Thursday, June 2, 2011

GRRRRRR Growler IV May 29th 2011

My arse is oozing..... OK you may ask why is my arse oozing? It's because of that Dave Freak'n Wiens. And how does Dave have anything to do with this? It's the Original Growler mountain bike race of 64 fluid miles that he started four years ago. And it kicked my arse and hence made it ooze. 

I always feel a bit, just a bit, perturbed that many of the  people that race have been riding for most of the winter while Gunnison it has been snowing and very cold up until the race and actually yesterday, the day after the race, it was snowing..... Hartman Rocks where the race takes place just opened for riding earlier this month as a matter of fact. Once it dries out enough the north side opens but the south end stays closed until the sage grouse are done mating. But this doesn't really mean much. Earlier Dave sat me down and discussed eternal mountain biking enlightenment comes not from riding on the road all winter in the city or on the rollers, it comes indeed from knowing the lines. Riding this race it is so true as you pass a roadie that doesn't know the line....And living in Gunnison and riding at Hartmans means knowing the lines.

I really should discuss how I prepared for my little condition, you know that thing where I have to take shots of insulin continually in order not to die after wasting away. But lately I have been tired of having it define me and just making it another variable that you have to plan for in your life. OK this is a big deal and should be talked about. I mean people spend pages discussing what is the best bike and then the best wheels, tires, food, drink, etc etc etc that is best for a race.We'll talk about that stuff I suppose.

This year the race preparation started out a little different that in the past. I had the feeling that this race would sell out quickly. The first 300 to sign up online got in. So I did a lot of fast twitch finger muscle training with a secret stretching of the joints. It paid off as the race filled in about 8 minutes. I was signed up in 2 minutes and that was with a costly error entering my credit card information. So I was in. Here is a reenactment of my fingers in action.

Now just to find some time to get the legs in shape a bit. I had been taking a biking power class a couple of times a week this spring with a recent WSC graduate Tim Curry and I had skied a lot. So I was in pretty good shape. Several road bike rides in the snow and some rides on the course after it all opened up and I was ready to go.

The race started as it always has. We lined up downtown and at 7 am the shotgun was blasted to start us off. I had my Rock and/or Roll jersey on as Dave Mo has helped me a bunch. It was mild for Gunnison at close to 50F and calm. We then rode behind the escort at at pace that was supposed to be single speed friendly but the poor guys with one gear were spinning their little legs off! And, of course, people that are going to get dropped on the first climb always have to try and get in the front. So after a couple of near misses including a lady that kept riding too close to me and then tried to pass, we got to the gravel and it was race on. I had eaten some pancakes at 6am and had taken 5u of Humalog and 7u of Lantus (8 the night before).

We hit Kill hill (it's a killer because it is about 22-25% grade and several hundred feet up) and this began to spread everyone out. I wanted to get past most of the pack so I went up at a medium hard pace for me. Then we hit the mild grade of the dirt road to the single track trail, Josho's. Here is a pic from Matt B photography.

The first lap of the Growler you have to pace yourself obviously as you have another 32 miles to go and the second lap is harder. The first lap you are also riding with other people quite a bit as everyone slowly spreads out. There were several little packs of riders. Many were good climbers but with my inner peace and big wheels I was really pretty fast going down AND I knew the lines. I felt a little like my blood sugar was a too high as my legs just felt a little weak/tight. I avoided food for a little extra time and began to feel better. I have a timer on my watch to remind me to eat. This also helps me see what kind of pace I'm on. I got to Skull Pass about halfway around and Brian Riepe of the Mountain Flyer was handing out water bottles. I grabbed one and left mine to be refilled. Skull pass is a bit gnarly but I was soon out and grabbed my old bottle. The aid guys were really good. I missed the bacon guys however.... I saw my Pa and sister at Josie's and they gave me a bottle. I ended up finishing the first lap feeling some cramping coming on and I smacked my knuckles and shoulder at the end of the Ridge trail at the very end of the lap. The Ridge trail is gnarly also. Each lap you put in about 4000' ft of climbing and 32 miles.

Anne and the kiddos were at the transition for the second lap and I scored some water, food, a kiss, and Julian gave me a big rock--thanks for cuing him in, uncle Collin. The first lap took 2:54. I was behind 2 people in my age group here and most all the one lappers I saw later. Here is a video coming out of the ridge and into tailpipe on the first lap.

The second lap goes up a steeper single track trail than Kill Hill called the Notch. I made it most of the way but a butt cramp made me dab at the top. Then, instead of the road, you climb Becks and ride Rattlesnake trail backwards. I passed a couple people along here. Rattlesnake has a couple of places that are very hard to climb in that direction and one that is nearly impossible. I made it up all but that one. Then the race continues on on nearly the same route as the first lap. The wind started to come up so a couple of spots that headed south and into the wind were obnoxious but then when you turn back the other way it was great. I got some more water from my dad and sister and Jason and Steph of the fine Gunnison Coffee company at Skull Pass. Then just keeping in my head the next trail or two that I would have to climb and I kept the pace up for home. All was well until the final descent. Collarbone trail is a roller coaster of trail and I was just going too fast and my wheels slipped out and I came straight down on my lower hip and slid on the granite gravel. Two photographers thought I may have hurt myself (there were many photographers out there is seemed like)... OK I did but I wasn't going to stop. And hence why my arse is oozing. I got to the bottom in 6:00:38 and 20th place overall out of 200+ and 2nd in my age.
Hang'n with the race officials after the race.

Brian Smith went wicked fast. Chill'n.

My oozing arse.
Now you just had to ride back to town for a final official checkin. This makes the race a total of just about 70 miles and 8000' climbing. 
That afternoon they had growlers of beer for finishers FULL of New Belgian beer! We also got food from Garlic Mikes restaurant. And they had the swag of the year that Dave "Freak'n" Wiens scored. Dave OCHS, the color man, was literally throwing socks, shirts, Ergon bar grips, carbon handle bars, etc into the crowd. The raffle went on and on. Winners in the age groups and overall winners got great prizes. I got a SRAM Cassette MSR $250 and a 10spd chain MSR $50.
Next adventure? Biggest--Colorado Trail Race. A hoot! Oh and for the record I ate a GU like product every 40 min. At the end, my glucose was 77. So going down but no serious bonks!

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