Dino Ferdinand Forest race

Sorry this is running a little late. Time has been flying. I am not really sure where to start with this race as there is just so many little things about this race that made it a blast for me. It was 2007 the last time that the DINO series made a stop in Ferdinand to check out the trails.  I can understand the hesitation to use this stop in the series. It seems that the turn out is always low. There seems to be two big reasons why the turn out is not better. The first reason is that the trail seems to have a reputation of being hilly. I guess that is not all false as there is a lot of climbing with about 1500 foot of elevation gain for a 10.5 mile loop. That may sound bad, but think about all the changes that have been made over the years to make the trail more enjoyable and how much worse it would seem for everyone. I don’t think too many people believe me when I say that right now the trails are the easiest that they have ever been. Yes, it is still not what I would call easy.

Along with the climbing the other complaint is how far it is to drive for a lot of racers. I suppose I can understand that as it is also a reason that I don’t attend a lot of the other Dino races. Some may think that they can get all the races in with out making the trip down there. My though is why do the series when I have to drive so far for almost every race. With French Lick no longer in the picture and I am sure Ferdinand will not be back next year, that means that the closest race I can hit is 2 hours away and the rest of them are even farther away. The driving and schedule conflicts have been the reason that I have not had too many recent years that I have done enough races to actually finish the series.

The week leading up to the race I wanted to get out there and refresh my mtb legs. With the rains, it had been a few weeks since I made it out there. It had been dry and should have been a great night to ride, but mother nature wanted to keep it interesting. We made it out the the fire tower and it looked like a storm was blowing in. The wind was picking up and we could see the dark clouds in the distance. Two of us decided to keep going and one turned back. The next section of trail it looked like it might get crazy soon, but nothing happened yet. It was not until we were in the fire lane 7 section heading to the back lakes before it decided to let loose. The wind was crazy, lightning and thunder was everywhere. The rain started to pour down on us. At this point all we could do was keep going. That was some of the most intense riding that I have done in a very long time. We were very happy to make it back to the car with the weather clearing up. I joked about heading out for some more, but I was soaked.

This ride was scary and awesome in so many ways. The bad thing about this ride was that even after cleaning my stuff up, it seemed like my shifting was not working as smooth as it should be. I had a lot going on and was not able to get the cable replaced before the race. This had be really wondering what bike to race. I knew that the gears would be a much easier route than riding the SS, but how mad would be if my gears would mess up in the middle of the race. The other side of me was thinking about how good I tend to ride when I am on the SS. So, what to do?? I was still undecided the morning of the race. I loaded both bikes up and figured I would make my mind up sometime before I had to hit the start line.

Well for some reason I convinced myself that the SS was the smart bike to ride. I figured what the heck. I probably won’t win since my legs were not that great for the last few weeks (not like I have normally had a chance). There was some rain leading up to the race so there could be some wet spots. Add that to the shifting issues and it started to sound like the correct idea. I also kind of wanted to do it just because it seemed like everyone complained about how hilly the trail is. What better way to prove that wrong than ride a rigid SS.

I know know what it is about this bike, but I have such a great time riding it no matter how tough the ride is. Most of the time I seem to find some super human strength to ride stuff that I normally would not be able to do. Too late to turn back now. I went out for a pre-ride and thought we might be over doing it. We took the road up toward the camp ground the hard way. Then we went down the gravel road to jump on to the half loop. From there we did the last section of the trail. I also went around the start area and checked out the first climb from the field. I know that section has always been and issue and was not sure what condition it was currently in. I typically don’t ride that because it is so bad.

Apparently they had put down some rock for a running race that was supposed to be earlier in the year. It was still not worked in to the ground very well and was soft. I rode a short section and made the decision to walk that section as I didn’t feel it was worth burning all those matches that early in the race. I finished getting ready and before I knew it the racers were being called to the line.

