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Archive for July, 2012

Wilderness of my mind 101 which led to Liberty!

WILDERNESS 101
This past weekend was my second ride at the Wilderness 101 (W101).   For me W101 is the original 100 miler.  I can’t think of anyone/anyplace that was doing a 100 mile mtb event earlier than 1991.  I remember thinking, “that is crazy.”

Michael Bush: 2012 Wilderness 101 &emdash;

Photo Cred: Mike Bush Vault

My bike, pre-race routine and nutrition was on check. The opener ride the day before went smoothly.  Morning of the race my legs and lungs felt fine.  However, five minutes into the start I was already hurting and breathing harder than I should have been.  “Uh oh…” was the first thought that came to my mind.   The second thought? I may want to turn around now.  I didn’t.

Countless times I just yearned to stop. Stop and sit down, stop and sit in a refreshing creek, stop and get into someone’s car, stop and hang out with the aid station staff (they were quite pleasant), plain ole quit. Why didn’t I turn around at the beginning?!  I can’t remember when I last suffered so badly and with so much more yet to go.
I tapped into all the mental visualization, verbalization and positive mind movies vaulted into my cognitive memory: “Get to the next section of singletrack, it will be fun….”, “Head up…flow through here…”, “Get to the next feed…there will be food and drink…”, “Just keep pedaling…”, “I am a machine…”, “I’ve done this before…”, “I can do this…”, “I will do this.”

I did it.

Photo Cred: bobs-photgallery

Mad respect for those that do this weekend after weekend. There is a real mental toughness to these things.  I’ve heard many endurance MTB stalwarts utter this mantra, “There are three guarantees in the 100 milers: 1. You will feel good and it won’t last long. 2. You will feel bad and it will last way longer than you want. 3. Both 1 & 2 will happen several times and you’ll probably be alone.”  It’s so true.   On this day I was #2 for 90% of the time.

The W101 is definitely crazy, yet I feel more sane for doing it.

The Liberty Criterium Presented by Philadelphia Ciclismo
I made the three hour trek to home straight after the 101. Got up the next morning, barely, and headed out to the Liberty Criterium. I was questioning myself, again, the whole time but I was registered and told people I’d be there.  I re-packed what I needed the night before so I ate some breakfast and headed out the door.

My legs were much much better today but I didn’t realize it till mid way through the 30 mile race.  By then it was too late and the break of three, whittled down to two, would not be seen again.  I surfed some leadout trains snagged 4th in the field sprint and 6th overall.  Took home some good bounty.  I’m cool with that.

IMG_1882

Photo Cred: cycleraces

The Liberty Criterium is a sweet event and I’m humbled to be friends and a part of the crew that assembles this race (albeit they do most of the leg work).
Props to Liberty promoter Jamie Harris and his rock band of: Jason Eicholtz, Darrin Miskiewicz, Geoff Rezvani, Jason Gabriel and Wes Beers for pulling off a great day.  Cheers to all the racers, volunteers and sponsors to0!  Lots of people step up and much attention is given to the  details: good directions, easy parking, clean and abundant port-o-johns, fast registration, good prizes, quick results, quick pay out, quick podium pictures, available swag and etc…  Thank you for everyone that came out to race and may those that involuntarily played with pavement have speedy recoveries!

The goods.

Notes:
*Now that I’ve done a few mountain bike races I must say the pro/top guys are way more friendly, take the time to talk with people, competitors than I’m used to seeing. Much nicer vibe and much less ego heads.
*Not only does Stan’s NoTubes make great products but there employees actual ride/race! Even with their busy schedules Mike Bush was riding around all day taking pictures. Richie Rich completed yet another 101 while Rich Straub finished his eleventh W101!  Awesome crew.
*Liberty Criterium Sponsors: Moshulu, Kimberton Whole FoodsToasted Head, Walton Endurance, Railroad Street Bar and Grill, Dogfish Head, Java’s Brewin, SRAM, CANNONDALE and of course Philadelphia Ciclsimo.
*Equipment for the W101: Cannondale Scalpel 29er w/ Stan’s NoTubes Crest Wheels, SRAM Grip Shift and SRAM Type2 Rear Mech. NO FLATS!
*Equipment for the Liberty Criterium: Cannondale EVO w/ Stan’s NoTubes Alpha 400’s w/ Hutchinson Intensive Tubeless Tires, SRAM new RED group. NO FLATS!
*Please forgive me if I forgot to mention someone!

