Saturday, May 28, 2011

Duck Bill Thrill 5-21-2011

All week we there had been reports of the water Temperature being a balmy 55, which in hindsight it would have been better had they just not told us what the temperature was because the water was warmer than the air at the starting point in the day.

I approached this race with some reservations, I am training for Ironman Coeur D’Alene so this was a workout in my plan, but one where I would have competition and thus really push myself.

As the largest showing of the Duckbill kicked off the water experience was not desirable. The large amount of people had made it a very crowded mass start in a course requiring two laps. When my face first hit the water it literally took my breath away because of the temperature, this was in addition to how eerily dark the water was with the cloud coverage.

After a few initial strokes I found my groove and really started to surge, so much so I questioned my pace due to many swimmers I was overtaking. I reminded myself that I had started at the back so it was bound to happen, telling myself “just race my own race” don’t pay attention to those around me. This lead to big PR on the swim with a time of 26:18, which amusingly was followed by a terrible transition time of 2:43, yes as in nearly 3 minutes putting on my helmet bike shoes and sunglasses….whoops

Fortunate for me I had no idea how terrible my transition was so I tore off on my new specialized Transition bike (compliments of Collins bike shop), this was the first race I where I had a chance to really get after it with some people to chase down. As I started to dial my speed up I was blown away by how easily I cruised past 23 mph with not nearly as much effort as I had been accustomed to. I finally found a pace where I was very uncomfortable but it was manageable and decided come hell or high-water I would race at this for the remainder. It took awhile for me pass enough of the field to find people who were racing at my pace for me to chase.

Throughout the bike leg I worked on pulling in two riders who were a quarter mile or more ahead of me and were keeping a difficult pace. At the half way mark I decided in my mind that I had made progress in gaining on them and my goal was to catch and pass them by the end of the bike assuming I could stay within my racing boundaries and not blow up. I did exactly this and managed to find myself strangely alone with less than 3 miles left on the bike course. When I came into T2 and finished my 1:05 40K there were not many bikes on the racks, which is when it finally occurred to me that I was actually close to the top 30.

With a 1:37 transition I kept my slow transitions streak alive and started out the process of regaining feeling in my feet. The first few miles I was negative splitting down from an initial 6:50 mile pace. At the half way point in the 10k, the uphill portion finally ended much to my delight and I pushed the pace. I got myself down to 6:30 and felt great, I hit the 1 mile sign as I crossed back over the Dam and enjoyed the beautiful Oregon view. Unfortunately the run ends with a fairly significant hill which pushed my pace back to finish me with a run time of 43:48.

Overall I finished with a 2:20:48 in 17th place within a rather competitive field that featured people like Jesse Thomas who just won wildflower. I would say it was defiantly one of my best performances to date and it was clear that the new bike from Collins bike shop made a huge difference in my ability to hammer on those bike times. Turned out to be a gorgeous day and a great race, with lots of confidence coming off of this going into IMCDA I will hopefully have a positive race report post Ironman!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Team BBQ...brought to you by Ninkasi Brewing

This has been a fun filled evening of grilled faux-meats and delicious beer provided by our ever-generous sponsor Ninkasi Brewing Company. It has been a time of reminiscing a myriad of painful races and favorite rides. The essence of the Tensegrity Physical Therapy cycling team has been summed up in the totality of this evening; good times, good people, good beer, and good bikes.

Informal race reports, playful trash-talking the competition, and drinking some of the most delicious beer in the region; this is our way. All we desire is to bring good times and good vibes to our community of fellow cyclists.

Please tune in for further, more specific race reports, from many of our members. We have passed through the half-way point of the cross country mountain bike race season. Taylor has been killin it among the Cat I men, slowly working his way towards the top. Lindsey has been keeping herself very consistent in finishing strong among some of the strongest Cat I women in the area. Dave has been doing some serious work in the single speed category, reppin' a handbuilt Huckleberry frame out of Forest Grove, OR. Alexander competed in his first ever mountain bike race a couple of weeks ago and had a blast. I have been consistently doing better and better among the Category II men, bringing in my first ever win a couple of weeks ago.

Sitting here among teammates and talking about our goals and challenges, we wish to thank our sponsors. Thanks to Tensegrity Physical Therapy, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Collins Cycle Shop, Urban Farm Massage, and Biota Sciences. We are looking forward to working with many more local companies and continuing our racing efforts and bolstering the local racing community.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring Thaw, a race, an adventure, and good times thanks to Ninkasi

So after dealing with a sprained wrist all week, I decided that going to Ashland and racing was still in order, but made sure to tape my wrist up good. Historically I have always hated Spring Thaw. The race promoters always charge more money then the rest of the races. The race also was boring. It had a 7 mile gravel road climb followed by a 12 mile flat gravel road across the Ashland watershed followed by a fun but short single track descent.

