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From the monthly archives: June 2015

By Paul Ruchlin Politics is not the only arena here in the nation’s capital that suffers extreme swings. The weather is just as likely. Following 6-10 inches of snow dumped on us last Thursday (I’m not complaining Boston, just stating a fact), through a low of 10 degrees Friday night, we swung complete through to a beautifully sunny and fantastically pleasant high of 60+ degrees on Sunday; A picture perfect day for my opening race/event of 2015, Monster Cross, in Pocahontas State Park just south of Richmond. This is my fourth time for this race and it is one of my favorites. The course is completely non-technical, taking place on fire roads, paved roads and some park trails, it’s fast (usually), flowy and fun. Really, its defense is its hills and the fact it’s an early season test of fitness at 20, 26 or 46 miles. This year it threw in a few extra teeth as, with the snow and rain of the last few weeks, it was wet, mushy, slow and dotted with a plethora of mud pits the likes of which few dare to tread, or pedal. As I prepped my bike and kit/gear on Saturday afternoon, I vowed I would not repeat last year’s disappointment of poor nutrition, both pre-race and during, and a lack of discipline, going out from the start way too hard. I knew I was doing so, I told myself I was doing so, and yet ego prevented me from slowing myself down. Fjallraven Kanken Kids As a result, I completely bonked just over halfway through and limped back to the parking area with a 32 mile DNF. That’s Did Not Finish, only a half-step above the ultimate disappointment of Did Not Start. This year, a complete reversal. I was up early – OMFG early at 4:15 am – 45 minutes before my alarm and unable to even snooze. The benefit was plenty of time for a sizeable and filling breakfast. Solde adidas superstar I was joined for the two hour drive by friends Deirdre and Honey (yes, that really is her name) from the incredible and recently acclaimed #1 Female Cycling Team in the US by USA Cycling, Team Sticky Fingers. I snacked on a peanut butter thin pocket pita (YUMMY) on the way. As the sun rose the temperature rose steadily and after an hour of packet pick-up and bike set-up and waiting around, it was a comfortable 48 degrees at race start. Angel Pagan Jersey Off I (we) went at a reasonable but controlled pace. Ok, Plan A (a good breakfast) and Plan B (DON’T blow yourself up at the start) were in the box. Plan B was made considerably easier by the fact that the fire roads, while not in bad condition, were mushy enough to have a real effect on speed and effort. You definitely knew you were working harder than normal, which worked to my advantage as it was very easy to keep an easier pace, realizing I got very little gain for any additional effort. At mile 5, when you cross the road to the southern section of the park, is where things got tough. A bit less hilly, but a lot more sloppy. This section is always wet, even in the best of conditions. This year, Mud Bogs. Many hub/axle deep and thick as peanut butter (DIFFICULT TO PEDAL THROUGH!!!), the rest just enough to keep pigs…..and mountain bikers, mud splattered and giggly with enjoyment. I was overjoyed and even more surprised to complete the 20 mile first lap in under 2 hours, feeling good with the exception of some chafing. From that point, the course heads across the creek for an outlying 6 mile loop before coming back across the creek to repeat the course of the first lap. Nike air max 1 pas cher One great thing about this race is that as you start lap #2, you ride through the parking lot, making a quick stop at your vehicle for refills or adjustments convenient and efficient. I had plenty of food & drink but I did take a much needed opportunity to, uh, “re-lube” (my parts, not my bike) and shed a few clothing items. I was feeling really good. nike air max 90 pas cher Appropriately fatigued for the halfway+ point, but still strong and excited about lap #2. Plan C (in-race food & hydration) was working perfectly. I had been vigilant about sipping (or two good gulps really) from my Infinit bottle every 20 minutes. Infinit is a race fuel (liquid food) product I highly recommend. At hours 1 & 3 I took a Hammer Gel packet and hour 2, half of a clif bar, all on the move. nike air max pas cher This along with drinking water from my Camelbak every 15 minutes or so kept me well fueled and hydrated without having to stop to pee during the race. air max pas cher I felt good, didn’t get hungry and was able to tackle Plan D exactly as I planned. Plan D was the strong finish. Conserve again through the hills and mud of the first 10 miles and use what I had left to the finish. Nike Air Max Norge Nettbutikk Two good things about lap #2: fewer people around meant more freedom to ride, not having to brake for slower riders or wait and pick times to pass; Surprisingly, the warm weather and breeze had dried the fire roads a bit. They were noticeable less mushy and energy sapping. This however did NOT apply to the mud pits which, after having been accosted by several hundred riders, were even worse the 2nd time through. I miraculously managed to slog my way through without a much dreaded flop in to any of them, but there was a close call or two. A few were so deep I think I may have passed just the hands of some poor lost soul reaching out to……… or that may just have been my own nightmare. The truly hard part over, and now my legs beginning to ache from the effort, I put out all that I had left to the finish line. Crossing in 4:12:14 I was more than a little fatigued, but far more buoyed by the race I’d ridden.

