After work training

It sure is nice the sun is staying out til 8pm now. The last couple Tuesdays been able to squeeze in some 35 mile rides. Shawn again came along with me and we got nice fairly hard ride in. Beautiful weather out tonight. I had brought my camera as there is a climb I wanted to get a picture of this cool gravel road climb that looks like a winding staircase as you get a couple hundred meters out from it. A couple weeks ago I came up to it and wished I had my camera as I had never seen it before. So I brought it this time, but I was disappointed that the trees had grown up so much you couldn’t see anything coming up to it like before.  All the rain and warmer weather everything is growing really fast.

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On to the next

Well its time to start training for the next up and coming events. The main race on the calender is Dirty Kanza 200 on June 2nd. For those who don’t know is a local race of 200 miles on gravel thru the flint hills.Which is now only about 7 weeks away. Before that we have a difficult 70 mile gravel race on May 12th.  I am in pretty decent shape right now , but not where I need to be yet for the DK.  I am going to try to start increasing my volume and hopefully peak about the right time.

Yesterday most of my friends were racing nearby in Lawrence KS, at “bone bender” I got with my buddy Shawn who is also training for the dk. After heavy storms and still having 30-50mph winds we decided to do a hilly road ride instead of gravel so we didn’t get blown off the road (almost happened anyways)  we planned on a 70 mile ride on a road that doesn’t get much traffic and pretty hilly. We had a slight tail wind, but mostly crosswind the first half. It was tricky at times when we would get a 50 mile gust it would about rip the front wheel a couple feet over few times.  The second half of the ride wind had shifted a little and was now mostly a 30-50mph headwind coming back into town.  The wind sucked to say the least and really had slowed us down, but really good training I guess. We about ran out of food and water because the second half took so much longer with the headwind. We were defiantly glad to get out of the wind when it was over.


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Ouachita report

We headed down Friday morning, we had a group of 4. Matt and Stephanie Brown, Randy Smith and myself. Our plan was to get down there ride that afternoon the first leg , then take it easy Saturday , then we would race Sunday morning.
Once we started getting close to Arkansas , you could see the Ouachita mountains on the horizon. I really hadn’t traveled much to any area’s with mountains in the last few years so seeing the mountains was pretty cool. The roads were curvy and hilly and reminded me when I was a teen living in Springfield Mo.
After we got down and checked in Steph has been getting some motion sickness lately when traveling for long distance so she laid down and rested. The rest of us headed over to the trail about 20 min away.
The beginning of the race this year starts out on pavement for a few miles then gets to a long gravel climb not sure how miles but I loved it, not anything like this around here in Kansas. Once you get to the top of the gravel climb you cut into the trails , the first part is called “big brushy” a few hundred meters in and I realized this is way more technical then I was expecting. I enjoyed the step climbs, but was riding the brakes like a old lady on the decents as there are big rocks all of the place and just next to the trail wanting to reach and grab your pedals and you get going pretty fast. I managed to get thru big brusy without any wrecks or anything, but I knew I wasn’t going to finish as fast I was hoping. Once we got done with the pre-ride I told the guys I may be over my head as I don’t ride trails much, and the “ blowout mountain” that is next is supposed to be even more difficult on its decent. I would just have to make up time on the long gravel and road rides in between the trails. The next day we all got together for a easy hour ride around town and spent most the day just resting. Didn’t sleep that well that night , but still got enough I didn’t feel it was going to be a issue on the race and it wasn’t
The weather was calling for 89 degree’s with like 90% humidity I think. When we got to the the school where the race begins it was still nice and cool out. We ran into our buddy and ex-emporian Bobby and Crystal Wintle who are good friends and was happy to see them. We got warmed up and got ready for the race. I was about midpack on the starting line close to Bobby and Stephanie. The race started and I heard normally it breaks into two groups. Not this time the front group went really fast and then where were just clusters of the 250 riders just here and there we took it pretty easy although we were still doing 20mph and was able to chat with Bobby and Stephanie once the long gravel climb started I set in a good rythm watching my heart rate too make sure I don’t go too hard early. Even though not working that hard to save my legs for later in the race  I think a lot of people went way to hard on the pavement as was slowly starting to pass a quite a few people on the gravel climb already. As we got to the top the cool air turned in to a hot sauna feeling, it was steamy already and it was only 8:30am. The rocks and everything were wet from the humidity. I had a comfortable pace and surprisingly was passing people on the trail which was a welcome surprise again may of just been people that went way to hard and the beginning. It was about halfway thru big brushy when I hit a rocky area although nothing too serious. I was in a little bit too tall of gear and stalled out. No big deal I would unclip and get going again. Well I remember yanking to unclip twice and couldn’t get out of my pedal. Next thing I know I fall to the right side into some big rocks that were a couple feet below the trail. My hip tailbone area slammed into one of the big ones and the felt the bone hitting the rock, it hurt like hell and the sound was loud enough the guy coming up behind me though I broke my pelvis. I laid in pain for a min or so and got up and sat there for a few min, It hurt like heck but I was pretty sure nothing was broke. I decided to go on, really wasn’t an option anyways as I was half way in the trail there is no escape route. It was in a bad spot to try to get going again as it starts to going on a rocky climb so I had to be careful to get going without stalling anyone or they would be walking that spot too. I waited and watched what seemed 50 plus riders pass me to find a open spot, I start going again with the adrenaline going I thought I was going to be able to continue, but a couple min later when that started to wear off it was hurting really bad in my hip area to put any power down on my right leg. I kept riding trying to decide what I was going to do and about 10 min later I decided once I got to the checkpoint I would have to turn it in or risk hurting it worse as I still had probably 6 hours to go if I made it worse I would not be doing the DK200 in 2 months. I got to the checkpoint in a lot of pain and let the officials know I was out. One of the local teens offered to drive me back to the start point. Once I got back I ate and changed into some dry clothes. I seen Bobby’s wife Crystal with thier cute little daughter Emory. We got together and drove to one of the later check points. We hung out for a while and seen Matt Brown roll thru, I think he was probably top 20ish at that point about 3/4 the way thru. A while later we seen Bobby Wintle and he was doing good and still feeling good and had the toughest part behind him. We waited for a while for Stephanie after 1pm we realized probably had a issue somewhere and figured we may have missed the front guys finishing at the start finish line. We got back and she was in the vehicle and had got sick, she made it thru the toughest parts so we felt bad she had to turn in as well. We missed the first 15 or so finishes already I found out our buddy from Lawrence Aaron Elwell who is usually top 5 finisher dominated and got 1st place with a incredible time of 4:38 min , the fastest time in recent years even with the high heat and humidity. Very impressive.
About a little over hour later Matt rolled in, the heat was affecting him a lot and he was feeling sick so his pace slowed at the end, but thought it was impressive to stick with it and finish and still got top 50. Randy Smith wasn’t too far behind he usually handles the heat well and finished about 15 min later which is a entire hour quicker then he did last year and 2 hours quicker then 2 years ago.
Bobby came in at 7:30 hour mark which bested his previous time out here by almost a hour and a half several years ago.
Right now I am going to take a few days off the bike then try a light ride and see how things feel.  BTW I forgot to bring my camera but did get some pics on other peoples camera once I get them I will get them uploaded.
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Final ride before Ouachita