I jumped into the pack, but when we moved up to the start line I was not too worried about being on the front line. I took it fairly easy in the loop that went around the field, but was not in last when we hit the trail. I crossed the creek and started up the rock climb. I was just going to go a little ways until it started to get soft. Well the traction was going well and before I knew it, I was much farther up the climb than I expected. At that point I figured I made it that far I might as well keep going. So, I was off to a bad start climbing the hill that I didn’t want to climb. I then made my way up the fire lane climb moving in front of a few more racers. The section that I knew would be wet was much worse than I expected, but some how I made it all the way with out working too hard.

I was hurting, but still doing better than expected. I kept pushing my way around the loop. I had a few spots that were tough on me since I was behind a slower geared rider spinning in granny. One of the hardest hills on Southridge almost got me, but somehow I made it to the top and then passed the rider holding me up. I kept making good time for several miles. First time that I was really starting to hurt was just before making it to the road on the fire tower climb. The 50+ riders caught and passed me here. I was hurting so I decided to walk the last little section up to the fire tower. Not sure if that was a good idea or not, but I had to deal with it. I did have a rider catch and pass me while I walked, but by the time we hit the bottom of the hill I was back on his wheel. I passed him before entering the new section so I would not be held up on the new climb.

I rode pretty well for the rest of the lap and did’t really loose places and actually gained a couple. As I went around the start finish area the women’s leader caught me. I let her go around because I was really feeling the first lap and figured she would climb a lot better than me. This lap I was smart and walked the real soft section of the rock climb in to the woods. I felt like I was going slower from here, but was still climbing. My lower back was really starting to hurt and the legs were tired. I tried to drink and eat to regain some strength. I ended up catching a rider at the top of Foxey Hollow. He let me go by and was thankful that I showed him the fast line down the hills. After the creek crossing I made it up the next hill and didn’t see him again. I was hurting, but knew the end was near and kept pushing.

I finished solid and can not complain about my ride at all. I ended up in 6th place for the 40-49 class. I was about 8 min. behind placing and I am just fine with that. I will always wonder if I could have done better with the geared bike or would it have been worse? I will never know. The only thing I will know is that the geared bike could have been a lot less painful with some more gears to pick from. Less pain does not mean faster.

I have to thank DINO for giving Ferdinand another try and hope they come back soon. I also have to thank Honey Stinger and Tailwind Nutrition for giving me the energy to ride like I did. My ESI extra chunky grips for making my rigid SS feel like it had a shock on the front. The Stans NoTubes wheels mated with an Endless Kickass cog has made this the best rolling bike that I have ever been on. I also need to thank Basket Case Brewing for the after race drinks that were much needed to help heal the pain. It was great hanging out with teammates and friends after the race. That was the most fun that I have had like that for a very long time.

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2015 Burning Quad

I found myself once again lined up to race the Burning Quad. The Burning Quad is a road criterium held in Evansville. At one time I had made the statement that I would never do a Crit race. I had no interest in them and most of all I didn’t want to get hurt. To me there is a high percentage of accidents that can happen. I am not sure if this is correct or not, but I do know that there have been crashes in almost every race weekend that I have attended, but here I am. The thing that seems to shock me even more is that this was not my first race. In fact, this was the third time that I have attended this race.

The couple of weeks leading up to the race it seemed that my legs were not doing very well. There were times that I could ride fairly well, but they just didn’t have the power that they should have had and that is not good for crit racing. At this point it really didn’t matter. I have had a great time at this race and was going to attend no matter what.

My plan was to get there early and race the cat 5 race. I normally would have preferred to race the 4/5 race because it seems to be a little safer race and also because I had some team mates racing the 4/5 race. But, when I found out that another team mate was going to race the cat 5 race, I figured I would do the smart thing and just race with the 5’s. That all sounded good right up to the point where I didn’t get moving early enough to make it to the race as early as planned. I got there and signed up and went to get ready. That is when we realized that we only had maybe 10 min. to really get ready. That was just not going to work out so the decision was to move the entries to the 4/5 race.

