So far this race season

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So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:30 pm

With the knee "troubles" I was not sure what I was going to have for a race season. I did get to ride a lot this winter, but didn't do much for other training. I was not sure I would be able to race, or if it was prudent to be trying to endurance race.. and was going to take everything a day at a time.

In March we had our championship Ice race [studded tires on a hockey rink]. I was comfortably in second behind my good friend [and repeat champion at this] until the next to last turn. I got messed up passing a lapped rider. [he should have been pulled off the track] I had to enter the turn way inside to get past him. This left me set up poorly or the final turn. He pulled out of the way as I passed him, so the third place guy, got a good line, and came inside me for second. :( :shrug: I was happy to be able to stay on Bill's wheel as comfortably as I did, but disappointed that Jim got by me.

Training and competing at the endurance events does not leave me in a favorable place for short racing, but there is a short race semi local that I like to do. It is on a 3 mile loop. It is a little network of trails next to a sporting goods store. It is a fairly technical course, and I love it. This race promoter does not believe in age classes.. so that leaves me at kind of a disadvantage.

In previous years they have had 2, 3 and 4 lap classes.This year they were going to have just 2 or 4 lap events. The WEIRD part was you did not have to decide before you started the race. :? This race is tough in the best of conditions .. this year it was wet.. and still raining.. and it was downright treacherous. It became more an act of survival vs actually racing. I was nearing the end of my second lap, and wasn't looking forward to two more. I was sort of "trashing" my brand new bike, and I was waaay out of any contention for anything, and said screw it I will just race 2 laps. Well come to find out the 4 lap race was reduced to 3, but for some reason I did not get notified of that. :thinking: Anyways come to find out I had won the 2 lap race. :lol: :shrug:
Last edited by Fenlason on Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
glenn

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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:00 pm

Two weeks ago was one of my "big" races. The Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge. It is a 100k mountain bike race. I sort of use this as a warm up for my 24 hour race… treating it as a B race instead of an A race. The past 2 times I have done it I haven't done that well. Well I got 3rd in my class last year, but I didn't have that great a race.

I was hoping for better this… but my fitness felt down, and my weight is up… and it is a fairly hilly race. I was better prepped hydration wise, and had the new bike. I started quite slowly, and weirdly within 10 minutes I was alone. It was like the group split in 3.. a bunch of faster riders off the front.. and a group of slower riders behind me [each in groups] and me in the middle. It was nice for I got to race my own race.. but I also wasn't being pushed that much either. I did get caught [and passed] by someone I don't think I ever caught [yet I am really not sure] I had another that got ahead of me at a food stop, but I fairly quickly caught, and passed him, but he kind of lingered behind me for a bit… not real real close.. but still there. I kept wondering if … when.. he might pass me back. I am guessing he was pushing me a little.. and after a bit I thought to myself.. "I can't keep this pace" so I slowed a little.. and about that time my tail disappeared. Apparently the pace was a little fast for him also. I ended up slowing reeling in other riders one at a time. I must have reeled in close to 30 riders. I was in places where I could see the "rabbits" up ahead… and I felt good enough, and motivated enough to chase them down. :twisted:

I did not finish as strongly as I did the previous year, but overall my race was better. I did not get sick, and stayed pretty consistent through the race, having no real strong ups and downs [physically or emotionally]. I took somewhere around 40 minutes off my time, and once again finished 3rd [in my class] My biggie was beating a 36 year old friend that I have been riding a lot with. He has been riding strong this year.. but it was his first mountain bike race of that distance. He hadn't said anything… but a bunch of our friends kept telling me how he was going to kick my a$$. :roll: :twisted: I expected he would also.. but it was nice to stay ahead of him one more year. [he is 36 and I will be 58 in 2 months]

Right after the race, and the next 2 days my knees felt pretty good.. the 3rd and 5day they hurt a bit…. but further out ok I guess. I still have good and bad days.. and in general they feel better riding than not.. so I ride.

Next up is my 24 hour race.
One week from today I will be doing that. :o
I am sort of dreading this race. Although a week before the 100k I was dreading that one, it wasn't until a couple of days before.. that I was better with that one. This 24 is VERY HILLY and my extra weight will really hurt there.. and of course this race will hurt in general. It will also be super competitive. So far there are only 6 registered in my age class as solo racers. 50 and up.. or 50 to death as we like to call it.. there are no other break downs in age.. older than 50.

