Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Assault on the Peak: Race Review

Assault on the Peak = The Pikes Peak Hill Climb, ON A SINGLE SPEED (B.P.R. Style!)
I’ve always wanted to ride up Pikes Peak. Why? Because Pikes Peak is there and it’s a 14er. The only problem - Pikes Peak is paved. Oh well. A little asphalt isn’t going to stop me from grinding up that beast of a mountain. And grind away I did! 
I think this ‘Assault on the Peak’ will turn into the Back of the Pack Ultra High Altitude Championship. I think I’ll add this to the B.P.R. World Championship circuit. (Next year we will hold a stage race for the B.P.R. High Altitude Championships - check out the posting for the race this year - a race that The Judd dominated. Link to: 2010 B.P.R. High Altitude Championships.) 
So, in 2011 we will hold the Back of the Pack World Championship circuit. This race series will consist of the Back of the Pack High Altitude Championships (San Juan Mtns / Southwest Colorado) and the Back of the Pack Ultra High Altitude Championships (Pikes Peak). B.P.R. Championship Points will be award based on a secret algorithm that The Judd develops during the race series. Why a secret algorithm? Because The Judd MUST win the B.P.R. World Championships. It’s a requirement. (Actually domination by The Judd is guaranteed - because no other Back of the Pack racers will show, as history says.)
The Race Summary:
I rolled up to the mass start with my Black Sheep Highlight #2, a new set of commuter tires, the bitchin’ B.P.R. team gear and a smile. Why the smile? Because I clearly didn’t belong in the crowd of spandex clad road bikers. Road bikers are weird - and I’m not, obviously.
I had no idea what to expect of the race. How hard could it be to grind up Pikes Peak? How hard could it be to rack up 8000ft of climbing in 24 miles? Shouldn’t be hard. Right? Well, throw in some wicked wind - like gusts over 40 mph and it gets pretty damn hard. But I did it. And so did 300 dudes and dudette’s in spandex. 
AND just for the record. I have nothing against spandex. I just think it is absurd that all these dudes (and dudettes) think it is socially acceptable to display the massive beer guts wrapped tight in spandex. Damn, there should be a law against that. Oh wait, we live in the United States of America. The greatest country on Earth. Hell, sport the spandex and show those massive beer guts. That’s what freedom is all about - and since we live in a free society I can laugh my ass off when I see those massive beer guts wrapped in spandex. Oh, and to all those foxy mamas out there - keep wearing the spandex! I love it!
Anyway, back to the race. I decided on the 32 x 19 setup. Why? Because I had an extra 19T cog in my garage. No other reason. The setup worked, I guess. I’ll probably sport the same setup next year. 
The roll out was easy - right up main street in Manitou Springs Colorado. Then the climbing started. For the 1st 6.5 miles the course climbed 1637 feet - to 8000 feet MSL. (MSL = Mean Sea Level, dude.) Then it took another 8 miles to break through 10,000ft MSL. Come on! I was about to fall asleep, where’s all the climbing? Actually I was quite worried. I was 14 miles / 3900 vertical into the ride - 10 miles to go and 4000 ft left to climb. (If you’re grinding through the numbers, don’t. GPS is flaky and the course had a bit of downhill thrown in with the uphill. 8000ft to 10,000ft was really 2240 feet of vertical, for a number of reasons - like downhill.) Ok, 4000ft left to climb and I just broke through 10,000ft. This was going to be BRUTAL. And it was brutal - mostly because of the ferocious wind. You think I’m joking? The course climbed from 10,000ft to 12,000ft in 3.85 miles. That’s rough. Then the course climbed from 12,000ft to 13,000ft in 2.1 miles. Worse part - the final 1000 feet of climbing was all on exposed road. So an ‘easy’ cruise up to 14,110ft turned to an insane battle against the wind. But I made it - in B.P.R. record time. (Record? Yeah, it’s the 1st year for the race.)
Overall, it was an awesome race. My conditioning seems to be peaking, peaking at the right time - two big 24 hour races coming up. My legs weren’t really tired, my heart rate was ‘nominal’. I’m feeling good. Aside from the wicked wind, I really didn’t have as much trouble (pain & suffering) as I expected. Then again I was just cruising and not racing - since all the other Back of the Pack racers were home sunbathing, I didn’t put the hammer down - I didn’t need to ‘prove something’.
Next year? Yep, I’m in for the big event next year. And I’ll try to drag out some the the Back of the Pack racers. Yeah. It’s on asphalt. But who cares? Pikes Peak is one of the most famous mountains in the world. So us Americans like to think.

