July 2010 Newsletter

From mtbNJ.com Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
I'm fine, how have you been?

A Beginning

Another month? So soon? Someone recently asked me if the August newsletter was coming any time soon, and I confidently said that yes, it was on the way. Little did he know that it was about 10% done at the time, which may be an overstatement. But the question got me going, and the reality is that most of the content is done by the team. So sheepishly I got to work on it, and here we are a few days later, with a reasonably complete newsletter. Sure, it may be missing some bells and whistles, and who couldn't use more bells (especially cowbells)? But by and large it's a solid piece of material to get you through your work day.
Yeah, it's been a busy month. I'm at the peak of my riding, have done 5 races since the last newsletter, and am currently on beer #2. The picture above bears no resemblance how I may or may not feel some of these days. In reality, things are going great. I'm having a blast on the bike, the team is rockin' like Dokken, we're recycling tubes, helping promote races, curing cancer, saving the whales, and above and beyond all that just having a grand old time with everything.
Without the proverbial further ado, or Bob McAdoo for that matter, I present to you the 2010 July Newsletter. Enjoy!

Got Rubber?

That's a lot of rubber!
Recently, Ruth came up with an idea to collect some old tubes (both mountain and road) and put together a recycling project. She got in touch with 2 businesses (Green Guru and Cycle Dog) and coordinated with Mike D, promoter of the Darkhorse 40, and set up a collection box at the race on August 1st to collect as many old tubes as she could. The tubes are to be recycled into dog collars, flip flops, leashes, and the like. Turnout was great, and it turned out that her "Got Rubber?" campaign question ended with a big old "Yes!" In all, 135 tubes are being sent back to be turned into the longest dog leash in the world.
Ruth and the team would like to thank all the folks who donated to the cause. Start saving for next year! Oh and if anyone knows where we can rent a dump truck cheap, we may need it to carry them back.

Rider Q&A

This month our rider profile is ChrisG, aka Chris Gozick, one of 3 team riders named Chris. Along with myself, ChrisG was one of the original team riders back when Jake put together this ragtag group in late 2007. Chris has been through it all, and was recently seen sporting the team colors at the 8th annual Darkhorse 40, where he was overheard to say, "This may have been the most fun I've had at a race in 16 years of racing." After all this time, Chris is still having a blast out there.
I first met Chris online, back in late 2006 when he joined MTBNJ. We had a lot of fun online back then, doing silly things like changing people's avatars to cats, based on nothing more than random comments in posts on the board. Chris always rolled with it, and we got to know each other a bit better over the next year. As I continue to transition from a less-than-weekend warrior to an actual racer in 3 different disciplines, Chris has always been there to answer my questions about my latest endeavor.
Last month we spent a little time riding together at the Lewis Morris Challenge, and I get much enjoyment from the fact that happy or sad, suffering or having a blast, Chris will take the time to talk to you as if the two of you are having a beer and watching the game. Chris fits right into the class many refer to as Good People.
Here's more in his own words:


5 Questions with ChrisG

Chris rocking the colors in the muck

This past weekend you mentioned something like 16 years of mountain bike racing. Tell me a little but about those 16 years on the mountain bike, the ups & downs along the way.

ChrisG: I bought my first mtb, a Trek 7000, in the summer of 1992, and entered my first race in June 1993, at Mt. Peter in New York.

I don't remember there being any age divisions, my journal has me finishing 45 out of 97 in the beginner race. I remember being shocked at how hard everyone went out at the start, which of course is still something we talk about at races.

One month later, I raced again, this time at Windham Mountain. I remember the climbing seemed endless, and I had my first experience with genuine hypoxia when I got to the top of the course and was seeing spots. It was only some time after the race that I found out what was happening.

These two events pretty much planted the seed for so much that has happened since. I was instantly drawn to the adrenaline, the effort, the camaraderie, and the feeling of accomplishment of racing.

I did the 24 Hours of Allamuchy four times, 1997-2000, first as part of a 4-man sport team, and then as a solo. This event really helped me learn a lot about how to manage myself during races, how to ride more tech terrain than my local parks offer, and more than anything, how to keep pushing when suffering like a dog.

The 1999 season was a big one for me, as I upgraded to expert and rode on a very loaded team that included Chuck Erndl and Patrick Brown. We raced all over the northeast and mid-Atlantic, including several of the then-new AMBC races. This was another tremendous learning experience, and a time in which I began relatlonships with other racers that continue to this day.

Of all the people you have ridden with through the years, does 1 stand out as having had the most influence on you in terms of riding & racing? If not a person, maybe a team or group of friends?

ChrisG: The most important person in my riding history is a guy named Mike Merritt. He and I became acquainted in 1997, at first just by being Hartshorne locals. I think I actually met him through Pat Brown, who I also had recently begun riding with at the time.

Mike and I were together through all four times that I did the 24HoA, two trips to the Mt. Washington Hill Climb, many local mtb races, and thousands of training miles on the road and in the woods. It got to where it was a point of pride that we could ride ridiculously close to one another's wheels on singletrack, because we just knew the other guy's moves so innately.

Mike was way more talented (and 9 years younger) than I, and he pushed me to improve every time we rode together. Eventually, he began devoting himself to starting a family, and then developed some knee issues that all but knocked him off of the bike, so we haven't been riding together much in the last several years. To this day, though, it's rare that I am not reminded of Mike when riding our local trails and roads.

