Monthly Archives: October 2012

What was I thinking?

Pre-race beauties.

I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on the GNCC Ironman race I did last Sunday.

It was muddy.  Joe and I rode bicycles around the easily accessible places before the race and could see that everything that we near the rivers and creeks was soggy and rutted. The trail that weaved through the woods had heavy clay-walled troughs.  After our recon I decided that a cautious approach to every trail problem was my best option. Even if I wasted time by stopping to assess options during the race that would be better than digging out or picking myself up after rushing in. The track map is posted here.

The trail is over by the trees but I rode through here during the race. What was I thinking?

I got an average start and entered the woods in 4th place.  I consciously held back and was deliberate with my line selection and tried hard to block out the riders around me in those early minutes. But like an amateur I started up one hill way too tentatively and lost momentum halfway up.  I snapped back to race mode and helplessly watched riders pass me one at a time.  Then the same thing happened on the next big hill.  I was loosing time and confidence by the mile and it was still only the opening lap.

I came around to the scoring tent in 4th still. I didn’t expect that but I tried to keep things in check and returned to thinking and riding conservatively.  I remember feeling fatigued really early on.  The mud was so thick and persuasive.  When I got tired it was hard to keep my balance and I’d simply tip over because my reactions were too slow.  Getting back going again winded me a few times and I’d lose even more time while I pinged my way down the trail getting my breath back.  But I didn’t do anything as dramatic as this on Ironman hill.

It’s always amazing to me how much goes on during a 3-hour race, most of which I’d forgotten about.  There was a guy I passed in my class with no goggles and I thought, “keep it steady and put time on him – he can’t see,” yet he and I passed each other back and forth several times.  And I must have been hit by something during the race because my backside hurts.  My shin has a big scrape on it yet I don’t know what hit it.  My side panel was barely hanging on but I don’t remember it flapping while I raced.

At the end of lap 4 I was shown the the 2 laps to go board.  I remember trying to think positive about that.  The race had felt really long to me so it was difficult to feel good when I told myself, “only 2 to go, you can do it!” Luckily (and embarrassingly) my 5th lap was so slow that I only did one more lap before finishing the race.  I ended up 3rd in the Senior A class and 67th overall.  Those numbers aren’t too bad but when I looked at my lap times I wasn’t too impressed with myself.  I was over 12 minutes down on the winner in my class and losing 12 minutes per lap to the XC1 and XC2 class leaders.  I can’t expect to ride anywhere near as fast as the pros but losing that much time per lap is pathetic.

Ok.  So what to do, if anything.  Am I just too old and worn out to demand more of myself?  Am I sick or burned out and that keeps me from doing better? Did everyone else suddenly find another gear and I’m already topped out? Or, did I simply miss the mark fitness-wise and talk myself out of a decent result by letting early race mistakes bog me down?  I think it’s a little of all this and more.  Time to take some time off.

Another thing that stuck with me again this year was the parking lot chaos.  The wail of V8 engines, plumes of diesel exhaust, and stench of burned-up catalytic converters were abundant because the much and mire filled every parking lot.  With 12,000 spectators on hand there were lots cars and trucks that needed help getting out.

One of the crazy things about our racing is how Joe and I often talk about what we’ll do at next year’s Ironman.  That was on the drive home. We’re demented, I know.

Wasted.

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How to steal a painting from a famous museum – or how much fun I had at Ironman GNCC

First check out the place. I mean, visit the museum. Take lots of pictures with a special spy kinda photo thing that is built into your custom Oakley glasses. Then accidently go through the metal detectors with like a butter knife and a jar of peanut butter. You know, you are testing the detectors and you want to see the behind the wall room with the one way mirrors. Practice scuba diving, because there is probably going to be a need to be able to submerge and leave the city with the pictures in a sealed container so they do not get ruined in the water.

But, before you decide to do it, rent the Italian Job. That movie will tell you not to go to a bridge high in the mountains in the Czech Republic. Also rent Oceans 12, because you are going to need to be able to get through a Lazer Field like this. Watch this below, and you will see what I mean.

