Friday, April 29, 2011

because i'm tired

i don't have much of a postrace write-up. and because i'm having trouble wrapping my head around this year's transiowa or putting it into words. i do have a pretty cool video that i'm almost done putting together that should be posted here soon. for now, relax, recover and check back often cause i know you're dying from the suspense.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

another transiowa in the books...

and thankfully another one finished. 322.8 miles (race idea how many we actually rode) in 33 hours and 11 minutes. absolutely brutal. never felt worse during a transiowa than i did from miles 30-50, which is a horrible way to start a 300+ mile race. took a video camera this year instead of stills so working on patching the videos together. not very high quality but more of a scrapbook for me anyway. might do a full write-up like i have in the past but struggling with motivation. after spending such an extended amount of time swinging like a pendulum between despair and elation its hard to feel normal emotions or to stay focused on anything. body feels pretty good. some numbness in the hands and might have done something to my achilles but we'll see in a few days. hopefully have something left in the legs for the time trials this weekend.
THANK YOU!!! barely seems to cut it, but that's all i've got right now. the lincoln/omaha crew are some of the best people you'll ever be lucky enough to meet. the friendship, support, hotel room floor, determination, riding ability...these men and women have this stuff down. congrats to the first ever women's finisher and last minute roommate janna vavra, also to the man of the weekend and overall winner dennis grelk, and most importantly to cornbread for continuing to roll to the end through diversity and to my fellow single speed champion aaron gammel. couldn't have done it without you guys.

Friday, April 22, 2011

transiowa v.7 arrival and updates

in grinnell. relaxing and re-introducing. audio updates are gonna be HERE during the race. not intended to cover everyone the whole way so just cause you don't hear my name doesn't mean i'm dead. doesn't mean i'm not, either.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

requisite pre-transiowa mental collapse

fuck. how much longer do i think i can do this? i've questioned transiowa more this year than i ever have in years past. i don't even know where to start. it makes me feel like a mental fucking midget. all the questions that only have answers buried somewhere in the middle of nowhere on a gravel road in central iowa. how will the weather affect it? am i strong enough? did i train right? what about my nutrition before? during? who will i ride with? can i do it alone if necessary? will my knee hold up? will my mind hold up? will my bike hold up? how much pain am i willing to put myself through before pulling the plug this year? how long will my stubborness overpower my desire for physical comfort?

its really hard to explain this race to people that haven't done it or anything like it before. and that's not meant to sound arrogant about myself and those that choose to do it. it is what it is, and its brutal. the wilderness trail 101 out in pennsylvania was physically the hardest race i've ever done. this is just different. the combined mental and physical suffering, the sleep deprivation, the rollercoaster affect of poor nutrition maintenance, the fear of letting myself down, the fear of making all of the sacrifices made over the last 6 months of training seem wasted...i dunno. i feel like i go through this every year but this year it seems worse. maybe time just makes it harder to remember how bad it was the other years. maybe this year i'm just more willing to be honest about it.

i've got a few days. and chances are i'll be fine. i don't really have a choice. i know i'm stubborn and i know i'm competitive and i know that if its within my abilities to finish this year that i will. i just could have done without some of the mental body blows that i've gotten recently. the poison ivy i picked up at sylvan island isn't healing as quickly as id like. the weather is absolute shit. the forecast looks like it might be a coming around a bit but this snow is fucking ridiculous. and then there's the scotty issue. i can't say enough about scott and his impact on my transiowa training from day one back in the fall of 2007. he's the one guy that's always been there when i needed someone willing to train/ride/race even when no one else was stupid enough to do it, let alone enjoy it. then he jumped into transiowa last year and i was ecstatic about riding with him. then the rain dumped on us and the race became something else entirely and we pulled off and grabbed some beers. this year felt like the year. he's way stronger than he's ever been and after riding the spring training with him i knew he was strong enough to finish. this was going to be the year we crossed the finish line together. sunday, 6 days before the start this saturday, he fucked up his knee playing soccer. ugh. it took a bit for me to realize what i was feeling was obvious sadness for him and his lost opportunity especially with all the time he's put into getting fit for this year's attempt, but that what i was also feeling was a personal loss. i had allowed myself to become mentally dependent on the idea of having him to ride the entire 320 miles with and now i'm having to wrap my head around not having him there. yeah, i'm selfish. you don't train for or ride a 320 mile race for anything other than selfish reasons.

then there's the bike issues. all my plans of spending this week fine tuning the bike and making sure everything was dialed in is getting snowed over by this ridiculous weather. so instead i'm stuck inside overthinking and second-guessing everything. i know that ultimately this is simply "pre-race jitters" magnified proportionately to the size of the race. the fact is the race is going to happen. and i'll be there. and i'm not very good at doing anything half-assed. i know i'm strong enough to finish as long as the bike, body and weather hold up just enough to allow for the possibility of finishing. maybe i just wanted to offer a glimpse into the toll something like this takes on my mental state. maybe i'm just being a baby. maybe i'm just taking it too serious. choosing to suffer like this just begins to seem absurd on some level, but ultimately i wouldn't do it if i didn't enjoy it. but holy god this whole process is mentally exhausting before it even begins.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

monday funday

celebrated my finish at sylvan with new ink and some trout fishing with the little man. yeah, it has nothing to do with sylvan but was a perfect post-race day off.

