I’ve been trying to get the 2012 schedule put together. So far it looks like the annual Psycho Wyco trail run (20 mile distance) is on. I have also got the Silver Rush 50 mile mtn bike race in Leadville Co. on the program. We are looking to get in the LumberJack 100 but registration doesn’t open until March. The Dakota 50 is another race we are looking at, again registration isn’t open until April for that race. The God’s Country weekend in March looks good as it is a 3 hr mtn bike race on Saturday and then the long course off road duathlon on Sunday. We will be doing the BoneBender 6hr mtn bike race in April as well. The local schedule has not been published but we will get in on a few of those races as well. Not sure if we will put any Triathlons in this year I am waiting on those dates to be announced to see if/how they will fit into the training and race schedule. Now it is time to ramp up the training. Running is the main focus right now trying to get ready for the 20 mile run. Once that is done, biking will take center stage and we will crank it up. The LumberJack is in June & is 100 mile of mtn biking so that will take some work to be ready for. That’s why we do this right? For the challenge, thrill and some suffering.
So I headed out to Breck to race in the B68 this year. I thought I was in good enough shape but this race is super hard as most of the race is on single track and at altitude of 9000ft and higher. The race started out with a wave start and on the pavement. So our group took off and I figured I would take a chilled approach and grab on to the second group of riders and pedal up Boreas Pass Rd to the single track and I was feeling OK when we hit the dirt and as usual there was a traffic jam and we came to a stop a few times and then things stretched out some and I settled into a groove. The climbing was bothering me as much as the descending was I just couldn’t find a good vibe and flow and was white knuckling the downhills and then it happened I hit a really loose section of rock & dirt and over the bars I went. Good thing I had the Osprey pack on or the damage to me would have been a lot worse. I have rock rash on my butt shoulder and arms but not real bad. Thanks to the riders who slowed to check and see if I was OK. I gathered myself up and made it to the 1st aid station refilled bottles and grabbed some food and gave myself a pep talk and hit the road. I made it up the West Ridge climb and was on my way down and almost to the bottom and then boom in a technical downhill spot I hit a rock with the front tire and hit the ground hard. This time it hurt! My arm was really sore and I looked over to see what looked like a walnut sticking by my elbow and that numbing, nagging pain. and my knee was bleeding. But nothing was broken on me or the Trek so I said a few choice words and tried to talk myself up but by this time it was sprinkling a little and I was in a bad place mentally and it looked really bad weather wise in the direction I would have to go for the 2nd lap. So I rode on in to the transition area the announcer said that there was 90 mins to get to the top of Boreass Pass to make the cut off. At that point I was mentally done so for the FIRST time in my life I pulled the plug and DNF’d. I was just not in a place to push on where normally I will suck it up and grind through it. My family was surprised as well but they were glad that I wasn’t seriously hurt. My wife said well at least we(her and the girls) will get to spend the rest of the day with you. And in the end I guess that is all that really counts spending quality time with the ones you love, There will be other races but that time is not something you can recapture. So we spent the rest of the day hanging in Breck and ended the it with a nice dinner and a beer enjoying the scenery ( the mountains and our family) Next up is the Spoke Pony Showdown 3/6. I am opt’ing for the 6hr.
Saturday was the day dedicated to riding Fatcyclist’s 100 Miles of Nowhere. It is a charity ride he originally started to raise money for cancer foundations. Originally it was done on a trainer or rollers but has since turned into people doing their own rides. I decided to ride a 10 mile loop. So it was going to be 10 laps to complete the 100 miles. I started out at 5:30 a.m. so I could get the ride in and still have most of the afternoon. The morning was nice the weather was ok and I was cruising along. The plan was to ride 5 laps on the mountain bike, then 2 on the road bike for a change and then finish the remaining back on the mountain bike. I would take a bottle and a couple of gels and just reload after each lap. The family was up later in the morning and they set up our canopy and put up little signs with mileage in 10’s so I could pull each off until I hit the 100 mile mark. It is so great to have a family that supports you in your endeavors. When they share in your experience it is so much more special and fulfilling. As they day wore on it starting getting hotter and the humidity began to wear on me some and I started to carry a bottle of gatoraid endurance mix and the other full of ice and water. But I just keep pedaling on and looking towards the finish line. 6hrs and change later I had completed 102 miles (threw a few extra in for good luck). It was time for some lunch and a beer and feeling good that I had just knocked out 100 miles of riding and it was for a good cause.
