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  1. #1
    Mythical Creature
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    Race Report: Chalk Creek Stampede - Possible podium?

    [size=3]Race Report: Chalk Creek Stampede, Nathrop, Colorado[/size]

    [size=3]Mountain States Cup #2 or Them Colorado boys are FAST!"[/size]
    [size=3]Chapter Six: How to Podium and not to Podium[/size]

    [size=3]I must be nuts, given that I've schedule roughly half the amount of races this year as last year, and have done 5 races in 2 months; six this season already! [/size][size=3]The record: The season started with a ridiculous adventure in the 24 Hours in the Muddy Old Pueblo and a 7th place finish in the 4-Person Men's category. Next stop was the [/size][size=3]NOVA NORBA National in Phoenix accompanied by fellow MTBR'er "Rapwithtom", an early season training race, and a lot of fun. Hung with some mighty strong guys and placed 7th in the General Classification; 6th in the short track, 7th in the wickedly competitive XC, and 10th in the TT. All winter I had been targeting the first race in the New Mexico Off Road Series (NMORS), the Coyote Classic, in El Paso, TX. This was an "A" race to be sure - and I was ready. Going off course and blowing a fork nixed any chance of a good result, but I finished anyhow. Life is full of, um, lessons. Then an epic, grueling, mudfest in Cloudcroft 2 weeks later, for the High Altitude Classic; placed 2nd behind the reigning NM super pro, 1st in my 30-39 Expert group. Not many survived, and more just didn't bother starting. Then last weekend was a lovely about-face, weather wise, for the fast and furious Cerrillos del Coyote race, in Socorro, NM. Well run, spectacular views and a fun mix of moderately technical jeep roads and singletrack. [/size]

    [size=3][size=2]Well then, w[/size]hy not make it 3 races in 3 weeks then? Or 4 races in 6 weeks? Normally this would be considered nuts, but I've been feeling antsy about competing locally and wanted to go get abused in Colorado by sickly fast and strong experts. I felt like if I could train through the event, the Chalk Creek Stampede, and survive - I'd have somewhat of an idea of where I may be on a regional level. I was pretty fatigued, but the Colorado folks finally had some winter, helping dampen the intensity at which they normally may train, but could also backfire as folks may be adequately rested, unlike me! Well, what the hay, eh?[/size]

    [size=3]Thankfully contacted a friend locally who put me up at he and his wife's wonderful house in downtown Salida, only 15-20 minutes from the venue. With the weather looking mighty sketchy all week, I was not up for camping in rain/snow, with the wind howling as it does in the spring. Arrived Friday evening, met the dogs, drank some beer and retired for a restful nights sleep - a rare occurrence before a lot of my races lately. Salida is a very cool little mountain town, home of some mind boggling riding, hiking, and water sport mania. When I woke up and looked out the window from bed, I was looking off to the west at one of the many 14,000 foot peaks in the area - one of many, and still covered in snow. The venue was nestled down in the valley below this north-south cache of "fourteeners", known as the collegiate peaks (Mt. Princeton and so on...) along the Chalk Creek, flowing at about 4X as full as what it was last year. [/size]

    [size=3]The weather forecast still projected a 30% chance of rain/snow, but the temperature was to hit the high 50's; not bad, and downright balmy compared to the last few weeks in Santa Fe! The kicker would be the wind. Notorious for howling down the eastern slopes of these giant mountains in the spring, it'd put the hurt on during a long, straight, climb into said wind out on the course. When I got to the venue, it was sunny and breezy - but still chilly. I dug out the coat, hat, gloves and camera in search of Tom & company at the registration/start/finish area. His sport group was to go off around 10AM for three laps of 6 +/- miles. It was weird to have to sort of "hurry up and wait" as the pro/expert fields were starting at 1PM, but cool to be around to see some of Tom's race. He had a good start, stayed in contact with the front during the pack-spreading parade loop within sight of the start/finish area before they headed onto & up the course. Just after the transition area this course is notorious for a steep, short, loose climb that typically ends up being a flustercluck. In talking with Tom prior to the race, I mentioned I'd be going for a hole-shot to hit this climb near the front, clear it and head off without the traffic-induced hike-a-bike. It only takes one slip ahead to make for a long traffic jam, where I got stuck behind last year only to get to the top and see the leaders way off on the horizon. I encouraged Tom to try and attempt a similar move, and encouraged him to go for riding the hill, as he asked if I thought it worth it, as opposed to hiking up it, which he sounded somewhat likely to do as a default to conserve energy.[/size]


