Tips From The Back Of The Pack

wpid-FxCam_1272290632827.jpgSome race for the glory of the podium.  Some race for the thrill and challenge.  A lot of us are just racing the cutoff times and for the satisfaction of a strong DFL* finish.  I am a one of those types who tends to live in that neighborhood of riders that cause checkpoints to be staffed until the very last minute, a place called The Back Of The Pack.

The Back Of The Pack isn’t a glorious place, but it doesn’t have to be without its good times and fun.  I’ve put together a few tips and tricks here to help those of us BOTP’ers be more successful at last place.

  • Ride your bike: You don’t have to have a personal coach or even a HRM (although monitoring heart rate/power is pretty helpful for distributing physical resources during long distance riding), you really need to simply ride your bike. Ride as much as you can, take a rest day or two here and there.  If you are planning to do a 200 mile event, work your endurance up by riding longer hours in the saddle. Once you can put in a couple 80 mile or more days in a row, you can probably finish that DK200.  The main point is that if you don’t ride your bike, you aren’t going to be any good at riding your bike.
  • Navigation Is Salvation: If you are off the back and relying on cue cards for direction, PAY ATTENTION to what is going on around you.  Riding solo, or even in a group of folks who are having their own struggles, can end poorly if you aren’t practicing the three R’s for yourself: Reading the Cue Card, Remembering The next turn or sequence of turns, Reacting to the landmarks.  It’s easy to sit on someone’s wheel and hope they are navigating properly, but face it: self supported means you are on your own. Too many times racers have taken wrong turns and added to their race mileage because of trusting the person up front, not having a proper light to see road signs, or simply spacing off.  Remember that these events are difficult enough without adding to the challenge with your own personal bonus mileage.  Pay attention to navigation at all times.  Getting lost sucks.

READ, REMEMBER, REACT. Learn it, Live it.

  • Conserve Energy:  It’s REALLY tempting to go hard off the line.  This is probably one of the biggest fails.  You’ve prepared for your event, your legs are feeling fresh, and there is a veritable Excitement Buffet buzz buzzing around the start line feeding your confidence level. The signal happens. It’s go time. Do you:
    • A) Take off like a jackrabbit with the lead pack and blow up shortly after starting?
    • B) Stick with the middle of the pack until you can’t maintain pass and drop off the back or
    • C) Ride your own pace?

It’s always best to ride at your own pace, especially if keeping up with whatever group you’ve opted to ride with is draining your physical resources. Ride smart and if you are feeling fresh at the half way or past, kick it up and burn it on in!

  • Know What To Wear: Some of these events span the course of 24 or 36 hours, and you will see temperature drops and possibly erratic weather changes.  This kind of goes back to riding your bike. When you are doing said riding, do some in shit conditions. Make note of what clothing/shoes/gloves/eyewear works for what temperature/conditions.  I have a mental log of temp ranges and which base layers/outer layers/socks, etc work within those ranges.  I also do a stupid thing I call Training Cold, which involves long rides in cold weather being purposely under-dressed for the conditions (I pack extra layers in a seat pack for safety sake – in case my mom is reading this). This prepares me for sudden unexpected weather changes out on the road when maybe extra warm gear didn’t get packed, or I just don’t feel like stopping to layer up.  My point is DON’T OVERDRESS, if you are super warm and toasty on a 30 degree 4am starting line, you will sweat out in 5 miles. I see folks out on 50 degree days on the bike trails with full on winter gear, helmet covers, lobster claw gloves, and it’s kind of ridiculous. These fine folk are probably not going on a century ride like that, but still.   DON’T OVERDRESS. Sweating out/overheating is a sure fire fast track to failure.
  • Don’t Over Pack: The more weight you are carrying on your bike, the more you are pushing up hills. If you are riding gravel, you are most likely pushing up a LOT of hills, and if you are just fit enough to pull a DFL or back of the pack, an extra pound or five can be enough to wear you down more quickly.  If you are riding a 5-6 hour gravel event do you really need to pack a spare tire?  If you have a drop bag option at the mid point, do you need 6 water bottles on your bike?  Take a good look at what you are using during training. What do you use on the regular? How far are you riding? How far is the event? What are the conditions of the gravel?  Are your tires up to the task? How much food do you really need to carry?  So many questions that can be answered by a pretty simple formula: If you didn’t need it for 100’s of miles of training/preparation, you probably won’t need it for a 100k event.  This subject deserves a post of its own.
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    Bring some comfort er…food

