Skip to main content

Blood, sweat and gears

http://www.wataugademocrat.com
One of the biggest mountain cycling events in my part of the world is Blood, Sweat and Gears.  This sell out tour has 50 and 100 mile options and draws a motivated crop of competitors.  You can check out the ride at:
http://www.wataugaredcross.com/bsg/main/start.htm

Some of the top guns from the Boone Area Cyclists posted a ride this past Saturday...a training day on the BS&G 50 mile loop.  We set out at 9 am from the Valle Crucis school and from that moment forward, it was an epic day.

I'm not much on remembering routes, but I do know we toured through Blowing Rock (a portion of the Bistro ride), up and down many climbs, near the parkway, through Banner Elk and down a torn up Highway 194 back to Valle Crucis.  Matter of fact, the under construction 194 has caused BS&G to be rerouted for 2011.

I had to come to terms with myself once again on this outing.  My climbing wasn't bad and for a good part of the day, I could hold pace with the big boys.  Now that I'm riding a compact crank, I can drop in behind a top performer and judge apples-to-apples on gear choices.  My old Felt had a triple chainring up front, which gave me a lower gear option than the compact crank.  However, there's no way I could use a lower gear if I want to stay on pace.  Lower gearing means slower climbing and these guys can push the crank.  So with this crew, you drop onto the little ring up front and the big gear in back and grind.

I can continue to improve on ascending.  I can get lighter and stronger and I will.  But I'll never descend on pace.  I can't.  I'm too inhibited and don't have the skill.  This wound in my endurance sport DNA goes back almost 40 years.  My first love was motocross racing, where I quickly learned early I didn't have the stuff.  Never had the courage to hold the throttle on when needed.  If you've ever watched a really good rider (bike or motorcycle) it's all momentum, carrying speed through the turns and staying off the brakes.  I have too much self preservation.  And in any sport with speed, you better be completely invested or park the bike.

Think that I have done the best I can with what I have.  I know that God dropped a gem on me when he allowed me to build to the mountain bike rides I currently enjoy. But the moment I try to pick up the pace, I'm picking myself up off the ground.

So that's where it ended on Saturday.  Going down 194 is one of the steepest, fastest, curviest sections you'll see in this part of NC.  In addition the pavement was broken up with some sand and grit on spots. The other riders were over the top and gone.  I came in a distance back, dragging the brakes and riding with my butt off the saddle.

It's sad to admit when your best effort isn't good enough.  For some reason, the Lord didn't allow me to have one of the things I coveted most in life.  This is where faith comes in, believing He had a different (better?) plan for me. But that said, not being able to hang it out when needed has been a gaping hole in my life.

Comments

  1. sounds like a good time to me !!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Scott Jurek ate vegan, won ultras...then got divorced

(Disclaimer:  I am a Brooks-supported athlete; as part of that relationship, I was provided a complimentary copy of "Eat & Run")

I was recently on a few flights making my way home to Wisconsin and en route was able to plow through Scott Jurek's new book "Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness."

It's a fast, enjoyable read. I've been around the ultra scene for a long time and have known some of the greats, i.e. ultra champ Eric Clifton. So it's always interesting to see how the world looks from another icon's point of view.

My thoughts in no particular order:

1) I've been vegetarian/borderline vegan for 12 years and have always been concerned with protein intake.  Jurek advocates for the protein he naturally induces through his plant-based diet.  Maybe that is enough. Maybe it's not necessary to bang down 100+ grams of protein supplement every day. Good info and good advice.

2) I'm buying on big time to Scot…

Build your low cost gravel and commuter bike

It's the saga of Craigslist. You have a great perfect condition road bicycle to market. You ask a fair price. A few calls come in, most often the caller throws out a low ball offer, maybe 50% of asking price.

You don't need to give the bike away. You may not need the cash.

Consider re-purposing. You already own an excellent commuter and gravel bike. Think your bike is too low end, not good for the purpose?

Wrong. In most cases less expensive bikes are build with heavier parts, which means they are stronger. Heavier wheels = better ability to absorb commuter bumps and gravel roads.

A few simple modifications and you'll be rolling for transportation or logging road expeditions.

Here's my 2011 model Specialized Roubaix. I rode it for several seasons as a serious piece of road equipment. A few buyers offered up a few hundred dollars, so I went in another direction.

1) Added 700 x 28 Continental Gatorskin tires. Gatorskin tires wear like iron and you can trust them in off …

Now this is better...

Hey, I don't want to dole out too many epic photos in one day...but after that fatty shot from the New York City Marathon, I had to dig a bit deeper, and found this:

Check out that attractive specimen (second from right) circa 1986...only a year earlier and Tommy Terrific was looking pretty ripped.

I'll tell you this triathlon training camp was one of the high points of my master competitor career. On the left is Mark Hinson, the best triathlete in the southeast in the mid 19890's...and far right is Frank Kohlenstein, a soccer coach from South Carolina and the dude who got me into ultrarunning...that's tanned and toned Tommy next to David Bailey, one of the greatest men who ever threw a leg over two wheels with an engine.

So, right around the time of this camp, I crewed for Frank at the Western States 100 mile endurance run in California. Hinson ran with Frank through a very tough 20 mile desert section and when he made it to the next check, he pulled me aside and told…