Sunday, October 30, 2011

Victory Velo Duathlon - Robin

October 30, 2011 – Auburn, CA
Run 5.5m - Bike 9m 

2:09:30 (48:30-1:21:00)

2nd Woman
Claudia Sidijaya, Glenn Carnahan, Jamie Frink, Todd Allington, Troy and more!

Troy and I ride down to the Confluence in the dark to drop off our bikes and then run to the start.  I can tell on the ride down that my body feels pretty beat and then on the run back up Stagecoach it doesn't get any better.  Still, I'm hopeful that things will feel different in the race.  With Christ, anything is possible.  That means He can get me through the race if I feel great or  awful.  It's about persevering in any situation.

Since Halloween is tomorrow, Troy and I have dressed up.  He's a new kind of "Spiderman" covered in cobwebs and spiders.   I'm a bumble bee with antennas, wings and a stinger to boot.  The whole group of "racers" line up in Downtown Auburn in front of Victory Velo bike shop.  This event is free and unofficial.  It always draws a talented crowd!

Ready, set, go!  What a sight we are in our costumes!  Our friend Todd Allignton is a banana, and Jamie Frink is a fairy.  There is also a real Spiderman, another bumblebee,  a  cheerleader  and a country hick.  I can tell within the first mile 3 things.  1. There is a really fast girl, Dawn, 2. I don't feel so hot and 3. I need to use the restroom.  Still, I don't let it stop me from pushing as hard as I can.

Mile 1 is 7:53.  Just 4.5 miles to go...ugh!  Now that were are on the Western States trail, I try to focus on my footing and the scenery.  Troy, Todd, Dawn and some other guys are long gone.  I pray for Troy and hope that he doesn't twist his right foot out there.

Mile 2 is 7:37.  I still feel yucky and I can see today is going to be all about persevering through the discomfort.  I think about the Ironman.  With the way I'm feeling now, it seems so out of reach.  Glenn Carnahan and his 2 dogs are catching up.  I'm amazed at the pace those dogs are holding!

Mile 3 is 7:58.  I decide to make a quick stop since I cannot hear Glenn.  It helps improve the comfort level but I still feel beat.  The trail is getting more narrow, curvy and rocky which slows me down.  I still have trouble running these trails...even with all the experience. 

Mile 4 is 8:42.  Ugh!  I just need to survive!  Help me Lord!  I'm following a few guys and they take another trail to the left.  It seems wrong since we are now climbing again, but I hope they know better.  Soon it's apparent that we took the wrong trail since we end up on Hwy 49.  It actually is fine by me since I don't have to run on the rocky trail anymore.

Mile 5 is 8:29.   Almost there!  I can see the bike transition.  I don't know if I should smile or cry.   The pain of the run is almost more appealing than riding my mtn. bike on the Lake Clementine loop...I still haven't acquired a lot of confidence on the bike.  Troy and I practiced this loop 3 weeks ago and I struggled.  I decide that when in doubt, I'll jump off and run with my bike.

I get to my bike, stuff my shoes in my bag, hand them off to Jay Garrard in his lederhosen and ride off.  It's neat to be riding under the highest bridge in CA, the Foresthill Bridge.  I do jump off  the bike in a spot that's rocky, narrow and on a cliff.  Now it's a long climb to the top of the loop.  This climb felt great when I practiced.  Now, it feels like torture! 

I catch up to a father-daughter duo on their tandem mtn. bike.  "Nice work guys!" Wow, how did they do that narrow section?!  The dad is wearing a skirt and the daughter is dressed as an elf with a Santa's hat on top.  I wonder if they are going to do some of the more technical parts of the ride.  A friend, Dave, passes me and rolls ahead like a machine.  "Good job Dave!" 

Finally, after 2 tough miles I'm almost at the top.  Suddenly, Aaron from the VV bike shop flies by!  Wow!  "Go get 'em Aaron!  You can close the gap!"  I get to the top and now it's serious!  I have to ride some technical descents and I'm almost wishing I was still climbing.  I do pretty well and mostly stay on my bike more than last time.  I'm not having tons of fun because I'm tired and stressed...but I know I have to keep a good attitude and keep going. 