    Bring a few comforts: Yes, don’t over pack, but bring something that motivates you or can comfort you if you pull out. I bring a flask of Wild Turkey 101 on almost every long ride, and on TIV8 I packed that and some Marlboro Reds (yes, I once in a while have a smoke with my whiskey. It’s a terrible habit and I know it).  When my ride went south right out the gate (cold, rainy 4am start, mechanicals from mile 10 on, etc) I reached a point where it was do or die, try to squeak through CP1 or hang a right on the highway and tailwind back to town. I had some whiskey and a smoke, weighed options, and made the hard call to drop out.  You don’t have to drink or smoke, I might be a little extreme, but bring one of your favorite candies or a picture of your family, or an iPod with your favorite playlist, or whatever will comfort you when the chips are fucked.

  • IMG_6658

    Nope.

    Pick The Right Bike: Obviously, if you have one bike for everything, take that bike. Beats walking 100k.  If you have some options, pick the one that is most comfortable, is geared properly for the amount of climbing, and has the proper tire for the terrain.  You don’t need to try being a hero and ride your loaded fat bike through 100k of climbing, I’ve seen it happen and it wasn’t pretty. I’ve also made the mistake of trying too much climbing on a bike geared for flatter riding (or better climbers), and that kicked my ass entirely too fast.  Come to think of it, I didn’t do great on that bike riding a flat course either.  It was a rough year… Ride what you are comfortable with, could be a Cross Check, a Fargo, a Routt 45, a vintage steel Bianchi, a Beargrease, whatever it is run what gets you to the finish without fighting you the whole way there.

  • PICK THE RIGHT TIRE: OOOOOOWEEEEEE this is a doozy.  We have a 100k gravel race here in Central Iowa called CIRREM.  It’s held around the end of February and it has seen weather from 15 degrees and somehow raining (that year was really weird), to 60 and sunny with a mild breeze.  It’s generally known to be a shit show. On some of the more nasty years, the week leading up to the race has social media buzzing with the query “what tire should I ride?”  If it’s 25 out and the roads are a fresh sheet of ice, don’t try riding slick 28’s. (or old chewed up Michelin Mud 35’s, I did that year and ended up with a cracked rib from wrecking on the ice about a dozen times)  If there is a ton of fresh rock on the road, also don’t ride 28’s. In fact, just don’t ride 28’s on gravel unless your power/weight ratio is in the Pro Peloton range. A file tread 40mm 700c tire is pretty solid choice for any condition, as you can work the tire pressure to adapt to conditions.  Similarly, 650bx47 handles most any gravel condition. Two true “do it all” tire sizes for everything but gnarly single track or ice riding.  If it’s sheets of ice, and you are super cereal, pick up some lightly studded cross tires or bring out the MTB for something more substantial and grippy.  Also, take into consideration that more voluminous tires will provide a little extra cushion, which your arms and back will thank you for on ultra distance stuff.
  • Know when to say when: The best tip I can give is to know your limits.  Riding past your limit is part of endurance racing, indeed, but there is a vast plain of physical and mental badlands that lie somewhere after that 4th or 5th wind.  Know your own personal signs. Dropping out isn’t a crime, but injuring yourself is criminal if you knowingly take things farther than acceptable “too far.” Have an extraction plan (or know the shortcut back to the civilization), means of communication, also see “Bring A Few Comforts” above. I’ve definitely taken things too far and spent weeks recovering from making that mistake, don’t be that person.  Live to ride another day.
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Know when your ride is over, even if it’s not the end of the race. 

