Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crested Butte Classic

Well I decided to try the infamous Crested Butte Classic mountain bike race Sept. 27 2008. The race does three loops around Crested Butte on classic single track trails... Oh did I mention it is 100 miles..... And it is not an official race. People just sign up at the start and then ride on the public trails. There are no rules, trail marking (for route finding--people from out of town must have a serious problem here.) or prizes. After each lap you stop at your car or cooler or whatever grab some more water and food, then stop by the local Brick Oven Pizza and check in. Then out for the next lap. There was free beer at the finish however.

I did the Leadville 100 mountain in August and had done pretty well-see post below. Well I hadn't ridden nearly as much as I had neglected the kids and Anne riding my bike so much all summer. But I figured I had a good base. I did feel a bit tired after some weekend rides but....

So Gary Pierson, Chris Dickey, Jesse Rickert (a Mt Everst summiter) and I all caravaned up to Crested Butte at 6:30 that morning. The temperature was reading 29F as we came into town. We parked near the 4-way stop in town to set up our aid stations.... Then over to the 4-way stop to sign up and listen to the trail overview and instructions. We started out with 106 or so riders at 8:00 and about 30F. We started later in the year to avoid tourists on the trails... The aspens were turing yellow nicely and the sky was clear. Down the highway we went for lap one. Deer Creek trail with Strand Hill as a prelude. Here is a map of the first lap in orange..... about 30 miles and 4142 ft of climbing.

I started out in front and seemed to ride pretty fast as the lead guys weren't too far ahead. The trails were in beautiful shape with yellow aspen leaves covering many parts. I decided to ride light with my old Specialized hard tail. I carried a CO2 cartridge, spare tire, several gu's/power bars and two water bottles. I was noticeably faster on the uphills but slower on the downhills on my bike as some guys caught me on Strand Hill. I don't really ride this trail much. The Crested Butte guys knew this trail very well and went down it very fast. I cranked up the start of Deer Creek feeling good. The weather was nice as it was still cool but really nice for climbing the hills. I took off my vest and arm warmers and promptly lost my vest along the trail....

I remember the first time I rode this trail it seemed so long and steep. There are some really steep climbs off the start. This time I just walked one unridable section (by the mortal person anyway). One cool place on the trail you are right on the edge of a very very steep ravine made of shale. It is smooth and grey and straight down. You then descend down through aspens next to it. I nearly took myself out on an aspen but I just winged my shoulder on one sharp narrow corner. I did get back to the town of Gothic without incident. I did have a few weird cramps in my groins that seemed to go away as I kept peddling. And back down the road to Town. I grabbed some more gu's, drank some water, and checked my blood sugar--95..... Then back to the pizza place to check in. Lap one took 2:41 or so after stopping at the car.

Here is a picutre of me and another fellow (Dax from boulder) coming down the road from Gothic. Thanks Matt Burt for the pictures!!

Here is a map of lap two. About 35 miles and 5150ft of climbing.

Then you head out of the north west side of town and do the lower loop trail to slate river. This trail is a beginner trail and had some people on it.... Then a good section of fairly flat road to the old townsite of Pittsburg. Then you do a serious climb up to the 403 trail. I wished I had brought more water as I began to cramp some more--this time in the hamstrings.. I caught a really fast guy Ethan Passant from Crested Butte at the top as he was suffering from cramps and had to stop. Weird really as it was cool and I had been drink lots of electrolyte replacement... So you hit 403 trail and have to climb some more and then some technical downhill down to the schofield pass road above gothic. A quick left turn and up to the top of Schofield pass. Here you hit 401 trail and to the beginner it must seem awful as you have a good climb up the trail to get to the top... I have taken to riding up the single track to the top versus the traditional road up the pass. I think it is easier and there are no cars. Just people coming down.... 401 was very nice and fast coming down... In the middle of summer the flowers are so high on 403 and 401 that you can barely see the trails... But by this time of year the trail was all open as the plants had been frozen. and had fallen down. 401 trail keeps going at the bottom of the main hill but for the race we came out and hit the road and back past Gothic and to town. Here I took a little more time at my car to oil my chain, drink some more and grab my rain jacket as I lost my vest and it was starting to rain over Kebler pass where I was headed. I checked my sugar and it was around 150. I had eaten a power bar between gothic and CB. I got to the pizza place and thankfully someone had returned my vest! I was into the ride 6:15 hrs (I think--OK I can't remember but I was a little over 3 hrs on the second lap...). I was in 6th or 7th place... in the solos.

