Sunday, July 12, 2009

San Jose Livestrong Challenge 2009 Ride Report Win Susan!

$64,286.90 is the amount of money raised by Team Fat Cyclist for the Livestrong Challenge in San Jose this year which was more than any other team participating in the event. One of the perks of being the top fundraising team is being able to line up at the front of the "ride" directly behind the Police escort. There were some pre-ride instructions and for a brief moment they opened the mic to our Team Captain Matt Chapek and gave him a minute to explain who Team Fat Cyclist Fighting for Susan was. He did a great job as Captain, thanks for all the time and effort in getting us organized, well done. After Matt was done there were more instructions "This is not a Race", we were told not to pass the Police escort and off we went.

Riding behind the Police escort was great, they kept us at an easy pace for the first 15-20 miles. It was nice to ride as a team for the first while and be able to talk a bit. After a while I noticed a lot of green jerseys forming at the front, little did I know at the time but these guys and gal would serve as my personal domestiques through the majority of the ride. I later found out that these guys were from team Beat the Clock.

A small gap began to open between the green jerseys and the rest of us. This is just a "Ride", yea right. I made a break for it and was able to bridge the gap, my plan was to hang on the wheels of the lead group as long as possible until I cracked then I would sit up and take a more leisurely pace and enjoy the ride.

Around mile 40 the group had thinned to 10. We pulled into an aid station to refill bottles an fuel up. We talked briefly and were off again. Usually I start to hit the wall at about mile 50 but today I felt strong, I even made a couple of token pulls on the lead group. It felt good to be at the front but I was obviously the weakest rider of the group and quickly found myself sucking wheels again.

At Mile 60 we went through some rolling hills and I started to fall back, I looked up and one of the guys from team Beat the Clock was coming back for me, I got on his wheel and he reeled me back in to the group. I wish I had a picture of this guys legs. It was all I could do to hang on his wheel and I am pretty sure he wasn't even breathing hard. I have never met these guys in my life yet they were treating me as if I were one of their team members.

Metcalf Road was around the 70 mile mark, I got dropped hard. I actually did the walk of shame three times before I got to the top. That thing is steep. "If I only had one more gear..." At the top of Metcalf was an aid station where I could see team Beat the Clock gathered, I figured that I would continue and soon enough they would pass me and I would get dropped again.

After the summit of Metcalf was a screaming down hill, I was glad to be able to ride it alone big groups make me nervous, it was supper fun. As I suspected my break didn't last long and the lead group came screaming by me, one of the riders yelled out grab a wheel as they went by so I did and was able to ride on their coat tails to the finish line. The lead group of ten all crossed the finish line together with a time of 4 hours and 48 minutes which is by far the fastest century I have ever done and really the only one that I felt relatively strong all the way to the end. It's amazing what riding at 7-9000 feet will do for your fitness at sea level. I had one of the best rides of my life today, it was amazing.

I just want to say thanks to Elden and his supper power. You know when he asks you to do something you have to do it. This year our family summer vacation had a purpose. At the appreciation banquet for the top fund raisers Matt Chapek shared this from Elden's Blog, a post about what he would say to cancer.

"I've got a lot of friends, and we're working together to help fight it. Sure, it's just a little drop in the bucket, but there are a lot of us. And we're all going to put or drops in the bucket. And someday that bucket will be full, and we will have beaten you, cancer. And that's a good reason to do this.
Because I can't bear the thought of my kids having to someday face cancer themselves."
Here are some links to other team member ride reports.
Others coming soon as I find them.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Road Riding on Antelope Island

Next Sunday is the Livestrong Challenge ride in San Jose so I figured I should start putting some miles on the old road bike. I set out from my house and made my way across the causeway out to Antelope Island. Despite living here for two years now I have never ridden across the causeway on my road bike. Last year I rode off road on the Island twice and got puncture weed flats both times, haven't been back since.

The ride out
After paying my three bucks at the toll booth I shifted into the big ring and hammered down. This is probably the flattest road in Utah and had a slight tail wind so I just kind of zoned out as the miles flew by. The lake is kind of stinky, kind of like the hot pots up Diamond Fork Canyon, you get used to it after a while.

The Island

Once you get on the Island there is wildlife almost everywhere you look.
The road goes from flat to rolling hills which is a nice change of pace. The two tiny dots in the center of the picture on the beach are Coyote's (I promise).
The lake stinks and sometimes there are a lot of bugs but to make up for that there are some spectacular views.

After cranking through a few miles of rolling hills I ran across these guys.
They seem pretty harmless, kind of like big cows that make scary snorting and grunting noises when you go by.
This guy was all by himself out humping a rock. I thought it was kind of funny. Ok maybe he was scratching his stomach.
Tail Wind

On the way back a monster storm rolled in. It looked like I was going to get soaked so I pedaled as hard as I could. The wind was picking up in front of the black wall off to the West and I could tell that if I could get in front of it before it hit the causeway I would have a direct tail wind. When I hit the causeway the road turned exactly parallel to the gale force winds. It was like surfing an imaginary wave on a bicycle. This was one of the strangest things I have ever experienced, I was completely spun out. I could see the violent wind bending the grasses straight to the ground along the sides of the road but since I was traveling at the same velocity as the wind the air directly around me was eerily still and quiet. I am guessing that I was cruising at 45-50 mph as I blew across the causeway and the farm roads leading to my house at a pace closer to freeway driving than bicycle riding.

As near as I can tell this is about a 45 mile round trip ride from my house (note to self, replace computer batteries), no major canyon ascent and descent but still a very nice ride. I did it three times last week. I think that this is just the thing to get me in shape for San Jose.