Kickapoo Fat Tire Fest
Photo by Eric Ponder http://www.flickr.com/photos/_epon_/
Although my bikes Salsa anything cages were the talk of the starting line for the sport race, they didn’t keep me from catching two different trees with my bars on the first lap resulting in fairly intimate experiences with the ground. The second lap was much smoother, but the gap was just too far and I was only able to move up minimally from the rear. I still had a lot of fun in my first sport level mountain bike race.
I think that covers my experience, aside from catching the storm while I was just east of Urbana on my way back, that made the ride through town (and 2” deep standing water in places) a real hoot.
Neil was 3rd in Sport (2 laps) with time around 1:30.30. Gene was 4th in roughly 1:31.10. I was 5th in 1:31.30. The top two guys from 312 team went roughly 1:28.30. It was much hotter/humid than I expected and pretty painful.
In the Expert class, Nick won in an amazing 3 lap time of 2:06 low. Aaron Higley was second in 2:09 high. Don was a toughman and also raced expert...not sure of his time.
I believe Melinda was 4th female and her race was 3 laps…pretty awesome.
Overall our group represented well!
I started from the second or third row in sport, and sprinted into about 6th going into the woods. I passed a bunch of people on trail 3, moving into 2nd. I was slightly faster than the 312 rider in front of me, and another 312 rider caught up with us. I decided to wait a bit to pass, and made my move at the start of trail 4b. I then built up a lead of about 20-30 seconds by the end of the first lap, but was starting to tire.
While attempting to make the turn from haul road onto the second lap I embarrassingly wiped out. Luckily nothing broke and I immediately started moving again, only losing 3-4 seconds. My fast pace from the first lap caught up with me though, and I was considerably slower the second lap. The 312 riders caught up with me around the end of trail 2, and passed me in 4a IIRC, and I had nothing left to try to keep up with them. I managed to hold off Gene and Paul for 3rd. Next time I will take the first lap a bit easier.
For the second year i started the race in the 3rd row. Lucky for me Paul and Neil waited for me. Next race i will try and find my way to row 1.
Nick and Aron great job!
Will post other results and info, when i get them.
Posted by Karl on 08/27 at 02:37 PM • (0) Comments
Iron Redux: Swim 2.4 miles - Bike 112 mikes - Run a Marathon
Iron Redux: Swim 2.4 miles - Bike 112 mikes - Run a Marathon
#1: Michigan-Titanium in Grand Rapids on 8-26
I won my age group, and placed 8/110 overall in 11:42. I booked this race because I thought it would be flatter and cooler than Louisville last year. Wrong! Michigan was HILLIER and HOTTER (4000 ft climb on bike, 1100 on the marathon). This race was like the 2012 Balltown of Iron triathlons; Jay knows what I mean. Not a PR course, but scenic and well organized. Everything went close to plan: 142 bpm on the bike, 140 bpm on the run. (I wanted 145, but the hills got to me.) I can strongly recommend it if you want a tougher course than the two toughest Ironman races in the continental US: Wisconsin and Louisville. The hilly run does it.
#2: Revolution3 Cedar Point Ohio on 9-9
I finally went sub-11 hours with a 10:55 PR, enough for 2/42 in my age group and 24/420 overall (amateurs). Rev3 is a well-established race with a $50,000 pro prize purse and 1200 participants in the full and half Irons. The weather was ideal (high 50s to low 70s, <10 mph winds). The swim started at the famous amusement park’s beach, with just 2-3 foot waves in a light breeze on Lake Erie. I attribute my 1:17 swim PR to the large mass start: it creates its own current that drags you along! The bike target hr was 140 bpm. I ended up with 139 and an Iron bike PR of 5:22 at 20.8 mph (flat course, one third shaded by TREES). The run through the streets of Sandusky was totally flat, except for one freeway overpass. I ran past the famous Cedar Point roller coasters four times, and on the third time, my stomach felt like I was on a roller coaster. Tip: if someone offers you fizzy-tasting gatorade, spit, don’t swallow! I can strongly recommend this as an Iron distance PR course, somewhere between Nice and Zürich in difficulty (based on shared racer average finish times).