In all these years you must have raced and ridden a lot of different venues and events. Does any one of them stand out as the best, or your favorite in all that time?

ChrisG: For most of my riding history, my favorite race venue has been Kittatinny Valley State Park. KVSP just seems to suit me best, I guess it lines up well with Hartshorne, where I've done by far the most of my mtb training. Recently, though, Stewart State Forest has been an amazing addition to the schedule. I've raced there 4 times in the last 3 years, and the most recent Dark Horse 40 was perhaps the most fun mtb race I've ever done.

Shifting gears a bit. You have a wealth of experience, and a lot of people reading are really newbies, or guys like myself who've only been racing seriously a few years. What pieces of advice do you have for the really green newbies, as well as the people who are no longer wet behind the ears but don't have a wealth of experience riding seriously and racing?

ChrisG: Well, I appreciate your faith that I've learned something over the passage of the years. More than anything, I'd say it's vital to keep it fun, to remember why you got on the bike in the first place. I've seen more people than I can count who got into racing and training really intensely, made huge strides in the space of a few years, and then burnt out horribly when they got so wrapped up in training that they forgot to simply enjoy riding their bikes. By all means, ride hard, ride a lot, read piles of books on training, set up an annual plan, do all the stuff that will help make you faster, but make sure it all serves the pure enjoyment of riding the bike.

That's a great answer. Ok, last one. You've recently said that your hard-core racing days are behind you. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now with respect to the bikes? Any thoughts of getting into coaching? Think you'll still be racing?

ChrisG: I don't know that my hard-core racing days are behind me for good. The last few years have just seen me not training as intensely and not being as willing to sacrifice other enjoyments of life to travel to races. That being said, I always pull something of value out of every race I do, particularly the irreplaceable pleasure of being around my friends in the cycling community, and I'm still a competitive person, so the impetus to race is still there. Cyclocross has certainly given me a good kick in the butt to get out and compete as well, so I hope to increase my participation on that front. Re-entering the road racing fray or even targeting something in the long-distance mtb realm is not out of the question in the near future. My wife Christine has gotten more seriously into riding in the last few years, and she has always encouraged me to go out and enjoy whatever it is I'm doing.

I think I will always race, I've been involved in organized sports all my life, as a player and a coach, so it's pretty deep in my blood. Coaching cycllsts is certainly another avenue which seems natural for me, but I doubt it will ever become a very formal undertaking. I love sharing and learning in any way I can, and if I can be of use to someone on even the most basic level, that's all I can hope for.

Thanks for reading!

Races and Events

As expected, July was jam packed with racing. Even though the 4th of July weekend was race-free, I personally still managed to get 4 races in this month, if you include the August 1st Darkhorse 40 this past weekend. We had a whole lot of blue & orange out there the last 4 weeks, and this is some of what we saw from the team.

July 3/4

As mentioned, this was an event-free weekend for a change. Everyone on the team took the opportunity to kick back and relax and enjoy the steamy Jersey heat we've been having. It gave us all an opportunity to relax and prepare for the rest of the month.

July 10/11

The first non-racing weekend kicked off with the Zeppelin Crit, where Fred managed 12th place in what he called one of the more technical courses he's ridden on with a road bike. The following day was the Bulldog Rump, which is a fan favorite and once again proved to be a fun course for most. I say most, as Maurice, Ilya, and I all managed to DNF because of various mechanical issues. Ben managed an 8th place finish in cat 1 SS, while Patty knocked her 3rd one out of the park with another win in the cat 3 class. ChrisS managed to bag another podium spot with a 2nd place showing, Rob nabbed 3rd place, and Sherry continued her awesome year with another podium for a 3rd place finish in this one. Kirt grabbed his first H2H win, and Dana stepped away from the Injury Monster and lined up for the first time this year to pick up an 8th place finish, while Jenny finished ahead of her in 7th in the same class.
But the best story of the day was from Woody, who nailed his first win of the season in this one. In his own words:


The Bulldog Rump (by Woody)

Woody on his way to the top!

Well organized, Excellent communication, Fun course... Great job Bulldog!

My Race:

Got a good night sleep and woke up with plenty of time for breakfast and some time to relax before hitting the road. My wife had to borrow my truck for the day, so I dropped the top on her convertible, threw my bike in the back seat, and enjoyed the nice cool morning air for the drive up. Actually had to blast the heat to keep from getting too chilly. Rolled into the lot around 9AM and chatted with Rob, Jeremy and Dana for a few. Pumped my tires to 24psi, which is a bit higher than usual, but I didn't want to run too low and risk flatting, as this place is notorious for eating tires. Then I put on my superhero outfit and rolled over to the sign-in. I must have been feeling especially good, as I wrote my age on the waiver as "28". Luckily, Kirt was looking over my shoulder and pointed out that I was off by about a decade. Oops.

Linked up with Kirt, Ilya and Jeremy for a preride. Not that I really felt the need to warm up, but I wanted to get a feel for the course. Took it nice and easy, enjoyed the ride and took a few mental notes on the right lines thru the tricky areas. Came across Myles out there preriding too. [Myles and I have been battling for the podium in the past few races, and I suspected that this race would be more of the same. While I would certainly have the upper hand in the techy stuff, he's got more endurance and power in the smooth stuff and the climbs. This course was a perfect mix of techy and smooth...should be interesting.] Waking from my daydream, I realized that my preride partners were no longer behind me, so I waited a minute, then turned around and headed back to find them repairing Ilya's flat tire. [Glad I opted for the higher tire pressure!] Rolling again... Fun trails! On one of the descents, I got a little out of control and almost got thrown off the bike, but somehow rode it out. The rest of the preride went well, though we had to cut it a bit short and bail out when we realized it was already 10:15 and we all needed to go back to our cars to resupply.

