Saturday, May 23, 2009

Crank The Kanc 2009

Saturday morning was the Crank the Kanc Kancamagus Bicycle Hillclimb Time Trial. A race we all try to do each year. A couple years agoe we did it as a 3 person team. We went back to doing it solo last year. This year I was slow on the entry and all of the solo spots were full when I realized that registration had opended. There was one Team spot left. I checked and saw that my TWAF mates had already registered as solo riders. Hmm, what to do??? I registered at a team and told two of my co-workers that we were doing Crank the Kanc and that they were signed up. A team was formed; Charles, Chris and me, Team Cargill Chant.

Usually the concern all week leading up the to race was the weather. Well it was one of my concerns, besides being not riding as much as I would have liked. However doint the Tuckerman Pentathlon in April helped a bit. Earlier in the week the weather looed like it was going to rain pretty hard and be in the low 40's. Quite a combo that could also mean some snow at the top. As Friday night rolled around the weather pattern had changed and had actually gotten pretty nice. When I got up early Saturday morning I was pleasantly surprised that it was warmer than I expected.

We met up at race registration and then got suited up and rolled over to the start. We had a start slot in the middle of the teams and were set to go off at 8:46AM.
We usually stage a car at the top of the climb but we had some friends drive it up for us and they stopped along the way to chear us on. As we waited for the race to commence the sun started to appear and we all started to wonder if we were overdressed. By the race start for me I was wearing a long sleave Team jersey and bib knickers. The weather turned out to be fantastic. Mid 60's and sunny.

Overall the race was the same as it usually is, 21.3 miles of up hill fun. The first ten are a constant climb gaining about a thousand feet of elevation. The middle section is a little flatter where over the next 6+ miles you gain about 200 feet. Then you hit the wall of the final climb. 4.8 miles where you gain over 1,500 feet. There are no flats or places to rest. Well there are rest areas and scenic vistas, but if you stop you might not decide to get back on the bike again.

Our team seemed to roll along pretty well over the first 17 miles. Each of us doing turns on the front of 90 secs to 2 minutes. I felt pretty descent during the ride, and my teammates also appeared to have good legs as well. Since we had not actually trained together I had no idea how we were going to attack the final climb. As we started up the first pitch I asked the other guys what they thought. The consensus was that each of us ride our own pace and we get to the finish when we do. The only problem with this stratefy is that the team time is when the final team member crosses the line. The good thing is of you are feeling good you can ride your own pace and cruise along.

After the first mile Charles and I had started to lose Chris. He appeared to be starting to suffer some. We were now a bit over an hour into the race. My legs were feeling pretty good and I felt like I had plenty of reserves. At about the halfway point of the climb we thought Chris was about 100 yards behind us. Close enough that he was still in contact. We continued along assmung that he was going to remain there. A little further along and I mentioned to Chrles the I could really use some tunes to spin the peddles too. Neither of us had any and unfortunately Charles started with some Sonny & Cher and then went onto some Captain & Tennille and his rendition of Muskrat Love. It was time to drop Charles.

I think we ended up passing a couple teams on the climb and only got passed by one so that was a plus. As I passed the mile to go marker my legs were still feeling good and I tried to put in as good a finish as possble. I crossed the line as the pain was really starting to set into my legs and lungs. I coasted into the parking lot and looked at my computer, an OK time. About a minute later Charles rolled in. Now we wated for Chris. We assumed he would be right behind us. We were wrong. He had cracked. After the race I asked him if he bonked. He said "a couple times."

Chris ended up coming in about 8 minutes back from Charles and I. It was a fun race and I do enjoy it with a team, however we have not had good luck where everyone is on their game the day of the race yet.

Congrats to everyone who raced. See ya on the trails.


Monday, May 18, 2009


Realization is a good thing. Like when you are a kid and you realize you can’t fly, and you realize that when you hit the floor from jumping off the couch. It’s good we realize that before we have the means to get to places like Angel Falls to test our “I can fly” theory. Realization sometimes comes in an envelope- like my bank statement “I just realized I’m definitely not rich!”
For me my most recent realization came yesterday out in the woods of New Hampshire while I was trying to stay on JJ’s wheel out on the trails of Davis Hill. The realization was twofold- my dryer hadn’t shrunk my jersey (I am fat) and two- I’m woefully out of shape.
Of course I had known this, and I had actually done a shameful thing on Saturday, I skipped a race I was signed up for- Crank the Kanc, as I knew I was going to get blown up. Now I did have some actual reasoning, as I came to the realization that I have two small children and didn’t have a game plan for what they were going to do while I went and raced my bike (K was working and my parents weren’t home- obviously I put in major effort in finding a solution).
Instead I took the girls out for a ride, Emma on the trail-a-bike and Bean on her bike. It was fun, a good day of just cruising. We stopped an visited my grandmother and then I took the girls to lunch. I can’t say it was an “epic” ride or a great “training” session, but it was a great ride in its own way. Then yesterday I got out for a ride with JJ and got schooled. I had hoped his legs would have been shredded from his Crank the Kanc effort the day before, but if they were then I feel even worse about my current fitness!
Of course the tremendous upside- I’m going to get faster and lighter, so I do have progress in front of me! The other good news, my broken ass is feeling much better. I am realizing that I am thinking about my ass wayyyyyy too much, I’m worried about falling on it and that is actually increasing the likelihood that I will wreck- man I hate that. I think that fear will subside a bit, especially if I can get out and spend some more time riding in the woods.
So that is the situation as it stands. Now it’s time for the whining and excuse making to come to an abrupt halt- or at least that is my current realization.


Monday, May 11, 2009

A New Start?

Graduation is behind me (which was an entertaining, but draining week) and now my schedule frees up a bit more so that I can get out there and start building some miles. This is a good thing, as I'm still standing on the scale and seeing a number that is not that conducive to being fast on a bicycle.

Got out for a good two hour ride today, the first hour (or close to that) was with someone that I work with the second hour was out on my own tackling some of the short, punchy climbs of western Maine.

It felt great to get out and ride for a solid two hours, but it was a definite reminder that I need many more of those two to six hour rides under my belt before too long. We've got Crank the Kanc this coming weekend, that should be a good wake up for the old legs! After that not much on the immediate horizon- but we'll start looking for a few other races to get me motivated for the rest of May.

One of the things I need to start doing is spend some time in the woods working on the trails I began laying out last fall. It will take some time, but I bet I can get about four to five miles built by the end of the season, and then if I make it a goal to add a couple miles each year I can have some great riding here withing a few years (gotta look long term!).

In a couple weeks the new cross bike should be showing up from Salsa pretty soon. I'm pretty stoked to get this into the quiver, and then the cross-check can go back to it's land of fixieness (is that a word).

So that's it at the moment- more entertainment soon as I decompress from a crazy busy couple of weeks.