Posted by: ahypio | August 3, 2009

Laramie Enduro

67 miles in a little over 7 hours, 57th overall and 19th out of 57 starters in my age group.

The course was pretty cool with a lot of nice variation. Distance wise it was about 1/3 fireroad, 1/3 double track and 1/3 singletrack. Drew, Wedge and I lined up in the back end of the group of 400 racers figuring getting the hole shot in a 7 hour race wasn’t a big deal. Wedge hit the early singletrack first and put about ten people between us. I was cold and a bit blind riding into the rising sun so I took it easy on the early one track and Drew got around me as well. When we popped out onto the first 2-track section I could see Drew a bit ahead and Wedge a bit ahead of him. They linked up at the top of the doubletrack and I got caught behind some slow riders on the first descent and I lost sight of them until we hit the long fireroad climb into the wind. They were a couple hundred yards ahead working a 15 rider paceline. I latched on to a clyde and a girl from the open category and we started working together to bridge up. We closed about half the gap by the first aid station where I had to stop and top off my bottle which Drew and Wedge rode through. Luckily for me their paceline was broken up at the aid station and I was able to bridge up by hopping from wheel to wheel of the riders between us. We hit the fun flowy singletrack section together with Drew leading the way when I felt some pee brewing. As we were climbing to the 2nd aid station the pace felt a little high and my bladder needed relief so I pulled off thinking to myself I’ll never see them again today. After answering natures call I hopped back on and 1/4 mile latter the trees opened up and there was Drew and Wedge at the aid station. I had just stopped and only needed to fill a bottle while they were shedding layers and answering natures call so I left them thinking I’d just chill on the next climb till they caught back on. Well, it was almost all downhill till the next aid station and I had some quality wheels to suck on the climbs so I started thinking I could hold the gap I opened up. Re-loaded at station 3 and couldn’t see them behind me when I left but from there I proceeded to my downfall. I haven’t mentioned it yet but it had poured the night before and there was a lot of water on the course. there were countless mud bogs and stream crossings that were anywhere from ankle to near hip deep on me. Every time you approached one of these sections you had to make the call whether to ride them or walk them. I usually erred on the side of caution and walked most of the the ugly looking ones but I was feeling pretty damn cocky after station three and when a stream crossing came up at the bottom of a hill that transitioned to a real steep hill I decided to try to gain some momentum for the climb by riding across the stream. Bad move. I plunged into the stagnant muddy bog at full speed and pedaled like crazy to get through it. I got through but the muddy slop was up to my bottom bracket and my whole drive train was a gloopy mess. I got a few pedal strokes up the hill when my chain sucked into my frame. I pulled it out, remounted and it instantly did it again. I fought with it for a few minutes trying to get it working again while about ten people including Drew passed me. Finally I realized the only way I was going to get it to work again was to hose off the chain with my one and only bottle (I realize now how stupid it was to ride with only one bottle but it seemed like a good weight weenie idea at the time). I prayed the next aid station would be close. It wasn’t. I started the climb into a brisk headwind. I had been feeding the whole race but by the top of this climb with no energy drink I was already started feeling a little low on energy. I had some gels with me but was worried about eating one without liquid and kept telling myself the next aid had to be close. About an hour later I pulled into aid station 4 just as Drew was leaving. I hadn’t lost much time fighting with my drivetrain but I was pretty tired and in a pretty bad caloric deficit. They had chain lube at the station so I lubed my chain, ate and drank hoping to miraculously get back on track. I didn’t, the last 17 miles of the race was by far the most difficult and I was in full on survival mode. I completed the first 50 miles in 4:15, the last 17 in 3:00.

Rhonda has never done any endurance racing before and her longest MTB ride until Laramie had been 50 miles. Her goal going in to the day was just to finish and while I was crossing thigh deep water crossings and suffering up over the last big climb I was worried she wasn’t going to make the time cut-offs. Stupid me…. I should have known she was tougher than that. She made the time cut offs with ease, was a little more careful than me on the water crossings and finished with a smile in 8:42. Now that she knows what to expect she’s already planning on how to break 8 hours next year.

