Sunday, June 28, 2009

Even more OMBA Caramba training

Friday evening I braved the heat for another shakedown ride at the Sac River Trail in preparation for the OMBA Caramba mountain bike race on July 12th. My goal was to run 2 laps in under 1 hour and 30 minutes. Plus it was my first ride with my new Kenda Nevegal front tire that arrived via FedEX Thursday evening. I ordered the DTC version but they sent the Stick-E one instead. It mounted much easier than the rear tire did the week before, but I think thats because of the lessons I learned; I removed the core from the stem and beat on the tire as I applied air from the air compressor. On the second try the tire popped on the rim and I was good to go.

I planned on riding fairly conservatively on the first lap which I stuck to for about 10 minutes. Once I got to the top of the hill near the barn I rode the rest of the lap about as hard as I could. I noticed they've started preparing the course for the race; the fist section was nicely trimmed but they've still got a ways to go. I finished the first lap in 41:03 minutes and supprisingly still felt pretty good so I figured the 1:30 goal was attainable.

On the fist uphill section of the second lap I started feeling a pain under my ribs on the right side. I've been told this "side-stitch" is caused by not enough oxygen being delivered to the small muscles in that area. When riding (or running) the legs are using a lot of oxygen so the smaller muscles have to do with less. One remedy is to stop and do side bends with your arms overhead which increases blood flow to that area, but my pain wasn't very severe so I didn't stop, I just concentrated on taking deep breaths and in a few minutes the pain went away.

I finished the second lap with a total time of 1 hour, 23 minutes and 37 seconds; well under my target time of 1:30. When I rode up to the jeep after the second lap I was pretty winded and doing another lap would have been hard; but I figure that during the race I'll just ride that lap as hard as I can and see what happens. I met a guy named Stan parked next to me in the parking lot that had just finished riding and we chatted for a little while about the trails and the upcoming race. He's also planning on riding in the race so hopefully we'll be able to ride the course together before then. He lives south of Springfield and has a bit of a drive to get to the trails but I like to ride with someone else whenever possible so we'll see what happens.

I'm going to run the loop at Wilsons Creek battlefield today but I'll be back at little sac tomorrow evening after work.

Oh, and the new front tire was great. I was really leaning into the turns trying to brake as little as possible and I only felt it slip one time, which happened in loose rocks. I felt much more confident that the tire would grip and it did. It might have been a mental thing but I'm happy with the purchase.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kenda Nevegal DTC MTB Tire

In an earlier post I mentioned that I was in the market for a new mountain biking tire and was interested in the specialized chunder. Well, A&B Cycle didn't have one so I grabbed a Kenda Neveal DTC (dual tread compound) instead (they gave me a great price on it). My first impression of the tire wasn't good; it took FOREVER to get the tire seated to the rim with a tubeless setup. I ended up taking the core out of the valve stem and using lots of soap and water and a 100psi air compressor to get it to hold air.

When I got the tire on the trail my impression changed. The first ride had some fairly wet and muddy sections and the tire kept traction better than any specialized tire I've used. On my next ride where the trails were much drier the tire did very well and I felt more comfortable in the corners. I was running it on the rear and it never slipped on me.

I imagine the downside will be more rolling resistance since it has larger lugs than what I've used before, but I plan on running a lower tire pressure so that should help.

I've ordered another one from JensonUSA (mine was the last one A&B had) so I'll run it front and rear. The sidewall seems very thin and flexible which I hope doesn't lead to any tears.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More OMBA Caramba training

I rode little sac again yesterday trying to get ready for the OMBA Caramba race on the 12th and it went pretty well. Here were my lap times:

Lap 1 41:21
Distance 6.98
Average 10
Max 21.4

Lap 1 & 2 1:25:37
Distance 13.94
Average 9.7
Max 21.4

I really pushed myself during the ride but I felt better on the hills than I did Saturday. With those 2 laps I would have made the 1:30 cutoff to do 3 laps during the race.

At this point I'm feeling pretty confident; it was VERY hot last night and when I finished the 2 laps I was drenched with sweat. I also emptied my 1 liter camelbak so I'll have to figure something out for the race to get more fluids. I'm thinking I'll be able to drop off the camelbak after the second lap and switch to a bottle.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

OMBA Caramba race info

I rode the OMBA Caramba race course at the Sac River trails today. I did 2 laps and here's the info from my bike computer

Lap 1
Time 44:03
Distance 6.98
Average 9.5
Max 21.9

Lap 2
Time 48:18
Distance 6.97
Average 8.6
Max 19.4

The first lap I rode pretty hard; there was only one really tough section. By the time I got to the top of the hill I was really dipping into my tank. There was one other hill that was fairly hard but it was much shorter and followed by a lengthy downhill section so I was able to recover pretty quickly. There's also a really long and fast downhill section that will be pretty hairy during the race. It ends with a sharp left turn whereas the trail itself keeps going so there's no bank to help with the turn. I knew the turn was coming up and I still had to lock up my rear brakes to make the turn. I expect someone will go down or fly through the ribbon during the race. There's one other hairy downhill that ends with a sharp left turn in a creek so that could be an issue as well. For the most part the course is well laid out and utilizes the majority of the trails at the park. There aren't any overlapping sections but most of the trails are pretty narrow so passes will be tricky.

