Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Invitation Accepted

At last year's Chainbuster finale, James Stankowitz asked me to be on his SuperSport race team for 2013.  I had reservations, as I did not want to part ways with The Outdoor Store.  No worries there, as Bruce was o.k. with it and James said he would put the TOS logo on the team's cycling kits.  I was also concerned if my "tush" would accept a new pair of cycling shorts.  No worries there as well, as James handed me several pairs to try out with the idea that I would determine what worked best and he would custom build a pair of shorts around my "tush."

If you are not familiar with James, he was instrumental in the development of North West Georgia SORBA, the Snake Creek TT series, and has devoted countless hours to the care and maintainence of the Pinhoti trail system.  He is a super likable gentleman and has a heart of gold.  He is the owner of SuperSport, a new custom cycling clothing company.

The jersey James is wearing is by SuperSport

This past weekend the team met in the North Georgia mountains for a mini camp.  We ate, rode trails, and ate some more.  In between eating and riding, I got to learn more about my new team mates.

Jeff Clayton

Jeff is a retired Air Force F-16 pilot ... who still loves to to FAST!  And he excels in all distances.  He, along with Tyler, drug my single speed butt around the Ocoee Whitewater Center for 4 hours on Saturday.  A humble but fierce competitor.  And he can do some damage to a buffet!

Tyler Murch

Tyler is a mechanical engineering student who has no fear and loves adventure.  With a little fine tuning he will be one to watch out for.  He is an excellent colorer, staying in between the lines with ease.  He weakness is a hot fudge brownie with ice cream.  I will be teaming up with him on a Coed team for the Chainbuster series.

Ricky, Mike, and Tyler

Ricky is a NWGA SORBA member who has only been mountain biking for two years.  He has a great sense of humor and is a gentleman.  He is ruled by his little 4 pound chihuahua, Brownie.  Mike, also a NWGA SORBA member,  has been riding since 2000.  He is very quiet but you can tell he will dig deep for his team mates.

I am excited to be racing for a team.  I have lots to offer the team on nutrition and training.  And I hope to learn from my team mates as well.  Racing on a team will also offer that extra motivation that sometimes I need during my times of weakness, i.e. cold, dreary training rides, less than ideal racing conditions, and periods of self-doubt.

I am also excited to be instrumental in the development of a women's cycling short.  Too often I have tried on various brands that just did not fit.  My biggest complaint has always been chamois shape, thickness, and placement within the short.  Now my fanny is going to have input into chamois development and placement.  Now maybe I can design one that will not feel like a diaper.  It will cover what it needs to cover ... and no more.

If you are interested in a team or individual cycling kit made with excellent materials, no minimums, and 6 week turnaround times, please talk to James Stankowitz (is on FaceBook) or me.  He will bend over backwards to make sure you get what you want.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Snake Creek Gap TT Race #1 Report

I don't know why, but I so look forward to this race every year.  I hate to be COLD and WET; at this race, this is almost a guarantee.  With sub-freezing temps and a creek crossing in the first mile that has the potential to be waist deep, it is a risk I take every year.  It is only 34 miles, but with 5500 feet of climbing and miles of technical rocky single track, with the worst (or best of it, depending on how you look at it) coming at the very end, this course is brutal.  I see it as brutally fun!  I suppose I look forward to this challenge because it comes after a long break and this is where I first "cut my teeth" on uber technical rocky trail.  And NWGA SORBA rocks when it comes to putting on such an awesome event.  Great people and good times!

How about 6 miles of this, after an already 2-4 hours of racing?

Unfortunately, good times did not include a good "race" time for me in the first running.  It was 26 degrees at the start.  Even though I got there really early, I still had to wait in line as 70+ racers were in front of me. (There was a record number of racers:  438 total and 347 that did the 34).  I was brrrr! cold and for the first hour I could not feel my fingers, my legs would not open up, I could not get my HR up, and my eyeballs were frozen.  That made for some interesting braking and handling skills along the first section of single track, I'm tellin' ya  !But this did not mean I was not happy because I was.  I was being challenged on all fronts:  6 weeks off any training plan, Day 16 post glutening, and a kick ass course.  I was not at work, not on the couch, or doing chores; living the weekend warrior dream!

The first 17 miles seemed to go in slow motion.  At least the creek crossing was only bottom bracket deep.  I was able to half pedal the 20 yards or so across and keep my feet dry and toasty.  The trail was in awesome shape for this time of the year.  Since I was unable to go out like a greyhound, I had the energy reserves to clean the first half.  I also chose to run bottles this year as opposed to hydration packs.  This made me feel very light on the bike.  My nutrition was a bit different as well.  With my body fresh off The Whole 30 plan, I was still in fat-burning mode.  My energy level remained consistent throughout the race; I never felt hungry or had any ups/downs that fueling primarily on sugars can cause.  I did utilize sugars in the form of Rapidade and gels, but only consumed about 70% of the calories I would normally intake for a race of this distance.  Note:  race day is the only time that I come off the Paleo diet.

I rolled into the aid station at the halfway point, swapped bottles, changed to lighter weight gloves (fingers had thawed out), chugged a Red Bull, and motored on.  It was on this first climb out of the parking lot that my legs finally decided to enter the game.  Finally it felt like I was racing and not just participating in a big group ride.  I don't think my time on this second half was any better than usual, but at least I was feeling better.  This at least let me know where I am fitness-wise and what I need to work on to improve.  Whenever I get glutened, even from contamination, it wreaks havoc on my body and immune system.  In the past it usually took me about 6 weeks to recover, but with this recent episode, I could tell that my body was recovering quicker.  I do believe this was a direct result of being on Whole 30.

The fire road climb up to the last section of single track was for the most part dry and fast.  I had been worried because it can get really soupy here due to freeze/thaw and rain.  As I approached the single track, I tried to visualize this as just a lap in an XC race.  I felt the best I had all day, here in my rocky element.  I appreciated the work that had been done on the washed out descent.  With my trusty Niner steed, I was able to float over most of the rough stuff.  I almost made it up The Wall, but spun out on a loose baby head about 2/3 of the way up.  Arghhh!  One day ...

The fire road descent from the cell towers at Dug Gap.  Photo courtesy of Sean Perry.

As I railed down the pavement, I thought that my time might be better than I had anticipated.  Although it is fast, it still eats up precious minutes.  I ended up rolling through the finish line in 3:39;  I'll take it.  Body and bike were in one piece and I had a smile on my face.  I just love this race.

You MUST check out Endless Bikes' anodized cogs!

I cannot wait for the February edition.  Typically this has the worst conditions, but maybe this year will be different.  I definitely have to work on getting and staying fast.  I am currently in 3rd, but there are some super strong "chickas" in this field.