Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
No Time for writing today so instead I'll leave you with this article from the Bridgton News about last weekend's off road tri. This weekend is the final race of the EFTA series. Hopefully I'll be able to hold onto the slim lead that I have in the overall expert competition. Math isn't my second language but I THINK that if I keep the dude in second place from beating me by more than two positions than I'll be ok. Now if I only knew who he is...
enjoy the article.
Great Adventure Challenge 2010
By Wayne E. Rivet
When Rick Nelson of Edgecomb enters a race, his goal is always to win it.
Although the Great Adventure Challenge was a race format Nelson had never competed in before, his goal remained the same.
“My main goal coming into the race was to have fun in a race format I’ve never competed in. I mainly race mountain bikes so, on paper at least, it looked like a race I could do well in,” Nelson said. “I go into any race I compete in with the goal of winning no matter how silly or impossible it may seem. I didn’t really expect to win, but I sure was shooting for it and was lucky enough that everything (except for the kayak) fell into place so that I could.”
Nelson posted the fastest individual time of 2:02:48 at Saturday’s Great Adventure Challenge at Shawnee Peak. A record field took part in the triathlon, which benefits Good Neighbors, Inc. located in Bridgton. Good Neighbors provides support services to individuals in western Maine with intellectual disabilities.
“The race was an absolute blast. I was taken by surprise how noodly my legs were in the transition jog between the kayak and bike stage, but overall, I’d say that the ‘run’ was the most difficult and potentially the most rewarding,” Nelson said. “The views from the mountain are truly majestic if you can manage to slow your breathing and clear the sweat from your eyes long enough to enjoy it!”
Nelson made an incredible comeback after starting the kayak portion as the 51st boat out of Moose Pond in 28:53. Rob Smith of Cape Elizabeth, who won the triathlon two years ago, was first to complete the 2.5 mile paddle in 21 minutes 32 seconds. Rounding out the Top 5 were Nate St. Saviour (22:45), Mark Holman (23:03), Roberta McLain (23:11) and Chess McGee (24:07).
McGee, who won the GAC two years ago, made a triumphant return to Bridgton by winning the overall women’s title in 2:30:47 followed by Betsey Miller (2:35:03) and Jennifer Fraunhofer (2:37:47).
“I wanted to beat my time from last year. I did improve in all of the phases. That wasn’t too hard to do on the bike because last year it was so muddy and slow,” Fraunhofer said.
For Peter Dennen, 41, of Cumberland, the Great Adventure Challenge was his first competitive race.
“My goal was to push myself to complete the race. I had no idea what to expect beyond the three back to back activities. I had never done this combo together, but am comfortable in all three sports. I had a blast competing. The adrenaline was nudging me along the entire way. Great course, overall!” he said. “I am not a distance swimmer, so the kayak component was a perfect mix in to the triathlon. My favorite legs were the kayak and mountain bike.”
He finished the kayak 17th overall in 26:18.
Nathan Priest of Yarmouth was quite pleased with his first triathlon experience. He was 10th overall in 2:23:48.
“My only goal going in was to just finish and do the best I possibly can. I didn’t want to leave anything out there and to finish tired,” he said. “And boy, did I accomplish that! I finished second in my age group (17 to 34). Totally blown away by my results!”
Priest described the course as “better than expected.” “It definitely wasn’t easy. The most difficult probably was the run at the end. Running up and then down after the bike ride was tough! Not to mention the sun was pretty bright and hot,” he said. “I got off to an awful start. I hadn’t done a whole lot of kayaking this year and that really showed in the beginning. I started the race sideways and bumped into a few people. If I do it again next year, I will definitely prepare better for the kayak leg of the race. I spent a lot of time biking this summer, and it really paid off.”
He was 50th in 28 minutes, 50 seconds in the kayak, but made up time on his bike, finishing the 14-plus miles in 1:24:46, which was the 17th fastest time.
What a difference a year makes. Last year, the bike course had thick, deep mud and mosquitoes were pesky. This year, the course was dry and extremely fast, and no bugs!
“Since this year was so dry, I think everyone did better than expected overall just because of the dry bike course,” said first-time GAC competitor Mike Towle. “Since this was my first time, finishing was my only real concrete goal.”
One aspect that didn’t change, however, was the brutal climb up Pratt’s Hill.
“I am not sure how some of the front runners were able to ride the entire thing. It is a challenge,” Fraunhofer said.
First-timer Kim Fish had a different challenge. Her bike broke at the first turn off road.
