First off, pour some out for Clarence Clemons. He’s a frickin legend- The Boss & The E Street Band would’ve never had the same soulful energy without him. I’m gonna load up my iPod with Springsteen and climb climb climb on my next mtb ride!!! Second off, pour some out for Ryan Dunn. He might have been a crazy mofo, driving 130mph… who many say had it coming… but I did a movie with him a few years ago (Street Dreams), and behind the “Jackass” mystique, he was a great guy. RIP.
On another note, my wife often tells me, “stick it in your toonch with a rusty razor”… she loves to chant old sailor songs, is that weird?… I smell my toes and people think that’s gross, but I just can’t get enough… I’ve been watching this new show called “Switched At Birth” on ABC Family… can’t wait to tivo the next episode and use the roller on my calves… If Rite-Aid is sold out of chocolate malted crunch again, I’m gonna go Ryu on a buster… Heineken in a can sucks. Tecate in a can rocks. This is the crap that was going through my head as delirium kicked in about hour 7ish at the 8 Hours of Lake Tahoe last weekend… does this happen to you? Random nonsense taking over your thoughts and helping you get through your race? Please tell me I’m not the only one who starts singing “I’ve got a dream” to pass the time (not MLK, Jr. version, the Tangled version of course) and make sure I’m not above my lactate threshold…
Packed up the trusty (knock on wood) Allroad yet again and enlisted the talents of the most stellar pit crew in all of Mountain Bike Racing. My wife, Angela and daughter, Lucy. This race is on the northwest part of the lake, in the beautiful and under-rated Burton Creek State Park. Showed up around 3pm on Friday to pre-ride the course and set up our pit area.
Perfect weather, high 60’s. NICE. Finished the ride, felt good. Met a drunk local who lives in this sick house right across the street from the Start/Finish… After hearing all the “Lake Tahoe Lore” of the 70’s and 80’s, booms & busts, etc- he took off and we finished popping our tent and off to our the “Tahoe Inn” – only $24 a night for a 2 queen bed room!!! Clean sheets, wear flip flops in the shower, don’t mind the crackheads in the lot, and it’s the BEST deal in Tahoe. They even had a can opener at the front desk (I forgot one, and needed to open some tuna). Can you tell I’m procrastinating about talking about the race?? That’s because I had the pre-game jitters for sure… I’ve been riding a lot lately, and my fitness is pretty good… but I haven’t done any “endurance” racing since January…
Race Report: 4th Place
Decided to try out a new front tire a few days ago. Got rid of the Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 in the front cuz it’s been leaking slowly since Boulder. I keep pumping it before rides, but I had to put a tube in just to keep it from flatting on my roof rack. Footloose has a ton of Specializedrubber, so I decided to try out the 2.2 Captain Control- if it’s good enough for Ned, it’s good enough for me. I put it on a few days before the race, and it was holding air fine, but on the morning of the race, it was at 10 lbs.
(Side Note. – Pros like Eddie O’Dea will tell ya to dial in your tubeless tires 2 weeks before a race- to make sure it’s sealing, holding a bead, etc… and plenty of other common sense but important-nonetheless stuff… Check out this article that Eddie wrote on the Topeak Blog about endurance race prep… helpful for average joe’s and schmos like me.)
So yeah… I actually listened to Eddie’s advice and had my bike prepped and dialed in, race ready, 3 days before the race… so I wouldn’t be wasting precious energy on my feet working on my bike like most blokes on race day. When I noticed the flat tire, I decided that it must be a super slow leak, and that I was just gonna pump it to 20 psi, and see how it holds after the first lap… with a little luck it would hold, without I’d throw a tube in and bounce like jello booty through the course… no biggie. Luckily, it lasted 5 hours before I had to give it a quick co2 blast, and then it lasted the rest of the race no problem… crisis averted. In fact, that was the closest I came to a mechanical all races. NICE!!
I had the mantra, “My race, my pace” going in my head the whole race. Very consistent lap times. Great nutrition plan (gotta love avocados- so easy to eat and so great for ya). Fun course with great mix of singletrack and speedy fireroad descents and one big climb over loose rocks. A couple hike-a-bikes through snow, and river crossings kept us wet and muddy the whole time… DIRTY TEETH!! I felt better than I ever have at any endurance event (this is my 3rd ever :). Never cramped, never bonked and rode a very solid race. The effort got me 4th place behind some very seasoned veteran SS robots. I did 7 laps, and could’ve pushed one more… but 5th place had no chance at catching me, and I was too far behind 3rd who was 10 minutes ahead going into his 8th lap… so I finished feeling great. Mentally and physically. While recovering in my pit, I found out that had I gone for an 8th lap, I would’ve gotten 3rd place. The 2nd place rider lost a contact, flatted, and didn’t finish his 8th lap… thus moving 3rd up to 2nd, and would’ve moved me up to 3rd. At first I was pissed I didn’t push myself for 8… but then my wife reminded me about the “Fun Factor”. I’m not a pro racer. I don’t get paid to ride. I pay my hard earned money to race. Therefore, I better be having fun on the course. Had I done that last lap, it definitely wouldn’t have been fun at all. I was maxed and taxed. I still wouldn’t have been as fast as the top 3 riders. Sure, getting on the podium would’ve been cool, but the guy who lost his contact was superior to me… he deserved it. I achieved my personal goals of not cramping and improving personal best… so mission accomplished!! In the end I wound up doing 75 miles and 7,500′ of climbing… I love this sport!!
Check out the garmin link for full details of my race.