Monday, April 25, 2022

NICA Reveille Peak Coaches Race

An endurance rider's twilight zone...

This race is so far out of my wheelhouse that I felt I needed to note it here. My races are usually 50+ miles and take hours and hours. This was a single 5-mile lap that took < 30 minutes, lol. Basically, a bunch of
NICA coaches raced around the next day's course. It was an all-out sprint and I inhaled 30 min of aerosolized granite dust and cow patties leading to a few weeks of uncontrollable coughing. I did OK on my 32x20 SS against the geared masses. My required minimum speed on an uphill managed to keep me in 2nd until we got to a nice long straight double-track and then, voila, I'm 4th. That's how I finished, it was fun. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

2019 - 2021 Recap post

Mea culpa - I got lazy. I did the races but I didn't do the ride reports. I regret this and I'll try to do better in the future. For 'The Lost Years' of 2019, 2020, and 2021 I'll try to get a blub, results, and a Strava link to any significant rides I did. 

11/21/2021 - Dragon Slayer

  • Time: 11:13
  • Miles: 90
  • Elevation: 7923
This was a special year because my daughter was going to ride my final lap with me!

I was running about a 9:45 pace before my daughter joined me and I would have come in around ~9th. My kid was flying though, and I still came in 11th! She was awarded for the youngest to ever attempt a Dragon Slayer, she's almost certainly the youngest woman ever to make a full lap of the lake, and potentially the youngest ever. 

10/30/2021 - Enchilada Buffet

  • Time: 8:50
  • Miles: 81
  • Elevation: 5750
2nd Single speed behind Jason Smith by 11 minutes. Beckett (a kid that races on my daughter's mountain bike team) finished 1st with the Joels in friggin 7:11! My official time was 8:50 and I'm listed as 9th overall

03/13-14/2021 - Death March

  • Time: 7:26
  • Miles: 43
  • Elevation: 4285
This DM was different but fun. Todd had spread checkpoints across the Barton Creek Greenbelt you could scan with your phone and it'd send him your start time, each time you hit a checkpoint, and your checkout time. I rode this one with Rob and my 10-year-old daughter on my fully rigid SS. Ellie and I finished in 34 miles and 19:45 hours. Ellie was awarded for being the youngest participant and finisher. 

11/21/2020 - Dragon Slayer Cancelled due to Covid

10/17/2020 - Enchilada Buffet

  • Time: 9:22
  • Miles: 81
  • Elevation: 5932

The EB this year was self-supported. You could start where you wanted and just turn in your GPS for inclusion in the results. I won SS and came in 6th overall. 

9/26-27/2020 - Death March in 2 parts

  • Time: 7:26
  • Miles: 43
  • Elevation: 4285

Impromptu Death March. Don't remember the actual impetus for this one, but it appears I threw out 42 miles in 2 days. Pretty silly.

3/19/2020 - COVID HITS

12 days after the Slayer. Lockdown begins. Battles for toilet paper and trying to get groceries delivered took a front seat to riding yer bicycle. 

3/7/2020. Death March. 

  • Time: 9:07
  • Miles: 51.70
  • Elevation: 4991

This was a tough ride. Started out leading maybe 15 or 20 guys in my group (the hard(er) group), I think we ended up with around 6? I recall Brian Schoolcraft doing having several epic could-have-been-really-bad falls but he stayed upright and just bounced around like a ballerina. I remember Skoofer looking at me like I kicked him in the nards when I told him we were saving Cheesegrater for the very end, lol (we started it at mile 49). I skipped no gnar and rode no roads that weren't necessary. 

11/24/2019. Dragon Slayer.

  • Time: 10:38
  • Miles: 92
  • Elevation: 5750

Looks like I was 12th out of 27 3-lap finishers. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Enchilada Buffet - 2019

