Sunday, June 25, 2017

Race Report: Broken Arrow 50k



This was a race I was looking forward in much the same way that Nikko looks forward to getting an flu shot.

A few things went wrong in my lead up to this run.  One of my goals of this year was to ride a 1000+km bike ride.  Initially, I was looking at the DBC's Gold Rush Randonee... then Sigman said he was going to sign up for the BC Bike Race... which was at the same time.  So then I proposed that we should do SFR's Spring 1000km ride.  By this time we were having record snowfall and Squaw had already announced that they would remain open on weekends until the 4th of July... so I assumed this race would get pushed back and rescheduled.

But it didn't... and yes it was a lot of running on snow, and yes there were skiers and boarders on the mountain while we ran.  A bit ridiculous IMO.

Anyhoo, I wasn't that worried about the 1000k as I've done many brevets and long rides every year.  But this would be my longest race, my first ultra race, and I hadn't run consistently over the last few years.  So I focused much of my training leading up this race just getting time on my feet.  Not necessarily long tempo runs, but just slow runs, with plenty of hills, getting used to walking.  This plan was conceived by Sam, Seth and I... but Sam couldn't do it as Ollie qualified for regionals in some climbing comp (Go Ollie!).  So Seth and I were planning to head up with the fam and spend the weekend up in Tahoe.

Seth told me that his fam wouldn't be making it, so he'd be going solo... and about the same time I had been told that one of my high school buddies was planning to have his bachelor party in Zephyr Cove that weekend.  So... I figured I'd recover from the 1000k/50k by drinking beer, tossing bags, playing spikeball with about 20 of my buddies.  Which worked out quite well...

Got there a few days early to start working on the house, and loosen up my legs which were recovering from the 1000k last weekend...
My deck took quite a beating this winter... 
but at least my house didn't blow up like this one... 
Warming hut still open!  I remember having to walk down quite a ways to get to this one mid-season.  
Finally got to Long Lake... which was a bit too cold for the day.  
I was tempted... but not at 7:30 pm with 5 mi to go... 
The next day, I did a bunch of work from the cabin while the deck was being worked on... and in the evening I drove into Reno to get some more supplies at Wal-mart and rode some trails with Nick.

Fun trails within minutes of downtown.

Definitely not real...

After riding, Miley and I had a beer and grabbed a Shawarma downtown... and soon I drove to the bachelor party.  Some folks were already getting ready for bed (Jake...) as they were tired from playing in the beach all day.  This place was rediculous... 4 stories with an elevator, a pool, hot tub, etc...
Pool with a fountain...
really, really bad tequila...
Next day... 
After playing a million games of bags and spike ball... I took off so that I could get some sleep.  Plus I knew I had an early morning... I met Seth at Pahatsi and we went to bed early.  I slept outside on the deck, which was lovely.    
Race day... we ran into Steve, Drew, and saw a few other familiar faces.  We figured we might as well start in the back so that we can pace ourselves.  But turns out passing folks the whole time takes a lot of energy... 

Long lines of folks... I think I must've passed 150 folks.  
Here's the "stairway to heaven"...
by the second lap folks were shredding the perfect spring snow.  I was very, very jealous... 
I finished my first lap at 3:30.  I told myself that if I finished by 4 hours, I'd keep on going... as I was ready to bail and head back to the party... but had to keep on chugging along.  After that lap, I waited for 10 min to see if I could find Seth... but couldn't so I kept on going.  Came in at 7:14.  
Splitboard Stevee and his lovely daughter...
Seth coming in for the finish.  I was 20 min from leaving to be honest... 
Seth had bonked, overheated, and was a bit miserable... 
We went and cooled off in Cushing's pond along with the doggies... 
and remote controlled boats... this one was towed behind a remote control car... seriously... 
While the skiers were in their shorts, bikinis full on party at Squaw... 
And after the race, I went right back to the party and played a few games of spike ball...

Here's the course...


 I think this course played to my forte.  There wasn't a whole lot of running, but tons of hiking up steep snowy hills and running down slushy snow melt.  This was a bit like doing Shasta but missing the whole point by just running down vs skiing down... with aid stations and surrounded by masochists.

I was really planning to bail and go back to the party after one lap, but I told myself that if I did one lap in 3.5 hours and I felt ok, I'd have no reason to bail.  So I finished the first lap in about 3:28... so after waiting to see if I'd see Seth for 10 min, I took off the second lap.

For this race, we just started off near the back of the pack, figuring we'd just take it easy all day... but

In the end I felt pretty good and came in at 7:14:02, which put me in 55th out of 175.  Not to bad egh?

There were some famous runners doing the race, and some famous non-runners like Emily Harrington, who I ran a bit of the second lap with.

After our complementary dinner (pizza, pasta)... we went our separate ways.  Seth, back to his fam... and me back to Spikeball.  All in all, it turned out to be quite a fun weekend.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ride Report: Tahoe 1000k - "Kingdom of Heaven" - going Larsenneuring...