Start:

I lined up at the front all the way to the right. About six people shot ahead of me right away. I'm no sprinter, so I hung behind them as closely as I could and hoped that I reel them back in the woods. I was about #7 going into the singletrack. The rocks were slick, but I managed to stay in the pedals and made the pass whenever I got an opportunity. About 5 minutes into the singletrack, I lost track of what place I was in, so as I was passing this one guy, I asked how many more were still ahead of us. He said from behind me "I'm leading". I grinned in surprise and thought to myself "not anymore!"

My first time at the front of the pack. I push hard and try to keep it that way... I see Brett up ahead on the fire road walking towards me, and as I pass, he calls me a 'showoff' or something like that and I give him a big smile. Always good to see spectators out in the woods, especially if they're folks who you know.

I occasionally catch a glimpse of somebody behind me so I stay on the gas the whole lap. More effort than I would like to put in on the first lap, but I know the race is relatively short so I dig deep and keep it going. At one point, I hear a guy closing in from behind, but I'm not too concerned because I hear chainslap. [Chainslap = derailleur = not SS ] He passes and I never see him again.

Coming down out of the woods at the end of the first lap, I turn the corner off the gravel towards the field and see a pickup truck completely blocking my road crossing. The crossing guard chick stars screaming at him to get out of the way and his eyes bug out when he sees me barreling towards the side of his truck with no apparent intentions of slowing down. He steps on the gas and lurches forward as I swing around his rear bumper without skipping a beat. Haul ass thru the grassy field and I'm thrilled to see so many cheering spectators at the finish area. [Bing, bing, bing with my bell in appreciation!]

2nd lap:

Feeling strong. Not overheating. Staying well-hydrated. Enjoying the challenging singletrack. Soaking in the novelty of being in the lead. [Hmmm, if I get first place, what am I going to do about the podium situation? I don't have enough time to stick around for the awards ceremony...I know, I'll just get somebody to take a photo of me on the podium right after the race, and then later I can photoshop me into the 'real' podium photo.] Argh!! Oh no!! Abruptly awakened from my daydream, totally out of control going way too fast on a slick bony descent, body-slammed at full speed into a washing machine-sized boulder on my left side, stopping me instantly, leaving me sprawled across the top of the boulder like a blue and orange rag doll. I start lifting myself up and assessing the damage. I see Myles approaching, and he calls out "Are you OK?!" But I don't answer because I don't know. My left elbow took the hardest hit, and it is bleeding pretty good. Hit my calf hard, as well as my thigh, hip, ribs and bicep. I don't think anything is broken. Again as he passes me, "Are you OK!?" I say "I'll be OK" as I start to shake it off and realize that I may not need to leave on a stretcher. The bike looks OK...the end of the front skewer is smashed and bent, but it is still holding tight. So I get back in the race. At this point, Myles must have a good 30-second lead and it will be near impossible to regain that. Dumbass! Serves you right for making top-of-podium plans while the race is still in full swing!

Much to my surprise, I catch up to Myles within a few seconds! He's off his bike at the side of the trail dealing with some kind of rear tire issue. I ask if he's got everything he needs, no reply, and I take back the lead. [I wonder if he had been daydreaming about how well his tires were holding up.]

Again, I see Brett out on the racecourse. I hold up my left arm to show him the damage and his look of disgust is priceless. I don't hear any racers behind me for a good long time. At the left turn around the storage shed I look back up the fire road, nobody in sight. At this point, I'm getting pretty cooked, so I ease up a bit to avoid cramping. I'm certainly due for a good leg cramp right about now.

As I'm rolling thru one of the grassy fields, keeping a comfortable pace in the solitude and what seems to be a solid lead, I spot Myles behind me, coming up fast. I start pushing hard again, but my legs are protesting, and he grinds past me as the trail starts climbing. "Nice work." "Same to you." Then we head back into the singletrack, where he promptly spins out on a loose branch and dabs, and I sneak past him again. Then I give it all I've got. I know that I've got to get as much of a lead as possible in the final singletrack if I want any chance of holding him off thru the grassy field to the finish. I stand and mash the pedals up every climb, use the brakes as little as possible on every descent, and just generally pedal like a maniac. To my amazement, no cramps! I bomb down the final descent, furiously pedal down the gravel path and across the road to the grass. At this point, I have no clue where Myles is. Could be right on my back tire, could be minutes behind, but I'm not going to risk looking back. I just pedal as fast as I possibly can, breathing harder than ever before in my life. Again I pass the awesome cheering spectators, charge up thru the finish line and...I won?! I think so. Slowly continue pedaling to the exit ramp and turn around and see Myles right there behind me. As it turns out, I only got him by 4 seconds! We congratulate and commend each other on a hell of a race.

On my way off the course, I make my way thru the spectator area, where I get a hearty 'congrats' from Willy and others, and Ruth takes a pic of my bloody arm. Then I swing by the well-stocked Racer Hospitality area, grab a drink and a snack, and chat for a few minutes with other finishers. Then I head straight for Rob's canopy, where I collapse onto the ground in the shade, bask in the pain and enjoy the company of all who gravitate to Rob's Oasis.