The Media:

Click on this Link - outtherecolorado.com = A good article on the ride

The results - Right Here Dude!

Lessons Learned:
  1. Road bikers don’t like to stay right. They ride down the middle of the road, like they own the road. Oh wait, us mountain bikers already knew that. But I quickly adapted to this road lifestyle and I soon ‘owned’ the middle of the road.
  2. When the race info says ‘6.7% average grade’, ignore it. Prepare for 500ft of vertical / mile - at least for the miles over 10,000ft MSL.
  3. Don’t forget ‘The Cream’. A few Back of the Pack racers strongly endorse “DZNuts”
  4. Just when you think the road must level out, it gets steeper.
  5. Just when you think you will have a tail wind, the wind shifts.
  6. Averaging 4mph is cool! Yeah, right!
  7. Above 13,000ft you will always have a head wind - even if you finally have a tail wind. Confused? I’m not. Go ride up to 14,000 and you will definitely agree with that statement. Good luck with that, there probably aren’t too many, or any, other rideable roads / trails in the world that go up to 14,000ft. (Ok, correction - check out the Bob Cook Memorial / Mt Evans Hill Climb.)
  8. Commuter tires on the Black Sheep Highlight #2 look funky. I need some wider slicks - just for the cool factor.
  9. It’s OK to laugh and laugh hard when you see a road biker with 27 gears walking up a hill. Come on dude, grind it out! Then again, when running in 1st gear the average speed is probably around 1.5 mph - therefore it was probably too difficult to stay upright in the 40mph gusts. Ok, keep walking dude, I’ll lay off and keep my mouth shut.
  10. The Padre knows how to deal with The Judd’s ‘vulgar’ music - Korn, Static-X, Mudvayne, Linkin Park, etc. The Padre just takes out his hearing aids and ‘tunes out’. Sweet. Ancient dudes always know what the easy solution is.
Quote of the Race:
Some ‘spectator’ cheering on the racers - near the start: “Way to go, only 1 more hill to climb!”
Moronic Thought of the Race:
As I rolled through 13,000ft, ‘Damn, 24 Hours of Leadville (next weekend, Labor Day weekend) will be a piece of cake, it tops out at 11,000ft.’
The Data:
Lap 1 = Start to 8000ft MSL, 6.46 miles & 1637ft of vertical
Lap 2 = 8000ft to 10,000ft, 8.06 miles & 2240ft of vertical
Lap 3 = 10,000ft to 12,000ft, 3.85 miles & 1904ft of vertical
Lap 4 = 12,000ft to 13,000ft, 2.09 miles & 1089ft of vertical
Lap 5 = Devils Tower and a cruise down and back up to 13,000ft
Lap 6 = 13,000ft to 14,110ft, 2.81 miles & 1095ft of vertical
Lap 7 = Cruising from the summit over to the ‘Summit Hut’

And don’t question the numbers. GPS is screwy. I can tell you why, if you really want to know.

Looking South
Looking East
The Data, Dude!
The Video:

The Assault on the Peak from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
The Ride Down Pikes Peak

The Pics:
Pikes Peak - in the 6:30 AM Sunrise

The Start : The Spandex : The Mountain

Who you calling Big Foot?
Damn, that's a long way to go - straight up!
The Judd and The Summit - I'm headed way up there, dude!
At the top - Pikes Peak = 14,110 feet - I guess
Looking Down on Colorado Springs. Like 8000 feet down!
Like the Commuter Tires on the Wicked Sheep?
Yeah - real cool, real cool!

Clouds are Cool!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

24 Hours in the Sage: Race Review

To sum it all up...
32 x 19 was a terrible choice. Don't believe me? Check out the profile and the 1st major climb.

The Race Summary, well just the important stuff:
For the Judd, the race started out with 3 mechanical problems in the 1st 3 laps. Lap 1 = a broken seat post clamp. Yeah, I rode 10 miles of Lap #1 without a seat. That sucked and that set the stage for a brutal race. Lap 2 included a broken spoke and a bent rear wheel. Lap 3 was a nightmare due to a massive grinding of a mismatched rotor and a wicked Formula R1 brake caliper. All three mechanical issues resulted in long transition times and thus I (The Judd) fell off the pace required for a 200 mile adventure.

Anyway, I completed lap 8 (108 miles) around 12:15AM. I really (and I mean REALLY) needed to finish lap 8 around 11PM to achieve my 200 mile goal. So, the DEMONs entered my head. And when the DEMONs entered my head I was unable to control the physical pain. The pain took over, the strategy was dead, I was a zombie looking for a sleeping bag. Why was the pain uncontrollable this time? Well, the lap 1 issue. 10 miles of riding a single speed (or a any bike) without a seat is brutal. Go try it, dude!

