|Eric Messing Around at the Start of the Birkie Trail Marathon|
Sessions are from 6 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. every Tuesday from October 6 - November 24, 2015
|Cyclova XC still has a handful of 2015 bikes on closeout - including Salsa Fat Bikes - but they're going fast!|
Cyclova Bike Packing For Beginners Outing - YOU'RE INVITED - RSVP'ing Required - LIMITED TO 20 RIDERS!
|Bike packing with friends (or by yourself) is probably the most fun you can legally have - join us for a semi-supported bike packing trip from Cyclova XC!|
|You've never felt contentment after a long day in the saddle... that is after getting camp situated, clothes drying, and food in your belly!|
|Bike packing isn't just for the Summer months. Today's ultra warm, ultra light gear makes bike packing during the Winter months a reality!|
|Bike packing gear is useful for a variety of purposes. Here I carry an ice cold growler of a tasty IPA from Castle Danger Brewery in my Salsa Anything Cage.|
|Endless espresso, Malt-O-Meal, and granola = all the comforts of home (well, at least most of them)! Here David is high on life during our 2009 bike packing trip to Canada!|
|One random 25k run, then nothing else much above 7 miles.|
So, we can confidently say I wasn't terribly confident in my legs taking me 13.7 miles this past Saturday. Again, aerobic fitness wise, no sweat. I've been doing some long roller skis the past few weekends, and my overall volume has been good. What you can't tell from those runs is that quite a few of those have been workouts (intervals and tempo runs). So while I'm not getting volume at least what running I am doing is work.
The next layer on my prep is working on pacing strategies in longer races. Last year at the Birkie Trail Marathon I went out a little harder than I should have and then picked it up way too early. This resulted in a catastrophic blow up. Then at the Gandy I started perhaps slightly conservatively, bumped it up to the sweet spot at the half, then tried to bump it up another notch at 3/4 and blew up again. So close. Ski season was a lot of blowing up until the last race of the year at the Pepsi where I finally nailed it.
|Gandy Marathon HR|
With the race starting with about 3/4 of a mile of easy crushed trap rock there was plenty of time to get things sorted out before hitting the single track. I was cruising comfortably somewhere around fifth or sixth when we passed the campsite. I was right behind Joe and ahead of Kevin. Right after we crossed the creek my plan came into effect as my HR jumped on the steep hill and I pulled aside to let Kevin go past.
I managed to get to River Road keeping my feet dry and without spraining an ankle on the new log rolling obstacles which were supposed to keep my feet dry. Starting up River Road I settled in to watch Greg, Kevin, and Tammi pull away. Joe and Tony each made a quick stop and then stopped again for a bottle drop at the entrance to BRC.
The climbing starts in earnest as soon as you get in BRC and thus the hiking really started. I'd get started up a climb and then revert to a power hike. It wasn't long before Tony and Joe caught up. Despite doing my own thing we ended up together for most of the loop around BRC. I'd get a little ahead on some of the climbs and they'd catch back up again as they bombed the downhills. My left hamstring was being a little tweaky and I didn't want to let it rip too much on the downhills.
Things were going well through all of BRC. I wasn't feeling overly stressed and seemed to be managing the heat reasonably well. I had my (well Starr's really I guess) handheld bottle and was sipping off of it every mile or so. I had put about 2/3 of a package of Tailwind in it giving that a try (something new on raceday). I can't really say how well it worked or didn't work. I also had two shot blocks over the course of the race. I never felt bonky nor did I have GI issues so I guess that is good.
Somewhere between 8 and 9 miles in Joe dropped back. Tony and I weren't sure what happened, but Joe called back down from up the hill and said he was good and to go on without him. Being I was trying to do my own thing anyway and he said he was good I continued on. Tony being the good friend waited up for Joe. I checked over my should a little later and was glad to see them both running strong so whatever had held Joe up wasn't too serious.
I timed my water consumption just right to drain the my bottle just before the water drop Ben left on the trail at mile 10. Knowing how warm it was I only took half a bottle to conserve for people behind me. And besides, I only had 3.7 miles to go. The rest of BRC was a little tougher than the rest. The sun was starting to come out and the last mile the ground was pretty soft.
