Race Report #2: 67 Km Challenge

The official race name was “Desafio 120K”, because you know, some crazy dudes did 120 kms, but I’m not going to talk about that here 😛

67 km was going to be a real challenge for me, I was going to be doubling my longest MTB ride on my almost 3 years of riding since I got back in the saddle.

It all happened last Sunday, and must confess I was actually thinking on quitting the night before, I didn’t even tell the wife about it of course, I knew it was going to be tough, and I’ve been felling my body a bit weird/tired due to my nonstop commuting month on La Trurly.

We were waked up not by the usual clock alarm but by a gunfire a couple of blocks from home. Once again, bad and good guys solving their issues with guns here in MTY.  I left home a bit late, once we didn’t hear any more shots and I convinced the wife nothing was going to happen to me (like if I really knew it).

Once I got to Mina (a 30 min car trip), riders were getting ready and we were soon ready to depart. From my point of view, the organization was flawless, we even had a helicopter from “Guardia Civil” checking on us, well, mostly checking on the 120 k guys.

The go was given; the whole bunch (77 riders for the 67 k´s and 21 for the 120 k’s) leaved at the same time, and it seemed like everyone leaved with an easy pace. I managed to get in the tail anyways 😛

After the first little hill the whole bunch next to me turns into just two guys in front of me. Behind me just the sag 4 wheeled motorcycle. The first 15 km passed pretty much uneventful, the three of us having our little race, changing positions from time to time. But this was going to change.

Finishing a road section, (do I have to mention I hate road sections?), entering the trail there was a mini sand trap (funny thing, how skinny tired guys call them Sand Traps 😦 ), one of the guys felt, he was ok, but now behind me…there was a little long techy downhill section, la pugsdozer loves downhill…we passed “the other guy” and after the little downhill we saw a rear wheel.

Do not stop pedaling was the only rule for me.

After the little hill “the other guy” reached me and passed me, but not for long. At around km 20 we reached the first long sand trap, 200 to 300 m may be, when we reach it there was two guys in there…that was the last time I saw “the other guy” during the race.

One of the guys in the sand trap passed me a bit later, but like in Km 25, I’m not sure exactly, we entered the river bed… (do I have to mention I love river beds?)…I reached and passed this last guy and also the “rear wheel guy”, and when finishing the river bed section, which was may be 500 to 600 m long, I saw three guys leaving the riverbed.

I knew this river bed from my solo ride in Mina, and I remembered the little hill to get out, I rode it out that time, this time, with more than 20 kms on my legs I couldn’t, and this was the only time I walked la Pugsdozer. Another thing I noticed was an unbearable pain on my ass. Why? Well, the day before I changed the tilt on my handlerbar and on the Brooks Flyer to a position that felt right on the mile I tested them, and that I thought it was going to be good for my race, well, I was wrong. My ass still hurts and to a less degree my hands too. I could have stopped to play with the saddle, but I just didn’t. I lift it up from time to time and shake it ;).

After this big “Sand Trap” 😛 , like in the next 5 to 10 kmr, the same guys passed me and I stayed alone for a long time…I caught them in the river bed on our way back.

the guys passing me are in this pic

I can’t say I really caught them since one of them asked me If I saw his car keys. 😦 He said he was going back to the entrance of the river were there was a checkpoint to ask for help. I don’t know if he found his keys.

After that, I was alone. I didn’t pass anyone else for sure and I don’t remember getting passed after the river…….. most likely someone did it, hehe.

I was focused on finish and on keep pedaling, and actually never felt like I needed to stop. Of my total ride time, 5:30:55, I may have been stopped for 10 min, adding the time when at the checkpoints I was getting some water.  I think my energy or stamina was good during the race, not my body neither my legs.

The night before I ate a nice plate of pasta, I had a banana and half snickers as a breakfast and during the race I tried to maintain myself well hydrated and not hungry.  Every hour I was getting a Clif Shot Block serving, and every 45 min I was getting half a snickers or a banana. Or at least I tried to do it that way.

Once I passed the last sand trap my legs were not responding as they should, even though I felt sort of good. That was like in km 52, so the next 15 kms were hard to accomplish.

But I did it!

And I’m glad with the results!