So, the Lt Col rolled in from his 7th lap around 1AM. I was up and chillin' at the fire. Prob-eee just left for lap #6, I think. The Lt Col and I hung out for 2 hours. I watched the Lt Col dose off and almost pull a Michael Jackson in the fire pit. The Lt Col watched me dose off and almost pull a Prob-eee. So all was cool. Then the Lt Col woke up and prepared for his lap #8. The Lt Col had a killer idea - let's both call it quits at 8 laps and
LET THE PARTY BEGIN! So, we made the agreement. At ~ 3:15AM The Lt Col headed into the darkness for Lap 8 and The Judd headed to the tent and sleeping bag - a broken man, a troubled man, a tired man, a man looking to cry like a baby - cry because of complete failure and massive knee trauma.

Then.... The darkness ended and the sun signaled a new day for

THE JUDD woke up around 6AM. The knees were killing. But this broken man finally rolled out of the tent. AND...Prob-eee was gone! Prob-eee headed out for lap 7 early in the morning.  Man, The Judd needed to rethink this strategy that we now call... QUITTING! Prob-eee could take the B.P.R. victory if the Lt Col committed to his new life of snuggling with his Foxy Mama and The Judd was still crying like a baby. So, The Judd considered a bath in Advil and a return to the trails - just to ensure that Prob-eee knew that he was still Prob-eee.

Anyway, while all this was going down The Lt Col finished snuggling and declared he intended to renege on the deal. Renege on the deal? That's cool! So, for a number of reasons the race was back on! The Judd found the Advil, threw some down and went to work. 3 more laps and 42 miles later the race was over. And... Prob-eee was still Prob-eee. Yeah. That's the way it should be.

Where was the TeddNeck during all this? Pulling a Prob-eee - sleeping. Oh well, The TeddNeck obviously needs beauty rest from time to time. 

Judd - B.P.R. 'All Talk' award', 11 laps ~ 150 miles. The goal was 200 miles and I was not afraid to post the goal in any and all public forums. So, I'm a failure (sort of) and I am all talk! For now.

Tim - B.P.R. 'Can't Commit to Anything' award, 10 laps ~ 136 miles. Yeah, The Lt Col is cool. He convinced me to and call it a race and prepare for an early morning party - just so he could roll out of his bed at 7AM, say goodbye to his electric blanket and try to sneak off for some extra laps. Well, I caught him in the act and I beat him at his own game.

Prob-eee - B.P.R. Badge of Courage award, 8 laps ~ 108 miles. Prob-eee is as Prob-eee does.  Prob-eee is almost ready to shed his rookie status. Why? Because, the demons hit Prob-eee at lab #3. Prob-eee almost caved in to the demons of single speed ultra endurance racing. Prob-eee was ready to mail it in and walk away from biking. Prob-eee was ready to take up bowling. Prob-eee was dreaming of growing tomatoes and returning to his garden. But he didn't, therefore Prob-eee earned the B.P.R. Badge of Courage. (Don't worry B.P.R. fans, this award is only handed out once in a racer's career. Prob-eee is still Prob-eee.)

Tedd - B.P.R. 'I'll Hold Down the Fort' award - enough said. We like to keep this B.P.R. forum positive. Tedd, the B.P.R. Morale Chairman & The TeddNeck just didn't have it. Too much work and not enough riding. Or something like that. He'll be in back in prime racing condition in no time, he'll rip up the 24 Hours in Colorado Springs, Sept 18th / 19th.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don't sleep in a Walmart parking lot 2 nights before race.
  2. Don't be afraid of the 32 x 20 setup. As lame as it sounds, it probably is a smart choice for time to time
  3. Listening to the Lt Col is a bad idea
  4. It's better to be 5' 8' and 150 lbs (not 6' 1" and 210 lbs) if you're going downhill and into the wind. Sucks to be me. Well, not really.
  5. 2 of everything is required, like 2 complete bikes. YOU never know what YOU will break.
  6. A new race strategy is required - and it's now formulated - it will be tested at 24 Hours of Leadville, Sept 4th / 5th.
  7. Think about all the 'fun' you're having - don't get into a routine of counting hours to go and miles till the next camp stop. 
  8. Don't set mileage goals unless you have intimate knowledge of the course. A mental collapse followed by a physical collapse is guaranteed if you fall off the required pace. 
  9. Dehydration will destroy all motivation to ride, obviously. 
  10. Buying two Camelback Podium Ice water bottles was a good idea. Believe me, it was.
  11. Iced Tea may be a good drink between laps. 
  12. The new crank brother cleats suck
  13. Will's the B.P.R. connection to Ska, I hope
Lessons For The BPR pit crew:
  1. It's a race baby
  2. The Judd's all business. Small talk and philosofizin must wait
  3. Prob-eee's always available for picture ops, small talk, cuddling, laundry, kitchen duty. Why? He'd rather 'make friends' than race. 
The Results:

Quote of the Race:
Tyler- The Lt Col's 10 year old son:  "Dad, why you sleeping? What's wrong with you? Why is Judd sleeping? Don't you know this is a race?

Thought of the Race:
Prob-eee on lap 3: 'I've got to start eating frickin' meat'

Question of the Race:
Prob-eee's wheels were turning for ~ 108 miles. But the cranks for turning for how many miles? (Get where I'm going with this?)

Race Milestones :
8 laps

Judd = 12 Hours 15 minutes
The Lt Col = 17 Hours 15 minutes
Prob-eee = Almost the entire race, like 23 Hours.
B.P.R. Moral Chairman, TeddNeck = N/A

11 laps

Judd = 24 Hrs and 5 minutes
The Lt Col = Sometime in 2011
Prob-eee = Sometime in 2011
B.P.R. Moral Chairman, TeddNeck  = ?

The Videos:

24Hrs in the Sage - Ride to the Start from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Just cruising to the start, Back of the Pack Style!

24Hrs in the Sage- The Race from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
Back of the Pack Racing, Lap 1

The Race Data:

24 Hours in the Sage: The Course
24 Hours in the Sage: Profile of 1 Lap
The Pics:

More will be added soon, maybe

The B.P.R. Crew: The Lt Col, The TeddNeck, The Judd, Prob-eee
What are you looking at? My Gut? Well I'm working on it, dude!
3/4 of the B.P.R. Crew

The Race Is On!
Judd's way out in front of The Back of the Pack. As usual!
Is that Prob-eee at the back of The Back of the Pack? Of Course
Camping with the Truckers at Walmart? Cool!
The B.P.R. Happy Campers downing some Santa Fe Brewing Happy Camper IPAs.
Yeah, we'd rather have some SKA Modus Hoperandi.
Why? Because the Brother's Rohwer grew up in Durango. That's Why.
The TeddNeck and the Lt Col (wannabe Redneck) preparing for the race. 
The Machines
The Judd wishes he was a Machine

Post race brew - The Judd conferring with The Lt Col
The Judd counseling Prob-eee.
Why was The Judd counseling Prob-eee?
Because no Prob-eees are allowed in The Lt Col's chamber
B.P.R.'s favorite bar: Boathouse Cantina in Salida Colorado
In the end:
The Judd is The Judd, The Lt Col is The Lt Col, Prob-eee is Prob-eee, and The TeddNeck is.... well, The TeddNeck is one scary creature!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

24 Hrs in the Sage: Final Preparation

The final hours until the FUN - the SUFFERING begin.

The bikes are ready, the racers are ready, the weather is great, all you BPR fans are missing one awesome BPR experience!

The BPR Transition Area

-- Post From My iPhone at 24 Hrs in the Sage

Friday, August 20, 2010

24 Hrs in The Sage, Prerace Comments

Tomorrow is Race Day - 24 Hrs in the Sage. I'm prepared, almost. Is the rest of the B.P.R. Crew? Who knows!

My 'run up' strategy consisted of 11 straight days on the bike during the last 2 weeks. Easy rides, only put in 225 miles during the time span. But the 11 days conditioned my mind for riding while a) unmotivated b) dead ass tired. So, it's a new strategy and we will see how it goes.

My race goal is simple. 200+ miles. I can do it if I have zero mechanical issues and limit my lap transition times to 5 minutes -- 10 min when I decide to change gear.

What are my predictions for the other Back of the Pack racers?

The Lt Col: He'll spend hours eating pizza and burritos - therefore he'll role in with 169 miles.

The Morale Chairman: He'll be pissed off all night, take a six hour break between 2am and 8am, therefore he'll roll in with 130 miles.

Prob-eee: Yeah, anyone's guess. Easy money says he'll sleep for 6 hours. Why? Because he's scared of the dark. But he'll finish with 104 miles. I think.

Well, I have a quick stop to make at Black Sheep Bikes then I'm headed back to Gunnison. More updates later.

The Sheep Are Ready!