The six people… all have experience at this race. One of them I don't know if he has done it solo before.. but he has at least raced there on a team. 4 of us have been on the podium before… but we have not all raced together the same year. [hmm interestingly I have raced against all of them] I got second 2 years ago, and a crash late in last years race left me in 3rd. I was hoping to be better prepared this year, but for many reasons I am not. I of course would like to get on the podium again.. but the main thing.. if I am beaten I would like to make them at least earn it.. to make it a great race.. to give them some competition. Having a great race and not winning… to me is better than an easy win. At this point I got to race with what I got. My only hope.. and plans.. if I have the will power to stick to it.. is to walk the nasty climbs. I "need" to stay on the course as much as I can over the 24 [+] hours.
The race is about a 9 mile loop.. that you repeat as many times as you can in 24 hours. There are 3 nasty hills..well there are many hills… 1300 feet of climbing per lap, but there are 3 that are the worst. If I start walking them early.. that might save some energy. On the big hills walking isn't that much slower, and it conserves energy… so we will see. See if I can stay awake.. and alert enough.. and motivated enough…. to just try and out last them. There are 3 of them that should be significantly stronger than I. As am example.. the one I would say is the "weakest" of the 3.. he did the 100k race with me.. beating me by 25 min. The next morning [many of us camped the night after the race] I am sitting having coffee.. early in the morning I see Bruce biking by.. "nice I think.. Bruce is out loosening himself up after the race." I had planned to do a ride later myself. A couple hours later he goes by again. :o :thinking: Then a couple of hours later while out on a group ride.. we see him still riding. :o
Later Laurie met up with him and they stopped and talked.. He wanted to get another 100k in!!!!!! :o :x :thumbsup: THAT BASS TURD! He told Laurie that was his last chance to get another long ride in before our next race. I have a friend Bruce coming up from Va. that beat me 2 years ago. and Jim that beat me last year.. does a 300 mile around the clock road ride the weekend we do the 100k mountain bike race… :o :o

This other Jim is sort of an unknown to me… so who knows what he will bring.

The race of course takes a lot of fitness, and strength.. but it also has a huge mental and emotional aspect to it. We will see what I can pull together this year. :worship:
glenn

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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:43 pm

We have also have a local Mountain bike time trial series. We have had 3 races so far. The course is just under 4 miles. It is a fun event.. Thursday night's I stop in on the way home from work. It is pretty informal. We have everything from some pretty competitive people… down through to a 7 year old girl.. who is pretty amazing. It has some trails I could use help with getting faster on, and this has been perfect. Each week I have gotten faster.. even this past week, with wettish slick trails.. and an over the bars down an embankment. :o :D
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:24 am

Sunday morning at 2:45 am I went out for a night ride [obviously] :roll: I didn't want my first ride with Lights to be during the race. Last year it took some adjusting to, as well as some equipment adjustment. I don't set the alarm.. I just try it sometime when I get up to pee.. or one of my insomnia nights. I try to get ready without waking up too much, for in addition to learning to ride with lights again, It is good practice to ride in a sleepy fog. Riding for 24 hours straight.. one isn't super alert the whole time. I am fairly good at riding in these states.

I didn't use all my lights this time, just my helmet light. During the race I will use [or plan to] use 2 lights, my helmet light, and one mounted on my bars. Having lights that reach out from 2 different angles work best. They fill the shadows better… and one can have a light lighting directly ahead of you while aiming another with your head, as in looking around a turn.

Anyways this night ride seemed a success. The light worked great… and I adjusted to riding with it fairly easily. It also seems as if I did ok with the sleepy fog. I started on the road and worked my way around to another trail head for my trails. It starts in on dual track.. and works it's way to rougher and rougher stuff… I did head into some pretty technical single track. Not my most technical, but definitely more technical than what I should hit in the race.

I did get a note the other night from a friend and competitor [in my class] He is pulling out, as he was just diagnosed with a dilated Aorta. :o :( :worship: I didn't hear how they happened to find it, but the race might have killed him. He is a tough competitor and I will miss having him there.

We are all loaded up and heading out soon. [heading over a couple of days early. Unfortunately my knees are rather painful today. :( They have been pretty good. We will see what they are like in the next few days.
glenn

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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:22 am

Well the 24 Hours of Great Glen has come and gone. It was another awesome weekend. Heading into the race I wasn't feeling that great. I really wasn't sure.. aren't sure how to properly taper for something like this. I had planned to better educate myself to better train and taper this year, but since I wasn't sure if my knees would even let me do this, I didn't. In my backing off before the race, I end up feeling like a slug, and not sure what was in the legs, and my knees hurt more. It really seems now when I back off on my riding the knees feel worse.

