Friday, June 22, 2007

Nothing left to do but SMILE, SMILE, SMILE





Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lumberjack 100

I tell ya what; I honestly don’t know how I lived without GPS in the cars all these years. Friday I plugged the Lat and Long coordinates of the LumberJack 100 located in the Manistee National Forest in Michigan, up there between Grand Rapids and Traverse City and pointed the Jeep in the direction of the arrows. 7 hours later we arrived at the Big M ski area in Michigan. No maps, no planning, no worries!

We saw Ross and Tif as we pulled in and went off to pre-ride the first 7 miles to see what the self titled Big M’fer is all about. Fun, smooth flowing single track with small pits of sand thrown in to keep ya on your toes is what it is. No huge ½ hour climbs, no rocks, hardly any roots. Connie was digging the flow of the trail! After riding we went to the cabin and then on to the local inn for sum grub. Brett rolled in around 10:30 as Ross & I were making last minute race prep. The one last minute change I made per Ross’s story of last year’s race was cutting back on the thickness of the two hour bottle of Hammer stuff. It made perfect sense per my past experience (not being able to digest Hammer stuff during lasts year 90 degree 160 mile ride across Indiana), race day was supposed to be in the 80’s so I thought that strategy would prevent any nutrition disaster.
5:15am strolled around mighty fast - get up, eat and go. Ross and I rode to the venue to warm up a bit. The race started down the road from the single track at 7:00am. 240+/- racers jocking for position. I got in the top 20 and was witness to the most spastic riding I’ve ever seen my super smooth calm teammate race. The start was straight up a small but mighty hill. What made it so mighty were the troughs of sand leading up to the climb and the heaps of sand on the bottom, steepest part of the hill. We entered double file and then someone fell. This threw Ross into the deepest of the sand and he was all over the place, pinging and knocking off riders trying to maintain some kind of momentum. Then he jumped off and back on only to hear his drive train scream with pain and pop and Ross was off swarming into yet another uncontrollable sand pit and nearly taking out another handful of riders. I held up a bit and he jumped in and then we hit the base of the climb. I guess not one rider made the lower portion of the climb, all dismounted and ran up the wall of sand according to Tif. Ross and I made it to the single track in the top 15ish. As far as I could see we were all pacing along the single track. I was tucked in behind Ross and Ernesto and they were behind a few other riders. I was content and just eased into the pace, but then spastic boy wasn’t finished, we where on a downhill and he decided to pass Ernie on a crazy section, Ross steps it up, pushes down on the cranks and swerves left into the high ferns & grass, sticks popping and flying Ross has nowhere to go as Ernie was on the rear tire of the guy in front of him, they slam elbows a bit, I’m thinking what the F you doing Ross. I thought for sure Ernie was going to hold his line but I guess he figured safe then sorry and finally let Ross in. We continued tempo for ¾ a lap then on the open field climb the pack split. I backed off a bit, content with the start and my position I decided to race my race and see what happens.

After watching spastic boy, the rest of the race was status quo and every bit as normal as a 100 miler could be. It only had 8000 feet or so of climbing but that was very deceiving because the course layout was rather flat. You were constantly working and hammering the flats, pedaling most of the time, trying to not ping off any trees at high speed, there was never any real recovery. The only issues I had was sever lower back pain on lap 2 and 3. I figured it was due to the tight hamstrings but more then likely it was the pounding speed of the course and my week core strength. My hands also blistered up good, but that’s what I get for not riding much single track this year and conditioning my hands to 100 miles of singletrack. I did hit the same tree twice, so hard the first time I really thought I had broken my carbon handlebars, but all was good!

I dig the format of this race, it’s not a 100 mile single loop but 4 - 25 mile laps. Its nice having access to my awesome pit crew - my lovely, smiling and encouraging wife each lap. She finds ways to inspire me to finish faster – like... “hurry up, the bugs are eat’n me alive” so the sooner I could finish… her suffering would end with mine! Also I like not having to rely on aid stations for 100 milers, you just never know if your stuff is gonna be there? I took enough Hammer Nutrition and water to get me through each lap and that strategy worked to perfection for this race. I really did not feel any super lows, or have any nasty stomach issues associated with heat and fatigue. It was also great to be able to gauge your lap times to see how the suffering was relating to previous laps.

