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  1. #1
    GMM
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    Downieville Classic XC - Lessons Learned

    So once again I decided to race the Downieville Classic this year, despite a generally reduced training regimen and a few extra pounds. Still, it's such a beautiful course, I just had to make the race. So I decided to use a strategy specific to my conditioning: Ride very easily uphill and make-up time on the downhill.

    Mistake #1: I broke the golden rule of racing to one's strengths.

    Everything is relative of course (I am a mid-pack, beginner, "veteran"), and by make-up time, I just mean relative to my own pace last year. In any event, I am not a very good technical descender. So picking-up time at Downieville going downhill probably wasn't the best thought for me, but it seemed so much better than suffer like a dog uphill. Part 1 of the plan worked beautifully; I felt really good at the end of the climb and started bombing down the fire road (Yeeeeehaaaaaaaaa type descending) and I even passed 2 or 3 riders. Then came the baby heads. First section was a little rough but I'm getting through, then the "Baby Heads" (what a misnomer that is) kind of turn into "Adult Heads". I had to dismount a couple of times quickly. That sucked, but I am still getting through. Arms getting a little tight, but I'll loosen up when I'm through... right. Soon after the "Baby Heads" I hit a section on Butcher (I believe that was the trail) with a quick switch-back before I ran directly into a tree root and 4" of travel wasn't nearly enough. I went ass-over-head over my bars and felt like a circus performer without a net. I landed face first onto a rock, which was fortunately of the flat variety. Quick body check, and everything was actually ok-- whew!. Problem is after that incident, what little confidence I had was shot, and I held my bars like my hands were vice grips for most of the rest of the race. Boy, was I sloooooooow.

    Mistake 2: Emptying a bottle of water on my back. This actually happened near the top of the climb at the first water station. I grabbed a couple of waters, and just emptied one over my back. It felt great. Unfortunately, my electrolyte tablets were in my back pockets, and those little things have a way of disolving when they are wet. So, of course, I cramped up right at the start of the First Divide without any easily consumable salt available.

    After the race, I am of course wasted. I go to the shuttle pick-up area to get my ride back to Sierra City, where my car is parked. All I want is a change of clothes and my a/c, and I want it now! "Sorry sir, you just missed the shuttle; the next one will leave at 3:00." What...it's only 1:30. I'm not waiting that long.

    Mistake 3: I decided to ride the 12 miles back to my car after the race. Let's just say that may have been the longest hour in my life. I was hot, hallucinating, and weaving, but I finally made it. Drove to the local store, and the locals were staring at my like I was a zombie. Guy at the register: "So, did you crash." Me: "Yes." Register guy: "Did you have fun?" Me: "Good question."

    After picking-up some cold water, ice, and a large package of Nutter Butters, I started feeling better. Then I jumped into the Yuba River, and that was great. Back to the car-- eat more Nutter Butters. Fresh clothes, and I'm am approaching normal again. As I am driving home next to the beautifly river front, I start thinking. How did I get worse at the downhill this year. I have been feeling so much better. I was sure I was going to descend better this year. Then it hit me.

    Mistake -1: That's right, Mistake -1 actually occured before the race. Last year, I used the Gravity Dropper (which I broke and never replaced). With my bike's very steep 71 degree head angle, it's crucial to be able to stay low and get behind the seat. I was not using the right tool for the job. That's Mistake -1: "Use the appropriate tool for the job." Or as my old Taekwondo instructor would say, "Never bring a knife to a gun fight."

    Well, that's my Downieville story.

  2. #2
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    Funny(not ha ha funny but funny).. I had a similar experience except 1 managed to crash 3x in the baby-head and the section right after the big creek crossing. Generally I'm a pretty good decender but not yesterday. Rode in the One-Speed class, came up the hill pretty well, came across....check...decend smart...check...guys on FS rigs blowing by me....check. Then it happened. I got a little lazy and went over the top. With confidence blown I did it again and once more for good measure- then spent a few minutes re-adjusting my draggin brake. Managed a 2:34, just over my goal time of 2:25-2:30 - BUMMER! There's always next year!