Let’s talk about the course a little. The last two years there was a section that went down / up to a lower boat ramp section. This year with all the high water, that section of road was still a muddy mess and not used for the race. Some people probably preferred that as previous years I heard some comments on the climb out of the boat ramp being difficult. I have had some issues with it too, but the rest of that section seemed to be worth the effort. Now we were going to have a 180 degree turn followed by a very long straightaway and right in to another 180 degree turn. The turns were not really a concern to me, but the accelerations out of that corner would be my weak point.

The race started and we were off. I stayed with the front pack for a few laps. It is really hard to remember just how many because I moved around some and also had a few times where I was about spit out the back. I was pretty happy with how it was going, but we had a lot of time left in the race and the legs were going quickly. Out of one of the 180 degree corners I could not make the acceleration and was dropped from the group. I was not too upset because I didn’t have very high expectations.

Not too much later I joined a few other guys and we had a nice little group riding for a while. We worked together fairly well, but the things that were not good for me was that I could corner much better than they could. I didn’t have an issue dropping them on the 180s, but I didn’t have the legs to be out front the whole time and one of the laps I tried to get farther back in the pack, I ended up behind a guy that really could not corner the 180s. He almost came to a stop on the back to back corners and then he would sprint out of the corner. Needless to say the second corner after having to slow down way too much to keep from hitting him, I didn’t have the legs to power out of the corner.

Now I am really in no man’s land. There was a rider or so behind me, but they were farther back than I wanted to sit up and wait for. I just continued to ride along as best that I could. I saw the pack catching me, so I eased up and moved over to give them plenty of room. The next time I passed the start finish I was told I was done. I was pulled because I was lapped. Overall I am not too upset with everything. I was pulled with only 3 more laps to go, so I am pretty happy that I held on that long. I do wish I could have seen just how long I could hold on to that group. I should have dug deeper to bridge the gap and then work on moving up in to the middle of that pack. Stay away from the ones to corner the slowest, but yet try to recover as much as I could on the rest of the loop.

It is really hard telling how much longer I could have held on, but I sure wish I would have. After this race I always get the urge to do more crit races. They can be a lot of fun and there are a lot of good people around. I would just need to work on my power out of the corners a little more if I really wanted to have a chance to stay with the group. Maybe next year

I want to thank 40lb Sledgehammer for putting on this race. It has been very fun every year and I will be back next year if at all possible. Not real sure what is in store for the rest of my off road racing season. This weather has really messed up a lot of races and some are not going to be rescheduled. Right now my main focus will be to try and peak for the Gravel Grovel. I really NEED to get below the 5 hour mark. I know I can if I work at it.

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Southern 5 Tipsaw race

Not sure I can just start in with the race report. There has been a huge void of posts on here this year and I am sorry for that. It has been busy and when I do something to post about it takes me too many days to post. I have spent a lot of my spring driving to and from soccer practices and games. This also has me eating a lot of fast food and other bad things. I did try to take my bike along to get some miles in while waiting for practice, but it didn’t work out too well. I did manage to get out and check out a trail system that I had not been to since probably the late 90’s. I made two trips in the same week to Wapahani MTB park in Bloomington. On both occasions I took the Misfit and realized I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed riding a SS bike. I am far from being in shape enough to ride it everywhere yet, but I hope to improve that.

The lack of riding does not mean that I have been doing nothing. I was pressured in to trying out the new Crossfit gym that opened in town, Crossfit Discipline. I had a lot of doubts that I would be able to continue to work out at that kind of level with all of the pain that I normally feel all over my body and in my joints. All I can say is that the workouts are a lot harder than I imagined, but I have been feeling good about how well they have been working out for me. I have not really been hurting other than what would be expected from doing some hard efforts, the good pain. I have had a few moments of wrist pain, but not near what I would have expected and it didn’t really stick around.

Leading up to the race I was trying to figure out if I was going to race or not. Not being in actual race condition and with some of the trail reports of it being wet and grown up in places, had me not sure what to do. We were planning on going out of town that day to make the long journey to where we had a soccer game the next day. My youngest son also had a game that morning. We were going to watch the game and then make the drive. Late in the week I decided that I could just go race and then we could make the drive. The problem was that not being in shape I knew I was not going to be actually racing. A good work out was needed and seeing some people that I only see at races sounded like a good idea.

