Sunday, May 22, 2016

SSAP 2016

Last Sunday, I drove up to Montgomery, NY for the 2016 Singlespeed-a-palooza. SSAP is a really fun event, but it demands a skill set I just don't have anymore. Yesterday was the first time I've done it in four years because when it was in April it always conflicted with LBD, which is much more up my alley. And it hurt! Holding speed like that for 26 miles just feels so much harder than riding an endurance race-pace for 100+.  And I'm fine with that - I just wish that I didn't have to cough up my lungs the whole drive home whenever I do a race like that.

I lined up near the front with all the big guns. I looked around and knew right away that I was being - what's the buzzword for it? -- "aspirational". I had JP from MTBNJ on one side of me, Ross  Anderson from Finkraft on the other, Igor & Utah from NJ, Ron Harding and Mike Montalbano in front of me, and then Giant Pro/Former Olympian Adam Craig off to my right. It actually made me laugh. But I did have a reason for being there -- I figured I was going to get dropped when it got serious (and correctly guessed that would be right about at the fork in the road), but I also knew that with 90 or so racers in Open, being near the front was just common sense because someone was going to fall. It always happens in large fields. I just didn't want it to be me and I figured I'd get safe and then fall into that no-man's land between groups on the road by the time I hit the Schofield climb. And that was largely what happened, except for one brief moment in the first quarter mile when I was actually out front of everyone. And that was a conscious choice too because we were just starting that little descent and I was right behind Adam Craig and the dude goes into a super-tuck. That scared the ever loving shit out of me because I knew there was a massive set of potholes at the bottom and even though I'm sure Adam could have bunny-hopped them in without getting out of his tuck, I didn't want to be the douchebag responsible for bumping the back tire and possibly killing an Olympian because my own pothole-coping game set is decidedly weak. So I jumped around him and went through the section onto the little incline in first overall and prayed that someone would be there to photograph that I was leading this group of monsters (and if that happened, I'm pretty sure I'd have faked a mechanical and just called it a day right then.)

But it wasn't to be. And I eased off the gas (lest my lungs start bleeding out of my mouth) and let the whole crew by as they all started to go batshit crazy at the fork in the road. In like three seconds, I went from first to probably 20th. And then we turned into Schofield and I pulled the pro move of totally losing it and bailing before my face hit a tree.  I got up, grabbed my bike and decided all was good (adrenaline is awesome because it turns out I jacked my shin pretty bad but didn't even feel it until after I got home several hours later.)  But then I had to get back into the conga line. And that wasn't happening. I watched as at least 40 or 50 riders came through before I could get back on the bike. The nice thing about that is that my HR was all the way down by the time I could go again, so I was much fresher on the actual climbs than almost everyone in front of me. As I was climbing, I thought, "Okay, shithead, now you've got something to do today." And decided I would spend the day just seeing how many of the racers ahead of me I could pull back. I also told myself that no matter what, I'd ride everything. That last one went out the door after a valiant effort on that muddy field climb. I made it pretty far up, but slid out just before it got to where you could actually ride it normally. But I managed to pick off like 10 riders right there.

And I picked off another ten on the steep climb (Major Mike) a bit later . I don't even know if I knew any of the people I passed because I was all in on just moving ahead. I picked off a few more somewhere on the dirt road climb, and then another ten in those rolling sections that end with that rocky step up (I took the left side line to get around a guy there and thought "Damn, I've never ridden that line before".) At some point, my entire ride because just hoping to see a few more riders ahead of me so I had something to chase because I didn't want to have a reason not to push.

I went over 40 people total when I came around Chris Michaloski on the dirt road and saw an MTBNJ kit ahead of me. Turns out that was Iggy and it took me a while to run him down. Man, it's frustrating to see someone ahead of you and not be able to close them down! I really thought he was out of reach and I think it was only the fact that I was running a bigger gear that ultimately let me catch up.  I caught him in the last singletrack section, but then when we hit the dirt road, Iggy, Chris and Dano came rolling up behind me in a train and I just said, "So, does this mean I get to pull you guys to the finish?" Iggy later told me that he wasn't about to pull a roadie move like that on me and he went around me right away and I pinned myself on the inside of his wheel. Chris was much smarter than I was and knew exactly how far we had to go and just steadily built a lead that never felt like it was too far to make a run on - until it was too late. By the time I saw the flags, I knew I couldn't catch him. I cut back around Iggy and felt Dano on my wheel and was just barely able to hold him off. In the end, I finished 26th, which I was really happy about since out of all the people I passed, the only one who came back around me by the finish was Chris, so my day of bridging to other racers went about as well as I could expect.