I headed to Clinton Lake to race in the Bone Bender 6hr mountain bike race. The trails were just about perfect. The course was great. The typical rocky technical stuff you get at Clinton Lake with some nice flowing single track, no real climbs so all in all a good course. The start was a mass run up a short steep hill to the bikes and then it was off. The only problem was the run really didn’t sort things out and the first portion was a quick ride on the road to a gravel road on to a flat section of trails. So the riders lined up and it was literally stop and go for the first 20 -30 minutes. I was walking easy sections as the line was jammed up. Once we got going I noticed my bike was making a noise. I soon found out the front derailleur was not allowing the chain to drop into the small ring. So I tried to adjust it on the fly but couldn’t get it to work. So I had to ride in the middle chain ring the whole race. Not a terrible thing as I could clean most of the technical sections but later in the day it would have been nice to have the easier gears to save the legs. I ended up only doing 4 laps. I started out on #5 but my legs started cramping up and this was on the easiest part of the trail so I pulled the plug @ a little over 5hrs. I was a great day all around trails, weather and just being on the bike and getting in some quality riding at race intensity.
Since the mountain bike race on Saturday was cancelled. I headed to the River Trails on Sunday to get some racing in the books. I needed to get some race intensity laps in to boost the fitness level. The race was a 2.5 mile run and 11 mile bike and then a sprint to the finish line. The race went ok I didn’t have good legs so I ran at my typical training pace and then hoped to make up some ground on the bike. At one point someone on the trail was calling out spots on and I was 47th so the last 1/2 mile I picked up the pace and passed a few people. Hopped on the bike and tried to put it on the red line for the whole 11 miles. I felt OK but couldn’t keep the speed I wanted but I was passing people and wasn’t hurting so I think it is just early in the season and I need to tweak the training a little. Finished in 9th place so I’ll take that for the first race of the season. Next up is the Bone Bender 3/6hr race. The plan is to race the 6hr.
The Breck 68 is in the books. I decided to go out to Breckenridge with a friend so he wouldn’t have to make the trip alone. I decided to use this as a tune up for the Leadville 100 I thought it would be a good indication of where I was in my training. We got there Friday afternoon got checked in and then headed over to Carter park to scope out a place for our canopy. We ran into the Trek Midwest guys out of Omaha and talked with them for a few and then headed out. We rode up the switchbacks right out of the park and when I say up I mean UP. I thought I might have gotten in a little deep here. We rode up to Sally Barber Mine so we could get a flavor for the early part of the ride. We stopped and snapped a few pics and then headed back so we could get to the check in. On the way back my front tire washed and I went over the bars and smashed my knee into some rocks. So now I am a little psyched out about the course and I am not sure how bad my knee is hurt but at the moment it was throbbing and bleeding so I figured it would be a problem on Sat for the race. We got to the check in and while waiting around I was talking to the other racers and a lot of them had done both Leadville and Breck and they all said if you can do the 68 you can do Leadville. We got our numbers and headed out to grab a beer and some pasta. Race day came and we headed over to Carter Park to get set up and watch some of the B100 racers. Once it was time to go they lined us up and instead of going up the switchbacks at the back of the park we did a roll out up the road to the trails just above the park. As the roll out began I realized I had left my bottle of Gatorade Endurance in the cooler so I ran over to our gear and grabbed it and then had to do a quick sprint to catch up with Chris. The neutral roll was kind of nice because it allowed me to get warmed up a little before the real work began. We rolled up the road and hit the trails and it was on 4650 feet of climbing for the 1st loop. We head up to Sallie Barber then some sweet downhill and then back up a big climb to Little French Flume then some SUPER Sweet downhill to the aid station then up to West Ridge and then a long downhill and one final climb up Gold Run Rd for a fast descent to Carter Park. Loop 1 done !!! I had the on site mechanic adjust my brakes and refilled my bottles and