Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Something new

There has been many of these popping up around the US, and are already VERY popular in Europe.  I am referring to Gran Fondo's.  On June 3rd I am going to partake in the Oregon Gran Fondo.  The route, which begins and ends in Cottage Grove, OR, looks to be quite scenic and remote.  There are several route options depending on how many miles you want to ride  (117, 71, and 31.2 miles).

Gran Fondo is Italian for "big ride", and refers to the public being invited to ride a stage from one of the major Grand Tours in Italy (Giro d' Italia) and France (Tour de France).  Chris Horner and Lei Leipheimer are a few American Pro Tour cyclists who organize their own Gran Fondo's.  Horners happens to be in Oregon and Leipheimer's is in California.

I will be using the full Gran Fondo route of 117 miles for training in preparation for some upcoming longer distance events. The event uses timing chips, and there are two categories (competitive and non-competitive).  I am planning to ride at a solid pace and not just an easy day in the saddle.  So if you are reading this and are also doing the Gran route, I hope to see you out there.  Let's hope that the weather cooperates, anything is possible over on the west side of the mountains.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sisters Stampede

A last minute change in my training plan had me heading over to Sisters, OR (25 min from Bend) to compete in the Sisters Stampede XC race.  The event was established 3 years ago in 2010 and has become one of the most popular (in  number of competitors) XC race in Oregon.  It draws riders from Portland, Grants Pass, Hood River, Bend, and some from out of state.

Decker leading a group of 7 of us

The course follows the popular Petersen Ridge Trail; which is a combination of singletrack, fireroads, some rock gardens, and constant turns.  With the recent rain, the trails were in perfect condition and made for very fast times.  We covered the 26 mile course in 1:30.  Without many long climbs (or many at all for that matter), and  constant rolling terrain it was a course to put it in the big ring and keep it there.  This also didn't allow for much recovery or time to coast, just constant pedaling the whole time.

With the usual leadout from a cowboy on a horse we were off to a fun day of racing.  A group of 7 of us were immediately separated from the rest of the field, and it would stay this way for about 30 min.  Thompson did the pacing on the first fireroad and upper singletrck section. Then once we hit the only significant climb on the
course, Sheppard made his signature move and attacked...nobody could follow.  The climb separated the group, with Sheppard off solo, Decker myself and Wodtli, then Thompson and Brandt.  The 3 of us exchanged pulls on the longest fireroad section of the course, and after about 20 min Decker and Wodtli began to open a gap on me.  I stayed within sight for most of the remainder of the race.  On the final two miles to the finish I was closing the gap a little on Wodtli but ran out of time to catch him.

Results:  PRO MEN

1.  Chris Sheppard                    1:26:43
2.  Carl Decker                         1:29:29
3.  Brennan Wodtli                    1:30:23
4.  Sloane Anderson                 1:30:42
5.  Ben Thompson                    1:31:39
6.  Brig Brandt                          1:32:52
7.  William Sullivan                    1:32:54
8.  Ross Brody                         1:32:55
9.  Matt Russell                        1:33:58
10.  James Williams                 1:34:06
11.  Cody Peterson                  1:34:11
12.  Marcus Benton                 1:34:18
13.  Nelson Snyder                  1:34:33
14.  Cary Miller                        1:36:43
15.  Bear Perrin                       1:38:31
16.  Timmy Evans                    1:38:40

Monday, May 14, 2012

ChainBreaker...Race Report

I think I should start personally calling this race the LegBreaker.  This is always one of my hardest races on my schedule each year.  This year I had a pretty hard week of training leading up the the event, so at the ,midway point of the race my legs just about fell off.   The constant undulating and rough terrain got the best of my legs, and along with the accumulation of training it just wasn't my day.  Plus, I ran waaaay to much tire pressure than I should have.  Going with the hardtail Kona, I ran 35psi titre pressure and should have stuck with around 28psi instead.   I was getting bucked around too much on the saddle and it seemed to also zap a little energy from my legs,.

It's always frustrating to not be your best at a local event, but I just have to keep focused on the bigger picture with more priority races later in the season.  Barry Wicks won the event, and I would have to say this is the best form I have seen from him in recent years.   He has already racked up some impressive results this season.

The temps were pretty warm on race day, and the dust (oh yeah the dust) was brutal as always.  By the end of the "starter" loop, my throat was coated with dust.  By the end of lap 1 I think I had enough dust on my face to act as 75 proof sunblock.

'Til next season, the Chainbreaker wins again.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Up next on the radar

One of my favorite local races, the Cascade Chainbreaker, is next on tap this weekend.  This race is put on by WebCyclery and is one of the best events in town.  There is usually a great turnout of competitors, it's always held on Mother's Day, and for most part, the weather is always ideal for racing.

Although this race is one of my favorites, it always seems to be one of my hardest races.  The race takes around 3-3.5 hrs (38 miles).  Its mostly a rolling course with only 1 very short steep climb, but the majority of the course is on gradual undulating terrain.  there is never a time to relax, it's almost full-on the entire time.

Should be perfect weather come Sunday, so another great day to race my bike and compete against friends.

Report and (hopefully) photos to follow.