Here is a picture of me coming down the 401 trail. Again thanks to Matt B. If you notice I had gu's stuck in the legs of my shorts. This way it was easy access on the trails...

Here is lap 3. about 26 miles and 3800ft of climbing. The map shows a big notch in the elevation profile which is a bug in my software. So we estimate the elevation to be 3500-3800ft or so...

Here is a picuture near Kebler pass on Saturday.

It was looking cooler and like it was raining on Kebler pass so I put on my vest and up we went the 6 miles up to the turn off to the old Irwin town site. The road was wet and it was windy. The road is well traveled and the magnesium chloride/mud began to spray on my and coat my bike. Once this gets on the bike (chain) it sticks like crazy..... I got to the top with some intestinal distress and had to stop of a few minutes......and I got passed by a guy! And then off to the Dyke trail. OK before you get all PC on me it's a VOLCANIC DYKE. Ya know a geologic feature... So the trail here had been rained on nicely and was a slippery gloppy mud. This really wasn't fun as my bike quickly picked up 10-15lbs of mud and I had no trackion and had to walk up many hills that I could have ridden. Also not having disc brakes was a disadvantage. I finally got to the point where the trail drops steeply to the other side of Kebler pass. It was windy and trying to rain the whole way and the trail was slippery from the rain and rocky from the many horses that used it. I made it OK but my hands were frozen and I was feeling tired from the mud and the 85 or so miles up to this point. Some nice ladies helped me get my rain jacket on as I couldn't move my fingers very well. They were waiting for one of their freinds. It was really windy and I was a little cold from the descent. I climbed what seemed like forever on the very wet Kebler pass and finally made it to the top. Now it was down hill 6 or so miles back to the pizza place. I got back in 7th place and 9:02 total time. Very wet and muddy and I have to say more tired than I had been in a long time..... I had a beer (free)and some pizza and some M&MS from a great girl, Maddy T, who was waiting for her husband on his second lap. Many people didn't start the last lap as it had started raining in town and on the 401 trail. I talked to friends then changed in the public bathroom and drove home.... I could barely stay awake as I read books to Lila that night.......

Monday, August 11, 2008

Leadville Trail Mountain bike race 2008

Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race 2008

The Leadville 100 is a bike race held for the last 15 yrs in Leadville, CO starting at 10,200 ft and climbing to 12,600 ft with lots of climbing in between..... I did it in 2006 and came in 32 place with a time of 8:32. This year I wanted to try and break the 8 hr mark. I just missed it coming in 8:06 in 32nd place again. Thanks to my family for taking so much time to go to Leadville and Crew and Anne for letting me ride my bike!

OK, not to turn you away from my site but here is a really good video of Dave Wiens and Lance Armstrong (yes Lance was there) that you can get a good idea of the terrain. They show mainly the roads as this is where they could drive to but also some other nice sections.

It was a dark and stormy night....... OK it was dark and stormy the whole week before the race, Aug 9, 2008. I had visions of riding 100 miles in the rain at 12000 ft. So as I packed for the race at my home in Gunnison, CO, just over the hill from Leadville I threw in every bit of warm cycle gear I had.... Grandma Sue and Grandpa Bill came over from Mancos to help watch the kids and help crew. The crew consisted of Anne and Bill driving to the aid stations along the way with food and water and other things I would hopefully not need like warm clothes, spare tubes, and tools. Here is a picture of Grandma with the kids before we left. The Leadville race is great for the
leadville economy as you have to check-in early Friday then have a prerace meeting. The race is then Saturday at 6:30 am with the awards ceremony Sunday morning. So you're spending several days there. I went over early with Grandpa to check in and Anne, Grandma and the kids came over a little later.

Leaville on Friday was pretty nice. Cool with a little rain here and there. I got all checked in and went and had some coffee. We ran into Dave W and Susan with the kids. Dave looked ready to go and was all smiles. Here I am sitting out having a coffee and snack.

The prerace meeting for the racers and crews was at 11:00. We got there early and got a seat in the small gym near the start of the race. It was really hot and crowded in there! Here are some pics of us. Lance showed up and said a few words with Dave.

Here we are at the meeting..

