Monday, July 27, 2009

Off Road Assault on Mt Mitchell

The 2009 Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell is in the books! I survived and I actually met my one main goal, which was to finish in under 8 hours! Considering my last year's time was 11:19, I was very happy to find out I completed ORAMM this year in 7:49! On a singlespeed too! How awesome is that? No major cramping, no flat out bonks...cleaned all climbs, and scorched all felt so good to be able to just keep moving! 2009 ORAMM ran like a well oiled machine. Veterans of previous years also agreed this year was like clockwork.
I drove up to Old Fort Saturday early morn and decided to get in a little heartrate tempo training with a ultra light climb up Curtis Creek from the 2 bridges where it gets really steep. I rode up it with little or no effort. This was great and my heartrate peaked, I held it for a while and then let off with some smooth downhill action and repeated a smaller interval. I then packed up my stuff, and checked into the Comfort Inn where I quickly prepped my feedbags, and gear for tomorrow. Afterwards, I drove into Old Fort, registered, talked with a few friends, new and old and proceeded to hunt down a dinner spot.

Dinner consisted of Smokey Que's BBQ...Chicken, Catfish, BBQ pork with beans, potato salad, hush puppies, yum yum! (predinner has not yet been whittled down to a science, but I am working on it) Afterwards, straight to motel room and bed.

My Race Report:

6am came insanely fast, and before I knew it, we were rolling out onto Old 70. I was sticking to the plan by not going out hard and let many riders by in an effort to control my pace, but after seeing too many people in front of me hiking up Kitsuma, I decided to start turning up the juice just a little. I had a nice climbing pace going for about 20-30 good solid minutes where I passed dozens of gearies spinning away in their granny gears.I just kept ringing my bell and cutting through the masses. I think the shaved off 10 minutes or so as I still was knee deep in traffic hiking up Kitsuma. The downhill was no different. Stop and go the entire time...lots of unsure riders were ahead and even some who had never pre-ridden the course! So I finally make it to rest stop#1 and quickly swap out my bottles for 2 more of my own. I realize that the Kitsuma descent knocked my endurolytes and chamois cream packet out of my pocket so I now have no Electrolytes! I roll on trying to figure out what to do about this problem. I immediately start chugging my Nuunz water bottle to at least restore a few bits of lost salt, but I know Nuunz isn't concentrated enough to fully replenish like 3-4 endurolytes can(hint Nuunz Concentrate?). I also chew on a few pieces of Honey Stinger Chews and they perk me back up within minutes, so off I go to Lower Heartbreak ridge to hike some more up to StarGap. At this point I realize I have been hiking more than biking and not because I am undergeared, but because there are way too many people still jammed up in front of me.

Traffic Jams are Very frustrating...

