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Old 07-29-2013, 12:14 PM   #30241
Ridge
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The organizers of the Wilderness race are a bit more sadistic than others. They have laid out the course such that, all of the climbing is done on gravel forestry roads. Beautifully graded, steeply pitched and long enough to hurt. As you crest the top, however; you are immediately turned into the woods and thrust into a screaming downhill single-track scramble along rocks, roots, scree, ruts and turns that rate an 11 on the pucker factor scale.

This rinse and repeat of mild-mannered climbing followed by seat-of-the-pants descending pummels the riders into submission over the entire course. There are moments of brief, albeit welcomed, fast, flat-ish sections where you can just motor along some groomed double track. I even got about 12 others into a loosely organized pace line on one section. I had to teach them about throwing an elbow and how to pull through smoothly, but it helped to ease some of the work for a few miles.

Transiting the rocky single track was my Achilles heel... I need more time in the saddle navigating these kinds of trails to be more proficient. I know I over think and analyze the "line" too much while I'm out there, but it's just too ingrained to avoid. I just don't have access to trails of that intense technical requirement close by so I'll have to just ride as many as I can before next year.

This video is just ONE of the many descents into various levels of hell: (Not my video, just an examples from last year's race)

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Old 07-29-2013, 01:15 PM   #30242
kbasa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YakSpout View Post
Ridge

Guero

Congrats to you both. Two very different kinds of riding, but both presenting some incredible challenges.
Man, I'll say.

Seriously hard men.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:27 PM   #30243
Mr Head
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I think I could do about 20 miles.
Then I'd be on the side puking.

I suck at single track in low brush like that. Running, bicycle, or dirtbike I have to mull over each choice. Though a few times running I got into this zen mode. Very cool. It was like floating. I just knew where I wanted my feet, barely even looked.
Bicycle, not so much. More like an old woman with a walker on ice... shopping for melons.
20 miles would be fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridge View Post
The organizers of the Wilderness race are a bit more sadistic than others. They have laid out the course such that, all of the climbing is done on gravel forestry roads. Beautifully graded, steeply pitched and long enough to hurt. As you crest the top, however; you are immediately turned into the woods and thrust into a screaming downhill single-track scramble along rocks, roots, scree, ruts and turns that rate an 11 on the pucker factor scale.

This rinse and repeat of mild-mannered climbing followed by seat-of-the-pants descending pummels the riders into submission over the entire course. There are moments of brief, albeit welcomed, fast, flat-ish sections where you can just motor along some groomed double track. I even got about 12 others into a loosely organized pace line on one section. I had to teach them about throwing an elbow and how to pull through smoothly, but it helped to ease some of the work for a few miles.

Transiting the rocky single track was my Achilles heel... I need more time in the saddle navigating these kinds of trails to be more proficient. I know I over think and analyze the "line" too much while I'm out there, but it's just too ingrained to avoid. I just don't have access to trails of that intense technical requirement close by so I'll have to just ride as many as I can before next year.

This video is just ONE of the many descents into various levels of hell: (Not my video, just an examples from last year's race)

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Old 07-29-2013, 02:55 PM   #30244
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Originally Posted by kbasa View Post
Man, I'll say.

Seriously hard men.
Ridge, yes. I am still one of the softest and pinkest that I know
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:35 PM   #30245
Gummee!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridge View Post
Probably 30% of it was singletrack... rocky, snap-your-leg-in-pieces singletrack. The remainder was double track and jeep trails. The only pavement was at the start/finish, leaving the town we were in. I managed to bounce my rear chain stay off a nice rock whilst trying to avoid hucking my body off a cliff to a meat grinder demise. I now have a sweet dent in my drive side chain stay and the derailleur is out-of-whack. Gotta see if I can find some frame repair.

Couple of sweet bruises and cuts but intact for the most part. Luckily it did not rain on the course or I seriously might not be here to type this. Those rocks were dangerous enough without being wet.
Sounds like what my buddy said about the stupid (sp?) 50. Y'all are both nuts.

My hat's off to ya. All I did was hare a trail for the Hillbilly Hash, get lost in the woods, ran out of terlit paper, ran out of flour, and had to wait for the pack to catch me so I could lead em towards the first beer check! I'm 'shorts line to sock line' covered in cuts. Them sticker bushes ain't friendly!

M
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:36 PM   #30246
brewer90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajin Cajun View Post
8 Miles into my ride yesterday and boom! My crank self detonated. Just dropped it off at the shop to see what kind of damage I'm in for....

