Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday wrap up

The holiday season is just about done.

I spent much of the weekend tethered to a pager, but I did manage to get on a couple of rides.  Total for the week after the failed Tuscobia experiment was 7 hours.

This week was off to a slow start with a unscheduled visit to the dentist for a crown.  Wed I was about 3 hours into a ride when my rear wheel spontaneously detensioned (29er wheels on the Pugs).  I had to make the call of shame and have Mrs. J-No pick me up.

In other news the basement refinish is about done.  I'll get some pics up when I am able to locate the camera.  Our camera has been missing in action.  It has a wireless card that automatically downloads pics.  The last download was from the middle of the month and looked to be taken by one of the twins (3 year olds).  Currently there is a $5 reward at our house for the camera.

It looks like it is snowing now.  Hopefully the weekend will see some solid hours on the bike.  Due to the fact my training hours are not that high, I do a week taper before big events.  That leaves me 3 weeks.

I hope everyone has a safe weekend.  Sorry for the boring post.  Next week I hope to talk about the Pugs and my winter set up.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tuscobia--A character building experience

I was on the fence about doing this event.  I made the decision to do it on Mon.  I knew the fitness was not there.  The goal was a shake down event before the Arrowhead 135 in six weeks.  The opportunity to hang out with like minded individuals for the weekend along with the  excellent organization/support pushed me over the edge.  I also had a score to settle with this event.  Last year I suffered quite a bit of GI distress and was too sore/tired to do anything for a week and a half after the race.  I wanted to avoid that at all costs.

Friday morning was the start of the Tuscobia 150.  I arrived in Park Falls Thurs evening and checked in.  I met Chris and Helen and was quickly squared away.  The room was filled with rogue group of misfits that I have found to be familiar faces at these events.  Tri, Farrow, Maxwell, Rossman, Roe, Wethington and a few others were hanging out talking about past events and plans for 2012.  Notably absent were the top 3 from last year, Buffington, Shand and Andre.  Speculation/gossip about their status was addressed.  As we were walking out Farrow tried provoking some of the runners asking about nipple protection and lubrication, but they would not feed into it.

We stayed (again) at the elegant Edge of Town Motel.  Farrow and Tri were to be my bunk mates for the night.  A quick call home found Mrs. J-No about to hit the hot tub with a glass of wine.  Looking at my ne'er do well partners made me question my decision making process.  The temps were supposed to be in the high 20's Friday day dropping off to the teens on Fri night.  I opted to keep a lot of my gear at home as the weather looked to be nice.  This would haunt me later.

Friday am we started at 0600.  I stopped a mile in to do some gear adjustments as did Farrow.  This was the last we would see of Tri.  About 5 miles in the snow was deep and barely rideable.  I dropped pressure to well below 5 psi.  Tri looked to be floating along nicely in his Big Fat Larry tires, but Farrow and I were punching through the snow.  The rear blinky of Tri kept getting further away.  I kept the pace at a conversational level, although I was riding alone.  Farrow started to have a multitude of bike problems.  The first checkpoint was at Winter and I quickly refilled my camelbak and was out the door.  Tri was 30 min up at that point.

The next 35 miles (Winter to Birchwood) was the longest stretch of the ride.  A closed trail in the town of Radisson had me riding around for 30 minutes looking for a way out.  Tri had done the same thing and I was following his tracks as he found multiple dead ends.  I finally got on track and got to the second checkpoint without incident.  I still felt great, had a sandwich and was out the door.  Tri was 90 min up. 

The next section was 25 miles--12.5 out then back to the same check point.  The snow was gone at some points and things were going well.  I stopped to chat with Tri as we met and again with Farrow.  His bike woes continued and I saw a lot of duct tape on his bike.  Back at Birchwood I stopped again to refill my camelbak.  It was dark and usually I would change out my base layer, put on a dry hat and dry glove liners.  I did not bring any of this stuff, so I continued on.  Nick was there heading to the turn around.