After the meeting, I went over to where I was staying-at Anne's Aunt Barb's second or so cousin(thanks Carol and Stan!). And everyone else went to The Inn of the Black Wolf in Twin Lakes. This way Grandma could get the kids when Anne left early to come to the start of the race. I dropped all of my stuff off and went on a short ride up the first climb of the race. Then put all the numbers on my bike and made sure everything was OK mechanically. Oh for the record, I rode my old Specialized M4 hardtail. I had Hutchison python on the front and Kenda small block eight on the back. Both with about 35-40 psi. My chain was lubed with ATB lube. My bike came in pretty light at about 23.2lb but no comfy rear shock like many of the racers.

Then next morning I got up at 5:00. My blood sugar was a bit high so I took a little extra insulin, threw on a coat and rode up to the start. I put my bike in the area where people who thought they could finish in under 9 hours got to start. The first 100 finishers from last yr doing the race and Lance got to start up front. But at 6:30 in the morning people evidently think they can go faster than they can.... I just rode with shorts and a jersey. It wasn't super cold--46 F and overcast. Lots of people started with leg warmers and jackets... I forgot my blood sugar test kit in my bag that Anne was going to pick up at the house so I didn't check my blood sugar at the start. I ended up not checking my sugar the entire race actually as I felt really good (most of the way) Here are some pics before the race and the start. The first one is our twelve year anniversary picture.

And the Start!

And here's Dave in front with Lance just behind. The start was fast and scary. We had an escort out of town and people kept trying to jockey for position. There were several near crashes. So we made it out of town and started the first climb. Of course, all of the people that thought they could do it under 9 hrs, but couldn't, somehow got in front of me. So going up the first climb (as at the race in 2006) was frustrating as people were going soooo slow and couldn't even ride parts of the road. I finally got around most of them by the top and off we went. I felt pretty good over the first two climbs and flew past the first aid station at Pipeline1. I got some good pace lines and came into the Twin Lakes aid in about 2:34. Just off the 8 hr pace.

Here is a picture of the mountains we went in front of.

The juggling act! Susan (Dave W's wife) is at the left in gold. We learned how the pros crew from her!

I drank one bottle of water and one bottle of Gatorade endurance between each stop.... So off we went up the hill to Columbine mine. A 3ooo ft climb up to 12,600 ft. I wasn't too far off the lead pack. The climb went well and I saw lots of Gunnison folk on the way cheering Dave on. Here is a picture Jesse Crandall took part way up.

Here are a couple of pictures that Brian Riepe of the mountain flyer sent my way of me coming down from the top. Just a note. I finally looked at the times of everyone and I was the 11th fastest climing to the mine....

Dave and Lance came screaming by while I was a mile or so from the top. The rest of the lead pack came later. I went up pretty well and at the top in just over 4 hrs total. Close to the 8 hr mark. I turned around and went blasting back down. The road was smooth with the top rocky and steeper. I got back to the Twin Lakes aid quickly and my crew got me all my stuff and off I went. I was able to ride with 4-5 five other riders in a pretty fast pace line for quite a while back to the last aid at powerline 2. I dropped them on the hills but they caught me after the powerline climb as I bonked a bit. Ouch! Anne and Bill got me going and off we went. I was in the low 20th place here. Here I am coming into the last aid station.

I rode pretty well to the last big painful climb up an old powerline road. I was getting low blood sugar as I climbed but didn't realize it until I started coming back down. I should have as a few guys that I beat up the hills earlier gained on me on the climb. When I started to come down, I started to feel the affects of having little sugar in my blood and riding 80 miles... Suddenly I began to see speckles and it felt as if my tires were flat and mushy like big balloons and my handle bar was not really attached to my bike and then it started to rain really hard. I stopped put on my vest and ate a couple of Gu packets. Then I continued on the descent slowly--not very happily as a few guys passed me. So it took me a few minutes to regroup but rode with a guy from Leadville the rest of the way as we decided making it in under 8 hrs wasn't going to happen now. The guys that just passed me came in just around 8 hrs. We rode to the end and he said I could go first but I let him so I got 32nd place instead of 31st.... REALLY!

Here I am getting a hug from one of my biggest fans, Lila. She thinks I win all the races I do...

After the race I was congratulated by many of the Gunnison folks that came over to watch. I talked to Dave for a while. Here is a guy that just won and beat up on Lance Armstrong and he's going on and on about how well I did. His wife Susan is the same. Really a great guy and a huge Bronco Fan to boot.

Here is Dave admiring my old bike... I may have him talked into giving me his very light full suspension bike...

CHEERS! How come no one gave me a HAT??

And the lot of us!

Lance accepting his award.

