strong the rest of the race-in my opinion! After the Fire Tower I think I passed more than I was passed. I finished hard and felt like I had a few more miles in me.
All in all, I am very happy with my race. Sure, I wish my time was faster, but I always want that. I raced smart, felt strong and most important enjoyed myself. My Specialized Epic worked flawlessly - no surprise. And I was surprised that my training got my through the way it did. Maybe, just maybe, I'll add some endurance next year and see if I can't knock a few minutes off my time.
Until next time, thanks for checking this out. Gotta go........

Monday, September 12, 2011

A weekend off!

I had the opportunity to race this past weekend. Actually, I had a choice of two races that kind of, sort of, fit my schedule. This all kind of fell in my lap accidentally. My normal work schedule this week would have been 11pm-7am, Wednesday off. Due to some co-workers wanting trades my schedule looked like this - 11pm-7am Monday and Tuesday. Stayed over an hour Wednesday, which remained my day off. 3pm-11pm Thursday and Friday, 7am-3pm Saturday (this was a last minute trade to help someone out!) and back to 3pm-11pm Sunday. All three shifts in one week, which I haven't done since ???? (at least 10 years) and all three jobs in my department. I squeezed in one run and five bike commutes, one on my quick change. By the end of the week I was beat. But, I still tried to finagle a trade to have Sunday off. I kind of wanted to do the WORS race in Lake Geneva, but then again, I didn't. I'm still up towards the top of the standings in my age class and every race is a couple more points. But my heart really wasn't in it. It would have been a long drive, alone, since my wife had to work. I really wasn't disappointed when the trade didn't happen.
I also could have done the trail race just done the road from me in our local State Park. There was a 10K and a 25K. I did the 25K last year. I run the trails often  and know them well. I considered getting up and doing the 10K and then going to work. I knew I didn't have the running fitness for a 25K. I figured I could put in a passable effort in the 10K.
I chose to sleep in instead. After feeling guilty about it, I know I made the right choice. I was tired, my head and heart weren't 100% behind either race and I don't think my effort would have been either. I've got the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival 40 mile off road race this Saturday, the 17th and I'd like to have a good race up there.
So, who says you can't teach an old racer new tricks. I'm learning, after 25 years of racing that skipping a race and a rest day aren't bad, they're good!!!
More down the road........or trail.