Tuesday, October 13, 2015

3 "big" races this summer.

So this summer has been busy for this Gringo.  Anyways, along with everything summer brings, I managed a bunch of smaller races and these 3 bigger ones.

Chequamegon 100

Hard not to love this race year after year.  100 miles of mostly fun singletrack in the CAMBA system in NW Wisconsin.  The race itself raises something like $15,000 for the trails and the organizers are super cool.  Staying at my family place up in Cable included factions of the Wolftooth Cycling clan and the Mtb Radio clans.  All good, lots of people, lots of fun.

As the start approached there was a lot of worry among racers about the certainty of rain, rain, and rain.  Sometimes you have to shift your thinking so I just started looking forward to the long day of wetness.  Anywho, the trails handle rain well.  I was excited to hit it on the 907 "Hit It".

So I hopped on my bike on the Rock Lake road start line near the front just as we were sent off to ride in the rain, kicking my rear fender off as I am a moron (Mistake #1).  I got it back on, took off, and started passing riders making my way into the "meat" of the riders on the fireroad lead out.  Then, again, because I am a moron, I found my tires were getting really low.  Thinking about it, when I used Brendan's super neat power tool pump I forgot to close my valves (Mistake #2).  Hopped off, pumped up my tires, rolled into the singletrack among the last 5 riders in the race of around 130ish starters.  Looked like a fun day to work through the field in the rain and muck:)

It took awhile to get through riders on Rock Lake as the trail is tight, twisty, and loaded with slippery wet rocks.  People rode scared, but my Whiteout (code name "Hit It") was eating up everything is sight like it was OCB time for the obese.  Eventually I started moving up, having fun on my semi-local trails.  Rock Lake, Patsey Lake, Namakagen, Rock Lake again, Danky Dank, Esker, and then back on fireroad.  At this point I had passed a ton of riders, we were about 35ish miles in, rain was still coming down, and my brake levers pulled back all the way to the bar because of pad wear (had some spare pads just in case).

Rode that 10 mile stretch of fireroad slowly as the soft soil seemed to hug my big tires extra hard, especially compared to the skinny tire folk.  Stopped and chatted with my BFF at the aid station, grabbed some fig newtons, adjusted my brakes, and headed out on Seeley Pass.  The ground I lost on the fireroad was made up quickly as I passed more riders.  Polished off Makwa, then caught up to Mike Pfieffer on Hatchery Creek.  That was a bit of a surprise to catch him after working my way through the field.  He is a much leaner man than I and I think the cold and wet was getting to him.

About 45 miles in at the aid station just having ridden the road in the background.  Picture credit goes to my BFF.

Got through the halfway point at the Hatchery Trailhead quickly and headed North.  I had heard Ben Welnek was just 6 minutes up in roughly 5th or 6th place and the rain seemed to be almost done for the day.  Here is where I started to have trouble.  In hindsight it is easy to see that I was not eating enough leading up to the race, but I had spent the entire day feeling like I was trying to catch up on calories.  Finally on gravel pit road I had a short lived bonk.  If you have never bonked, imagine not having the ability to ride a flat trail because you are so void of calories.  Anyways, it lasted maybe 5 minutes (which maybe a record for bonkville) as I had been eating a ton all day, but it took me the next 20 miles to fully bounce back.

In that time I was passed back by Mike and a few others.  With 10 miles left I would recover and roll in strong once again, finishing in 9th place at 9 hours 35 minutes.  RESULTS  There was lots of carnage out there thanks to the rain/cold and the conditions that followed.  Just a fantastic race and I highly recommend!
Finished.  What you can't tell is that my back was covered in mud, clothes were soaked.  Rain stopped coming down in the last 40 miles.

Maah Daah Hey 100  "The raddest race in the baddest place"

So The Cheq 100 was a little chilly and a lot wet.  Well, MDH was not.

The drive to get to the West side of ND is not especially exciting, but armed with my buddy Mark and our lack of maturity we muscled through.  The race finished in Medora by the Interstate on the south end of a long trail in the Badlands.  We would drive North and soon started to see areas of amazing sites that would make the drive worth it.
Cool, but no where near the coolest thing I saw on the trail.
The start was filled with a motivational speech, big climb, and a full blown helicopter whizzing around taking shots.  How cool.  I gauged my effort as this race can be divided into 4 segments, and the 3rd segment will be the worst of them all. A bottle fill and hug from Lynn Scotch and I was out of the 1st check point.  I was using all bottles for the race thanks to my Bike Bag Dude chaff bags.  I am not a fan of Camelbaks when the heat is up.

I rode for awhile along with the first place woman and the other fat biker I shared the "lead" with.  Across the knee high river crossing and up a substantial climb and we were at the 1/2 way point.  Up till this point the course was filled with awesome trails, amazing views, and tough terrain.  As I passed through that 1/2 way point that would all be the same, except now the temps would shoot up and the hills would become more persistent.  That 3rd section would be amazingly tough as temps got up around 110F and the air was dead still.  Never had I not wanted to drink my water on the bike because it was so warm.  My skin was beat red from the heat, and it was so dry that I never saw a speck of sweat.  People were all suffering, including myself.

Anyways, it was a matter of just pushing forward through the carnage at the checkpoints which offered air temp water, a small bit of shade, and loads of riders wondering if death would be a better alternate.  I would finally arrive at the 3rd aid station, knowing I had made it through the worst of it.  The last quarter of the race is more open and had a touch of WIND!  That wind was just enough to keep my temp down and I was able to finish strong.  During this whole time of suffering never did I lose sight of the fact that the trail I was on kicked butt!

The finish finally came in Medora, 105 miles after we started; 12th overall, 1st fatbiker.  A friend would tell me that the temps were now 97F, and that felt SO much nicer than what we were treated to on the course.  My bike and gear performed perfectly.  Such a cool event, I I can't help but look at the new 150 option for next year.....

Ironman Wisconsin

Huh?  Ironman as in swim/bike/run/tattoo?  Yeah.  Just something I wanted to cross off the list of cool things I have done in my life.  I started "training" for this September event in May.  Granted, that was not a matter of increasing my swim and run mileage, it was a matter of STARTING to swim and run.  Even then, I did not put in nearly the time that most would have trained for this event.

So anywho, I did do the Pigman 1/2 Ironman distance a month or so before the event.  That race proved what others have told me, I had not been training enough.  So the next month was a cram session of running and swimming.  Longest run was 14 miles, longest swim 1 mile.

Race day came, and I found myself with Mark Carey who was about to show me his world of multisport.  To prove it, he even has the M-Dot tattoo:)  I was more than nervous for the swim, a tad for the run, and not at all for the bike.

Well, the swim went really well compared to my fears, the bike could have gone better as I passed close to 1,000 people, and the run went well considering I had to walk 7 miles with stomach cramps.  I ended up finishing just as the sun went down in roughly 12:30 hours.  Going off memory my times were 1:27 swim, 5:49 bike, and 5:03 run.  Not an event I plan on doing again as I would rather commit that training to riding my fatbike:)

Oh, and I am Ironman tattoo free.....  

Ironman?  Did someone say Ironman?