And me with my medals.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A week before Leadville 100 mountain bike race

Well the week in Wisconsin visiting the inlaws went well. I got some good road biking in with some pretty fast locals in Door County and road some hilly country West of Madison (google horrible hilly hundreds bike ride.) I guess it was only fair as I had been training for Leadville so often.

On Tuesday I rode in Crested Butte (from town Snodgrass to 403 and 401, up the single track is the only way to go)

Here is a map and profile. The map isn't quite right as I went up the 401 single track. I was feeling weak after being in the car for 2 days straight.

On Wednesday I went to Lake city and rode up engineer pass and then Cinnamon pass and back to lake City. This went better as my energy began to return.

On thursday I went to Pitkin and rode over to Cumberland pass to Tincup. This also went OK. The map just shows one direction so double the mileage and add the elevations. I felt OK.

Then on Friday I did a long 80 miler. I parked near Whitepine CO, near Monarch pass. I rode a kindof locals trail called Canyon creek (this has a really rocky steep climb and hike a bike to 12600ft. Then I rode Old Monarch pass and then back to Pitkin over waunita and black sage passes and then back to the car over the terribly rocky Tomichi pass that I went up that morning. I took a little longer than I had planned on the way back from Pitkin and Anne thought I must have been attacked by a roving band of ATVers and called some friends to search for me. They found me on the highway driving back. I should have called at the store a the base of Monarch! It was still light out however.......

And for Saturday I didn't do anything.....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some "training rides" for Leadville 100 moutain bike race

So I've been riding my bike a bit..... The past week in the I did these three rides. What fun!

On Thursday 7/10/2008 I did a big ride. About 80 miles with about 8000 ft of climbing. I went up Old monarch Pass rode the Monarch Crest and Rainbow trails (nice single track) and then back over the mountain to the car on Marshall pass. Marshall pass was a rail road track until the late '50s so it wasn't too steep just long.....

Here is a close proximity of the ride with a profile. The ride took about 8hrs total. I did stop and talk to a few people, get water and help a couple from N Carolina finding the trail. They surely would have died a horrible death after getting run over by a ATV on Marshall pass if not for me.

On Sunday I rode the Monarch Crest trail again with The MIGHTY Gary P. We decided that we didn't want to set up a shuttle and spend all the time leaving a car at the end of the rainbow trail so we just decided to ride out and back.... Most people never would have dared such an extreme feat....

We rode the Crest Trail and then about halfway down the rainbow trail and then decided to turn around so we could get home at a reasonable time. It took about 6 hr total and somehike a bike back up the steep single track. The Crest trail also had three huge snow drifts across it that we had to walk. They were a bit smaller than when I rode it on thursday but still much bigger than anytime I rode the trail even in May of some years! It had just become rideable in the past week or two. So for a total elevation gain and mileage add the gain and loss on the topo map and double the miles. The miles that TOPO gives are always a little short so... Also our turn around point is just estimated.

On monday I rode the 401 trail. This fine trail above Crested butte just opened as there was still snow covering so much of it. I went up the single track versus the "tourist route" that goes up the jeep road and trees at the top. This avoids a lot of dust and snow in the trees at the top. There were still two snowfields I had to cross. What a snowy winter! It's mid July! I can hear people all across the red states denouncing Global Warming as I write. But then the haze from all the fires in California may cause them to stop... Anyway here's the profile. And again it is just for the up direction.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dead deer

Well the winter here was brutal and isn't really over yet. We had snow a few days ago with plenty in the mountains. It still freezes consistently... We had a few warm days (mid 70s) and the river started to flood the low lying areas. But then it cooled off again and the river is only pretty darn high... (see here for current and past stream flows of Gunnison River).

So the skiing ended with me just sick of it April 1 as many of my friends are still hiking up the mountains and back country skiing. So now I'm biking and trying to get in good enough shape to do the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. I did it in 2006 in 8:32 which isn't half bad. I got a BIG belt buckle anyway. See my link to the right.

The biking started out in April as just road riding as the snow was so deep everywhere. The snow being so deep was really hard on the deer and antelope as they had a hard time getting through it and finding food. April was also cold with most rides being between 40F and 28F. If the sun was out it wasn't terrible. Now nearly the end of May the temperatures are usually around 70 by 1 or 2 up from 30 at 8am. So here are some ramblings about the dead deer.