Well this Friday morning heading down to to Arkansas with friends and team mates. We are going to do some pre riding after we get there and then the race is Sunday morning. Not really sure what to expect as this is the first time doing it. Luckily about everyone I know has done it multiple times so been asking for advice. Main thing is its going to be hard. Not sure if I am quite in shape I need to be. But the thing is I am not that fast on technical trail so it may not matter much anyways. My goal is to finish around 6 hours, but will probably just be happy not to wreck and kill myself.

This last few days has been putting the final touches on training. Last Saturday I did a short hilly gravel route I do a lot thats only about 16 miles as Sunday would be my longer ride. It was perfect weather and not much wind I did set my personal record time completing the loop. Going that hard I paid for it a little bit the next day on our group ride which I wasn’t expecting as I normally don’t feel that short of a ride much the next day , but I met up with Matt Brown , Chris Wiggins and Randy Smith. We set a very hard pace right of the bat and headed straight for the hills. I wish I had my computer on as I know were were flying. Again almost no wind which is very odd this time of year. My legs were feeling pretty heavy on the steep climbs about half way thru luckily I never “blew” up. I did find after I got home my seatpost slid down about 1/4 of a inch which probably didn’t help either. There was tons of pot holes from all the rain and when we were riding in formation I nailed some pretty good and must not of had my seat post tight enough. Overall a good hard training ride that was probably about 55 miles. Everyone was riding strong. Randy did a 120 miles the day before and still managed to ride good , Matt was riding like a monster. They are both going to do really well at Ouachita.

Took Monday off for recovery, and today did 30 miles with Shawn O’mara after work. Legs were still not feeling fully recovered from Sunday, but we still did a good pace without even realizing it. We did a pretty hilly route with lots of loose gravel, but still managed to do almost 17mph average and felt like we were just going a medium pace so maybe the recent hard training is starting to pay off.

I will report back next week after Ouachita if I survive it  😉

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Hill training

Our group before we took off.
(from left to right)
Matt Day, Matt brown, Stephanie Brown, Randy Smith, and myself

Hills always look mild in pictures, if you look at the dot that looks like a ant at the top that is bike rider. This is one of many of these hills we climbed up.

