Monday, August 18, 2014

Race Report: Steamboat Stinger

Let me start by saying I loved this race.  The Steamboat Stinger course had everything that makes a great endurance race.  Long climbs, super steep challenging climbs, short punchy climbs, technical single track, flowing single track, long descents... just 52 miles of awesomeness!  This one goes down as one of my top favorite races for sure.  If you haven't done it, I strongly suggest you do.  At about 7,000 feet of climbing, it's a tough one but has plenty of rewarding descents.  When you're done with the race, there's live music, food, beer, fun and friends waiting.  Steamboat Springs is also a fun place to hang out so might as well make it a weekend trip with friends and family.  Had a great time!

Going into this race I didn't set very high standards for myself.  After a month off from endurance, this race was meant to get me back into the swing of things before my last two races.  Everything went smoothly.  I conserved early, and had some energy left in the tank for later.  This is how it should work.  My previous races this season I would attempt to conserve, but my tank would end up completely drained long before the finish line since it was never full to begin with.  Although I still wasn't at top form, I felt better than I have all season.  There's a good kind of pain and suffering you get when endurance racing, and there's a bad kind that just digs you deeper into a hole making the next race even more miserable.  I've had too many races like that lately, and it feels good to be on the other side of that now.  Park City Point to Point is next, then Winter Park 50.  The game plan is to finish the season strong, and for once things are trending up.  Game on!

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Update: Race Reports and R&R

After you've been training since the winter and racing throughout the spring into early summer, July is about the time when you start becoming completely burnt out.  Combine that with less than par race results (shooting way over bogie here) along with other stresses in life piling on top, and you have one unmotivated racer.  So, instead of burying myself deeper into over training, I decided to take July off... well kind of.  I dropped the Telluride 100 for the Endruo-X: Steamboat Springs, and still raced the Keystone Enduro.  I also didn't miss any Tuesday night team rides with my racers.  In other words, I'd ride Tuesday, pre-ride the race course on Friday, and race Saturday and Sunday.  Far from being “off the bike”, but hey, I really do love what I do so it's hard to just not ride.  Anyway, here's some race reports from the enduros.

Keystone Enduro

When I signed up for the Keystone Enduro way back in January, I was already nervous.  This is about the most techy enduro you're going to get (at least in the USA) so I knew I was in for a “treat” so to speak.  I found some time in late June to pre-ride Keystone, and then pre-rode some more on the Friday before the races started Saturday.  I didn't mess around with this race.  I was padded from head to toe with armor under my jersey, 7iDP knee and elbow pads, an Urge Endur-O-Matic full face helmet, and Ride 100% goggles.  I looked so enduro, it hurt to look at me.  The course did not disappoint with some gnarly rock gardens, drops, jumps, roots, crazy steep grades, and many other features to induce fear.  After spending the last five years training myself to climb, it was time to see how well I could descend.  To my surprise, I didn't completely suck at it!  Sure, I could have been faster and rode cleaner, but I did pretty okay.  There were some crashes, but that's going to happen when you push your skill set.  I also got to spend time with my team guys and gals all weekend.  It was a great weekend full of bikes, beer and friends.

Enduro-X: Steamboat Springs

I was a loner on this one, but the weekend turned out to be full of meeting new friends and hanging out with some old ones.  As far as the race goes, I could have done a little better.  Frustrating mishaps like crashes and going off trail is all it takes to drop you to the bottom of pack in enduro, unlike endurance where a couple of seconds isn't going to hurt you too much.  Still, I had a great time and rode a lot of fun trail that was new to me.  Another successful weekend.

Some R&R And What's Next

After a July full of failing at taking time off the bike, it was time to REALLY take some time off.  The wife's birthday is July 28th, which means I am not allow to bike that weekend and we aren't sticking around CO.  This is the life you lead when you're married to a flight attendant.  We decided on the east coast somewhere, and we ended up in Charleston, SC.  The trip (Friday through Tuesday) was full of beaches, great southern seafood, and tasty beer.  Even though I sweated about a gallon a minute in humid 90+ degree weather, I ate enough fried deliciousness to send my calorie intake way above a healthy limit.  Although I can't say I regret it, it's going to be fun getting back down to race weight by mid August for the Steamboat Stinger.  No worries though.  I have a long ride planned in Breck this Saturday, and two weeks until the race to get back into the swing of things.  Will I pull my season back around?  Who knows, and at this point, who cares?  I have three fun races to look forward to one way or another.  If I do well, awesome.  If not, I have 2015 and beyond.  Right now my focus is enjoying myself; which recently I've been doing pretty awesome at accomplishing.  Hope you're doing the same.  Happy trails!