Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

13 Aug

shark-eating-seal-300x254Last week was Shark Week. Those close to me know I have a seriously morbid obsession with sharks. Like so many of us, it goes back to the movie, Jaws. I think I was around 12 years old when the movie hit the theaters. I’ll never forget how I nearly hit the ceiling when that head popped out from under the boat.

It’s akin to the Kramer painting: I find it offensive, loathsome and disgusting, yet I can’t look away. Even today, when the movie comes on some cable channel, I’ll stop what I am doing and sit down for the remainder of the show.

Sadly, over the years my morbid obsession has morphed into a mantra; Stay Out Of The Water. People pee in swimming pools (Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN last week); there are things in fresh water bodies of water with huge claws and teeth (think northern pike on HgH); and there are sharks in the ocean. People on these shows are begging to be attacked! Stay the f$#@ out of the water. But I digress.

Saturday found us racer types at the 6th Annual Mass. Avenue Criterium. The race has become the preimier cycling event in Indiana. This year the organizers raised the bar several notches with street lights and night time racing, along with inovative technological advances. The races were streamed live to 12 flat screens along Mass. Ave. and also to smart phones. Big kudos to the announcer, John Gatch, as well. His enthusiasm entertained the large crowds and kept the racers well informed of the strategic situation on course; perhaps a little too informed in some cases – uh hum.

You could say the Mass Ave. course is shaped like a shark’s tooth, what with it’s triangle course and two greater (or lesser, depending on how you look at it) than 90 degree turns (shark sharp), not to mention the numerous pot holes, sewer grates and rough spots that simulate the serrated edges of a shark’s tooth, scattered about the course. So given all of the shark shinola, fate decided to taunt me with the ultimate shark image – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

On the start line with Creamer

On the start line with Creamer

A huge crowd including several friends were on hand for the 22 or so of us in the Masters 50+ race. Damian Maggoos of Heroes was the early aggressor, attacking 2 or 3 times within the first couple of laps. Matthew Grate of Men of Steel Racing took up the action with an attack, followed by a couple more aggressors. A lap of respite ensued and then pre-race heavy favorite, John Schmitz of Indie bike took a big dig, opening a 7 second gap on the field.

I laid back to this point, hoping to preserve as many matches as possible for the 40+ race at 8 pm. Normally, I’d not hold back because most 40+ races are only the usual 45 or 50 minutes long, but Saturday’s 40+ was a Megaladon-esque 70 minutes. I could feel the jaws of three-intervals-per-lap biting into my quads already. But here’s the rub; we are wired to attack. Like a shark, it’s instinct after you’ve been doing this for a while.

Growing the lead

Growing the lead

As the group closed in on Schmitz I could sense the pack fatiguing from the early hot pace. As Dr. Wilkes likes to say, ‘there was blood in the water.’ And so as we caught John, I countered. I hoped someone would go with me, but no one did. My gap widened and my mind started in: ‘Man, I did not want to expend this much energy in this race when I have another 70 minutes looming.’ Even so, I carried on building my lead lap after lap, eventually staying out front for at least a third, maybe half of the race. About this time the announcer began calling that Schmitz was on the attack, hoping to bridge. I eased slightly, hoping Schmitz could latch on unattended. Nope. The group was too cagey to let two of us get away together. My better option was to hold focus on the moment and forget about the later race, forgoing any easing up and just doing it on my own. As it was, the group came back together with 10 laps to go and now the shark had me where he wanted me – fatigued.

Burning matches

Burning matches

At 5 laps to go a small group broke clear of the pack, but neither myself or Schmitz made the effort to join them so they ran free for a couple of laps. At three to go the pack took up the chase and had two of the three re captured as we began the bell lap. Matthew Grate dangled off the front through turn 1 and through turn 2. As I came out of turn 2 Grate still held a considerable lead so I had to jump then. From turn 2 it’s 600 or more meters to the finish line. The shark in the form of jim Creamer, latched onto me, poised for the kill.

I caught the lone rider approaching turn 3 and had to slow for him as he did not handle the turn very well, and then I had to reaccelerate into the home stretch. Creamer tucked in and slipped by in the final 5 meters. It was agonizing to lose the race after having it firmly in my jaws (hand). Yet if I had to get beat, better it be by a guy who I introduced the sport to and to a guy who happens to share the same birthday as me.

Jim for the win

Jim for the win

Jim came to the bike shop where I was conducting winter training classes for the 09-10 winter training season. I encouraged he and his daughter to sign up. Both Jim and his daughter exhibited natural athleticism and I could tell Jim would take to the sport. Over these few years Jim made huge strides and upgraded to Category 2 at the end of last season. Always with a smile and a positive word, Jim’s an all around good guy; a worthy State Champion.

I was fortunate to have many friends on hand, as evidenced by some of the photos. On that note, I’ve included several photos in this post because I am blessed to have two friends who take professional quality photos; Scott Brooks and Adam Perler. Thank you very much, guys, for the wonderful collection. You guys are jawesome.

 

50+postraceAfter the race we celebrated the podium, which also included Brad Demott, otherwise known as Fast Freddie. Brad manages Gray Goat Cycling on the south side and earlier this year he really helped me out when I was in a bind. My old wheels were way out of true, especially the rear wheel. My normal resources were busy, so I called Brad and asked for help. He told me to come on down and he’d true the wheels up for me. I am grateful and I highly recommend south siders visit his shop on S. SR 135.

 

 

 

PodiumAfter the podium celebration it was time to get ready for the Megaladon, 40+ race. Although it was tempting to skip it and begin drinking beer with friends, the bite of defeat was too strong to ignore. I was determined to give a good effort in the second race. With twice the field size and legs 10 years younger (not to mention fresher) the pace was blistering from the start.

In the first race I happend to be parked next to Jim Creamer at the start line. As I took the line for race #2, I lined up next to Court Maple. As you can see in the photo below, Court was very intense before the race. He looked like he was ready to devour something or someone, although he did offer a fist bump with me just before we took off.