For the ride down, EB Officials had asked me if I could lead us out of the park, but since I only ride Walnut once or twice a year I elected Shane. I did agree to lead the road section once we got on the other side of Mopac. Even with Shane's familiarity with WC, we still missed the turn so the ride started out with a silly bottleneck trying to get off the concrete path. Once we got onto the street I felt like I was spinning way too fast and I was pretty sure I'd regret it once I hit dirt. A single speed isn't the bike to spin on, especially if you're used to riding the Greenbelt. I've got no opportunity for that kind of conditioning (and who am I kidding, if I did I wouldn't take it anyway).
Once we got neared Zilker some dude ended up flying off the path into a storm drain. It's a pretty dangerous turn and I'm actually surprised that's the first time it's ever happened. Apparently he was fine. I happened to turn around and see it, just saw a back wheel about 4 feet in the air and then it disappeared.
I was following the GPS course but the bulk of the group had different ideas and ditched me right near the pedestrian bridge. I got back into line about 30 spots back b/c the GPS route was a bit longer and then again when they turned down towards the park and I went around the way Fruhe led us a few years ago. No big deal, we all got there but I ended up way past mid-pack.
Passed a lot of good natured riders. Pretty cool being back in the pack, able to walk up the pack but not really wanting to get crazy. Ended up leading 3-5 guys through the GB for a while, they passed me when I'd walk the ups and I'd catch them eventually. It was a really good, chill greenbelt EB. I think I'm gonna flash back to the original intent of the opener of the EB in future years, a nice chill social pace on the way down and bullshitting with dudes on the trail.
Got to see my family on the Hill of Life, as usual, but they had a special guest with them. Jason Smith's back is decidedly worse than mine and his doctors told him he was disallowed from EBing this year.

 Got my yearly 'illegal emotional handup' from my kids and hit the road. I did have Jason to keep me company, making the road much more bearable. Ended up rolling up 360 with several guys including 1/2 of the single speeders in the whole ride!

The roads, allow me a moment to gripe about the roads. Running a 32x19/18/17 makes the GB, CP, Eds and Thumper miserable but running that 20 makes the roads terrible. I'm not sure what my strat will be going forward, but man, those roads are about as fun as the dentist.
Passed the leaders coming out of City Park as I was about to roll in. Holy shit.
It was great to see Gary Crowell - hadn't seen him since the old ATX100k days, we did a bit of catching up and I headed in, cramping a good bit from the road on the way over. The trail did me wonders and by the time I was rolling out of CP I was feeling great. However, the road struck back and I was cramping about 10 min later. Sigh. Caught up to Dan and Travis (SS) and we once again headed out.
Rode up Eds with Yeamans, he got lost coming down. Entered Thumper with Travis but lost him pretty much immediately (he was on a 32x17 - yikes).
Thanks for the aid station. Cold water was a life saver.

Thumper sucked. no surprise. It was VERY hot on the 2nd half. Ran into Octavio and he needed some water.
Did some Zen breathing exercises and managed to take a micro-nap while riding on the way to Walnut. It was kinda nice, not sure how safe, however.
After the first bits of Walnut, I was feeling really good. Cooled down and the road cramps had subsided. Wrapped up in 9:14 with Shawn Boher (he'd had a plug come out of his tire like 3 times).
Officially I'm 3rd SS to cross, 13th overall. ~60 started, ~40 finished. There was a good bit of confusion about the route this year but that's the way it goes. 

My suffer score was 964 which seems incredibly high. I felt bad most of the ride but good lord, that seems like a waterboard score.


Coming into the EB this year I'd had some health issues. My back when out on a ride, a decent amount of pain, left leg went numb for a few days. Took some chiropractic and physical therapy to walk right but I'd say I'm 90% at this point. The leg is just a little weak, basically, it's probably mostly OK but the nerves in the leg are lying to me. That's all for excuses.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2018 EnduraRace Dragon Slayer

TLDR: 3 laps. Start time 07:00. Finish time 5:15. Total time 10:15 (1 hour slower than last year). Single speed. 21st out of 41 3-lap Slayers. 138 folks finished at least one lap (holy crap!).

This year I rode my Vassago VerHauen with a 32x20. That gear is a bit short on the flats, but it's what I run for any tech. Lessons learned from SSing the GB, EB, CP, Thumper, etc. - walking technical is more demoralizing than spinning roadie sections is annoying. This years's race started off with a bit of banter; discussions of Make Out Point and how my absurd handlebar mustache does little to keep me warm but really gets other folks hot. The actual ride, however, devolved quickly into me figuring out that I'd be spending the next 10 hours off the back. Guys I usually ride with dropped me like a fat kid on a Huffy. I had zero power to put into the pedals, what the hell? That was about how the whole day went: the ride was hard (expected), the cramps weren't bad (unexpected), but the cold was rough. I dreaded the dam every lap b/c I'd end up shivering by the time I got off it. I'd get warmed back up in the rocks but the final 6 miles would chill me again. As far as the overall ride went, I wasn't standing on the gears on the climbs b/c that's how I threw my back out last year, so I did a fair bit of walking on the longer climbs. My pit stops were pretty quick, maybe 5 min each, mostly thanks to Infinit. If you're having issues with proper nutrition on long rides, check them out.