At least you have a cheap bike with Campy cranks so I'm sure it won't be that much.

Hope they at least get you going again soon.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:39 PM   #30247
Gummee!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridge View Post
It's just point and shoot at every turn of the pedals. The crank arms hit and bounce along the tops of the rocks just to remind you that you are not in charge... they are.
Riding rocks is a skill like anything else. There's usually *A* line. Get off that line and you're in for a world of hurtin (or walking).

Momentum is your friend. So it letting the wheel bounce around some.

...and no. I'm not very good at em either. Not enough practice. I used to be so-so in the rocks, but that was back when I was riding em more frequently.

M
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:59 PM   #30248
Askel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Guero View Post






Awesome! Looks like you got into the RAGBRAI spirt!

Sadly, due to a family funeral- I wasn't able to catch up with our crew until Wednesday in Monroe. Where we promptly bought two cases of beer and sat around hanging out with folks for 6 hours. This pretty much set the tone for the rest of the week....

There's nothing better than a roadside bagger party at 11pm with everybody's blinky lights flashing and stereo quipped bicycle blasting out the tunes.

Most nights we rolled in around 11pm-midnight and partied until last man standing.

Woke up in some interesting places like the awning of a baptist church (the legit riders who were staying *in* the church were polite enough not to say anything about stumbling over our snoring corpses at 7:00am). Also stayed with the friend of a friend of a friend who knew some guy who went to school with another guy who is now noted for the following reasons:
a) he manages the liquor store at the hyvee
b) he has a shower that can fit 15 people (yes, we verified it).

If anybody ever wants to do RAGBRAI, totally self supported, and completely trash their liver in the process, lemme know- I can hook you up with a great crew.

Now, gotta get on this extracycle thing. There were bunch in our group- equipped with stereos, giant coolers, fully stocked bars, etc.... Definitely the way to roll.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:49 PM   #30249
kbasa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Askel View Post
If anybody ever wants to do RAGBRAI, totally self supported, and completely trash their liver in the process, lemme know- I can hook you up with a great crew.

Now, gotta get on this extracycle thing. There were bunch in our group- equipped with stereos, giant coolers, fully stocked bars, etc.... Definitely the way to roll.
A couple folks on my Death Ride team rode with the Whiners, who have a giant truck that says Fork More Pork on it and has flying pigs.

I so need to do RAGBRAI.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:50 PM   #30250
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Some folks asked if I'd post my ride report up here for folks that don't go down to JM.

So, here goes:

Here we go. 7.5 months of training comes down to one day, this coming Saturday. Friday early, we pack up our stuff and head up to Minden, NV to get ready to roll at 5am on Saturday for Death Ride.

Here's the elevation profile, which is basically 4 Cat2 climbs and one Cat3 climb:



The course is through some amazing scenery. When we were training up on Ebbets, I had a waterfall across a valley to watch for a while, an alpine lake and some spectacular forests. On Carson, I rode right past Hope Valley and on up to the summit. I hear the sunrise on the east side of Monitor is spectacular. I'm really looking forward to completing this ride, but equally excited about getting a good, close look at a good chunk of the Sierras.

Here's the course. Tina's going to meet me at the top of Carson at about 4 or 5; I'm figuring 12 hours of ride time. Interestingly, my trainer is going to be in Tahoe for Tough Mudder and she's been talking to Tina about joining her at the finish. I can't thank both of them enough. Tina's been amazing for this. She's supported me wholeheartedly, has been really good about making sure the house is well stocked with food, I get my training in and I'm doing the things I need to do to prepare.

My trainer has been equally helpful. Usually, she gets out of shape guys that want to lose the 100 pounds they've put on, so she was pretty stoked to work with someone pursuing an athletic goal. I know she talked about me at the gym because I'd be pedaling or something and one of the trainers would walk over and start talking to me about DR. Pretty funny.



Even though this has been a somewhat selfish goal, underlying the entire thing has been my efforts to raise money for blood cancer research. I've ridden centuries and, for the last couple months, have been riding one every Saturday, but this training has really helped me understand what chemo must be like. There have been times, when I've been on ridiculously long and steep climbs (Sierra Road, Fort Ross Road, Rancheria, El Toyonal) that I can't focus on anything but getting to the top. My vision is a tunnel, focused on my heart rate count on the GPS, 5 feet in front of me and an occasional glance up the hill. When I'm down there, feeling sorry for myself and wishin it would just stop, I'd pull out a mental picture of Tina in chemo and if I didn't break out in tears on the spot, it'd harden my resolve and get me up and over.

