Sunday, May 15, 2011

12 Hours in the Wild West: Race Review

The Race Summary:

The 12 Hour Monkey is off my back. The Monkey has left the room. Yes, the dudes at the back of the pack are not known for exceptional performance at 12 hour races. It's a psychology thing that translates into mediocre miles. BUT the collective performance of the Brothers Rohwer at the 12 Hours of the Wild West may set new expectations for the Back of the Pack racers at these 'daylight' events. Then again, the next 12 hour race for the Back of the Pack crew.... 2012. So who knows.

Anyway, the decision to trek down to Fort Stanton for the 12 Hours of the Wild West was a good decision. Both the Morale Chairman and The Judd raced for 11+ hours and each achieved a personal best for a 12 hour format. The pain was real, the suffering was exceptional, the miles were earned and the results were a bonus.

I'll start off with the video and course data. I assume the average B.P.R. fan has a short attention span. Why? Because I do, dude. So work your way down the posting... or... don't.

The Video:

Even though I'm an electrical engineer when forced to earn a paycheck - I'm an Artist at heart. I know the videos from the Back of the Pack are boring. Prob-eee tells me daily that he 'is too busy' with his naked yoga to watch these boring videos. But I'm working on my artistic skills. This video is short on action but scripted to match the western love song by Rancid. Yes. It's all about creating a mood, delivering the views AND giving The Madre and The Professor Emeritus an idea of what their little big kids are up too. (Damn, that paragraph gave me a headache. Talk about an incoherent assembly of incomplete thoughts.)

And just remember. A rigid single speed coupled with a rough track = a rough video. That's just the way it is.

12 Hrs in the Wild West from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
A view from the Back of the Pack
The Course:

The Course? Rough and Tough. That's all I can say. The majority of the climbing was in the 1st 4.5 miles - except for two short painful sprints near mile 6. The downhills were fast, for some, and very rough for us dudes sporting the 29 Inches Single & Rigid patch.

Not that I would ever recommend suspension and gears - but if you want to go fast at 12 Hours in the Wild West - you may want suspension and gears. I have principles, so I'll stick with rough, tough and slow.

The Track

A Lap

The B.P.R. Awards:
  • The Judd: "I may be 215 lbs, I may be ranked 7531st in the world - but I can podium every once in a while" Award. 2nd place - 10 labs & 103.47 miles in 11 hrs and 22 min.
  • The Morale Chairman: "Who cares if my breakfast consists of Bud Light Tomato Beer. I'll put down a cool 8 laps and call it a day" Award. 4th place - 8 laps, 82.83 miles in 11 hrs 31 min.
The Hardware

The Back of the Pack Championship:

The Back of the Pack Championship Series is growing - growing because The Hustorian has the power to define and redefine the Championship Series. The 12 Hours in the Wild West definitely deserves a spot in the series. Why? Because I said so, I'm The Hustorian. (That's Hu-stor-ian, dude.)

Anyway, there is definitely a race going on in the B.P.R. Championship Series. Well, a race for 2nd place. The Judd has not wrapped up the championship, yet. But it clearly looks as if the the battle is for 2nd place. 3 dudes battling it out. Then there is Prob-eee. Some people may wonder why 3 dudes are tied at 99 pts and Prob-eee has -40. Simple. If you snooze, you lose. And Prob-eee's favorite activity is 'napping'.

The 12 Hour Psychology of The Philosfizer:

The 12 Hour Psychology? What? Yeah. Back of the Pack Racing usually suffers from the wrath of the 12 Hour demons, the 12 Hour Monkeys. Why? Because. It's all about the psychology of dudes that eat too much pizza, drink too much beer and analyze the ludacracy of the single speed lifestyle.

Believe it or not. A 24 hour race is much easier than a 12 hour race. Simple psychology. The 'fun' in a 24 hour race starts around dusk and goes deep into the night - until about 3 am when the demons go for the full frontal assault. (If you're lucky, the battle with the demons will be over once the sun rises - a short 3 hr battle.) So a dude at the back of the pack looks forward to the late night racing and thrives on the 3 hr battle with the demons. To put it another way, when you look forward to something - like the 2nd 12 hours of a 24 hour race - then time flies. The 1st 12 hours of a 24 hour race is a piece of cake.