Somewhere in that good plan, some not so good ideas started to show up. It had been several years since I had rode there, but I knew it was not very hilly. I also had some new wheels on my rekindled love of one gear riding. I figured why not. Take the SS and have a good workout and have some fun. it sounded like a good plan until that morning when we got there and went to do some warm up. The first section we went on was a bigger hill than I had ever seen there before. This had me wondering if there were any more out there to mess up the thought of this place being flat. Then we hit the flatter section at the top and with in a short time I was also reminded about all the rocks that were hiding everywhere to keep it interesting. It was not a good warm up and I was thinking that I should have brought the other bike or it would have at least been better if this bike had a shock on the front. But it was too late now and I was stuck with the plan.

At the start I tried to not get too far up front since I am out of shape. It seemed that there were a few other people thinking the same as I ended up farther up front than I figured I would. I made my way up the first hill and prepared for the rocks. I must have loosened up my arms because the rocks were not as bad as the warm up ride. The bigger issues was trying to ride behind another rider and not be able to see where the rocks were. I passed a few and was passed by some others. The first lap went much better than I thought and was riding well. I just kept trying to keep the pedals turning and pick good lines.

I will say that my new ESI grips were awesome!! I could not believe how much they helped. With all those rocks and a rigid fork my hands and arms would have normally been hurting badly, but these grips were doing a great job of helping me keep it in control and not feel all beat up. I am sure that made a big difference on how well I could keep my momentum.

The second lap I was more tired and the starting hill was a lot harder than the first lap. On the next section where the rocks were I made a lot more mistakes and poor line choices, but somehow kept the bike upright and moving forward. I was still moving pretty good and not really getting passed. I did reel in a few riders and ended up passing them. There was a rock road section that was not good for this bike as I could only go so fast. I know if I had some gears I would have been able to go faster, but I just tried to spin as fast as I could and coast.

The third lap hurt a lot more. I was debating on walking the first climb, but when I looked up and saw the photographer on top of the hill, I knew I didn’t want any pictures of me walking. I dug in and made it up the hill. I remembered some climbing techniques I have not needed for a while since I had not rode my SS much last year at all. I tried to keep the bike moving at my zen pace and pick good lines. Late in the lap it seemed to run on for ever. I kept looking over my shoulder just sure that someone was going to catch me. I was also waiting for the front of the Cat 1 class to come lap me.

Neither of those things ended up happening and soon I was rolling across the finish line. I was so happy that I had to do my typical finish and ride a wheelie. It actually went well and looked pretty nice. I was very happy with my effort and how I rode. I dug deep and pushed threw it to keep moving. After a while I saw thee results and I ended up in 9th for the Intermediate or Cat 2 class. That was much better than I could have expected. There must have been a lot of riders that dropped out because I would have expected to be farther back then that.

Overall it was a great race. It gave me some hope that I will be able to find some race legs yet this year and maybe end up actually racing by the end of the year. With soccer over I will be able to get more miles in on the bikes. I also plan on keeping up the crossfit to keep getting stronger. I am sure that with out the help of the good people at Crossfit Discipline, I would have never been able race as strong as I did. The ESI grips made a huge difference in me keeping the bike in control and rolling upright. The Stans No Tubes wheels performed flawlessly and were much lighter than what I had on there before. Honey Stinger also kept me riding strong. Hopefully this is just the start of a good rest of the year.

I would like to thank Chris and all of the workers at 40 lb Sledgehammer for putting on such a great race. I love how much the series has grown since last year. It is great to have this kind of even in southern Indiana.

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winter time funk

I can tell by the lack of posts just how much has been going on in my bike world or should I say the amount of effort I’m putting in to my bike world. I’m not saying I have done nothing but with very little motivation to push me, I have not done near enough.

I don’t know why I get this way. I had big hopes for riding better this year. I made some big improvements last year and though that would carry the motivation through the winter. I didn’t start out too bad other than eating too much for the holiday’s. Then the body started its aching and the motivation fades. It makes me not want to do anything. All the aching and on top of that moving hurts. One of my comforts is eating and that does not help with my weight or improving any of the other issues.