I cleaned up and then spent a little time hanging out with Mitch & some of the other MTBNJ crew, enjoying some Newburgh Cream Ale and the best peanut butter brownies I've ever had before pulling the Irish exit and hitting the road for the long drive home. All in all, I'm really happy with how the day went even though I probably could have finished  little higher if I never crashed. This race is so different than any other I do anymore and I'm well aware that I don't have the top end speed of the guys up front. Congrats to Utah for killing it and finishing a close second to an Olympian! I don't know how they go that fast!

So now that I don't have to pretend to be an actual racer anymore, it's back into my "comfort zone" with my next race, the 24 Hours Round the Clock out in Washington over Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Road Ragin' ...

Most of the time, I use this blog for race reports, and when it's not that, it's usually to write up a particularly good off-road adventure or maybe some other type of organized event. But so far this year, I've been doing a lot more road rides than I have in the past, and since I do them usually over my lunch hour, they tend to be a lot shorter than my typical ride - usually maxing out around 50 minutes of actual ride time. I've been enjoying those rides quite a bit.

Part of that is due to my Ibis Silk SL. I love that bike, but for a long while I wasn't really wanting to ride it because of an annoying grinding I was getting in the rear wheel. Ever since 2013, when I crashed and cracked the frame during the Rapha Ride, I'd noticed the sound on and off, and it had gotten considerably worse over the last year, and the rear wheel seemed to be leaning toward the non-drive side. I figured this was due to some flaw in the repaired frame, but I never knew for sure. And I prefer to ride off-road anyway, so eventually I just kind of put the bike aside when I got fed up with it. Then, about a month or two ago I finally brought it over to Scott at Evolution and got it diagnosed. It turns out I had a  cracked axle! It never came apart because of the skewer, but being supported only by a thin little skewer explained the leaning. It was an easy fix and since then I've had no problems. Well, no problems with the bike itself.

As I aid, I've been enjoying my daily rides quite a bit. But there are two things about riding on the road that I will never like. The first is the weather. I have to admit that I hate wind. It just sucks the life out of riding for me. And we've had a lot of wind this year. I've been on rides where I've had to lean hard to one side to avoid being blown out into the road. Thankfully, it's kind of calmed down lately, but that might be because Mother Nature decided to swap it out for rain. Rain isn't too bad in and of itself, but soaking wet roads suck. You worry about slipping on every turn and by the end of the ride your feet are always soaked. But it's all manageable - the slickness just means you go slower and hopefully, a new pick up I made this week should help with the latter:

Foot condoms!

I'd heard these work really well, and they're super cheap ($17/pair!) so why not give them a try? I tried them on today for the first time and I can see why people like them - they really leave no way for water to get in.

The second thing I don't like is a little more problematic: cars. The simple fact is, it really is dangerous to ride a bike on the roads in this region. It seems just about every time I go out on the road, some issue arises with a driver. And it's very rarely because of aggressive driving. Most of the time, it's a function of drivers just not paying attention. And if you ask me, that's an even scarier proposition.

In fact, just last night I had a very close call with a box truck on Tennis Avenue in Horsham. I had been having a pretty decent ride, steady rain notwithstanding. I'd turned onto Tennis Ave off of Sumneytown Pike just below Spring House. It's a nice road where you can turn up the pace and just move. As I was riding along at about 25, a few cars came around me cautiously and then all of the sudden a large box truck with  'Got Junk?' logo on it came flying by me so close I could feel mirror a few inches from my ear. It gave me a near panic attack, and that was quickly followed by a flood of rage. I looked ahead and saw a light up the road and pinned it. I had no plan in my head what I was going to do, but I was really hoping I'd catch the truck on a red light. In hindsight, that was really dumb - for all I knew, this guy could have been gun nut or a juice head who'd turn me into a pretzel. But at the moment, I didn't care. I just wanted to vent. I caught the truck at the light and as I came around the driver's side, I saw a guy completely focused his cellphone, and I just lost it. To be honest, I very rarely get angry on the road or trail - I just see no point in it most of the time. But this time, I was so angry I could barely speak - this ass clown had come very close to killing me and probably never even knew I was there because his head was down in his goddamn phone. I stopped in front of his truck and because I was so angry I couldn't think straight, the only words I could muster were, "Four feet, you fucking asshole! Four fucking feet!" He looked up stunned (though not as stunned as the poor guy in front of him who seemed to think I was talking to him for a moment) but didn't say a word. I was shaking mad, and decided that I needed to get out of there before it all escalated. I turned back around and too off on the green light, fully expecting to get run down from behind. I guess he must have been turning because he never came by me. It took me a good 20 minutes to calm down (during which I probably burned a to of matches by pushing myself as hard as I could!)