camelback and the race announcer said if you were heading out for the final loop you had 1hr and 25mins to make the hard cut off @ Boreas Pass which was only just shy of 2000 ft of climbing and about 10 miles. One of the guys from the Kuat racks team said “You can do it, we did it yesterday in 2 hours and we were messing around” So I jammed out of the park and figured I would give it a go if I didn’t make it at least it was all downhill back to the park. So I stared the climb and it just kept going up and I was looking at my watch wondering if I was going to make it. Climbing on technical single track is not that fast and time seemed to be slipping away. So with about 45 mins to go I put both ear buds in and turned up the tunes and continued to turn myself inside out to make the cutoff. Once I hit the gravel road I was able to gain some speed. Time was slipping away and it was going to be close I kept thinking how bad it would suck to miss the cutoff by a few minutes so I found a little more speed and as I crested the hill and could see the checkpoint there were literally minutes left and as I was 100ft from the check point the race official gave me the thumbs up and as I got there it was 4:30 on the dot. I had made it with NO time to spare. There were about 4 or 5 racers who were just ahead of me and as I crossed the line they all gave me a cheer. I got off my bike and it was high-fives and hugs as we all celebrated making the cutoff. Now it was time to refill and refuel and it was downhill all the way to Como on some incredibly awesome single track and there was a section that was like a luge track as it was bermed and super sick and flowing. The group rode into Como and there was a guy at the junction and he was the aid station so we refueled and refilled bottles and I asked him what’s left. He said 10 miles up and 10 miles down. So we headed up for 10 miles and when we hit Boreas Pass it was miles of 4% grade that goes up to Boreas Pass which is where you cross the Continental Divide. We hit the top and then it was downhill. I teamed up with one a guy and we ripped down the road and then onto the single-track and my legs were saying thanks finally we don’t have to work. It was again some sick downhill to Carter Park to the finish. 10hrs 17 mins and the Garmin said 72 miles so we got a little more than the stated 68. Dude I felt worked but also great sense of accomplishment. Now its on to the Leadville 100.
Pic from the Pre Ride
A Pic I found on the web of Boreas Pass
The weekend of the race was going to be crazy. I had a wedding of one of my long time friends was Saturday night. My daughter was turning 3 and had a birthday party and my son had a baseball game. The other challenging thing was going to be logistics: The race was in Lawrence and we live in Kansas City. So we decided to reserve a camping spot. It worked out well last year and the family was able to have a good time.
So Saturday I left KC with my kids, bike, tents, etc, etc… I needed to check in the bike and set up the tent early because we had the wedding that evening so we’d be getting into Lawrence well after dark. I dropped my kids off with my parents and headed out to Clinton Lake State Park. What can I say, but I LOVE the energy that comes from these races. Once you start getting closer to the event, you start seeing folks out riding, running, site seeing and even sleeping. Yes sleeping can be energizing. It’s a ton of fun, so I was hyped up. I set the tent up, checked myself and the bike in, sweated my ass off and headed back to KC with the kids. Yes, it was getting hot, but rumor had it that there was a storm rolling in overnight and it was supposed to cool everything off. Including the water because as of Saturday afternoon, the water was around 80 degrees and wetsuits were not going to be legal. Yeah right!
Saturday evening we went to the wedding for a short while, caught up with a lot of old friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, had one beer and ate fairly light (I had pizza for lunch and around 5:00pm). We drove back to our house, finished loading up the car and kids and headed down to Lawrence around 10:30pm. This was awesome, I was going to be waking up in 5 ½ hours and I was just leaving KC. Driving down to Lawrence found us wondering what kind of weather we were going to be sleeping in as the sky was lit up with lighting for miles and miles. The storm was definitely rolling in, but it was still hot as hell. Got into the campsite, the rain was all south of us, got the kids into bed and fell asleep around 12:30-1:00. This was NOT a good start to the next day, but what are you going to do right?