Thanks to everyone who made it a Day to Remember! Congratulations to everybody who took the podium or gave it their best shot!

-Woody


Good stuff from Woody there. Nice to see him doing so well in his first full year of racing.

July 17/18

The following weekend, Kirt, Ilya, and I trucked down to the Fair Hill Classic down in Maryland. We all raced up a class and none of us came in DFL, so we got that going for us, which is nice. Up in NY, Ruth was busy cranking out an xTerra tri. Here is that story in her own words:


Xterra Sky High Race Report (by Ruth)

Represnting in all sorts of disciplines

Location- Grafton Lakes State Park NY

I did this race three years ago while on the road to Xterra Nationals. I liked the course and did well, so I put it on the schedule this summer. The race is small, but well run. It has a real family atmosphere. It is close to where I grew up and we can crash at my brother's, as he is local. From the race venue, we planned a vacation in Maine. We arrived at my brother's on Saturday, and after a pre-race dinner, I hit the bed early. It was 45 mins to the race venue, and check in was at 6:30 am.I did not have any pre-race jitters. My goals for the race were really just prep for Xterra Lake Placid in August. I just planned to go hard, figuring the race would take me about two hours to complete. No expectations, just considering it a hard workout. I was really anxious to have a solid run after being struck down by the heat at my race in June.

The terrain is very similar to our northern parks. Very rocky and rooty. They had a torrential rain storm the night before, the course was under water. They had to clear downed trees before we could start. I suited up in my wetsuit and we stood around waiting for the all clear. Thankfully the storms that caused all of the issues had also scrubbed the air clean. It was very comfortable with little to no humidity. Finally after a 20 min delay, they lined us up and got us going.

The swim is 1000 meters. It starts with a 300 yard run down the beach.Two 500 meter laps with another run between. I hate running in my wetsuit. By the time you hit the water, you are already breathing hard, and constricted from the suit. I usually hang back a bit, confident that I will pass people in the water. I got into a comfortable rhythm on the first lap, following another female out of the water and down the beach. On the second lap, I cranked up the speed a few notches. As I was exiting the water, I heard someone say..."hey look, is that the first woman?" I was the first girl out of the water, with number 2 and 3, both in my age group right on my heels. They beat me out of transition, so I started the bike in third, but not far behind.

The bike leg was just under 14 miles. It starts on a fire road section for about a mile and then enters the woods. I could see the woman in front of me, but once she hit the single track, I lost site of her. The next hour was spent navigating wet, muddy, rocky, rooty single track. It was a bit too reminiscent of last summer's H2H series. I actually thought to myself in the middle of all of the rockiness....hey, you are a jersey girl. You come from the rock garden state....you raced the summer of '09...you got this. The final section of the bike is a small loop done twice. As you come through the first time, they mark your front number to keep everyone honest. Chris was working this section of the course as a volunteer, so I got marked and got a few words of encouragement at the same time. I got off the bike right behind girl number 2, and I could see her as I started the run. As I left the announcer said....folks, there goes number three, we have a race on our hands! So much for just doing my own thing.

The run at Grafton Lakes is without question the most technical run that I have ever done. There is not a flat place to put your foot down for 4.5 miles. It is all rocks, roots and stream crossings. They ran us around the lake and then up this huge hill, probably close to 3/4 of a mile to a turn around. So you can see the other runners on the way up and down the hill. As I ran out of transition and down the beach, I could see the girl in front, and I heard them announce the girl behind me. Now anybody that knows me, knows that I am not going to be running anyone down anytime soon. But I did my best. I felt great off the bike and really pushed it on the run. As I hit the bottom of the hill, the volunteer said to me "look at you beating all of these guys" My reply...swimming is my secret weapon! I chugged up the hill and saw first place barreling down, and then second place. At the turn around I saw the girl behind me and timed her at two mins back. Time to book it. I started out with zero expectation, but at this point she was going to have to step over my dead body to get that podium spot. I ran the second half the hardest I have ever run, and sprinted up the beach, holding my third place overall.

Time 2:09

It was an extra special race day having my brother and sister in law there. They have never seen me race so it was cool to share that with them. After awards, we cleaned the mud off of my gear, hopped in the car and drove 7 hours to Bar Harbor.

Next up.....Xterra Lake Placid Long Course Triathlon August 22nd.

-Ruth


Again, fantastic job by Ruth, and a vacation well earned! I'm pretty excited to see how Lake Placid goes in a few weeks.

July 24/25

This weekend was a new venture for me, as I clicked into the road bike pedals and lined up to race in my first-ever road bike race a few miles down the street in Stirling, at the Freedom Tour. BillC and Fred joined me in the 4/5 race, where we all finished in the pack. The race before us featured Maurice, who landed in 9th, and after us was Ben, who finished in the pack as well. Down the road a bit was Ilya, who was trying to peak for the NJ State Triathlon. In his own words:


NJ State Triathlon at Mercer (by Ilya)

Crossing the line, at last

- Largest Tri in the state

- Sat - 1300 racers in Sprint distance, including Mrs. Kush (500m swim, 11k bike, 5k run)

- Sun - 1000 racers in Olympic distance, where I raced. 1500m swim (1 mile), 40k bike (25.5mi), 10k run (6.2mi)

A triathlon consists of the three disciplines and two transitions in between, T1 as it’s called for transition for swim to bike, and T2 from bike to run. Transition time is important; you can win or lose a race here just as easy as anywhere else.