So, yeah, riding the road can be a hazard when you live in an area as densely populated as the Philly region. But I'll keep heading out there just the same. The enjoyment of the ride still somehow outweighs the stupid moments like last night!

Friday, April 15, 2016

2016 Leesburg Bakers Dozen, Part II

Part I here

I popped out of the woods into the main pasture heading back toward the start/finish and pit area at the end of lap 1. I was running hot, but didn't feel like I was burning out. My speed was good, the trail was good, and the traffic jams of all the riders from the start were already gone.  I made a quick stop at my pit area to lose my jacket and skullcap and I was off again. Everything appeared to be smooth sailing.

About five minutes into lap 2, though, two riders came up behind me. The first guy asked to get around me and I obliged. He was a geared rider, so I knew he'd outpace me on the flats, especially if he was coming around me this early. And that was true ... but the course isn't entirely flat, now, is it? This guy was definitely quicker than I was as long as we were on fast and flow singletrack. But the moment we hit anything even remotely technical, he was getting hung up. The first two times I thought that's okay - one of those was the massive rock drop that challenges even the most technically skilled riders. But then on the third rock section, I realized he just didn't have much skill. And I wasn't alone in that. The other guy who'd been riding with him turned out to be the first solo single speeder I encountered on the course, a guy named Chris Lane from the Joes Bike Shop Team, and we were both getting a little frustrated with the stop/go nature of following this guy around the course. He was a nice enough guy - he apologized every time he screwed up - but it was pretty disruptive for anyone riding behind him. We ultimately did get around him once we reached the tree grove halfway through he lap, and after we'd passed by, Chris laughed and said, "Finally!" (As a post script, that guy would later take me out when he insisted on getting by again and immediately slid out trying to ride over a rocky section. At that point, I put in a big effort to get away and stay away from him for good.)

I rode the rest of the lap with Chris and we were chatting as we rode along - I was on the front, so I didn't get much chance to actually see his set up, but he told me he was riding rigid and I knew that would eventually catch up to him. The course is very fast, but there are enough rocky sections that your upper body will take a beating even with a fork. I did the race rigid my first year and I was recovering for a week afterward. I told Chris that might get old fast, but he was a strong dude, so I thought that was maybe more wishful thinking on my part. He pulled around me and took off at the end of the lap. About a lap later I caught up with him, and passed him when he stopped at his pit (I didn't have to stop so I kept on rolling.) And that was the last I would see of anyone in my class until much later in the day. I should note that even when I was riding with Chris I had no idea where I was place-wise. I just knew there was at least one behind me or one in front of me depending on where the two of us were.

In the meantime, I had a few other things to deal with. By the third lap, it was raining again, and shortly after that the rain turned to snow for a bit and then finally around noon or so, it started to sleet. I didn't mind the snow at all, and even the rain was okay, but I have to say the sleet was rather unpleasant. It was hitting me in the face whenever I was in the opening and that kind of sucks.

But even with the sleet, I felt like I was moving well. The course remained unaffected by the weather. In hindsight, I can't say that I experienced anything that I had heard about vis-a-vis the course condition in bad weather. The weather was, to my estimate, about as bad as it could be at times, but the course held up like a champ. Aside from one or two small muddy sections, it was pretty much pristine. I had replaced my tires two days before the race and maybe that helped them hooking up in the clay-like dirt, but the fact is the course was holding up very well.

I rode most the afternoon nice and steady, and kept most of my pit stops under 20 seconds. I was keeping a pretty good pace overall - just about all of my laps were holding under 50 minutes and I even had one guy in the pits yell at me that I needed to slow down or I'd blow up. But I wasn't feeling stretched at all and I just smiled when I heard that. Before the race, I had set one sort-of-goal for the day - if weather allowed, I'd like to shoot for 18 laps. I figured that would guarantee me a spot on the podium, and it would be a definite stretch goal for me fitness-wise. By mid-afternoon weather was starting feel like the only real wild-card. By around 4:00 or so, we had gotten the rain, the snow, the sleet, and even some sun. But by far the most impactful element of the weather was the wind. BY 1:00, it was gusting over 40 mph and I was nearly blown off my bike a few times in the pasture sections.