This is purely speculation, but I suspect Court had some payback to give. At the State RR a few weeks ago, Court raced in the 35+ category that mixed in with the 45+ and the 55+. Court established a break away with 4 other riders, all of whom were in the 45+ category. I am told that Court did most of the work, knowing he was the only one in his category, having secured victory by default.

As the race closed in on the finish, one rider attacked and broke clear of Court to take the ‘overall’ victory while another rider who sat in the entire break, according to my source, still sprinted for third place. Perhaps Court was simply focused on winning a big race. Whatever the case, he had the look of determination at the start. Or maybe he knew that the guy standing next to me at the start of the 50+ won that one so he figured standing next to me would enhance his chance of winning 😉

It was over before we started

It was over before we started

After five blistering laps we were offered a prime. The 3rd place finisher in the state road race claimed the prime and Court jumped immediately after the prime. Being the only rider in position to go with Court, 3rd place went with Court and lasted perhaps 2 laps before being summarily dropped back to the group. Court was on fire. He grew his gap to 18 seconds but with the the dropped rider back in the fold, the one team with multiple riders in the race took up the chase. Smelling blood in the water, other riders joined the chase and Court was reeled in after and extensive effort.

So Court merely did what champions do; he attacked again straight away. Micah Fritzinger, Ben weaver and Tom Cox broke clear of the group and remained with Court for 20 minutes or so, putting us this point at 40 minutes into the race. One of the trio was unable to contribute as much to the break as the rest of the group and when Court sensed the weaker rider on his wheel, he attacked again. The other two hesitated and that was it. Game over. Court was gone, flying around the course as if possessed.

Court’s lead grew steadily over the final 25 minutes of the race such that he lapped what was left of the main field at five laps to go. And not only did he lap us, he also went straight to the front and drove us around the course over the final 5 laps.

Prior to Court’s capturing the main field, two other riders broke free, leaving Court + 5 others in front of the dwindling field. We were racing for 7th place. My own race was a labor. The first race had taken quite a bit out of me. At the 35 minute mark of this one I was not sure I would be able to finish, yet that biting defeat drove me onward. My legs strained with each acceleration out of turn 1.

Believe it or not, despite doing 2 races, I thought prior to Saturday that the longer, 70 minute race would favor me because this age group normally does not race that long. I’ve doubled up, often back to back, a number of times this year, so I felt a longer race would wear down the guys who were not used to racing that long. As we drew nearer and nearer the finish I sensed that I was gaining an advantage over several riders. When Court lapped us and took the front, the pace ratcheted up a notch and I found myself 3rd wheel, an almost perfect spot for the end of the race.

Court’s driving pace kept the field strung out over the final five laps, with him acquiesing the lead only as we approached the final turn on the last lap. Entering the final turn at #2 wheel was good and bad. The rider leading did not take the turn so well, causing me to slow slightly before re accelerating out of the turn to sprint for the finish. All the way down the finish stretch I held the lead, yet wondered, when are they gonna come rushing by me. As I approached the line I fleetingly thought, O.M.G., I’m gonna get the field sprint. And then, just like the previous race, not one, but two riders pipped by me right at the line. Harry Clark took the field sprint for 7th. I held on to finish 9th on old and tired legs.

Court cruised in behind us, arms extended in Victory. The three riders Court dislodged at the 40 minute mark hung on the battle for 2nd with Fritzinger claiming the silver and Ben Weaver taking 3rd place.

Congrats to both Jim and Court. Tip to everyone else for the remaining races; stand next to me on the start line.

I don’t often start on the front row, but when I do, I stand next to winners. Stay victorious, my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spawn Of The Devil Be Damned

4 Aug

Those of you who regularly attend my training classes know that one of my mottos is: Running is the spawn of the devil. Of course, I say this facetiously, chiding those runners in the class to put more time on their bikes for better cycling performance. I know running, or any other cardio exercise is good for health and wellness. Running seems to be one of the easiest ways to get back in shape; all it takes is a pair of running shoes, some shorts and a little determination. Stride by stride, one improves.

Yet on the flip side, many of us have run so much that our bodies have broken down with fractured hips, severely strained IT bands, bad low backs, or any number of other ailments such that cycling has become the go-to activity. And this is where my spawn of the devil chiding comes in. Run if you must, but ride that bike for overall wellness and enjoyment.

It seems the Devil’s furnace has been turned off this summer so he’s been whispering in many ears to break out the running sneakers of late. B.I.T. athletes have heard the siren call, hitting the trails and pavement in force this weekend, and posting fantastic results, to boot (really, did he just use a foot pun?).

Matt Jordan and Planet Adventure hosted the 4th Annual Eagle Creek Trail Marathon on Saturday, just west of Eagle Creek Park. The event catered to runners of all abilities with the following categories: 5K, 1/4 marathon, 1/2 marathon and Full Marathon. Friday night’s rain sullied the course, making for slick and much slower conditions, however, the angel on my right shoulder grinned with approval, for the soft course meant less pounding on those fragile legs.

The Winner!

The Winner!

Deb DuBois, Cristal Garrison and Mike Garrison represented the B.I.T. crew in fine fashion. Deb WON her age group in the 1/4 marathon. She said the first two miles were fabulous as she bounded over logs and branches. After that, each log was a welcome respite to stop, slowly slide over, and then resume the running, which took one hour, 12 minutes and 53 seconds. Ouch.

Cristal Garrison completed the 1/2 marathon in 2:49, smiling all the way. Cristal said she kept hearing coach Bob’s voice saying, ‘keep it steady; don’t overdo it, hold your pace.’ Upon seeing Cristal’s exuberance as she crossed the finish line, Deb deadpanned, “Wow, she went twice as far as me and I looked twice as bad when I crossed the line.”

Exuberant Finish!

Exuberant Finish!