by T.J. Hoff I use and recommend the Crank Brothers eggbeater pedal in Adventure Racing because they are easy to install, simple to maintain and can take a beating on the trail. When I started mountain biking I didn’t have clipless pedals, but as I became more comfortable with riding, I upgraded to the Crank Brothers mallet pedals. Air Jordan 7 I chose these because, at the time, I wanted a platform pedal for stability, but still gain the advantages of clipping in. nike air max 2016 online I later upgraded my pedals to the eggbeaters and have not turned back. nike air max 2017 wit What I really enjoy about the Crank Brothers pedals is their simple design approach. Maglia Clyde Drexler Their cleats are very well engineered, light and super durable but yet small enough to tuck up in the cleat pocket to allow for dismounted walking and hike-a-biking, which is inevitable during Adventure Racing. They provide just enough float and don’t have complex adjustments for dismount angle. Fjällräven Kånken Just flip the cleat around and your angle for unclipping is changed. air max pas cher The pedal itself is a very durable pedal with a simple design which makes it VERY easy to maintain and rebuild. cheap fjallraven kanken sale With a few simple tools you can have your pedals looking and feeling like new within minutes. adidas sale uk As an Adventure Racer I would recommend the Crank Brothers eggbeater pedal because of its reliability, small cleat footprint, durability, and simplicity, all of which are important when racing in unfamiliar areas.

By Paul Ruchlin

Paul Playin' in the Dirt

Having stopped bouncing down the rocks, head down into the gully, with my bike on top of me, the first thought I had was, “CRAP, I think I just blew out my knee.” I could hear other riders on the trail asking if I was OK. I replied that I was, not 100% confident that was true. It seemed like several, but I’m sure it was more like a minute before Chris and another guy were able to get to me and get my bike off me. Was this the end of my race, barely 7 miles in; another failed attempt? We’ll get to that… After last year’s debacle in the impromptu blizzard, there was little that would stop me from finally completing the Whiskey Off-Road 50 Proof. Pouring rain at the start through freezing sleet and ice to full on white-out at elevation… in Arizona…in April? What the Hell!!! I was not the only unprepared racer who decided to quit not long after the start in 2014. That was a miserable 13 miles, but steeled my determination to get it done this year. So when, on Friday afternoon, it was raining again in Prescott, AZ I was a bit disheartened. I kept faith in the forecast for mostly cloudy, temps in the 50-60’s and no rain till late in the day for our 50 miles on Saturday. A base layer and light arm warmers were plenty comfortable at the starting line and the sun was breaking through the clouds here and there as we rolled out of the start corral and up Copper Basin Rd. Thanks to my winter of Team Veloworks CompuTrainer classes at Spokes, Etc., our awesome team sponsor and bike shop extraordinaire, I was starting this race off in better condition than I’ve ever been before, especially for this early in the season. However, there’s no real training for elevation and by mile 4, where the pavement ends, I was starting to feel the 6000 ft, despite being motivated by having kept up with my friend Chris, which I’d never been able to do before.