I was pretty winded after the first lap so I took it much easier on the second lap. With those two times I wouldn't make the 1:30 cutoff (if that's what it is) to do 3 laps. But I know I could have pushed myself and trimmed a couple minutes off that second lap.

All and all I'm pretty pumped about the race and I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be exciting.

Pic from today:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mountain Bike Racing

Yesterday evening I went out to the sac river trails for a ride and noticed there were lots of directional markers posted to trees like they do when they designate a course for a race. After my fist lap around the park I followed the markers and it was a pretty good course. It was getting pretty dark and I wasn't wearing my headlight but it took me about 45 to complete the lap.

It got me wondering what the signs were for since I haven't heard anything about a race out there and there's no way the race could have already happened because many of the trails had grass growing on them which means there hasn't been much traffic on the trails and there weren't any tail-tale ribbons tied to any trees around the markers. My only clue were the words
OMBA Caramba that was on every sign.

When I got home I did a little googling and found out there's going to be a race on July 12 and it's part of the midwest fat tire series. Their website doesn't have many details about the race yet but here's a link to the series rulebook that has some good info. I think the entry fee for the beginner and sport classes are $25. For the expert and marathon class it's $30.

Judging from the other races I expect there to be a 1 hour 30 minute cutoff for beginner, sport and expert classes and 3 hour cutoff for marathon; so you complete as many laps as you can in that time. As long as you start your last lap prior to the cutoff then you're allowed to finish that lap.

I want to do this race, the question is; what class? Technically I'd be either a beginner or sport based on my limited racing experience, but since I've been mountian biking for a while and I know the Sac River trails like the back of my hand, I should stay out of the beginner group. But then when I consider what my strenghts are and endurance is at the top of the list. That makes me lean toward the marathon class since I think a longer race helps me (granted I'd be racing against better riders).

I don't know which class to pick, I think I'll wait until more infomation is published on the race. I do know one thing; I'll be out there riding the course tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Running with water

I went for a ride out at little sac yesterday after work, and about 20 minutes into the ride I noticed my rear tire was nearly flat. That's pretty odd because since I've started running tubeless I haven't had a single flat. While looking for the source of the leak I realized that I've somehow worn the sidewalls of the rear tire almost all the way through. The steel (I guess) belting was actually showing all the way around the tire and the stans sealant was seeping through the side of the tire. I can't figure out what caused it to wear like that because it's on both sides of the tire. All I can think of is that at some point mud has gotten packed around the chain stays and when it dried it had to have been up against the sides of the tires and worn them down. I do run a fairly low tire pressure but I don't think normal flexing of the tire would cause it to wear like that.

Anyway, I ended up walking the bike back to the trail head because even though the tire wasn't completely flat it was low enough that I could've damaged my rims which would have REALLY sucked. Then I decided to go for a run so it wouldn't be a completely wasted trip. I swapped my biking shoes for running shoes, left my camelbak on and headed out. I normally don't run with water since I'm usually running around my neighborhood and since my runs don't last more than an hour I don't really need it. But I was already sweating quite a bit and figured having the water handy would be a good idea. Almost immediatly the backpack style started bothering me because it was bouncing on my back. I tighened the shoulder straps down where the pack stayed in place but after about 15 minutes it was riding up on my back and the straps were rubbing on my neck. I ended up loosening the straps a little and holding them in my hands as I ran so I could hold it flat against my back. That worked well enough and I ended up running for a little over an hour. It was a pain to have to hold onto the pack to keep it steady though so last night I started doing some research on a better hydration pack for running. I had a lot of fun running the trails (turns out running in the shade is pretty nice) and plan to do more of it this summer so a good stable pack would be nice to have. I think I'm going to check out the Camelbak flashflo. I read some good reviews about it online and it looks like it would work. I've got a $40 gift card to Dynamic Earth that my sister got me for my birthday, I need to head out there and see what they've got. I love that place.

I think my next rear tire is going to be the Specialized Chunder. It looks like it would provide pretty good traction. Hopefully A&B Cycle carries it.