Better Than Champagne

Better Than Champagne

Not one to mess about with these minimalist workouts, Mike Garrison traversed the full marathon in 4 hours and 55 minutes. One can only imagine what the devil may have been saying to Mike to induce him to run for so long.  Mike was not available for a photo at the conclusion of his run.   We in the B.I.T community are known to enjoy our beer. as such, last week we learned of a new favorite sweeping the Hoosier state, Gumball Head Beer from Three Floyds. On the Monday night ride Ken Green among others, raved about the newly discovered brew, which just happens to be sold at Trader’s Point Creamery. To celebrate Deb’s win on Saturday, we went to the Creamery for dinner and toasted with the fine, citrusy, wheat ale. On Sunday B.I.T. athletes convened downtown for the Tuxedo Brothers Tri Indy, although B.I.T. athletes Deb DuBois and Josh Ginsberg skipped the canal swim, opting instead for the duathlon division of this event. Josh has worked extremely hard getting back in shape in 2013, losing nearly 40 pounds since last winter. The hard work is paying off; Josh finished 8th overall and 2nd in his age group. Josh’s bike split of 23.0 MPH was 3rd fastest bike leg on the day. Josh credits those 3 hour Sunday trainer rides with B.I.T. for his cycling succceses this season. Nice job Josh!! Deb surprised herself with a 2nd in age group and a new PR for the bike split with an average speed of 18.5 mph. Deb again credits the Monday night rides from Fishback as one of the main components of her improvement.

Podium Glass For Josh

Podium Glass For Josh

Deb Striding it out

Deb Striding it out

Happy Podium Finishers

Happy Podium Finishers

In purely cycling news, Adam Perler competed in the Masters National Track Championships over the weekend. Adam’s first event was the match sprint, a competition that pits two riders against each other for 2 laps of the 333 meter velodrome. The strategy is to outmaneuver your opponent such that you make your opponent lead out the sprint. To do so, riders hold a track stand or pedal as slowly as possible around the steeply banked track for one lap or more, the inside rider trying to hold the outside rider close to the rail at the top of the track. As the riders move slowly around the track on the lap 2, eventually one rider accelerates rapidly down the track. The percentages favor the rider who follows the first accelerator because the 2nd rider gains benefit of the draft before fully opening the jets to sprint in the final straight. However, it doesn’t always work that way as some riders open such a huge gap with their initial burst, that the trailing rider uses all his or her energy in simply closing the gap, leaving nothing left for a final burst in the home stretch.

Adam managed to negotiate the qualfying rounds in his age group (35-39) such that he ended up in an odd finale. Four riders took the track to race for one podium spot, 5th place. (National Championships award podium spots to 5 deep rather than the traditional 3). Where normally the event is a one against one, Adam faced three other hungry competitors for that final podium spot. In hopes of surprising his competitors and also hoping they might hesitate, Adam jumped much earlier than in a traditional match sprint, accelerating out of turn 4 at the end of the first lap. Nearly 400 meters is a l-o-n-g way to hold a sprint, but it was worth a surprise attack in the National Championshps.

Adam on the fly

Adam on the fly

Initially, Adam gained a nice gap, forcing the 2nd rider to work very hard to close the gap, which he did about half way through the back stretch. A strong headwind on said back stretch stymied Adam’s move and thus, the other three passed in Turn 4, leaving Adam to settle for 8th place in his first event. Lessons learned and valuable experience gained leave Adam looking to 2014 with high ambitions.

Great job to all the competitors over the weekend.

New Albany Crit.

29 Jul

The final weekend of July brought crisp, autumn-like temperatures and clear blue skies to much of the midwest, perfect conditions for outdoor activities. B.I.T. athletes welcomed Mother Nature’s respite by garnering several top placings at various venues throughout the region.

Helen's Podium

Helen’s Podium

Deb DuBois and daughter, Helen, competed in the ‘They Call Me Al’ St. Alphonso’s Church 5K run in Zionsville Saturday morning. The mostly flat course was toughened up by a stiff headwind in the final mile of the race. Helen cruised the event, finishing as 3rd overall female. Deb met her time goal and placed 3rd in her age group. Well done, ladies.

Deb's Podium

Deb’s Podium

Jim with 95 Year Old Paul Miller, of Normal, IL

Jim with 95 Year Old Paul Miller, of Normal, IL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Creamer competed in the National Senior Games in Cleveland over the weekend. Unlike other parts of the midwest, Cleveland featured rain and cool temps as Jim reports, “Although this was a national race, competition was closer to a local Masters 50+ event that was won by a ‘Boggs’ type racer from Mississippi who won both days (he also won both TT events).  I think Indiana is quite strong comparatively.

“Saturday was cold and very wet.  Not knowing anyone, I went with every early break only to be brought back.  The course was on a highway along lake Erie that had a climb of nearly a mile.  1st lap was in the big chain but later laps I spun up the hill in the small.  The field split quickly on the 2nd lap following a series of attacks when the eventual winner broke solo midway up the hill.  No one gave chase and I for one, was beginning to struggle.  The final 2 miles were chaotic in the rain as we were all bunched up; there were crashes in the final 2 turns, luckily I was out near the front and won the exhausting sprint for 2nd – 20 seconds behind the winner.

“Sunday was on the same course, but with a strong headwind to fight.  Again a couple early attempted breaks but I stayed within striking distance waiting for Mississippi to attack.  He went at the perfect time as we were climbing and things were congested at the front.  He got a good lead before I and another guy worked together to chase him down.  It became a 3 man break and again I struggle to do my share.  About 3 miles from the finish the peloton began smelling the barn and seemed to be closing down rapidly on us. The guy behind me hit my rear wheel and went down.  (Later he said it was his fault for drafting too closely.) It was down to 2 of us but we made it.  The sprint came down to a photo finish.  The announcer called us back to the line only to tell us over the PA that judges determined that Mississippi won. In the moment, It hurt so much that I told my son I would have rather finished 20th. But after a few moments reflection, my perspective cleared and I realized it was all worth it though, for having seen that 95 yr old racing.  His name was Paul Miller from Normal Ill.”