Farrow caught me at about mile 90 and was riding strong.  I ran into Darryl and another guy heading the opposite way.  It was at this point I started to get tired, both riding-tired and sleep-tired.  It was probably about 10pm.  I started eating chocolate covered espresso beans and felt a little better.  I was starting to get cold as well even though was wearing everything I had at that point. I kept pushing on at a snail's pace.  At midnight I stopped in the town of Radisson again and decided to stop at the gas station, get some hot food, and warm up for a bit.  The gas station was closed and I was starting to get really cold.  I saw the lights on at the local bar and walked in.  The barkeep was an elderly woman who did not quite understand what I was doing there.  She agreed to make me a frozen pizza.  I woofed it down and was in and out in 25 minutes.  Winter was 15 miles away.  I dozed off a few times while riding and fell in the snow.  My dark place had once again found me.  The idea of pulling out the bivy sack and sleeping for a few hours crossed my mind, but I was determined to make it to Winter.  I arrived there at 3am and decided to sleep for a couple of hours.  Val and Cami gave me some stew and I curled up on the recliner. 

At 5:30 I was awake, but there was nothing left in the tank.  I was done.  Finished.  The toughest section was left to go (poor snow conditions) and I knew I did not have it in me to ride/push for another 8-10 hours.  Cami gave me a ride back to Park Falls.  I congratulated Tri on his well deserved/dominating win and waited for Farrow to arrive.  I stopped in Eau Claire to visit some friends for a bit on the way home.  Tuscobia had once again gotten the better of me.

Take home points:

1.)  I need the extra 6 weeks of training between now and Arrowhead.  I could have slept 5 hours and still had nothing left.

2.)  Do not skimp on gear.  I had all the required gear, but extra clothes and a down jacket would have made my night more pleasant.  I normally carry these things, but I underestimated the weather.  I was never in danger as I had a warm bag/stove, but I should have planned better.

3.)  I either need to find a way to get through the night, or plan from the beginning on sleeping for a few hours.  This is my 4th winter ultra, and I have had to stop and sleep for the previous 3.  Midnight is my witching hour.  I may play with wearing some music starting at midnight.  I have had to pull several all nighters at work and I do not have a problem with them, just in the cold.

4.) The ultra endurance family is amazing.  The other racers, organizers, and volunteers are all top notch individuals. Thanks to all of them.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week in review, 12/11/11

Generally I try for 10 hours on the bike per week.  Up until this week, last 2 weeks were great totaling 11 hours and 13 hours.

This past week did not go well for training.  A total of 3 and a half hours ridden.  Mrs. J-No was ill and life in general got in the way.  Big picture wise, not a big deal.  Arrowhead is 6 weeks away, plenty of time to ramp it up starting with the Tuscobia 150 on Fri.

Speaking of Tuscobia, I was on the fence about doing it.  A lack of fitness, poor work scheduling, and poor nutrition saw me struggle to complete it last year.  Although the training hours have not been up there, I hope that better race day execution will see me through a stronger finish this year.  Looking over the start list it looks like Tri, Andre, and Farrow should be up at the pointy end of the race.  Notably absent from last year are defending champ Buffington and runner up Bill Shand(tie with Andre).  Tri is upgrading from the women's race that he won last year.  Farrow is looking to settle the score after a non finish last year that had him reaching for his revolver to end it all.  As a bonus, a weekend with Farrow and Tri is always entertaining. 

In other notable news there was some discord in my riding family.  Buddy A ordered a new bike to replace a stolen one.  Naturally we oogled over his choices and offered multiple compliments and virtual high fives.  He innocently forgot to mention the new bike purchase to his wife.  It's happened to all of us.  Buddy B told his wife who mentioned to buddy A's wife about the new bike during a play date.  A definite violation of the Bro Code.  Read more details HERE.

In non cycling news, the basement finish is wrapping up.  I hope to have some pics up next week.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I have decided to throw my hat into the ring of blogging. No deep spiritual reasons, just a way to talk about bikes, rides, and the occasional random topic. I'd also like to keep track of my goals and my progress towards them. Plus, my friends do it.