So, the problem with 12 hour races is obvious, right? What do we, the average single speed freak, look forward to during a 12 hour race? 1) the 12th hour, 2) the beer at the end of the race.

Therefore time creeps & the mind wanders - which makes the 12 hour race format very difficult for a few of us freaks. And remember, a 100 mile cross country race is much easier than a 12 hour race. Why? If you can't stop at the pit, you can't stop.

Make sense? Probably not. Most people can't follow The Psychology of The Philosofizer. That's ok.

The Lesson Learned - The Alternate Reality of Tedd:
  •  The goal was to travel light: The Judd showed up with a ground pad and a sleeping bag. The Morale Chairman showed up with a queen sized blow up mattress, a pillow, a night stand, an AM/FM clock radio AND a machete. But... The Morale Chairman slept under the stars AND a very bright Moon, not moon.
The Morale Chairman's Strategy:

The Morale Chairman is a corporate dude. The Morale Chairman is a family man. The Morale Chairman is The TeddNeck. Therefore the Morale Chairman doesn't turn over the cranks on a regular basis.

So what's the Morale Chairman's race proven strategy?
  • walk early and walk often
Funniest 5 Minutes of The Race:

Lisa, the race MC among other duties, said on the PA system  "you all should go check out these Black Sheep bikes that the dudes of Back of the Pack Racing ride". 

So, a dude walked up to The Morale Chairman - probably around 3 or 4pm. The dude asked The TeddNeck if he could check out the sheep. The TeddNeck said 'no problem' and proceeded to do his thing, like apply more sunscreen - or something. A minute later the TeddNeck looks up and the random dude was taking his Black Sheep for a spin. 

Yikes. Brings up memories of the Lt Col's Black Sheep kidnapping nightmare at the 2010 edition of 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest. That's funny - if you ask me.

What's Next:

Just more riding, which includes
The Summary of The Summary:

It was a quick trip for The Morale Chairman and The Judd. We had a great time hanging with great people, great friends. And we met new friends - that previously existed only in the the alternate universe of the Blog-o-Sphere. Back of the Pack Ludacracy is catching on - and we love to talk nonsense with all the dudes and dudettes out there.

Oh Yeah, The Pics:
packed for another race

The TeddNeck & The Redneck sporting plaid in the mountains

downing a quick Dale's at the local hangout

the ultimate B.P.R. pit - Thanks Lindsay!

the start of the suffering

the crew- the bad photo at the back of the pack

The Single Speed Podium
Super Freak Isaac blew away the competition, 12 Laps

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Trance is the Motion

The Days are BORING... The Nights are WORSE. But that's the way it is when you are a) over the hill, b) have a one track mind, c) preparing physically AND mentally for a wild summer.

That's right. I'm basically staying home during May. June is packed with races and July is packed with adventures. So right now it's all about long hours on the bike. Mostly fixie / asphalt miles but a few rides on the single speed... in the dirt.

These long days on the bike force you to let the mind wander. It's best to block out the boredom, the heat, the pain. It's best to just keep the cranks turning - by any means possible. It's best to face the challenge head on, face the challenge on a 34 x 14 fixie - not a 34 x 27. (Right Prob-eee? Right!)

Because I'm forced to work for a living - what a drag - I decided to do what every bike loving dude would do. I start off the day with a nice 20.5 mile ride. Then I take a 9 hour detour to something called 'work'. Then I finish the day off with another 20.5 mile ride. That's right. Time to commute to work on the fixie Black Sheep. Time for the 41 mile commute. (Ok 41 miles +/- 0.05 miles)

Yeah. The Madre isn't too happy with me, she's not too happy that I'm riding the fixie on N14 and Route 66. I'm a middle aged dude and The Madre is still worried about little Judd. (Too bad little Judd is 6'1" and 215 lbs. Which the World Heath Organization may call obese.)  I wonder if The Madre will be worried when I tell her that I volunteered for the 1st manned mission to Mars. That's right. I have a 0.00001 chance of being the 1st human on Mars. Wanna go?

Anyway. June is a long way off - I have many more days of the B.P.R. Commute - Fixie Style. I wonder how many miles I'll rack up in May. Guess what. I'll have the data compiled and posted on June 1st. Imagine that.

