Monday, September 1, 2008

Seven Springs Subaru 24 Hour Challenge

24 Hours of racing....It doesn't get any better than that. It was however a little bit warm but a far cry better than the last time I did this race.

Mike, Henry, Mark and I did the 4 sport Masters (Fogy) division while SAM did the I'm pretty sure I've have lost my mind Solo Division. We all rode really well with only minor mechanical's and mountain bike folly. Mike crashed 2 times both his first 2 laps, once while Hopping a log and landing on a rock, some guy ran into him while passing, some girl was standing along the trail and freaked him out and off of the trail and the fourth...well I'm not completely sure about that something about speed and a tree. Sam had a flat and Henry had a slow leak as well but was able to make it through his loop without having to fix it, topped it off once with a CO2 and stopped buy the tent on his way through to top it off with a pump.Mark hurt his calf on the run but was able to recover from it. As for myself I went down in the rock garden on my third lap and jammed my pedal into my calf on my last lap while all along trying to keep my heart beating properly.

My own personal experiences......

The day started out great and we arrived about 10am and got set up. These events are allot of fun and the atmosphere is awesome. My first lap was not going to be until around 4 so I set off to take some photos and hang with Jay and Liz for a while. We spent some time lurking in the rock gardens at the top of the course watching and looking for the best lines to ride through.

Eventually I headed back to our site to fuel up and get ready for my first lap. I was pretty relaxed and felt pretty good. I had a plan to just ride steady and really focus on keeping my heart rate under control by bombing through what ever I could and just setting a good tempo for the climbs.

Lap #1..... 4:45 pm - 5:09 pm

Ben was at the transition tent waiting on his team mate to come in so I said see ya to him and I was off. I knew I would be seeing Ben on the trail because he is such a strong rider. as most single speed guys are. The first lap went pretty well, I forced myself to just hold a good tempo, which was really frustrating because there were plenty y of places where I could have really ramped it up and shaved some real time off of my lap but I figured it was better not to. Benn caught me just before the Big climb which was at about the half way point, I believe Henry said that there was a 1000 foot elevation gain at that point. I was feeling pretty good until I got close to the top, my heart wasn't in affib but it wasn't in a normal rhythm either...push on. I cleared the top, fast as pancakes, and continued on to the second half of the course. This part was on top of the mountain so there was little climbing but plenty of rock gardens to keep it interesting. I finished with a better time that n I thought I would considering I was just riding steady and my heart didn't not beat funny until I sat down at tent. It stayed out long enough for everybody to feel my pulse and see my color change from normal to pale to normal again.

Lap #2..... 9:03 pm - 10:40 pm

Started getting ready at around 8 pm. Our site was right beside the long climb before the loop at the top which made it easy to gauge when it was time to start getting ready to go to the transition tent. I wasn't feeling 100%. I could tell I might be in for some trouble but by the time I was ready to head for the transition tent I was feeling OK again. I Chatted with Ben again for a while while waiting for our team mates. They were racing the regular, young stud, sport division and doing about the same lap times as we were.

So lights on and off I went....I love riding at night, Its quiet, except for the Ted Nugent concert that was going on at the main lodge, and you become so focused on what is ahead of you. Had a good steady lap....I am however always impressed by the abilities of other riders. I was passed several times during the race by the Visit PA guys, it was like they were riding on pavement, and I had my brakes on. The ride was mostly uneventful and was a blast.

Lap #3..... 3:01 am - 4:48am

I had laid down for a little bit,but did not sleep, you would think that it would be easy to catch a wink but in all reality it is nearly impossible, lots of commotion throughout the night plus you are all hyped up; I really was not feeling good but that can be a normal feeling. I got dressed and headed for my bike...crap my heart is defiantly in affib now. I grab my bike and start for the transition tent again. About half way there my heart comes back into rhythm......Thank you lord.

I checked in and chatted with Ben again. This time his rider showed up before mine. This only due to the fact that Henry had a to top off his tire twice. Had another descent lap just riding steady and getting around without any mishap or mechanicals., I did however go down in the second rock garden at the top. I came around the corner hit one of the big rocks that I should have gone around and before you know it I'm on my side in a pile of rocks laughing out loud.....back on the bike and I am off. Now I am cruising along at a pretty good clip on the latter part of the second loop when all of a sudden my bike feels like it hit a brick wall lunging me foreword but not off the bike. Just so happens that there is a big rock just barely on the side of the trail that I caught my pedal on as I was passing by, aha the perils of night riding. Liz was at the tent waiting to start her next lap when I returned so I chatted with with here for a bit before heading back to the site.

Lap #4..... 8:50am-10:30am

I actually must have passed out for a bit in the camper...the last thing I remember after my last lap was grabbing a bite to eat and sitting by the camp fire for a while. I also remember talking briefly to my wife and that's it, lights out.........then form a galaxy far far away I here the theme from star wars....seriously my son was humming the theme while playing with some of his toys. I did actually sleep for about 30-40 minutes which can be a bad idea.I awoke and steeped outside to a beautiful sunlit day.So I strolled over to a chair and had a seat.