This year the race promoters did awesome and changed the course. They removed the upper sections which get snowed out too often anyways and made the race a two lap 21 mile race with 5400 feet of climbing. Now I don't know how many of you have climbed that much over a short milage but it hurts a lot.

The race began with the weather slightly cool so I way over dressed with a compression base layer on top and knee warmers on. This was in response to being underdressed the previous week in Bend and getting snowed on in the race.   The race started out by going up, up and more up. Right after the race started, the sun decided to shine and I started to heat up too quickly. So 10 minutes into the race I tried a maneuver that I wouldn't recommend. I tried unsuccessfully to remove my knee warmers while climbing. This led to me falling over on the gravel road climb and having both knee warmers get stuck on my shoes, costing me atleast a minute of frustration. I finally remounted and spent another 15-20 minutes climbing hard to pass all the people who rode past me while I lay on the ground.

Finally reaching the top of the climb I was so happy for what came next. A fun flowy single track from the 4 courners trailhead. The descent is also used for the Spring Thaw downhill race, which I have raced in the past. It is like riding a roller coaster, and one that I know well. I passed 15 people while descending and didn't have one of those people catch me again. Lap 2 climbing was less eventful but I did have to turn around cause I dropped my fogged sunglasses climbing. rrrrrrrr. Descent 2 was what made the race worth it, I had finally opened up enough space on people that I wasn't having to slow down waiting to pass people. I was railing every burm and catching a little more air than I wanted sometimes.

After descending off the singletrack you have to ride 1 mile on road down into Lythia park, as I hit the cement another Cat 1 racer, Trevor Pratt had caught me. I looked at his gearing and knew that I was had. I race on a 1 x 10 with a 36 tooth in the front. There was no way I could drop this guy so I sat up and got right on his wheel. He rode hard all to the line and I jumped with 200 meters to go and spun upto 150-170rpm with my little ring and passed him by a bike length. In the end it worked out for the fellow as I gave him a 22oz of Ninkasi Spring Reign for what happened at the finish. In the end he seemed happy.
Trevor Pratt Enjoying his Ninkasi prize for pulling me to the line. Good things come to those whom I snake.

In the end I got 9th finishing the 21 miles in 2 hours and 15 sec. Edging closer to my friend Doug every week. Doug Turnbull got 5th finishing 2 minutes ahead of me. Last week he beat me by 7 minutes.

Dave Bisers had a blast in the single speed race and is having his form come along. He did have a an issue with his sliding dropouts that made him have to stop but other than that a great race. Lindsay Jones also raced well in the Cat 1 women's race finishing 5th. She was happy with that considering she has been in grad school lock down mode until this last weekend. Another team friend and soon to be possible teammate, Dax Turner, had a more unfortunate race. He was given the wrong number for singlespeed and they directed him onto the shorter Cat 2 course. He was bummed but got a free shirt, pint glass and free entry into the race next year. Also he won an ice cream cake afterwords, which was delicious.

After the race, was good times with food and lots of raffle prizes. I walked around and handed out 22 oz of Ninkasi to racers, compliments of my sponsor. I also gave a case of beers from Ninkasi for the race promoter to hand out. This brought a lot of smiles to everyone. Personally the raffle worked out great for me, I one a Thompson seatpost, grips and chain lube.
A racer receiving his Ninkasi Beer
Also adding to the fun was are super top secret camping spot that Dave on our team has used for 4 years. Take at look at our prerace home.

Dax at the ghetto camp

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chainbreaker MTB Race aka Wrist Sprainer

The 2011 Chainbreaker in Bend Oregon was a trying race for the Tensegrity crew. First off, a congrats and shout out to Alexander Jole. He raced his first mountain bike race as a Cat 3 and spent his time learning to judge his speed in corners and in the rocks.

Ryan Garner claimed his second consecutive podium spot finishing second, after winning at Bear Springs in Cat 2.

Dave Bisers rode to a 18th place finish in the singlespeed Cat with some guys pushing gear ratios as high as 36 x 16(Luke Demoe).

As for my race in Cat 1 it was rough but I am happy with the animal inside of me that I found. I finished 11th riding 38miles in 3 hr 2 min and 42 sec. I showed up to the race with 25 minutes to spare and found myself ill prepared with my warm up. It was 42 degrees when the race started and was sunny for a few minutes. Sun turned to snow, snow turn to rain, rain to hail, and hail back to snow and sun. So it was cold, really cold, and I forgot my base layer.

My race started with a big explosion out the back of the pack as I couldn't get my legs up to speed. What that meant was that I got stuck in the back on all the single track sections. Being nice I made sure to allow the leaders of the masters and the singlespeeders to pass, and let a few guys in my own race pass cause I just couldn't wind up the legs.

