Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I am not for real!

Well, I got to see real mountain bikers this weekend while in Colorado. I actually got to ride the same trails as Tinker. Now onto the report.

Jim McGuire, Jerry Boran (a friend from Forest City that has dozens of marathons, ultra's (many 100K's), and Ironman's under his belt) and I went to Breckenridge. We got a condo for 79 bucks a night! Can't beat that in Breck! On Saturday we headed over to Leadville for the Silver Rush 50. Jim was volunteering his medical expertise for the race. We drove and then rode up to around 12,500 feet to monitor the worst section of the race. Well, we later found that this section was incredible and how someone would think this was the worst part I don't know! All I can say is that I wish I had done this race!

We only put in around 5 miles of riding on the course, but it was some of the best riding for the weekend. Later that night we headed to Eric's in Breckenridge for the Breck 100 race meeting. We thought we were taking the lazy man's way out in signing up for the B-63 which was 2 of the 3 loops of the 100 mile version of the race. The race director, Thane Wright (past winner of the Montezuma's Revenge), even said the first loop was probably too much. He said that it was very technical and he himself had to walk half a dozen times at least. We weren't deterred because we were ignorant of what we were getting into! What we didn't know that only the best of the best finish this race and there is about a 50 percent DNF rate. But, hey, we are tough right?!!? Yeah... right.

We were up and at them on Sunday morning and we were at the start quite early. Jim and I stayed together for 2/3 of the 5 mile gravel road ascent until I was just drenched in sweat from over dressing and stopped to take off some clothes.

Around the six mile mark (this was something like a 3500 foot ascent in 7 or so miles) we hit the single track. I rode for a few feet and realized real quickly that I just didn't have the skills to ride that terrain and I wanted to see my wife and daughter in a couple of days! Jerry crashed and was headed down the mountain within the first 20-30 feet. We had no business being in this race. I was now about a 1/4 of a mile ahead of Jerry and Jim had about a 1/4 of a mile on me.

So, I pushed my bike at around mile 6 to around mile 7 or so before we had about
a 1/2 of a mile descend. I rode most of this and caught up to Jim. This next section from about 7.5 up to about 12 miles I pushed my bike literally 99 percent of the time if not more. If you look at the picture you can see the riders behind us and the very faint trail coming up the side of the mountain. Now, this trail could be rideable for me in most sections, but I can not climb 7-8 percent grades (and higher) for miles on end at 11-12,500 feet! So, just to be able to keep moving it was faster for me to push my bike at 1.5 to 2 miles per hour.

Once we got here (see below) Jim and I waited approximately 30 minutes for Jerry. He had just had a hip replacement surgery the year before so we wanted to keep our eye on him. He came up with the sweeper. It was great that the race directors actually had someone on course to help out. Once Jerry got there we chatted for about 5 minutes and then I took off with another flat lander from Ohio.

We were suppose to round the edge of the mountain and have a very long descend, but found out that the trail was literally 6 inches wide and filled with 6-20 inch rocks with a guarantee of a very long fall if you wiped out. We ended up pushing our bikes down hill for two more miles. How and the heck these elite riders do this stuff is way beyond my comprehension. All I know is that riding the Iowa gravel really didn't help! Finally around mile fourteen I was now riding 95-99 percent of the trail. I asked the nice guy from Ohio if I could get by him and I took off.

After nearly 8 miles of pushing my biking I finally was able to go. And go I did. The skills I have learned at Seven Oaks helped me a lot here. I was going crazy on the down hill section. This down hill was literally about 7 miles long and was fast and pretty technical for this Iowa boy. There were some two and sometime three foot drops into lots of rocks and huge roots. This is why I came to Colorado! I was loving it and really pushing it for me.

I made it to the end of loop one in 6:12 or so. The leaders Josh Tostado, Tinker Juarez, Mike Janelle, and Travis Brown did this loop in 2:55! The only thing I could have done to have gone faster was to be acclimated to the altitude. I could have rode more of those trails instead of walking! So, when I came in there was no hope for me to go on to the second loop. The second loop was going to be around 35 miles instead of the 24 I just did. The second loop was going to be easier technically, but it would be dark by the time I would get it done and I just wasn't there to do that. I just wanted to experience the single track in Colorado and I most certainly did!

I most certainly got to see what real mountain biking and real mountain bikers are. I can't believe I even type about my biking after seeing these guys. It seems I am not even in the same planet as them!

Here is the write up about the race.


the inebriationist said...

Crazy bit of trail. When I think mountain biking, mountains don't as yet come to mind. That's an Iowan/flatlander mind set. Nice job!

Paul said...

You know Cory, before the race I was checking out pictures of the trails, and then I look at my pictures and I think, "Man, I should have been able to ride those!", but it is different when you are there. Just pushing my bike over 3 inch high rocks was work. The altitude just makes everything tougher. But, even if I was acclimated, there is no way I could have ridden some of those trails. It just blows my mind that guys can ride over the rocks they did.

While there I had really wished you could have been there. I think you would have done well out there because of your climbing ability. It would have been interesting. Also, I would have liked to seen how Kerkove would have done over that terrain. I suppose with enough speed and power it would be a lot easier than going as slow and cautious as I was going.

I will admit though, once we hit the rideable (for me) single track I was in Heaven. It was amazing to say the least.

Taugimba said...

Great job! Breck has so many great trails and places to ride. The elevation even gets to me heading up from Denver.

the inebriationist said...

I'd say you could just move there, but you'd have to give up your dream job.

Here's a suggestion, scatter your backyard with large cinder blocks and broken bricks, then repeatedly ride over it while breathing through a straw. For an added challenge you could hook a rope to your back and have Tami see if she can pull you backward while you ride through it.

gjc said...

Hey Paul, at least you got to see some fantastic scenery. Wish I could have been there with you hard men.

Next year, LT 100? I have it on my calendar.

or better yet, let's do the Colorado Trail Race--only not do it as a race, just show up and ride it.

Cornbread said...

Frickin' sweet pics and write up Paul!