Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Split Decision Goes to VanderWaal

I fought a tough battle with the Gear Jammer (see previous Mt Peak at 3pm post) and overall was pretty happy with the results. I would even say if the judges had to go to the cards I would have won.

The morning started out pretty uneventful. It started to rain just before the race and I was starting to worry. The trails basically consisted of tight, twisty single track laden with roots and rocks. Definitely not the trails that I want wet and slick. Thankfully the rain let up and all was good in the world again.

I did my usual warm-up and found a nice spot near the front of the starting chute. The gun went off and we were off. Definitely not as nerve racking as the start of the Test of Metal, as there were only 300 riders compared to 800! I found a comfortable pace and settled in near the rear of the lead back of 40-50 riders. The first 3 miles of the course is a grinding up hill. It was nice to spread out the field. The first hour was a blast I was riding well and keeping the bike upright on the tricky trails.

The second hour of the race was another story. There was a deadly steep climb up to Power Smart that lead into a tight...I mean tight single track descent. I had several bobbles during the descent and allowed three riders to catch me. Some of the dudes and gals in Canada have some sick downhill skills. Their uphill skills are a bit lacking, but they can tear up the downhill. The darkness continued as I rode the Recycle trail. I was tired and my skills were tragic. I took three hard spills on the switchbacks, with the last one being a hard over the bars crash. I sat on the ground for a minute or two collecting my thoughts, stamina and dignity that was strewn across the trails. Luckily no one was around to witness my falling from grace. After collecting my pride and emotions, I was actually impressed with how well I calm myself down and focused on the race again.

The last hour was great. I nailed the powerhouse plunge trail, only getting off the bike twice for some pretty hairy bridge crossings. My last two climbs were solid and I ended up finishing in 3:17:05 which was good enough for 11th place in age group.

Again, this was not my kind of course, but was a fun race. I would much rather do the Test of Metal again rather than the Gear Jammer, but who knows, you could see a rematch of me versus the Gear Jammer in '08.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mt Peak, 3pm - Fight!

Long before the octagon was made popular by the UFC, there was Mt. Peak in Enumclaw. Many disagreements, feuds and general displeasures where settled at the base of the mountain. Growing up in a small town, fights were as popular as Friday night football and Mt. Peak saw its fair share of fist-a-cuffs. I was definitely not one to be involved in the activities as a participant, but I cheered on my share of scuffles. I knew better than to try my hand at bare knuckle brawling. As a 5'10", 135 lb teenager I saw the inevitable writing on the wall and decided I was much better off as a spectator rather than a scrapper. Let's just say I understood my place in the Darwin world...I'm a lover not a fighter.

However, I think I can relate this evening with the feelings and anxiety of pubescent boys who decided in third period gym class after a heated game of floor hockey that they were going to dual at Mt. Peak. At the time of the argument, tempers flare, but after fourth, fifth and leading into sixth period I am sure one of the boys is having second thoughts of their earlier actions. However, at this point there is no turning back. News of the fight spread through campus quicker than the class slut shedding her dress on prom night. The under card was sent, the train of cars after school looked like a funeral precession. No turning back!

Today I pre-rode the course for this Sunday's Gear Jammer race in Squamish BC Canada. The 50km mountain bike race uses some of the same trails on the more popular Test of Metal, but there is much more technical single track. Technical single track that destroys your hands, kidneys, back and in general your entire body. My endurance is slowly starting to build up, but my technical riding is still sub-par...and sub-par is disastrous on this course. My original intent was to try and ride a top 10% finish, but now I am thinking a top 30 or 40% would be satisfactory. Hell, if I finish I will be happy. Throw in a recently acquired Plantar Fascitis and I have all the makings for a serious thumping.

At this point there is no turning back. I have picked the fight and now I must pay the piper. I'm just hoping to get in a few good licks before all hell breaks loose. Who knows, maybe I will connect with a haymaker early in the fight and salvage my dignity...I can dream. Until Sunday, I'm going to continue to talk tough..."you and me at Peak at're going down"...LET'S GET IT ON!!!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

NYC and The Bellmont

I made my first trip out to the Big Apple several weeks ago. My friend, Andy, and I went to visit our friend Adam for a little big city adventure. Also part of the trip itenirary was the Belmont Stakes horse race. The city itself was amazing. I was impressed with the infrastructure and the forethought by the city planners 100 years ago to invision a city of 10 million people and the transportation means necessary to commute the people from one part of the city to the next. I'm not sure I could ever live in New York City, but I would definitely like to go back and visit again.

Time Square - Advertising Wonderland or a Cluttered Mess.

Lady Liberty

McSorley's - NYC Oldest Bar

The Belmont Stakes was an adventure to say the least. Adam's friend Adam charters a bus each year and we all dress up in our finest or not so finest seer sucker suits for a day of betting on the ponies and shenagins. I think I lost on multiple levels...bets, dignity, a few years off my life, etc.

Go Baby! Go!

A couple of Dandies!

NYC is so fashionable!

Need I say more.

Its Been Awhile

Sorry to all my fans that have not received their daily dose of AVAdventures. The hate mail is not necessary. I've been busy training, taking some small vacations and actually racing a bit. My leg is healing well, although I am still somewhat discouraged that I can not run yet. I think this is really starting to wear on me mentally. My job has been mentally exhausting, so I think between the mental drain of my professional career and my inability to run really has me down.

I was in Squamish this weekend pre-riding the Gear Jammer course and visiting with Seegs and Ty. They are such wonderful people and I am very jealous of their situation up in Squamish. I guess the grass is always greener, but the riding up their is amazing. In regards to the riding...mine was horrific. I couldn't get my HR high and my technical skills were laughable...not by me, but anyone watching me. It was wet, slick and rooted and I was on my butt 8-10 times during the ride. I lost track after the 2nd or 3rd over the handle bars. I ended up getting lost several occasions and never did finish the course. This should be interesting as the race is in 2 weeks. Wish me luck!

On Sunday I rode 9 mile hill and the rip with Jen. Again, couldn't get my HR to elevate. Argh! It was a beautiful ride none the less.