  3. #3
    It's about showing up.
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    The beauty is in the truth of your tale.

    You are awesome and at least made it through a tough Stargate. Congratulations!

  4. #4
    GMM
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    Quote Originally Posted by DISSR
    There's always next year!
    And that's a problem because it's a sucker's bet that I always take. Each year right after the race, I always think if only did "x" or paid more attention to "y", then I would have done great. Well, I tell you what. Next year...will be different. That's for sure.

    BTW, nice race DISSR. If I finished in 2:34, I would still be dancing in the streets of downtown Downieville. 2:25 is yours next year!

  5. #5
    GMM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    You are awesome and at least made it through a tough Stargate. Congratulations!
    Thanks so much Berkely Mike! I like your adjectives a lot better than those of some of my very close relatives when they hear I am racing bikes and crashing.

  6. #6
    It's about showing up.
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    Just so you don't feel misunderstood

    You do what on a bike? You're a grown man! Are you f**king crazy?

    Better?

  7. #7
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    Damn Gary, you're still pretty impressive. Sea Otter did the same thing to me, so everytime I ride I 'train' for the Otter. Make this your race. But Congrats on the race! I hope you didn't drive by yourself. Btw, if it makes you feel better, Zorg's fork is leaking and he needs to pay 45$... Well, at least it makes me feel better! This time we won't let Scott near it, though.

  8. #8
    J
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    Did you have fun? This is important.

  9. #9
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    Enjoyed reading your posts. I was in the "red t-shirt" this year.
    "When you ride hard on a mountain bike, sometimes you fall. Otherwise you're not riding hard.
    -- So, most of the time when you're riding hard and not falling (since you only fall sometimes), you aren't actually riding hard." W.

  10. #10
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    Nutter Butters to the rescue.... nice story, glad your in one piece...

  11. #11
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    nice running into you Gary.. even though we both felt like sh!t. And to answer J's question, NO, it was no fun at all, and was the crappiest feeling I have ever had during any race, but afterwards, sitting in town with everyone else, being part of the even made it worth it.

    going to bed now, but some sneak peak pics: (more to come later)

    downieville
    river jump (nathan rennie)
    menso
    that really fast guy
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  12. #12
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    IT was fun. I felt great on the climb and great descending. Some cramping on the descent, but nothing too bad. Don't think I'd do it again on a 80mm hard tail. Even a 29er I got beat to hell. Everything was rideable and I felt fine, but I lost time from just getting beaten up.

    Good race homeez!

    -M
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  13. #13
    Older & Slower
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    help!

    i had to miss downieville this year...first time in 6 years!...

    can anyone give/direct me to the results?...how did Weir do in the DH/all mountain?

  14. #14
    Mountain Lion Bait
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    Weir got 1st in DH, 2nd in All Mountain. And self-shuttling to to Sierra City from Downieville is crazy.

  15. #15
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    Took me 2:05 to get to Packer Saddle, with a bit of bike-pushing on some of the steeper stuff. The rest of the ride was fun until the cramps kicked in. Embarassing results but glad I finished without passing out.

    The baby heads werent so bad really but overall my hands and arms took a real beating. No crashes, no flats. No excuses. Will prepare better next time.

    When I crossed the finish line, the guy who took my number asked how I was feeling, to which I responded "Horrible!". He said lots of people have been saying that! Well yeah, cuz it sucks to spend 4 hours out there getting beat up by the sun and the trail! I guess spending only 2 hours out there would be nicer, but I"m not there yet.

  16. #16
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    My Lessons Learned...

    Here is my list of 2007 Downieville Lessons....

    1) Tubeless wheels/tires/whatever... Appear to work!

    Last year I flatted 3x! Only had 2 tubes on me. Had to walk the last coupla miles out (...plus had some bad cramps and one bad drivetrain mechanical. 2006 was a ****e race for me.) This year I was killing it on the top of the DH stuff, crossed the first bridge and heard that tell-tale flapping sound. Looked down and saw what I feared: flat front tire. Got off, flipped the bike over, felt things out and pumped it up a bit. Seemed to hold air. Pumped some more, still seemed ok. More air; still good. So off I went! Thanks Stan's No Tubes! And Charles & Sterling @ Passion for the last minute conversion!