My first 1000k+ ride!  Joined the four digit club (that I just made up).  This was quite an enjoyable ride for me.  The 1000k was a lot more humane compared to the 400k or the 600k.  Basically it was a 350k ride on day 1, followed by a 300k ride, followed by a 350k ride.  And both nights we got a good 6+ hours of sleep.

There was lots of talk  pre-ride about the weather, and I got some cool resources for long rides.  This uses RideWithGPS data and you can set your speed, duration at control points, etc to get a nice forecast for the entire ride.

This is what it looked like before the ride... so we were prepared for rain on Day1... and were stoked that we wouldn't get rained on Day 2... when it could be snow:

This is what it looked like after the ride... i.e. what it actually did.  

Day 1: This was by far the easiest day.  The riding was quite flat, we had some great tail winds, and due to the nature of everyone starting at the same time with fresh legs, we rode together as a pack in one form or another for most of the day.  


Start of the ride.  5 am, promising not to do "stupid stuff".  Highly debatable oath... 
For the first 100 miles, I'm not sure my heart rate went above 90 bpm... definitely the mellowest portion of the ride.
Soon our group started splitting up but for the most part we were all in groups.  Here's Sig getting some water.
Funky weather... chances of rain
The Riding on hwy 16 was really nice.  
Quite mellow, with some fun features to gawk at.  
Our first manned control hosted by Phil.  These manned controls weren't mandatory IMO, but they sure made the ride much, much nicer.  Thank you volunteers!!!
Soon we were in Oroville, about 2 hours ahead of when I thought we'd make it.  Checked in, had a beer, showered, lubed up my bike... in that order.  
Then we went out to the 24 hr diner for dinner.  Pretty decent.  We didn't try their deep fried twinkies... 
Day 2: This is when the adventure began.  As you can see in the profile, there was plenty of climbing (15k+), but all the slopes were pretty mellow.  Nice mountain roads, but the logging trucks suck.  I'm pretty sure they play a game called, "let's see how close we can get to the cyclists"... and riding around Tahoe is never enjoyable either.  No shoulder and lots of traffic.

At the first control.  We picked up Gavin about 30 min before this and we rode with him the rest of the day.  Very nice guy from Pennsylvania. I hope to see him at a future 1200k somewhere..
Getting lunch in Sierra City as all the amenities in Downieville were still closed.  
And the rain begins... 
Yuba Pass... so mellow, except for the trucks.  Eric decided that due to the rain and the wet conditions we should just stay on 49 and skip going to Graeagle, which was too bad as I was looking forward to that section of road, but a very wise decision.  
On the descent, we caught up with the Tandem Team... the skies cleared, and the Grateful Dead started jamming Casey Jones in my speaker.  Probably the highlight of the ride for me.  Drafting at 20+ mph behind the tandem team is really fun... 
In Truckee, at Best Pies... which IMO isn't "best" but ok.  Anyway... it did the trick.  
On our way out of town we met up with Ksenya and Drew who walked a few hundred yards to cheer us on.  
Brockway Summit sucked.  My legs weren't really working... 
Pretty cool shadow play on the lake.  Riding around the lake was blah... too many cars, not enough shoulder, etc.  Riding through Cave Rock was insane.  Probably the highest winds of the trip... maybe Altamont Pass... but Cave Rock was blowin'!
Day 3: It's all downhill right?  Kinda... but the headwinds at the end really made this a tough day.  Beautiful riding in the beginning... and Shake Ridge Rd was a treat...

Heading out of town in the wee hours of the morning.  Wasn't too bad... maybe 50 deg?
Luther Pass.  
Well, it was cold here.  So we donned our clothes at this point.  
Really nice riding.  
Eric added this out and back out towards Markleeville so we could get our 1000k as we missed the Graeagle section yesterday.  
And he served up some amazing breakfast!
At this point Sigman noticed a sidewall issue on his tire... so he swapped out tires with one that Eric had.  
Catching up with Tom, Brian, and Juliayn
At Carson pass.  Full of skiers, tourists, and ice climbers...
Some nice rando bikes on display... bad glare... apologies... 
Silver Lake.  
Kirkwood is still stacked!
Getting on to Shake Ridge Rd... and stripping off layers.  
The town of Volcano.  Really cute town.  Definitely want to spend a weekend up there.  
This place rocks.  
Soup and sando.  Plus a cinnamon roll
Soon we were in the flatlands... 
In Manteca.  We were headed to a taqueria, but the line was too long... but Panera kinda sucked.. oh well.  Soon we did a final battle with Altamont Pass which was howling!  At one point I remember cranking down a 5% grade and moving like 8 mph... 
In the flatlands... while we were in a pace line Sigman pulled off his jersey and his fender (which had broken off earlier) got stuck in the spokes and he came to a skidding halt... Amazing that his tires made it.  
At the finish, Sigman was all sorts of beat up.  And Shab came by so he made his way real quick.  I hung out, took a shower, had a few beers, food, and cheered on other finishers.  Then made it home around 4 am.  All in all a great weekend!