But even with all the crazy weather, I was still rolling pretty strong by the time early evening rolled around. I was into my 15th lap before I needed to use my lights, so I started doing the math in my head and realized that I was going to be very close to being able to do 18 laps. And to be honest, I also realized that what I really wanted was to have the option to do 18, but not actually need to do 18.  Because it was cold and I was tired. As I finished my 16th lap, I realized the I would need to do my next lap in about 45 minutes to get an 18th. That would be tough this late, but it wasn't impossible. If I raced a really solid lap, I'd have a tough call to make at the finish line.

For the most part, I had a pretty good 17th lap. I went out, kept my pace nice and steady and even pushed a bit through the tech tree grove climb. And as I came through the campground and entered the last two miles of singletrack, I still had no idea if I'd make it or not. Ultimately, I realized with about a little more than half a mile to go that it wasn't going to happen, and I shut it down. I crossed the line in 13 hours and 4 minutes with 17 laps.

Normally, I'd probably ask about where I was placewise, but that's not what I did at that moment. I've been through enough of these races at this point to know one thing: after I finish, I need to get to a warm place fast because my body is about to crash. This happens every time - I start to shiver so bad that I can barely function. It always starts about five minutes after I stop. I don't know anyone else that this happens to, and I think it has something to do with my "strategy" in races like these. I pretty much never stop. My pit stops probably average less than 20 seconds. It's stop, swap bottle, and go. When I need food, I grab a Clif Bar and eat it as I ride away. I never stop for any longer than I have to all day because I worry about whether it'll start to feel too good. So when I finally do stop, it's usually just a matter of time before my metabolism stops working for me and my body starts to realize that it's done. So after I finished Saturday, I didn't bother to ask about results or anything - I just made a beeline for my pit area to clean up and get into my car to warm myself up and change. I was able to avoid the full crash by doing this (I was running the car with the heat on full blast and I put on every stitch of clothes I had in my bag, including three shirts, a cycling vest, a down jacket and a neck gaiter.) Then I checked my phone and found that a friend and former teammate had been tracking me and few other folks all day on the scoring company's website and she knew more than I did about the results. I didn't even know you could track the race online!

And that's how I found out I had won the SS class by quite a wide margin (4 laps.) This made me even happier, by the way, that I didn't do an 18th lap. After a call to my wife to let her know I had survived the weather gamut, I stepped out of the car and ... instantly began to shiver uncontrollably. The wind was still blowing and it was 30 degrees out. I immediately climbed back into the car and drove over to the closest point I could get to the bonfire before getting out and sprinting over to it to get warm.

The bonfire that saved my ass!
I hung out at the fire until the awards ceremony, and then bailed as soon as possible to go get some food into me before my entire system shut down. Its funny how you can feel fine as long as you are putting in an effort in these kind of events, but as soon as you stop, your body reminds you that it's just not normal to ride a bike for 13 hours straight.

All in all, I couldn't be happier with how LBD turned out this year. As it turned out, none of the solos did more than 17 laps. In fact, my finish was good for second overall among solos, behind only Jake Wade, who did 17 laps about ten minutes faster. I've raced with and against Jake going all the way back to my very first race and he's always been a crazy strong rider. He's a genuine pro talent. To be on the same lap as him at the end of an event like this is about as much as I could hope for.  Overall, I felt good all day and could have kept going if I needed to. And that's encouraging because I've got an even longer event coming up in May. The highlights of the day included my fastest ever off-road 100 miles (8:47), some nice consistent lap times all day, and with the win, I've completed the trifecta on podium positions - 2 years ago, I took third place, last year I was second, and this year I got the win.

The LBD is a special event that I'll return to as long as I am able. Despite the weather, I didn't experience the horrors of a bad course the I'd heard about, so I can't really think of much that would keep me from coming back. It's a great race put on by really cool people with a great vibe from the fellow racers. If you ever thought you might like to give endurance racing a try - either as a solo or on a team - definitely give this one a hard look. It's just a great way to spend a Saturday!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

2016 Leesburg Bakers Dozen, Part I

This past weekend, I did my annual pilgrimage to Leesburg for the Bakers Dozen. This was my fourth year doing the race and it's always one of the highlights of my year. To some folks, spending 13 hours riding a bike would sound like a special kind of hell, but I love everything about it. How often do you get the chance to just focus entirely on one thing you actually love doing for that many hours? Sure, you're going to be pretty destroyed at the end of it all, but that;s a small price to pay for an experience like LBD.