I'll ride on the path - because I'm not in a hurry.... dude

The Trance is the Motion:

I know. I know. All you dudes & dudettes are bored stiff with the last number of postings. Sorry dude & dudette. Not much going on. The Lt Col is hiding out in his Bungalow. The Morale Chairman is working and cruising for new fancy pants. Mad Rhino is sunbathing in the Arizona desert. Prob-eee is meditating in his naked downward dog pose. So it's bad. I know it. I feel it.

To add to the crazy boredom I generated a video of my daily commute. See Madre, it Ain't that Bad!


The Trance is the Motion. One can survive the spring doldrums by living in a trance, a trance fueled by Static-X

So. Humor me. Watch the video and enjoy Static-X.

The B.P.R. Commute from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
The Trance Is The Motion

The Ride, The Data:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Prob-eee Saves the Day

What can I say? The Hustorian is all about honesty. The Hustorian is all about documenting history.

Today Prob-eee and I went out for a ride. I took an easy 12 mile cruise on the sheep, a cruise from The Pad to the Cedro trails. THEN I met up with Prob-eee. THEN I spend 2 hours on the trail thinking about how to RIP Prob-eee in the blog-o-sphere. THEN it happened... I needed some help from Prob-eee. And Prob-eee delivered. Damn. Time to be nice to Prob-eee.

The Background:

Ok. The Basics. The Background. The Judd, The Hustorian DOES NOT usually ride in a group. A dude at the Back of the Pack is an expert at riding alone. Yeah. If there is a killer XC ride (that's Cross Country for the rookies in the B.P.R. Fan Club) I'm cool with a riding group. But a simple 20 mile ride? Leave me alone. I train best at my pace - not your pace.

BUT there are a few times when I bend the rules.
  1. If The Lt Col wants to ride, I'm there. Why? Because. I have a million questions about the military honor code, the rules of 'saluting' and insanely probing (not Prob-eee) questions about aircraft and pilot S*^T. I want to know. Therefore I will hang with The Lt Col. Oh Yeah. The Lt Col is a B.P.R. Founding Father and the Elder Statesman. Enough said.
  2. I try to blow off Prob-eee. I really try. But every now and then I must lend a hand, I must do what I can to pull Prob-eee off his yoga mat and onto his wicked Black Sheep. Yeah, Prob-eee doesn't want to leave his comfort zone. He would rather practice his naked yoga moves than ride his Black Sheep. I know, I know. The dude is weird.
  3. Foxy Mama! Damn. If a Foxy Mama wants to ride, ride with The Judd. It'll happen. End of story. 
The Events:

Like I said.  I spent 2+ hours on the ride thinking about how I could 'highlight' the current Prob-eee issues. I could talk about:
  1. The cute purse Prob-eee strapped to his handlebars
  2. The custom made, cute fanny pack that Prob-eee sports. Custom made with custom embroidery that says 'Ride with Prob-eee, Love with Prob-eee'
  3. The cute leg and arm warmers that Prob-eee soaks in lotion and wears not for 'warmth' but simply to protect his delicate skin in the harsh New Mexico environment. 
BUT... disaster struck:

As usual The Judd was clearing the track for Mr Geriatric - Prob-eee. Then all of a sudden a big rock jumped out of the trail and slashed The Judd's rear tire. It was OVER. A massive 1 inch gash in the sidewall. Oh well. Just a $58 tire. F*^K! But... The Judd rides prepared. Just put in the tube and get back to the frantic pace - at the Back of the Pack.

Well. Life is not so simple at times. The Judd's NEW tube, NEW tube with SLIM had a small hole. The small hole turned into a massive SLIM infused leak once the hand pump applied a constant rush of air. CRAP! 7 Miles from civilization. Survival in question! (Did I say 'NEW' tube?)

Prob-eee to the rescue! Prob-eee pulled out his 1 year old tube - the tube stuck in his fanny pack, I mean seat pack for the last year. Prob-eee is as Prob-eee does. Prob-eee handed over the tube and a Clif Bar wrapper to pad the slash in the sidewall. Prob-eee and his 1 year old tube saved the day. Thank you Prob-eee. You're awesome! Just get rid of those stupid lotion laced arm warmers. Please? Please!