    [size=3]After his start I headed back to the car to get warm again, and to get my crap sort of ready. About a half hour later I went back to the venue and hiked up to the top of this techy section to see if I could catch Tom in action. Some folks were riding the climb, others were walking it. When a rider approached a walker, I yelled "rider in the saddle, make room!" and the hikers would. I was bummed to see that had there not been heckling, they'd have likely bogged the other racers down. When I saw Tom powering up the climb, I hollered at the 2 walkers ahead of him to clear the trail, and egged him on. He looked good on lap two and later said he rode it all three times - great work man![/size]


    [size=3]Tom's competition and fellow freshman Sport, Tony:[/size]

    [size=3][/size]
    Last edited by glenzx; 05-08-2005 at 10:39 PM.
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  2. #2
    Mythical Creature
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    (cont.)

    [size=3]I missed Tom & Tony's finish as I was starting my warm-up routine. He came by and gave me some advice about the course, and noted that wind was ferocious on the big headwind climb. Funny to plan on drafting in a mountain bike race! Anyhow, I did my routine and noted to myself my legs felt moderately cooked, but OK. I'd play the "hole shot" start theory by ear now, starting to feel a little intimidated and some self-doubt. 3 races in 3 weeks! What am I doing? It's all part of a master plan to be "on" in September, strong, ready and willing to do battle at the Mammoth Championships. This was part of an investment in an attempt at a good result there. When I could step back from the here-and-now of spinning on the trainer in a gravel parking lot, in the wind, in Colorado, before a race that would be an anaerobic puke-mission, I felt calmer. This is good, as a lot of things have happened in the last few weeks that can affect racing. I stopped drinking coffee. I was trying a new sport drink mix for the first time. It's a late start. I was tired, as noted. Good thing I could admit it was a low-priority race, but dammit, I'm here to race anyhow, despite all these changes to routine![/size]

    [size=3]I mosey over to staging, and no surprise the wind is picking up and the fields are HUGE. A few minutes before the start, we ask the official to break up the 30-34 and 35-39 groups into separate start waves, at is looked like 60-70 people ready to go! They agreed, and sent off the younger fellas first, then us about 2 minutes later. Off we went on a strangely mellow "parade loop".[/size]

    [size=3]Off and running (I'm on the left in orange):[/size]
    [size=3][/size]



    [size=3]It went west, then south, then east out onto the course. When we turned slightly downhill, headed east, I attacked and got up to third place, and felt A-O-K thus far. We hit that nasty little climb, and the three of us and a few behind cleared it quickly. Felt like there were a few guys right on our wheel, and the pace was moderate. I passed #2 guy, and rode the wheel of #1 for a while. The course rolled up and down some fun rocky washes, through pinion and juniper scrub lands and wound it's way toward the big, windy, climb. When we hit that part, a strong looking guy came around, and I went with him. He pulled for a while, then I would. We hit the top of the climb and screamed down the singletrack descent. This was a fast and fun rollercoaster ride down off a small mesa to the creek. We headed west again, up along the creek, then u-turned and rolled through the big cotton woods back towards the start/finish area. The last stretch was a fast dirt road with a tailwind, and me and this fella were haulin... When we came through and hit the approach to the techy climb again, one or two guys caught on. The guy in front was HAMMERING and pulled away, cresting the top a good bit ahead. I couldn't chase at a sustainable level, so let him cruise ahead. Shortly thereafter, another strong guy came up on my wheel and we rode pretty hard, heading for the long head-wind climb. We worked the whole back half of the course together and came through the start/finish area in 2nd & 3rd place, with no one in sight. We were catching a lot of the back half of the younger group here, and that was making it a bit messy for passing and pacing. We headed for the long windy climb and a number of the other group tried getting in with us and I had to back off a little. Then I got stuck behind a fella flailing on a nominal techy rock garden, and because he was about to "pop" or blow up, he spun out and dabbed right in front of me - forcing me off my bike and on foot, running around him. The #2 guy I had been riding with was pulling ahead with 2-3 other younger guys, and I tried to catch on and suck wheel, but was going into the red too quickly and backed off. I had to ride the long windy climb solo, always in sight of my buddy, but not closing the gap. [/size]