Split times
18th place #37 Kevin Daum 1:46 3:47 5:55 8:07

Lap times
1:46 lap 1
2:01 lap 2
2:08 lap 3
2:12 lap 4I tried to stay consistent with my lap times. I was shooting for a under 8 hour finish, once again missed it by a couple of minutes but considering I’ve been off the bike 4 of the past 6 weeks with pulled hamstrings I’m glad I reached my goal of a top 20 finish. Shoot, the rest and recovery probably helped more the hurt! I’ve been trying to figure out ways to get faster and break the top 15 or maybe even the top 10. But when I analyze the results and rider profiles I should be sit back, grab a beer and be happy for what I got. Do I want to sacrifice any more then I already have for the sake of a few more positions - F YA! Sure I could lose 10 more pounds but then I’d be skinny rib cage meth dude. Can’t do anything about cutting down my 6’4” size. I can train and ride more but I'd be stuck with the guilt of leaving my son Landon and wife Connie and wondering if they'll pack up and leave one day. All the cycling magazines are reporting about the abuse of drugs in our sport, maybe that’s the way to get faster, all the cool kids are doing it! I could quit my full time job and have time for training, riding, family, fatherhood, but I don’t think the $500 first place prizes for some of these events could be close to supporting your trip costs plus entry fees let alone costs of living and raising a family.

It is what it is and I’ll take it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lumberjack 100

Quick update.

Race went as well as one of these can go for me. I finished 19th overall out of 250 racers in a time of 8.07. The Ohio contingent faired well. Shawn Adams – 5th, Ernie M – 10th, Ross Clark 12th, yours truly 19th, Brett Davis 30th.

The top 10 were mainly pro and semi-pro riders. Not sure how I can crack into that kind of finish seeing I’m over a foot taller and 30lbs heavier but my pursuit will continue. I’m satisfied with my finish. It was a good fast fun course and all was well. More details soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

LumberJack 100

Off to race # 3 of the National Ultra Endurance MTB Series this weekend. Taking this one for what it is, a see whats up and where I stand race, the hamstrings seem fully recovered so we'll see what I got and if I can dish it out. Looks like its been as dry up in Mich as here in Ohio, so should be a fast dry course in 80 degree weather. Ross and Brett have also registered. The course is a little different from other courses, four 25 mile laps with 99% single track and about 1/2 the climbing of the other races in the series.
The race website can be found here Lumberjack100

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sitting one out

I knew this was going to be a rough week. Connie finally pushed me out the door and on my bike this weekend. She knew it was time based on my level of non-riding grumpiness and my limping and gimping around the house had deminished. This weekend was the Mohican 100 (stop number 2 for the National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Series) I should stay away from reading all the blogs about the race - it makes me even more bummed I decided not to race. I’m still trying to convince myself it was the right decision. So what’s up with sir lazziness?

First off….did not realize how long it’s been since my last post. No racing action to report. Been prepping for the Mohican 100 which was this past weekend, including quite a few visits to the Mohican trail system and was feeling really good about it, but all my prep was for not.

Since the Cohutta 100

Week #17 – 8 hours training (recovery week)
Week #18 - 12 hours training - starting riding down at Mohican
Week #19 - 18 hours training - rode Mohican Forest both ways – 50 miles total. Have the 25 miles of single-track wired, feeling ready for the Mohican 100.
Week # 20 - 2 hours of training - this was supposed to be my 20+ hour week. Pulled/strained both hamstrings working in the yard, did not know it happened until the next morning. Way strange. I’m guessing they were super tight (as usual) and jamming the shovel into mother earth ripped/stained em good. It was tough to stand up and walk the first couple of days. Tried to ride the bike on Friday, did ok for 1st ½ hour but then after 10 minute tempo hamstrings said no way.
Week # 21 - 2 hours of training - Allergies came out of nowhere this year and have been a huge drag, have zero energy and want to sleep, a cup of coffee seems heavy to lift. Fatigue level is strange – best to describe it as Flu like systems with out the nasty of the flu. Combined with the strained hamstrings, I’m bumming but getting stuff done around the house.
Week # 22 - 8 hours of training - rode Tuesday with Connie at Reagan Park. Connie kept me in check, hamstrings felt good. Still unable to stretch them without any great deal of pain. Wednesday hit the trainer and increased intensity and was able to get 1 ½ hour.
Week #23 – We’ll see what happens. I’m gaining my flexibility back. Hamstrings are still tight but does not hurt to ride anymore. Rode to work this morning. Medina to Akron is about 23 miles one way. Takes about 1 ½ hours. So that gives me 50 miles and 3 hours in the saddle each day and saves me about 10 bucks in gas in day.

The good news – time off the bike equals muscle recovery and a lot of free time - been able to finish up a lot of stuff around the house that training hampers. Got the new kitchen floor totally finished, new windows installed, raised garden put in and 10 yards of mulch and 4 ½ tons of stone thrown around with the help of friends and family.

Next stop, the Lumberjack 100 in upper Michigan in two weeks.