Woke up at 4am. It was definitely colder. Ate, drank, popped in the IPod and headed off. The swim was delayed due to the rescue teams not being in place, so since I was in the last heat before the relays, I ended up waiting for 1 hr 15 min before setting off. Amazingly the lake temperature dropped 5 degrees in 12 hours??? So the wetsuits were allowed! I needed to pee, but couldn’t since the start was out in the lake and we needed to be treading water. The swim started ok and I was pacing pretty good I felt, then about half way through, my calves started to cramp. I thought, “WTF???” My calves cramp when I swim the pool a long time from pushing off the wall, but it’s never happened in open water. I just kept swimming, tried not to think about it and pushed forward. Cramping and having to pee was NOT the race start I was looking for and it was a sign of things to come. Swim time- 38:24 minutes.
After hitting the port-a-potty right out of the swim (how’s that for a dramatic exit, “and here’s Matt Waters looking to get on the road with… wait a second… where’s he going?… oh boy, Waters is taking a turn off course!…”), I had a good T1 and was relieved I didn’t have to pee anymore. The weather had dramatically cooled off, but the sun was out and it was going to be hot eventually. As luck would have it, my Garmin’s Cadence Sensor decided not to work on this Sunday morning. That kind of threw me off as there was some wind I was battling and I didn’t want to blow up right away. I love the KS 70.3 bike course. I grew up in Lawrence and spent a lot of time camping, fishing, playing all around Douglas County and Clinton Lake. The hills suck, but I love them and seeing the lake and open winding roads are just beautiful. I was in Mile 9 when Chris Leito and Andy Potts were on their way back in at Mile 46!!! Christ that’s fast! MY bike time was 2:55:53, not nearly as fast as I had hoped, but still less than 3 hours!
And then “sufferfest” set in. It was hot by now. I was optimistic that I could start off the bike around a 8:30 min pace and eventually drop it down to 8 min/miles for the 13.1 mile run. However, things just didn’t seem to work out that way. I did start around 8:30 min/mile but that was as fast as I ever got. The first 2 miles went okay but I immediately knew I did not have much left in the tank for the run. I could NOT drink anymore Gatorade, it tasted like complete shit. I also resorted to walking through the aid stations and running/shuffling between them. Around Mile 5 I wanted to quit. No doubt about it. I hurt, my legs couldn’t move, I kept looking at my Garmin thinking to myself, “I just ran sub 6 min/miles in a race 4 weeks ago, NOW I’M RUNNING 9:30 MIN MILES???!!!” It was demoralizing. On that same Mile 5 I was coming up on my campsite. My wife, kids, parents, buddies, their kids all hanging out, shooting water guns at the runners. I didn’t even want to run by them because I might as well been in a snail’s shell at this point. However, my wife came out and walked about 100 yards with me, just talking to me and it was great. She got me re-energized to keep going and by the 10th mile or so, I knew that I would at least finish. Run time- 2:09:55.
Total time of 5 hrs 49 min and 33 secs. Over 30 minutes slower than this exact race in 2009. However, just as humbling as it was the first time around. I hung out at the campsite for about 30 minutes, but soon became aware that my son’s B-Ball game was only a few hours away and my daughter’s birthday party was at our house just after the baseball game, so I loaded up (luckily my family had taken down the tent and packed everything up) and headed back to KC. I helped my wife pick up the house, barely but I did help. We went to the game which I sat miserably on the aluminum bleachers with my legs on FIRE. Then came back to the house for a party. I drank about 4 beers, hung out with everyone, stayed up long enough to participate in my daughter opening her presents and went to bed. I was asleep by 9pm with a house full of guests. I got my wife’s permission to duck upstairs early and passed out.
Overall, KS 70.3 is a great race, great venue and great time. In hindsight, I was more underprepared than I thought I was, but I’m extremely happy I forged through and finished the damn race.