You are going to have to go in through the sewers so be prepared. There are various other things you should be prepared for. 1. You will need a guy with a Nixon mask, and not that crazy Bush mask that Eddie Vedder used to wear. 2. Get a dog with a back pack and teach him to jump up on high things. 3. Don’t step on the guy laid out on the ground like the Davinci painting. 4. When you have to go out through the bathroom window and can only speak french, do not be alarmed, make your way onto the boat to Hong Kong and smash all the terracata soldiers and be careful when you fall from the hot air balloon.

Or, you can skip all that. Prep some goggles, build up your bike nice so that you can shred it, and go to Crawfordsville Indiana (look back at previous posts, and you will see that Indiana truly is where races happen) on the last weekend in October and ride that race. Do not go to a wedding, do not do a dumb local race. There really isn’t a better race, you will not be disappointed.

Scott and I left LM early Saturday morning. We wanted to get down in time to try the demo on new KTM motorcycles. Unfortunately, when we got there it was just too muddy for them to run the demo. In fact, it was too muddy for most everything. It was Quag that you just have not seen before. I am talking quicksand mud that will suck whole VW Jetta’s in a spit them out later. I do not know how to refer to the mire. We parked in a dry grassy field and just rode bikes over to try to demo. Alas, it was not to be.

We did have a Quiznos sandwich from the artists there at Quiznos, but it took way too long and Champaign is not really that great of a city. Not bad, but entirely not full enough of roller coasters. I only want to move to a new place if it has lots of roller coasters. But all was not lost. We picked up Chris Bach at the course and then went to the super duper Creekside Lodge. It was kinda lodgey and it was right next to the creek, so I do not know why some would term them left handed. It was fun, but alas still no demo.

So I ended up in the hotel room.

Eating Ice Cream

Prepped Goggles!

And thanked god, that I do not race a quad.

;

;

This years race was the 7th time Scott and I have come to the Ironman. 7 times, wow. I didn’t ride a 7 of those, nor did Scott, but we have been there for the last 7. We saw Juha win, we saw David Knight win, we saw Nathan Kanney win. Or, we should say we got passed by those guys when they went on to win.

This year was probably the muddiest issue of the race yet. The ground was like pudding. It made the race super hard. Your bike was stupid heavy by the end and the soft ground just sucked all the energy out of you.

I kinda sucked today. I have had way better races of late. This was an off day. Oh well. There will be more races and an 8th Ironman next year. I will for sure be back. Scott had a pretty good race though.

Of course since Ironman is the gateway to the south and the stoop of the redneck south. There are tons of rednecks and quads and pickups just covered in mud. I think the mud flees just wait for this race so they can wear their Carhardt clothes and mud boots. They want to stand in the river and wait for people to struggle. Big fun.

20121021-201844.jpg The chaos that is the parking lot at Ironman.[/caption]

20121021-202218.jpg This is what your truck looks like if your a mud flee and do donuts in the field.[/caption]

P

20121021-202603.jpg I’ve had better raced in Indiana. But, I finished and only partly sucked.[/caption]

Let’s do Ironman – Que the Black Sabbath here.

Just so everyone is aware, this weekend is the Ironman GNCC.  It is the race of races.  There is no better, even if there is a reset (Pete).  If your friends are getting married and they get married on Ironman weekend, they are not really friends (Matt).  If you get a new bike and you think you are not ready to race at Ironman, so you race a dorky local Hare Scrambles, it is just that – dorky (Joe).  If you come up with just about any other excuse to not race, you are just making excuses.  Get to the Ironman, if you do you will never not want to go back.

Here are some teasers.

2011

2010 – dust bowl year

My 2011 video (apologies, we were on Suzuki’s then)

31235971

Indiana – where racing happens.

Joe

Indiana, where racing happens.

This weekend was a dub-tastic race weekend. 2 races, both in Indiana. Next weekend is another Indiana race weekend with the Ironman GNCC. Indiana is the center of the racing universe (Chris Bach will be happy I said that). I have now seen what he has been talking about with the MAXC race series. Very GNCC like. 250 riders on the line, 9 mile course, feels alot like a GNCC. (Ok Chris, you can stop saying I told you so…). After the MAXC race, I joined my friend Noah Mitchel at the National Enduro, in Matthews Indiana. Noah was our mechanic for the PM24 race, and is one of my absolute heroes. And, on top of all of that Liz went down with me along with Stella.