Then on the second lap I caught up to another guy in my Cat 1 race and asked to pass him on the descent as he was going slow in these sections. His response was this is a race and you have to get around on your own. Ok, jack A##, I tried for 2-3 minutes to get around him and he kept blocking me. This is when I remembered how to race my bike and I rode up his wheel and took control of the single track. In doing so, he may have fallen down, but I insist I did not take my hands off the bars. Remember this is a race. So I dug deep from there realizing that I better well beat that guy by a lot after our headbutting.

I rode hard, really hard. I was in a trance and starting picking off Cat 1 racers that I hadn't seen since the start of the race. I would come into the few technical sections at full speed and not let off at all. For me the tech sections are my strength. In doing so with about 20-30 minutes left to race my right wrist started hurting. I rode through the discomfort thinking nothing of it. I pushed all the way up to the finish line passing a guy in the last 200-300 meters, and missing 10th by another 13 sec.

Here is photo of me trying to not vomit while racing, although I did get some air. So now I am resting this week with a sprained wrist, which I kind of need to use at work as a PT. But who knows if it feels better I should be hitting it up in Ashland this weekend for Spring Thaw, with Ninakasi Beer to give out to other riders.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Kits for a new team

Photo compliments of photography

So here is a look at the 2011 Tensegrity PT Cycling team minus Dave Bisers, Ryan Garner and Meaghan Bull. Julie Berkbuegler designed the jerseys and our friends at Pactimo did a great job getting us our jerseys in a short time. Personally I love the skinsuits. I feel like a superhero when I am wearing it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eugene Roubaix and Bear Springs Trap

It is a known fact that I am not a big fan of road racing these days. My heart fell away from it a few years ago. Regardless with the Eugene Roubaix right here is town, I thought that I should go out and represent especially in my new Tensegrity PT Cycling skinsuit.

Now I haven't been riding as much as I would like for this time of year, but I thought hey I am racing in Cat 4 and I have rarely had trouble staying in the peloton. I mean this is a flat race, almost pancake flat except a 200 ft climb each lap. So the race got going and it was your usual cat 4 race, with people being squirrely and doing dumb things left and right.

Now the old road me would have been attacking and trying to make a break stick. But the older more out of shape me knew better and sat in the top 3rd for the first lap, never pulling and just avoiding the bad handling. So coming into the less than scary climb at the start of lap 2, I thought I would be fine, but felt myself drift all the way back of the group. Then one, two, three bike lengths behind the group. Sad to say but I knew I was done right then with still roughly 25 miles left to race.

So dropped from the peloton I kept riding hard hoping the group would slow down. That never happened but I found some other unlucky fellows who popped out the back and we rode as hard as we could the rest of the race.

So coming into the finish I looked back at my group and decided that I atleast needed to beat them. So coming off the gravel with about 300 meters to go I gave it my all sprinting like a mutant cheetah/tortoise combo and triumphed with my victory in the back. Hey I paid for the race and need to work on my lack of sprinting skills. So in the end 21st out of 30.

Here is the fun stuff. Finished the road race, stuffed the face with lots of food, jumped in a car and drove 4 hours up by ski bowl near Mount Hood for the Bear Springs Trap MTB XC race. Now mountain bike racing in May in Oregon in the mountains most definitely can have adverse weather. But for the most part the weather was perfect 65 Deg and sunny by race time.

The course was shortened due to too much snow at the top of the course. So the Pro/Cat 1/Singlespeed was shortend from 30+ miles to 23 miles. Now I had never raced this race and had no idea what to expect. It was a perfect mountain bike race with a little bit of everything. Some spots of the trail still had 2 feet of snow but was nicely shoveled off to expose a narrow singletrack. Then the trail dropped down into some of the coolest rooty and rocky technical sections that I have seen in a race anywhere in the country. Burms were to be had on many high speed turns as well as two creek crossings on logs by holding onto a rope.

This race was also a single lap race so every turn was foreign and kept you on your toes, and twice on my head through a beautiful boulder field trail that Mike Wissell(from Boston) would have loved to ride. This race was not good for the road racing converts, no this was a real mountain bike race that favored technical skills at threshold. So in the end even with my lacking fitness I finished 7th in Cat 1 in 2hr 26 min.

Dave Bisers raced singlespeed but gave himself an unfortunate handicap as he missed the start by a minute or so while warming up. He also took a wrong turn adding on a little bonus milage but still rode as hard as he could.

Ryan Garner had his best mountain bike finish ever and won the Cat 2 mens race soloing from the start. Not bad for his first podium finish. He now has a good chance for the River City series overall as he has two 5th place finishes as well. I imagine Ryan will add to this report as he should.

So in the end I think Bear Springs Trap is my new favorite mountain bike race. Next up is Pickets Charge in Bend, OR 37 miles, then Spring Thaw in Ashland, OR 26 miles.