    [size=3]After the start loop (still from Tom's video):[/size]



    [size=3]As I crested the top of the climb and started the screaming descent, I caught the back of the small group (I can descend pretty well;-)) my new buddy was leading. I tried to muster the energy to come around the guys between he and I, but couldn't. He pulled away, and me and these other guys rode through the fun singletrack together by the creek, and hit the road for the start/finish area. On the road, the dude took off. I caught him by the time we hit the start/finish area, barely, but he powered up the approach to the techy climb gapping me significantly. In the confusion this past lap, I had no idea what place I sat in, figuring some of the guys in the fray were in the younger group, but some were likely in mine. Top ten for sure, but who knew. I prepared for the climb, rode by a few walking stragglers and heard shouts and hoots from Tom, Ocky, and Steve (I think) - spectating on the killer climb, and a welcome friendly bit of feedback for my cramping body and mind. I pushed with all I had, crested the beast for the last time and headed for the worst of it. This last part I basically rode solo, passing a few folks here and there, but on my own. Unfortunately, no one was around to help get up the windy climb, so I dropped my forearms onto the grips, head down, and pushed. An agonizing 10-12 minutes later, I crested the top, turned away from the wind and screamed down the trail and all the way back to the finish with what little gas I had left in the tank. The new sport drink mix left me bloated feeling, and kind of dry-mouthed. Yuck. It tasted good going down, but that seemed to be the only upshot. My right calf was borderline cramping - a first for me ever in a race, so I know to stick with my original PowerBar Endurance mix from now on (works fantastic), and not mess with "what works".[/size]

    [size=3]Cross the line, see Tom & Co., we make plans to eat and I go spin-out for a while, then hit the Jeep to change. As I'm packing up, Tom comes by and say the preliminary results were posted - I got 4th! The 1st place guy was way ahead, then we were within a minute or two most of the way down the list. Not bad! We meet up at the Coyote Cantina, trade tales of battle, eat copious amounts of Mexican food and then hit the road. When I passed the venue on the way out of town, I could see folks getting there medals in the awards ceremony and didn't think anything of it. The ride home is nice and quiet, I park the car, see my wife and dog, and while she's working on one of our computers, I check my email on the other. Then I check by the MSC website and - no way! Results are already posted! I click on the link to see who the freak was in our group that came in 12 minutes ahead of the next guy - and there is no guy. The preliminary results had mistakenly placed a pro bib# and time in our group! Hmmmm, look at that: I got third place! Two hard seasons getting flogged by the fellas in the MSC races and I finally podium as an expert, and drive right by the scene. Moral of the story: re-check results once the race is over if you are anywhere near the top! It felt good none the less, as the accomplishment is the goal. I have to admit that had I been rested for this race, no way would the guy who won (who was with me the first lap) would have been able to pull away like he did. THAT's what feels really good! If I can just keep the trajectory headed in the direction it is, things should go pretty well this season. [/size][size=3]Thankfully, it's time for a rest period, then the Iron Horse road race for fun, then a break before the Angel Fire MSC race here in Northern NM. Time to start the big climb's again! The next NMORS race isn't until the end of June, so it seems like there lot's of time to rest, regroup, and build for the next block. [/size]

    [size=3]For those that are still reading and don't know, a huge part of my (relative) "success" is due to the superb coaching & mentorship I've received from a very good friend - Jess (trainer & friend), and her husband Ken - my main competition here in NM (fierce racer & buddy).[/size]
    Last edited by glenzx; 05-08-2005 at 10:42 PM.
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  3. #3
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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    way to go on the 3d place--your writeup was excellent and held my attention captive all the way through.