    2) I need to train. At least a little. Being young and dumb doesn't really work anymore given I'm no longer the former and the latter never really helped anyway. I did NOT feel so strong going up. My pace going up was dog slow and I even got off and walked a coupla sections when I wasn't paying attention and my front wheel dove into the wrong rock etc etc.

    3a) Going down on a bigger bouncy bike is just stoopid fun. I already knew that, but will note it again for emphasis. I fall in love with the Nomad all over again every time I'm back in D'ville. This weekend was the same.

    3b) Going up on a bouncy bike isn't stoopid fun. Not sure what my Nomad is weighing in at, but I looked online and my 2000 results on my 22lb hardtail were easily 15-20mins faster then this year (mid 3hrs vs late 3hrs). Granted I didn't flat and I was 7 years younger and much fitter...

    4) Spec Resolution tires are my new faves. They were a last minute pick from Charles and they worked brilliantly. Perhaps the big mofo on the front was heavier then I would have liked going up, but really I think my issues on the climb had more to do with the engine on the bike then the bike itself.

    5) Downieville is just a fantastic place and the Classic is what MTB racing should be about: going fast and having fun. It is still one of the best events around and for me it harks back to when the sport was a bit simpler and just plain fun.
    - -benja- -

  17. #17
    bicycle rider
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    My lessons learned:

    1. train better
    2. don't drink so much beer next summer
    3. show up lighter
    4. don't start at the back of the pack
    5. improve my technical descending skills


    I was 17th in sport vet men 35-44 at 2:42. I was shooting for 2:35. Next year! Two years ago I had an awful race. Knew I needed a new bike. Got it. Last year I got sick right before the race, missed it. So this year I finally had a good, trouble-free race. Stayed upright, only had a few fumbles. UST tires and rims rock. The Blue Groove front and Nevegal rear at 32psi were perfect for me, at about 208lbs. (Raced an XL Blur "Classic".) Woulda had a podium in the clydesdales. Maybe next year I'll race clyde, but I hate being a clyde. Maybe I'll be 195 next year! Yeah! Gotta have goals. I started WAY back in the 9:35 group. I was behind this:



    But there were a few people behind me:



    My teammate Sean beat me by two minutes, and he started at the front of that group. Next year! I brought a full camelbak, spares, a big pump and a bottle and was carrying too much. I'll bring a smaller camelback, a can of compressed air and a water bottle next year, and more gels. I'll also race harder. I finished feeling fresh, which means I didn't go hard enough. Also sat in a lot of traffic on Third and First Divides.

    But I had so much fun! I love this race, I love Downieville. I'm so stoked that the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Yuba Expeditions and the whole town get behind this race. My wife and kids had a great time, and I'm really glad I brought them. We spent Sunday swimming in the Yuba and hanging out at our camp site. This morning they were telling all their friends at summer camp about the fun weekend we had. Me too.

    Pics here.

    Morgan

  18. #18
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    My lessons learned.
    If you want to do well:
    1- don't take an extended, beachchair vacation (with all you can eat and drink)a week before the race
    2- don't get seriously sick the week of and during the race weekend.
    3- DO sign up for the catagory with the smallest field!

    On wednesday, I couldn't get out of bed, and I decided to back out of the race since I could barely breathe (smart move). I still decided to bring the bigger bike and head up just to cheer on the racers and fulfill my volunteer commitment for the sunday race. As we pulled into town friday afternoon. Jeffh and ibikergal had been insisting I still race during the whole drive. They finally got through my head as Jeffh was picking up his packet, I filled out an entry form (must have been the medication getting to my judgement). The fact that only 2 people were enrolled in the 29er class also added a bit of convincing (turned out to be 5 of us total).

