Stagecoach 400 Full Report

May 19th, 2013

I’ve been neglecting to write this report because I like to write these as stories and the story line sucks without conflict. Man against man, man vs nature, man vs himself….but when a race goes well all of these conflicts are minimized and the drama is diminished. Still I need to get this out of my head and I have some cool photos, so here goes….

Palm Springs from the plane ride into LAX. That's the Salton Sea on the left and the Anza-Borrego Desert in the back behind the mountain ridge.
Palm Springs from the plane ride into LAX. That’s the Salton Sea on the left and the Anza-Borrego Desert in the back behind the mountain ridge

Stagecoach 400 route on Trackleaders.com
Stagecoach 400 route on Trackleaders.com, 400 miles, 30,000 feet of climbing, self supported.

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Huracan 300 – Full Report

April 4th, 2013

Pull up a chair, this will take a few minutes….

21 of us lined up in the morning darkness in front of Greenway Cycles just south of Ocala, FL across the street from the Santos Trailhead. It was unseasonably cold at 34*. I was still trying to figure out how my GPS worked, but felt otherwise ready to go. I knew I had 35-50 miles to figure out the GPS. Karlos Bernart gave a little prerace speech and we were off. No fanfare, just a few hoots from the group, the hum of wheels and the Huracan 300 had begun.

The Huracan 300 bike set up

We stayed together through the first couple of miles and I stopped to adjust things (light, gloves, found an energy bar) and then started making my way to the front of the group. The singletrack was tight and we had a long way to go, so I patiently waited for opportunities. Soon enough I was up with Shey Lindner, Jason Murrell, Jeff Tomassetti, and Chris Tompkins as we pulled away from the rest of the group. I was very comfortable with the pace and without any climbs for another 110 miles there was no point in really trying to open a gap. I just turned the pedals over smoothly and enjoyed riding some flowy single track.
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Huracan 300 – first race of 2013

March 12th, 2013

I’m nervous. Not nervous about finishing (or not), nervous about not doing the best I possibly could. I haven’t been this nervous leading into a race in quite a few years. It’s because I know I have not done everything possible to prepare. There are always things out of one’s control in any race, but I typically try to minimize those things. To say this last 6 weeks have been atypical would be an understatement. Here’s the thing though, when I toe that line Friday morning to head off on a 300 mile trek through central Florida, I have to put all that away and just do what I do.

The race profile looks rugged until you notice that those big peaks are only 150 foot climbs. The real challenge will be the wind, the sand, the way-finding, and of course nutrition. The NWS says the wind may not be a factor and with all the battles I’ve had with the wind in the last month, I’m less worried about it. I know how to meter out my efforts if it is an issue. The sand is what it is. Usually March is not too bad, there is enough rain and cooler temps to keep the sand packed down. I also have a lot of experience riding in Florida’s deep sand, though the extra weight from my gear will not help. The sand is what it is and will be for everyone. Way-finding and nutrition are the two areas I would have liked to have more time to work out. Thankfully the group racing this year has been very open in sharing where water sources and store stops are. I would usually do my own homework, but then again I usually race this type of thing in my own backyard where I have reconned such things. I’ll have to rely on info from other’s and keep my phone handy which is loaded with beta other racers have shared. Still, I feel like I stand to lose the most time from the latter two and it worries me.

Flat and sandy as one would expect in FL.

I nearly missed the start and it’s only Tuesday. Until yesterday I was thinking we were starting on Saturday morning. We start Friday morning. That would have been embarrassing. Though I suppose I could do the ITT thing any time. That’s how unfocused I’ve been though. So much going on in life and so precious little time to put toward racing right now. As it is I’m using this trip to visit shops on behalf of Ergon, so there’s a lot more logistics than just show up, race, go home.

One thing I can count on is the months/years of focusing on my pedaling styles. The long haul efficiency is my forte, not that I have rested on my laurels. I’ve been working, refining and improving my pedaling all winter and I don’t need great fitness or perfect race prep for a strong and efficient stroke. If it comes to a sprint finish I may be in trouble.

Thursday, before I leave for FL, I have to drop Jackson off for chemo and an ultra sound. This will be the test to see if the chemo is working or not and what the following course of action will be. I hate to be away from home when this news comes in. Go or bad, I’d like to be there to give Namrita a hug.

Well enough rambling, I need to go pack and such. Much like the TNGA, all the racers will be wearing a Spot Tracker GPS transponder so you’ll be able to follow the action on the Trackleaders website. We start at 7:00 AM on Friday and I hope to be finished in less than 24 hours. Wish me luck.

Ups and downs

February 28th, 2013

I started writing a post 3 weeks ago about the happenings in my life in January. I never had time to finish it. I would have mentioned the 1000+ miles I put in on the bike & how my fitness was looking great for the coming season. My work life was going good too. I had the best January for bike fittings at 55nine Performance that I’ve had in 4 years. Namrita was dong great too, her swimming was improving, she was adding more intensity to her runs and her cycling was very strong. The weather was good, life was good, we were good.

Then February came and threw a big wrench into all of that. Namrita crashed during our last WBL ride, smashed her helmet, broke her clavicle in two places, and had some nasty road rash. She was not even going to go for the sprint that morning, but her competitive side took over and without a word she followed the last girl coming through the peloton to the front. I was on the right side of a double paceline, sitting about 6th wheel, waiting for her to come rolling back to the group when I would help her find a nice place to hide from the wind for a while near the front of the group. This was our usual MO.
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Interviewed at Driven2Divide.com

February 8th, 2013

“DYNAMIC DUO

When I first got into ultra cycling someone mentioned a person named Eddie O’Dea. I’d heard he was very good at long distance cycling. I looked around on the web and found his website “Eddie O’Dea, Endurance Mountain Bike Racer and Connoisseur of Adult Beverages.” Almost immediately I’d see his name pop up about this, that or the other race or races he put on such as Southern Cross and Fool’s Gold. Shortly after that I started seeing his wife, Namrita training for the Xterra World and seeing her updates about training for that.