Let it be known now, I hate the cold. Anything under 50 degrees is usually a hard no-go for me. I certainly won't ride for training/fun and I tend to avoid winter races. However, the Dragon Slayer needed ridden, so I spent cash on a rather audacious Alarming Yellow Jacket and figured 'how bad could it be?'

Cold. It could be really damn cold. My core stayed pretty warm but my extremities were cold enough that my words weren't coming out right when I'd speak and I was having handling issues (lots of shoulder-checking trees).

Turns out, when I got home, I felt sick. Sore throat, etc. Initially, I figured it was just from huffing cold air for 10 hours but the wife took the kids to the doctor the next morning and turns out we have strep. So the chills I was experiencing had more to do with the fever and less than the temperature. It does kinda suck to know that, in the elastic of my shorts, I had 8 Advil and could have had a much different ride if I'd have realized that I had a low-grade fever. The next day I got a prescription for Penicillin, so in keeping with the ATX100k/EnduraRace theme of 'throwback to a better day' racing, I'll be dosing with an antibiotic that's been developing resistant strains since the 1920's! Fun.

On that note, it's really nice to see EnduraRace taking off. Not sure if you know, but back in 2011 (?) Todd posted to BikeMojo that he wanted to start a bike race series that wasn't geared towards cry-baby Stravatards, where all the B lines would be roped off, and where you'd be required to ride the gnarliest things we could find. Based on that premise, trying to take cross-country racing back to a proving ground for how good of an off-road rider you were and moving away from a test of roadie fitness, we created the ATX100k series. EnduraRace spawned from those early ATX100k races and learning experiences. We learned that folks don't want to know they'll finish; people want a real challenge. Riders seem to crave a setting where the risk is real and the outcome isn't predetermined. That you're going to get congratulated if you roll across the line, not just if you roll in top 3. The final ATX100k race that first year was held at Reveille Peak Ranch. 43 people started that race, only 3 finished. Coincidentally, one of the 3 finishers of that brutal race was the winner of this brutal race.
Johnny and the fam

Speaking of the devil, my boy Johnny 'Moto' Russell finished 2018's DS in 8:20 and had more than enough time to hang out with my family while they were waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for me to show up. Congrats man, awesome finish. Hopefully next year I'll be able to keep up a bit better :)

In all honesty, the 2018 Dragon Slayer was a rough time for me. After last year's Slayer, my back went out (pinched a nerve) leading to a pretty long recovery, physical therapy, etc. I'm basically 60 hours and 900 miles short on training this year. This year's triple really drove that home for me, with a bullet. Big plans for next year - stay healthy and ride my bike more.

Me with my rock & my kids with marshmallows.
Not sure who is happier ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

EB 2018

TLDR: Started at GB. 9:18 total time pumphouse to pumphouse.
Strava link:
Relive link:

2018 has been very rainy. The original EB date was postponed until November 3rd. The EB board made a call that the creek was still dangerous on the 3rd and postponed the ride until Jan 12th. Since I handle the cold about as well as Lindsey Lohan handles rehab, I decided to do it solo.

Jason and I were discussing doing solo rides (he rode the next day, the 3rd, so I got to win the EB for one day - thanks J...) and I got pretty freaked out about dying in commuter traffic. I made a spreadsheet that would tell me when I'd be in certain sections of the ride, depending on when I left and how long I figured the ride would take. It has further use, if you have a significant other or buddies who want to meet you along the ride, so I've shared it. Feel free to use it if you want.

I decided to do the EB from my house (basically the Pumphouse trail on the GB). I headed out at 7:10; it was just barely light enough to see the street in front of my house. Riding Pumphouse down was OK, but the lack of light made judging ledges a bit hard and I donked into a few simple ledge-ups while it was still fading dawn. Also, it was cold as balls (40s). I was, honestly, very worried about crossing the creek and getting wet in those temps. Turned out that the water was noticeably warmer than the air, which was nice (until I got out). The creek was down ~6 inches from the previous weekend and noticeably slower.

Traveling in commuter traffic turned out to be OK. The only issue was crossing to Courtyard on the other side of Pennybacker - I had to wait a good while for an opening. I was the only person at City Park, which was kinda cool. A tiny bit of mud but overall it was really nice. About mid-way through CP I started to be able to feel my toes and fingers which was also really nice ;).

I stopped at the firehouse on the way back for my first rest. Talked with a firefighter while I mixed up some Infinit. I've been using a custom formula for years and the results speak for themselves. I can ride for 24 hours and at the end I'm not even hungry. I do 1 serving every 1 hour, so the EB breaks up into 2 refuel stops for me (3 servings per 2.5L hydration bladder). Hopped back on the bike and booked over to St. Ed's. The St. Ed's climb is no longer a fitness/technical challenge, it's just fitness. Some good Samaritan has smoothed out all the ledges so you can just ride up them. Sad.