  4. #4
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    Always enjoy your reports Glen

    Glad to see things go well for you! I cannot race with the Colorado boys!
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  5. #5
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    Congrats Glen.

    "Chalk" up another podium, eh? Way to be representin' Neuvo Mexico.

    So are you still planning to dust off the Blur and head out with us to GB this weekend?
    9:30AM @ Zele' on Sat. Morning?

    P.S. Why not hold the GITA planning meeting after (or before) the ride instead of this Tuesday which I most likely cannot make.

    M

  6. #6
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    How the heck do you remember all those details about a race?

    I race a lot too, but there's no way I could put together stories week after week.

  7. #7
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    Hey Glenn,
    Nice to finally meet you. Congrats. Not only are you getting it done in your local series, but you're laying the wood here in Co as well. My first Sport XC Debut obviously didn't fair as well, but that's ok. Back to the roadie for a few weeks, and then we'll see. I'm sure I'll be seein ya again sometime soon.
    -Ocky

    Oh yeah, great course description by the way. I think I'm going to have to steal some of it and use it on my blog!
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  8. #8
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    Good job Glen! Your writing skills are exceeded only by your racing skills.

    It was nice to see you again!


    PS With friends like us, who needs....medals, anyway? Sorry!

    PPS It's fun having a camera that takes video, even if the videos aren't great quality. I wonder if you can post a video on MTBR?
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  9. #9
    Mythical Creature
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySlowRdr
    way to go on the 3d place--your writeup was excellent and held my attention captive all the way through.
    Thanks A.S.R.! I feel like I should have someone edit these write ups, but if they read OK, I'm happy to pass the stories along - even if they meander sometimes! Glad it's entertaining though.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    Glad to see things go well for you! I cannot race with the Colorado boys!
    Indeed, as well as can go given all the factors! Thanks for slogging through the big long write up there, always good to get some feedback.

    No doubt the pace will pick up substantially in coming months, making it yet harder to keep any of these guys in sight. The culture of fierce competition and brutally fast cyclists (and other sports, I'm sure) is amazing, and I'm glad I get the chance to go "line up" with these dudes!
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  11. #11
    i worship Mr T
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    nice job glen!! you rock!!

    give your legs some rest now. they're likely to thank you for it by putting you on top of the podium at your next race.

    rt
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo
    "Chalk" up another podium, eh? Way to be representin' Neuvo Mexico.

    So are you still planning to dust off the Blur and head out with us to GB this weekend?
    9:30AM @ Zele' on Sat. Morning?

    P.S. Why not hold the GITA planning meeting after (or before) the ride instead of this Tuesday which I most likely cannot make.

    M
    LOL, "Chalk" - too silly. " ...Viva, Nuevo meh-hi-co..."

    Funny you mention the Blur - she was the steed of choice this fine race day. I forgot how dang fast that bike is, and loved the FS on all the stuttery, rocky descents and loose climbs. Of course the pretyy anodized black finish looked tan at the end of the day, given the dust, but she rode great!

    GB looks like a go this weekend, as long as I can get ahead of the curve with the house work on friday. 930AM sounds good. I'll pack the water, food and saw(s). Or are we gonna drive out there with chainsaws...?

    GITA meeting suggestion a good one! I'll post it in the NM forum.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by xl_cheese
    How the heck do you remember all those details about a race?