bobber fishing at lake meyer didn't work out so well
so we headed for a trout stream and larsson pulled this guy out on his first cast
caught enough for dinner
this guy didn't make the cut but larsson thought it was hilarious

Monday, April 11, 2011

clean up on lap 5

sylvan island stampede went down yesterday. as promised i showed up on my pugsley for the single speed race for two reasons: one being that this race is always a ridiculous mudpit and i didn't want my 3rd real ride on the superfly to be a bike-trashing of that magnitude and the other being less than 2 weeks to transiowa i figured racing the pugsley would force me to not race like an idiot and possibly blow up and wrap myself around a tree. this race and this course are a lot of fun and a good mental break from t.i. training. 2 problems... 1. the course was in perfect condition and the superfly would have been a great choice. 2. i am an idiot and can't hold back when i race no matter what bike i'm riding or what my intentions are going into it.

in the end, the race was as fun as ever and as is now expected. hooked up with the iowa city crew who are always very welcoming as well as trevor and fuhrman. got in a little preride with some of these guys then headed for the start. the start was an unfortunate debacle for everyone but the ss class which helped relieve the tension as we laughed at everyone else. ready set go and i hammered the pugsley through the opening straightaway and got the holeshot onto the singletrack. held the lead til near the end of the second lap when the eventual winner passed me and simply rode away. during the 3rd lap i passed robin williams who proceeded to latch onto my wheel. her conversation was a very welcome break as i was beginning to reel from the effects of something adam blake and i have discussed when riding a pugsley as a mountain bike. the cumulative weight of a pugsley effect. you can hammer a pugs for a short amount of time and it more or less feels like any other bike. then you hit a point where it all starts to add up and get exponentially more difficult. picture a tractor pull with the weight sliding toward the vehicle and therefore getting heavier. my upper body was getting shattered and i was beginning to catch glimpses of 3rd place.

having robin in tow was perfect. our conversation allowed the end of the 3rd lap and the 4th lap to click off despite my fading strength. somewhere along the 4th lap i dropped my water bottle. dad was there taking pics and doing water handups so i got another bottle going into the 5th and final lap. after drinking way too much i informed robin i was probably going to throw it back up and i recommended she stick to the left side of the trail and i would puke right. i held it together for a while but as we made our way onto the dike we began to hammer and pass an expert rider when i lost it. unfortunately i felt compelled to keep my promise and puke right, which is exactly where the slower expert was, leaving me no choice but to just unload most of the race worth of hydration down my own leg. yep....clean up on lap 5. robin and i rode most of the rest of the race together until the last couple straights where she politely asked to come around then proceeded to completely drop me. a minor crush to the ego considering i finished the race comfortably in second. on my pugsley. yeah...i'm alright with that.

after the race 3rd place, a rassy guy from des moines (jubil?) asked me if i was sandbagging. maybe? i've had my expert license for 2 years now. last year the only expert race i did was boone following a 3 month knee injury and i took dfl by like 5 or 10 minutes. and i raced this race on a pugsley. i guess sandbagging isn't for me to decide but i'm comfortable with my decision. big thanks again to the iowa city crew (kyle, kevin, tom, robnett, nick, etc.) for the company and beers and to robin for joining me for the last couple laps.

almost got the back wheel off the ground...
rolling laps and chatting with robin
36 pounds of bike but i think the back wheel did get off the ground this time
sylvan island trails were in phenomenal shape
o'gara modeling the skinsuit on the little big horn logride
sylvan island training=chasing the custom indy fab on the left with the pig on the right
in more important news, larsson had his spring concert and...
his first day of spring soccer which begins my second season of coaching

Thursday, April 7, 2011

transiowa v.7 gravel weapon

this is my fourth year making an attempt at transiowa. so far i've ridden noticeable different setups each time and i've been successful once. this year is no different and is probably the most radical change i've made going away from a cross frame and riding an xc frame. i love the geometry of the jabber when riding an endless amount of hours. pics then specs:

frame/fork: vassago jabboerwocky/odis
hubs: hope pro II rear and hope xc front
rims: stan's arches
tires: ritchey speedmax 35c run tubeless at 60psi
headset: hope
stem: raceface cadence
bars: bontrager big sweep alloy flat bars w/serfas barends and esi chunky grips
seatpost: thomson masterpiece
seatpost clamp: salsa
saddle: oe specialized from singlecross
cranks/chainring: white industries w/32t
cog: cheap alloy 15t
bottom bracket: shimano square taper
brakes: formula oro bianco
pedals: shimano A520's
bags: epic ride research feedbag, jandd frame bag, epic designs mountain standard seatpack, camelbak mule
lights: princeton tec corona extreme (older model) headlight mounted to fork, princeton tec quad led head lamp on helmet, planet bike superflash tail light