Monday, August 27, 2012

ToC 1200K pre-ride jitters?

nah, more like excitement! there are less than 36 hrs to the start, and I can hardly wait.
after a nice 60 mile test run yesterday, I was a bit concerned with my climbing. I just had a 9 day break from the bike, and wasn't feeling zippy at all. Claire was not 'perfect' either. 3 hrs of maintenance fixed the drivetrain and she's running like a top now..all that's left is a few final kit selections concerning a jacket (we will see rain for sure, hurricane Isaac is lurking), wool, spare shoes?, and packing the different drop bags tonight.

what I am most excited about is all the cool people coming to do the ride. local buddies, and friends from 1200's past. this is gonna be fun! bon route to all!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

head games

so here's the quick and low-down on the rest of the series this year. it was me against myself..after a fun, (rainy) 200k, the weather was choice for the next rides. I felt like I was in a fairly good place too. Lady Luck was not in my pockets or saddlebag :(

The 300k was off and running nicely. as we approached the snow camp control, I felt a little swish in the back end. yup. kinda soft, so i pumped some air and off we rolled the 11 miles to siler city. soft again, I had to fix the front group rolled on, i cursed the darn thing because it (the tube) was 'glued' into the tire! arrgh! I chased and chased and finished with a nice time. solo for 200k, I had no other probs, and was home before dark..

Sidetrip! after a shower and some food. i pulled on the compression tights and hit the hay. I was up at 4:30. it was raining. temp in the low 50's.. I left the house at 6:15 and was on the bridge at old reedy creek at 7, where 5 other guys on mountain bikes were taking a long planned epic trainer-100 miles of single track and trails! due to the rain, the single track was out. I hung with them for about 40 miles and headed home. the cold was not doing the knees any good. 4 of those guys made it all the way. congrats!

The 400k was again on a lovely day. This time I made it beyond siler city and somewhere on old coleridge I punctured. Damn! as 6 bikes vanished up the road I changed the tube. off I went. hammering to seagrove, and on to the turn around, short stopping each one. The return was warm. I rode a bit with Tim, and we ate in seagrove. I then proceeded to rock out back to siler city with new pal Paul from atlanta. a terrific 'bent rider. we scooped up the florians, ian, and ed there was hot tempo to the finish! 16:51 time.
joe ray and joel were a half hour ahead. damn flat...

600k.NEW TIRES. can everything else go right? sure it can. don't make a wrong turn or fall asleep. oops. a little booboo in the first half threw us off for a while, but I regrouped in white lake. easy trip on down to wilmington. left there at 12hrs. nice. fairly easy ride back to white lake. took a nice break, cleaned up put on a fresh kit and rolled about midnight. went in the store for a coffee with cindy and ed. incredibly, the temps dropped into the 50's overnight. this didn't help with staying alert! had to stop about every hour or so, and really struggled thru the night. we hit a store in wade about 5:30. biscuit and coffee, 15 min nap, and the sun came up. things got a bit easier. made angier about 8, and had 2nd breakfast-pancakes, yogurt, juice, coffee. viola! rode the last 40+miles non-stop and really strong. 29:50. A PR., and under 30, but was hoping for better.

what are the new tires? rivendell ruffy tuffys. what were the old ones? gran bois.
to be fair, they had about 3000 miles and had only flatted once prior to the bad luck.
in my hasty fix on the 400k, i bumped a brake shoe and it was rubbing the tire. almost burned thru the sidewall which clinched the deal for a new set..

Monday, July 02, 2012

Tim's tale of the Cascades 1200K

here is riding pal Tim Lucas' write-up of the epic loop of the pacific northwest known as the Cascades 1200K..
since I missed the ride, I had to share his story.  good show buddy!  way to go!! 