With the snow being over three feet deep pretty much every where in the valley the deer tended to congregate at lower elevations and near the highway where the roads were plowed. All winter the DOW fed the deer and you could see hundreds of them on the hills near by if you drove the highway. Most of the time they were either laying down in groups usually where there was a small cut in the hillside from a stream and/or cottonwood were present or were on the move looking for food (this is a bad sign in the middle of the day as it meant they were starving. East of town had the higher concentrations. Fast forward from Jan and Feb to April as the snow finally starts to melt and I rode the highway east of town. I passed hundreds of deer that didn't make it with a few antelope and elk mixed in. Elk with longer legs fared better while in this area there weren't too many antelope in the first place. Many of the small groups in the trees and ravines didn't make it. Looking into these areas you could see the brown shapes of the groups of deer--almost looking like they were sleeping. Many deer closer to the road had shade the snow they died on so they were 2-3 feet higher than the more bare ground on the snow with legs pointing towards the sky. Many of the deer were dangling on fences. In the deep snow they had a real hard time jumping the fences and in a weakened state many of them met their fate here. I then rode to highway 114 which is a much small road and climbs a bit. About 10 miles up this road I came to rancher's haystack that the deer got into in the winter. This was a strange site. The DOW had said not to feed deer hay as they couldn't live on it. Sure enough there were 20-30 dead deer actually laying on the hay dead. Many more could be seen in the ravines nearby.

Fast forward a month to the end of May. Some mountain biking had opened up near town at Hartman Rock in the middle of May and most of the snow around town had melted. Above 8500ft in elevation it is still really wet and snowy. Now the deer can be smelled well before they are seen. They seem to be disintegrating--hair scattered everywhere, some areas bones and hair are all that's left.....

The next race for me is a 64 mile mt bike race called the Gunnison Growler at Hartmon Rock June 8.... Ouch.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

After the Grand Traverse

We headed up to the Elevation Hotel at Mount Crested Butte at 9:00 am to register. After this at was a talk from the organizers to tell you to be prepared for everything, give trail changes, weather info, and other important info. Following this was the gear check and provided pasta lunch or lunch and gear check depending on when you registered. The day was warm. Warmer than any day yet this year. NOAA was predicting 15-20 mi hr winds, 1-3 in of snow and 30 F temps. The warm temp was actually a problem as kick wax just won't stick or kick when it's warm.

The gear check went OK. Here you had to lay all your stuff out in a taped off square in a separate room. Several "judges" would go around and check everything off the list. First aid kit? OK. Let's see your ABS to control heavy bleeding, Where's the moleskin, and triangle bandages. Stove, shovel, beacon, probe poles, pad.... etc... Our judge was someone we knew pretty well so she didn't check us too carefully--We did have everything--really.

Here, Scott and I wait for the gear check.

Here is Becky and her ski partner. A couple of crazy girls. There were an amazing number of girls doing the race. Becky works at Western State also teaching biology. She worked very hard getting into the race. First she had to buy a entry from someone who couldn't use theirs. then her Achilles was very sore and she was off her ski for a week. Then her partner got a sore back and had to drop out so she had to search for another..... Finally she got a girl willing to do it....

So we finally got everything done and headed back to Gunni. We didn't have a place to stay in Aspen, so we were planning on having Scott's brother and girlfriend come and pick us up and drive back on Saturday. But while picking up some last minute stuff in Gunnison, we ran into an old friend that happened to have a small place in Aspen and said we could crash there while they were in Gunnison. So that was way cool.

The race started out with light snow turning to heavy snow and warm 32F. The snow stuck to you and melted. We all lined up. We got behind the really fast guys on the groomed track by the High School while everyone else spread out over the snow softer snow to each side. Reverend Tim said his "Prayer of the Free Heelers" and the race began. 125 teams of two at midnight. We got out of the start with some close calls with so many skiers with packs trying to get onto the packed trail. The day before was colder so you could have skied on the crust. Now with it so warm you fell through the crust. We skate skied across the valley to where the trail begins to climb a steep narrow trail up to the ski area. Here we put on our skins. We got to the base of the ski area in good shape and began to climb over the middle of the ski area.

At the top you ski down several blue ski runs. Visibility was low as the snow blew in your face. Also the hard trails now had powder on them. We decided to just leave our skins on. I don't know which is worse going down with or with out skins on skinny skis..... But we had almost made it down when Scott came up behind me and said, "I think I broke my hand.... my ski caught something" So we stopped at the bottom and I tried to Duct tape his pole to his wrist since he couldn't hold onto it..... But NOOOO!!! So we had to bail.... What are the odds of breaking your hand?? I crash often and so does he and now it breaks.

