Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pre Stagecoach Photo Log

Come the actual race next week I hope to be running well enough that I am not inclined to stop & take many pictures. 
So here are some from today’s casual ride along some of the route. 
1st up I had to investigate critical re-supply options along the route....

In no particular order--From Navel Midway display, along the bay, up and over to Point Loma and out to La Jolla, Torrey Pines & back………

 Once the route reaches Torrey Pines we leave the ocean and head back inland where it will get climby and hot...
 Sunday beach volley ball game....
 one of many Navel enlisted dolphin's, excited for meal time

 Captain leading his loyal crew to shore
 lots of well worn sailing ships that are being lived in, makes me wonder if they ever sail away and back to far shores or just hotel on the water in one spot.......I know what I would do.....
 Sculpture display and cute little photo bomb
 ferry dock on the Coronado side of the bay
 lots of grown men flying big kites, yup I be in California...

 told my wife if I was forced I could live in this neck of the woods.........
little hidden re-supply shop next to the bay--hope its open when I roll by--for a small fee I will disclose it's location...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015 Stagecoach 400

poster for Stagecoach 400
Next Friday I will start the 2015 Stagecoach. I was able to ride it in 2014 and really enjoyed this unique event.   

Having done the CTR, AZT, AZT750 and TDR I can honestly say the Stagecoach ranks right up there with the ‘classic’ multi-day events.   Yet due to the desert, mountain, urban, and ocean aspect of the SC, it’s just different, in a fun way.   

This year Brendan Collier, mad genius behind the SC route/event has added a ferry crossing (Coronado to San Diego)  Its 225 miles from the start up in Idyllwild down to the ferry and the ferry only runs certain hours.  Part of the race strategy will be to arrive during operating hours.  To soon or too late and you lose time. 
$4.25 gets you a 1 way ticket across the bay...
By my calculations I should be able to make the ferry by Saturday evening, but only if I have a smooth race.
I have been in S Calif for work and am in San Diego this weekend -- so have been riding bits and pieces of the route including the ferry.
Today, after putting in a semi hard ride and camping out last night on the actual route I have mixed feelings about my chances for a solid race. The legs are good, even great but I can tell, just like 2014, the desert heat and sudden shock of ‘long saddle hours’ will be a tough jolt to the ol system. 
My hope for 2015 is to fall into a good pace right from the start and hold it thru the discomfort of the inevitable saddle/skin irritation and body fatigue all the way to the finish.  Time wise I hope to finish early in the morning on Monday vs my 2014 Monday evening finish time. 
doesn't show up,  but from here I could see the ocean and downtown San Diego
I better as I need to drive back to Colorado and immediately catch a flight to Canada……………
Track/follow the event here on


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Magic Legs

hee hee, eat your heart out flatlanders
I just completed three training rides.  Each one quite different, the first involved a steady 10 mile climb with a bit of post holing through some slush. 
just like the TDR route in MT
 The second involved about 4 hours of high desert double track.  
lower wall is single plank of wood, had to have been a huge tree, I would love to buy this cabin and restore it
And the third about 25 miles of lower elevation desert single track with some real sand here and there.  At some time in the past I have done all three rides, but it’s been over a year or more for each. 
not as hot as Stagecoach 400 will be but a good intro to some sun and mild heat

Re-doing each ride with a significant lighter body weight has taught me two things.  Frist lesson is a lighter body weight doesn’t increase one’s VO2 max.  I can’t really scoot up the short little climbs any faster without going anaerobic.  In other words my personal red line is about the same.  But the second lesson learned from these three rides is they are so much easier overall when you weigh some 20+ odd pounds less over the same terrain.  Easier to recover, easier to grind away just below threshold, easier to drink, easier to re-fuel on solid foods, easier to ride up that tricky section without needing to walk, knowing you will quickly recover from the maxed effort and also easier to get carried away till the old VO2 limit reminds you there is a limit after all.