“I jogged eight miles, then rode another competitor’s bike â€” (she had gone down and suffered a collarbone injury forcing her from the race, and her bike was off to the side of the course) â€” to the base of the mountain,” she said. “(I’ll remember) the fact that I did 10 miles of it by foot! Not finishing was not an option.”
While his will to push it was there, Peter Dennen now knows he needs a better set of wheels when he returns next August.
“Being a total rookie to triathlons, the experience that sticks out most in my mind from the moment I arrived was how ‘old school’ my bike really was. I am pretty sure my bike was the only one without shocks and dates back around 19 years,” he said. “Actually, having said that, one of my highlights was having my bike make it through the course without something breaking or falling off.”
Jeff Stack of Portland tried to use a little strategy, sort of.
“I have to thank the guy who was ahead of me (must have been 10-plus years my senior) who set my pace and allowed me to hang on through the section,” he said. “If not for him, I think I would have slowed down, spent more time on the course (he completed the ride in 1:22:33, the 12th fastest time), and suffered for it.”
The unforgiving hike
Chris Shane of Casco appeared confident about “running” up the face of Pleasant Mountain.
“I’ve been training, so I should do okay,” said Shane who was a member of the Norway Savings Bank team.
His youthful exuberance certainly faded by the time he reached the midstation. The rugged two-mile climb taxed many competitors as they slowly put one foot in front of the other.
“The most difficult was probably the hike up the mountain, which was a surprise,” Peter Dennen said. “The steepness is deceiving, but made for a great run down the mountain.”
For Jeff Stack, the most rewarding moment was the descent.
“I thought I would dread it for the sake of my knees, but after all of the exertion, it felt so great to just catch my breath as I bounded down the hill, water in hand, toward cheering people,” he said.
For many athletes, the goal was simple â€” to finish. Despite the grueling nature of this event, many participants found a final surge of energy as they crossed the finish line as family, friends and spectators cheered.
“Not having trained all summer as planned, I went in just looking to finish, so I did accomplish my goal, but I feel as though I actually did better than I would have expected,” said Jeff Stack who was 24th out of 90. “It’s a great race. The lengths are just enough to push you hard without wiping you out.”
The Great Adventure Challenge has changed Stack’s focus.
“As someone who has run several marathons before, I will be hard pressed to run another road race ever again. Knowing that there are competitions out there that allow for racing that has this combination of scenery, fun and exertion â€” I don’t think I could bear to pound pavement past buildings and cars ever again,” he said.
Peter Dennen said the most rewarding moments were each time he crossed a finish line completing one task of the race and “getting fired up for the next leg.”
“Having my wife, kids and parents see me finish was a great highlight,” he said.
Nathan Priest hopes to return to Bridgton. His Great Adventure Challenge experience has him looking for other triathlons to compete in.
“This one is so unique,” he said, “and it serves such a great purpose that I will probably be back.”
Rick Nelson and other racers spoke highly of how well the race was run, the efforts of volunteers and their intentions to return next year.
Rob Smith spent a lot of time at Pleasant Mountain as a youngster since his family had season ski passes from 1965-1975.
“It is really fun to come back to do this race. We (he and his wife, Chess McGee) were so happy to see how much the race has grown and the amazing event it has become,” he said. “Thanks to all the volunteers and the support from the beautiful Bridgton area.”“The volunteers were exceptional. There were always plenty of helpful hands to give you water, take care of your equipment or simply offer motivation,” Nelson said. “I’ve been to a lot of races and I can’t remember one that had such enthusiastic volunteers.”
Rick Nelson plans to defend his title in 2011. Will he make any big adjustments? Maybe just one. He wants to make a dramatic improvement over his 51st place in the kayak leg.
“What I’ll remember most next year is to bring a more suitable kayak. Our 2 1/2 person family barge is great for a slow paddle with picnic gear, but not up to the task for a race,” he said.
the genius of rick is! at 6:01 AM
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Andrew had bike problems I wouldn't be catching him (in fact, before the race I was telling people that Andrew would break the bike leg record by 15 minutes. in the end he broke it by 14 minutes. I'm a prophet) but based on the 2008 times I figured I had a good shot at catching Rob. I finally made the catch during the nastiest climb of the day. Overall it's not that steep but it has huge 4' tall drainage swales running diagonally across the face every 20-30 feet and loose ass gravel so I ended up walking 2/3's of it. 34x34 gearing on a 29'er isn't exactly made for that type of climb. As I passed Rob he asked me if I was solo or on a team (obviously hoping I was on a team) and I briefly thought about saying I was on a team so that he wouldn't give chase but I thought, what would be the fun in that?, told him I was solo and then rode my ass off for the rest of the bike leg to open up a good gap.