This is in no way a comprehensive lesson on “gravel racing,” but if you follow these words, it might help you achieve that DFL finish you’ve always wanted!

Until next time, ride your bike!

CNB

*DFL: Dead Fricken Last. If you aren’t familiar with this term, good for you pal.

I Rode Trans Iowa And All You Got Was This Crappy Recap.

I just got home from Grinnell. At 3pm on Saturday. From TIV8. Which officially ends tomorrow at 2 pm. What happened, you ask? Not enough to keep me on the mildly slimy gravel roads of whatever county I bailed in.  Here’s what happened:

In case you were wondering why it is called a "Meat Up" Pre Race meeting for TIV8

Friday night April 27th, 2012, 70-ish racers and their crews descended upon Grinnell, Iowa for what is known to those in the know as the Trans Iowa V8.  320+ miles of gravel in the hills of west-central Iowa over the course of 34 hours.  This is the Eighth running of the gravel bulls (hence the V8), and an event that brings the bulls back for try after try. We had a pre-race “Meat Up” that included dinner, a talk from race director Guitar Ted giving us the low down hoe down, and a screening of the documentary directed by former endurance racer Jeff Frings about the race entitled “300 Miles Of Gravel,”  which was filmed during last year’s race (TIV7). The rules were clearly laid out, our bellies were full, and the documentary got us all stoked. It was great to be able to see the documentary along side many of the people who were featured. After the Meat Up, my ride (none other than crack race photographer/gravel freak Steve Fuller) and I sauntered off to meet a few people at Bikes To You for a few brews and some great past TI stories.

After managing to snag an impromptu stay at a friends house (crack race Photographer Steve Fuller and I were going to do some “truck camping” until I deemed it too cold and made a phone call) for a few short hours of sleep, I awoke to the reality that I HAD ACTUALLY MADE THE PROPER CLOTHING CHOICE for the race.  For any of you whom have toed the line at a cycling event this time of year, you know that Mom Nature is a fickle mistress when it comes to temperature and precipitation (a serious understatement for Trans Iowa in general, historically), and as I fumbled with my wind/waterproof winter tights I knew that I would not regret them at all.  Truth.

We arrived in front of Bikes To You for the start of the race around 3:20, shortly after as I was putting the finishing touches on my bike a car of young folks parked next to me.

“Excuse me, Sir, what are you guys doing?”

“We are getting ready to do a bike race”

“THIS EARLY????”

I guess in their minds it was only a good time for the “drive of shame” or whatever it was that they were up to.  It was a hilarious reaction, especially since I didn’t go into detail of what a ridiculous race it was.

We embarked on our journey at 4 am sharp. Things were drier than I had thought they would be considering that I was woken up by thunderstorms a few times between midnight and 2am, but there were was still enough give to the earth to make things more of a grind than hoped for.  There is something exhilarating about riding a wet dirt road in the pitch black of night with 70 other mad-people.  When the pace truck pulled away and dropped us upon the Powesheik County gravel like so many bombs from a B-52, it was a slick, loose battle (sounds gross) to find a line and, at least for me, to find a bearing on what was going to be the pace for the day.  I realized within a mile that I was riding with the wrong group, seeing lots of carbon wheels and Ti bikes, and decided to heed the advice of my good friend MG and sit back and let my legs find themselves. To know your limits is one thing, but to not push too far past them at the start of a 320 mile ride is another, wiser thing.  I saw a few folks that I recognized and said hey, then settled in to what could have been a decent pace to make the first checkpoint at mile 52.  Then we turned into the wind.

For the first few miles  there was a wicked cross wind with some tail wind action, when we turned into it…things changed immensely.

This is what cray cray looks like. 3:30 am in Grinnell and the streets are filled with wild gravel grinders.

I settled into a decent pace, looking ahead to find other riders to chase down.  We ended up gathering a small group for a (loosely labeled) pace line.  I was not happy with the pace, as gravity allows me to descend a little faster than the others and drove on.