Adam Perler continues his improvement toward competition in Track Masters National Championships. Representing Joey Keller, Adam proudly wears his Team Joey kit as a reminder of how fortunate we all are to have health, vitality, and a community of friendship and support. Adam posted 2 season bests during final event tune-ups with a 12.2 sec in the flying 200 (he was a 13.6 early in the year) and a 1:19 (improved from 1:34 early in the season) in the 1k. Adam is striving to break the 12-second barrier in the Flying 200. In order to do so, he’ll need to hit 40 mph.  Hopefully the wind  will cooperate. Adam reports, “I am just hopeful that I will be able to repeat these times when it really counts.  The flying 200 and match sprint rounds will be on Friday.  I believe I need to get in to the top 12 in my age group to advance to the sprint tournament.  I will then do the 1k on Saturday.  As you know, I am not an endurance guy… but that is turning out to be one of the areas I have improved the most in.  Finally, I will be teaming up with two guys from the Speedway Wheelmen for a Team Sprint.  I will be the lead off guy for the  Sunday event.  My goal is to bring the group up to 35mph from a standing start on the first lap and then peel off.  This is harder than it seems. As it turns out, I have a “turbo lag” in my jump which starts out a little weak (probably from a slipped disc in my back) and then I hit my stride… unfortunately I have left my teammates behind a few times which is never a good things as my job is to go fast, but keep us together.  The best part is that they have all agreed to wear Team Joey schwag during our event.  If I have any chance of making the nationals podium, this will likely be the event.  Either way… this season has been great.  I will go out and have fun.  I will be riding for my coach in the sky, Joey Keller, and dedicating my nationals to my cousin who will be having his 4th operation for a rare brain tumor as I pedal and navigate the velodrome… hopefully faster than I have ever gone before.” Best wishes for a fast and safe weekend, Adam!

New Albany Crit.

Southern Indiana and the Louisville area have never been hospitable to me as a bike racer. I’ve jokingly called the racers down there the Huns of Louisville in the past. It’s not that they are mean folks, but rather, they are as competitive a lot as you’ll find anywhere in the midwest. I enjoyed catching up with Eric Fagerburg, Mike McShane and Brad Swope prior to the racing. Yesterday’s event was a new venue, but the competition remained pretty much the same as it’s always been; fierce. As venues go, the promoters put on a great event. The course was secured by an excellent volunteer staff, podiums were ushered quickly after races were completed, and payouts were handled in a very timely manner.

The course was not overly challenging, although it did feature as such: From the Start/Finish line racers tarverse approximately 200 yards to turn 1, a wide, sweeping left turn requring no speed let up. After turn 1, racers were greeted with a nice tail wind on the longest straight of the course that fed into a fairly wide turn 2 left hand bend, followed by a short straight into another left hander for Turn 3. Out of turn 3, racers were met with a stiff headwind, perhaps a fortunate blessing as it slowed us on a few occasions, before narrowing into a tight right hander at turn 4. From 4 we took a short straight to another tight left hander at Turn 5, then a very short straight to a left hander in Turn 6, at which point we opened the jets for the Finish line.

The finish straight was lined with vendors, including the River City Winery, which Deb was quick to cozy up to. It wasn’t long before Sean O’Donnell’s lovely partner, Nita, joined Deb in the sun, enjoying their wine while there men battled The Huns in the Masters 40+ event. 25 of us took the line for this one and the pace was hot from the get go. Texas Roadhouse, McDonald’s, Barbasol, Ft. Wayne Outfitters, and Scheller’s all featured multiple riders in this race. As such, attacks and counters continued throughout the entire 42 minutes of racing, culminating in an average speed of 27 mph. Mike McShane of Texas Roadhouse and Eric Fagerburg of Clarksville Schwinn were instigators of many of the moves off the front. With so many teams represented, though, no small group was going to break free from the pack. Early on it was McShane, countered by Tolson, countered by myself, countered by Fagerburg, countered by McDonald’s, countered by Schellers, and on and on and on, it went…

NewAlbany1The final laps were intense as riders jostled for position. Tolson and Micah Fritzinger of McDonald’s made the right move on the final lap, jumping into the headwind from Turn 3 to turn 4, with the former wrestler, Fritzinger, edging past the wiley veteran to take the win for McDonald’s down the stretch.

The Masters 50+ lined up 10 minutes after the 40+ers finished. Perhaps 17 of us lined up for this one, with a handful having just completed the 40+ race. Being older, this group wasn’t as fast as the prior, but they were no less competitive. Brad Swope of Texas Roadhouse, a multi-time Masters National Champion, took the first attack hoping to soften the group. Upon his capture, I attacked hard for half a lap, but the group wasn’t giving me any leeway. After a couple laps of respite, Swope attacked again and I countered his move. Finally, other riders took short attacks, but no one managed to break free of the group until late in the race. A Team Louisville rider broke clear, later followed by a McDonald’s rider, forming a 10-second gap on the group with 7 laps to go. With 5 laps to go Ft. Wayne Outfitters took up the chase, bringing it together at 3 to go. Swope and a McD’s racer took turns trying to snap the elastic of the field in the final 3 laps and seemed to have an effect as several riders tired over the final 3 laps.

NewAlbany2On the final lap Swope jumped from Turn 2 and held the lead through Turn 3 where the headwind stymied his move. Having witnessed Tolson and Fritzinger in the preceding race I had decided I would jump out of Turn 3 into the wind and take my chances on holding it to the line. My tactic worked and I took the win. John May of Papa John’s had been my nemesis early in the race, brining me back after my attacks. As such, he followed me on the final lap and took 2nd place.