I made the spring training trip to Florida but have done very little since then. I didn’t even feel like posting about the trip yet. That should say just how motivated I have been to do things. It took me weeks just to put the riding gear in the wash. I have yet to clean the bike and it really needs it. I have a lot of bike work that needs done. The only thing I actually completed was fixing the cross bike from its last ride.

I did find myself one day trying to ride the bike in the back yard. The snow was too deep and with the top layer covered in ice, it didn’t work out too well. I thought if I went back and forth over the same area it would get better and I would be able to ride it.  That didn’t really happen and eventually gave up. I did get a good work out, but not exactly what I was thinking.

I started this post several days ago and just never finished it enough to post. After passing on some great weather on Sunday way too easy as it has been, I find myself rushing out of work to get a few things done and try to get my trashed bike rolling good enough to join a 6:00 ride. I knew there were going to be a few people there and even more showed up that I thought. For a change I was feeling excited to get out on my bike. There were 16 riders that showed up.

The excitement didn’t last too long when the group took off like it was last fall. I am very aware that I have some big down falls in my riding. One of them being that if I start too hard, I am screwed. The level of too hard may very depending on how good of shape that I am in, but right now that does not take too much to reach that point. The group took off a little over 20 and my heart rate was out the roof. I might have had a chance to settle down and hang on with a group that size, but there was a long enough hill right at the start. I didn’t do too bad at first, then they all pulled away. I tried to bridge the gap, but they didn’t slow down and I just dug a deeper hole.

There ended up being 3 of us that were spit out the back. We ended up realizing that none of us were going to catch the group and just rode together. I was a good ride and we put in a nice loop. It was good to have a couple guys to ride with. If I would have been alone, I am not sure how far I would have gone. In fact I even thought about taking a left very early in the ride. I am glad that I didn’t think about that too long.

Right now I am happy that my body aches for a good reason. That is much better than the normal reasons that it hurts. I just hope that tomorrow is even more of an issue than normal. That will not be good for the motivation to try and do more. I do have a little more motivation to get back in to shape so I can hang with the big boys. The problem is that it is also not motivational to think about how much of a gap that is to try and close up. It is also not the best that as hard as it was to get out of the house, it will be that much harder to talk myself in to doing it the next time. I just have to keep thinking about how much I enjoyed riding a bike again and continue to build on that. Maybe someday the speed will come back.

Yea I know at lease one of my friends is calling me Eeyore. Maybe that is a good name for me, but I do struggle with some mental demons on some things that I just can’t seem to shake long term. I have moments that everything is all good, but there is always a shelf life on that feeling. I will just keep fighting that fight and try to make the good times out weigh the bad times. I am also working some making some changes that I hope will help with all the pain.

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Starting another year

Sorry updates have been few and far between. I have been busy and there has not been as many good things that I feel I need to put down. The end of 2014 was not too exciting. I did get a few rides in, but not near enough and I made up for that with eating way more than I should. The weight is up from where I thought I would be right now, but not too much. I am trying to keep it down, but so far all I am doing is keeping it in a holding pattern. Up a few pounds and then down a few. I just can’t keep the trend moving down, but I am not giving up. The more I can hold it now the easier it will be to start the season out in a better position than last year.

I have been working out more than normal, but not as much as I would like. I have been trying to increase that since I have my winter training camp coming up. Camp is supposed to be a kick start to the season, but I can’t just wing it. It will not be easy and the better shape I am in, the more fun it will be. I just hope the weather is what it should be.

The Misfit SS is back rolling again and will be put to use. The Fuji CX bike is almost healed up and ready for more fun. I still have some more bike work to get in, but a little at a time is better than nothing.

The race schedule for 2015 is looking like there will be a lot of chances to get in some good racing with out traveling as far as some years. That is a good thing for me since this will be the most traveling we have done so far for soccer. I just hope that there is not as much overlap as last year. Either way, I am sure it will be another busy year.