Thanks for reading and Rock on!

Five Races in Ten Days

After not gaining entry into Leadville I got the itch to race some road events.  Perfect opportunity presented itself with the ChesCo Grand Prix.  Based on my schedule, motivation and interest I chose four of the eight events and capped it off with the Iron Hill Twilight. *Teammate Karl came down for these too.

Oxford Criterium: The townspeople were really into it!  Course was just over  1km in length with seven turns (one of them was a sweeper).  This was the hardest night for me.  Total system shock to go from endurance mountain bike events to the repeat repeat and repeat threshold efforts of criterium racing.  Did not get dropped did not get lapped and turned in a rather invisible 12th place.

Malvern Criterium:  Shorter course and six turns.  I was a bit impatient and went waaaay too fast into a turn.  Front tire pushed out and onto the pavement I went.  I get up, check bike.  Put chain back on. Ride to pit to use the free lap rule. There are six other riders there!!!  What!?!?!  Nobody crashed but me and it was my own fault. Ahh, par for the course with these short courses.   Annoying? Yes! Usually these guys don’t last much longer anyhow.

I hang in there, do not get dropped, do not get lapped and turned in another mediocre finish of 11th.

Phoenixville: TOUGH but AWESOME course!  1.3 mile lap with a climb (little ring almost every lap climb)!  Best Criterium of the ChesCo series that I participated in.  My teammates JLo and Margarite rode superb and represented the early break and shut down ones we were not in.   When the winning move went it was my turn to go and hesitated.  I felt bad (still do).  I hang in there, do not get dropped do not get lapped and another 11th place.

ChesCo Road Race/PA State championships: Course was a beautiful rolling loop in Chester Country horse country.  Many of the roads are part of the Saturday morning Willowdale ride.

JLo and Margarite are here for this one too.  No hesitation on this day, it was my turn to go and I make the early break.  Starting out with 16 dudes and it whittled down to seven.  I straight up get beaten on the climb and false flat drag before the line.  I end up sixth and 2nd PA rider.  I was content with this result.

HUGE props to my buddy Wild Wester and Tothinator for the feeds all day.  Bottles and ice!

AXA Sponsor Ride: I enjoy these rides a lot.  I like meeting fellow cyclists, hearing about their riding.  Listening to their “I used to race… or I’m not fast enough to race…” stories.  No matter what our goals we have a common thread in turning the pedals and letting the wind refresh us as we smile, laugh and share our lives.  Many of these guys came out to cheers us on later that night.  It’s so appreciated!!

I’m not in the picture cause I took the picture.

Iron Hill Twilight:  I’ve always liked this race.  The course suits my abilities.  Short, 1KM, four turns with a slight rise to the finish.  My team Stan’s NoTubes has a full squad of six registered and I’m chosen to start.  I’m pumped!

Race starts, I’m moving through the field, I have a mechanical, am out the back, fix mechanical, chase back on and subsequently work (again) through the field and then it happens.  I blew up.  I could not recover.  I could not mentally suffer.  I got dropped.  I was pulled before I was lapped.  No excuses ample humble pie force fed into my mouth.

Humble pie (HP) never tastes good but I do believe it’s necessary to eat every once in a while.  It’s fuel for evaluation and direction.

So after Iron Hill Twilight’s serving of HP will I being doing more road events this season?  Nah…after an evening of evaluation I’ve determined my road itch has been sufficiently scratched.  Time to return to other cycling adventures.

Things I’ve learned this week (there’s always something to learn):

1. The ChesCo series has real potential.

2. I have awesome teammates.  Always positive and understanding.  You guys rock!

3. I HAVE GREAT FRIENDS IN THE CYCLING COMMUNITY.  Giving up your time, energies and sometimes your own ambitions to cheer for and/or help me in my races.  Y’all rock!

3.  “One bad day does not equal suck.” – Jeff Appletans   This is a real gem.  Gotta remember this one.

See y’all out there.  Keep on keeping on.

*Karl “Genghis” Rahn suffered from wicked allergies all week and was not himself.  He’ll be back.