My strengths are biking and swimming, and I’m terrible in running. This is my first Olympic tri (or first tri period that I would actually finish). I have not practiced transitions at all.

So strategy was go strong in the swim, strong first lap in bike, go easy on the 2nd bike lap to save myself for the run. This was particularly important given that Saturday was 1,000 degrees of heat and humidity, and I’ve never seen so many people walk a 5k. Sunday was looking to be about the same.

Prep

I woke up at 4:30 am, half hour before the alarm. Mercer is 5 miles from my house.

Transition area opens at 5:30am, and in a busy race, there is a scramble to get a good spot to hang your bike and set up your stuff.

Tri’s are stupidly complicated. Think about getting ready for a bike race, and multiply it by at least 3. The night before I’ve spent almost half the day to get all my stuff together, and then frozen all my bottles which proved a great idea.

I decided to ride my bike to the race, which avoids the parking hassle and provides for a perfect distance warm-up.

I get there, and have my numbers drawn on me (plate # and age), and my bike passes inspection.

The transition is teeming with people. Probably 1 or 2 of every 10 people has an IM tattoo (Ironman). These guys are serious. I’ve never seen so many high end TT bikes. Zippy wheels and aerobars everywhere.

Guy to the left of me is what I’d call an archetypical triathlete. Spends 20 hours per week training at 4am every day, and he says his family is supportive. There was a hot chick with him, not sure if his wife or what. Some light conversation, then I put on my MP3 player to tune all this out. I’m not a big fan of triathletes. They are odd.

There is a lot of waiting. My wave goes off at 8:10am. Now it’s 7:30.

I meet up with my family and we hang out, which is nice.

Water temp was a bath-like 86 degrees. There was a lot of crying over water quality in advance, but while it may not have been blue lagoon, it tasted and smelled fine.

Swim

My wave is #9, we are the water almost on time, and then the whistle blows. I swam in high school, and some leagues but not college. Then for next 20 years I did not swim a single lap. Last July when I busted my MCL, I started swimming again, which gave rise to this Tri idea in the first place.

I’m lined up at the front, where I am sure to get kicked in the head or run over, but that’s how I roll. The whistle blows, and we’re off.

I pick up a rhythm, and I’m in a lead group of 10 or so. Pacing nicely. Then we catch up to waves ahead of us. I see bobbing pink cap everywhere, for some reason this race has women waves mixed in with the men. The rhythm is blown and every third stroke I have to look above the water (you can’t see through the mirk) to make sure I don’t run over people. This sucks big time, and every time I bob up to look, I can’t help but swallow occasional water. The dirty water debate sticks in my mind.

We get through the pink heads, and now there are yellows, then greys. Whatever, that’s racing, I see the boat ramp, I’m out of the water, to a nice 25:30. My boys are cheering.

T1

There is about 200 yards uphill to the transition area from the water. I try to slow down my breathing. Step on towel, strap on HRM, put on tri top, socks, bike shoes, glasses, then helmet, bike out of the rack, and run through the transition, and about 500 yards to the bike launch point.

The electronic timing pads record every split including T-time. The thing records bike time from when you leave the transition area, which is not pure. Same for the way back.

Bike

I hop on the bike, and my HR is 172. I start to push a bit strong, and reach about 25mph. Have to back off to pace myself. Immediately I’m passing people. No drafting rule in effect. Time penalties handed out generously if you are less than 3 bike lengths, and if it takes you more than 15 seconds to complete a pass. Not an issue, I just stay to the left of everyone as I pass.

I am passed by maybe 5 people in total, all on TT bikes, all strong. I think 3 or 4 are my age group. I think about chasing but decide to run my own race.

Two laps of 13 miles. First lap is hot, I’m around 170bpm. Second lap I keep at 150 to save the gas for the run. Garmin says 21.9mph for the ride, though the e-timing records the run time from T1 as well and back, so it’s 21.6mph with that.

I arrive into the finish area, and there are 5 people yelling to dismount at the line drawn on the road. There are two riders who stop dead at that line blocking my way. I hop off and my bike does a nose wheelie as I grab some brake last second as I thought people would actually dismount and move.

T2

I run back to the transition area. I’m the first again to my rack. Which is no big deal, but nice to see. Helmet off, tri-jersey off (not running in that thing), hat on, glasses on. Stuff 3 endurolyte pills in my mouth, grab my bottle to carry with mix of accelerade and a lot of gel, and I’m off on the torture 10k run.

Run

It takes me the first mile to get some sort of rhythm going to where I don’t feel like I’m going to puke. My goal for the run is to finish and not walk. Typically I have been doing a very slow 9-10 minute pace for the 10k, and 8ish for 5k.

I’m now passing some people, some are are walking. Lots are walking. It’s hotter than a bastard. I’m passed once in a while by both men and women. There are water stations which help a lot, I just throw water on myself and drink from my secret sauce bottle.

Mile 4 gets testy. My body doesn’t like this. I am also not interested in running. It’s boring, and it hurts. I am on a verge of a stomach cramp, so I dial back the speed to just below painful.

I’m passed in last 2 miles by about 4 guys from my age group. I try to chase but no way. This is what hurts, cause I keep them in sight.

Finally, the finish line is in sight, I turn the corner, and mercifully I don’t need to sprint with anyone to the finish. My kids run up and jump on top of me.