Cascades 1200K

Day One:  I stayed at the base motel in Monroe Washington Friday evening.  Breakfast at 5:00am and 80 cyclists from around the world roll out at 6:00am for an EPIC cycling adventure.  Cloudy, cool morning quickly turns into a cold rain that last for several hours.  I settle in, getting as comfortable as I can.  Pedal hard, stay warm, weather will change eventually.  Nice long climb getting into Mt. Rainier National Park keeps the engine warm.  Now exiting the park to the south we cruise beside a creek between cascading waterfalls on both sides of the road.  At times the sound of rushing water is so loud you can’t even carry on a conversation.  It’s a very mystical place.  We have lunch in Eatonville at mile 95.  I’m riding a bit with Ed from PortlandOR.  We stop at Subway with several others. Ed’s one of those guys that always carries a big smile no matter what’s going down.  Finally mid-afternoon it stops raining and we’re in Packwood, (mile 140) at the base of White Pass.  We now have a 17 mile, 2800 ft. climb.  3 hours later I reach the summit and take some pics to prove I was there.  Now it’s whee time.  This is my favorite descent on this trip.  Smooth asphalt, wide shoulders and easy turns make it fast and furious.  Clear Lake control, (mile 170) our final stop before the overnight control.  I’m frigid as well as several others.  I have the shakes really bad from that cold descent.  I have to hold my hot chocolate with both hands to keep from spilling.  Volunteers give us lots of warm stuff to calm us down.  I settle a bit but pedaling is the ultimate cure.  We go around the huge lake, then on to Naches.  (Sleep control, mile 208)  Arriving at 11:00pm, Shower, Dinner includes hot soups, then to sleep in the gym on mats and my air mattress that I carry in my drop bag that I have access to each night as well as a fresh set of clothes.  3 hours sleep the first night.

Day Two:  Up at 4:30 am.  Fresh made blueberry pancakes hot off the griddle.  This support crew is Awesome.  These pancakes are the best ever.  I’m rolling by 5:30am.  We’re doing an out and back to Lodgepole campground near the top of Chinook Pass.  We cycle 45 miles up to Lodgepole into the wind. We’re served more food and coffee from volunteers.  Back down to Naches.  Now we travel east of the mountains into the high desert plains.  In previous years temps soar into the 100’s here but not today as we settle in at around 85 degrees.  It’s very pleasant after yesterday’s cold rain. Long rollers to start and grades are shallow so some recovery riding for me.  I’m 305 miles into the ride when I have my first flat.  Some glass in the rear tire.  Pack up my stuff ready to go and notice front tire flat as well.  Dang it.  I remove a thorn from that tire; I think it came from the tumbleweed that blows across the road every now and then. It’s ironic that I have two flats from different objects at the same time.  There is a lot of snowmelt irrigation here and there are acres and acres of hops.  Now I’m getting thirsty.  Wow, this is a lot of hops.  Stocking up for those long winters I presume.  We have lunch in Fruitvale.  Afterwards we travel around the city on greenway bike trails.  We cruise back into the desert.  On the way to Mattawa we cross the Columbia Riverthen we turn right.  There is a road here but it goes straight up to the top of a plateau.  Surely this isn’t right. I unfold the cue sheet and it reads. “Yes, up that Hill” Ouch!  I’m in my lowest gear and I have to stand to turn the pedals.  Gotta be 15+ degrees.  This bites!  I’m finally over the top and more of these plateaus up ahead but none like that one.  Getting dark now and I see several bicycle lights ahead of me and several behind me.  The road is straight for miles.  I finally roll into Quincy around 12:30am.  (418 miles)  Another hot meal and a shower then to bed on a gym floor again.  Only 2 hours sleep this morning.

Day Three:  Up at 4:00am.  I chat with John Morris from Durham briefly before he takes off.  I grab a continental style breakfast this morning as the cooks aren’t ready yet.  I’m rolling by 5:00am.  Today we’re cruising around several lakes to Dry Falls.  We have a headwind and it is angry, very angry.  This is madness.  I have a hard time just holding on.  Dry Falls is another beautiful place but then we have to climb to the moon to get out of there.  We go west then north to Bridgeport, across the river to Brewster.  We have more spectacular river views.  We’re now in Malott at the base of the mountains. (Mile 535)  Loup LoupPass is a 17 mile climb and takes me another 3+ hours to summit.  I’m leapfrogging with several riders including my new Japanese friend who keeps reminding me how many meters of climbing we have left. We reach summit just before sunset.  Now we throw on everything we have for the cold descent.  2 deer cross my path within a mile.  I’m now riding brakes while others ride by.  Sunset is a bad time for dodging deer.  At bottom we have another 25 miles to the overnight control in Mazama.  I’m doing some sprints trying to stay focused.  I catch up with Matthew from southern California on his recumbent, and he appears to be struggling a bit on the last section.  I usually don’t ride well with others being I cycle a very inconsistent pace, but I chill a bit and make a friend.  We both stop a couple times and walk around to clear our heads.  It’s a beautiful evening and the summer Milky Way is brilliant in the night sky, glowing so brightly you could read a book by it.  It also brightens my spirits.  We’re now cruising the Lost River and it kinda sets the mood.  An hour or so later we make the control.  3 Canadians arrive shortly afterwards and we grab dinner, showers, and this time we have rooms with beds.  Yea!  2.5 hours of solid sleep this morning.