I also realized hiking was taxing my heartrate much more than simply sitting in the saddle and spinning, so I start trying to ride and pass hikers. It works for a while, but some of the hikers are all over the path, so back into the queue I go. Not having endurolytes starts to worry me, but I hit Stargap with a bit of extra charge and try and hold a steady pace. I back off for a while anticipating the climb up Curtis Creek coming up. StarGap is uneventful and over with before I know it. Rest Stop#2 arrives and 2 bottles are swapped out. I look around for free endurolytes, but there are none to be found. I quickly take off again realizing I just lost a few minutes...I zap up a shot of Honey Stinger Gold gel and wash it down with Nuunz H20. This works well and does not seem to shock my system. Smooth ride until midway up Curtis Creek, I spot my wife taking pictures and ask her to load me up with endurolytes from the car. She ziplock baggies me a dozen or so tablets, I take a few and continue on up Curtis Creek. I roll through various forms of digestive issues since so much is going through my system right now and finally I feel everything start to normalize. The quivering crampy onsets are gone, I have a little pickup to my step and I start to do some standup climbing. It is difficult, but I find my rhythm and make up lost time. I might actually use a 23tooth cog next year...we shall see. I arrive at Rest Stop #3 and reload 2 fresh cold bottles Perpetuem and Nuuns H20. I chug a mini-coke and eat half a Honey Zinger Peanut Powerbar. I change into fresh full finger gloves for the Heartbreak descent and continue on to Rest Stop#4 The out n back leading to rest stop #4 is long and arduous and really taxes your patience. I arrive at Rest Stop #4 and quickly swap bottles and move out fast. I cruise up the road to HeartBreak Ridge excited knowing I am somewhat making up for lost time earlier. The hike a bike up to HeartBreak seems almost twice as long as before but I finally get moving and fast! The descent down HeartBreak is fun and smooth, taking some risks and losing no momentum. Finally, I see train tracks and arrive at Rest Stop#5! I stupidly swap out my bottles again, only to realize I had not taken a drink since Rest Stop#4 since I was descending the entire time! Lost time! I speed off and start the ridiculous trudge up Mill Creek Ridge gravel road...This road seems to wind on forever and I start to complain out loud, "is it ever going to end" ??! Then, like some mysterious dejavous, I am hiking back up Kitsuma, slower than before since I am feeling drained. I pass people trying to ride their bikes up the switchbacks and continue onwards. I plan on making up my lost time on the descent. I arrive at the true top of Kitsuma and let off the brakes. I approach 25 miles an hour and start hopping around. Kitsuma felt rougher on the descent than Heartbreak and repeating it really hurts. I pass 3 riders on the descent. I get out on the final stretch towards the finish and ride along with a fellow singlespeeder who has taken a few falls today. He seems in great spirits and we end up riding in together. I arrive to see a few of my friends already finished and lots of cold beer on tap! I immediately grap a cup of celebratory beer and gulp it down! Success! What a great day!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Follow the leaders!

Something radically awesome and uber geeky is happening this year at ORAMM! I, myself, being a techhead, first and foremost, have been checking out this technology for quite some time now. It was shown successful at the Great Divide earlier this year and now officially hits the most important race on the calendar, ORAMM!

Here it is quoted straight from a quote from Team Dicky's Blog:

We're going to be testing out a new thing this year...GPS tracking. A handful of the top riders will be equipped with a GPS unit that will track their movements on a fancy little computer program. This should allow us to give spectators an accurate idea of when the top finishers will be crossing the finish line. Pretty cool. Thanks to AMB i.t. (Champion Chip) for making this possible. We look forward to seeing how this new technology will work for backcountry mountain biking.

Now remember, when the leader finishes the race, simply add 4 more hours and you should get my time, roughly, give or take an hour... :)

More information here:

This is going to be some kind of cool!


Monday, July 20, 2009

ORAMM PreRide Report

July 11th saw me up in Old Fort, parked at the foot of Curtis Creek for a ORAMM pre-ride scouting trip. The plan was to ride up Curtis Creek Road, then ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway, descend down HeartBreak Ridge, then fork off and go across StarGap ending up back at the car.

The initial part of the ride was fully experimental and simply to satisfy my curiosity as to how I would probably fare on a singlespeed climbing this neverending 9.2 mile gravel road. I also had a "secret" gear combo I was using which I had my doubts about, but am now certain it will work fine for most of ORAMM...

Upon starting the climb, I thought I was never going to finish this ascent since I am not the worlds strongest climber, but I can maintain, so I found a steady pace I could hold and basically just kept it right there and enjoyed the sounds of nature. The grades on the road ranged from 10-20 degrees! I would guess about 90% of the climb was done standing up and carefully listening to my heartrate monitor. It was intense at times and I did desire to stop on the side of the road a few times and simply walk, but I resisted and before I knew it, I had completed the climb and the rest was adrenaline history...riding the Blue Ridge Parkway on a singlespeed was interesting, yet liberating..the views were incredible and I felt great relief after having made it to the top of this climb...

Heartbreak was not that bad actually, although my hands still burned from holding the brakes so tight, but the switchbacks were manageable and the speed was insane! Stargap was a mess and needs to be mowed down(I do not look forward to this part of the ride next week)

Overall, about 3 hours riding time...some time was wasted seeing the sights up top and being a typical tourist. Equipment held up really well and nutrition notes were taken. Excellent day and worth the time making the trip!

