Upcoming Awesomeness

Posted on 7:24 AM by Schottler

Dan Miller and I talked each other into racing the dirt crit in STL yesterday. I've never done one but heard good things. 50 people on the starting line, literally all in one big starting line. Big sprint, u-turn, sprint, single track. I had a bad start and was more than 10 people back in to the single track, but quickly moved up to the top 5. It eventually dropped down to Eric Pirtle, Dan Miller, Chris Ploch, and myself. It was FAST. No elevation gain, no technical sections, just pure speed. So fast that drafting had a huge effect. It was basically just a pain train flying through the woods. I took a huge dig on the 3rd or 4th lap and looked back to see everyone still there... shit this will be tough. The course made it difficult to break away, so it really all came down to who was in front before the creek crossing. I wasn't in the front. Dan got in the front, I followed his wheel but was pushed off course when trying to get around Pirtle who was getting around a lapped rider. So much for that. All 4 of us came in together and I was 4th in line, bummer. I was well within my comfort zone the whole race, I should have been more aggressive. I still seem to be lacking high end power, my legs are snapless. Fortunately the Leadville 100 will really only require grinding all day, which I can still do. Totally awesome race though! Very good atmosphere and well put on series, I wish I could make it to the next ones.

Next Thursday I am driving out to Colorado for a 17 night trip to race, ride, relax, camp, and acclimate for the Leadville 100. I'll be racing Crankworx pro xc on the 30th in Winter Park, which should be rather painful. I cannot wait. I got a new old man 3.5" thick car camping thermorest, MSR camp stove, sleeping bag, coffee press, and a couple of books to entertain myself with while solo camping. Cameron Chambers has generously offered a bed to sleep in for part of the trip, a huge thank you! This trip will be amazing, I might just not come back.

Unfortunately, I will still have to do some school work, so I will be coffee shop surfing for some wifi to remote desktop in.

Finally got the monkey off my back

Posted on 7:47 AM by Schottler

The Firecracker 50 on the 4th made me realize my weakness now is short term power and anaerobic ability. I did a 5 minute power test last week to confirm this, it sucked. Well actually I couldn't focus or get my heart rate over 185. I have trouble doing 'tests.' I just find myself staring at the power numbers and counting down the time until I am done, not focusing on going as hard as I can. I get stressed out over it, I am always worried about low numbers, which will usually lead to a lower number. Maybe it's just riding on the road, I never really get any adrenaline moving anymore on road rides. In MTB races and CX I can just destroy myself and be fired up with a smile on my face the whole time. This all kind of makes me think I should sell my powertap and powertap trainer and replace them with a SRM for my mtb. What's the point of owning one if you can't focus enough to take advantage of it? Even when I ride my mountain bike on gravel roads and the trail I feel much more comfortable and have the ability to ride harder and faster. It makes a lot more sense to use it for intervals and tracking TSS for training rides and races.

Anyway, I did my first short XC race since my I broke my wrist. 5 4.5 mile laps at Brommelsiek in STL. It was hot, around 100 degree's in the grass. But I don't mind the heat, I've discovered I ride very well in hot temperatures.

17 starters in the Cat 1 field and I found myself 4th wheel in the single track, not knowing what to expect. Ploch, Sam Moore, John Matthews, and myself. About 1/2 way in the first lap a gap opened in front of Sam and I went by after Ploch. I got on Plochs wheel for the rest of the lap and the first half of the 2nd lap. Then I took a hard dig in the grass fields to put in some time, which seemed to have work. On the 3rd lap I slowed it down a bit to try and recover, which allowed Ploch to nearly get back on my wheel, so I hit the gas again. I basically just stayed full gas the rest of the race. I ended up winning in under 1:39, almost 2 minutes up on 2nd. Lap times were all very consistent, my last lap was almost my fastest. I could have done at least 2 more laps at that effort. Average heart rate was pretty insane at 186 for the whole race. It's awesome how much faster you can go without any low back pain, the only limiters are legs and lungs. Here's the Garmin data. You can see where I was resting at 20-30 minutes and where I attacked at 30 and hit 195.


The course was one of my favorites. Super smooth, way fast, and flowy, but it could use some longer climbs.


Posted on 7:17 AM by Schottler

My car is spending another week getting fixed, so I headed down to STL with Best and Beans to race marathon. I've only raced here once before and I never checked the course map, well, because I never do. Apparently it was quite different than last year.