The trail ends at Old Foresthill Road.  I can either turn right to ride down the road or go straight and pick up the technical trail again.  Anything goes in this race and so it wouldn't be cheating.  But when I practiced last time, I actually did okay, so I have to do the trail!  This time around I find that I'm more cautious and tentative... maybe it's because I'm exhausted?!  I get off my bike a lot more in sections along the cliffs as I think back to Troy's warning to be careful. 

I finally get back to the road and am relieved!  All I have to do is climb up Stagecoach...I can do that!  Ha, ha!  I'm so wiped out that even this climb that seemed so easy weeks ago is killing me!  Halfway up I see Troy.  I'm grateful for the company, though, it's hard to smile and be happy.  It's good practice for when I'm exhausted in life to continue being joyful and continue looking to Christ.  I can feel the Lord helping me dig down and find that joy to continue and not just stop and throw my bike over the edge. 

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  I cross the finish line with Troy and no one else in sight.  The other finishers are long gone.  Without Jesus, I can imagine I'd be bummed out and mad about how the day went.  I put my head down and thank the Lord for his help and catch my breath.  That was one of the hardest races I've had in a long time and I'm actually grateful for the experience.  I really wanted to take shortcuts, which I could have without penalty, but I continued to suffer because I knew it would make me rely on the Lord more than ever.  Thanks,  Jesus, for always being there for me especially when things are tough!  Now, I'm going to lay down for a while and rest.  Ah, good times!

Victory Velo Halloween Duathlon (Troy)

October 30, 2011 – Auburn, CA
Run 5.5-Bike m

1:35:30 (41:51 - 1:30 - 52:09)

2nd Male
Glenn Carnahan, Jamie Frink, Robin, Todd Allington & more

We've both been looking forward to this "unofficial" event.  It's my 3rd year.  I love how simple and challenging it is.  No registration, no numbers, no busy streets.  Dan Tebbs just says "go" and we head for the trails.

The course goes from Downtown Auburn into the canyon, following the Western States trail down to the confluence where the transition to mountain bikes takes place.  Then it's around the hilly and technical Clementine loop and back up Stage Coach to the finish.

Robin and I leave the house an hour early, with lights on our bikes, we ride 6mi to the run-to-bike transition.  The sun is about to come up and the temperature is not too cold.  We lock the bikes and start the run ascent 3mi up to the start at the shop.  Robin and I really enjoy being able to run together up the hill with the sun rising and hardly a soul to be seen.  Robin's a strong climber so we're always at the same pace on an incline.  Finally, we make it to the shop where a couple dozen die-hards are ready, in costume, despite no publicizing of the event.  It's just a local tradition.

There's funny costumes, and clever ones.  I'm "web man", covered in webs and spiders.  Robin is a bumble bee.  I'm trying to defend my title from last year against young Zack and Spiderman, Steve.  But Zack isn't here.  Neither is Kayden, a new threat since he's added running to his mountain biking prowess.  But Todd Allington is here and I'm well-accustomed to his dominating speed at the track and road biking.  However, he's wearing a big banana costume which has got to be inhibiting.. it could be my only chance..

Dan Tebbs welcomes everyone, takes a picture and gives a simple "go".  We turn immediately up steep  Cherry Ave.  I start off faster this year trying to keep up with Todd.   I'm working hard and surprised that so many are also taking the hill so well.  Most of the group are cyclists that hardly ever run but they're all running great this morning.

I'm expecting to see Robin the bumble bee not too far back but I'm surprised to see instead another bumble bee right on our heels.  It's Dawn, and she's keeping up with Banana man, Spiderman, Waldo and myself, Web-man.  We jump onto the railroad tracks and I pull ahead of Todd, trying to run light-footed across the treacherous rocks.  Fortunately my strained foot injury from a couple months ago has gotten much better.  Just in time for this difficult run course.

Mile 1: 7:32. I'm leading but that's because Todd doesn't remember the route.  I take us along the NID ditch and then drop down into the Western States Trail.  I'm really focusing on my foot placement, trying to be careful as I bomb down the trail.  I've got to push the descent because Todd can easily pass me on the climbs.  Waldo, Spiderman and Bumblebee are right with us.