I don't often accept awards, but when I do I prefer wine and ice cream - stay thirsty and hungry, my friends

I don’t often accept awards, but when I do I prefer wine and ice cream – stay thirsty and hungry, my friends

Post race was enjoyed in the company of Deb along with Sean O’Donnell of Columbus and his partner, Nita. Sean had not originally planned to race in New Albany, but upon waking to Nita’s urging to get out and enjoy such a beautiful day, the pair came down to enjoy the race. Sean is a lucky man. Best wishes to Adam at Masters National Track Nationals. Looking forward to the festive and competitive Mass. Ave. Crit. on August 10th.

RAIN, Muncie Tri, EC DU & Rainy State RR

22 Jul
Henry Finishes!

Henry Finishes!

After Saturday’s rainy competition day I’ll begin this entry with another RAIN success. Having shed nearly 40 pounds in 2012 and spending the fall training with us at B.I.T., Henry Kim quietly selected a goal of finishing the RAIN ride this summer. Henry reports that he kept up well for the first 60 miles with a pace of 20.6mph. As a doctor, Henry finds training time difficult to come by, especially for those long hour rides required to survive the 162 miles of RAIN. Nonetheless, Henry thought he was well prepared for every possible contingency except for the horrible momentum-robbing cramps he suffered in both thighs and calves about half way through RAIN. If it wasn’t for the kindness of another rider giving him electrolyte pills and a SAG worker providing “pickle juice”, Henry knows he would have been a DNF. Fortunately, Henry summoned the mental toughness so many of you exhibit and gamely completed the ride in a more than respectable 282nd place. Henry said the B.I.T. training helped him immeasurably. Well done, Henry!

Angelia with help from friends

Angelia with help from friends

Angelia Kniesly also competed on Saturday the 13th. A triathlete and adventure lover by nature, but banned from running by her PT due to a strained hip, Angelia could not resist the temptation of several of her friends coaxing her into the Muncie Triathlon. Angelia reports: “Although my PT did not clear me to run for more than 3 minutes at a time… I had registered for this race a year ago and thought that I would just swim and bike and bail out at the run transition. Literally up until the day before the race that is what I was thinking, so uncertain if I could run at all and knowing I really did not want to walk 13.1 miles. But with the help of my friends/teammates we all made it!”

Angelia acknowledged that her running days are behind her such that she did walk a lot to complete the event, but she hopes she can resume running in small doses from time to time. The exciting aspect for Angelia was that she had a great bike split and is really looking forward to focusing solely on the bike in B.I.T. training this winter. Way to find the resolve, Angelia!

Deb DuBois is also making strides in her cycling. On Saturday the 20th Deb competed in the Eagle Creek Duathlon, running 2 miles, cycling 10 miles, and then finishing with a 5K run. Deb finished 2nd overall in the female division and placed 1st in her age group. Deb said the Winter Training helped and that the Monday night rides have given her both a fitness boost and a confidence boost, allowing her to significantly improve her average speed on the bike leg compared to years past. Nice job, Deb!

State Road Race

A handful of B.I.T. athletes competed in the State Road Race on Saturday, including Mark Dewart, Hans Ibold, Jim Creamer, Chris Richter (Owner of Motion Cycles in Fishers) and myself. Mark raced in the Category 4/5 field, which had 87 starters. Jim and I competed in the 45+ group, which was combined with 55+ and the 35+ that included Chris. Hans raced in the Category 3 event, a 68 mile race. Mark filed the following report:

“There were 87 riders in the Cat 4/5 State Road Race. We did 4 laps of the 11.4 mile loop (45.6 miles). I rode my trainer regularly over the winter and in the month preceding the race I got in 1000 miles. However, in between those periods, there was quite a bit of time where I wasn’t riding regularly. Due to the uneven nature of my preparation, I was hoping to just be able to hang with these guys and get a field finish. (It should be noted Mark is in his mid 50s. Many of the 4/5s are young dudes).

The race was fast right from the start. There were surges, you would have to jump out of the corners to close gaps, but the whole race would have been very familiar to many of you. It felt like being in a large Tuesday-Thursday B group in the “Hot Zone” north of 32, but for 2 hours instead of 40 minutes.

Everything went well until we were 5 miles from the finish line and going up the hill on the course for the final time. Several riders fell in front of me and to miss them I had to go off the road to the right. I didn’t fall. By the time I got safely back on the pavement a gap had opened that I couldn’t close. I ended up finishing 60th in a race where the lead group averaged 24.8 mph.

Overall, I was happy to find that I was comfortable in the race and came up short on luck rather than physiology. Next year I will hope for better luck but bring more fitness so that if I ride the 4/5 race, the crashes are happening behind me.”

As Mark noted, the course was an 11.4 mile loop that featured one slight hill at the 6 mile mark, two slight rollers at mile 6.75 and mile 8.2, and a final grade of a gradual 1-2% incline over the final two miles. In the Masters race the pace was fairly tame for the first of 5 laps (57 miles). On lap 2, Court Maple, winner of last week’s Indy Crit., attacked hard. Situated right on his wheel, I went with Court.

Court’s effort opened a nice gap. Upon flicking his arm, I came through for my rotation. A 3rd rider had joined us and when I flicked my arm no one came through. I waited…… and waited…., and waited…., and then Court blew by. Stuck in no man’s land I made the incorrect decision to bridge back up to Court. By the time I got there (with unwilling-to-work-passenger still glued to my wheel), the pack was upon us with fresh legs to counter. Court being on phenomenal form this year was able to reload and go with the counter that included 4 other riders. I was on no such form.

Rainy Lap 4

Rainy Lap 4

A few of us in the main bunch were willing to work at chasing the break. Jim Creamer, Chris Richter, John Schmitz and I took hard digs to keep the pace high enough for one last chance to bridge the gap. At the mile 6 hill Schmitz attacked on one side and I attacked on the other. Richter, Creamer and Joe Fox made the selection and we began a hard chase. Frustratingly close at just 5 seconds behind the break, our chase ran out of steam with the main pack having clawed its way back to us.