Day Four:  Breakfast call at 3:45, I crawl over there around 4:15.  I’m very sluggish this morning as yesterday took everything I had.  I’m hitting the pain pills early today.  I start rolling at 5:10am, thinking that I’m getting an early start.  There are like 20 or so bikes still at camp when I leave.  Fewer miles today but the event’s biggest climb is the first order of business for today.  Its 18 miles up to the top of the world,Washington Pass.  A couple hours in and I’m relaxed feeling great.  My pace is better than my previous climbs.  About 3 miles from the summit we ride past the snow line.  I have a flat shortly afterwards.  Did I mention that it’s like 36 degrees and raining?  I’ve kept warm by climbing but I quickly get the tire changed because the engine is cooling down.  The mountain peaks come into view every now and then so I stop to take some pics.  This is a wondrous place.  I am in awe and really enjoying being here.  I take a little too much time goofing off, posing my bike against a snow bank, taking some video.  All is good.  Finally I jump back on the bike and finish up the last mile to the summit.  A rider is there loading his bike into a support vehicle; his ride is over.  I pull over to take a pic of the sign.  Support volunteer, I never got his name so I’m naming him “Nick” because he reminds me of Nick Nolte.  Please forgive me if you ever read this report.  Anyway, he walks up to me and asks if I want to load up my bike.  “Why would I do that?” I respond.  “Because the next control is 56 miles away in Marblemount and you’re not going to make it before the cut-off.  I am the sweeper he claims and you, meaning me, is the last man standing and it doesn’t look good.  What about those 20 bikes I left at camp?  They are DNF’s going on the truck he responds. How could this be?  I am confused.  On top of the world one minute then my heart just sank below the pits of hell.

Tim’s Big Screw-up:  I did not follow up on my homework for this ride.  The course was shortened from a 1240K to a 1201K.  I was basing all my knowledge from ride reports and cues from previous years.  I had wondered why breakfast was so early today but didn’t put the pieces together until it was too late. (Almost) I calculated time and distance to the Marblemount control.  I knew some serious downhill’s coming up but also a climb up Rainy Pass, though this was only a couple miles long.  What about the last 30 miles to Marblemount I ask?  “Nick” claims rollers, and then some flatter sections.  There is my glimmer of hope.

Day Four Continued:  Physically, I’m feeling great.  I just need to put together the ride of my life.  It’s time for a little attitude.  I mount the Ridley.  Going to take your picture, “Nick” asks.  “No” I’m going to finish what I started!  The rain is making the descent a little hairy, plus I’m shivering now from cold and it transfers to some serious bike wobble.  Zoom the straights, knees squeezing the top tube to kill the wobble, braking hard before the turn, standing and pedaling through the turn to produce a little warmth.  Repeating several times.  I’m out of the saddle going up Rainy Pass.  Near the top, “Nick” rides up beside me.  I’ve changed my mind; I think you’re going to make it.  Down again.  Support truck ahead has food.  Matthew is pulling away as I approach.  My hands are frozen.  I brought the wrong gloves for this.  They find me some liners that help.  I get some fuel and I am off.  I’m now getting into the rollers.  I’m more into calculating numbers now than my surroundings.  Giving it everything I have.  Finally I catch another rider. (Hey/bye)  I ride up on the 3 Canadians.  They are changing a flat but seem to have things under control and about finished.  I roll into the little town of Newhalem just 14.6 miles from the control and Ed is waving me down.  You are still very short on time but this store has coffee.  Do they have gloves, I ask?  My fingers are frozen.  I have to use both hands to change gears.  “Grab some coffee and I’ll see what I can do”.  My friend Ed from earlier in the ride had to DNF the ride when he locked up his knee on a freak awkward pedal stroke and now he is helping others.  This is a great sport!  I grab coffee and Ed brings me his personal waterproof gloves and saves my life.  I wolf the coffee.  I now have 1 hour to finish this last 14.6 miles to Marblemount.  Please God, no serious hills and no flat tires, amen!  Thank You!  I get Matthew in my sights but I can’t catch him.  He is killing it as well.  We slide into the control 5 minutes before closing.  It takes me a couple minutes to dismount.  I am totally wasted but ecstatic.  My new Japanese friend shows me his pretty watch.  Nice, oh crap, sign in duffes you have 3 minutes.  Several others there and a couple more roll in just in time. 