Mile 2: 6:56. Mile 3: 7:19. I'm really breathing hard as we round Robie Pt and finally drop down the treacherous section to the river.  It my oxygen deprivation I make a momentary wrong turn but quickly get back on track.  Todd slows a little, still seeming to prefer me leading.  He's waiting his moment for the flat part at the bottom.  I hit the flat wider section and try to pick it up knowing Todd will do the same.  But after another mile I'm actually getting a little gap on the chasers.

Mile 4: 7:15. The magnificent Foresthill Bridge is looming in the distance, marking where our bikes are waiting.  I'm darting through narrow sections and then back onto the wide trail.  I bet it looks cool to see a guy bursting out of the brush with webs and spiders all over him.

Mile 5: 7:08. At "No-Hands Bridge" we climb up to run along Hwy 49.  I'm the first to emerge and again wonder what the drivers in the cars must think seeing a guy running down a trail with spiders on him.. but then realizing it's the 8ft banana costume behind that's really attracting attention.

Mile 5.7: 8:10. On the final stretch I was feeling it.  I find my keys and get ready to unlock my bike.  Breathing hard and transitioning, I notice Spiderman has already headed out on the bike.  A minute later I'm on my way.  T1: 1:30.  Gotta catch him.  But can't crash in the process.  On the left is a 100ft drop to the river.  The trail is lined with sharp rocks.  Robin and I did it a few weeks ago and that helped.

I'm doing well and start the ascend about 30secs behind Spiderman.  I want to slow down but the climbing is my only advantage and I must give it my all.  I finally catch him 2/3 of the way up but have to keep pushing.  It's a long technical descent and he'll surely be gaining on me.

Climb: 22:00.  At the top, totally winded, I start the descent a little out of control.  Come on, stay focused, crashing is not in the plan.  There's lot of fun jumps but I avoid them this time.. going too fast.  Through the rock-gardens.  Through the giant culvert pipe under Foresthill Rd.

Suddenly I hear the bouncing shocks of a bike behind me and, just in time, I pull over to see Spiderman, Steve, shoot by and carve through a giant berm I've always been too scared to take.  Quickly realizing I've got to stay close to him to have a chance of winning, I step it up and take the berm. Cool!

Culvert Trail: 7:34.  Now, on Mammoth Bar trail, I'm going faster than ever before.  Desperately looking for a glimpse of Spiderman.  Parts of the trail reveal fun new thrills at this speed.  The periodic rises can be used to sail smoothly over the rock parts instead of bouncing around through them.  It's just a really cool trail with lots of potential of going faster the better one gets.

It's going well.  Surely will be a PR for me.  But Spiderman is no where in sight.  Exhausted from the strain of holding onto my bike, I cruise by the confluence where some of the supporters tell me I'm only 30secs back.  With 1 tough climb left, I think I can catch him.

Mammoth Bar Trail: 7:06 (16mph)   But starting Stagecoach, my excitement is diminished slightly by the fatigue that has set in.  Looking up I can see Spiderman and am surprised how fast he's going.  Passing by Glen Carnahan running with his dog, he encourages me but I comment about how fast Spiderman is going and he agrees that he just flew by.

I never give up, though, and 1/2 way up I'm trying my best and still looking for the masked web-slinger.  There are more walkers/hikers out and it's nice to see their smiles when they realize there's a costume parade racing by.  But Spiderman is for real and today he's true to the hero of his character as he wins the climb to the top.  Who has heard of Webman anyway?

Stagecoach Climb: 15:00.  Anyway, I was really happy with my race and finished 30 secs behind in 2nd.  My transition could have been better.  And the last climb.  Just have to train for those things next year.   I love this event.  But now I want to find Robin to know she made it down without crashing in any of the rock-gardens.  Finally I see her and am so happy she made it, with only 1 practice run this year.

Ironically, I was a "man with spiders" and finished 2nd to Spiderman, while Robin was a bumblebee and finished 2nd to another Bumblebee.  Afterwards, we got the kids and all enjoyed a BBQ lunch behind the Victory Velo Bike Shop.