And "an experience" is a pretty great way to describe the 2016 LBD.

To understand why, I need to take a step back. All three previous versions of LBD that I've done had one thing in common: perfect weather. Sunny, temps in the 70's all day ... a perfect day on a bike. But I'd heard that when the weather isn't so great, the race is a whole different animal. And early last week, it became fairly apparent that 2016 was going to be a "not great weather" LBD.

But Friday, when I drove down the VA, it was anything but bad weather. I arrived in Leesburg around 1:00 pm and headed right over to the farm to pre-ride the course under sunny skies. It may have been a little bit windy, but that's been pretty much every day of April so far here, so that was nothing new.

During my pre-ride, I noticed that even though there had been rain most of the week leading up to Friday, the course was in great shape - like, possibly the best condition I'd ever seen it. There were a few muddy spots, but the course was running super fast. I finished a two lap pre-ride and checked in to my hotel to clean up before heading back over to pick up my registration packet.

Had a pretty decent hotel room ...
After I picked up my packet, I grabbed some Chipotle for dinner and headed back to my hotel to rest and hope that the weather for Saturday would be a repeat of Friday.

That wasn't the case.

Ready to go in the rain ...

When I woke up Saturday morning, it was pouring rain. And when I went out to put my cooler and gear in the car, I discovered that it was also below freezing out. It was going to be a long day.

The rain slowed to a light shower by the 9 a.m. start, but it was still very cold, so I wore a wind jacket and a skullcap to stay warm on the start. The start ... one of the few things about LBD that I've never been a fan of was the start. It's a mass start, which is fine, but it typically started on the dirt road only a short distance from the first singletrack (regardless of which direction the course is run in a given year.) That always creates a massive bottleneck since either way we are going, there is a significant technical feature only a short way into the singletrack. I've been able to avoid serious backups the last two years (I was caught out the first year) by putting in a pretty huge effort to stay near the front early. I don't mind going hard off the starting line, but I usually try to avoid going too hard, and you kind of had to do that to avoid the backups at LBD. But all that changed for 2016 - we started with a loop through the pit area that dropped us into the first pasture section before we headed out toward any singletrack. That allowed probably an extra half mile to spread us out. I still lined up as close to the front as I could, but I could already see the field breaking up long before we hit the entrance to the  woods. But even with the smoother start, I was feeling a little cooked almost right away. Despite the low temps, I realized that I was a bit over-dressed. I made a mental note to shed the jacket and skullcap after the first lap.

But until then, I had some work to do. It sounds funny to say this about a 13 hour race, but you really do have to push a little harder in the first few laps if you want to be in it at the end. It's a funny balance - you need to go as hard as you can afford to go without blowing yourself up. And while you have to pick your battles if riders are trying to pass, you also don't want other folks in your class to get too far ahead early in the day. So I always put a little more effort into the first lap or two and then keep speed as high as I can within a sustainable range from there out.

As I fell into the conga line of riders hitting the singletrack on Saturday, I tried to move up through he field with a little extra effort every chance I got, and always kept an eye out for other single speeders because, aside from a quick glimpse of one other on the starting line, I hadn't seen any and had no idea where I was in my field. And as it would turn out, that would become a familiar feeling.

And so, as we headed toward the first real test of the day - the tree grove climb out across a pasture about halfway through the lap - I didn't know if there was a rabbit up ahead or if I was the rabbit for the folks behind. And to be honest, I didn't mind not knowing. At that moment, all I knew was that I was feeling surprisingly good for such a crappy morning.

That tree grove ahead contains the most consistently technical sections of the entire course
That seems like a good place to end Part I. Tomorrow: the weather goes schizo and I finally find another single speeder ...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March Madness

Back in January when I was planning out the races and events I'd do this year, I realized I had the opportunity to build on a personal goal from 2015. Last year, I did at least one off-road hundred miler every month between April and September. With my season starting early in Florida this year, I realized I could do that hundred mile ride per month from February through September (or even October or November this year if I wanted.) The biggest challenge would be March - it can be cold, and trails aren't always in good enough shape to accommodate a ride. Earlier this week, with Saturday looking like my best option for the rest of the month, I decided to take a shot and get my March off-road century with a multi-park ride that included French Creek, the SRT and Blue Marsh.