No one in the large group made the effort to jump the gap, our pace slowed significantly, and the race was over. Those 5 remained away, claiming the spoils. Bryan Boggs eventually won the race with Court taking 2nd, but first in his age group of 35+.

Hans in the 3s

Hans in the 3s

The race for crumbs was animated by Schmitz and I, trading attacks and often bridging to one another, only to have the pack swallow us up after each attempt. Also in the mix were Chris Richter, Darrin Lay and Joe Fox. Schmitz and Creamer made a last gasp jailbreak attempt on the final straight away, but the sit-in police nabbed them about 1 mile shy of the finish. Richter had a nice sprint to finish 2nd in the 35+ Category.  Well done, Chris. Kudos to Schmitz for maintaining the race as a hard training ride rather than a sun dial stroll; which as Hans described it, was exactly what the Cat. 3 racers did. Apparently, the 3s held social time, chatting and joking over 67 miles and then sprinted for home in the final mile.

Several races loom on the horizon, including the Winfield Criterium Weekend, located just outside Chicago, the Bloomington Gran Prix, and the New Albany Criterium. This coming Saturday also features the Senior Games Cycling Competition in Cleveland. To all competing this weekend, ride well and stay healthy.

July 13

15 Jul

Brooks Integrative Training athletes were everywhere over the past weekend; Adam Perler raced on the velodrome Friday night followed by a slew of riders active on Saturday and Sunday. The Annual Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) left Terre Haute at 6 a.m. Saturday, traversing the central part of the state to Richmond. The gradual uphill grind was made more relentless with a 10 mph head wind. Josh Ginsburg led the B.I.T. athletes with a fine time of 7:46. Josh made it to mile 130 unscathed in the lead group. However, he burned a match or 3 at mile 115 when he took a stab at getting away, but the wind was too much to overcome.

Although Josh missed his mile 130 food and fluid sag support he did not panic and was awarded for his patience when a fellow SAG supporter provided him with a bottle of fluid and a draft back into the main bunch. Once back in the main group, surges came and went. At about 153, the pack made another surge up what was essentially the last incline. With a mixed tempo, they punched the final portion at 21 mph and Josh paid for that mile 115 Match Burning episode by being popped from the lead group. Josh acknowledges it was a lesson learned, having been sent to the spank bank, and one he will remedy next year. Defiant to the end, Josh made sure to sprint home at the front of the 2nd group.

It should be noted Josh travels all over the place and rarely has a full week at home to train. Josh mixes running and riding with his hectic travel to maintain enough fitness to complete something as arduous as the RAIN. Well done, Josh! Phelgar Washington and Ken Green also rode the RAIN, completing the ride in 9:20. I have no summary from either of them, but I can guess that Kenny, known affectionately as Second Half Green, likely came alive and took monster pulls from Greenfield to Richmond, and probably was the leadout man for Sprinting Machine Washington.

Andy Wagoner volunteered his time for the Indy Crit serving as a ride leader for the 38 mile CIBA ride before the racing began Saturday morning. Others volunteering for the Indy Crit included Robin and Anthony Barr, Ashley Koss and Preston Conrad, all serving as course marshalls during the day’s early events. After a hot day in the sun on Saturday, Preston went up to Kokomo for the Colavita Time Trial Sunday Morning. Preston completed the 12.21 mile course in 29:11 for an average speed of over 25 mph and finished 4th in the 60+ age group. Nice work, Preston!

Indy Crit

In its fourth year, Indy Crit is one of two premier downtown races. This year featured live music, BMX free style performances, strider bike racing, yoga instruction, and plenty of vendors, cycling and non-cycling alike, including the all important Beer Garden by Sun King Brewery. In addition to the usual category races, the event also featured celebrity races, kids races, and a tandem race. Yngvar and his wife, Kris, placed 3rd in the Tandem race.

My participation included competing in the Masters 40+ race, along with at least 68 other old men in lycra. I was joined by my teammate and friend, Hans Ibold of Bloomington. Hans has trained with me for two winters now and although he does not race much, he is quite strong. Also among the competitors was Jim Creamer, friend of B.I.T.

Creamer and I

Creamer and I

As is my wont, I think about races in the days leading up to the event. Of the 69 pre-registered racers I made a list of 10 or so guys I thought had a chance to win, with a few riders holding a greater percentage to win than others on my list. Curtis Tolson and Ben Weaver have each won a number of races this year and both featured on my top line. My outsider to crack the top line was Court Maple of MOB Squad. As a young man Court joined a US amateur team and raced in Belgium one summer, placing high enough in several races to provoke at least one pro team to offer him a contract. Court chose to come home, start his career and family and never looked back. His experience however, speaks volumes to his abilities. I saw Court dominate the Ft. Wayne race in May, prompting me to place him on my top line.

Creamer challenging on the outside

Creamer challenging on the outside

The course features 8 turns, although none of them tight enough to cause selection as is the case on more technical criterium courses such as Bloomington Grand Prix. As such, speeds were high from the get go. Rider after rider took flyers off the front. As early as lap 3 I followed a rider’s move and then continued for perhaps half a lap at warped speed at which point I looked under my arm to see a long line of frothing-at-the-mouth riders ready to attack so I wisely eased off the gas.

Unfortunately, the wide course lends itself to swells and reshuffles  when the pace slightly slows and I found myself too far back in the pack. A lap or two after my unwise excursion a group of 10 (most of whom were on my list) or so formed off the front and were rapidly pulling away. Finding room on the outside of turn 3 I moved up into position and by turn 4 I was full gas bridging to the fleeing group. This was the hardest part of the race for me. After half a lap I latched onto the group. But the peloton wasn’t quite finished yet and managed to claw its way back into contention another lap or two later.