My run time is 55 minutes, which is an 8:52 pace. I thought I was slower, so this is good. Or not bad.

After

We hang out in a shade where I down about 5 bottles of water, and then I ride my bike home. My avg speed is 21mph, but that’s cause I draft the family Yukon all the way back which is fun as hell. I hit 30mph without much pedaling. Kids are having a blast, and handing me water bottles like in the TdF.

Finish the day at Tortuga’s in Lambertville with much Mexican food and Coronas.

Stats

All in all, this is an awesome result for me. The results were up this same afternoon!

Here are some stats - 18th out of 120 in age group - 107th / 918 total - 97th / 619 men - Swim: 9th / 120 - Bike: 19th / 120 - Run 33rd /120 - Transitions: 4min 52sec total, which is about 2x as long as the 5th placed guy in our age group. I wasn’t trying but it’s also all room for improvement. - Total race time 2:36.

Conclusion

The slow run wasn’t a surprise. The swim was smoking hot. I murdered people in the swim.

But I would have never expected that my bike order was second to the swim. I probably could’ve done better if I wasn’t saving myself for the run, and if I had pimpier wheels, but in any case, this is good cause I know that I have swimming dialed without much training at all, and I know I’m going to keep investing all my time into the cycling.

I can’t do much about the run. I’m just not willing to invest the time and the effort, beyond what is required for cyclocross.

So am I going to do more Tri’s? If convenient, close by and fits in the calendar. I’ll probably do this same race next year too.

I feel good about this. I tried it, did well (for me), and now I could go find the next stoopid thing to do.

-Ilya


We seem to be surrounded by crazy triathletes on this team. Awesome job again, and looks like someone is a natural in the water.

July 31/Aug 1

Finally, while not technically July, the weekend began with the last day of July so the August 1st Darkhorse 40 falls on part of the last weekend in July. So instead of waiting another month for it, might as well get to the best recap of the month, as our last feature recap of the newsletter. As usual, we had a huge presence at this race. For some reason, the MTBNJ tribe and the Darkhorse tribe break good bread together, and this race was no different. The last I checked, I think we had 16 people registered for it. In the elite class, Maurice got 4th, BillC grabbed an impressive 6th, and I managed 18th. In the SS class, ChrisG grabbed 16th and Woody grabbed 18th. In sport, Kirt grabbed 8th, ChrisS got 25th, and Jake got 53rd. In sport women, Sherry continued her awesome year with a 2nd place finish. In the men's teams, Steve paired up with long-time MTBNJ poster Walter and they managed to bring up the rear of the class, but they finished! In the coed teams, Ruth and ChrisT snagged a 3rd while Patty and her husband Matty nailed 5th. In the women's teams, Jenny paired up with her friend Alex to land 3rd. Ilya crashed and pulled the DNF while Rob pulled a hamstring 2 days before and ended up helping work the event with his son Zach.
That's a lot of blue & orange. But the best story of the day comes from Jake. In his own words:


The Darkhorse 40 (by Jake)

Jake leaves it all out there

where to start with this one. i'm clueless.

first things first, i met all my goals: 1) have fun 2) finish 3) don't DFL or DNF

it was a really emotional day for me to start. it was three months to the day that my cousin died. i rode this race, i finished this race for him. i know for a fact that if he's not there with me yesterday i don't finish. i'll explain more as this novel wears on, but that's just a fact. i figured best case for me was to come in at about four hours but a bad start really messed with that. at the end of the day i was like 52nd out of 143. not too bad for the longest time i've spent in the saddle ever...either mtb or road.

the line up: me, chris26er, kirt and poo-riggy. i decided out of the gate that i wasn't going to push. my mind kept going back to norm saying "you can't win the race in the first five miles but you can sure lose it". i didn't want that to happen. i knew this was a long race and that was going to be a bad thing. so at the start when the mad dash for the ST started i just let everyone go figuring that eventually i'd get back in the mix and i didn't want to start burning matches at two minutes in. bad idea. the pile up on the very first turn into ST was terrible. i lost a sh!t-ton of time. note to self: next race, get out in front. i probably burned more matches with the start-stop-start-stop in the first five miles than i would have if i just pinned it out of the gate.

ST at some point around mile seven things finally started to clear and i was able to start picking people off. i'd roll up on one or several folks, ride their wheel until i saw a chance and went. that's the part of racing i really love. then there's this: i came up on a lone SS woman. i rode her wheel for about a 1/2 mile of ST and finally decided to make a pass. i called "on your left" and she replies "FINE! but i am NOT moving off my line!" WTF!? seriously? did i do something wrong? was i supposed to just sit on her wheel for the rest of the race? i passed her and never saw her again. after that it was mostly uneventful. grab a wheel here, pass a few folks.