    come race morning, I wasn't feeling much better, but loaded up on about 6 different pills, my sinus passage was clear at the start. Off we go, and I am started with the experts.. Yeah, I lined up against the pro's damnit! I immediately realized I made a mistake. Before we were off of the pavement I was struggling! I was just trying to hang with the last group of about 4 riders, but man was I hurting. About 2 miles in, the fast sport riders caught and passes us. I felt the meds mixing in my stomach and I started to gag, threw up a little and thought about turning around. Man the view was gorgeous, and I was about 1/2 way up the original climb. I just thought to myself, "spin with ole' granny and try for the 11:30 packer saddle cut-off". Shortly after, the fast beginners were catching me. It was painful, but when I made it to the first water stop, I knew I had tackled most of the hard part. the flat/rolling fire roads I was able to spin a bit faster. and get into a decent groove. Finally Packer saddle, and only about 1/2 the beginners had caught/passed me.. not as bad I thought.

    Once I got to the baby heads, I thought I would be fine as the dh was gonna be easy since I have ridden the trail many times. I started to do better, for the first time passing a good number of riders, but I still wasn't enjoying the ride. The whole descent, I just wanted to get it over with. By the time I got to 1st divide, my body was aching everywhere, even though I didn't get bounced around that much. When I got to the pavement, I was done, and crawled through the town across the finish line. woo hoo, I finished! alive!?! But damn, I can't wait until next year! Next year I am sure the 29er class will grow, and this will be my only chance at a DFL and a podium spot

  19. #19
    bicycle rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by grrrah
    ...a podium spot


    Morgan

  20. #20
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    Here're my lessons learned:

    Train the long climbs: Kennedy HCW, Black Mountain, Mission Peak.
    Practice downhills: Steam Donkey, White Oak, etc
    Leave for Downieville Thursday morning and practice the XC downhill course in the afternoon (took me 1:45) and again the next morning (1:40).
    Don't start too fast and spread the energy out over the entire climb (1:27).
    Don't break too much on the downhill (easier said than done). I managed to do the downhill in 1:37 (even with tired legs from the climb) for a total time of 3:04, good for 5th place in Beginning Men 45+ and 25 minutes faster than last year's race, when 3:04 would have been good for 2nd place.

    The race was especially fun, since I was chasing JeffH on the climb. After he took off at the start I didn't see him until after the water station. We (hiked/)biked together up to the top of Packer Saddle and I stayed with him going down Baby Heads. Wow, finally I can keep up with somebody going downhill! I managed to pass him, but he stayed right behind me until Pauley Creek crossing, where he cramped on the short hike up. In the end I beat him by almost 3 minutes for 5th place.

    Menso did well too and came home with three medals, but I'll let him tell his own story.
    Also known as Menso's dad.

  21. #21
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    Downieville Rocks !

    By far the most fun for a race weekend this year.

    Lessons Learned

    Train harder or smarter?
    Don't drop your only water bottle
    Work on DH skills
    Come back next year !

    I knew I was in trouble when J.L. started telling me about his practice DH runs with Menso.

    I started out pretty fast up the road at the start. I was into the back of the sport riders by the time I hit the dirt. Passing riders in the first mile or two in the dirt seemed ok but as we climbed it was getting harder and harder.

    Near the top of the climb J.L. came up along side and we hit the summit together. By the time we were at Pauly creek I had a small lead over J.L.

    About 1/3 of the way down the baby heads J.L. blows by me and never looks back. I was just trying to hang on but my legs started to cramp really bad. I ended up 6th with a 3:06 and will be back next year.

    Photo,

    J.L. de Jong in Victory !
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    Last edited by jeffh; 07-16-2007 at 09:16 PM.

  22. #22
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    Who was that dude on the RockLobster Monstercross and how did he end up behind me on the descent flying past and staying ahead!?!?!?! Maybe some of those pinchflatters were catching back up.

    -M
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy
    Who was that dude on the RockLobster Monstercross and how did he end up behind me on the descent flying past and staying ahead!?!?!?! Maybe some of those pinchflatters were catching back up.