Things up to this point weren’t going stellar, I had to stop twice to check my personal “undercarriage”, which was still a little sore from the Gents Race a few weeks ago.  I started feeling the combination of pain and numbness.  This is where things started going south for old beardo.  I started questioning whether I should even be doing this but in the end decided that at this point in my life, do I really need functioning man parts? Ha. Ha. So I rode on.

I know myself well enough to know that if I start questioning things this early in an event that it will not end well.  66% of the time it’s 100% truth. Then, after quieting my little sniveling inner wus, my bike started to malfunction.  It’s only a matter of time before this happens during the course of Trans Iowa, tires kicking up muck, wet sand and gravel chunks getting stuck on your ride.  First, Front D doesn’t want to get out of the big ring while climbing hills.  No good, but it started listening quickly.  I have been having that problem recently and SOME NEW CABLE AND HOUSING WOULD HAVE SOLVED THE PROBLEM. Chalk one up for poor planning.  Then my Rear D starts throwing my chain over the cassette into the spoke of my recently rebuilt wheel (thank you, Matt at Rasmussen Bike Shop). I need that puny little gear to spin my fat ass up these big hills SO WHY DOES MY BIKE THINK THAT I SHOULD BE CLIMBING IN A HARDER GEAR? It may be a sign from the Vaya that it wants me to drop some weight, it is tired of feeling the stress of 260# on its poor steel frame.  Chalk one up to animating inanimate objects. I was passed by my former draft-mates while off the bike fixing my shifting problems, they were concerned, but I said I was fine and they drove on.  Thanks, guys. I love the community of gravel grinders and baggers.  Always willing to lend a hand to a brother or sister in trouble.

Damn Bike.

I look at the cue sheet, I see that at mile 28.6 I am making a turn back into the wind and towards the first B road.  As I approached the intersection a thought popped into my head.  Where am I in relation to Grinnell? I kind of want some fat kid breakfast and a pitcher of beer. Knowing that I can’t get into my baby climbing gear was disheartening since my legs were already feeling the burn not even thirty miles in.  I pulled out the phone, checked GPS, and saw that Highway 6 was straight ahead.  I looked left. I looked right. I pulled out my flask of Fireball and took a couple hits. I checked behind me, and knowing that the DFL person had passed me making ME the DFL, and that my mind, body and bike were betraying me, and that I was off pace to reach the first checkpoint already with no real hope of making up the time, I excercised a thing a call WWBD (What would Baggers Do) and headed for the highway.  If your bike doesn’t want to cooperate while going slow over crappy terrain, turn it around for a blazing fast tail wind fueled ride back into town on some pavement.  Then get you some breakfast. I am not happy with my showing, but I am really happy that I showed up.  Toeing the line at Trans Iowa was a great experience that I will learn from and remember always.  A great event with some pretty amazing men and women.  It was an honor to share the road with you all.  I now know what I have to do for next year…start training tomorrow.

Songs stuck in my head during my short stint on TIV8:

  • Livin On a Prayer – Bon Jovi. gross.
  • Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle. even more gross.
  • some Hootie song, but I can’t remember which one and don’t want to for fear it gets stuck in there again

I am sure there is a meaning to those songs in the context of this race beyond the fact that I need to finally just start riding with an mp3 player so that this doesn’t happen in the future.

What I did instead of Trans Iowa:

  • Ate a hearty breakfast
  • Drank 8 cups of coffee while shivering the whole time. Didn’t think to pack a change of clothes on my race bike. lol.
  • Read the article about bike trails and food/bars which I was a part of.
  • Got day drunk at Rabbit’s in Grinnell with the local day drinkers (actually, I walked into the bar and there were a bunch of kids from Grinnell College who were doing their take on the Drake Relays, the Drink Relays.  There was some Ying Yang Twins blaring on the juke box and some ice cold PBR. It felt like Carl’s Place for a minute.
  • Got a ride back to DSM with my good friend Joe
  • Passed the F out.