#3 coming up: Beach to Battleship in Wilmington, North Carolina. I’ll have to work on my swim for the next couple of weeks if I want to eke out a faster finish time than #2!
Posted by Karl on 08/27 at 02:30 PM • (0) Comments
May through August Ultra-redux
The temperatures go up, and ultra-racing is on: Balltown in May, Big Jay’s Fatass in July, and Metamora 4x50 in August.
The 200 mile Balltown Classic runs from DeWitt, Iowa, to Balltown on the Mississipi river, with 11000 feet of climbing. It was hot (90s) and windy (20+ mph, I kid you not). The organizers drop off your coolers with supplies on the loop at 50/150 miles and 100 miles. The field was about 2 dozen strong. Jay and Martin quickly ended up in a lead group that contained the likes of Sebring winner Kurt Searvogel, RAW winner Paul Carpenter, and strong youngster Collin Johnson. Martin hung with the group ‘til the leaders’ century turn-around, which happened 4:16 into the race. Then the field broke up completely on the 7+ hour trip into the hot wind. At one point Jay found a man hosing down his yard who remembered, ‘yeah, I hosed down a skinny cyclist with a funny accent in an orange jersey’ a little while earlier. Every drop of water that Martin or Jay found along the course was savored like it may be the last. Martin came home in 11:42 in 5th place, 58 minutes behind Searvogel, who was closely followed by Johnson. Jay arrived in 12:20. A third of the field DNFed - it was just too hot and windy.
At Jay’s Fat Ass, a 12 hour race in 25 mile loops, the weather was only slightly more clement, with a little rain preceding the hot-and-humid combo. About 20 racers started at 6 AM from Mahomet. Larry Fitz took an early lead with Jay Yost. Valerie Litznerski was riding strong and smooth in the lead group. Paul Carpenter, fresh off RAAM, came down for a ‘recovery ride.’ At noon, Rob Hornbaker & friends entered the 6 hour race, inaugural in 2012. Paul Ponder was race photographer and videographer. It got hot in the afternoon, and Jay was cautious and backed off a bit. Martin caught Larry after 200 miles, and they rode together until Martin flatted. Luckily, Stan’s sealant fixed the leak without a tube change, and Sean Walker made a belated entry (he had to work most of the day), pulling Martin for a bit. They caught Larry and the trio rode home together. 244 miles for Larry and Martin, 239 for Jay. Valerie beat her own course record from last year by doing 215 miles, and Rob won the new 6 hour race with 115 miles. Many Wild Cards participated (Melinda & Aaron, Karl, John S&B, Luke, Greg, and many more). The high point was the evening beer & BBQ party at Jay’s place in Mahomet.
The weather was kinder at the Metamora 4x50, a 200 mile (almost!) race near Peoria. Temperatures only went into the 80s, winds only up to 10 mph during the day. Over 40 ultracyclists were at the start, on recumbents and uprights. Jay went right to the front, and a lead group of about 8 riders formed, including Searvogel fresh off RAAM, and Collin Johnson again. Uncharacteristic for Martin, he needed 2 P-breaks before mile 100, and on the second one, the group kept going. Martin had to TT at 30 mph, 165 bpm back to the group. Fortunately, Jay noticed him and fell back to pull him back up. Teamwork at its finest! The average was a brisk 23 mph at that point, and the group rapidly was winnowed to Searvogel, Johnson, Yost and Gruebele. At mile 125, it was hot and Jay needed an ice cold Coke, so Martin idled and pulled him back to the two leaders. Teamwork again! At mile 180, Jay had enough of the heat, and at mile 190, Searvogel had enough of the risers, but then again, he had ridden 3000 miles solo and climbed 100000 feet just a few weeks earlier in RAAM. Martin worked as hard as he could muster with Collin, who sprinted away with a mile to go. Both finished in 8:44 (thank God they time to the minute in ultracycling), breaking Larry’s course record by averaging 22.44 mph. Jay came in a few minutes later. We celebrated with extra-large Calzones and beer at a local Italian place.
