My last race of 2011 is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 12th. I raced at 12 Hours of Temecula #1 back in January (click to read that blog), and came in 4th place in the SS Solo category. I missed #2 in June, and this is the 3rd race in the year-long series. After checking the results, I noticed that a few of the top guys I raced with also missed #2- so depending on how the cards fall, I might still be in contention for the “overall” podium. We’ll see… That was my first race of this length, and this time, my eyes are definitely on the podium. Although I’ll be racing on the exact same bike for the most part- a few things have changed since that race- some important, some not so:
- I’ve been using a Rotor 33T eccentric chain ring, since getting one from Dejay Birtch at the Team Topeak-Ergon Training Camp in Sedona back in April. It’s hard to say if it’s the ring, me getting stronger, or a Panda Express 2 item combo of them both… but I’m pushing bigger gears (smaller cogs) easier now… ooh, that new walnut glazed shrimp it tasty…
- Another subtle, but HUGE change on my bike- the grips. I was using lightweight ESI grips last race, but have since converted to Ergon GS2 grips with barends. I used to have pain in my right elbow and crampy hands after long ss efforts. Since the switch, the pain in my elbow is gone… I think because of the better position barends get your arms in for climbing. My hands are also way more comfy and relaxed, and I have more positions to put them in. If you haven’t switched yet, and still don’t switch after reading this, you’re a schmucko.
- My Xloc lever on my Reba XX fork was broken last race, so it was stuck in squishy mode the whole time, zapping extra energy on the climbs – this time, it’s working properly, or I might switch to the Niner Carbon Fork instead (will decide after pre-ride )
- Trail conditions: this weekend is a high chance of rain aka mud, whereas last time it was dry like Guy Ritchie’s wit. I don’t have a tire sponsor (Kenda gives me pro-deal pricing, but any Tom, Dick or Joe can get that) – so I’m gonna keep on my 2.2 Specialized Captain Control in front, and my 2.2. Continental Race King 2.2. in back since I don’t have the cash for a “mud tire”. Last time I was on Schwalbe Racing Ralph in front and WTB Nano in back. Pretty similar, I just hope the Cap’n sheds the sticky icky.
- My Body: I’ve put a good amount of miles in me since last race. Lots more distance, lots more climbing, overall much better fitness. I fought cramps from 2 1/2 hours last time, so hoping this race will be less painful and more productive.
- Nutrition: I’ve also dialed in better nutrition and have a better knowledge of what my body craves. It definitely doesn’t like the alfredo pasta I had mid-race last time. Nor the Panda 2 item combo 🙂 – My mainstays are bananas, avocados, pretzels and pickles. I’ll try to get some protein in there as well… some salty nuts (ha!)… and of course a bottle of water an hour or so, gu brew, gu gel, and some chomps… yummmmmm…
- Accommodations: Last time, I rolled down with my homie Tim from Mammoth. His aunt and uncle have a pimped out home on the top of a hill near Temecula, only 15 minutes from the course. They treated me like a king, and fed me home-cooked dinner and breakfast before the race. Afterwards, when we dragged my tattered, cramped, janky body back to the crib we soaked in the jacuzzi with Tecate recovery brew. Life = good. This time, I’m staying with my pops over an hour away. Don’t feel like camping, so yeah… not ideal, but it’ll work out.
- Pit Crew: In addition to Tim, I also had two friends, Scott and Taylor, pitting with me. They were invaluable, especially since I changed cogs twice, and had some pedal issues… not to mention the moral support… This time, no crew at all. I’m rolling 100% solo. A little nervous about it. It’s gonna take valuable energy just setting up the tent, table, cooler, etc. Even the small stuff like having a bottle change ready with a banana, a cowbell jingle, a cheer, etc will be greatly missed. I’ll probably never know what place I’m in either, until the finish… we’ll see…
- Idle Time: Do to cramps and bike stuff, I spent almost 1 1/2 hours stopped last race. That gives me hope that I have a lot of room to improve. I’m hoping to cut that down to only 1/2 hour total this time. Which, in and of itself would give me roughly enough time to do an extra lap.
- Gearing: Taking the race director’s advice last time, I started with 32:18 gearing. I pre-rode the course in that gear and it felt good. Being a rookie, I didn’t take into account that doing one easy lap didn’t equate to 12 hours. I think this greatly contributed to me blowing up so early on… heart rate too high, anaerobic from the get go. Then I would up switching to a 20, and again to a 21. This time I’m going with 33:21. Not going out so fast, and try to keep my hr in the 80% max range. Stay aerobic, stay consistent, stay cramp-free. That’s the plan.
Overall: My goal is to touch the podium on Saturday. Plain and simple. Although I’ve been working (running around hand-held with a camera on Southland does not equate to training) a lot the last few weeks, and only taken a few short rides, my base fitness is strong, especially with the Everest Challenge under my belt. My body responds well to a week or so completely off the bike… so let’s hope my legs are ready. I’m looking foward to finishing up the 2011 season on a high note, slashing some pow turns, and looking to what fun adventures 2012 will hold… yeah man, as a wise man once prophecized, “Get busy living, or get busy dying”. He also told me, “Hold your breath, that’s a wicked SBD.” – take it with a grain. Race report soon. More cowbell.