Getting there race day I find that we had 3 other new riders in our class. I really didn't know what this year would bring, my fitness was down, and my weight up, and on this course, that would hurt. Still I was hoping to complete more laps than in previous years. [some of that due to dryer course conditions]. I had decided again to walk the Lemans start they do, to start slow and easy. I thought perhaps my only chance to do well against the others this year, was to feel good at the 2:00 to 3:00 in the morning type thing. I was even going to try to discipline myself to walk the nastiest hills. Prior to this race I read a race report of a racer that beat me by a bit at the last race. He intentionally walked some of the hills that he could have ridden. On these really tough hills walking isn't that much slower, and saves the legs for later.

This year [much of this year not just this race] I had tried a new hydration product. Some people say that hydration should be seperate from your fuel. This of course means one needs to carry fuel separately. I have been using a small bag that fastens to the top tube just bend the stem, for that. On my second lap. I open the bag, and find my fuel bag empty :shock: :shock: My wife swears she gave me a food... :shrug: Doing a 9 mile lap with no fuel early in a looong race isn't all that great, so my next pit stop… I ate.. and ate.. and ate too much. Your body can only process so much while biking like this.. and it eventually resulted in my getting quite sick. I got very nauseated, and started vomiting. I ended up riding two laps with no fuel or hydration [not good]. At around 3:00 am I stopped for a bit. I was hoping for like maybe a 30 minute break, but I also ended up quite chilled, and had some diarrhea. :( I tried several times to get up and get back out there, but I couldn't barely stand up. After 3 or so hours.. I did force myself back out. I wasn't sure if I could or not, and was worried I would get a mile or so out on the course and regret it. Some of what was motivating me to get back out there.. for one this is my big race for the year.. and I have waited all rear to do it, I wanted to give it what I could, despite my set back, and I had a friend that was closing in on me. I had gotten myself onto the podium in 3rd place, and didn't want to give it up that easily. While I didn't feel great, I was able to ride. I had something of a cushion that just keeping moving might have been enough to discourage my chaser. I still had a hard time eating and drinking. I had switched over to gatorade in the bottle and managed to consume a bottle in 3 laps.[ I should have been drinking a bottle a lap].
We then notice that another racer who happened to stop during the night was up and on course, and chasing hard. Darn… He eventually caught and passed my friend, but I kept "cranking" out laps and left him unable to catch me.

My energy through those last laps was all over the place, at times I was just crawling along, "just keep moving". Others I felt good, fairly strong. I did end up keeping my 3rd place finish. So that is always good. I had hoped for more laps [and had actually thought I had done 15 not 14]
glenn

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Re: So far this race season

Postby Greg M » Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:32 am

Wow, rough race for you. I'm impressed you held third, congrats.
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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:19 pm

Thanks Greg. Yeah at times this was a tough one. Yet surprisingly I did not go through any real bad mental struggles. Even when one is having an otherwise good race.. in the middle of the night, the demons can get pretty bad. At one point I wondered what we were all doing? Really why the heck are we out here? it felt pretty sureal. I did also wonder if I wanted to continue endurance racing. Racing can be pretty consuming, endurance racing, even more so, at least from a time point of view. Yet I did not have a desire to quit this race. I was pretty focused at doing what I could in this one.

I was / am surprised I was able to continue at well as I did with so little food and water. Yet I have sort of trained for that some. Sometimes on purpose.. others by "accident" I just end up doing semi long training rides with not much water [or food] yet obvious not this long. I am also fairly good at going on auto pilot… to just put the head down and go. I can usually ride fairly technical terrain, while being pretty zoned out. [In my group I was the last one still riding down the Plunge.[a steepish log stepped downhill.]

It also wasn't like my competitors were just a few minutes behind me. I did have a bit of cushion. Although Dick thought he had some cushion over #38.. and he got caught and passed. :shrug: I kept just enough ahead of them.. that they eventually quit. I wanted them to know that they would have to really really work to catch me, and to leave them questioning if they actually could or not. This is what 1st and 2nd ahead of me, did to me.

It is great that at this race they have real time scoring. They have computers there so you can see where people are and what their lap times are. [the one thing you can't tell on solo racers, is if they are on the course in in the pits.]