Things I will do differently for TIV9:

  • Re-cable and tune my drivetrain.
  • Train properly. I was pretty lazy this winter. No good.
  • Get/Share a hotel room
  • Drop down to my goal weight of 220. That will keep my bike and my knees happier.
  • Bring even less gear. I packed pretty light, but I could pare things down even lighter.
  • Put my nutrition in the right order.  I have an order in which I go through my Camelbak feed pouches, right to left. I did not arrange things properly and got a flavor shock when I got a mouth full of PB flavored gel. Also, not sure of the caffeine content, which I need to watch.
  • Put Wild Turkey instead of Fireball in my flask. It’s not my favorite “out of the flask” drink.
  • Ride Faster.
  • Make Checkpoints.
  • Finish.

I did manage to make some serious headway into my drive to cut down my swearing, both on and off the bike.  It didn’t help my mechanical issues, but that bike has had its feelings hurt a number of times.  I can’t expect the healing process to be immediate.

THANK YOU TO GUITAR TED FOR PUTTING ON SUCH A FINE EVENT.  PLEASE HAVE A TIV9 SO I CAN COME FUCK THAT ONE UP TOO. OH CRAP!  THERE GOES THE SWEARING AGAIN!

GOOD LUCK AND GODSPEED TO ALL THOSE STILL OUT THERE HAMMERING AWAY AT THE GRAVEL AS I SIT MY PANSY ASS ON THE COUCH IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER WRITING ABOUT MY ILL ATTEMPT.  YOU ALL ARE AMAZING, KEEP CRUSHING IT!  SEE YOU NEXT YEAR, IF NOT SOONER.

CNB.

Trans Iowa Eve Rambling.

Here it is, my last day of preparation before leaving for Grinnell, Iowa and the “Meat Up” which is the official start of the Trans Iowa V8 festivities.  I am very excited. I have been waiting for this moment for a few years, and the time has come to put myself to the test.  It’s a long ride, and I am going to do my best to hold on to it for as long as I can.  I have been constantly over thinking bike choices, gear, nutrition, physical preparation, weather.  The time for all of those is over, all I can do now is ensure that I don’t leave anything important behind and keep my fingers crossed for good weather.

TIV8 Rig, the Salsa Vaya

The weather is looking about as trustworthy as usual (not at all, today was supposed to be low 60’s and so-so, I took the day off to finish up race prep and rest and it turned out to be in the 70’s. Probably  would have been a good day to serve tacos…but I did have some serious race prep to do…and I am fighting a cold. boohoo.) so I am packing for temps from 40+, anything below that and I will just have to ride harder to stay warm. No biggie, it’s not the first time that bridge been crossed.  A very awesome friend of mine gifted me some white chocolate covered espresso beans, her favorite for distance running, and as I was re-packing them I realized I was down to 7 gel packs. Will this be enough? I think I would rather take my chances with gas station breakfast burritos than live off gels for two days. I think it will be enough. I was trying to figure out how to pack a cheesesteak in my gear, but decided that if the grease leaked out it would just become dog bait, and in turn I would be dog (enter meal for appropriate day part).  Nutrition is about as covered as I can…I have some cashews and chomps, and a Four Loko, and some Fireball in a flask, and a few other things.  Weather is checked off. Packing an extra pair of socks, and I learned during the Gents Race a few weeks back that my goddamn Shower’s Pass cadillac rain jacket is actually a great, comfortable piece of outer gear for racing/endurance riding. ramble ramble ramble.

I have the documentary “Ride The Divide” playing in the background for inspiration.  Sure, the scenery is breathtaking, but what I am taking away for TIV8 is “hey, it’s only 300 miles” as opposed to 2,700 miles that those animals were chewing away at.  I think the real lessons learned by watching are: Yes, your legs could swell up like two balloons (makes me think of the Wall).  It’s okay to start making very little sense on camera at mile 2100.  Don’t wear brand new shoes when riding long distances (Come ON). And the YOU WILL NOT FORGET LITTLE LARRY. Or so he says.

