Sunday, June 26, 2011

Iron Donkey at the Rundle's Revenge

1st time event Rundle's Revenge had an Iron Donkey category which had double the mountain bike distance of the trail run which was enticing to enter.

My last 2 weeks were spent healing my ribs from the OrganGrinder. So training and racing were on hold.

By Thursday, my ribcage was finally moving freely with awesome bodycare from Derek and Brad at River Valley Health..

Friday morning, I had decided best to rest after the ribs were sore from a Thurs night ERTC bike workout... though I was gloomy about the decision. Mid-day, getting text messages from Tim of "you racing?", "maybe"... that I went in full pack up mode and left for Canmore by 7 pm.

SATURDAY 100-km Kick-Ass Mountain Bike

Early Sat morning I arrived to race registration to see a very impressive start/finish area setup. I wanted to mtnbike 100-km for training though the 50-km trail run was daunting with minimal trail running, and I wasn't sure how my ribs were going to fair after biking. If it came to the point to grin and bare pain I knew I would so I wanted to prevent that scenario.

Nicki Rehn was the only woman entered in the Iron Donkey category of 100k mtnbike and 50k run. Nicki is an amazing ultra-runner with a whole bunch of adventures behind her... many wins of the City Chase events, the 336-km Tor des Geants 24,000m elevation gain "running" race in Italy, and a wicked self-supported run across Australia. Although our strengths were different, Nicki would be tough competition and I was sure her running strength would prevail.

1/2 hour before the start, I entered the Iron Donkey! Just as stubborn as one!.

On paper, the course looked non-technical for a mountain biker and good training mileage.

12.5 km and 400m elevation gain per lap... after getting bumped and bucked on the upper trails, lap after lap, I really wished I had a full suspension bike.

The course was fast and flowy, everything rideable, no death defying technical sections (like in the OrganGrinder).

Even though Margie Smith was in the 50-km bike event only, it was fun and challenging to keep pace with her each loop. I was a smidgeon stronger on the climbs and had to work to keep up on the descent. After blazing DOWN Georgetown trail, I hauled like a roadie on the climb all the way back. Thanks to Margie's daughter Sage and Sage's cousin Carter for helping me with support each loop, they were quick to lube my chain while I grabbed my food.

Into my 3rd lap, I was surprised to pass Nicki. Doing the math, I could use the much needed leadtime for my trail run. End of lap 4, my legs were starting to cramp and I wasn't storming the ascent as strongly. My lap 5 time showed my energy drop where I had to walk to let the leg cramps ease off. Next few laps, I stopped to eat at the 1/2 way feedzone and finish area... oranges, watermelon and gobbled down fresh cutup mango and pineapple. I had prepped little jars of Vega and my special concoctions (MSM, whole food Vit C, elk antler dust, 14-mix mushroom) though I was craving the sweet stuff! Energy was coming back - I felt stronger on my last laps, and the cramping went away. All comes back to food!

Lap 1-49 min, 51, 51, 51, Lap 5-62 min, 64, 57, Lap 8 - 59 min.

Nicki decided to end the bike at 50-km as she realized it'd be a hard effort to make the cut-off time, and her focus was on the 50-km trail run. I now had 8-hours to complete the 50-km trail run on Sunday. My goal was to run at a pace to conserve energy on my cycling legs. I had a 3-day mountain bike stage race starting the following Friday meaning 4-days of recovery.

Gabor Csonka won the men's 100-k event on his pink singlespeed with pretty much even split times, pretty amazing! And Pepper's mom, Judy, did awesome as well!!

SUNDAY - 50-km Mountain Mule Trail Run

Rain overnight had the trails nicely softened for the run. My ribcage was surprisingly fine. I purposely overdressed as my goal was to start super-easy, not faster than 1:30 and not slower than 2 hours. It was hard to tell. It was fun to get to start at the back and stay there.

My first lap was 1:39 for the first 12.5 km so I was pleased to be right in the range. The plan was to hold that "easy" pace for lap 2, then "really run" the last two laps!

Well, after completing 2 laps I wish it was 3 and I had only 1 more to go. The 4th loop was going to be tough. Despite running as relaxed as possible, my legs were not used to full body weight for running and it was inevitable for the muscles to fatigue. I was truly in adventure race survival-shuffle... just keep moving... I'll make it! And I did! in the same time as biking 100-km!!