Based on Rob's speed when I passed him I guessed that by the end of the bike leg I had put 5 minutes into him (I'm waiting for official times to be posted) and totally erasing the 7:30 deficit I had on from the kayak portion but, and this is a big BUT, Rob is a real triathlete so I had no idea what he would do to me on the run up the mountain. Would he be flying? I had no idea so I made a super quick transition from bike to run and headed up the hill.
It wasn't long before I realized that this would be less of a run than a fast hike. The ski slope was so damn steep that anything more than a fast walk had me practically hyperventilating and my heart threatening to leap out of my chest so I settled into a fast-ish hiking pace and hoped for the best. When racing, they always say to never look back to see if you're being caught but, I have to admit, I looked back roughly every 30 seconds to see if Rob was on the hill yet. It wasn't until I left the initial slope that I caught a glimpse of Rob near the base with what looked like someone to pace him up. That worried me. A lot. So I upped my pace the best I could and hammered for the top. I never saw Rob again after that so I knew I was safe but I had also caught a glimpse of the first place team's runner ahead of me so I now had a carrot.
We passed each other going opposite directions near the top but he had enough of a gap on me to hold it until the end. The "run" down the mountain was interesting to say the least. It was more of a controlled fall with many near misses and a couple of extremely sore quads. I somehow ran the whole way down without falling or rolling an ankle and crossed the line at roughly 2:02 (still waiting for posted times) beating the course record by 18 minutes.
In the end our crew totally cleaned house. Andrew's team, Poland Spring 2 took the overall victory (besting me by around 2:30) and Kevin's team took second team (and fourth overall?) with all three of us beating the previous course record. Like I said, this race is tailor made for a mountain bike specialist.
the genius of rick is! at 7:38 AM
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday was the third annual Great Adventure Challenge, an off road tri that included a 2.5 mile kayak, 14 mile mountain bike ride and a two mile run straight up and down Pleasant Mountain. It was a race that, at least on paper, I felt like I could do well in. During the previous two years, the kayak and run portion each only took about 1/2 hour and the mountain bike portion took roughly 1.5 hours so if you held your on on the two bookends and really drilled the mountain bike you could fare well. At least on paper and in my feeble little brain.
My one real worry for the race was our lumbering 2 1/2 man kayak. A kayak that is perfect for a family outing but potentially not prefect for a race but I figured I'd lose 2-3 minutes tops in this portion so no big whup. When I got to the venue and dropped my kayak off I got a bit worried. I saw roughly 90 sleek and fast looking sea kayaks, a couple of portly looking one man kayaks and my sea barge. Uh oh.
Out of the kayak, the multitude of race volunteers sprung into action, hauled my kayak out and I was on my way on very unsteady legs to the second leg of the race, the bike. When I staged my bike, I found the perfect spot. A telephone pole two feet from the road where I could theoretically run up, put on my helmet and ride off into the sunset instead of picking it up from the lawn like everyone else. Such a perfect plan. Things went well until I actually jumped onto the bike and realized that I had left it in high gear after tuning it up the night before and had to actually get off to down shift to get rolling. Ahhh, so pro.
Once on the bike, I was faced with 3.8 miles of rough paved roads before we hit dirt. I used this time well and passed 40-ish people in the first 15 minutes. Once we hit the trails, my passing slowed down a bit since I had already passed the soccer moms and newly retired and were catching people who knew how to ride bikes but managed to reel a few more in before the 20 minute mark. Around then, I caught my buddy Kevin who was doing the mtb leg for a three person team. He told me there were only three others ahead of me (with one in sight already) so I was pleased with my progress. I knew that Andrew Freye (fast ass new england pro and member of a three person team) was one of the riders so Rob Smith couldn't be too far ahead. So I set about trying to reel him in.
Woops. That's all the time I have for today, check back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion.
the genius of rick is! at 9:01 AM
Friday, August 20, 2010
Yesterday was supposed to be my second brick training day with a mountain bike ride followed by a run. Unfortunately, I forgot about a company bbq we had scheduled at 4 with burgers and beer. I figured I'd just nibble a bit of food, maybe have one beer and then sneak out at 5. Instead, I got there at 4:45 and managed to have two cheeseburgers and two beers by 5:15. Yeah, the ride was gonna suck after that.