We were 36 finishing riders on my category, I placed 34, 73 out of 77 😛

”The other guy” was behind me just by 6 mins!

Any other race with no sand traps and the story would have been a whole different one.

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Race Report #1 – Higueras 2011

Everything was set for a great day of Marathon MTB racing. For us the beginners, a humble 30 km (18.6 mi) ride.

As usual on this type of event, the higher categories started first, giving to each category a loose starting and not a crowded one by the at least 400 total riders in the event.

My seconds of Glory

When our time came, I was ready, and when the go was given I found myself passing a few riders. The start was near to a road section, so you would need to enter the road for a quarter of mile before entering the trail, a double track for us or a path for cars any other day. When I reached the trail I instantly got in the middle of the trail, riders on each side and one in front of me fighting to keep up on the loose rocks not packed by cars. When the rider moved to one of the sides, I felt in heaven, I wasn’t worry that he would fall in front of me and I was passing people easily on my own path, it was like meant for my big tires. If that path lasted half a mile I’m exaggerating. I wasn’t in heaven anymore.

My 3 hours of shame.

As soon as we left my heaven trail the road started to be a bit more packed and a bit stepped too, riders started to pass me, men, teens, women, grandpas, kids, the guy on the wheelchair, pretty much everyone. I just couldn’t keep up the pace.

I was going as hard I could, my legs were complaining but I tried to never stop pedaling. I had to lower my gears a lot to do so. When the road started to get a bit stepped on some parts I was downshifting for sure. I was behind in the tail of the beginners group, I can see them. There was some hope. Not.

I reached the fist mud pond. I tried to go for the more transited path, the “cleaned” route left by the riders in front of me. It wasn’t enough, my big tires would get everything and the weight added to the bike could be felt. I remember a guy complaining about the issue after the race, little did he know. At that point, I saw the tail of the group disappear.

I didn’t stop pedaling, I didn’t stop to clean my tires, I just kept going. I saw a rear wheel again; I thought I could, at least, follow it. We passed a sobbing woman getting back on her bike, I bet those were rage tears more than pain tears, seconds after that she and her partner were passing us like if we were going in the opposite direction. (I heard the fall wasn’t a soft one and that she did a great job after all).

I wasn’t felling that bad, I was behind but not that far. I saw the first checkpoint (the only one for the beginners), it was at the top of a little hill, when I saw some riders hiking it I told to myself that I could came closer to the group. There was some hope. Not.

As soon as I thought that, I got a flat. Not on my front tire but on the rear. For those who have a 09 or older Pugsley frame, you know what that means. The rear dropout is not meant for easy rear wheel removal, you need to get your rear brake loose to be able to do it. I did it all as fast as I could, the tire that at home came out of the rim easily, this time gave me some fight. I saw a couple of guys passing me, weird; I thought I was the last one. Well, now I was. Once I was ready my legs felt funny, may be me being crouch for a while had something to do. I start pedaling again with the purpose of not stop doing it and at least, finish the race. The big tail group was at least 20 min far from me, there wasn’t any hope left.

passing by with my inner tube (7km to the finish line)

There is not much to say after that, I kept riding until the end.

–        I did those 30 km in 2:43 min (flat time included)…last in my category by at least 27 min…the difference between the last 5 racers was 17 min…the winner of the category did 1:25 min….I wasn’t the last to cross the finish line.

crossing the finish line

–        I knew I wasn’t going to be close to a podium, but I wasn’t expecting to end that close to the tail, well, be the tail exactly.

–        220 pounds is a lot of weight to be carrying on top of a bike, some of it need be out, seriously.

–        It was a great experience for sure and I do think some things need to be changed on my setup for the next race.

–        I know I may had some handicap with my big tires, but is not an excuse for such a bad time. Certainly my 55 miles a week due to commuting is not enough training for this type of event.

no grin?

To the guy who approached to me at the end of the race and said: “So, this is the famous Pugsdozer”…Thanks dude, you made my day!