Make sure and head over to https://teamadventuresmtb.wordpress.com/ and check out the Team’s new blog page. You will find most of my posts over there, but you will also find some other good info and interesting stories. Speaking of the team, here is the current team sponsor list for this year.

Main Sponsor-
Adventures Recreation & Gear, Jasper
adventuresrecreation.com

Secondary Sponsors-

Amerifirst.com Ask for- Craig Thompson
themillhouserestaurant.com
basketcasebeer.com
uebelhortv.com
evansvillechiro.com
williamsnyderphotography.com
tricountyymca.org
sks-usa.com
honeystinger.com
elevatedlegs.com
swiftwick.com
scottstrailer.net
Klem Signs, Fulda IN
sram.com
scott-sports.com
fujibikes.com

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Gravel Grovel – so can I?

No…..

Well that would be the short answer. I am sad to say that I did not finish in under 5 hours. But, I kind of figured that no sooner than I asked the question. I really did not do myself any favors heading up to this years event. I thought I was doing the right thing, but I think I misunderstood. I keep hearing people talk about tapering for big races. I had been pretty run down from work and stuff and figured I could use a good taper to rest up. Where I think I fell short is that I didn’t taper long enough. I did ride for 3 weeks before and was still tired. Maybe I need to try 4 weeks next year.

Yes, I am quite aware that 4 weeks will not help me either, but it is probably more realistic as to what I really need to be doing. I had done a lot of things right this year to lead me up to being ready for my best time. The biggest problem was that I could not ride much at the end of the year. When the weather was prime, I was busy doing something else. Not at all good for staying in shape. I did have my bike in good condition and ready to go, so I did have that going for me or well it should have been going for me.

This year I changed to riding a cross bike. I had figured that there was a lot of places out there that I would be faster on a cross bike over the mtb. This year they decided to add more trail sections and took out a long road section to the course, so I am not sure how much benefit the cross bike gave me. Add the fact that it warmed up quicker than it was supposed to and the roads and trail were soft in a lot of places. I know there were some complaints about how muddy it was and my bike sure looked like it agreed, but I felt it was better than I would have expected.

At the start the pace was a little faster than I wanted it to be, but it didn’t feel too bad. We were going faster, but I didn’t feel like I was putting in too much extra effort to stay there. I did back off some after a little bit and shortly after we hit the first climb. I didn’t seem to climb too bad, but I could tell the legs were not going to be as strong as I had hoped. I tried to maintain as strong of pace as I could, but who I was hoping on spending the day with had pulled away and were no longer in sight. I had to ride with who ever was around. No one seemed to last very long. We would ride together for a little bit, but sooner or later one of us would pull away.

photo credit to Kiersta

There were several climbs that made me wish I had more gears to choose from. I don’t know how much difference more gears would have made, but I do know that I would have used them. I knew how big some of those climbs were, but for some reason I keep thinking that they are smaller. I am sure it is the brains way of taking a memory and changing it so it does not seem so ridiculous. But, they really are that big.

One part that I would have thought the cross bike would be a problem was the trails. I actually rode the trail sections pretty well. There were a few times that got a little harry on the decents, but some how held on. So, I don’t think I could say it really slowed me down a lot. I am sure some, but not as much as for some. I do know that the cross bike was faster on a lot of the road sections. If I could maintain some momentum, I was cruising along.

I tried to not stop at too many of the rest stops. I know how much time stopping can add to my ride. I was feeling good enough and had plenty of inventory so I didn’t need to stop anyway. I did stop at the 3rd one or so just to top off the bottle. I grabbed some food and took off as quickly as I could. I did this at two other stops. I would like to think this made me faster, but it is hard to really know. There are times that just getting off the bike for a minute and walking around at the stop can motivate me to ride harder in the next section. For now I will lean toward not stopping or doing so as little as possible.

photo credit to Kiersta

I did try to eat and drink often to keep my power up. I probably could have done better, but I know for sure that I have done a lot worse at it. For one, I turned down all of the beer I was offered. This is very rare for me and maybe lets me know just how hard I was being on my body. I felt like I really did a lot of good things to be able to put in a good time. I guess overall it was not a terrible time, just not what I was hoping for. I don’t know what my official time is yet, but my computer had me out there for 6:08. It also had me with a ride time of 5:38. I really don’t think that I stopped for that long, but anything is possible. I figure it also added some stopped time to thee total from the few times that I did have to walk. I am not happy to admit that, but yes I had to walk a couple of hills. There was some that I could have done more of, but just didn’t feel it was worth it to ride it over walking.

