30 April, 2009

single speeding, Arcata Skate Park

I've been riding around on my Monocog since my other bikes are getting work done.

Today I put in 20 minutes at the Arcata Skate Park, but it felt like an hour.

A really good skater showed up. He could transfer from one pool to the other no problem, so I gave him free reign.

Site of shredding incident.

In the forest I put in a true 60 minutes. The single-track is ready for ripping. There has been more progress in the past two years than the previous five!

Hopefully I'll make it down to the nationally famous "Paradise Royale" trail near Shelter Cove a few times this summer.

A federally funded million dollar trail = awesome

But why did they build it in the remote "Lost Coast"?

19 April, 2009

Sea Otter Classic: Sunday, Race Day

The sun rose yellow and hot. There was no trace of fog and the air was already warm. The last forecast I had seen predicted highs in the 70's and it seemed like perfect weather.

It was a loud night last night since most campers were done racing. I didn't get enough sleep even though I had ear-plugs and complained at our drunk neighbors to pipe-down.

Regardless, I felt confident, ready. Last minute additions to my bike by Ryan have created a bike that inspires confidence.

As I lined up at the CAT 1 start I felt a little star-struck again. These guys weren't rag-tag like the sport class. Some were sponsored by major bike companies such as Giant and Specialized.

I was dropped right from the start, but I knew this race was about endurance. I felt more at ease as we started to thin-out into the single-track. I felt I was in the right race, and handled the tight-fast trail like a veteran.

The first lap was winding down and I felt good. Not super strong, but on track for a 3 hour time and possibly a top 10 finish. Heading into the last lap I kept pace with a small group, but started to cramp in my quads.

I backed off the pace as the cramping continued. I started to get passed. With 10 miles of the 39 to go, the cramping became serious.

This is where it starts to hurt.

To make a long and unpleasant story short, I experienced more charley-horses in the last 40 minutes than I have in my entire life. At 5 different times I was forced to freeze in place, straddling the bike. Both of my legs were completely rigid from top to bottom with a sharp, stabbing pain.

At this point I'm not racing anymore. I'm out of water. I don't care who passes me. I'm just trying to finish so that I can get off my feet.

I wasn't the only one suffering dehydration. As I rode on at a slow steady crawl I passed other riders frozen like statues, incapable of even moving off the trail for other riders to pass.

I cramped again. One middle-aged rider suggested I rest in the shade 2 feet in front of me. I didn't bother to tell him I couldn't move an inch. As the sun beat down another passed me with a smile. He chirped "that was me 5 minutes ago!"

The last few miles are all climbing, and some racers broke down. With the end in view they stood locked-up and yelling for water from the spectators.

At the top of the last hill my pinky & ring-finger on my right hand went numb, along with the outside part of my right forearm.

I knew the race was over and kept my feet spinning until I heard the cheering spectators at the finish line.

Final Results

39 miles in 3 hrs 16 min 53 sec for 22nd out of 31.

I would rank this as the 2nd most painful experience of my life (#1 a gnarly road rash from a broken collar bone bike wreck).

Above all, I learned that dehydration can come fast and furious when competing as an endurance athlete. Before now I had never witnessed anything like this, but I've since heard from other endurance athletes that it is somewhat common.

What masochists!

I wasn't the only one caught off-guard. The pro men raced a shortened track and still 25% did not start/finish the race. The temperature reached 90's during the mid-day,

The winning pro was World Champion Christoph Sauser from Switzerland.

Here is a good story about him and the heat at VeloNews w/photography!

All said and done, this Otter was the best. With so much going on, this is the first year I relaxed enough to enjoy it. I saw a stream of heroes and super-humans in all categories of bike riding.

Check out the other 3 days of Sea Otter racing and events!

Sea Otter Days 1-4

-- --

A Special Thanks to the family and friends who supported me along the way!

I didn't place well, but as the saying goes,

"You have to shoot to score."

18 April, 2009

Sea Otter Classic: Saturday

Ryan woke up at 7 AM to a find a cool, thick low level fog.

Luckily he is a heavy sleeper since our neighbors always party till they get shutdown by the Rangers.

Ryan looked good despite a few mishaps. We both took a particular corner too fast and missed a turn our first year.

A time of 1 hr 43 min & 39 sec for 19 miles got
Ryan 11th out of 15 in his category.

My photos coming.

Heather's mom Judy arrived later that day with her friend Judy #2. We went out to eat in Monterey while Ryan picked the minds of the bike industry folk.

17 April, 2009

Sea Otter Classic: Friday

I started the morning watching pro downhill practice. Soooo many famous riders who I've watched in videos for years. They get some good air time!

Brendan Fairclough

Ryan raced Super-D (3 miles mostly downhill) today at noon. He landed 24th out of 42 in the 18-29 yrs & non-pro group w/ 7 minutes 53 seconds.

While we were waiting for Ryan to descend we met the parents of Carl Decker. It turns out his mom has the exact same hat as Heather. Carl won the pro race w/ 6 minutes and 21 seconds.

Heather and I spent the afternoon riding and relaxing in Fort Ord. It was perfect. It was the reason why I wanted to come!

A saw a large flat lizard scuttle of the trail. I quickly jumped off the bike to check it out since it was unusually large. It was a "horny toad" or Coast Horned Lizard.