The commute sucked donkey d*ck for the most part but I did seem to snap out of it towards the end of the ride but with two beers and two burgers in me, the run motivation just wasn't there so I bagged it and spent some time with the spud instead. There is nothing like hearing belly laughs from your kid to bring you out of a funk.
the genius of rick is! at 9:54 AM
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Even since Marcy got me a pair of Mavic Stratos shorts for daddy's day I've been like a new man. Ok, maybe the same man that isn't quite so serious all of the time. Don't get me wrong, I love my bikeman.com kit but it's all business all the time. The Stratos are more like a mullet (you know, business in front, party in the back) with their all business chamois yet comfortable and casual outer shell. It's hard to ride up to a social mountain bike ride all kitted up and not be considered a snobbish asshole by those who don't know you (or simply an asshole by those who do). That and I don't get as many Lance Armstrong wanna-be comments in these bad boys. I'll never ditch the lycra for most rides but it sure is nice to have a go to short for when things aren't as serious.
I've been a baggy short hold-out for quite some time for one main reason. The first pair of baggies I ever owned totally sucked ballz and I hated wearing them so I refused to buy a new pair. Sure, fit and finish have improved leaps and bounds over the years but baggy short purveyors are in short supply in these parts so finding a pair to try on has never really been an option. Finally, Marcy had had enough and ordered me a pair of smart wool shorts. Sadly the size she got didn't fit my gargantuan proportions and the next size up was out of stock so we gave these a try instead and I'm glad we did.
The only bad thing that I can say about the shell is that the pockets put your camera in a very smashable location on the outer part of your thigh. Trust me, I know. Oh, and did I mention that Marcy thinks my ass looks great in the shorts?
The inner shorts and chamois are also quite nice. It's taking me a bit to get used to not having bib shorts keeping things perfectly in place but once on, they feel great, seem to stay in place and don't feel all diapery. They also made most of the short out of a fishnet type material to help keep things cool and to scare woodland creatures when you take a nature break.
the genius of rick is! at 7:40 AM
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
the genius of rick is! at 7:38 AM
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A while back, on my firstest ever ride in baggy shorts I smashed my camera screen. As a result, I've been shooting in the dark, not knowing if I got a good pic or not until I uploaded to the computer (can you imagine the days when you had to WAIT for film to be developed???). It truly was a pain in the ass but we can't really afford a new camera right now so I went trolling the interweb for solutions. Thankfully, I found a place that sells replacement screens for $30 including shipping. Not bad. So, a couple hours of futzing later (lil tip, it's best to not try to do camera repairs with their itty bitty screws while in a moving car) Marcy (that's right, I put the little lady to work, first crushing rocks, next fixing cameras. she's a renaissance woman) had it working again. Rejoice!
Oh wait, but these pictures were from the last batch of blind shooting.
I've got a couple more races to do on the selma before she goes back to SS for good. This weekend's off road tri has a large percentage of dirt roads so a spinny single speed is not the ticket if you want to do well and I not only want to do well but I want to win the whole damn thing AND set time records. I'm still not sure how I'll do that since I haven't been in a kayak all season and my running is only marginal and I have no clue whatsoever who my competition is. But, what I lack in preparedness I more than make up for in unearned confidence and an over inflated sense of self worth. But, then again, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you already know that.
After this weekend, I've got the final EFTA throw down at the Treasure Valley Ralley where I'll be looking to defend my narrow lead in the overall points category. After that, it's back to SS full time so I can prep for the Bradbury 12 and Vermont 50 single speed races. I won't lie, I'm a bit concerned about doing a solo 12 on Sunday and then the hilly 50 the following weekend. Yikes.
the genius of rick is! at 7:46 AM
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sort of. This week promises to be just as stacked up time was as last. Hopefully I'll have more blogging opportunities though.
Yesterday was a b-e-a-utiful, sunny Sunday. On tap was a nice and easy road ride with Marcy and a few friends to prep them for the Dempsey Challenge coming up in October. We rode a majority of the 50 mile loop that Marcy and Tim are planning to ride. Marcy can handle the distance without too much trouble but Tim just started riding this spring, starting out with 8-10 mile rides so a 50 mile ride is an intimidating thing. He's been doing a good job prepping though and has slowly built up his miles through the summer. The planned 35 mile ride was his longest to date and he finished it (and a bit more because of a missed turn) strong. Nice job Tim. You'll be ready.