On the chase

On the chase

Court Maple and Bryan Boggs launched attacks through the middle portion of the race while Weaver, Tolson and others kept a vigilant eye on the proceedings, making sure nothing escaped without them. And then at the 30 minute mark the pack slowed. Fatigue set in as riders reached for bottles and others slumped over handlebars in a collective sigh of relief.

In that moment of respite, Court Maple attacked and no one responded. Court quickly grabbed a 20 second advantage which he maintained for the final 15 minutes of the race. Digging deep into his vast reservoir (dare I say suitcase?) of talent and experience, Maple fought through the initial leg burn into the zone, where the big gears churned almost effortlessly with each passing lap.

Riders on my second tier of contenders came to the fore, carrying the action over the final 15 minutes, but none truly working together to form a concerted chase effort. With 4 laps to go I found myself in 4th wheel, a safe spot so late in the race. With three laps to go Hans came forward and took a flyer with two other riders, putting the onus on others to chase, keeping the speed high through two laps to go. At 1.5 laps to go there was a crash back in the pack. You never want to hear a crash, but when you do, it gives you a jolt of fear-drenched adrenaline and those up front raise the speed several notches.

Early in the race

Early in the race

Among those near the front at the start of the final lap were Tolson and Weaver. Sweeping through turns at over 30 mph, 8 or 10 of us seperated from the group as we headed into the final stretch of the course. Weaver kicked early with Tolson in tow and those two closed to the line in that order, taking 2nd and 3rd behind Maple’s phenomenal solo effort.

I crossed the line in 7th, happy to place in the top 10 and glad I was not caught up in any crashes. Hans made a fantastic recovery after his late flyer by recovering to finish in 13th place. Jim Creamer finished in the top 20 as well. Jim informed me after the race that we averaged 26.8 mph. I initially doubted him, but he shared his data and it was spot on. My doubts were further alleviated on Sunday when my quads verified the effort.

Post race was enjoyed in the company of Preston, Robin and Anthony, Ashley, Brad Lawson, Susan Mowery, Mike Langon and Chris Richter. Special thanks to Scott Brooks for his excellent photography. You can see more of Scott’s art at http://www.scottbrooksphotografix.smugmug.com

Although the next event scheduled was the Great Egyptian Omnium, circumstances mandate that I stay home, so it’s on to the State RR in Fishers this weekend, followed by more criterium racing the following weekend. If I don’t see you at the races, remember we have Monday Night Recovery Rides. These are SOCIAL and not hammerfests. The ONLY racing is to be first to the cooler of beer after the ride.

B.I.T. Athletes Continue to Inspire

3 Jul

24hrsbooty2B.I.T. riders continue to inspire; with their dedication, their service, and their character. Fred Evans, Tim Wozniak and Adam Perler rode/supported the 24 Hours of Booty fund raiser for IU Simon Cancer Center on Friday June 29. Fred and Tim rode with the Spokes of Hope team (Cindi & Ken Hart). The ride started a little after the posted 7 pm time on Friday evening with the threat of storms in the air.

Held on the campus of Butler University, Mayor Ballard welcomed riders and supporters, joining the ride early on. An Indianapolis Police Department car lead the first lap, followed by an Indy Race Car on lap 2. Survivors carried the lead on lap three, making for nice pageantry.

The course went through a part of the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood with many of the streets blocked off on the 3 mile, slightly hilly course. Fred felt nostalgic, riding through his neighborhood. Lawn parties of cheering neighbors encouraged and inspired the riders.

The evening started out well with warm, but humid weather until about 8:30 pm when gusting winds and a following thunderstorm rolled through the Butler campus. Riders restarted about 10:30 pm with Tim W. continuing until about 2:30 am, at which point he went home for a four hour nap. Tim said grinding through the loop in the wee hours of the morning was a chore, but following Coach Bob’s advice about changing cadences and using the “big gears” for the climbs provided some diversion, but also helped keep the impending fatigue at bay.

Tim said, “It was a fun 24 hours despite four lengthy thunderstorm delays (one on Friday night and three throughout the day on Saturday). The Hart’s “upped the fun” by having different ride themes throughout the event, providing costumes to complete the themes: pirates, Hawaiian and Mardi gras.

By 7:30 a.m. Tim was back at it for the camp-wide breakfast and having fun with the themed rides on the 3 mile circuit – The Hope for Spokes apparel brought cheers from the spectators around the course.

The Harts also held a midnight vigil at the start/finish line to honor those who’ve succumbed to cancer in the past year – including Joey Keller (of Team Joey – kit by Adam Perler who dropped by after his night of racing at the velodrome). Tim rode with a goal of completing 74 laps; 65 for his brother-in-law who died from cancer in early June at age 65 and 9 laps for Joey Keller). Rain prevented Tim from reaching his goal, but he got close – 70 laps for a total of 245 miles and satisfaction of supporting a good cause, riding with great folks and raising monies for a renowned local institution that helps those dealing with cancer. 24hrsbooty

Fred carried on into Sunday, joining and sponsoring the Bike It 4 Prostate Cancer ride. Fred was joined by friend of B.I.T., Chris Richter of Motion Cycles. Motion sponsored the event and Chris led the 50-mile group.

As mentioned above, Adam participated in round II of his track racing adventure. Seeded 5th heading into the round, Adam was slated to race the #8 seed; higher seeds typically defeat the lower seeds. Unfortunately for Adam, because the original # 8 could not participate, track personnel pulled from a pool of wait listed riders and the rider inserted as Adam’s opponent is a former Masters National Champion. This is akin to seeding Duke or North Carolina as a #16 in the NCAA Tournament.

Adam exemplified true B.I.T. character when his opponent blew out his rear tire before their scheduled race. Adam suggested to his opponent that perhaps the opponent could borrow a wheel from Ken Hart. Adam could have remained silent and won by default – but we all know Adam is above that.

With years of track racing experience and one of the most explosive jumps in Indy, Adam’s opponent won handily. Nonetheless, Adam garnered praise and exposure for Team Joey via his chivalry and character. Well done, Adam!