"will inflate itself, bite, hiss, spray blood from eye corners" Audubon.

Can you see our spiky friend?

16 April, 2009

Sea Otter Classic: Thursday

We arrived early since I wanted to snag the best camping spot. When I camped in 2007 there was a hillside that was quiet on the edge of tent city.

We claimed our campsite right next to this "perfect" spot and immediately broke out the bikes for a pre-ride of the XC course.

On the first and fastest descent I let loose. Flying down the hill at an ungodly speed I heard a horrible noise when I landed at bottom. POP! Phhhiiiiiiissssssssss!

My brand new front tire exploded and sent me off course into the beautiful blue lupines.

SRAM logo & lupines.

I had forgotten my pump. I sat and enjoyed the scenery while bikers tried not to crash as they passed at 20-30 mph. Ryan rode back to retrieve the air pushing tube.

During the rest of the ride I saw a gopher snake and a Western Skink. It was the perfect time for spring wildflowers, and the mossy oaks seemed enchanted.

After the ride we all went into the Expo area. The world's best trials (balancing stunts) rider Ryan Leech performed an awesome show!

We ended the day shopping the deals! Heather got a back-pack, I got a new front tire, and Ryan got custom grips.

Back at tent city, the campers right next to us have a PA system blaring music & even brought a light show... All powered by a generator of course.

Even more annoying is the yuppies with the Land Rover. They leave the SUV running for hours at a time to power a single laptop computer. All their camping equipment is new out of a box.

Camping huh?

14 April, 2009

about the Otter

I love the Sea Otter Classic.

The Sea Otter is the largest bicycle racing event in North America, and always one of the most important cross-country mountain biking events of the year. Big is not always bad. I like racing a group of 50 instead of 5.

I am also super stoked to witness our sport come together for four days, regardless of whether the bike is for road, mountain, down-hill, BMX, jumps, stunts, or plain old family recreation.

After all, in the end, it really is all about the bike.

Awesome things about the Sea Otter

-it's massive over 50,000 spectators & 10,000 athletes!

-Location: world Famous Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey

-surrounded by many miles of Fort Ord BLM trails.

-Olympic qualifying event for XC (cross-country)

-the weather forecast is sunny 70's.


I'll be back Monday April 20th,
wish me luck!

11 April, 2009

Butler Valley

Today I rode the mountainous Butler Valley loop. This is my last opportunity to ride hard before the race next weekend.

I've definitely kicked it up a notch since March. Even though the 46 miles still took 3 hours and 7 minutes, I had shaved 5 minutes until a heavy mist slowed the final Fickle Hill descent (40 mph max).

I saw a number of deer and a great blue heron.

We leave Wednesday for Monterey!

09 April, 2009

Last week of training-

Cross-country Olympian Adam Craig

I've been trying to salvage my fitness with the little time left. Unfortunately, cold rain has returned.

My ride yesterday dwindled from 46 miles of mountains, to 50 miles of coastline, to only 7 miles around a golf course in the end.

Later I ran some errands and biked the marsh for a total of about 15 miles Wednesday. I'm worried about endurance since I haven't been doing long rides.

At any rate, I still did cross-training at home. Squats, lunges, weights, abs, wall sits, ect...

Me? Nervous? Nah.
This Sea Otter trip is really shaping up! My good friend Dan is flying in from Louisiana, my main-man-mechanic Ryan is racing Super-D (downhill) and XC, Heather's mom is coming again, and this year Heather has her own mtn. bike!

4-days of mountain biking and submersing into bicycle culture-

05 April, 2009

Bull Creek, Thornton MUT

Ryan, Mike, and I rode a 15 mile loop in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

We went up Pole Line Rd and down Thornton Multi-Use-Trail.

Bull Creek
It was sunny and mid 60's, the trail was dry, and fun was had by all.

A stop at the first organic brewery finished the ride.

I ate a tri-tip sandwich w/fried onions & fries. I also put down 6 large pancakes, an egg-sandwich, a PB&J, 3 cups of soup, salad, and popcorn today... and I'm still eating...

photos to come-

2 weeks till the Otter!!!

04 April, 2009

Pat's Point

March 2008 I rode 400 miles during training. This March I rode 150.

Excuses = rainy Sundays, work, over-training in February, snow in the mountains, et cetera.

Today I rode 48 miles to Patrick's Point (via Westhaven, return Stagecoach & Scenic).

Great tide-pools around the corner.
It was cool and clear.
I watched a whale spout and took in the rugged coastline.

Even with the haze, I could see many miles of coastline.

02 April, 2009

Jacoby Creek

The community forest has been hardly inspiring. Luckily the city owns another patch of land along the headwaters of Jacoby Creek. Over 1,200 acres to be exact.

Wednesday Ryan and I loaded up the Sube and headed to Kneeland to loop a few trails. Unfortunately he forgot his shoes, and was wearing Crocs. I cautiously descended Red Gate by myself.

The top of the trail is dry thanks to rocky soil, but the bottom of the trail crosses Jacoby Creek and its tributaries numerous times.

I did a workout Thursday. It was short. My shin splint is almost healed.

Looks like a lot of sunny riding this weekend ;-)