    -M
    I bet it was Erik Thunstrom, he's on the left in this pic:



    It was a singlespeed 29er with drop bars. He's freakin' strong. I got ahead of him and stayed ahead on First Divide only because I had gears and he had gear.

    Going down to SC to pick up some Rock Lobsters after work Wednesday. :stoke:

    Morgan

  24. #24
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    That was him. Tough MF!

    He had his race crew of short ugly trolls bludgeoning him with 2x4s after the race as a warm down.

    I love the finish there. A nice hypoxic pave spin followed by a dead stop. My lesson learned: Trying to stand up in a dark, stanky sweltering portopotty RIGHT after a race is not a gamble I want to take again... I'm not even sure that thing had a urinal, I may had just peed on the wall.

    Oh, and If I had stopped to clean my glasses I would have made up the time.

    -M
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  25. #25
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    Hey, are you the guy on the green & orange 29er? I talked to you at the start I think, "Cool paint job."

    Morgan

  26. #26
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    Yeah. That bike rocks the house structurally too. If I was tough enough it would be the perfect bike for that race.

    So glad I didn't flat.

    -M
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  27. #27
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    Slightly off topic, but I watched someone bomb down the steep paved part just after the water zone at the top. As he approached the rather tight left hand turn he hit the brakes, skidding both front and rear wheels. I was impressed by how far he was able to go while staying up on two locked wheels.

    He became separated from the bike. I would not say that he went over the bars. Mostly the bike slid out from under him.

    He ended up on his back, head first, sliding across the pavement for almost 20 meters before stopping. If it were not for his helmet AND a camel back it would have been very bad.

    He got up and kept on going.

    The course marshal picked up his bike to get it out of the way of the remaining riders. He ran back and got it from the course marshal. As he rode off some other spectator commented that he should be DQed for obtaining assistance from the course marshal. There is no way he obtained an advantage.

    I hope he finished. He certainly has a story to tell. This was in the pro group as far as I know. It may have been the front of the class that started after pro.

    On Sunday I drove down that section. I was riding 1st gear in my truck doing 30 mph on compression, no brakes. I would guess some of you guys were hitting 50 down that section. That's pretty fast to be locking up the front and rear brakes.

  28. #28
    zon
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    Not sure what lessons learned. I trained harder this year, pre-rode the course a few times and managed to race it 10 minutes faster than last year for a 2:48 finish in Sport 45+. Everyone else seemed to be faster this year as I still finished at about the same position as last year. Dang, what does it take to get a break? All in all very fun race allthough I'm still not sure how so much pain can be so much fun. Next year.
    ΜΟΛΩΝ-ΛΑΒΕ


    .

  29. #29
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    Morgan,
    i found myself in the picture of guys in front of you at the start.... #300

    I only cramped bad twice...A lot better than last year. I think I ate about 25 salt pills though the day.

    When I hit the pavement my Garmin said 2:58.... I thought, "Maybe I can beat 3 hours"...

    I sprinted my brains out and finished at 2:59:56.... I was stoked at that, passed about 10-15 people on the pavement.... there were 2 guys that I passed about 100yards from the haybails, they never challenged me. When the results were tallied I got 11th in clydesdale by 4 seconds to 12th... the sprint paid off.

    Bummer of the day is that I was hoping for more like 2:45... I blew up on the climb.... My main competition(my buddy) passed me back and forth a couple times and he was only like 5 riders ahead of me getting near the first aid station, Then I just died and ended up loosing to my buddy by like 8 minutes....I beat him in the downhill on Sunday though, and there is always next year.....

    Lesson Learned:
    1. In training I knew that on a long climb like that I would be fastest spinning a high RPM and keeping the heart rate under 175.... I broke both rules... staying in the 180s most of the way up and grinding a tall gear... more pain does not mean faster... or "slower is faster" for me anyways..... I need to follow my own rules.

    I cannot be disappointed though... I took 44 minutes off of last years time...

    Downieville is the RADEST race ever...