STB then i felt it. ping, ping, ping. my right quad. i look down at the GPS and it's mile 13. oh sh!t. no freaking way. i was PIST. i was having a blast and this happens?? i thought i was managing myself well, drinking a lot keeping my HR reasonable (more on this later) and eating at regular intervals. once again, norm's voice ringing in my head...you can't win the race in the first five mile...blah, blah, blah, something, something, something. FAWK! i knew at that point i was done. there would be no second lap for me. roll up on the 20 and call it. i couldn't believe i broke the only rule i gave myself. i dialed it back A LOT at that point figuring i may as well enjoy the last few miles of the race.

the PBR sirens they were calling. they got el zoller. el zoller almost got me. i passed.

pearls of wisdom @ mile 19 pearl the crew out there were just great. coming around on lap one and hearing that really charged me up. it was awesome to have a cheering section, and even cooler that they were wearing mtbnj.com t-shirts.

the last 1.5 miles beats the hell out of me. roots, roots and more roots. glad i'm never going to see that section again. reminds me of a couple washed out trails at LM that need re-routing...

lap...two? i came out of the ST on to the road. rob and his kids yelling. people everywhere. pedaling up i see "finish" to the left, "lap" to the right. i go right. WTF am i doing? my legs are cooked. my freaking arms are cramping when i punch my legs to get the cramps out. this is going to end badly in about 10 miles. oh, sweet. i'm out of water. my camelbak is now a fashion item.

i pedal down the road, pop three of those hammer anti-cramp pills drink the 90% last bit of accelerade in my bottle and turn onto the ST. fawk. i'm in. no turning back now. the trails are still super fun and i'm surprisingly still catching people.

the rest of the race i measure in blocks of miles. five miles, to be exact. i pick up and pass more people. i come up on them, ride their wheel, wait for a hill and then roll on by. i do this a lot, i need something to concentrate on other than the pain and thirst. i know i'm done. i mean, i'm WAY done. beyond cooked. no water, a sip of accelerade, out of gu and a LOT more miles to go. i'm now talking to my cousin a lot. just trying to keep my mind off of things, but also telling him to just give me a little push buddy. keep me going. keep me going.

and i just keep going.

25.7 miles. officially past the SSaP distance. new territory on an mtb for me.
here we go. c'mon.

30 miles. just ten left. my left foot is throbbing so bad i consider taking off my shoe
c'mon buddy. 10 more. another hour. that's it. that's all i'm asking for. stick with me. i see a grasshopper. chills, and my eyes well up. not now. fawk. stop it!

AID STATION! YES!!! i thought i saw that tent! thank freaking god. i drink my last bit of accelrade, pound a bunch of heed, fill up my bottle again, blast some m&ms and i'm off. every time i stop at the stations folks pass me then i catch them again.

35 miles. where the f is that giant hill? oh. there it is. PAIN shoots through my legs as i trudge up that thing by the power lines. was it 35 miles? i don't remember. i get to the top and a couple folks are there fixing cramps, bikes, and just milling around. i get on my bike and keep going. the only movement that doesn't hurt is pedaling. i find that odd.

Luke almost makes me crash. Ok, maybe i shouldn't have posed for that pic but...

37 miles. three to go. 25 more minutes. my forearms are toast. i keep drinking. if i never have heed again it will be too soon. my stomach is in knots. my head is pounding. i'm rocked by chills and emotion. 25 more minutes buddy. that's it. almost there. almost... sh!t, big rock. REALLY big rock. that's where i passed kush on lap one sitting down. hope he's ok. sh!t.

i pedal up the big rock, through the ST and on to the final part of the course. rooty hell. i get passed by a NYCSTYLE guy on a blue niner. he's one of three people that pass me on the second lap. where did he even come from. no matter. i'm not racing anymore. i'm just trying to keep going. this section pummels me. i feel every root. every rock. every everything. i catch a glimpse of patty.

then i hear it. pearl and company. the bells. the yelling. the vzeulllllvalllllllaaaa! holy SH!T, i'm almost done. thanks buddy. thank you. this one was for you.. up, down, up (oucccccccccccchhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!) around, more freaking roots, quick up, out to the road. people screaming and yelling. orange hawiian. mike. rob. tent. left to finish. done.

i pedal up the road and to the beer. i need a beer...except i can't drink it. i'm completely out of sorts (see pic from live blog thread for details). i hang around and i'm delusional. bill says something, to which i reply "you all can....". didn't realize there were kids. there. nice job mr. all class. i roll down to the car, call my wife, tell her i finished and completely crack. sobbing. i hope chris(the 26er version) doesn't see me. i'm a train wreck. i have no clue how i finished the last 27 miles on fully blown legs.

that was quite an experience, one i won't forget ever. i could go on and on with this but that's probably plenty. more than plenty actually. ChirsG said something to me which i wish i could really remember but i know he was right. it had something to do with the accomplishment of finishing. he had no clue at all what that really meant to me.

all in all, it was great. i'll learn from this one and next year be back with more miles on my legs and hopefully some different results but for what it's worth i set out to do exactly what i wanted to. that's what it's all about anyway, isn't it?

again, HUGE thanks to the guys at Darkhorse who just put on a hell of an event. if i only do their races from now on i'd be wicked happy.

-Jake


That last story is a fantastic read, and really brings a lot of the sweat we put into this sport into perspective. Jake isn't a hard-core racer like many of us. He does maybe 2 or 3 events a year. So for him to step up to this challenge and knock it out of the park like this was nothing short of inspiring.

Upcoming Events

Even (soon to be) Mrs. Halter's sports the colors!
Here are some of the upcoming races where you might find the blue & orange rolling around out there.

August 7/8

The only thing on the plate for the first full weekend of August is the next MASS race, the Neshaminy Classic.

August 14/15

On Saturday, several of us will be going up to do the NY Capital Region Road Race in Albany, NY. The following day, the H2H series continues just a few miles south at the Taconic 909 Challenge.

August 21/22

The following weekend is a pair of road races down south, first the Medford Twp Police Officers Association Tour de Medford on Saturday and the Course de Marlton-Evesham-Marlton on Sunday. That Sunday is also the 50 Rattling Miles Mountain Bike Marathon out north of Harrisburg, PA. I did that race a few years ago, and while it's a bit out there, the race and venue were most excellent.