On the way out of BRC Tony and Joe caught up again, but immediately made a stop to grab their bottle drops. I continued on down the pavement to River Road and down to the Ice Age Trail again. It was at this point that I finally decided I could take the 165 HR governor off and let it rip the last mile and half to the finish.
It certainly made the last 15 minutes of the race way more painful, but it also felt really good. Flying along the single track, skipping over rocks and logs, and through the brush is just exhilarating. I did make a quick stop to dunk my hat in the creek and splash my face and neck from the creek. Given how hard I was able to push that last stretch I obviously had enough left in the tank. I had no intention of taking this race to the limit though.
Overall it was a really good effort. I definitely executed my plan. Despite warm weather I was feeling pretty good towards the end. Looking at my HR my average was quite a bit less than 165. This was because I had a tendency to let my HR drop during the recovery stretches. If I want to execute closer to full potential I'll need to be more diligent about keeping the effort consistent. I'm not sure that I want to push the upper bounds any above 165 if I can get the average closer. Some things to work on yet this fall.
Mullin's What's Next
The Gravel Conspiracy rolls out from Grand Portage about 1:00pm on this Friday. Three days of "gravel" riding through the north woods of MN from the Canadian border down to Duluth. Another incredible weekend on a bike. (Note: By the time I got around to pushing publish this is actually in the past)
Birkie Trail Marathon 9/26 - 1/2 marathon
Gandy Marathon 10/10 - 1/2 marathon
|Gravel Conspiracy 2015 is in the books - and earned a unanimous thumbs up! Photo Credit to Jason Kunshier|
|The 2015 Gravel Conspirators are briefed by head conspirator Joshua Stamper prior to roll out from Korkki Nordic Centre.|
|Jason and Nate work to get their bikes ready before the start of stage 1 in Grand Portage - note Lake Superior and the Casino in the background.|
|Dallas reflects the mood of all the conspirators early on during day 1 of the Conspiracy - ALL SMILES!|
|As day 1 went on, the gravel got chunkier and chunkier. Here is a typical scene from the mid-ride on day 1. Photo Credit to David Gabrys.|
|The chunky gravel on Day 1 claimed many inner tubes - here Micah executes a quick flat fix!|
|I spent most of "the Conspiracy" riding with my good friend Dave - it had been far to long since we had enjoyed a long bicycle adventure together!|
|"Roads, where we're going, we don't need, roads!' - (this is a Back to the Future reference for those of you wondering). Conspirators encountered a bridge that was out over a river on day 2 of the Conspiracy!|
|Dave has a great eye for photo potential, which he found as I was sucking down this Gatorade. Fun was had sweating on the Conspiracy course!|
|Day 2 started out with a nearly 1000 foot climb. This photo was taken at the top of the steepest grade near the top, with Lake Superior in the distance.|
|This was the first Beaver Dam / water crossing of day 2. Here Ben Mullin exhibits great skill in negotiating mud, a slippery culvert, and water of unknown depths.|
|Speaking of beaver dams, here was an even rougher one at roughly mile 90 of day 2. Photo Credit to David Gabrys.|
|In addition to spending 3 days riding with great friends in epic places, for me the Gravel Conspiracy is about relaxing by the calming waters of Lake Superior. This photo was taken near the campground in Two Harbors that I stayed at.|
|Being a Conspirator is exhausting, even for the most accomplished endurance athlete. Here endurance rock-star Ben Mullin shows that even he can be wore down by 3 epic days of gravel riding.|
|Women's Ride at Big Rock Creek 2014 Photo Credit: Starr T.|
Your invitation to Ladies Night includes FREE snacks, refreshments, and a FREE raffle ticket! Through the course of the evening you can learn more about cycling safety, group rides, products, the importance of a bike that fits, and bike maintenance. Bring your friends!
|Don't let a breakdown stop you. Empower yourself with the skills to repair it! Photo Credit: Ben Mullin|
Free Bike Maintenance Clinic:
Frank Lundeen, co-founder of Cyclova XC, will demonstrate The ABC's of Bicycle Maintenance (Air, Brakes, Chain). Frank's easy-to-master approach will equip you with the skills to become self-sufficient on your ride. Learn how to fix a flat tire or a broken chain, care for your components, and perform a safety check before riding.