We were in the top 30 teams at least at this point and we were at our strong point as Scott goes up much faster then down.... That's life. We talked to the ski patrollers at the check point and they arranged a snow mobile ride back over the mountain. So we called Scott's bro from the Lift Hut and hopped on a snow mobile back to the ski patrol building to wait for our ride. I tested my sugar here and it was pretty high as I didn't really eat much and had been skiing for a hour and half. Something to check for must have been the late start... One crazy thing was the snowmobile driver I went back with was paralyzed from the chest down from breaking his neck. He also skis and races hand bikes.

So we got back and Scott's hand kept swelling. He got it x-rayed Monday and sure enough broken. Just wait till next year!
Scott and his broken hand..

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Night before the Grand Traverse

So I spent the day working and getting the final pieces for the equipment we would need for the race. We double checked the times we would need to be up in Crested Butte. Checkin at 9:00, PreRace Meeting, and then the GEAR CHECK! The equipment list is a bit long and if you don't have something they make you get rechecked before the race. The fastest racers somehow get away with pretty light weight clothes and gear. Our packs this year are pretty light considering all the stuff we'll have. I'll get an official weight once the water is full.

I took my skis down to Jesse Crandall the ski coach who said he would wax them for me. While I was down there we started looking at his gear for the race. The gear is a great topic of discussion as many of the racers are from the area. What type of skis are people using. Rondonee or a light backcountry/downhill ski with heavier plastic boots seem to be popular. We are just using light waxable skis. Not the lightest but not too bad. Jesse had a bigger pack than last year. He had several secret weapons that he quickly told me about. He swore me to secrecy of course.

So I think I have everything...... Maybe. Hope I have enough food......

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weekend before the Grand Traverse

Well not a whole lot going on. Just trying not to get a cold. During the week I just got in the gym and ran on the treadmill some. I was a little tired from the 50K so I did some short runs early in the week.

Saturday we went to Mill Creek near Gunni and did a couple of laps with the BIG hill. It was about 15 mi according to Scott's GPS. A good work out and we carried most of our stuff that we needed for the tour.

Sunday we crust skied at Hartman Rock. With the crust building you can skate just about anywhere on top of the crust. It was very good until is started to warm. We skied for a couple of hours and maybe 10 or so miles.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Scott goes for a big run

Well Scott decided to go run the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim three weeks before the GT. He planned to go out out Saturday, run it Sunday, and come back on Monday.

A student had talked him into it. I had specifically said NO more RUNNING. But I let him go anyway. He hadn't been to the canyon before and the student didn't really know the trails too well.

So anyway, Scott came hobbling back Monday. They took the bright Angel trail down and couldn't make it all the way up the North rim due to the excess of snow. He didn't know there was a shorter trail that the Bright Angel the Kiabab..... So he ended up running 43 miles and took 13 hrs. He wasn't quite ready to run down the steep trails.

So he has pretty much recovered but no I've put my foot down and definitely no more running until after the GT! Here is a picture of him crusts skiing at Hartmans....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

50 km Classic ski race 3/15/2008

So this weekend I did a 50km (31mi) classic ski race. I decided Friday night and quickly waxed my new classic skis. OK, they weren't new but some old skis that our fine ski coach here at WSC had laying about and sold to me cheap. I had no problems with my insulin as I did during the Super Tour. It was fine when I left town and fine when I started the race. I just ate a GU every 45 minutes with plenty of water. For a map go to

I used these skis on a 10km race last two weeks ago and they worked pretty well. In the 10K race they were a little slow coming down the hill so I probably lost a minute on the guy ahead of me. I ended up coming in pretty close to the winners. I was the first "citizen" but there weren't many citizens (obviously no one real fast showed) as the race was not publicized much.

So the 50 K started in Crested Butte at the High school at 8:00 and basically did all the Nordic trails that the Crested Butte Nordic center grooms and some twice. The area near the high school is called the Town Ranch or "Poop Loop" as dogs are allowed on it. There are more dogs than people in CB by the way. When I waxed my skis, all the Internet weather reports were giving the temperature readings for CB at around 20F at 8:00 and warming to 30 around noon when I would probably be getting done. So I started off by putting wax rated for 20-32F but then luckily decided to put some on that was rated 14-25 on last. This was a good thing because the car said it was -1F as I drove into CB so my wax would be a little slow but not terrible.... I quickly put on some green kick wax on for the colder temperature also. It was actually kind of good that it was cold with fresh snow because when you used wax on Nordic skis if it is warmer or icy it is hard to get the wax to stick.