Ramblings #1

well, I ddin’t know what to write about so, I started to write to see if  something specific came up and end up with a bunch of thoughts… I see this could happen again.
  • This friday I made my first Two (2) weeks in a row of commuting, yeap, to work and back. First time in two years of commuting!. It was a tough second week due to the low temps and rain, both at the same time of course!
  • Yesterday, when the day was one of the best weather-wise, after I was changed to my gear to come home, a coworker ask me if I was going to ride, adding something in the lines of “it is crazy cold!”…my answer was: “I did it the whole week”…there wasn’t too much to say after that.  🙂
  • Today, I had some fresh made Chicken Tamales…nice!  After that, I did a light maintenance to La Trurly, my commuter. After the rainy week she was a bit muddy, so, she got her brakes pads cleaned, and her chain cleaned and lubed…oh and the rear derailleur adjusted too…that was really needed.
  • I also did a complete maintenance job to la Pugsdozer, she really needed, and if we add the fact that she is going to be racing tomorrow! It was a must! She even got a new decal! 😉

  • The race is an endurance one (30 km) so, I left the rear Larry on reverse for a bit more traction. I think I’ll put it forward for XC races.
  • The race is going to be muddy due to rain this week, in fact, the forecast says some rain is expected tomorrow. I don’t have a rear fender! I see a dark back in my future 😦 . Sometimes some sellers show up at the races right?  I may get a new rear fender. Will take some clothes to race anyways.

see ya!

Blue Ultraman?

nop..it isn’t….is me trying to fight the “Terrible Mist Rain” and….I lost!

I was using a Rain Suit from Cortech, but it wasn’t enough!….Mist rain penetrates everything! Moist stays on your outer layer and start to soak it little by little. I was able to stay warm and dry thanks to my inner layers, but when I took off the rain-suit after my 5 miles commute, it was wet on the inside already.

Funny thing is, back in my motorcycle days, I remember using this suit on pouring rain and get to my office dry!

Warm helmets…

…does such a thing exist? Well, I’m about to know it firsthand.

I’ve been wanting a new Helmet for a while now. My Two (2) years old Trek Vapor Helmet is all wore out, the little liner felt off like a month ago and well, it being old, is kind of depressing too. 🙂

Looking around in the web I found about Bern Helmets, I liked the look, and pretty much every user love his Bern, so las Wednesday I found a killer deal on the Bern Brentwood at huckNroll (I think they still have some), at almost half of the MSRP, including shipping!

Was a no brainer, right?, but wait… mine was going to be actually, free!… How is that? Well, if you didn’t know, I’m building a roadie and early in Dec I ordered a set of tires from an online dealer, they didn’t have them at the moment and we agreed to put them backordered, on Wednesday I wrote to know the ETA of the tires and they answer as unknown…the returned money was enough for almost two helmets! 😉

So, money wasn’t the issue, now, color and size was another story, measuring my head turned out I’m a XL on their charts, now, if you see the color options on their web site, the color selection was a no brainer too: It had to be the Matte Black Bomber with the yellow stripe.

Do you see me riding my pugs with it? Yeahhh, me too.

Well not everything was going to be perfect, when I was buying that one wasn’t on my size!, so, the next option was White, for its “visible to drivers” advantage of course.

Well, white wasn’t available either, Matte Black and Cyan Blue were. Not liking the Cyan…

The first thing that came to my mind when buying was: Will the Black Helmet boil my brain?* I did some research and found out diverse opinions on the subject, and I could find a real final consensus, so I went for it. Matte Black Bern Brentwood is on its way. Let’s see the performance on the next MTY’s 40s °C (100s °F) summer.

*Funny thing is, this wouldn’t cross my mind if the bomber would have been available that day.

Project 2011

A short new year’s note from martinsillo:

Happy New Year!

Looking back to my 2010 achievements, I realized that there weren’t too many rides or bike related things I could recall as good or memorable in my cycling sort of life.

The short Tour to Teran, a pair of rides to Rompepicos Dam, one in the Santa Catarina River after hurricane Alex’s rains and the short ride to Garcia’s desert are the ones that I can quickly identify as significant in my 2010. Too few actually.

So I want to achieve serious goals for this 2011… and here they are, explained without any specific order:

1. A perfect year as a Bike Commuter.

Well, this is the main one for 2011, actually. This year I want a flawless commuting year, day that I have to go to work, day that I’m going to be riding it. My commute is only 10.5 miles round trip, so 52.5 miles a week is not that much. It is actually very doable. This will be more a mental challenge than a physical I think, organizing everything to do it will be a tough task. One day at a time will be my way to work this out. Actual fear right know: rainy days.

