Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rock 2 Rock 10k

Straight from the race website, "This is a technical and demanding course. A good estimate is to add about 60% on to your usual 10k time. You will not be able to run the entire course. There will be a single water station at the high point (Eden Rock)…roughly 3.5 miles into the course. Roots, rocks, downed trees, low limbs and very steep terrain are just some of the challenges…but the rewards are some sweet single track and an unmatched view off Eden rock…You will be amazed to be only minutes from I-40 and feel so remote.''
so why not give it a go.

Nestled in Camp Rockmont.....ain just outside of Swannanoa NC. An energetic crowd gathered to kick off the Mountain Festival weekend. E&I made the drive up for an outing in the mountains and to meet local friends Clay and Terri. Some chit chatting and not much warming up. We lined up and it was go time.

From the open field start the climb starts. Mostly double track then to some single track. Once the single starts the climbing slows to a fast walk. So about a mile and half in. The realization sets in that I possibly went out too hard for my current condition. That realization was soon all to real. Heart rate was through the roof and the breathing was labored. So the fast walking sections were a hidden blessing.

All along I knew Clay would be lurking, with all his not so secret hill training. He was a touch on the conservative side at the start. He would pick his way through the field to pull right up on my 6 in no time. Just as the steep section kicks in. At a fast hike pace the climb tops out a quick steep down hill. All to hit yet another steep hike to the pinnacle of the race. Grabbed two cups of water and started to chase Clay on the downhill.

This section really got steep in sections. The trail conveniently weaved through some rhododendron. Great for grabbing a hold and using for balance. By now Clay had gaped me putting two ladies between us. Wondering if was a planned move to discourage me from catching him, and it was.

Onto the final decent. The trail starts to level off a touch but the rocks keep coming. Finally I decided to let go and the leg turn over went along with it. Just focused on foot placement and not a face plant. Honed in on Clay. The flow was working for me. Hitting the line all the way down. Till Sultan came by me at faster pace. Held him as long as possible. Soon the trail would open to a gravel road and the pace picked up for the others. Now paying full retail for the previous down hill. My legs were starting to feel heavy and weak. As I was catching two ladies, they just accelerated away as the gravel went on. Soon as it started it was over. The road would let back onto the opening trail into the finishing area. A short hill gaining 15' or so had my legs going weak. Another corner to the finish. 1:02:4_ for a 10k with over 2000' of elevation gain and loss. Not to bad for a flatlander.

Monday, May 03, 2010

PMBAR 2010

Another PMBAR down in the books. Another extreme test of grit and sheer courage to survive yet another longish bike ride in the mountains, with one dang gear. After 4 attempts, the best placing yet. A freakin top 10 at PMBAR, yes!!
So for the second year, I teamed up with Clay. Whom may I add has a vast knowledge of single speed friendly and practical routes from point A to point B. A slight obsession maybe or maybe not. Any who it came in very handy for this adventure into Pisgah.

As always PMBAR starts many months before race day. Preparation miles on the trails or even day trips to the hills to test your mettle amongst the locals. What ever your poison it's generally well thought out and down to a science. Well not always. This would be my 15th ride of the season. Longest being 3:30 in the saddle. Nervous oh yeah.

So goals for the race in order of improtance
- not crash hard (1 crash but not to bad & few close calls)
- keep up with Clay (with the exception of FS1206 & Maxwell Cove)
- have a super duper time (with the exception of FS1206 & Maxwell Cove)

Now nerves in check and a set of well rested legs it was time to race/hike-a-bike up Black Mountain at near anaerobic pace. With a mystic fog lingering over Black the sense of a good day was there. Clay had the master plan nailed for the day. It was all 5 CP and no discussion about anything less. Now slap on the chamios creme and get a pushing ya flatlander its gonna be a long day in the woods. At least in my mind that is what I heard.

Luckily all was going well. At a steady pace we pushed up and over Black > Buckhorn > South Mills > Squirrel Gap > Laurel Creek > 5015 > 1206 > 5000 > 1206 > Laurel Mtn. > Pilot Rock > 1206 > 276 > 475B > 225 > 475B > 276 > 477 > Clawhammer > Maxwell Cove Rd. > Black Mtn.

10:30 - 67 miles, 16000' elevation gain.

Things that went right
- forgot my watch it's good to not realized you are 6 hours past your longest ride of the season.
- nutrition finally got it right just not enough of it
- focused on survival and not speed
- nothing came off the bike, did manage to snap a bottle cage
- frosty cold PBR at FS5000

Things that went wrong
- FS 1206, just in a funk walked a few times to change my rhythm a bit
- Maxwell Cove, just a mere 5miles from the finish and the taunting of pizza and beer had my senses on overload, it just would not translate to my legs to push harder.

After proof reading this blog post. I realize its a bit vague and mixed up. It is the true time warp I felt at the time. Some 48 hrs after and I'm still beat. My body aches and my mind is numb. Hope I'll be back for more in the future and maybe a new plan for 2011.

(all photos cred Clay)