Whew!  That’s it!  We can ride easy from here on.  No hard sections and the limits are now relaxed a bit. Just got to stay awake and focused.  I might add it’s still cold and raining but eventually the rain stops during the next section.  I’m riding again with Matthew, and we’re joined at times by team Canada and teamJapan.  Our last control is at Granite Falls.   We stop at McDonalds.  23 miles to go.  This international group stays together the rest of the way in.  Lots of minor issues, from my flat, number 4, a couple guys climbing really slow, batteries that need changing, etc.   It’s a slow trek but I’m happy!  We roll in together at 10:55pm.  750 miles, around 40,000 feet of climbing in 88 hours and 55 minutes. Then add some very cold rainy weather, and you have EPIC!  That totally rocked!  Post ride Beer and Pizza!  We then had a breakfast party Wednesday morning.  Western Omelet and a chocolate milkshake!  Packed up my bike, washed clothes and wasted the day away under beautiful 70 degree, clear skies.  Dinner with John fromDurham then departed for home.  THE END  

Monday, April 16, 2012

ramping it up

yeah, I made a little name change. after losing a bunch of weight (but still feeling fat sometimes), and trying to broaden my horizons, I think it's time to drop the old title. done.

the Morrisville (Al's) series is underway. given the cool temps and rain, we still had about 30 riders on board the last saturday of march. Ian was pedaling strong on the new moulton Gilbert put together for him. myself, the florians, mike and tim were all that was left at the turnaround. the six of us spent the return trip together for a very nice ride. the last 50 mi were dry, and the sun shined on us for the last hour or so! a good day done in 7.5 hrs with tacos and salsa for recovery. I went out the next day for 100k with Bryan whose perm fell thru. 

Bryan tried again on monday and I joined him for a nice roll on the Triple L. this is a great route for hill work and quiet roads. I'll probly do it once a month til June :) 7000ft of climbing is a good thing, but I must remember my knee bands!!

yesterday was the NCBC spring rally. the course was interesting for a fast 100k. the first hour or so was the usual nerves and sorting out before things "mellowed" a bit. there were still a couple dozen for the second half, cruising along at good speeds to finish in just over 3hrs at 20.7 avg..I felt OK on the hills and took the polka dots to the podium. of course, I took my plastic bike and that helped a little ;)
for recovery today I headed out on the MTB. just a 20miler to relax and run the trails since I hadn't been on them in a few weeks and well, if I'm gonna ride 'em all day next weekend..

this weekend is going to be big IF-1. I feel good. and 2. the weather cooperates.
my plan is to shoot for a (barely) sub 12hr 300K. basically short-stop to seagrove, eat, and short-stop back. if all goes well and I feel good at the end; I head home, recover, SLEEP, and get up at 5:30 to be on the trailhead to start a 7AM ride:100 miles on singletrack and doubletrack.. the ride is nearby. if I blow up, I'll be able to ride home. slooowly..
I just saw the weather and after many sweet days it looks like the classic return of 'screw up the weekend and be pretty on monday' :( if the trails are soaked late in the week, they will be closed. not sure if there is a plan B for this one. we need the singletrack loops to keep us from going crazy going around Umstead all day. stay tuned! I think it would be a great back-to-back well ahead of the next long ride. saddle time, baby...

have a great week. I'll be at the benelux ride downtown tuesday eve., and keeping it simple after that 'til the weekend..

Monday, March 26, 2012


hey everyone. I hope you all have made it through another winter. spring ( and pollen) are in the air! since my last post I have continued on an unusual journey in cycling-new bikes and rides. first off, I am signed on to ride the cascades 1200k in washington. that means training and that's where new bikes and rides came in. a chance trip through umstead park got  me thinking, 'hey man, lots of hills in here to grind'...right in my backyard. my new weapon is a gary fisher sawyer 29erit's a killer bike and I've had a blast riding and meeting new bike friends. shoot, I entered 2 races! the 2nd one was the bushwack where i came in 23 out of 100 on a 28 degree morning! super fun! i'm commuting through the park pretty regularly.

there have been some new brevets as well. I rode my handsome cycles speedy devil on 2 rounds of Mike D's carolina crossroads 200k in november, including the 'end of year ride and party'..jerry has a new route from raleigh as well-'the bomb'. martin has a new perm I want to try too.  on new year's day about 10 folks showed up in Salisbury (early!) to do Tony's brushy mountain 200k. it's a really nice route! give it a shot. TX rando stampede buddy John Preston was up from Fla and joined us. he did really good for a flatlander ;)
'twas a chilly start with rain at the end, but a great day for sure. 

i've been using some different gear for a while now, and feel I can give a good review. 
hopefully I will start putting those reports up very soon..

happy roads and trails...