Man did I feel bad. My legs and everything felt pretty heavy,I am pretty sure that I had been in and out of affib during my siesta, since this is usually how I feel after an episode. So I got up to try and walk it off...big mistake....I walked up to Tahoe and it was all I could do to make it. Crap I am totally flat and I'm on deck. So back to camp to get ready. I'm sure that one of the other guys would have gone in my stead but those that know me know that I would only do that as a last resort.

So I got dressed, all this time my heart is jumping around, and onto the bike.Fast as pancakes I exclaim as I head up the hill to the transition tent........amazingly though as I road up the hill I started feeling better...normal even.

I get to the transition ten and check in. Ben was there again so we chatted for about five minutes until he was off. Henry showed up shortly after that and I was off. I wasn't 100% but I knew I was going to be alright. made it around the first half with no problems then up the climb. Everybody riding was in good spirits. For most of them it was probably their final lap and the morning sun also has a positive effect. I made the big climb and off to the second loop. As i approached the second rock garden I heard somebody coming up on me fast so I said let me know wand I will let you by. He wasn't interested, instead he stuck up a conversation. What lap you ya feeling....I hate these stupid rock gardens. We chatted for about 5 minutes or so then he was off.......your would never have that happen in a road race for sure. the only other thing of interest that happened during this lap was that my foot came unclipped and my pedal smacked the back of my calf.....ouch.

Sam is the man.............

So while the 4 of us were out doing our 17 laps Sam was out by himself doing 14 on his own. Bet he will rethink that one down the road. He ended up finishing 3rd overall and was in a field of guys that do this kind of stuff on a regular basis..........I am sure that he will blog about it here.

Final ramblings .......

I'm glad that my family enjoys going to these events with me. They give great moral support and I just plain like having them around.Of course my wife is always busy taking pictures so she doesn't get to be in them very often.

I have always been fortunate to either attract or choose the best of friends and it was great to have many of them around this weekend Mel, Jay & Liz, Bill & Lisa,Todd,Henry,Mike,Mark, Sam and his dad Kirk and many others that i did not mention here.
I don't think this had looks stupid....does it? My wife bought it for me you know......and by the way anybody that is a mountain biker knows that dogs, especially those that owners are bikers could care less if a bike goes by and for most of us are great riding partners.Make sure to let the organizers of this event know that.

The race promoters should be less concerned about dogs and more concerned about non-cycling spectators and make sure that they don't decide to take a rest right in the middle of the rock garden trail. Somebody could get hurt....just ask Mel

Its a good thing John wasn't on our team....He would have never been able to finished a lap with all the bottles and other debris that I saw along the way although he probably would have found Sam's tool.

If you leave your multi-tool laying along the trail somebody will find it. This actually happened to Sam .His dad went around to ask people to buy one and the very first tent he stopped at the guy had Sam's tool...weird.

Some people will dress in anything at these events.
The blond chick on the left is a dude the one in the skirt is not.

Beer and sleep depravity don't mix......

So we are done and we are tired and sitting back with a cold one. My wife asks me to keep an eye on our son while she strolls up to the lodge and I say no big deal. Now my son is a great kids as are all of the kids that hang around our crew. Almost every event is a family event including after race picnics and such. So like I sad we were just sitting there and my son comes over and asks me to take him to the BR. So we start up to the lodge and my wife is on here way back so she knows that I am beat so she offers to take him. So I return to the tent and some good conversation.Now I am not sure how much time had lapsed, but I start looking around and don't see my son anywhere and kind of get an empty feeling inside (now remember he is with his mother and I have not really slept for over 24 hours and I have been racing my bike), So i ask tho guys if they had seen my son anywhere? Of course they haven't because he has been with his mother for who knows how long. So I get up and start to kind of holler for him I turn and look up to the lodge and there he is with his mom dancing to the music.MAJOR BRAIN FART and a graet releif.

Cause and Effect

So you may wonder what some of the things I have found that trigger an affib atack.....
  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Dehydration
  3. Hard efforts followed by periods of reduced effort (i.e.- after a climb on the descent or flat , bridging a gap in a race)
  4. Thinking or worrying about it (the mind is a powerful thing)

Hey lets go racing......

So you can probably see where this is going....

Mike Maher, Henry Dimick, Mark Millican, and myself did the Seven Springs Subaru 24 Hour Challenge this past weekend.
  1. Sleep deprivation
  2. No matter how hard you try, staying hydrated is a hard thing to do, its not like you race your bike once and your have to race it several times in our case Mike, Henry and myself raced 4 times and Mark 5
  3. Mountain biking is combination of hard efforts followed by periods of reduced efforts
  4. Worried constantly that I would have an attack during one of my laps thus letting the team down
Anyway we had a great time (race report and photos to follow).

Race report highlites......

3 Different Podiums for AG3R/indiana Cyclng........ and other anecdotal stories from the race venue

Seven Springs 24 Hour Challenge.....
  1. Mike, Henry, Mark and Rich take 3rd int the Sport Vet/Master division
  2. Sam Morrison finished 3rd in ths Solo division (1 guy..... 24 hours)
Pa State Time Trial Championships.....
  1. Brian Hopkins took 2nd in the Cat3 misssing out on first by only 30 seconds