All in all it was an excellent race. Check in was a breeze, the course was well marked, the aid stations were well stocked and staffed with friendly helpful volunteers and the price was right. I’m spoiled by the world class singletrack in Park City and I’m kind of a snob so I didn’t really like a lot of the singletrack sections but that’s just me nit picking. My goal was a sub 7 hour time which I missed but I heard the course was slower this year due to the wind and the mud bogs so I’ll take it. I will defiantly pencil this race in my calender for future years.

Posted by: ahypio | July 30, 2009

Full Throttle Finale

Since the Laramie Enduro is Saturday my plan for the final Full Throttle race was to go hard for 30 minutes or so and pull the plug as soon as I started feeling tired. After the start sorted out I hopped on Drews wheel up the service road till it flattened out before the singletrack where I got around him. I tried to drop him and the other guys around me on the service road at the top but Drew was having none of that and he was glued to my wheel when we hit the singletrack descent. Coming into the 2nd lap climb Drew and another guy got around me and it would have taken too much to keep up so I eased off on the climb and took it real easy on the final DH to avoid a crash. There was a huge turnout for the series this year and I was only able to finish in 6th overall and out of the money. Rhonda finished 3rd overall though and collected $200 which pretty much covered both of our entry fee’s for the series. Gotta love racing for free. I didn’t win the grand prize of a Solitude Season Pass in the number plate drawing at the end but I did snag the consolation prize donated by Cannondale and Revolution. It was a sweet Cannondale duffel bag full of goods worth over $400 total! Year after year this series does not disappoint. It’s well run, has the best midweek race series courses in the state and they give almost all of the entry fees (almost 7 grand) back to the racers in prize money.

Posted by: ahypio | July 20, 2009

Rocking the Tweety Chair (by default)

Holy crap! It’s two days later and my legs are still sore from the state championship smackdown at Solitude. Rhonda’s race was scheduled to start at 8:30 so we arrived at the butt crack of dawn to get her registered and warmed up while I sat in the car and drank two mugs of coffee trying to stay warm. Rhonda rode well and grabbed another 6th place finish. She would be an absolute force out there if she actually trained. It was pretty warm by the time my race started but I’m OK riding in the heat so I wasn’t too worried. I think everybody realized it was going to be a long day so the pace was pretty mellow up the road on the start. Matt and Jared picked it up as soon as the singletrack started with Brian and Jake hanging on behind them. I picked up my pace once I hit the Honeycomb climb but by this time the other classes started mixing in and I lost sight of the leaders. I knew I had no shot at catching Matt and Jared but I’ve beaten Brian and Jake every time we’ve raced so I pushed it pretty hard on the first climb trying to catch back on to them. I caught up to Jake as we hit the service road and saw Brian up ahead so I pushed it a bit more to catch Brian and towed Jake up to him. Hit the DH on Brain’s wheel with Jake right behind and got around Brian on the short climb in the middle of the DH. Tried to open a gap on him but he was having none of that and he got around me near the bottom. We hit the 2nd lap climb all together. Jake tried to make a move in a real bad spot on the first steep pitch in Honeycomb and blew up never to be seen again. I tailed Brian all the way up the climb dreading the super steep section of road near the top. By this time my energy level was getting low and I hadn’t been drinking enough. When the last steep pitch came I caved and came off my bike. Brian rode away. I thought I could catch back on but I was blown and the DH was ugly. I was all over the trail, bouncing off rocks, riding in the bushes and all over the brakes. Headed out for my third lap in survival mode. I drank a bunch of water at the base of the climb and was recovered enough to actually ride near race pace by the Bess climb. Drank a bunch more water on the service road and had a strong DH into the finish. I ended up 4th which was my best ICUP finish ever but it comes with an asteric since most of the really fast people moved up.

