Friday, July 18, 2014

4th in Da Yoop

We spent the 4th of July in the UP this year at Kerry's parents.  Tim was anxious to get the boat out and do some fishing and Kerry and I were happy join in for a perfect day on the big lake.  Caught a couple of lake trout which became our dinner for Saturday night.  Yum!

I also made a trip up to Copper Harbor and had some fun on the stellar trails up there.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Chequamegon Metric 100

We arrived at the Hayward KOA campground and were greeted by the full contingent of my racing buddies that were already set up in the campground.  Kerry and I rolled in with our camper around 8:15 and got it all set up and squared away.  This was our first experience at a KOA style "campground".  Quite a difference from the typical state park we are used to staying at.  Tons of people, activities and commotion everywhere.  The site was nice and we were all close together so it was still fun.  And, bonus, we actually got to enjoy a campfire both Friday and Saturday nights.  

I had my bike mostly dialed so I didn't have too much prep to do before the race.  Race morning always seems to come fast though and regardless of how well prepped I am, something always seems to set me back a bit.  This time it was no different.  As everyone was rolling off to the start, I could not find my gloves.  Searched and searched and finally decided to wear a pair of work gloves that I had in my truck.  As I closed up the truck and locked it, there lay my gloves, now revealed, on the bumper of my truck under the tailgate.  Toss the work gloves, put on the real gloves, lock truck and blaze over to rock lake road.  

Once I got to rock lake road I expected to see the group gathered up and getting the pre-race spiel.  Not the case.  I simply found a few people, rolling slowly, far up the road.  There was no meeting and I missed the rollout!  Now I was playing catch-up.  Oh well.  By the time we hit the singletrack I had gotten into a comfortable pace behind a few people to let my heart rate settle back down after chasing down the road.

The first part of Rock Lake, Patsy and Namakagon seemed to go by fast and before I knew it I was pulling into the Nam town hall trail head and chatting with Kyleen who was there to cheer us on.  This was the only stop I was truly planning on for the entire race.  I had 2 bottles on the bike and I carried an empty 1 ltr water bag in my jersey pocket.  I finished off one of my bottles put some cytomax in it and refilled it.  Also filled the liter soft bottle and put it back in my jersey pocket.  I now had ~80ozs of liquid for the next 40 miles.  I ate a granola bar, took some sport legs and an ibuprofen and headed off down the trail for the rest of rock lake and Hildebrand.

Once out of Hildebrand we were back on some forest roads and I took this moment to eat some trail mix and a gu pack and also drink about 1/2 bottle.  Soon after this I made the turn for the Danky Dank connector and immediately jumped off my bike to walk a climb that just wasnt' worth trying.  Danky seemed slow and soft but will be a fun section once its finished and will make a great connector between Rock lake and the Telemark trails.  Somewhere along Esker I ran into Brett who had missed a turn previously and put in some bonus miles.  We got to ride together and chat for a while.  Once on Spider lake road we got into a fast cruising pace and passed a few people that were ahead of us in the singletrack.  I knew this was a long section of gravel so it's a great time to shovel down a bunch of food before the Janet rd/Seely pass singletrack entrance.  There was no way I could keep pace with Brett and take in food so dropped back and told him "Go get 'em".

I ate some turkey sticks, my PB/banana tortilla and drank some more.  While I was chowing, the road got steep and I grabbed a lower gear.  Immediately there was a grinding and the sound of metal being force to do things against it's will.  I instantly let off on the pedals and looked down at my drivetrain.  I was completely cross chained, big ring to big cog, and absolutely no slack in the chain.  The derailleur was strectched tight.  Thankfully nothing broke but the chain was tight enough that I had to pull the axle and loosen the rear wheel in order to free things up.  Guess I could have left one more link in that chain.  I'm usually pretty good about never cross chaining but in this case I had completely forgotten that we had been cruising in the big ring for a while.

I hit the turn onto Janet road and there was a group of people cheering.  It's always nice to have spectators out on the trail.  I was feeling pretty good at this point so I assessed my fluid situation and decided that I had enough to get me to the end.  Regardless of whether there was any water at the Seely pass entrance or not, I decided I would skip stopping at that point and just continue on.  I finished off the last of my pre-mixed bottles while on Janet road.  I hit the Seely pass turn off and saw Brett and Jose and a few other people.  I yelled out a "woo hoo" and turned directly onto the Seely pass trail.  I needed to get the water in my jersey pocket mixed with some cytomax and put into a bottle but also new that Brett and Jose would be on my tail in no time so I wanted to get a ways into the woods before I stopped.

The Camba trail crew re-worked the descent into Pothole Plunge.  Big improvement over the steep armored descent that was originally there.  Nicely done CAMBA!  I soon made my water stop and sure enough, there were Brett and Jose, right behind me.  See you at the finish guys!  I finished mixing my water, downed another gu pack, ate some trail mix and popped a few more sportlegs.  I now had 24oz of cytomax and another 8oz of water to get me the next 17 miles.  I was still feeling strong and in good spirits so I was excited to be heading off to the finish but I also knew what lay ahead.

About halfway through Seeley pass I felt a twinge of a cramp behind my left knee and inside hamstring.  Whoa, whoa, light pedaling. . .  go away little twinge.  I geared down and took it easy for a few minutes and it seemed to go away.  Good deal.  The trail now started bouncing back and forth across a forest road.  At one of those crossings I failed to see where the trail entered again and ended up going down the forest road an extra 1/2 mile or so.  I hit a large mud puddle across the road and noticed the lack of bike tracks anywhere near it.  Dang, missed a turn somewhere!  When backtracking I saw Marty and Matt Sylvester sitting at an intersection.  Ahh, so that's where I missed it (6 minute detour according to strava).  We chatted briefly about how all of us had some cramping or bonking issues and I headed down the trail.

I pushed it for a little bit to stay ahead of those guys but as soon as I started hitting the climbs on 38 Special the cramps started coming on again so i backed off and had to drop down into the granny.  I was now second guessing my decision to forgo the water stop.  If I had another bottle, I would simply slam the whole bottle I had full of electrolytes in an attempt to keep the cramps at bay.  I still felt plenty strong but had to limit my output on the climbs or the twinge monster would start screaming.  I was stuck trying to nurse my legs along on the 16 oz of drink I had left and Ojibwe was yet to come.

The soft pedaling and taking full advantage of the granny gear seemed to be helping because despite Ojibwe seeming that it would never end, I didn't have to dismount and stretch a ridiculous amount of times and I was able to climb most of the stuff.  I contemplated taking my gu with the double caffiene but figured it would just be a waste.  I couldn't push my legs any harder without cramping anyway.  I finally hit Randysek Road, locked up the suspension and cranked out the final miles into town.  I finished in 6 hours and 53 minutes.  My hopeful guess is that I might finish in 7 hours so I met that goal and was quite pleased.  I refueled with a bottle of endurox and quickly downed a quart of plain water before cracking a beer to celebrate and watch the rest of the folks come in.

Once everyone was in we finished off the night with pizzas at the Rivers Eatery and then retreated to camp for some time around the campfire.  Weather was great and another fantastic weekend in the books.