Stagecoach 400 coming up, aero bars are off, suspension fork back on, I am very curious if I will have a solid ‘race’ or if like last yr I have to back off and tour…………….should be a good time either way……..

2015 ride is a FULL HOUSE
March 27, 2015
Start Time TBA, Idyllwild CA
400ish miles
Absolutely, positively, (delightfully?) NO support.
Ends in Idyllwild, CA @ The Hub CyclerySPOT satellite tracker use is mandatory.
GPS navigation assistance is strongly recommended.
Time Limit for the Stagecoach 400 is 5 days.


Friday, March 13, 2015

For TDR Rookies (ya I know--worth what you paid for it....)

try to always train fully loaded
Some ‘veteran’ gear selection and training observations directed towards TDR rookies and 1st time multi-day racers:
#1 what is your intent?  IE: why are toeing the line in Banff? 

A) to finish in AW’s with your absolute best time, ie: you intend to race.


B) mostly to 'just finish' and enjoy the experience, ie: you intend to tour, maybe fast, maybe fast & hard, but still your main intent is to tour rather than race.

The following perspectives really only apply if you answered with an A.

Gear choices for a Multi-Day race:
All gear choices should be evaluated by this criteria: To the best of your knowledge, when deciding between gear choice A and choice B, which one will help you arrive in AW’s the soonest. 

It’s really that simple, yet also incredibly complex.

Example A) Navigation—to my knowledge the fastest nav method when used by an experience user is a bar mount GPS unit that is always on.  All other methods, especially maps and cycle computers are always slower.  IE: no matter how fast you go with maps you could have gone faster with the GPS method 

Example B) Lighting, charging and batteries—to the best of my knowledge a tested/proven dyno hub system is equal to or faster than all other methods.  The main reason dyno systems are becoming main stay on the TDR is their fully self-contained capability to ALWAYS let you continue at a relatively fast pace in the dark.  No other system can fully match this capability.  IE: no matter how fast you go with other systems you could have gone faster with the dyno hub method
So if you intend to pull out all the stops and ‘race’ just apply this same rational to all your other gear choices.  You will by definition arrive at Banff with a light, race ready rig. 

Training for the TDR:
Training for the TDR is not just physical conditioning, it’s a given that if you plan to ‘race’ you will arrive at Banff fully fit.  Fully fit can be loosely defined as able to ride your fully loaded TDR bike for 12-18 hours, just below, to well below anaerobic threshold—and then rinse and repeat for about 15-25 days.  In other words you basically need a solid base and if you don't have most of it by now work hard to get there.
fully loaded back in Jan.....

Marshal’s simplistic Rookies TDR Training Plan:
Starting today-by the end of March have all your gear choices behind you.  As much as possible always train on your fully loaded bike.  Eat so as to hit your body weight target, ride so as to hit your mileage/time targets

Thru April--Practice setting up and breaking down camp.  Practice fast convenience store pit stops.  Practice GPS navigation with whatever system you have chosen.  Pull several 100+ mile rides, no slug fests but easy pace overall, overnight if conditions/work allow.  Always be testing and refining your gear choices during this period. .

Thru May pull off at least one, if not several, full blown ‘multi’-day efforts.  These multi-day efforts are where you build confidence in your fitness level and gear choices.  Now is when you put to the test the whole package, fitness, gear, multi-day craftsmanship, navigation, mental self-control etc etc.  These multi-day practice efforts need not be done at maximum physical exertion but should be stiff enough too lightly to moderately fatigue you both mentally and physically.  During these May efforts continue to test/refine your gear but by now you should be down to deciding which pair of socks to use—ie: the thick ones or the thin ones.

End of May—rebuild your drive train, new tires etc etc.  Test your rebuild with +100 miles or so.  Taper if you feel the need but a true taper/peak routine is rather meaningless for the TDR.
Best of luck!  Especially to those who come to race


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Love/Hate Relationship? ( yup I am talking training)

So easy to train here--some of the best single track in the US (Wilson Lake State Park, KS bty)

Sooner or later every TDR blog includes some posts about training.  Same ol same ol--but here is another one. 