Typical Madness at the Start

As we hit the single track, still together, my heart was racing but this should be a chance to recover a bit. The first couple of miles up here are pretty flat and flowy, and slow down or even back up with riders in a couple of the short but challenging technical sections. Kyrie Irving All Shoes So, as we came to the hairpin across the stream gully, a 4-5 ft drop to our inside I’d mostly recovered, my heart back in my chest and my breathing back to normal. Nike Air Max 2016 Dames wit And then, I have no idea what happened. One second I’m pedaling up the slight climb and the next thing I know, I’m falling over sideways, INTO the gully. Now what do we all do when this sort of thing happens? Of course, we unclip and put our leg out to brace ourselves. BAD move. Well, actually it was better than tumbling down in to the rocks without having slowed my fall, so I suppose it was really just poorly executed because as soon as my leg encountered solid footing on one of the rocks there was a horrible pain exploding in my left knee. I Sooooo wish I’d had my GoPro running for this. Or someone else had captured it from the trail. goedkope Nike Air Max 90 I’m sure it was quite the amusing spectacle. And there I was, lying head down in a gully, perched on a rock, bike on top of me, thinking, “CRAP, I think I just blew out my knee.” Once my rescuers, Chris included, managed to get me upright again, which was more of a feat than it seems from this retelling, the first weight I put on my leg was rather painful. Nike Air Max 2017 Heren blauw But the pain was not sharp, my knee seemed stable and did not feel like what I imagined torn ligaments should feel. That was my technical diagnosis. A few steps went ok, with diminishing pain so I decided to press on. We were only a mile or two from the road crossing where I bailed out last year and I figured I would ride to that point and make a decision, desperately hoping I wouldn’t be needing to ride back down that road to town and another DNF.

Red Ridin' Hood Thru the Forest

To my great surprise when I hopped back on my bike, pedaling did not hurt at all. I took that as good news. About half the way to the road crossing was uphill. In some parts steeply uphill. air max 1 pas cher It still didn’t hurt. I took that as better news. I got to the crossing in good order and stopped to take in some food, deposit some excess internal fluid and pop an Aleve. It was an easy decision to make. I was going on. If it got worse later, I’d worry about that then. There were still other bailout places ahead, not to mention medical help if I really needed it. A bit further on up the trail I unclipped and put my leg down. Yes, my left leg. It’s my predominant unclip leg. YOOOOOW!!!!! Ok then, lateral pressure, NOT good. But still, no pain with pedaling. Nike Air Max 2017 Dames Of course, being the super-genius that I am, it took me at least another half-dozen times of unclipping throughout the day to figure out and force myself to unclip with my right leg. For those of you bored with this story already, you can skip ahead. I finished, really without any other problems except the aforementioned dopiness of using the wrong leg. I was, in spots, a bit more cautious with my riding, knowing I could not rely on that peg to help me out. Air Jordan 14 Uomo I’ve no doubt that led to my riding better. Luckily I’d gotten my knee off my mind for the worst, nastiest, most hated, despised and detested part of this whole course. TRAIL 48!!! It SUCKS!!! 2.8 miles of up, steep up, with huge, ridiculous telephone pole sized water breaks. I walked a lot of this. Not only because it sucks, but also because now I was really feeling the elevation. My heartrate was pegged over 170 and I could not get it down. zonnebrillen kopen ray ban So much time revved up so high naturally had me feeling, well, less than optimal. A little nauseous, dispirited, bordering on angry. I was very surprised as I finally reached the summit, to find Chris there, putting on his wind shell, which, aside from stepping back from cardiac arrest, was also my plan as you face a 2.6 mile technical descent from here and with the wind it was quite cool.

Just Wee Bumps in the Road

So as not to turn this in to the Moby Dick of mountain biking I too shall skip ahead. The remainder of the race went very much without incident. My knee did just fine throughout. The leg out to Skull Valley is a bit of a slog, but I enjoyed it. The downhill sections were fast and fun. The uphill sections were quite the challenge, although nothing like that F*^%$*@(^+ TRAIL 48. Cheap Fjallraven Kanken Outlet I was able to control my heartrate the rest of the day and keep it in my 155-165 sweet zone. Near mile 36 I was feeling pretty darn ducky and happy to pause at the Whiskey & Bacon stop for the proffered shot. Unfortunately, the guy in front of my got the last slab of bacon. Curses! Another couple of miles of up, to the peak of Sierra Prieta (7065 Ft), and it was all, almost all, downhill from there. Going in to this race I was predicting 7.5 to 8 hrs to complete. I was astonished coming across the finish line at 6:34:32. Thank you again Spokes, Etc. and Veloworks. This is a HARD race, but immensely fun with spectacular scenery in a fantastic setting. If you’re ever looking for an out of town race to do, whether you’re competitive or not, this is one you must consider. Of course, now that I have my 50 Proof pint glass, I never have to suffer it again. Nike Air Max 2016 Norge Nettbutikk Unless YOU want to do it with me.