Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Grit 50 Epic

I decided to take advantage of the generous offer from the promoters of a discount on this years entry after last years insane race. I of course was nervous and apprehensive as I think most were that attended the inaugural race. I thought, no way could that happen 2 years in a row. I signed up and hoped for the best. The few weeks leading up to the race I checked the weather, checked it again, then checked it again. Hoping for the best. It was looking iffy but, we were committed to going down. Hannah was pumped to finally get a vacation. She's 5, life is pretty stressful at 5 so she needed a break.

Friday's weather was great. Sunny, warm and in the 70's. Saturdays forecast looked to be pretty good until about 2 or 3. It looked like I might have a little rain towards the end or hopefully it holds off. Well, it held off. The weather was almost perfect. There was a little bit of a strong breeze on a few spots but for the most part it was great.

I started out pretty mellow. I felt good, never felt like I was going to hard. Finished the first section feeling good and moved on to Zen. Don't let that name fool you. Not much peaceful about this trail. Super technical, no rest on the ups or the downs. It tests you both physically and mentally. Slip up and you will be picking yourself up off the desert floor. Of course, there were a few sections I walked but I felt good about the trail and finished the first few sections faster than we had finished it the year previous by about 15 minutes. I was pretty happy to have Zen behind me. I rolled into the first aid station with Tyler Seamons, he was riding strong all day. He left the aid station a little in front of me and I didn't see him for a few hours. Banks and Tanner were behind but I figured they would catch up before long.

The climb out Stucki was decent. I paced it fairly slow up that climb and had some headwind, crosswind and tailwind. Tailwind was the best. I got to the top, stopped to stretch a bit and Tanner caught up. We started the decent together, I pulled away on the decent, finished the reaper lap, missed a turn and ran into Tyler who also missed the turn. We met up at the last aid station and Tanner caught back up. I scarfed a half a banana down and refilled some water and we headed off to the first of 2 laps on barrel roll. 2 laps was tough mentally. I felt like garbage on the first lap. Tyler dusted us on that first lap so me and Tanner kept each other company. Tanner was having an issue with his fork so, I lost him on the decent. The 2nd lap I felt much, much better. I felt as peppy as I could at that point. I didn't see Tanner again until the finish area. I finished the 2nd lap filled some water up and made my way towards the return wash. It took longer than I expected to get back into Green Valley, there was some headwind making my way back and I was tired and just wanted to finish. I made another wrong turn and had to backtrack just a bit. I felt like they could have used a few more trail markings but all in all it was pretty good.

I rolled into the finish area a little more than 6 1/2 hours. I was pretty happy. I didn't get sick, felt good for about 80% of the race. Rode strong, and finished with a smile. Lindy, Hannah and Lucy were all waiting for me at the finish. Great way to finish a good, long day on the bike. I will be back next year.

Tyler finished just before me, Tanner rolled in just after and Banks pulled the plug after Zen with some serious dizzy spells. Took him a few days to recover from some nasty illness. Don't worry Banks, I'm already in for next year.

Here are some photos I poached from the race.

Good times in the desert. It was good to see a lot of cycling pals that I never see all winter. It was also good to meet a few new ones. Worst part of the race was a little bit of a sore ass (to be expected) and two nasty big toes. I stubbed them while walking a few of the technical sections. The last one almost had me in tears. Going to lose that nail in about 6 months. Other than that, all good.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Say a little prayer

So, I ask that you all say a little prayer and ask that the weather holds out for all of us slow bastards that will be circling the desert singletrack tomorrow. The pros should be done around 1 and Im thinking I will be done around 4. Please bless us with good weather. Hell, after last year, I will be happy with 50's and partly cloudy or even cloudy. As long as the clouds don't open up like last year.

After all, tomorrow is St. Patricks day and I AM Irish. Well, Im part Irish. That counts. Pray for us.
Time to rock n roll. Lets do this.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Desert

I made a day trip to St. George this past Monday. I couldn't talk any of my pals to join me so I went solo. They missed out. The weather was fantastic, maybe even a little too warm but nonetheless it was great to get out and ride in shorts and short sleeves.  I wanted to do a little Grit recon so I parked at the Zen trailhead. This made sense so I could stop and refuel easily. It worked out pretty good. I tried to find the first part but I got lost and rode some of the trails but not sure in what order. I think I cut that part in half or so. After that, I moved on to Zen. Zen is such a cool trail. Its hard, super technical and pretty demanding both mentally and physically. There are parts of this trail that I walk and Im not ashamed. Its a tough trail. I finished up Zen, headed to the car to refuel before heading out Bear Claw to Stucki. Stucki Springs climb while not steep or particularly long, it just beats me down. Each time I have ridden it it has put me in a dark, dark place. I made it although it felt like a furnace out there. Would it kill em to plant some nice big shade trees out there along the course? Come on, throw me a bone here.
Top of Stucki looking at the climb up. No Shade!

Looking at the descent towards Santa Clara. Still no shade but its a downhill. 

I made it to the top and took in the view for a minute. Then took off down the decent. Its a pretty fun decent, not long enough in my opinion. I got to the gate and continued to get lost. I wasnt really sure where the trails connect but I thought I could figure it out. I rode along some dirt roads and stumbled upon Rim Reaper/Rim Rocks. I saw some pink ribbons out there but had no idea if they were for Grit or something else. I was starting to get short on time so I rode around out there then headed back towards the car. I cramped up a few miles from the car. Nothing severe, I was able to stretch for a minute to loosen it back up. It was hotter than I was expecting it to be and I think I wasnt drinking enough. All in all, I felt decent. Not as fit as I felt last year at this time but not bad considering I haven't been skiing much due to our awesome snowpack.

Top of Zen looking towards Stucki

this car had 3 dudes in it. Going to Disneyland!

Red bull was nice after Zen

Top of Zen looking towards Snow Canyon

Carborocket was on board 

Good day in the Desert
Great trip, even if I had to go by myself. Next time, someone should come with me. I have tons of video from the ride but Imovie decided to take a big shit on me so I haven't been able to do anything with it. Kinda bummed. Till next time,