    Training for Downieville 2008 starts on Thursday!.
    I am a yeti addict, 8 in all:
    Currently built:
    ASR-SL, 575, DH9, Road Project, FRO
    Currently in Pieces:
    ASX, Lawill-6,ARC

  30. #30
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    Downieville is a blast!

    I finished just in front of you with a 3:00 and made the 45+ podium next to my blue ribbon buddy Sasquatch who I think had a 2:55. Big time cramps for me for about 20 miles but somehow hung in there. My big lesson learned is to be prepared for cramps. Salt tabs?

  31. #31
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    I don't think it's salt. Probably too much salt. I'm going with str8 water next time. Some of those cramps are from too much lactic acid in the muscles and not enough water to flush it out.

    -M
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  32. #32
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    I downed about 1.5 gallons of water the day before
    80 oz of CytoMax during the race
    + another 40oz of str8 water during the race

    might have had something to do with the cold that I had that week/day, but it sure was intense. There has to be a cause and cure for those darn things.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat.tires
    There has to be a cause and cure for those darn things.
    I've heard a couple packets of mustard can do the trick. Nobody is certain why it works but some riders swear by it. Google it.

  34. #34
    Lusus Naturae
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    I'm in the "cramp club" too. I had a 70oz Camelback filled with plain water, and then a regular bottle of Gatorade. I planned on snacking on trail mix but took along some GU and shot blocks as well, and glad I did.

    I tried to eat a cliff bar half way down Pauley Creek but after one bite I had enough. Most of my cramping was post-race. The only in-race cramping came from taking my foot off the pedal and trying to extend the leg or something. I could easily keep riding if it was just pedaling motion.

    Future races will hopefully involve proper fuel and liquid consumption.

  35. #35
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    What instead of chamois butter?

    -M
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  36. #36
    bicycle rider
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    I didn't have any cramps during the race. I wasn't blazing fast either. I hydrated before the race, had 4 Nuun tabs in my 100oz camelbak, ate a pack of Clif margarita Blocks with extra sodium at the top of the climb and dumped most of the water at both water stops on my head, drinking maybe 1/4 of it. I had a bottle of water in my cage too, and never touched it. I finished with water in my camelbak. Next year I'll carry less water.

    I think the best cure for cramps is not what you put in your body during a race, but how you prep for it. Train on long, hot, hard climbs and ride hard after the climb, and you'll figure out how to deal with cramps at Downieville.

    FWIW,

    Morgan

  37. #37
    zon
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    Quote Originally Posted by otbp_nocal
    I've heard a couple packets of mustard can do the trick. Nobody is certain why it works but some riders swear by it. Google it.

    Read all about it here:

    http://www.health911.com/remedies/rem_cramp.htm

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...04/ai_n9395639
    Last edited by zon; 07-17-2007 at 10:45 AM.
    ΜΟΛΩΝ-ΛΑΒΕ


    .

  38. #38
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    Outhouse Ammonia Saturation = accelerated cramping

    Quote Originally Posted by morganfletcher

    I think the best cure for cramps is not what you put in your body during a race, but how you prep for it. Train on long, hot, hard climbs and ride hard after the climb, and you'll figure out how to deal with cramps at Downieville.

    FWIW,

    Morgan
    I spent substantial time in the sierra preceding D-ville to prepare for conditions. Riding in the hottest part of the day etc.....

    I started cramping 30minutes after the start. Which is not normal for me.

    During intense exercise ammonia is produced by your working muscles and is carried by your bloodstream to the Liver for disposal. Ammonia interferes with the Calcium/Magnesium functions that make muscles relax and contract and cause cramping.

    The campground where I camped (Wild Plum) reeked of ammonia - it was so bad my eyes teared up when trying to take my morning constitutional in the outhouse.

    I camped for 2 nites exposed to the ammonia fumes - I'm wondering if my blood ammonia levels were elevated to the point where my body and supplements could not buffer the excess ammonia, causing me to cramp so severely and so soon. More research is needed.

    I drank a gallon of water in the day preceeding, Heed, etc.... I'm an experienced multi day Adventure Racer - I got a handle on hydration/sports nutrition.