Crazy Larry with Trailtrash runners

Met cool people running in the trails, though it was mostly a lonely day in the beautiful wooded trails with the most scenic mountain views.

I did have a unique thing happen both days while in the upper loop trails... a little bird swooped down in front of me at least 5 loops on the bike and 2 loops on the run. Same spot each time. It almost seemed like a game. Had to dodge one squirrel and only saw one hallucinatory deer. No bears, fortunately.

Thanks to Transrockies organizer Aaron for putting on another well organized event. It is always heartwarming to see Drew & Jo-anne... with Drew's familar voice announcing at the races and his calling out of my "Large Marge" team name from the adventure race days. I look forward to going on a helicopter ride courtesy of Kananaskis Mountain Helicopters Ltd.

just as lonely as in the trail running race

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Race Across America

Keep posted on Leah Goldstein's progress at 2011 RAAM going on right now! She's 8 1/2 days in and only 1000 km away from the finish!! Leah is holding an 11.45 mph average right now. The women's record average speed is 13.23 back in 1995 by Seana Hogan. Velonews Jun 19th

2011 RAAM route with 2,990 miles from coast to coast (4810 km)

Team Physical Culture at the 1999 Hewlett Packard Women's Challenge 12-day Stage Race in Boise, Idaho.... Leah Goldstein, Gina Grain, Karen Timewell, Stacey Peters, Marg Fedyna

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Organ Grinder Completed!

My goal was to finish the Organ Grinder after last year's minor spill.
And I did!! Though not without a small casualty.

I need to be clear in my vision than just "keeping the rubber side down"... as I did... though heard the ever so soft c-r-a-c-k on one of the steep descents as the bike rebounded abruptly with the saddle jabbing my ribcage! Ouch!

Still had 1 1/2 laps to go and I was adamant to finish. Fortunately for strong abs, I braced my core on any rough sections. Inspiration thinking of Nicki Rehn who x-c skied the last 20-km of the Birkie this year after hurting her ribs in a spill.

The weather started out nice with the sunshine drying out the previous day's carnage of muddy trails. Two laps in had drizzling rain for 30 minutes. Then the sun came out again while we navigated our way thru the refreshed muddy trails. Made for a super epic challenging day... it would have been too easy if it was dry!
photo Jason Redfern

Loop was 11-km with 1060' elevation gain. I managed to complete 6 loops in 5+ hours. Fastest loop was 45 min, slowest was 55 min (with a cracked rib!).

My strength was the climbing sections. My age showed through on the technical descents as I balked more than ever. I have barely been on the mtnbike for a year now. I know with more practice I'll get back in the saddle on these sections. Without enough practice it is un-nerving to have high-energy guys behind me on a technical descent. I kept letting them go ahead and then lost my momentum to roll smoothly.

All in all, an awesome race course and one of my favourite races. I have lots to learn to ride on this course. I got to watch the smooth technical riding of Kate Aardal (1st), Margie Smith (2nd), and Shantel Koenig (1st mixed) as they went by. It was also a good group of guys I saw each lap as they descended faster and I ascended past them!
training buddy Tim - awesome mud & good hair
no one questioned my hand placement at the end of the race

shortest person on the lowest podium - marg kate margie

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Riding Bamboo

The new Bamboo bike in the household!

Such a sweet looking frame, and more-so in person. The bamboo is held together at the lugs with carbon fibre taping. What makes it so cool looking is where the bamboo nodules jut out a little then taper back in very smoothly. Apparently, bamboo is as strong as steel!

ERTC group riders oogling the Bamboo bike

I acquired a cool new Bamboo bike in my household through my recent couchsurfer turned roomie for a few weeks for her summer internship.

I showed up on the Saturday morning ERTC group ride on the cool Bamboo bike and the comments were hilarious. Fortunately, Caylie was with me and we swapped bikes before we left for the ride. The bamboo bike is a sweet singlespeed setup with coaster brakes.

Caylie's boyfriend Justin (<-- link to great article) is one of the originators of forming Bamboo Bike Studio. Check out this cool racing bike photo.