The race started up a giant climb called 'Lone Wolf,' I was on the front at the start and began riding away. At the top of the climb I had a pretty big lead and began the quick turny descent back to the bottom. Here it was flat double track that you can easily motor through at full gas, which is what I did. A little bit down the trail there was an arrow indicating which direction the race goes, which I thought was pointing straight, which I guess could be interpreted either way, maybe I was already cross-eyed. Anyway, there was no tape up keeping me from going left and lots of tape on the right, so I went left. I stayed on the gas, went up some gravel switchbacks, had a feeling I wasn't on course anymore. So, I stopped for a minute or two and waited. I heard some voices in the woods and figured the racers were coming so I took off again. A ways down the trail there was a T with no markers... shit. Not on course, turn around, full gas.

After a long ride back to the badly marked corner I was on course. I did however have to climb over the tape to get back on the race course... someone must have seen me going flying through and fixed it. I spent at least 13 minutes going the wrong way and I was stuck behind all of the beginner and marathon classes.

All I had in my head was to stay calm, don't crash, ride smooth, pedal hard, and I had 2.5 hours to catch the leaders. First lap ended up being over 40 minutes, way behind the leaders. I was getting time gaps throughout the race going from 13 to 8 to 5 to 2 minutes. The following laps were consistent 28 minutes. I thought I was going to make it through lap 6 under the 3 hour cutoff so I could head out for a 7th lap. Nope. I came in at 3:00:20, no 7th lap. Apparently the leaders came through 2-3 minutes before the cutoff. I was ready for another lap and I have no doubt I would have caught them. Any Gibbs ended up taking the win with Mike Best coming in 2nd, very smooth and fast rides for them!

When it comes down to it, I think I pushed myself harder chasing them down than I would have 10 minutes off the front. So, it was better training. Still very irritating, but that's how racing goes. Here's some Garmin stuff if you care: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/97981808

Next weekend racing will depend on my stupid car. If I have a car, I am driving to KC and will probably do the Sunflower Games. If no car, I might be able to find a ride down to race Brommelsiek. I'd like to do the shorter expert race to get in some real high end intensity.

Firecracker 50

Posted on 8:15 AM by Schottler

I love racing the Firecracker 50, for a few reasons. The atmosphere is incredible, the support is HUGE, and it's an immense challenge. This year I drove out by myself and with some traffic and car problems I showed up around 6pm. Just enough time to get my race number and do a short ride.

I rode the first climb of the course to try and get my legs loosened up for the 9:30am start time, which was just 1,400 feet of consistent climbing. I felt surprisingly good.

For breakfast I got some pre-race nom nom's from an awesome cafe in Dillon.

My plan for the race was to keep an eye on my heart rate and not go in the red. This didn't really work well. It pretty much just lead to me being dropped from the entire pro field on the first climb. I couldn't decide if I should just ride with them and hurt a lot and risk not being able to recover or race my own race and pick them off as I go. I chose the latter. Unfortunately this started killing my motivation and mentally I was already getting defeated. 30 minutes in my low back was destroyed, this meant whatever power I had left from the altitude was virtually cut in half. My legs wouldn't work and my heart rate would barely get over 160. This wasn't a very good recipe for racing well. The descents in this race are super fast double track with a lot of loose rock and off camber sections, very easy to screw up. My wrist was hurting bad, my weak left forearm couldn't hold on to the bar, which all meant I couldn't descend or control my bike. Awesome. The race started to just turn in to a bike ride. I couldn't do anything fast.

The race was lengthened and rerouted due to snow which added on another 4 miles with some more single track. After coming through the first 27 mile lap, my lap time was way off from where I wanted it to be. However my low back pain started to go away, or my mind was just starting to block it out. So, I had a little more power for this lap, but I still was having trouble getting my hr above 160. I have no idea what that's about, but I still couldn't go fast. I still managed to pick off a bunch of riders who were getting popped. This ended up being right at the top of my list of disappointing races I have done. I finished in 4:38, 18th out of 30 or so pro starters. I still felt fresh at the finish, which was a new experience, but makes sense considering I couldn't push myself. I could have easily gone out for another lap. I think if I was acclimated and had some time to program myself physically and mentally for 30+ minute climbs, I could cut 20 minutes off my time.

Tuesday I headed to Boulder to check it out and ride around. I was told of a good ride by Kris Thompson. I missed a turn somewhere and just kept climbing, 5,400 to 8,400 feet straight out of town. The roads, the town, and the atmosphere of Boulder are awesome. How do I not live here? Someone please find me a job.

Leadville 100 is on August 13th. I plan to give myself 2 weeks to acclimatize and train on hour long climbs. The plan to ride to KC this weekend has been dropped, my weakness right now is my high end, not my ability to motor all day long. Castlewood race this Saturday and Brommelseik the following weekend, but still some 5+ hour tempo rides.