    I drank water, heed, and took 3 endurolytes with my breakfast of Steelcut oats, Cranberries, Honey and Soymilk. Hot Tea with Honey.

    2 dumps in the reeking outhouse eyes streaming tears from the fumes.

    Warmed up for 30minutes and made my way to the start - started cramping 30 minutes later.

    I started the race with 70 oz. water, bottle of Heed, (1 extra packet heed to refill at the top) and 24 endurolytes. Got to the top of the first climb with 20oz water, no heed and 12 endurolytes - balled up in cramps anytime I tried to pedal. I'm sure folks heard me cussing at myself as they went by.

    Anytime I tried to pedal I cramped.

    I finished in 3:31 - I pre rode the climb in 1:10 on July 3 - my race day time was 2:20. I made the cutoff by 15minutes!!!! I made time on the descent, but not enough and I couldnt pedal.

    I'm shooting for 2:35 next year!
    Earn your turns. )'(

  39. #39
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    There is a lot of info on muscle cramps and most of it starts off with something like this...
    Everyone's physiology is different, and thus the answer to preventing cramps almost certainly varies from person to person as well.

    Great...

    Decent site - http://www.cptips.com/muspain.htm
    the section on Muscle Cramps is well written and geared towards riders

    Geeze... I hope this is not primarily age induced. I trained pretty well for this event and think i did not over exert. Had lots left over at the end, but the inner thigh muscles cramped up badly. They are very sore today. Other muscles are not. Perhaps I should have trained with a Thigh Master, smeared mustard on my legs, and brought along a personal masseuse. Maybe next year...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnBikerDan
    I finished in 3:31 - I pre rode the climb in 1:10 on July 3 - my race day time was 2:20. I made the cutoff by 15minutes!!!! I made time on the descent, but not enough and I couldnt pedal.

    I'm shooting for 2:35 next year!
    Just curious - wasnt the cutoff 11:30, which gives us beginners only 1:50 to reach Packer Saddle? I passed someone on the gravel/slightly downgrade section just before it starts to go up again before Packer Saddle, and said "5 minutes til the cut-off!", and he was like "What?!?" .. but I didn't have time to explain.

    Anyway, got up to the top 11:45 AM, which basically means it took 2:05 to get up. I was ready to be pulled over (pretty please, stop the pain!) but they let me go through and it then dawned on me I'd have to finish the entire race. Uhoh.

  41. #41
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    I had a good climb for me, @ 1:25 and felt good at the top of the climb.

    I was hydrating well the day before and the morning of the race

    I started taking Sport legs at 7:30am, 8am and on the start line and also about 1 hour up the climb.

    I had 1-24 oz water bottle with GU20 Sports drink for the climb and was planing on using the water stops to reload up on (no camel back) I did drink 2/3 of my bottle on the climb.

    I was also carrying a flask of Hammer Gel and used about 1/2 of it on the climb..

    I felt good up to Pauley Creek, about a 1/4 mile down the hill I started getting cramps bad !, I was riding a HT and had stopped pedaling for the decent, with my legs supporting all my weight is when the cramps set in.

    I ended up stopping 3 times before Downieville to let people by and stretch my legs. the stretch did not seem to work for me and it was best just to keep pedaling. I had no power for any quick acceleration without cramping

    I'm hoping long intense training ride will help me work this out.

  42. #42
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    this sure sounds familiar to my situation.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoBalance
    Just curious - wasnt the cutoff 11:30, which gives us beginners only 1:50 to reach Packer Saddle? I passed someone on the gravel/slightly downgrade section just before it starts to go up again before Packer Saddle, and said "5 minutes til the cut-off!", and he was like "What?!?" .. but I didn't have time to explain.

    Anyway, got up to the top 11:45 AM, which basically means it took 2:05 to get up. I was ready to be pulled over (pretty please, stop the pain!) but they let me go through and it then dawned on me I'd have to finish the entire race. Uhoh.
    I would hope they would graduate it for the different start times.... when I got to the top that's all that was on my mind.... "did I make the cutoff"?