August 28/29

The final weekend of the month is traditionally the 24 Hours of Allamuchy, which has been canceled this year. Instead, it has been replaced with a social event, Cranks Around the Campfire. That Sunday is the NJ State Criterium Championship as well.

Words from Rob

For those not in the know, the Rocket Ride is a popular road ride in North Jersey held year round on Sunday mornings. It was once highlighted in Bicycling Magazine and is a good local measuring stick that helps separate the men from the machines. As far as I know, Rob is still a man but sometimes he likes to run with the machines. Here is his look at that:


The Rocket Ride (by Rob)

For those not in the "know" there is a place you can go
Where the deer and the antelope don't play
Only sharks and barracudas riding 2 wheeled scooters
On their wheels you only hope you can stay
It is not just the speed that makes your lungs bleed
It could easily be steel or holy road
Best keep your focus you don't get much notice
When the train has gone and left you alone
Use your legs wisely when the streets start rising
And save some pedal strokes for the top
Cause you're riding with wolves and even with falls
This pack will never stop
It takes more than a try before you can fly
And survive to that last final hill
Some have been going for years leaving behind sweat and tears
And still haven't got their fill
So take this as a warning much like bees when they're swarming
Stay away if you're lacking of heart
If you go you need know bring your best to the show
Or maybe reconsider your start

-Rob

MTBNJ Race Rumblings

As usual, there is no shortage of race discussion on the site and behind the scenes. Here are some of the things that are moving & shaking in the race world right now.

The Horseshoe Scramble

The Scramble is on, and we're part of the action this year. I met with 2 of the guys who we'll be working with on the event this past week to discuss some options for the race. Mike confirmed to me he was cool with a "mountain bike only" beginners race before the C race on one of the days. So we're going to need to round up a sizable number of our mountain bike riding fools to take part in it this year. We looked over some different route options and we're hoping to extend the loop quite a bit this year. There are some logistical problems with that but we're doing our best to make it interesting. Since it's a 2 day event the course needs to be bidirectional, since the second day will be the opposite direction of the first.
We also talked some finances, and Mike told me that he wants to put all the profits back into the park to possibly add signs, maintain trails, and make the park more family-friendly. Right now it's a pretty raw park and he hopes to be able to improve the overall quality of the park for the general public.

24 Hours of Allamuchy

Even though this year's 24 Hours of Allamuchy is no more, plans are coming together for some sort of race to take it's place in 2011. The popular opinion right now is to have a 40 or 50 mile race from the camp, with another popular option being a 2 lap format where riders have the option to do 1 or 2 laps. Lots of good ideas flowing on the board for this one (http://www.mtbnj.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18367]. We've reached out to the coordinators in an attempt to help get this off the ground and take the next step in the evolution of the Allamuchy race. Hopefully good things come of this.

Making Strides

Even though we don't have an MTBNJ mountain bike race at this point, we're making strides in gathering experience in helping support a race. At the Darkhorse 40, Rob was injured but he lent his time (along with his son Zach) to help out with the registration and scoring. So we're collectively moving forward in gathering information about the details of running a race. We're also looking into park permits, and putting together P&L statements with the help of the Mayor of Stewart, Mike "maddawg" Davidson.

Greystone Cross

As I was lining up for the Freedom Tour a few weeks ago, a guy in a Marty's kit mentioned to me there's going to be a cross race at the old Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greystone_Park_Psychiatric_Hospital). I looked into it and it turns out this rumor appears to be true. There are still some details to work out but it appears to be moving forward and should land on the weekend of the former Mercer Cup. One race out, another race in. This is particularly sweet since it's about 10 miles from my house.
Of course, it only stands to reason that this race will be...in-sane!

The Site

As always, the site serves as a major race promotion board at this time of year. Witness the rapid selling out of the Darkhorse 40 recently to see how much of an influence the site has on the local race scene. The month before, the Lewis Morris Challenge set a record for the most people at a mountain bike race in NJ in the past few years. While there is not (yet) an official MTBNJ race, we are an integral part of the process in connecting people and races, as well as group ride, TM sessions, and of course junk drawers.
I recently also announced the 2010 MTBNJ Sticker Design Contest (http://www.mtbnj.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18427). We're looking for a few good designers to mock up a knock-up design.

Team No Tights

Like, really?
No tights? For real?
Team No Tights, aka TNT, is a gag team put together by Luke and Utah Joe and some of their friends in an effort to save the world from Men in Tights. For the most part, TNT is driven by Luke, who also kicks around as a photographer when he's not working 9-5 at the sewage treatment plant. Luke has been hooking up the team with free pictures for several years now and more or less goes about business with little to no fanfare. You can see all of his work at gtluke.com (http://gtluke.com/). Most of the pictures that litter these newsletters were taken by Luke, and we would never look as good as we do without him.

Challenge Tires

Just in for 2010 is our newest sponsor, Challenge (http://www.challengetech.it/home.php). Specializing in tubular tires, Challenge is a major player in the cyclocross world, making one of the team favorites, the Griffo, which is also a favorite of many of the fastest riders in the cross world. We look forward to having them on board and bringing more attention to some of the best cross tires on the market.

In Total

Once again, that's probably more than enough to keep most people occupied. So until next month...
Happy trails!
-Norm