Solitude was also the world debut of my new (to me) full suspension 29er. I’m happy with my Salsa hard tail 29er 90% of the time but the aggressive XC geometry and scandium/carbon frame is not meant for abusive rides down south. My Blur works OK down there but it’s always been way to small for me. Enter the Asylum OCD. Asylum cycles licenced the Racer X design from Titus, perfected it for the 29″ wheel and had Titus manufacture it for them as the OCD. When sales started taking off for the bike Titus bought the design back and began selling it as the Racer X 29er. The only problem for me was when Titus bought out Asylum they quit building the XXL 25″ frame which is the one that fits me perfectly so I’ve been scouring the net for awhile looking for this bike. I finally found one listed improperly on Ebay and won the auction at a rock bottom price. Sold the Blur frame for the same amount of money I paid for it a few years ago and built up the Asylum. I’ve been riding it for a couple weeks and really like it. The more I thought about how rough and long the Solitude race was going to be the more I though full suspension was going to be the right choice. I swapped out a few parts the night before and brought the Asylum on race day. I think it was the right call especially when I was getting tired and sloppy on the DH the combo of the rear suspension and 29″ wheels kept me from flying into the woods.
Posted by: ahypio | July 14, 2009

Park City’s Best

Friday: 7 hour recovery ride with Rhonda.

Sunday: Rich is finally done with Iron Man stuff for the year and was aching for some quality singletrack so I took him on tour of all my favorite trails in PC. CMG, Shadow Lake, Keystone, Apex, Steps, Empire Bypass, Sunset, Spin Cycle and MM from DV to PC to name a few. It was the first time I’ve ever linked all those trails and it’s my new favorite 40 mile loop.

The pace was “peppy” for me and I felt really good at the end but this ride was approximately half of the PCPP. That race is gonna hurt……..bad.

Posted by: ahypio | July 9, 2009

Full Throttle #6 The New Course

Fun course. Lots of climbing. I got dropped hard on the start and actually entered the singletrack near the back thinking it might be a long night. It took some time to work off the previous nights thrashing at DV but by the Bess climb I was warmed up and feeling good. It was there that the fireworks began as one by one the dudes who went out way to hard popped on the climb. I passed countless people on that climb and got a few more who were trying to recover on the road. I even made a pass on the DH which is nice and becoming more of a habit for me. On the 2nd lap climb I caught the back of the expert field for the first time ever. If I would have known it at the time it probably would have given me a nice little burst but I didn’t realize it until I caught Mark P on the DH. Didn’t feel great on the 2nd lap climb though and I think I noticeably slowed down but I was able to hold my position. Since I started so far back I’m unsure how I finished but I felt like it was a good race regardless. Only three more of these left and it’s kinda sad hitting the beginning of the end of another MTB season.

Posted by: ahypio | July 8, 2009

Full Throttle #5 Deer Valley

The quote of the night was from Jon Rose after we pre-rode the course….”maybe we should have listened to Bob and done trail work”. I’m glad we didn’t. The climb was short but painful. It started out pretty mellow but got steeper and steeper as we got closer to the top. The downhill was at times fast and flowy, other times twisty, but always technical. The last 150 yards of the downhill was a tree run including some of DV’s manmade features; ramps, log bridges, and small drops.

The start was fast as usual. A descent sized group opened a gap on me early but I kept them in sight. About five of the lead group popped as the climb got steeper and we formed up a little chase group. Dropped a couple of them on the DH and as the 2nd lap climb began I could still see the lead group of three in the distance but I wasn’t making up any ground on them. At the very top of the final climb I tried to make a little attack but everybody answered and we hit the final DH together. Jay gave us the option to skip the really techy parts at the end and take the cheater route but everybody I was with chose the difficult line and I followed suit. By this time my legs were worked. The climb was tough and there was no rest on the DH since I needed to stand the whole time to keep it together. I got a little wide on the log plank bridge and into the aspens I went. Did a quick check to make sure everything was in one piece and tentatively finished the race out. I think I finished around 7th of over 20 starters.

I was worried that the June Monsoon was going to totally screw up my prep for Laramie and PCPP but I feel like I’m finally rounding into the pathetic level of fitness I call my form. Looking forward to a fun 2nd half.

Posted by: ahypio | July 8, 2009

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Posted by: ahypio | July 6, 2009

Full Throttle #4

I am finally over my cold and had been looking forward to the weekly throwdown at Solitude. I was a little disappointed because between vacays, work trips, newborns, racing fatigue and the lure of air rifles none of my friendly competition could make the race. Apparently I’m one of the few people crazy enough to not want to ever miss a silly midweek race. At the opening sprint I settled comfortably in mid back (one of these days I’m going to contest that sprint….really). Once the climb started I efficiently began working my way through traffic until I ran into a train of about eight dudes snaking up the ski run near the top. I knew there was no way around this cluster so I settled in and rested till the road. Got around everybody on the road and nailed it in order to try to make up some time. I saw Janelle in the distance but couldn’t quite get around her before the DH. Luckily she was nice enough to overcook the first hard left and I snuck around her. Finished the race out incident free for a PB time of just over 50 mins. Next race we’re shifting to the new course but hopefully we’ll race the old on one more time this year so I can try to break 50 mins.