"The Black and Orange"

Earlier in the week, my new kit arrived from Death Row. It's pretty awesome. I think the wind jacket was instantly my favorite piece of cycling gear (and that feeling only increased after Saturday.) SO I was not only going for my first non-race off-road century of the year, but it would also be the new kit's christening.

I started at French Creek around 9 :15 on the Mill Creek Trail. Anyone who's ridden Mill Creek knows that means two things: rocky and steep. The climb up to Miller's Point and beyond is pretty brutal and technical. Not exactly ideal for the first five miles of a hundred mile ride, but I just went with it. Once I completed the first mini-loop, I took a quick stop at my car to shed my jacket even though temps were only in the low 30's yet (because one good thing about a climb like that is that it'll warm you up pretty quickly.) Then I headed back out to hit the Raccoon Trail, another rocky, tech section with its own nasty climb. By the time I was ready to head over to the main section of the park, I was about ten miles into the day and probably about 2000 feet of elevation already.

I kept on hitting the rocks, roots and climbs around French Creek for another ten miles, and then was ready to head out the SRT for the haul over to Blue Marsh.

And that's when I hit the one big problem of the day. I flew down Route 345 into Birdsboro at about 30 mph and felt really cold int he icy wind at that speed, but I figured I'd warm up once I hit the flatter sections along the SRT. But that wasn't the case. In fact, it got much colder along the trail, perhaps because it's so exposed. I went about three miles and realized that I had a big problem. I figured I could probably put up with the cold for the ride into Reading, but I knew that I'd deal with potentially colder temps on the ride back later in the day, and that could become a real problem. So I had to make a tough call - I turned around right where the gravel section begins at Gibraltar Road and Route 724.

I headed back to French Creek up the big climbs on 345 and knew that I'd have a problem finishing the full ride before dark given the delay. I sat at my car for a few minutes and worked to a solution. I knew that I couldn't leave my car where it was, but I also knew that I was too stubborn to give up on the full route. So I decided to drive over to where I'd turned around and re-start from there. I knew there was a parking area right next to the trailhead, so I decided to just split my ride into two and pick-up literally where I'd left off.

The ride along the SRT between Birdsboro and Reading is interesting. Last time I connected the two parks, the one response I was getting from folks was that they were surprised anyone would voluntarily ride the trail through Reading because it's supposed to be pretty sketchy. Aside from sections of actual trail that are pretty unkempt, I can't say I see any issue. I did see a few folks out on the trail, but to a person they were all really friendly and went out of their way to say hello. It was actually friendlier through Reading than on other sections of the SRT I've ridden! To be fair, I do know some folks who have had issues (including one flat out assault) on another section of the trail there, but I saw none of that personally. I did however see some really cool graffiti art:

Anyway, I reached the Union Canal Trail that connects the SRT to Blue Marsh without incident (and feeling warm in my new wind jacket!) It was slower going in French Creek with the climbing and rocks, and between that and the delay of going back, I was kind of racing the daylight to complete the last 60 miles. If I wanted to be finished by 7 pm, I knew I'd need to do the 60 miles in just over 5 hours, so I kept my pace at a pretty good clip as I started the loop in Blue Marsh itself.

That wasn't always easy - the weather seemed to be on the verge of turning bad all day, and it never really got warm at all. There was a constant cold wind blowing all day - not a heavy wind, more like a strong breeze, but it was that kind of raw, cold constant light wind that chills you to the bone. Between that and the short steep climbs all over the park, I was just hoping to hold on all the way to the end.

But I was feeling pretty good overall, so I kept my pace close to 12 mph and eventually hit the inbound turnaround well within my time limit. I even got a bit of a reprieve on the weather when the sun finally popped out around 4:15 or so, if only for 20 minutes or so.

Ultimately, I was able to finish the 30 miles at Blue Marsh in pretty good tie and then ripped along the SRT for the last 15 miles back to the car. I was aiming for a 7:00 finish and rolled up to my car at 6:59.

All told, I got about a 100 miles with around 8,000 feet of climbing in 9 hours and 25 minutes. Not too bad. More importantly, the March Off-Road Century was in the books. Knowing I'll need to get 100 in April at LBD, in May at the 24 Hour race I'm doing, and for other months at some other events the rest of the summer, I was pretty psyched to work out the one weak link. So one goal for the year now looks a little bit more reachable. That makes it a pretty good day!

Next up for events: LBD in three weeks! Really looking forward to it this year! IN between now and then, I've got more training and riding to do, so until next time, I'll see you on the trails!