And as always, this is a FREE event- open to all women, so bring a friend!
|Representing Sasquatch Dash at Machu Picchu...Should be good for a series point right Ben?|
This past Saturday brought a conclusion to the third Sasquatch Dash series. On a warm and muggy morning we had 21 folks come out to run a challenging 13.7 mile course followed by food and socialization.
Sadly, we only have a single picture of the entire event (next year we need to delegate the picture taking responsibility to someone else because obviously the Bens can't be given that level of responsibility). Thus, here you have the Wolf method of flushing the legs after a hard run while simultaneously attempting to put the smack down on one of the cutest little girls around.
A big shout out to Scott at BRC for mowing the course and clearing some of the downed trees. I'm sure it was a big job, but the course is incredible. Also thanks to Ben and Micah for marking the course. We had a 90% navigational success rate this time, which is pretty good for us!
We had a couple firsts/mosts at this event. There may be others I don't know about, but I know these for sure. For both Greg and Cory this was their first half marathon. Greg's previous longest run was on Monday and was 10.3 miles. Dude would be scary if he ran more. Major props to both of those guys for making this beast of a run their longest ever.
Also, since the results won't show it, a shout out to Steve for going the extra mile... or two as the case may be. He gets the award for making the 13.7 mile course a 15+ mile course just because he liked those hills so much.
So without further rambling, let's take a look at how the race shook out.
On the ladies side, we had two finishers, one navigational error, and one participant who planned to run short and executed to plan.
Tammi finished her run of dominance taking the finale by a wide margin. Katie took a solid second. Starr was one of our navigationally challenged participants (Ben Jonjak says he tried to turn those arrows into diamonds but saw that by the time the race happened his change still looked like arrows). Sadly by the time she realized she had made a wrong turn she didn't have time to retrace her steps as she had a second race of the day to work in the afternoon. Dorinda said before the race she knew she could do a half marathon if she was trained for it, but said she wasn't and planned to run six and that is exactly what she did.
On the men's side, Greg took his longest run ever by storm and ran his way to the top of the podium. If Facebook is any indication, the walk off of the podium the next day has been interesting for him though. Kevin was cool as ever ran to the second step of the podium. Expect to see some more solid results from Kevin in the coming weeks at the Birkie and Gandy.
Another quick editorial note. Normally we see Alex on the other end of the results. Wisely he opted to show up late and just walk out on the course and cheer folks on. I say wisely as he has been dealing with some achilles issues and like all great runners, had he been there when the "gun" went off, he would have felt it necessary to run.
Alright, so how did the overall standing shake out? Remember, the finale counted for double points so there was a lot on the table here. Also remember, we only keep the top 4 scores so there is the possibility some of your points get thrown out. The tables below show the Final Points which is the top 4 scores plus bonus points, Thrown column which shows the highest score thrown out for that person, and lastly the final place.
If you show up to every race but one and win all of those, it probably should be no surprise that you win the overall title. That is exactly what Tammi did scoring a perfect 110.
Starr turned in a consistent performance and made most of the events and earned herself second place in the final standings.
After that, Katie came in and played spoiler on Dorinda in the finale. Dorinda is one of our most frequent competitors and her steady persistence ended just two points shy as Katie turned her third event with double points into a squeaker onto the third step of the podium.
On the men's side, we have a new champion to crown. Greg turned a slow start into a dominating performance by the end of the series. And despite a combination of illness and injury, I still couldn't quite overtake Alex coming in one point shy.
With that, the 2015 Sasquatch Dash series is a wrap. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on how the series went, or what you would like to see next year be sure to share them.
Just because the Sasquatch Dash is over doesn't mean the running season isn't over yet. The Birkie Trail Marathon (or half, or ultra) is coming up September 26th. This is a pretty sweet event utilizing the double (triple?) track of the Skate and Classic Birkie courses plus some pretty sweet CAMBA single track. Definitely worth a look.
Also, if you haven't signed up for the Gandy Marathon yet, you obviously haven't spent any time around Ben Jonjak or Eric Olson! Seriously, you should check out the second year of the event on October 10th in Luck WI.
If you are looking for my personal race report, bless your heart. I'll be putting that separately this time.