    I race a lot too, but there's no way I could put together stories week after week.
    LOL, it's a lot of time in the car on the way home to mentally formulate the tale(s), I guess. I like regurgitating the stories as it triggers yet more detail to note for the NEXT time, strangely!
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by OdaNelli
    Hey Glen,
    Nice to finally meet you. Congrats. Not only are you getting it done in your local series, but you're laying the wood here in Co as well. My first Sport XC Debut obviously didn't fair as well, but that's ok. Back to the roadie for a few weeks, and then we'll see. I'm sure I'll be seein ya again sometime soon.
    -Ocky

    Oh yeah, great course description by the way. I think I'm going to have to steal some of it and use it on my blog!
    You too Ockinator! We'll see at Angel Fire how well I can keep up, but if things stay OK, should be a blast! And feel free to use whatever pieces you'd like, as long as I get credit ;-) JK.

    See you at the next one, and stay strong!
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapwithtom
    Good job Glen! Your writing skills are exceeded only by your racing skills.

    It was nice to see you again!


    PS With friends like us, who needs....medals, anyway? Sorry!

    PPS It's fun having a camera that takes video, even if the videos aren't great quality. I wonder if you can post a video on MTBR?
    Thanks Tom - you too! Where's the write up? I'll email you the pix this a.m.

    LOL about the medal - no worries. Food was a higher priority anyhow. It was really cool having the friendly faces and cheering out there - way better than doing these events all alone and introverted-style.

    I'll edit the video and put it on my web server, then post the link - as the start video is cool - looks faster than I thought it was! It was neat to see myself coming through in 8th place, I think, as I put the move on after that chicane at the start/finish, jumping into 3rd place.

    Anyhow, thanks again!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenzx
    GB looks like a go this weekend, as long as I can get ahead of the curve with the house work on friday. 930AM sounds good. I'll pack the water, food and saw(s). Or are we gonna drive out there with chainsaws...?
    Nope...this will just be the exploratory ride (out and back) from town to the peak up the western slope. That trail was in great shape - and very clear of deadfall - last year (but I'll still pack the hand saw). The two trails on the ~eastern slope (heading down to the Conference Center) are the ones that need clearing. I am assuming those 2 trails still have snowpack at the elevation where most of the fallen trees are at (very shaded).....so I was planning a tree-clearing episode sometime later when it is drier (perhaps early June if not sooner). We'll just have to see what the peak looks like on this adventure trip and make a call/plan of action.

    So's anyways, just plan on the adventure route to GB and back. So from town, we'll head to the Santa Fe River trail, and then we can either take the road to St. Johns or connect DB south and Dorothy Stewart, then from one of those climb Atalaya peak, descend over it's backside and pick up the back country route over to GB trailhead/parking area. Climb that one to the tower and check out the other two trails then head back.....hopefully decending on the backside Atalaya trail that takes you out to DS - or as an option, I'd like to take the Atalaya ridge south and pick up one of the trails that head down to the dry creek heading from St. Johns. We biked/hiked up this a few weeks ago, and the descent looks pretty rippin. We can climb DB south from there and make a go of it back through town. That was my plan at least. I suspect a 40-ish, 6k-ish ride. I'll limit it to a very small group, so we should move fast.

    2nd Street ~6/7 should be a good meeting place for folks who won't make the ride but want to talk GITA. Might be able to convince Andy & the Scotts plus others to attend as well.

    M

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by *rt*
    nice job glen!! you rock!!

    give your legs some rest now. they're likely to thank you for it by putting you on top of the podium at your next race.

    rt
    Thanks *rt*! Legs are almost ready for a good rest - 1 more LT workouts week (hurts thinking about it - 3X20min. tomorrow, then 4X15min on wed.), then a good long mtbike ride this saturday with the FooCrew plus the Santa Fe century, which I'll be doing at a very moderate pace on Sunday... not a bad week!
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo
    Nope...this will just be the exploratory ride (out and back) from town to the peak up the western slope. That trail was in great shape - and very clear of deadfall - last year (but I'll still pack the hand saw). The two trails on the ~eastern slope (heading down to the Conference Center) are the ones that need clearing. I am assuming those 2 trails still have snowpack at the elevation where most of the fallen trees are at (very shaded).....so I was planning a tree-clearing episode sometime later when it is drier (perhaps early June if not sooner). We'll just have to see what the peak looks like on this adventure trip and make a call/plan of action.