TWO More Wins …And Then The Bottom Fell Out

16 Jun

debhelewinnersDeb DuBois and her daughter, Helen, competed in the duathlon portion of the Eagle Creek Triathlon on Saturday. Both came away victorious with Helen winning first place overall in the female division. Deb took top honors in her age group. Great job Deb and Helen!

Mike Garrison recently competed in the Odyssey Wild Wonderful 24 Hour Adventure Race near the New River Gorge area of West Virginia. Mike and his teammate completed 15 miles of whitewater paddling, 70 miles of mountain biking, and 20 miles of trekking/running in 23.5 hours. (My hands got tired just from typing that!) Complicating matters, Mike’s teammate suffered two flats inside the final 4 miles. The duo overcame the flats however, as his teammate changed into running shoes and hoofed the final miles pushing her mountain bike. Great job to Mike and his teammate!

Remember that ride at King’s Island where the you spin around faster and faster until the floor drops out and you are stuck to the wall? The bottom has definitely fallen out here in the past two weeks. June has never been a particularly good month for me. Like clockwork, every year just after Memorial Day I come down with a mysterious fatigue. I dunno… My best guess is that something I am allergic to blooms and I am adversely affected. Some years, the fatigue has lasted for weeks, well into July.

Knowing that I was in the throes of one of those fatigue deals I raced anyway at the Carmel grand prix on June 1. Had I been coaching any of you and you’d said that you woke feeling shaky and jittery, I’d have strongly encouraged you not to race. (Do as I say, not as I do). Despite the lethargy I managed to remain in the mix most of the race. That is probably due more to the small field than any will power I may have mustered. Local races continue to draw very small numbers to Masters races. Todd Hancock, a decorated and well traveled former pro racer, took the victory.

One of the races I targeted for this year was the O’Fallon Grand Prix in O’Fallon, IL. The event includes a 13.1 mile TT on Friday night, a 54 mile RR on Saturday and an age appropriate crit. on Sunday. This event is well organized and features low traffic, rolling courses suitable for crowning all around champions. Drawing riders from Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, the fields are very competitive.

I was still feeling the heavy fatigue early in the week and had conceded that I would not race this weekend…, until Tuesday night when I mustered the energy to do the Nebo Training ride. For better or worse (most definitely worse), I had a good ride that night and came away with a false sense of well being for the weekend, thus going ahead and registering for the stage race.

I had planned to simply ride my road bike for the TT as I don’t put enough emphasis on those, anyway. However, friend Brian Murphy suggested I borrow his TT bike for the two stage races I’ve targeted this season. Great in theory, not so good in the details. Brian is taller than me and as such, his bike is too big. I cannot reach the front end without compromising my saddle position. Needless to say, time trials on this thing so far have been labored and compromised.

Furthermore, life even gave me the sign of signs to leave the bike home for this weekend when the rear deraillure shifter broke loose Thursday night on the rough roads in Eagle Creek Park. I jerry rigged the shifter with electrical tape and hoped I’d make it through the TT on Friday. During warm ups the shifter came loose, but not so bad that I could not shift. Naturally, during the actual TT, the shifter came unhinged, preventing further shifting, and I was stuck in the 14 cog in back. Not the best place to be for a light gear spinner on a rolling course with a couple of mild Fishback climbs to boot.

I finished a dismal 12th of 14 in the TT with a time of 33:06. Let me be clear; I had no illusion of winning a TT. I had a modest goal of 31:00. The winner was 29:16 and the 2nd place was 30:09. A handful of others came in under 31:00. I often remind you guys to trust those little signs life gives us. Here again, is another example of paying attention. I did not heed my own advice and I offered up the perfect example of what NOT to do.

The RR was the Illinois State RR championship so a decent sized group showed up for the 45+ field. Summer like heat finally arrived as well. The friendly face of Mark Sills, Scarlet Fire, greeted me at the start line. Mark asked me how I was feeling and I bluffed, saying I felt ok when I really was not. But I had registered and I was here, so I gave what I had to the race. Clearly, it was not enough.

David Stone of Scarlet Fire attacked right at the start of the race, taking two others with him. With the three up the road I figured somebody or some team would take up the chase. Instead, everyone sat there, due in part to the heat and also due to the 4 other Scarlet Fire team members hoping someone would launch them to an attack. Guess who that fool was – or tried to be? Still early in the race I took a hard dig and brought the three to well within reasonable striking distance and then I let up, having set it up for someone to close it down. Nope. The three opened an even larger gap from there.

Meanwhile, being a stubborn cuss, rather than sitting in, I took pulls in hopes of encouraging others to form a pace line that might begin a chase. And everywhere I went, there was Sills right on my wheel. He was doing exactly what a good teammate should do and I commend him for his hard efforts. He was even gracious in saying had there not been one of his teammates up the road, he’d have willingly worked with me to try and escape the vice-like grip of the peloton. But in essence, I wasted what little energy I had all in the first 22 mile loop. On lap two another Scarlet Fire rider attacked 3 times in a row, putting a sting into the legs of the peloton. About a third of the way through lap two I paid for my lap 1 lack of discretion when I felt the bottom fall out. The rotor was spinning, I was exhausted, legs began cramping, and I had to let off the gas, letting the pack go.

Apparently, there was a reshuffling of the front group as two riders who’d remained in the pack, Rob Landes and Gene Tolli, finished 1st and 2nd, respectively. Stone hung on for a hard earned 3rd.

I woke up Sunday morning to rain and the familiar shakiness that attends this fatigue. Rather than dig myself into a deeper hole, I skipped the crit. and headed for home. It is humbling to make so many mistakes by going against the very grain I so often preach to all of you; I often remind all of you guys to take recovery seriously and don’t force yourself into action when your body is telling you not to. That advice comes from a deep, deep well of experience and once again, I am just as fallible as anyone.  In time, the rotor will slow and the floor will rise; other races still loom on the horizon.