Classic Nordic skis are cambered so that as you stand on both skis the part in the middle under your foot doesn't actually touch the snow. This is where the kick wax goes. When you ski, you have to do a "oingo boing" move (as they teach the kids) of bouncing to compress the ski on one foot so that the wax will stick to the snow, you can push off and glide on the other ski. This is repeated and off you go with your pole pushing on the opposite side of the ski that is kicking. People that are really good at this can go very fast and if the wax is right can kick and glide for quite a ways and climb very fast on hills. Another issue with these types of skis is to make sure you are the correct weight to compress the ski.

So I put on an extra jacket a the start. I shouldn't have because I got toooo hot on the first lap around the flat poop loop and stopped for a couple of minutes to take it off as we came past the start and headed off toward a more hilly section. You may want to note that there are lots of dogs here when it warms and my jacket is now on the ground. My kick wax was working well and my glide wasn't too bad in the cold weather.

We skied for an hour or so over some pretty big hills (one trail is called Mordor so it must be bad) and a bit of flats before we had to walk or ski on the icy road across town to another section of trail by Peanut lake. Here we did two laps with some hilly sections. I was in 5th here (OK only 8 people showed for this one but the first 4 were moving pretty fast). The two guys just ahead of me were just a couple minutes up and I planned to stick with them and maybe pass them if they got tired. I finally caught one of the guys but the other had a burst of energy and sped up (he actually won the Super Tour last week)! My shoulder began to twinge and I was having pain when I pushed with my left arm. My legs were tired but not too bad. I finally climbed the last hill on this section and now had to go down a automobile road down to the Nordic center where there were some more trails. I saw that two of the guys had skied in the fresh snow on the side of the road. I skied for a minute but there was gravel so I walked ran the rest of the way. I lost a couple of minutes on the guy ahead of me but I didn't want to trash my old skis....

I got to the Nordic Center and just had to go up a big hill, make a loop and come back. I was getting ready to be off the skis. I finished in 4:19:03. It was pretty fun race in a pretty town but had some sore areas in my legs that hadn't been sore this year skiing, my shoulder was sore and I had a couple blisters on the tips of my toes. I took the town bus to the car at the high school and picked up my jacket. Someone was nice and hung it on a sign. I also noticed as I put it on that some dog wasn't nice and had lifted his leg on it. OH well I was cold.....

I went and had a pita and came home. We skied a short ski with Anne and the kids. Julian in the backpack and Lila skied or rode in the sled the next day. Then Scott my GT partner showed and we skied a quick lap. I wasn't that much worse for wear.... Just a bit sore in the gluts and hams....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Super Tour Ski Race-Carboloading the hard way or no guts no glory 3/8/2008

So I decided to do the Super Tour this year (3/8/08). I was busy getting everything together for the race the night before so I could leave town before 6:30 to get to registration in Crested Butte (28 mi north) by 7:00. It was a little more planning as avalanche beakons, shovels, probe poles needed to be taken. I was also trying to decide which skins to use. My shorted ones or the full ones as there was a big hill climb of about 2000ft. It got to about 10:30 and I was a bit distracted and decided to test my sugar and give my self an injection of the long acting Lantus insulin. I gave myself a shot and then began putting my stuff away and noticed that I had my short acting Humalog insulin in my hand..... Hmm did I really just give myself 15 units of fast acting insulin????? Sheesh! In case you didn't read my previous posts, the insulin goes into the blood and rips the sugar out of your blood and into the cells causing the sugar level to drop. Normally for a meal like dinner I would take 5 units. If I really took all that and went to bed I may not wake up (ever see Momento?) or wake up in the hospital. So I decided I'd better eat something. So I ate a bowl of cereal and a bagel with peanut butter. Now I had to stay up and make to make sure..... So after about an hour and a half I tested my sugar and it had dropped to about 100. I must have taken the humalog.
So I ate some more. some yogurt and a power bar and some other stuff. I told Anne that I was setting my alarm on my watch and if I didn't get up to well you know....maybe call someone with a glucose IV or give my a shot of glucagon. I did wake up and ate another power bar and another bagel. When morning came around I must have eaten more than I needed as my sugar was quite high. I took some insulin, skipped breakfast, and headed out to Crested Butte. What a night-not much sleep!