I am kind of kicking myself for not having an ipod or some such device. I guess this could be the ride that I finally give in and ride with music. I really love just observing nature, listening to its beauty, and making up freestlye songs about whatever I see.  Sometimes I break out into Rod Stewart songs. This is why I ride solo most of the time. No one wants to hear terrible songs emanating from this beard.  I DID rap the NWA straight outta compton album on a very long ride once. Well, as much as I could remember while dodging dogs and farm trucks…and a lot of it wasn’t in sequence.  It’s a funny thing when you sing/rap a song by yourself then when you get to the end of the part you are on your brain magically forgets where to go and loops back to the beginning of the phrase you just finished. Look at the rambling. Evidently my brain is warmed up for riding because that is exactly what happens for my whole ride…

When you peel yourself from bed Saturday morning you should see at least one or two updates from the route. It’s going to be an exciting time, I am super pumped to see the men and women of TIV8 tomorrow, to get to see the premier of “300 Miles Of Dirt” the documentary filmed last year during TIV7, and to get out and grind the shit out of some gravel.  Later, skaters.  Fatty gotta get some rest.

55 Days…Can I Get A Ribness?

(new, improved smaller font action today should ease the amount of scrolling.)

One week ago at nearly this exact moment I went down on the ice at CIRREM for the second time that day, culling the pain gods from their roosts (although maybe those were just some sort of regular bird) not-so-high above.  Bruised ribs, knee, elbow, shoulder bruising, a little blood, and some dashed hopes all came crashing together as beard met ice and rock.  Seven days in I have made little progress.  My doctor gave me no physical restrictions, so I did a little riding to the tune of a whopping 25 easy going miles.  Oddly, I hurt less when on the bike than when I am lying dormant on the couch…my ribs can hang freely without the pressure of rolling a heavy body from side to side.  Sometime during the week I had a little sneezing fit and felt another “POP” in the old cage.  I think that was Thursday morning?  Hard to tell as I have been laid up on the couch with Netflix and my cat as my sole companions watching an almost seamless 24 hour a day lineup of bike and skate documentaries and wasn’t paying much attention to the time or day or really anything else.

All I could think about was the pain and TIV8

The Gents Race is coming up on April 7th, but it isn’t really much of a worry.  The course is on the easy/forgiving side with no real climbing challenges, just some mild rollers here and there with a mostly flat gravel terrain.  If the wind is kind this year (last year it was a little mean) and everyone on my team brings the right bike for the ride, we will be just fine.  In fact, due to this injury, I may actually be the weak link this time around.  I don’t like the thought of that, but it is a reality I may have to face when 4/7 rolls around.  Guys, I will do my best to be in ready mode…

So back to the pain and the TIV8.  The race “Meat Up” is in 55 days, with the start just a few short hours after that at 4 am.  I effectively have about 50 days left to train if I heal up enough to climb hills by next Wednesday.  I have been dreaming of this race for a few years, and not treating it with enough focus which is raising some pretty big doubts in my mind.  It is a terrible feeling to be physically unable to train for something you are officially entered in, and something which requires some rigorous training.  I now know, on a very small scale, how my good friend Steve felt when he had to spend time off the bike due to some nerve damage.  This is really frustrating…even more frustrating is knowing that I usually write these posts as a ruse to get you folks reading to call me out for being a whiny pussy and tell me to just go ride my fucking bike….but I can’t ride, not until I heal up some more, so your “words of encouragement” will be falling on gimp ears.

So that’s what I have going on right now.  Laid up in bed watching movies like “Ride The Divide” and wishing I could be out riding some kind of divide type thing.

CNB

74 Days…Almost Dog Lunch/Incidental Intervals

Yesterday I made a few adjustments to the Vaya, including shedding those swampy Continental Touride 42 monstrosities for my current preferred craws setup, Ritchey Speed Max 32 rear, Kenda Small Block 8 32 front.  Then it was test ride time.

I headed south to army post road, then west to Pine, popped on the GWT for a mile to hit the lean to for a 4square check in (fatbike would have been nice there), and on to Adams.  The road conditions were nice and solid, and the Vaya was rolling like a champ on top of its new rubber.  Then I noticed something odd.  There seemed to be a lot of “free range dogs” out on Adams, and not at the best spots for your chubby narrator to sprint away safely.