Tense Times in the Thicket

The Way It Is:

So. Prob-eee not only saved the day - saved The Judd from a 7 mile walk. BUT Prob-eee finally decided to PAY UP. (Like PAY UP SUCKER) - . Yep, Prob-eee owed The Judd lunch plus interest for the last two months. So Lunch + Interest = Lunch + Beer at Backside Ale House.  And Prob-eee paid up - Sucker!

Better yet. Prob-eee offered up a ride up to Backside Ale House. It's an easy 7 mile ride from the trail - but why waste valuable time riding the asphalt - especially when Prob-eee is offering up a ride.

AND, as always, the Foxy Mamas at Backside Ale House provided killer food and some good conversation. Why else would we (I) hang out at such a place?  What's better than a medium rare cheeseburger prepared by a hottie wearing a Rancid t-shirt. Simply AWESOME!

The Pics:
Two Sheep. One Titanium. One Steel.

FIRST and LAST time you will see The Judd's Black Sheep on a bike rack, dude
Whose Sheep is the Baddest Sheep? The Judd's, of course

How do you double the value of Prob-eee's Honda Fit?
You put 2 Black Sheep on the bike rack, dude

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Favorite Diabolical Cruise on The Fixie Black Sheep

I took a break, a breather from everything the last few weeks. I needed to recharge my muscles and my brain. The next 3 months will be extreme at the Back of the Pack. So the two week hiatus prepared me for my new lifestyle - the lifestyle of riding and training for a few big events.

The Schedule, The Big Events:
  • May = Tour de Judd, details to follow - in June.
  • June = A few 24 hour races, maybe SSUSA.
  • July = Durango Dirty Century, B.P.R. High Altitude Championships 
    • AND a long vacation with the the single speed, of course
So I'm back at it. As of yesterday morning my legs were rested and my mind was wandering. Then I've started my high(er) altitude training - right in my back yard. Now my legs are destroyed and my mind is focused. Funny how that happens.

Just a Pic at 10,700 ft, Sandia Crest
Yeah. It's cold up there.

The funny stuff from a fixie perspective:
  • Climbing the 13.5 miles & 4000 ft  is difficult on the 34 x 14 fixie. The legs didn't hurt too bad - maybe because they were numb with pain after 5 miles.
  • Going down on the fixie is BRUTAL. The legs were screaming, the feet were killing and for some reason cramps show up in very weird places. No joke. I won't provide any additional details. AND don't let your mind wander.
    • I tackled the Sandia Crest Hill Climb on my fixie Surly many times. The pain on the descent is something that I never remember. It's always a surprise.
    • I only used the front brake 3 times - to stop quickly for pics. Brakes on a fixie are only for emergencies - like if a chain snaps while exerting massive back pressure to slow down a runaway fixie. 
    • Just joking. Brakes are good. But it's a challenge to control the descent with leg power - it's a brutal challenge.
  • It's always good to stop and recharge at Backside Ale House.
    • Only blew an hour and $32 on beer and a burger.
  • My max heart rate - 181 bpm - occurred on the cruise home. My goal was to put in a few extra, easy miles on a side road. I paid for it. Big time. Nothing like wanting to cry on the 'cruise home'.
    The Data:

    I'm pretty much addicted to the Sandia Crest Hill Climb - on a fixie. The climb is really benign on a geared bike - not that I've done the climb on a geared bike in the last number of years. The 13.5 miles & 4000 ft of vertical is a physical challenge on a fixie, 34 x 14, sort of. But It's definitely a mental challenge due to the effects of altitude. Yeah. It seems like miles 8 - 11 are insanely tough. Super steep. But I'm fully aware of mental conditions / mental instability and the power of the demons that lie within the head of most single speed freaks. So, I was curious - how hard is the ride? Is it the grade or the altitude.

    Well, I decoded my GPS data, and the data says it 'Ain't That Bad'.

    Yeah. The data says it 'Ain't That Bad' . The data shows that the vertical / mile is fairly consistent. So the altitude plays some games, the demons and the altitude make the ride a challenge.

    The Pics:
    The Middle Aged Judd

    I live somewhere, somewhere way down there

    1/2 way down, Sandia Peak Ski Area

    The local hangout, Backside Ale House
    Dale's Pale Ale on ORDER