    So's anyways, just plan on the adventure route to GB and back. So from town, we'll head to the Santa Fe River trail, and then we can either take the road to St. Johns or connect DB south and Dorothy Stewart, then from one of those climb Atalaya peak, descend over it's backside and pick up the back country route over to GB trailhead/parking area. Climb that one to the tower and check out the other two trails then head back.....hopefully decending on the backside Atalaya trail that takes you out to DS - or as an option, I'd like to take the Atalaya ridge south and pick up one of the trails that head down to the dry creek heading from St. Johns. We biked/hiked up this a few weeks ago, and the descent looks pretty rippin. We can climb DB south from there and make a go of it back through town. That was my plan at least. I suspect a 40-ish, 6k-ish ride. I'll limit it to a very small group, so we should move fast.

    2nd Street ~6/7 should be a good meeting place for folks who won't make the ride but want to talk GITA. Might be able to convince Andy & the Scotts plus others to attend as well.

    M
    Sounds perfect! Might have to scrub the Century then which is OK with me given the scope of this ride....
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenzx
    Might have to scrub the Century then ....
    I did wonder about that. I mentioned the ride to Scott last weekend and he said he was riding SFC. I had forgotten all about it - but then again I was not really too enthused about it to begin with. 7:30AM start time? ------ AYFKM?

    Any way do what you gotta do.... :-)

    M

  20. #20
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    You quit drinking coffee?!! I'd sooner quit breathing. Any particular reason? My understanding and experience is that in moderate quantities, it's an ergogenic aid and a legal performance enhancer. Oh, and congrats on the race!
    - Joe

  21. #21
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    Glen, great write up again and a great race - sounds like it was a killer, but fun. Sorry you didn't get your chance on the podium, but at least you know that you did make the place. I agree it's time for a rest , 3 races in 3 weeks is killing I'm sure.

    Look forward to seeing the start line video.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo
    I did wonder about that. I mentioned the ride to Scott last weekend and he said he was riding SFC. I had forgotten all about it - but then again I was not really too enthused about it to begin with. 7:30AM start time? ------ AYFKM?

    Any way do what you gotta do.... :-)

    M
    If I get one of the two weekend days to do an epic - I'd rather it be a mtbike epic! LOL at the 730AM start, my thoughts exactly. We'll see - I'd love to do both, but would be in a world of hurt at home.
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  23. #23
    Mythical Creature
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    Quote Originally Posted by NuMexJoe
    You quit drinking coffee?!! I'd sooner quit breathing. Any particular reason? My understanding and experience is that in moderate quantities, it's an ergogenic aid and a legal performance enhancer. Oh, and congrats on the race!
    - Joe
    Indeed Joe, and I agree about the breathing trade-off! The big reason was that while being a good stimulant (and mighty tasty) in the short-term, I found too many ups and downs energy-wise, and was starting to need coffee to start the day - something I hate! I missed waking up rested and peppy from a good nights sleep. So after a week+ off the go-juice, the nagging, drug-addict/withdrawl headaches are tapering off and I already feel better through the day. Bottom line is I needed to stop wacking-out the seratonin levels in my brain (among other things) and get off caffeine. I'll miss it, but in the long run I know that I can ride/race harder, longer and more consistency without it. I think I have addiction issues and though only drinking 2-3 cups a day, was headed for more!

    Funny, the 24 hour races I've done have been typically without coffee, even though I'd be drinking it in the preceding weeks. Who knows....

    And thanks!

    g
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  24. #24
    Mythical Creature
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx
    Glen, great write up again and a great race - sounds like it was a killer, but fun. Sorry you didn't get your chance on the podium, but at least you know that you did make the place. I agree it's time for a rest , 3 races in 3 weeks is killing I'm sure.

    Look forward to seeing the start line video.
    Thanks LyNx! I'll see what I can do with the video this evening. And yep, legs are toast!
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  25. #25
    Metalheadbikerider
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    Way to go man!

    That is one h#ll of an impressive race. And of course, great write up.
    Rock on...
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