Rode back to Thumper, had to get off the road a few times to let cars pass. Drivers were very safe and respectful, I must say. Rode Yaupon all the way up. Thumper was a real beast. It's not like the trail has much flow anyway, but with all the timber in the trail getting into a rhythm was nearly impossible. I thought that Jason was kidding me when he told me that at one point I'd have to belly crawl, dragging my bike by the handlebars behind me - he wasn't. I felt GOOD in Thumper and my time was almost as bad as the time I considered setting an alarm and going to sleep...

Popped over to Walnut, stopping at the 7-11 @ Duval and Mopac for a gallon of water and mixed up my final servings of Infinit. Walnut was pretty deserted. I got a bit turned around at first trying to follow my Garmin until I realized that the route didn't seem to have the new sections. I ended up just doing the route I know and throwing in all the new sections I could remember. Wasn't really sure what the proper way to get over to the road was, so I just re-rode up Endo Valley to the high-line.

The road South to home was a trial in mental endurance. Spinning the 32x20, all alone, good lord. By the time I was entering the trails near Enfield, there was enough traffic that the feeder road folks were a bit jammed up and I felt pretty safe with their speed.

The final leg in the greenbelt was quick. The creek crossings were welcome, the chilly water felt nice on my legs by that point. Ended up hitting pumphouse @ the 9:18 mark.

One of the better Fridays I've spent, for sure. My total time 9:18, which is pretty damn slow, but I had a lot left in the tank. I guess, w/o extrinsic motivation, it's hard to keep on the gas. I should have gone harder, but I had a good day w/o pain or cramps which was nice.

The 2018 official EB Podium - overall AND single-speed. 

See y'all in January (as long as it's not freezing)...

Thursday, November 8, 2018

2017 Enchilada Buffet

So, apparently (it's November 2018) I never finished my ride report for the EB in 2017.

End result: 7th overall, 1st Single Speed. I'm pretty proud of that since I'd only started riding SS earlier that year and my back was out (it'd be a few more weeks before my back would take me out for a few months starting mid-November just after the Dragon Slayer)

Here are my notes, they're pretty poor but it is what it is.

Spin down. Holy crap. My bounciness was a topic of discussion at one stop light
BC - Bit of pain climbing out the back side. Saw the girls. Wonderful kids
Road. So sad but not as sad as I'd thought it would be.
Courtyard and CityPark. Walked but didn't loose much distance at all. Lesson here is don't kill yourself to make up time riding up road hills in granny.
CP - nice change of pace. Lots of folks lost plus one rather shiddy motorcycle.
Saw Gary. Hi gary.
Nate - St. Eds. Pulled me to Thumper
Guy in Thumper, British. Sorry
Guy from Thumper over to Walnut back and forth. Got lost on the bridge. Got lost in WC. Turns out the GPS isnt' all that helpful if you haven't ridden Walnut at least once recently.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 ATX100k Dragon Slayer.

TLDR: 3 laps. Start time 7:30. Finish time 4:43. Total time 9:13. Single speed.
I was 3rd overall behind Jason Smith (SS) and Noel Reuter. Right behind me were Barry Davis and C. Baron (hardtail) to round out the top 5 Dragon Slayers.

The inaugural Dragon Slayer was all Todd's idea.
Picture blurry to protect the guilty
I just want to make that clear so nobody tries to kick me in the taint (that threat has been leveled).

Generally, most folks would be more than happy to complete 1 lap of an International Mountain Biking Association Epic trail. However, in keeping with the ATX100k tradition of doing the gnarliest crap at the gnarliest places we can find, doing 3 laps for 80 miles seemed just about right.

I had to be at Russel Park to set up, which meant I had to leave my South Austin home at 4:45 am (holy crap). That's OK though, because I slept terribly and was already awake when my 4 am alarm went off. The night before I'd measured 3 laps worth of Infinit (9 total servings - 1 per hour), put 1 lap in my Camelback, and put the other 2 in dry water bottles so I can add water, shake and go. You'd think I would mix them ahead of time so it would be faster the day of, but I'm superstitious so I don't pre-mix them so as to not jinx myself (we're all weird, don't judge). I also put 6 electrolyte pills in my strap pocket, b/c I've found that I need a pair of those every 3 hours or so to keep from cramping up. I'd mixed up a bottle of my specially formulated 'pickle juice'. It tastes like Satan's butthole and it'll gag the guy riding IN FRONT of you, but it'll kill a cramp in 30 seconds, every time. I was riding my Breezer aluminum single-speed frame I picked up for $100 from an un-named good Samaritan. It's got a shock, so I'm not a complete masochist, but the shock does suck and that aluminum frame delivers quite a beating to the twig and berries...
The Good Samaritan