It's not often we have those opportunities anymore; those moments when we look deep inside ourselves and see what we're made of and really press ourselves to see what we can accomplish. This entire year has presented me with those opportunities over and over again and while it's been hard, I'm immensely grateful to have had that experience.

Here we go. Screw Cancer. Ride Bikes. Tina's still here and so am I. I will conquer Death Ride just like she conquered Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:51 PM   #30251
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Here's the Garmin track.

Epic. Truly epic.

I'll put together a full report tomorrow. I'm too fried today.

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Old 07-29-2013, 08:52 PM   #30252
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OK, so I'm home now and it's time to sort some of this out and talk about this ride.

But before we get to that, let's take a minute to remember why my team and I were subjecting ourselves to 7 months of training, thousands of miles of riding and almost 200,000 feet of climbing - blood cancers. We did all of this in an effort to help blood cancer research and help for blood cancer patients.

My team raised about $90,000 for Team in Training (the Leukemia Lymphoma Society). I was the second highest fundraiser, with about $5400. My teammate Barb raised about $7500, which was absolutely tremendous. I can't count how many times I was riding along talking with people and they had either ridden with Team or had friends that had. There were a bunch of people riding around in older Team event or training jerseys, which always got a "Go Team!" from me.

On Friday night, we had an inspiration dinner to get us pumped up for the ride. Pasta, potatoes and tons of carbs were on tap. At the end, my wife Tina got up and talked for a few minutes about her lymphoma journey. I think the part that got me up Carson Pass, the final pass, was her comment that while we're pedaling, we're taking away the pain of other cancer patients. And that while her journey had been tough, she had been the beneficiary of those that had ridden before us and that every pedal stroke we took, no matter how painful it was, would help take pain from future blood cancer patients.

There wasn't a dry eye in the house. At the end of the ride tomorrow, one of the guys that really had to gut it out to get up the 5th pass told Tina that her words had helped him when he needed it most.

I know it helped me more than once.

Afterwards, it was back to the room and into bed. I couldn't sleep. I'd doze for 20 minutes, then wake up thinking about my bike or my gear or the route or riding in the dark at roll out or whether my alarm(s) would go off at 3am.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:53 PM   #30253
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So here's how you start getting ready the night before. At Death Ride, they give you two number plates. One goes on your jersey and the other goes on your bike.



And, of course, you should get your stuff organized so when you get out of bed at 3am you don't forget something important, like your sunglasses or your sun protection.



And, of course, you need to make sure your day long inspiration is right there. In this case, our team motto was Harden The Fuck Up. I found some silicone bracelets that were black and had that molded into them and handed them out to my teammates. We all had our day when we needed to do that.

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Old 07-29-2013, 08:54 PM   #30254
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And then you go to bed and don't really get much sleep. When you wake up or at least give up trying to sleep, it's still dark. I headed downstairs to the hotel's casino's diner and had some breakfast. Yeah. Nothing like showing up at a spot like that, fully kitted up. The nice ladies in the tables around me at least didn't start pointing and laughing. They were still up, having some breakfast after an evening in the casino.

That time of the night is the coolest part and when we headed out, it was about 44 at our hotel, but it was about 39 or so at Turtle Rock Park, where we rolled out.



Over the course of the season, teams wound up getting re-ordered at bit. My team wound up splitting into two groups, a faster group and a slightly slower group. I usually wound up with my coach, Kurt, in the lead group, so he and I rode this together, rolling out at about 5am.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:55 PM   #30255
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As you might guess, I didn't take a lot of pictures while I was riding. Tina had the decent point and shoot and I had my iPhone, so bear with me.

Rolling out of the start, it was still dark. Everyone had a taillight and some kind of headlight running. I couldn't really see where the road went in any larger sense, so it was wild rolling downhill into Markleeville in the dark. There weren't any cars on the road, so a long string of red lights showed the road like a connect the dots puzzle.

I was reminded of heading up Mt. Tamalpais, here at home, on Easter mornings to watch the sun rise. Seeing the motorcycles up through the trees as they climb the mountain was very similar to the start of the ride.

As we descended, we hadn't warmed up at all yet, so it was chilly. I started noticing a strange shimmy and discovered that it was me, shivering and making the bike wobble. Dumbass. Relax. It's going to be a long day.

When we got down to the 88/89 junction, it was time for a left and up and over Monitor.
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