The super tour ski race is a 22km race that starts above Crested Butte, CO just above the ski area. The race started off on level to slightly downhill terrain for the first few miles to the old mining town of Gothic. This particular day the trail was a bit icy with crusty snow on the sides. Most of the faster guys and gals had lightweight Nordic gear (I had pretty light stuff also) with no metal edges. I fell a few times and nearly ran a skier through when he tumbled on a hill in front of me. I just skied around him and lifted my ski over his flailing poles. I wasn't in a huge hurry here but was catching many people. It was hard to pass as the trail was very narrow with deep powder on the sides.
The trail passes the old mining town of Gothic turned into a alpine biology lab (Rocky mountain biological laboratory). Then it climbed a little up to the turn off to the 403 trail and climbs very steeply. I stopped here and put on my skins. I brought my full length ones. They climbed admirably if not a bit heavy. I was just ahead of Dave Wiens, mountain biker extraordinaire from Gunnison and all around nice guy. We chatted and I knew sooner or later he would probably pass me as he has quite a motor. I stayed in front of him until near the top and could see him as we climbed the last hill to the very top. So I must be doing pretty good. The guy at the check point said I was 7th or 8th place out of 70 or 80. Hmmm not bad. Especially as I wasn't exactly packing as light pack or skis as others.
Along the steep climb the organizers had set out chocolate bars, mini snickers bars, other candy and the ever important "shooters" or air plane bottles of various whiskeys and other fermented beverages. I probably should have grabbed a couple for the next part of the race.
No Guts-No Glory!
I got to the top and assumed (never assume) that the ski trail followed the bike route and took my skins off. I had mountain biked this trail many times--always in the opposite direction that we had skied. The guy at the start said it could be tricky in Nordic gear. It can't be so bad. Well it was so bad. The trail went straight down the mountain. It was comparable to a good blue run at a ski area. It was only about 5 ft wide in good spots and went down a long ways. I tried to snowplow a bit but my skis were so old that the plastic edges were pretty much not doing anything and I kept going faster and faster. OK I'll just ski in the powder off to the side as I began to pick up speed. Big mistake. It wasn't powder at all but sun crusted snow. I spectacularly crashed many times. Most of them would be on the most popular list on YouTube. I chickened out and put my skins back on as they would help slow me down. I later learned that the winner had left his on. So I lost a few minutes taking them off and putting them back on. I was passed here by a few guys barreling down in a snowplow and screaming as they passed. With my skins on I made good time the rest of the way on the steeps. Since I had full skins on I didn't have much glide on the less steep places down lower so I had to take them off losing more time and getting passed by a few more people. The rest of the trail was down hill with only some shorted steep sections and a few small hills. This went easily and I finished in one piece in 15th place. I was encouraged that I had climbed with out a ton of effort and stayed close to some really good skiers and had skied the flats faster than most. Now the downhill part was frustrating.... At least the down hill on the Grand Traverse would be on a ski area so it is much wider.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Alley Loop Skate Ski Marathon Feb 2, 2008

The Alley Loop is a ski race that winds through the alleys and streets of Crested Butte, CO (8800ft) and then heads out of town for a while. Depending upon how long of a race you do depends on how many and which laps you do. I signed up for the 41K (26 mi) three lap race. The race started at 10:00 and a balmy 3-4 F. It may have been 10F at the end of the race. The snow was a bit soft as it had snowed that night and the previous days. I knew the 42K was going to be painful on the last lap as I hadn't done a lot of long skis yet this year.

Skate skiing is like ice skating except you use poles and go up hill. It will raise my heart to high levels and keeps it there. It is one of the hardest work outs I have done. Anyway the first two laps went pretty smoothly. The last lap began to hurt however. My arms and butt muscles began to get very stiff. I did however make a point of drinking as much as possible as in previous races I had gotten nauseous from dehydration. The hills became suddenly very hard and I began to have visions of sneaking onto the 21K lap for a shortcut. I got passed by a few people but ended up not passing out....

I ended up making it in in 2:53 and 34th out of 64. If I had done the 21K I could have easily placed in the top 10 out of 37 as I was ahead of a friend that was doing the 21k and got 10th. I was pretty beat but had a good time AND the girl in the bunny suit finished behind me this year!

How did the diabetes affect the race. Well not really at all I would say. I ate a Gu every lap or just under. My sugar was about 130 20 min before the race so I ate some food to bring it up a bit. When I finished I tested it it was 140 after eating a gu on the last lap. You may ask, didn't you check your sugar during the race? This would've been difficult with the cold temperatures and to get my glove off I would have had to take off my ski pole straps. Not really worth it for just 3 hours.

Go to for more on the race and pictures. These two pictures are from a few years ago when it was sunny out.