I got to Russel just before 6 am to see Todd moving cones around. He'd slept about 3 hours the night before too. It's been a while since we'd put on a race so I guess we both had the jitters. He'd also been out late replacing flagging that some brain-donor had pulled down. I got kitted out, chatted with a few of the early arrivals and started directing traffic. We'd set the entry limit at 75 b/c we weren't sure how much parking we would have, but it looks like next year we can probably swing 100 riders? Take note: register early, ya slackers.

Before I knew it, Todd called the pre-race meeting (consisting mostly of 'don't count on anyone but yourself' and 'don't be a dick') then we were off. I was in the first group along with Shane and Noel (who I'd finished the Enchilada Buffet with last year). Noel didn't seem like he was hurting at all after winning the EB, so I figured he'd set a gross pace (I was right...). Shane and I were on his wheel for a few miles but he eventually walked off and left us. Chuck and Dwayne went around us at Hogg Park for about a mile until they burped a giant-ass tire and had to stop. A one-lapper passed us right at that slippery sketch bridge and he also immediately had a flat. I guess passing us is bad luck (take note, motherfuckers!)? 
Pass us and roll the dice!
For the rest of that lap, Shane and I were alone. I'd work a bit ahead of him in the rock and he'd run me down and keep me honest in the flats. Lap time 2:47:27.

Crunch. Squish. Horror.
Starting the 2nd lap, I mixed 3 servings of Infinit and  threw a 1/2 bottle of 'pickle juice' on my bike. Shane lit out of the pit ahead of me, and I caught up to him at some point, not really sure where. I do remember those first 8 miles of rock had me cramping. I also kept imagining that the leaves I was running over where Orchid Mantises, which was kinda freaking me out. Miles 30-40 were the worst for me of the whole ride, probably due to the speed of the first lap, some nerves, and not drinking enough Infinit because I wasn't that thirsty. At some point, maybe in the the South Shore mess, Shane and I got separated, and I'd not see him again until the finish. About mid way through the 2nd lap, Jason Smith caught up to me as I was walking up a hill (take note, he was 6 min behind me at the start), and I rode with him for about a mile before he pulled away. I was encouraging him to go catch Noel, that he was making up a lot of time since Noel was in my starting group. I caught him again at the very end of the fire roads and we finished up the 2nd lap pretty close together. 2nd lap 2:58:41

Make out point. Wonder what is going on with those two riderless bikes...
After a quick pit, with 'The Todds' yelling at me to pit faster, I started my third lap. I saw Barry as I was leaving and decided to give him a rabbit to chase. I fully expected him to run me down but somehow I kept out in front of him. Third lap was pretty uneventful, just the usual despair and agony of an ATX100k event. I was super glad to see 'Make-out Point' (Cody - call me!) for the 3rd and final time. Right after that is the bit with all the Elm trees - it's just a really flowy bench cut for a mile or so. That's basically the last bit of technical riding before the finish line 8 miles away. Just before Russel park I heard my kid's chant 'BE AWESOME DADDY!' and I was overjoyed. They'd surprised me by showing up and had walked down the trail a bit to wait for me. I stopped to give them each a gross, salty smooch on the cheek and I hammered up the trail trying to look way fresher than I felt. I wrapped up the 3rd lap in 3:22:25, rolling into the parking lot at 4:43 pm.

The Dragon Slayer was a great event, hands down one of the best rides I've been on. Lots of solitude, lots of tech demanding your focus and no cars to worry about. The Slayer was perfect initiation into the world of single-speed 'not-a-race' racing. Thanks to the other organizers, I really didn't do anything other than show up and tell folks where to park. Huge thanks to Todd for organizing the event. Thanks to Lee Compton for all his work maintaining the trails.

Big thanks to Texas Cycle Werks, Georgetown Cyclewerks, The Peddler Bike Shop, Orange Seal, Hammer Nutrition, 512 Brewing, and Lezyne Lighting for all the loot and support. I've never been to a race with 75 participants and that many prizes. The loot tables were sagging for goodness sake!

Just like the Immortal Twisted Sister said: 'I Won A Rock!'

Images stolen from Tony Fryer, ATX100k, and Jason Smith.