Second and first place ahead of me, had a decent cushion on me.. enough of one, they backed off when I got sick, they did kick it back up when I started up again, to dissuade me from trying to catch them. I did tell the wife of 2nd place [Bruce] That I was not after him or his "team mate" Jim.. that I was just trying to discourage those chasing me. Yet we all knew if in doing that, if I got close enough, I would of course make an attempt. Bruce stayed comfortably ahead [comfortably for him that is] :D Jim.. went the extra.. some he just wanted to see what he could do, and perhaps show me how much extra he had. :bowdown:

I think I am over the uncertainty of racing. I am already registered for next year? ;) They normally don't open registration until the first of the year, but there had been some rumors that this might be the last year for this race, and they wanted to squash those rumors by offering a discount to anyone registering by this past Monday. :twisted:
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran

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Re: So far this race season

Postby freddyb » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:46 pm

Very much enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for sharing.

Care to share any other specific thoughts that you encountered during your 24 hour race? Any other things that you say to yourself to keep pushing on?
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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:59 am

freddyb wrote:Very much enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for sharing.

Care to share any other specific thoughts that you encountered during your 24 hour race? Any other things that you say to yourself to keep pushing on?


Thanks.. I sometimes wonder if people are reading these.

This race for some reason didn't have that much for tough mental challenges. I just got to a place where.. "this is what I do", and then do it. Early on I will sometimes feel like crap.. and I used to really worry about that, but I have learned to just let go and trust. hmm for example a 100k race I did last year. Early on I really struggled. Yet at mile 50.. and from there to the finish I really cranked it. I generally don't start feeling good until about 30 miles in.

I had read somewhere one … that no matter how you feel at the moment, It will change. Feeling like crap.. wait a few minutes.. Feeling great.. that probably won't last either… to just ride it out. In this race my energy was very up and down. There were places my pace might have looked more like a death march.. some of the dual track climbs [and not even particularly steep ones] I was moving pretty slow. There was another couple mile section of the course that I flew fairly decently each lap. :shrug:
When in a difficult moment, I will just "call back" a difficult training day… days I suffered. I just tell myself I did that.. I endured that, for this. Or think about all the training I have done… all that time. You do at times have to break it down into segments. Only focus on what is in front of you. Each lap.. or even each hill.. or section, not the full thing. If need be I can also call up past non cycling things. I went into the Marine Corps at a young 17…. it was pretty tough on me.. especially mentally and emotionally.
Hmm before this race a friend sent a you tube link of the director of the Leadville Race.. it is his pep talk to the racers before the race. I will link that later [I am heading to work]
Later when I got sick, it was not so much wanting to quit, but worry that I might have to. I was worried that my body just might shut down.. and not let me do it. Much of that time there wasn't much of any thought. Also at that point I had some pretty strong motivation to stay "on the podium".. so I was doing what I could to keep going. Once it is daylight again.. you get more energy.. you are nearing the end. Although at 6:00 am you still have 6+ hours to go. [If one times it properly.. and has the desire / need] one can turn the race into as long as 25 hour and 15 min. race. If you head out for your last lap, before the cannon goes off for the 24 hours.. you have until 1:15 to get back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV1ixTrNxfk
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran

We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.
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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:18 am

As I stated earlier I did at one point look at all the effort everyone was doing, and asked myself.. why are we going this?

This is such an incredible event. It is now the longest running 24 hour mountain bike race out there. In some places they have come and gone. The area of this race is gorgeous It is in the White Mountains of New Hamshire, at the base of Mount Washington. We get to camp right there, and while there are many other events there.. we are the only one's who can camp there.

The camaraderie there is incredible. We are all doing something we love.. something we are driven to. There is also something about shared suffering. You do for the most part want to kick each others a$$ but also support the heck out of each other. Last year, at 3:00 am the night before race start, a strong strong wind came through. Many ez ups and such were destroyed. One of the racers had a big "tent" 12' by 20' maybe. He had put up his set up, and then stayed in a hotel that night.. so he wasn't there, but his tent was destroyed. The wind picked it up.. dumped it in a heap and then blew it into the pond. He was devastated. [at this race all the solo racers camp in a different area than the teams] The solo racers all approached him.."what do you need? what can we do?". My first year I was having a hard time. It was a nasty year and rained much of the time, and the demons got me at 11:00 that night. It was the crew of one of my competitors.. someone in my class.. and someone I had been chasing… it was his crew that talked me into getting back out there.

The wife of one of my competitors.. spies on me.. is checking to see how I am doing.. am I going to rest.. etc. yet also showed concern when I was sick.. and offered things like tums and pepto [I have since concluded much of her spying was worry for her husband.. he was suffering and "needed' to rest but would't unless I did.. I do think it was more about that.. than trying to find an extra edge to beat me…
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran

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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:50 am

Next? There is a gravel grinder [dirt road race] coming up in about 2 weeks. I might do.. for the heck of it.. maybe not. We do have a 12 hour mountain bike race the middle of Sept. Some of the people I raced at this last race with thought perhaps we could do a 4 person team.. just for fun. 3 guys and 1 gal for a co-ed team.

