Saturday, July 24, 2010

So you're saying there is a chance....

My July hasn't gotten exactly to plan. My one bike race / goal for the year, the Laramie Enduro, is July 31st and preparations haven't gone so well. I thought I had it arranged where I would be home for the month of July, allowing me to get up and ride early in the mornings before work. Well that didn't work....I got an assignment in July. Ouch.

Even when I was home things didn't go according to plan. A couple weeks back I set out to do a long road bike ride with some bigger climbs. After about 25 miles in, I suffered my third flat, a blowout that destroyed the sidewall. That ride ended with Jill and Cooper picking me up.

Several other rides I had hoped to be longer hours and big miles just never really materialized for various reasons. All these things coupled with the fact that I had no real aerobic base this year due to being off the bike from February to June with the shoulder operation, and my chances at actually finishing the 111km Laramie course looked pretty slim. So slim that two weeks ago I was pretty sure I was just going to pull the plug and not even go. During a conversation about it with Jason Brandt, he gave me some immortal words of wisdom...


Which is Brandt's way of telling me that not starting is worse than not finishing, and that is worse than finishing dead freaking last.

Without giving it a shot, I'd never know if I could have mustered up enough out of my legs to finish the course. So I refocused myself and decided I needed to at least give it a shot, and if things were miserable or I just couldn't finish then I'd just pull the plug at that point.

Looking for one last tune up, or perhaps just a gauge to see where I currently am fitness-wise, I decided to get up early and head out for a 50+ miler on the singlespeed this morning. Up at 6am, wheels rolling by 6:30 and off towards Boulder on Nancy. A picturesque morning in Boulder County, things were starting to look up. I had pieced together a mix of trail, dirt roads, bike paths and pavement to make a nice, big loop.

Starting out I was measuring my output in a very calculated manner, and things were going really well. I felt great, bike was fast and the trails were in great shape. On my first section of trail I kept hearing a strange creak, which is odd given that Nancy never creaks. I shifted my weight around on the saddle and the creak would either get better or worse. While I was riding along and thinking about stopping to adjust the position to eliminate the creak, that damn Murphy and his law got me again...

I snapped the seat rail on my seat. Ugh.

Today I was not to be defeated though. I found that if I was "on the rivet" (as they say in cycling, which means on the nose of the saddle) that it seemed to be OK. I was 18 miles from home, but only 10 or so from Boulder and its abundance of bike shops, so I pedaled my way to Boulder. Problem solved, at least temporarily, as long as the saddle would hold up for another 10 miles of road riding.

I quickly hit another snag though as I rolled through Boulder to my chosen bike shop, but alas I was way too early. Given my early start it was still 1.5 hours before the shop opened. Well I'd come this far, so I just pointed my bike north towards the trails at Boulder Valley Ranch. Strangely enough, the seat was holding up OK despite being twisted into a pretzel from my weight and the broken seat rail.

I altered my planned route a bit for a little quicker way home with some more pavement, but made pretty quick work of the last 15 miles home after leaving the trails behind. I had a great moment of glory as I reeled in a roadie on a long, grinding climb despite my one gear and knobby tires. Some might say "yeah but he was 90" but I would counter with the fact that he was a very fit 90 years old....

I got back home without any more incidents, just in time to get cleaned up and take Jill and Cooper to lunch.Ended up putting in a bit over 55 miles in 4 hours of riding. I was surprised to see I somehow amassed over 3,400 feet of elevation gain too. While these numbers include quite a bit of road to connect, it was also on a singlespeed too. After this ride, I feel a lot more positive about where I stand and my chances (albeit still probably small) of finishing the Laramie Enduro. Next week will be some light spinning, but mostly rest before heading up Friday to Wyoming.

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