-- Post From My iPhone, travel to 24 Hrs in the Sage

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Commute = 12,174 Crank Revolutions

No joke, you do the math! (And let me know if my math sucks, I am getting old - you know.)

I finally rode the fixed gear into work - and I rode it home. The total = 41.31 miles. My fixed gear rolls 17 feet and 11 inches per crank revolution and if the cranks ain't rotating, the bike ain't moving - it's fixed gear baby!

So, the total is 12,174 crank revolutions per commute to / from work. Cool data dude! (Try and count your crank revolutions on your freewheel setup - won't happen!)

The Lessons Learned:

  1. I need a pair of sunglasses with Transition Lenses, because it's dark at Oh Dark Thirty and it's sunny at Oh Dark Thirty + Thirty
  2. Two water bottles are not enough when it's 90+ deg on a hot August afternoon.
  3. Don't eat lunch at 4pm and hit the road at 4:30pm
  4. Don't go flying at 1pm and almost toss the cookies at 3pm - if you're riding home at 4:30pm
  5. 44 x 18 - child's play. I think I can hammer out the miles on a 44 x 16 - maybe next spring. (You think I'm joking, check out the vertical on the way home, only 1711 feet in 20.5 miles. I can do that in 12 miles in the South Foothills.)

What does the future hold for this Back of the Pack mountain biker with a 20 miles of asphalt between home and work? Well, I'll keep riding. Now that I've suppressed the fear of Judd the Road Kill, I think I'll continue with the fixed gear commute - when I can fit it in. Now I just need a custom titanium bike with COOL fenders. Huh, I think I know where to find one - or order one.

The Track: Looking North
The Track: Looking East
The Coast into Work: Wait, can't coast on the Fixed Gear - Dude!

The Grind Back Home: It Ain't That Bad
Judd is happy and home.
Time for some bike maintenance, time for food, time for some chick flicks!
Just joking. No chick flicks allowed, I think.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

B.P.R. High Altitude Training, New Mexico Style

High altitude training, New Mexico style? What does that mean. Well, it means Fixed Gear baby, Fixed Gear.

Today 1/2 of the B.P.R. crew took a leisurely ride to the top of Sandia Crest. Prob-eee and Judd started out at The Judd's pad at Paa-ko (~6525 feet above sea level) and rode up and up and up to the end of the road, 10,678 feet above sea level. The 'roll out' was fine, then Judd's mind started churning? How could Judd turn this into a race and pummel Prob-eee? Well, the strategy was laid out and successfully executed.

Judd's Assumptions of Prob-eee's approach to the monster climb:
  1. Prob-eee would probably try to 'simulate' the single speed experience for the 1st 6 miles, the ride to Sandia Peak Ski Area. (Do it dude, burn those legs out early!)
  2. Prob-eee would probably have to stop to reduce bladder pressure. (He's ancient man!)
  3. Prob-eee would probably drop it down to 1st gear on the climbs after the ski area
  4. Prob-eee would figure out someway to justify his slow ascent
Judd's strategy:
  1. Sit back a watch Prob-eee work
  2. Wait for the chance to 'fly right on by'
  3. Suffer through miles 7 - 10. (Mile ZERO is defined as the N14 / Sandia Crest turnoff.) 
  4. Ensure victory by staying in front, if needed - put the HAMMER DOWN!
  5. Coast for miles 11 - 13, take the title
  6. Cruise down the mountain and celebrate with some brews!
Judd's miscalculations:
  1. The ride doesn't get easier after mile 10. The ride is brutal all the way to the top, for a dude on a rigid fixed gear - 44 x 18 setup.
  2. The heat, yikes
  3. The cruise down was not a cruise down. You try fixed gear, downhill for 13.5 miles. It's a unique experience.
Prob-eee's miscalculations:
  1. It's a beautiful Sunday morning. (Nope, it's race day buddy.)
  2. It will be a nice ride up the mountain. (Nope, when you suffer, you suffer.)
  3. Judd and Prob-eee will just cruise and have a few good conversations. (Nope, it's race day buddy.
Prob-eee's final thoughts:
  • What? This was a race? On such a beautiful Sunday Morning?
Judd's final thoughts:
  • Every day is a race day, especially when Judd's in the lead and when Judd finishes first.

The Ride to Sandia Crest
The hard miles Past Sandia Peak Ski Area
The Data, Dude!
The Finish Line, Judd's the Winner!
The Proof, Judd's Chillin'
More Proof, The Antenna Towers
After the 20 mile breakaway, Judd decided to wait for Prob-eee at the N14 intersection.
wait and wait and wait.... of course.
How many gears are on that bike? 100? More?