Time for Incidental Intervals

Incidental Intervals – Unplanned intensity training due to circumstances happened upon during the course of a low intensity ride

Incidentals come in many form, the safest being succumbing to the urge to chase down and dust off slower riders on the bike trails, the most dangerous being trying to pace tractors manned by angry country folks with firearms on backroads.  My favorite of all time is being chased by dogs on gravel roads.  It used to be a thrill, with the dogs getting the element of surprise, but now that I have travelled most of my routes enough times to know where the “problem dogs” lie in wait, it is a simple fact of “Ok, here comes hill X, right over the top is an ankle-hungry canine.  Make sure to have enough speed to pull away from the chase.”  This day was a little different.  There were four new problem houses within 5 miles.  One of those dogs was on the bottom half of a very long and steep climb.  fuck.  The others were very little problem to drop, chasing me down the gravel with all the zeal of a nearly-retired government office worker (no offense to that group, but you know you don’t move with much purpose).  This guy was different.  It’s as if the little pooch knew he had me in a jam (and judging by the fresh looking, swerving cross-tire track in front of me, I wasn’t the first victim of the day) and was not about to stop without a little leg-lunch.  I was in the big ring, hammering up the side of Mt. Mutt, hoping I didn’t get a mechanical during the sprint.  Dog face gave up just before the crest, I gave up about half way up the next hill.  Yeah, I was scared. So what?

The rest of the ride was a little faster paced due to that little fanged wake up.  I ended up with 58.24 miles in just under 4 hours (half road, half dirt).  I stopped for a recovery beer (Liter of Spaten Dunkel) and some Jambalaya and reflected on the difference in performance on my modified Salsa.

I think we are done discussing which bike is going to TIV8.  In fact, It is most likely going to make an appearance at CIRREM next week.  See you there.

CNB

79 Days…Bike Debate Rages To A Halt!

Yesterday I had my fitness shot down by a fortune cookie, right around the same time I was staring at my two gravel grinding machines.  I experienced a slight white-out and a sudden urge to spit up in my mouth a little.  It all came to me during that flash of near-unconciousness and mini-vomit.  There is a sure fire way to solve the problem of the Vaya/Chili/Cookie trifecta:

Ride Your Fucking Bike.

The best way to choose between the two bikes and do a little more work to make the words printed on a slip of paper inside a shitty rice cookie slightly less defensible is to just ride, just like the best way to choose between two lovers is to give them both a chance and wait for one of them to suck at the things you need them to be good at.  Actually with me and bikes it is like choosing between lovers.  I will spare you the details here, you can read my past posts to get the full spectrum of my whiny feelings about them.

Ride Your Fucking Bike.

Four simple words can solve so many problems.  Not feeling well?  RYFB.  Afraid you might not be at the right level of fitness for that big ride/race? RYFB.  Having a really bad day and don’t want to go home to deal with your “better half”? RYFB.  Need to get to and from work? RYFB.  Want to go bar hopping and avoid the heartache of maybe crashing and killing other people? RYFB.  Need to make some new friends? RYFB. Having one of those days when everyone is giving you a hard time, from your teacher down to your best girlfriend?  RYFB.  Need something to do between swimming and running (this one is for you, Ratchet).  RYFB.

Can’t decide which bike you should use for the biggest race of your life?

So here is the deal:  I promise to stop whining and figure this out sometime before April.  CIRREM will get the Vaya.  Gents Race will get the Chili.  Between now and then one of these two will make themselves known to be the best for the TI job. I really do love the Chili…it’s fast and easy.  The Vaya requires a little more love and affection to get the job done, you can’t just hammer on it and expect to get anywhere fast.  I am hearing this from many of my friends (who aren’t mainly MTB racers) that they are having the same problem.  Whatever, I will just.

Ride My Fucking Bike

And the details should work themselves out.

CNB