Then after we all decide to do it.. the team captain says after some research we have the potential to win it, or at least get on the podium. :o Well so much for a fun easy race. :roll: :whistle: Of course that was going by past results, for one never knows who will show up at one of these things. :shrug:
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:32 pm

Laurie let me know that they had a special couple category in the upcoming Gravel grinder.. and that she was interested. :o

She had said she was no longer interested in racing herself… but sure this sounds like fun. I had been unsure what I would use for a bike. I have an old Cannondale cycle cross bike. Do I use that?, or my Cannondale hard tail mountain bike. My mountain bike might be as light as this cross bike :thinking: Since my wife does not have a cycle cross bike, but has a twin to my Hard tail.. that settles it. [for the couple class we have to ride and finish together] I would like to put faster tires on them. I have looked at purchasing tires, but the tires that came with our Epics would be an ok choice. [we put more aggressive tires on the Epics]

Last week being able to do this race came into question… in a big way.

Monday my right knee became quite swollen, red, and hot.. and quite painful. I was able to get a quick appointment and found out I had cellulitis along with an inflamed knee bursa. I was given an antibiotic, and told if it gets worse at all, to get back in. She even drew lines on my knee, at the edge of the redness, saying if it spread outside those lines.. go back in.

The next day.. even though, it seemed maybe a little less warm, and the red might had been a little less intense, the area that was red.. alone with the swelling, had spread. She took a bit of fluid out of my knee, and was going to culture it. I was also given a cortisone shot in the bursa. [I wasn't so sure about that…]

I took some time off the bike [which sucks] :cry: I had a bit of pain and swelling for a few days.. but by Friday I was feeling pretty darn good. There was no apparent cellulitis left.
Friday night I got on the bike, just to check it out, and to try out the new addition to our Skinny Farm. We rode perhaps a mile, and with no real pressure on the pedals… I had no discomfort at all. To be overly cautious I did elevate and Ice after. Today we did go with our team to once again ride the course for the up coming 12 hour race… again.. no discomfort.. and it was a bit more of a ride.. and once again ice and elevation.

So at this rate.. I guess we might be doing the race next weekend. I might not be as competitive as I would have been.. but the primary reason for doing it, it is supposed to be a gorgeous ride.. and for the most part on roads that are not normally open to the public. :D :shrug:
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran

We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.
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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:55 am

It's official, we are registered for this weekend. We were going to head up and camp tonight, but it sounds like there is supposed to be some heavy weather coming through. Although tomorrow is supposed to be nice. It is a couple hour drive from here, but check in isn't until 9:00 with Race start at 10:00.

It seems as if their couple class.. can be ANY 2 People. So that might not fair so well for us. [and you can't tell from the "who is registered" page, who are "couples" and who are not]? It should be a fun scenic ride, and I can't say I have ever done a race with a teammate, where you both ride together. [Not that I haven't heard about others like this] It should be fun, and Laurie should do ok in this. :thumbsup:
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:59 am

We will be using our Cannondale hard tails. The lefty locks out nicely, and I put the faster tires that our Epics came with. I also put the original crank [higher gearing] back on.
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran

We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.
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Re: So far this race season

Postby Fenlason » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:33 am

Well the Gravel Grind is over. It was a blast. Laurie and I won the couples race. :D Of course we were the only couple that registered. :lol: :shrug:

This was their first event, and they only had 31 people register. Some very fast.. some not so. The weather was pretty perfect. 60's-70's Sunny with low [for us] humidity. It was a fairly hilly loop. We had one hill that was 8 miles long. The first 4 a steady grind up a long gradual grade, then we turned right where the next 4 miles got a little more "serious".

For a while there were 8 of us in a group. We eventually dropped 2 on the climb. The only cycle cross left in our group got away near the top of the climb.. and another person got away on the downhill. Laurie has a harder time on the downhills. She is a little timid. Plus at her size, while most coast, she has to pedal her butt off and still have a hard time keeping up. Which would be the case even if she wasn't timid.

We had a bit of a downhill, interrupted with some little climbs. We then came to one last decent climb and Laurie and I got away… and we were able to stay away until the end… but not quite catch the few just ahead of us.
glenn

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran

We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
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Fenlason
Tour de Post Yellow Jersey
 
Posts: 75706
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:33 pm
Location: Winslow Me.
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