2. Build my roadie and ride a Century.

The mere fact of putting together a new bike the way I want it will be a financial challenge for me actually, but once I do it, it has to include a riding goal, so this year I have to ride 100 miles on my new roadie!

3. Complete one of the two MTB racing circuits on La Pugsdozer.

In N.L., Promosport organizes two types of racing circuits each year, Cross Country MTB and Marathon MTB. The calendar this year contains seven (7) races for the first, and nine (9) for the second. I’ll ride the first races in each category and will decide on which to focus my energy and time.

4. A Mini Tour.

This year I want to do another Mini-Tour, overnighter or long weekend, I have to think about it, where and when too, but the first experience was very good, and I must repeat an experience like this.

5. Take La Pugsdozer to the beach.

This is not going to be very difficult, only takes a little planning and is going to be too much fun. There is a beach 3 to 4 hours car ride from MTY, but involves crossing the USA-MEX border.

These 5 goals for the year will kept me busy during 2011; I think they are complete in each of their categories, a perfect urban cyclist, my first century roadie ride and complete a full racing circuit of MTB competition. I won’t seek any particular goal in the MTB racing circuit; I’ll race in the beginner’s category and hopefully will see some improvements during the year.

Then I have a triplet of goals that are completely unrelated to cycling, well, one of them is, these are:

6. Read a book monthly.

Yes, 12 books per year at least. Why?… well, I must confess that at least 6 years have passed since I read my last real book. Several times I have tried but in all cases I have not managed to pass from the first chapter. In January I’ll try Gary Jennings´s Azteca, I have heard good things about it, and I hope to be a good start for this goal.

7. Drink 64 oz of water each day.

I was gifted a Nalgene 32 oz Bottle in December and I’m going to use it!. Two servings a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I barely drink water now and that is going to change this year!

8. Blog more often.

My posts here are not being very regular and that is not okay, so, I promise at least two posts per week here. I also promised two posts per week in my Spanish blog pedaleandoando.wordpress.com, so I’m actually posting 4 times a week. I will try to not double post (translated posts from one blog to the other) but it may be difficult to not do it when giving ride reports.

I think this is more than enough for 2011. Popular weight-loss goal should be added to the list, but I believe that the achievement of this will come with the fulfillment of the above goals.

2011 will be fun!

A desert ride…

Two weeks ago I found out there was a sort of desert in North Nuevo Leon…Garcia’s Desert…what was the first thing that came to my mind?…yeap…Pugsley Ride!!

That very same weekend I invited the Wife to check it out…we found some nice cabins I could use as a base to take an exploring ride on the desert early in the morning….this report is the plan came true 😉

it all started from San Felipe…

The little cabins have names of States or Ports from Mexico. San Felipe is a Port in the State of Yucatan.

Just behind the cabins the fun started…

The one and only “obstacle” on my ride was crossing a deep river bed…nothing but fun with La Pugsdozer…

Once I crossed the river this was the view I found…

(this pan is better to open it on a side window 😉 right click on it)

I knew from a previous google map search that I wanted to go to the little mountains on the right of the pan view…these ones…

The road was soft and easy, a rest from those big rocks La Pugs is used to hit on La Huasteca…

at some points even Larry’s pimples got marked on the sand…beautiful.

it took me a bit more than 2 hours to get there…a roadrunner crossing the road…some birds having fun…some beautiful plants…some like painted mountains…

I liked the desert…softy terrain…yummy…if this is going to be the feeling on the beach…I ceartainly need to get La Pugs there!

Once I got there…

I had a snack…

enjoyed the view…

(this pan is better to open it on a side window 😉 right click on it)

and then, realized I needed to get back in time to take the Wife to a Museum located in the little town of Mina, N.L…so… here I am on my way back  😦

The Museum visit turns out nice though… there have been some really interesting archeology’s finds in the area…finds including Mammoths!

For those snow fatbike readers out there…I’m still jeolous of your rides!

PS: I was using a DoubleTake demo to put together the panoramic pics…if you can recommend me a good not too expensive software to use on my Mac…please do!