Posted by: ahypio | July 2, 2009

SLC->DV and back

Last Friday I had the day to myself. I knew I was going to killed being on call for two hospitals that weekend so I wanted to get in a long ride. It was raining when I woke up but quickly cleared and by 11am I was out the door. Up Millcreek, backwards up Crest, drop down into PC and took some high trails over to DV. As I was approaching DV the skies turned black and just as I pulled into the lodge for a pit stop the rain came down. I sat there for about 10 minutes hoping it would pass and when the rain slackened about 10 minutes laer I hit Mid Mountain over towards PC. I dropped down Empire bypass and by the time I hit Johns 99 the clouds were clearing again and I thought I dodged a bullet. Grabbed MM over to the Canyons and took another pit stop at Red Pine where they were having a wedding under the tent. I sat down in the sun on the patio for a bit sucking on a Gu and texting Rhonda with a status update when the photographer for the wedding party came over. I guess the bride thought it would be cool to have a picture with me and the wedding party, them being all clean and beautified while I was covered in a thin layer of mud from being dusty and getting rained on. They took the picture and since it was getting late I mounted up for home. The clouds came back while I was climbing back out of the Canyons and as I popped over the ridge into Millcreek the skies opened up in a torrential downpour. By this time it was nearly 8pm and I just wanted to get home. I took the direct trail down and by the time I got about halfway down there was at least 4″ of running water in the trail and I was soaked to the bone. I popped out in the upper parking lot and hid in the outhouse for awhile trying to get warm. After a few minutes I peeked out and saw nothing but clouds so rather than waiting who knows how long for the storm to pass I headed down the canyon. Descending Millcreek was a blur of shivering, numb hands and feet and trying to keep the road spray out of my mouth so I wouldn’t get sick again. Just as I pulled into my house at 9pm the rain finally let up. Still a great ride.

Posted by: ahypio | June 27, 2009

87% Throttle: Race 3

I finally have some excuses for poor race performance other than I’m slow. I showed up Wednesday night at Solitude hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Instead I fell somewhere in between. I’d been fighting a nasty headcold all week but when when race time rolled around I went with the old adage that if a cold is from the neck up you’re OK to exercise. Rhonda and I did a pre-ride lap and I felt OK but I was having some major drivetrain issues. When I got back to the car I gave the bike a close examination and realized I had a severely bent link in my chain that made my rear D ghost shift under strain. If you’re counting from home that’s excuse #2. Going up the road on the opening sprint I died and settled into mid-pack a few riders behind Wedge. I started getting warmed up on the climb but as I got out of the saddle to power up the first steep pitch my rear D locked up and I had to pull over to free up my chain. 5-6 guys got around me and I mounted back up and tried to remember to stay seated and nurse my drivetrain by spinning. I made a few passes on the climb and re-connected with Wedge at the road. Stood up to try to put some distance into him on the paved hill and the drivetrain popped again reminding me that that wasn’t going to happen today. Rode behind Wedge across the top and he hit the decent about 30 seconds ahead of me. After getting completely bitched by Wedge and his 5″ at Desert Rampage my goal on the DH was to hold his wheel as long as possible. I lost a little time to him on the real rough stuff but I finished the DH and entered the climb right on his wheel giving me my lone bright spot of the race. Felt OK on the second climb but 3/4 of the way up I cracked. No power left, HR in a downward spiral and an upset stomach full of post nasal drip forced me to back off the the throttle. My time ended up being about 4 minutes slower than my average time from last year. Not horrible considering.

Rhonda led most of her race but the girl who has won all three womens races was playing a bit of cat and mouse. She played with Rhonda by staying in contact behind her the first lap and then stepped on the gas at the end of the final climb giving it just enough to make sure she won. Rhonda held off the girls behind her for 2nd place.

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