Thru the years I have never been very dedicated about training.  At least compared too many of the recreational mountain bike racers I am around.  And I guess it shows as I have never achieved much in terms of podium spots in the recreational racing arena.  On the other hand the few times when I did buckle down and routinely trained, why I achieved high levels of success, wait, wait, no I did not, I just fantasied more in-depth  about going fast…..  

yup, wilson lake offers 30 miles of single track plus this rather unique
slalom section
Actually I have proven to myself over, and over again, thru 30+ years of riding/racing, that I have a very limited potential to ‘go fast’ on a bicycle, regardless of training effort.  So why train at all?  Two reasons, first and most important because I like to ride my bike, a lot.  And when the mood strikes to go hard, and regardless of my potential compared to others, I can really tell the difference between modestly fit and ‘almost ready to race’ fitness.
Historically how do I train?  In the past I have done all the usual, heart rate monitors, power meters, intervals etc etc. But once the novelty wears off I lose interest as my personal race results never seem sufficient to justify the extra effort. 

So for a long long time now I just ride for fun and after I get some base miles I occasionally put in a semi-hard effort or two.  Living in the mountains it’s quite easy to do mock intervals—just ride a little harder than normal on the local trails and you are soon doing max efforts, over and over. 
closer to home--some snow intervals? say, where's the fat bike when you need it?
The sharp, high altitude climbs have also taught me the opposite of doing intervals—ie: how to pace my effort over rough terrain so as to not blow up. 
Which brings us to this year’s TDR.  In my own way, I am training more routinely, extensively and seriously for this race than ever before, ever! 
I spend way to much time doing this as most times it's my only real option out on the road
What I did for past AZT’s, CTR’s and 2010 TDR was small potatoes compared to my current efforts.  Not necessarily in terms of how many hard/interval efforts I am willing to do but rather the whole package. Will it make me ‘fast’?  Heck no, you can’t fool Mother Nature.  But will my program help me to finish the route at or just under 20 days?  Maybe (or maybe not), but if the stars align just a bit I believe I am doing all I can to get there.
So in a nut shell here is my 2015 TDR program: Shed 20 lbs from my failed 2014 effort. 
Yes, I have mentioned this before but about ½ will/has come from my bike/gear and the other 8-10 lbs from my personal-fat bank account.  Down to my 1974 high school weight says I. (6/7 lbs to go....)
Specifically I watch what I eat and do some form of cardio virtually every day. 
hey-doggy days also count as cardio the way we do them
I also toss in some light, basic core exercises most days. So after 60 plus days now of at least 1 hr per day of cardio I am seeing/feeling some modest but noticeable payoff.  Using the smartphone calorie counter app combined with my desire to not be too hungry when I go to bed I am balancing out my net calories each day for a small neg balance.  If I don’t do some type of cardio the smartphone says I can’t eat enough to feel satisfied / almost full at bed time -- so for now it’s still a positively reinforcing loop. So simple but its working so far.
All in all this simple base building while losing some weight phase seems to truly be working as I am still slowly sheading weight, % body fat and belt loops.  I also pay attention to not overstress my near 60 yr old body.  So even though I am training with virtually zero rest days I don’t think, or feel, I am over training.

So sort of still in the base building mode in terms of efforts on the bike but can’t help but push hard once in a while.  As ones fitness level rises it becomes harder and harder to resist taking advantage and putting down the hammer.  Soon I will test my current fitness with some real efforts.  First will be the Stagecoach 400.  I am seriously considering treating it as a full blown race effort.  Then again I may just cruise it and enjoy some long hard days. April is a difficult month due to work schedule.  But come May I will be in the Grand Junction area for said work, and who knows, I may even arrange a private night affair/date with the full moon and the KT.  At minimum I will spend a night or two out in the desert at the end of some all-day efforts.

Ok--time to check the smartphone app and hit the sack.....