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.
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.
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 😉
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.
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.
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.