Now for the big question, is sub 5 really possible for me. The easy answer is yes. I truly feel that I could be sub 5 if I would just do what I know I need to do. There are a lot of things that could be different. The roads could be harder, the trails could be dryer and the wind would be a whole lot nicer. Those things would make a huge difference in my time. It would make a difference in everyone’s time. The one thing that kind of scares me about sub 5 is that the person I was going to try to hang on to came up a little short of the sub 5. It was close enough that I would have been very happy with the time, but still not faster than 5 hours. To think that I need to be as strong as he is and then still have some things work out to be even faster does not sound good to me. I know the body could get there if I let it, but it sounds like I am a lot farther than I should be.

Thanks to Kiersta for the picture

There is always should of, could of and lots of other things that could be different. The only thing that I know wont be different is where I will be next year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I have been to every Gravel Grovel so far and not planning on changing that any time soon. I would like to thank Sub 9 and all of the sponsors and volunteers that helped put this race on. Everyone does such a great job!! This is the race of the year that I look the most forward too every year. Hope to see you there next year and maybe I will finally do enough to allow myself to put in a faster time.

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Can I go sub 5

I have been thinking a lot about if it is going to be possible for me to finish the Gravel grovel in less than 5 hours. I know a lot of people do it but not sure I have done the work to be one of them.

Earlier this year I would have thought it would not be a problem. I have slacked off the riding some lately and been eating way too much. The legs show some promise when I do ride but it will still not be easy. The last big ride I did was a 45 mile gravel route there was not as many hills as there there needed to be and I felt like I didn’t have a lot left in the legs. The time it took to complete leaves me thinking it will not be possible.

I know there are a lot of things that will be different race day but not all of them will be a good thing. The main reason I think it should be doable is that in 2011 I finished in 5:21. I was on my ss and was way out of shape. 2012 I also rode my ss but that year I put cross tires on to help be faster. It didn’t work. I finished in 5:45 and ended up walking the last 3 miles or so because of a flat tire. It was near the end and it was more hassle to change than I felt like putting in at that point. 2013 I rode a geared bike in hopes of beating 5 hours but ended up just over 6.

Putting in my fastest time even though I don’t look like I could

There are a lot of things I can do differently but will they be enough to take off 40-50 min.? Maybe my legs have that much time in them. I am also going to ride a cross bike. I think this will make some sections a lot faster. But at the same time it could make some sections slower. I am fairly good at bike handling so I feel like I can ride it on the off road sections well enough to warrant the increased speed in the road sections. The only things I am really concerned about with this bike is the climbing and flat tires.

The new ride

I will be changing my gearing some to help but it will not be the same as my mtb. Most of the time I think it will be fine because my fastest times were on  ss bikes with a lot bigger gear then I will have available. Flats are always possible. I had one the year I rode with cross tires. I do have some bigger tire options than what I have used in the past but there are some issues with using them too. I still have not decided on what tires will be used. All I really know is no matter what I use, it should be a good time.

It took me a little while to post this and now the route has been posted. It has a few changes that could make some things interesting. There is a section that I don’t really have much time on and not sure what to expect. The good thing is that it is more off road and less on road, so it should be for the better. With all the changes I am not sure what this will do with the actual finish times. If I make my time cut off, I will always wonder how it would have compared to previous years. I know I can see what the fast times are and it should give me an idea but not exact. All I can hope for is to ride well enough to be happy with the effort. Hope to see you next weekend!! There is still time to sign up!!

Posted in Bikes, Brown County, Gravel, gravel, hills, racing, Sub 9, Team Adventures, Ultracross | 1 Comment