We had to sneak Stella in to 2 Holiday Inn hotels on the weekend. Lol. Poodle in the house. BTW, Stella is way tougher looking than Bach’s little dog Addison. Kinda silly, debating is a 14 pound dog tougher looking than a 4lb dog. In the end, neither of them is tough because Adam Bonneur has a dog named Wolf. (now that is tough).

I find that all dogs deep down inside don’t really like the names that humans give them. Most male dogs want to be called Hank, and female dogs want to be called Luna. (Stella is kinda pissed that Luna Lovegood is getting all the credit for the name.)

Odd that penguin being there.

Saturday-Day1

The MAXC race was a hoot. 250 people on the line, 13 rows on the start line, about 12-25 in a class, 9 mile course, swoopy fun. I will definately be making more of these next year. Below is not the video from our race, but gives you a feel for how the races are. Great.

For our race, it was in Culver In. That is north of Indianapolis, just 4 hours from my house. Perfect. It is alot of sand. I like sand, at least I think I do. It was sprinkling at the start. I should have planned better, but I did not think it would get bad. Little did I know. It started off sprinkling, and the sprinkle turned to rain, which turned to the heavens opening up and prompting a few people to stop and start building the arc. I am talking Unadilla 2008, John Penton 2010 kind of rain. Yowza. Rivers running down the trail, you cannot get out of the rut kinda rain.

I had a good race. Crappy start, but good race. I cannot get off the line. I hit the 1st turn in 9th or 10th. I could see the guy with the ISDE helmet get off the line 1st and could see him pulling away before we even got into the woods. damn. I had work to do. Took me about 1/2 of the first lap to get past the last few guys and go hunting. The ISDE helmet guy was really fast. I think he lost his goggles in the rain earlier than me, and that is the only real reason that I caught him. I did manage to get past him and start the last lap in 1st, but once my goggles went away I turned into an absolute tourist. (I really really suck when my vision goes.) In the end, I finished 2nd, and was really happy with that.

Yuck. That is going to need to be cleaned up.

Chris Bach won, Rory Mead 2nd. At least that is what I think happened. When they came by me late in the race, that was the order they were in. Holy crap they are fast.

Sunday Sunday Sunday!! (I always want to say that.) – Day 2

After the race on Saturday, Liz and I loaded all up and hit the car wash. Had to be done. Bike and boots, and everything else was corked. It was all so bad that it was disgusting. Couple of dollars at the car wash, and ready to go. It was not a full on, make it pretty and I will be proud of it, but clean enough so that I could change the air filter and check to see if the brake pads needed replacing.

On the way to the Enduro, I noticed an ark being built and a bunch of weird animals.

The Indiana National Enduro is held near the Cumberland covered bridge. A pretty cool sight, given that it was built in 1857, but this historical blog entry will have to wait.

Noah has been wanting to do this enduro together for a long time. It sounded like fun, and it was. But, I am not an enduro guy. I kinda like a start line and a finish line and a little more flowy trail in front of me. Enduros tend to be more about hard man conditions and technical difficulty. I guess I am not that guy. Turned out that Noah is that kinda guy. He smoked me. Good on you Noah. I’ll do another with him, because it is just fun to hang with guys and I do not get to see Noah that much, but it is definitely not my kinda race.

The race advertised 70 miles of trail, but that was probably exaggerated as there was certainly 15miles of paved road in there also (sometimes as part of the timed section, but normally just part of the transfers). There were a few sections that were really fun, but most of it was tighter than my liking and alot of it was certainly way wetter than I like. There were a few times I was completely stuck in the mud and more than once that I could not get any traction on an uphill.

In the end, the race took about 5 hours for us. 5 hours on a motorcycle is always a good thing. Sneaking dogs into the Holiday Inn is also a good thing. I guess that makes it an all around good time.

This coming weekend is the biggie, the one that started it all. The Ironman GNCC. The worlds greatest race. It is also another trip to Indiana. Hoping for another great race there.

Indiana, where racing happens.

Out,
Joe

Ouch. That is going to leave a mark. Day 1 night, getting ready for the next day.

Race season is not over.

I just found this really killer helmet cam on Off Road Viking. This might be the best looking race course I have ever seen. Lots of great woods, nothing stupid technical, and not miles and miles of grass track.

Fun to watch 2 pros and the different riding styles and line selections.