Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend rides

Used to getting chased by dogs, Cows were new.
What a strange week? Last Monday I went out on a ride and got stuck in the mini blizzard, Friday I'm in knickers and a long sleeve jersey and felt like I was over dressed.  I got out early Friday afternoon and did a 30 mile gravel ride. The weather was awesome and the gravel was even better. It's not uncomon to get chased by dogs on the rural gravel roads, but getting chased by a cow was a new one. Thought it would make a good pictures but when it started stomping it's foot, I decided to put the phone down and go. In the tree behind the mad cow there was a Bald Eagle, but I wasn't able to get the phone out in time.

On Saturday Ross and I left early in the morning and did a similar route. Other than ragnarok this was my first ride with an another person. Not that it meant we chit chatted the entire ride, like always we took turns trying to rip each others legs off. Felt good early but towards the end legs were feeling pretty empty, all in all it was fun ride and we were able to get back on time.

Today the plan was to get out for a quick gravel ride, instead I did hill repeats at Victoria heights on Skittles. I have about three weeks until Almanzo, so need to hit it pretty hard.

We are officially starting our shop rides this week, so Tuesday at 6pm we'll have our first sprint night.

Enjoy the ride

Blue skies and fresh gravel


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ragnarok 2013

On Saturday I completed the Ragnarok 105, Ragnarok is a hilly 107 mile Gravel road race in Red Wing. This was the 4th Gravel century race I've done and by far the hardest. Each time I do one of these I want to write some epic report that would make George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, Tolkien or Homer proud, sadly once I write anything it's less than epic and more of a turn by turn recap.
In December I sent my postcard in and was one of the lucky 100 that were picked randomly to race in April. Once I got my confirmation I sat down and came up with this awesome training plan that was going to put me into mid season form before most people here are even on their bikes. During my planning, I forgot to  plan out that Claudia was due with baby #2 in early January. In my mind Julieta was going to be born during a planned rest week and after that week I'd be able to go back to training. Fortunately  I'm not that selfish and enjoy parenting. My rest week turned into a rest month or two, I went for one ride in January, rode the trainer a handful of times in February, some more trainer and one more ride in March, and 3 rides in April before the race. All in all my awesome training plan went out the window and going into race day I had a whopping 120 miles on the road. So my goal went from competing in the race to completing the race.

Pretty easy to spot Skittles
The race started at 7:30 am and like always I started a little too hard, but the organizers were nice enough to put a bunch of climbs early that forced me to settle into a easier pace. A couple of the climbs took place on Minimum maintenance roads that were covered in so much snow that I was forced off the bike and had to walk up them. It sucked having to get off the bike and walk but in the end it allowed me to catch my breath and was a good opportunity to drink and eat. Going into the first checkpoint I was happy with the way I felt and after checking in and getting my next cue sheets even happier to see Claudia with a Day breaker and shot of Espresso from Caribou.

Dirty Skittles
The next leg of the race started out nice, but after two leg zapping climbs and a 10 mile section of more climbing and thicker mud, I was starting to feel tired and speed was dropping. Too make things worse the wind was picking up, so if I wasn't climbing I was eating a lot of wind. Pulling into checkpoint 2 at mile 81 I was tired wet and cold, but I couldn't quit with 20 some miles left too go. I could tell Claudia was starting to get worried but she knew I wasn't going to give up. I added another top layer, changed my socks, tried to eat some food, but stomach wasn't really wanting to work. Since I couldn't eat I drank a Coke and a Powerade and got back on the bike.

Heath can keep his Damn Hill
My legs were not too happy with me, but I kept telling them to Shut up and keep pedaling. Speed at this point was mostly in the single digits and I knew I still had some climbing to do. A few miles after the check point I turned onto another Minimum Maintenance road that was called "Heath's Hill". I don't know who Heath is but I don't like him or his hill. Like the early MMR's "Heath's Hill" was covered in deep slushy snow and I was forced off my bike. The hill felt like it went on for eternity and that I was never going to make it to the top. Forty Minutes later, I summited Heath's Hill and was able to get back on the bike. I slowly watched the miles tick away on the Garmin and after climbing the last two agonizing climbs, I put it in the big ring and acted fast on the descent to the finish line. The parking lot was almost empty but the organizers and Claudia were still there and it felt like I won the race.

In the end 68 started the race 48 finished, I finished the race in 11 hours 5 minutes I was the 38th. Ragnarok was an awesome event and I'm glad I did it. I might not have been the fastest but I finished the hardest race I've ever done, I didn't give up, I got some great riding in, and even though I suffered like no other I had a blast.