1 week until ORAMM!

Trip GPS recap:

Check out this Garmin Connect activity: ORAMM Scouting Trip


Daniel Island 5k results...

I got 43rd out of about 160 in my first 5k run series. I ran it in 22:00mins. There were some really fast people out that day! I have 3 more races to do in the series to best that position and time. I think I can do better. I just did not know what to think that first time out. Running in a series race event is much different than just running around the block for a few miles. The race left my body pretty weak and hurting all over, but my recovery is still pretty good and I was able to pre-ride a race course up in the mountains a few days later with a decent results expectation. As with everything, learning just never ends...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back at it...

This weekend was a nice escape from reality....I watched the Tour de France, tweaked on my bikes, rode my motorcycle around for awhile and tended to a delicious pulled pork shoulder which smoked with applewood and hickory for 7 hours straight...the meat slid right off the was tender, moist, and extremely mustard sauce was a hit and I will be putting that one in my recipe book as a must repeat....That evening, I spun on the spin bike at medium resistance for 1.5 hours watching Babylon AD, (which sucked), Sunday, cooked tons of shishkabobs which the Wifey put together for us and I cooked them in traditional street vendor style out back with lots of steam, smoke and taste...oh so good! Finished off the day at the pool on Sunday and enjoyed a bit of downtime with some nice tasty craft beers!

Monday; work, errands and a light 2 mile run to get back into the swing...followed by 10 miles on the bike with the new equipment onboard...

Rotor Q-Ring installed, new tires with more bite installed...cleaned the chain, adjusted the saddle once again...rode very compact and responsive..I can't wait to really try out the new Q-Ring tonite!

2.5 weeks until ORAMM!!!!!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Weekend Plans...

With all my training I am squeezing in, it is hard to realize the 4th of July weekend is almost upon us! I am going to go out today or tomorrow and load up on mortars this year...I personally think those attract the most ooohs and ahhhs...and they come out to about the same as buying one of those funky sketchy variety mortars are in for me. As for a little bit of a training setback, I am also plannin on smokin a double stack of Boston Butt with Dre's Special Butt Rub to share with all our neighbors when we get together for our 4th of July dinner. I will be smoking the butts for about 8-10 hours starting early Saturday morning and it should be ready just in time for the festivities... I am also thinking of a mustard sauce instead of a standard vinegar sauce, so this will put a spin on things...

Of course the Tour de France starts Saturday, so I will be able to watch some exciting racing while the butts slow cook..I think there is a FIFA Soccer game on too!

mmm..South Carolina Pulled Pork! Can't wait...
of course this means an extra long bike ride on Sunday....woohoo!

ITS Going to be a GREAT Weekend!!!!!


Training again...

I am sitting here a little sore from pushing myself a bit harder these past few days to get ready for ORAMM as well a few upcoming Twilight 5k runs. I started Monday in the evening with a light spin on the SS MTN bike around the neighborhood about 10 times which adds up to about 8-10 miles at a nice high smooth cadence. I then did a light cooldown and parked the bike and ran a moderate pace 5k based on my wife's instructions on how to navigate the neighborhood to equal out a 3.1 mile distance properly. I pulled it off in about 25 minutes. I felt good throughout and never once felt any leg or calf strains from exertion. I am a believer in thoroughly warming up my muscles with a bike ride before running. It is a much better transition. Tuesday was a followup in the evening with a night spin through the woods at Marrington. I rode from 8:30-10pm and the trail was full of previous storm debris which meant lots of hike-a-bikes. My Ay-Up! lights were fantastic, ultra light and never faded. Today will be nothing more than a 1 hr light spin session indoors on the spin bike followed by a light run of an unknown distance. I plan on riding my Mtn Bike to the Bridge tomorrow and doing some climb intervals. As you can tell, I am trying to stick to one bike to really get familiar with it. This is a new technique to my training for upcoming MTB race events. Friday will be either a light run, surfing, or a easy mtb trail ride...hopefully surfing if there are waves...

so far feelin real good....