    So of the folks here who cramped bad, how many were exposed to OUTHOUSE FUMES?
    Earn your turns. )'(

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat.tires
    There is a lot of info on muscle cramps and most of it starts off with something like this...
    Everyone's physiology is different, and thus the answer to preventing cramps almost certainly varies from person to person as well.

    True, everyone is different, but if you normally don't cramp - and you take the steps to do the preventative measures you should minimize their occurence.

    I'm starting to see that folks were doing the preventative measures and they were still cramping abnormally.

    I don't normally cramp until after AT LEAST 3hrs of HARD WORK in the HEAT on the bike.

    I started cramping in 30 minutes at D-ville. The OUTHOUSE is the only outside influence that affected me physically. Tearing eyes, burning throat/nasal passages while trying to evacuate before my race. Lungfuls of Ammonia saturated air - Ammonia bonds with water, I can see it now.... all those molecules binding with the water vapor in my lungs, putting that solution into my bloodstream through respiration.
    Earn your turns. )'(

  45. #45
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    Hearing all the other stories of cramp induced agony makes me feel better! I cramped badly on the climb up to third divide. Had to walk up the first half, and then gingerly pedal the rest of the way up.

    Given the length of the climb, and the punishing downhill that soon follows, it's just very hard to keep the legs limber and peppy. I almost never cramp on a bike, especially to the point that I can't pedal, but this race had me begging for mercy!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnBikerDan
    ammonia
    Ammonia
    ammonia
    ammonia
    ammonia
    ammonia
    My snopes detector is going off. I don't think breathing outhouse fumes will make you cramp. Any ammonia (or methane, or co2) has to get past your lungs, blood cells, and muscle delivery system before it can make you cramp. I don't think smelling stinky bathrooms has anything to do with cramping.

    And FWIW I spent time in the stinky outhouse at Indian Valley campground before the race and didn't cramp.

    I think cramps at Downieville come down to an equation of:

    1. fitness
    2. exertion
    3. time
    4. heat
    5. water
    6. sodium / potassium (i.e. diet)


    But what do I know?

    Morgan

  47. #47
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    He was camped with us at wild plum with TWW - mutant strong.

    That 'lobster was a custom 29er - not a Cross bike. It was PURE SOUL.

    95% american components - Some SOMA cross brake levers for the bar tops and the tires and pedals were the only major non US components.

    he rode back to the start after the race too.
    Earn your turns. )'(

  48. #48
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by morganfletcher

    I think cramps at Downieville come down to an equation of:

    1. fitness
    2. exertion
    3. time
    4. heat
    5. water
    6. sodium / potassium (i.e. diet)


    But what do I know?

    Morgan

    I KNOW I'm FIT - I ride 3-6x a week for at least an hour. Usually more on club rides.

    I've raced 48HR ADVENTURE RACES in Downieville in the Summer heat and had minimal cramping.

    I started extra slow to save energy.

    I normally train in Coe in the summer for Heat Tolerance.

    I KNOW how to HYDRATE PROPERLY.

    I KNOW nutrition, I've lost 45lbs in 2yrs based soley on Diet and exercise - funny how a HEART ATTACK can change your perspective on life.

    Humor me and look up ammonia and cramping. It's the only variable that was outside my normal protocols.
    Earn your turns. )'(

  49. #49
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    Cramps

    I'm no expert but I sure do have a lot of experience with cramping. I;ve been racing for 5 years and I only cramp when I race , never on a training ride. Also, I have pnly cramped one time in a road race , almost all the cramping is in MTB races, downieville is the worst for me. 2006 was the only time in 5 races that I did not cramp, I used Sportlegs, the only thing that works for me. I did cramp this year, but not as bad usual, thanks to the Sportlegs. I think a lot of this genetic. I talked to Jason Moeshler who won the race, nad he cramped , but said to me you just have to ride through it If I could ride through it I would. I get really bad cramps in my inner thighs and they hurt for days after the race. Here is my full report

    Downieville Race Report
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  50. #50
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    interesting. I visited the Plum Creek out houses a few times that morning myself...

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