Posted by Karl on 08/13 at 05:49 AM • (0) Comments
Was a beautiful day, and recent rain meant the trails were nice and tacky. I stupidly forgot my jersey and had to race in a t-shirt. Lined up with about 200 other racers in the cat 2/sport class. The course started on a very wide grassy uphill run leading into a 2-3 mile “prologue” lap consisting of mostly wide grass and doubletrack, before leading into 2 6-7 mile laps of mostly singletrack. The start was staggered by age category, so I started first with “only” about 100 other racers in the 19-29 and 30-39 classes. I attacked fairly hard up the hill and entered the (narrower) grassy section in about 15th. After taking a breather, I steadily worked my way past most of the field and was in the top 4 by the end of the prologue (I believe I led for a bit around this time, though at the time I didn’t realize there was noone in front of us).
We traded positions for a while, and eventually I ended up in 4th, slightly trailing 2nd and 3rd. The guy in 2nd was clearly holding up the guy in 3rd, who didn’t seem to be aggressive in passing (there were plenty of opportunities). At the end of the 3rd lap, where it became grassy/gravel again, he finally passed him and I caught up with the slower guy now in 3rd, drafted him for a bit, and passed him shortly before starting the second lap, and slowly pulled away from him throughout the lap. I actually caught the guy in 2nd at the start of the second lap in some fast grassy sweepers, but he was faster than me overall when he wasn’t stuck behind someone and ended up passing the leader and winning. I ended up 3rd overall, 19.4 seconds from 1st and 4.2 seconds from 2nd. I also took 1st in 30-39.
Posted by Karl on 08/07 at 12:56 PM • (0) Comments
Evergreen Lake Triathlon
6:00 am, July 14, 2012: While many Wild Card riders were beginning a long
day in the saddle at Big Jay’s Fat Ass, I was racking my bike and preparing
for the Evergreen Lake Triathlon. I have competed in this Olympic-distance
event (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) every year since 2008. It always draws
one of the largest and most competitive fields in downstate Illinois and its
timing in mid-July matches the peak of my annual fitness. It is my “A” race.
I arrived late and did not have ample time to warm up in the water, and my
swim was predictably rough. Aggressive fellow swimmers, cramping feet, and
locking toe tendons plagued the first half, but I eventually found in a
rhythm and felt good rounding the last buoy to the finish. My swim split was
more than 2 minutes slower than last year, but the course was laid out
differently due to the abnormally low lake level. The times of all swimmers,
including the elites, were higher than normal, so the improvised course may
have been a bit long.
I settled into a nice tempo on the bike right away, pushing at about 90% of
my open 40k time trial effort. I don’t keep time or speed on my computer
display for races of this length or longer, instead focusing only on heart
rate, cadence, and perceived exertion. I finished the bike in just under 62
minutes, just 12.1 seconds faster than last year. (Ride profile:
http://app.strava.com/activities/13414442) I probably could have gone a
couple minutes faster, but it is much better to err on the side of caution
on the bike. Going too hard and blowing up on or before the run can cost
huge chunks of time. Put another way, just because you CAN ride 25 mph on
the bike, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
With the restraint on the bike, I began the run feeling really fresh. I was
not sure how hard I could push, but paid careful attention to heart rate,
breathing, and perceived exertion. All of my mile splits were within 9
seconds of each other. It was by far my best 10k run within a triathlon,
nearly 3 minutes faster than last year. (Run profile:
http://app.strava.com/activities/13413943) I am not really running any
better than in the past, but my endurance has improved from training the
half-iron distance and I have grown wiser with experience as it relates to
Despite the rough start, I improved by 1:07 over last year, finishing in
2:19:30. I took 3rd place of 32 in my age group and was in the 89th
percentile overall. (Full results:
http://itsracetime.com/Results.aspx?ID=379) After the race, I joined
teammates at Big Jay’s Fat Ass for an easy 75 mile cool-down on the bike.
What a day!
Reported by Scott Dahman
Posted by Karl on 07/19 at 08:19 AM • (0) Comments