Hill training was the theme of the day.  To help get ready for Ouachita race coming up in a couple weeks in Arkansas, we needed to try to recreate some of the difficult climbs as much as we could around here in the flinthills. I had talked to our ring leader Matt Brown earlier in the week and we decided to do our “Tower” ride which in itself is pretty difficult depending on how hard you ride it as it has some decent climbs on its own.  About a half mile after get to the top of those climbs you can ride off into the pasture southwest of there and there are big steep mounds, that not only have thick grass , but big loose rocks ready to kill your momentum so they are pretty difficult. Not sure how long, but we did several of those for about a hour and a half , after the hour and a half ride out there with a 30mph headwind.  We were about on our way out and there was a lot of little I don’t know little water paths. anyways I rode up to one must of hit it just right and my front wheel stuck and I flipped over and face planted. I got up and my helmet was still on but spun around backwards, my Oakley lenses were scratched so I was kinda pissed out that.  Neck was pretty sore and had a headache, but still planned on finishing the ride.  We got back on the gravel and I was about out of water and borrowed some from Matt. I got really hungry too as I was trying to conserve water and wasn’t eating as much as I needed. I was pretty tired after a few miles back on the gravel luckily that headwind we had earlier was now a tailwind and that was great helper on the way back in.

Matt and Randy with me at the top of the Tower climb before we headed off into the pasture of hills

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Thursday Night Ride

Pic by Troy Ochs

Picture by Troy Ochs

Pic by Angela Spellman

Picture by Angela Spellman. The High Gear group doing the pace setting I am on the front on the left.

Here in Emporia there is a organized group ride every Thursday evening usually starts after the time change.  It has riders of all experience and conditioning you don’t have to be a racer or anything. Its a lot of fun for a easy ride and hanging out with all the local riders. It was good recovery ride for me.

Earlier in the week I had taken off Tuesday to get in another 50 mile ride in with Shawn. Unfortuantly when I woke up my wife was extremely sick throwing up and I woke up with a massive headache and just no energy. I normally never get headaches and I also felt a little off balance. I was not sure if I my body was fighting what she had or what. I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up or anything so maybe it was allergies I thought. I didn’t feel much like riding but need to get the time in with Ouachita only a couple weeks out and already had the day off and it was beautiful weather.  We had a pretty good pace , but felt like I was working harder then normal , my heart rate was elevated as well and I was sweating a lot more then normal given the nice temps. So I figured I was fighting something. The farther we got the more my headache got worse , so we cut the ride a little short. we still got about 50 miles in , it was originally going to be closer to 60. It worked out  good though as I ran out of water just as we got back into town and felt pretty tired. As I was rolling my bike up  my porch noticed my front brake was dragging bad, at some point my axle got loose and move the rotor over so it was dragging pretty bad. Crap, well made for good training i guess. I got that fixed , and readjusted my brake alignment and zero drag now,luckily it happened on that ride and not at Ouachita.

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Tubeless NOT ready

As you know recently got my Cronus , and set it up tubeless the tires set up extremely easy, but would lose air over night equally on both the front and back. Since the tires are so small compared to MTB tires I only used 3/4 scoop of sealant. That may have been a mistake as the way the road wheels have a deeper dish it was harder the sealant to get around the bead. Anyways so I had ridden a couple short rides already and it seemed fine during the rides I was hoping it would seal up completely on a longer one.

My usual weekend riding partners were in Arkansas doing a 6 hour endurance race. With the weather looking good for Saturday I asked Shawn O’mara if he was up for another ride with me , he is getting ready for his first Dirty Kanza 200 this June and is usually always up for a good gravel ride. So we decided to leave at 8am and go to north then west to Council Grove it is normally about aprox.60 mile loop on gravel.

It didn’t start off great about 10 min in… I realized crap I forgot my camel back. I did have one bottle of water but that was not going to be enough. We had to backtrack back to my house and grab it , luckily I guess I discovered it fairly close. We get about 45 min in , and my back tire felt a little bit low. I asked Shawn ” does my tire look low” he replies “no it looks fine” not less then 2 seconds later I hit some loose gravel and it bottomed out and split my sidewall.  What sucks is they were brand new tires and not cheap. But I threw my only tube in and got back on the road, I was paranoid the rest of the ride about getting another flat since I didn’t have anymore tubes but luckily the rest of the ride had no more issues. What did happen was our near zero wind when we left turned into 20-25mph plus south wind that started picking up heavily right before we started to head south.  Since I am trying to get some good training in anyways I told Shawn to get behind and draft and I started pulling til we got as far south as we needed to before heading east again. I think we were both glad to get out of the wind. We did get 56 miles so it was a good ride.

Today Sunday we got rain all night and still raining. So good time to test out my trainer. I am using my wife’s Madone 4.5 so i don’t have to swap wheels/tires around all the time. I can say now finally have a trainer is a much better work out then my previous stationary recumbent bike I was riding, and although I prefer riding outside much more.The days inside I should get a better workout now then before anyways.

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