Speaking of strong. Saturday, Marcy spent a few hours wielding a pick ax, getting ready for a stone patio that we're going to have installed. What was I doing while Marcy was doing the manly work? Well, the official story is that I was attempting to re-finish our concrete floors but the truth is that I was just staying out of sight while the hard work was going on. Anyway, while being all manly, Marcy tweaked something in her hip. We're not sure if it was a muscle strain, a bone out of place (you can put your hip out like your back) or what but it left her in immense pain. Saturday night she was on muscle relaxers to sleep and when she got up Sunday, she tried in vain to stretch, pop, pray the pain away but when ride time came it was as bad as ever. She decided to start the ride and turn around if the pain got too bad.
The six of us rolled out and she was in obvious pain and looked to be on the verge of tears for the first 1+ hours but managed to push through the pain and finished the ride with a smile on her face (until this morning that is). That's one rugged mamasita.
Speaking of rugged mamasitas, this weekend was the annual Great Glenn 24 hour race. It's a big focus for lots of folks around here and I know a bunch of people who competed. After a few minutes of perusing the results I see that Laps took the single speed solo win and fellow efta competitor Dan taking second. In men's sport, my boys Scott and Bill walked away with an impressive ride. Brian (nemesis #1 or 2) and his team took home 3rd in their race. I'm sure there are others too but I'm too lazy to dig that deep into the results. Congrats everyone!
the genius of rick is! at 8:08 AM
Friday, August 13, 2010
Last night I finally had the opportunity to demo the much talked about (at least in my circle of friends) Santa Cruz Tallboy. KillBill has been pestering me incessantly this summer about getting on a full suspension mountain bike because it would make me faster. I've poo-poo'd the idea for quite some time since I got tired of dealing with maintenance issues on my previous full suspension bike years ago and I felt that a 29'er with large volume tires were enough cush to make a real full suspension unnecessary. BUT, I had the opportunity to test ride a demo large tallboy last night that Clint was nice enough to truck down my way for the evening.
Set up was a bit of an issue since I think that there may have been something wrong with the shock. No matter how much air I put in the shock or which pro pedal position I used, the rear end seemed to wallow during smooth sections or on climbs. BUT, ripping through corners, tearing through rock gardens and root infested trails was a true joy. We'll have to sniff out that shock issue a bit and take her for another spin. I haven't had a new bike in a couple of years so maybe 2011 is my year! :)
the genius of rick is! at 9:11 AM
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This morning I did my first bike commute in quite some time. This summer has been the summer of socialization with me trying to hit up group road and mountain bike rides twice a week leaving me with no opportunities for commuting. This has been great for my social life but total suck ass for my inner hippie who wants to drive as little as possible. Soon I'm sure I'll tire of the driving to the rides and be back to my normal routine. The plus side is that my local trails will be all new and exciting again since I haven't been on them in ages. Sweet trails one mile from my house and I haven't ridden on them in a month but I have RUN on some of them recently. Something is wrong here. Very wrong.
My next race, The Great Adventure Challenge (an off road tri) is coming up in a couple of weeks so I've ramped up the running a bit recently including a run to the top of Hunger "mountain" once or twice a week. Can a hill with 300' elevation gain be called a mountain? Well, around here it can. I'm no Kílian Jornet Burgada but I'm doing my best, to do my duty, to god and my country... wait, I drifted off into cub scout land for a second there.
Why the photoshoping (or, to be more accurate, picasa-ing) of the photo above? Well, I feel weird enough posting close up pics of my own child on the inter-tube so there is no way I'm going to do that with someone elses kid (even though I'm sure I've done plenty of that in the past).
the genius of rick is! at 6:57 AM
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
This week is a total bust so I'm not even going to attempt a real blog today. Instead it's photo blog time from this weekend. I wasn't kidding a few weeks back when I said that family stuff was going to be popping up more and more here so, if you don't like it, you can go suck it! But please remember to come right back after sucking it because I can't afford to lose any more readers...
the genius of rick is! at 7:57 AM
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Still gang busters so yet another mini blog today. The fam and some college friends went camping for the weekend in Acadia National Park and we had a hoot. We (I) did lots of drinking, a little beach time, some climbing on the rocks and a nice little group ride on the carriage roads. Good times.
The carriage roads are second to none when it comes to hauling kids in trailers. They're relatively smooth, almost always shaded, have good scenery and you don't have to worry about the fruit of your loins being mowed down by an overly caffeinated soccer mom with rage issues. Buuuuutttttt, when you're in a large-ish group with a bunch of trailers, a trail-a-bike and one slightly mechanically declined father (I'm lookin at you Tim!) it makes for a fairly leisurely ride. How leisurely you ask? Well, relaxed enough that these two ladies smoked me on a long uphill. It took every ounce of my being to not chase them down and beat them with a frame pump.
the genius of rick is! at 8:04 AM