Almost a year later I competed in a 12 hour race that both Eddie and Nam were in. I was racing solo and they were in as a team. I watched them work together and it was just flat out amazing to see the speed and agility of the two. Like Batman and Robin, they were a dynamic duo however I guess in this instance they were Batman and Batnam!”

Read more about Eddie and Namrita O’Dea The Dynamic Duo ‹ Divide Bound on:
http://www.driven2divide.com/2013/01/29/eddie-and-nam/?utm_source=INK&utm_medium=copy&utm_campaign=share&

Going Long in 2013

January 17th, 2013

I’ve spent the last few years transitioning away from 24 hour races and focusing on 100 milers. 100 milers have been changing too, they are getting faster and the depth of talent at the NUE races is getting deeper. I had to get faster and I enjoyed the change in focus and training. I enjoyed the tactics, the cat & mouse and even the occasional sprint finishes. It’s been the best of XC and endurance racing.

I’ve had this siren call though. It started with the TNGA, a 350 mile slog across north Georgia, that I’ve done twice now in ’10 & ’11. It was such a cool adventure to be out there, self supported, making decisions, route finding, food & water finding, and just having fun. There are so many unknowns that a loose plan is all I started with and that changed constantly. The route is brutal, with 56,000 feet of climbing. The first 110 miles has 26,000 feet of climbing. The elements have their role too. The first year it was in 90s during the day and then dropped to the 40s at night. That presents a big challenge when you suddenly need to sleep at 4:00 AM because you are so bonked you may fall off your bike at any moment. In ’11 it was a race against Tropical Storm Lee. We met on the Pinhoti trail, neither of us willing to give up our forward progress. This is the stuff that makes for great stories.


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The Time We Have

January 10th, 2013

We found out that Jackson, one of our German Short Haired Pointers, had a suspect tumor two weeks ago and it was confirmed as cancer yesterday. It sucks for him, it sucks for us. Jackson is Namrita’s first love. I’m sure she loves him more than me. I don’t say that in a jealous way, it’s just that he is as close to a child that she has known. Jackson and I have had a much more contentious relationship.

I didn’t even know him when he was this cute

At first he just saw me as another arm to throw his obsession…tennis balls. Jack figured pretty quickly I was not going away and I thought discipline was what he needed. He though more tennis ball was what he needed. When it came to Namrita, I had to compete for attention and he was good. Still we slowly found some common ground while I learned he was best managed when exhausted from ball throwing sessions or mountain bike rides.

Obsessed

From middle ground we moved toward bonding. He’s a sweet dog when he’s not being a demanding priss. We still clashed, but we connected too. I can’t hate on him for having a two track mind…he has an obsessive exercise habit and a deep love for Namrita. That sounds familiar.

Connecting:

He’s slowed down a bit in recent years and he mostly guards his tennis ball in his mouth rather relentlessly barks until you throw it again even when your skinny little cyclist arm is about to dislocate. Still he’s very playful dog and his love for Nam is unwavering. He’s developed a new habit as well, one that is rather endearing: he wants Namrita & I together. If she’s working at the kitchen table and I’m on the couch he’ll bark and cause mayhem until we sit close. Then he settles in nearby or better yet touching us both. I’m sure this is easily explained by some behavioral science by noting he just wants to maximize the attention he receives from both of us, but I don’t think that’s quite it. I think he’s finally sharing and I’m grateful it brings Namrita and I closer together regardless of the reason.

He began chemo this morning. I hope he responds well to it, I think I can still learn a thing or two from Jackson and I know we can have some more good times. One thing I do know for sure is that we’ll enjoy the time we still have. I’ve lost too many to this disease in the last few years to waste a moment.

Road trip buddies:

Sittin’ on the dock of the bay

No ducks were harmed…

I let him win

Sharing

I know I’ve said it before…

January 8th, 2013

..about 15 months ago actually…but this time I really am going to start blogging again.

3….2….1….blog

I’ve been busting my butt to get ready for the 2013 race season. I’m stoked to be racing with the Team Topeak-Ergon again. I have some inspiring teammates including my wife, Namrita, who has taken up racing dirty triathlons or Xterra if you prefer. I’m staying focused on ultra endurance races, but I’ll throw some shorter ones in there for fun (and training) and maybe even a road race or two.

What does “busting my butt” look like? While I’m posting to Strava.com these days so you can check it out. My training was dismal last winter and my results in 2012 showed it. I have no excuses (OK, I have a bunch like working 3 jobs and starting another business, but that’s for another day). I decided in Oct to rededicate myself to being an athlete. I missed it. So in Oct I begin the slow, easy rides to retrain myself how to focus on my pedaling, carried that over into Nov and upped the milage. In Dec I did a 20 hour week, I don’t think I’ve ever done that in Dec. The end of month I slowed down some. That was both by design and because Namrita and I went to MI for the holidays…9 inches of snow and not a day ver 35* will slow me down to a near halt. I still managed 2 hours day either in the cold or on the trainer. The best part is I came home hungry to ride and ride hard.

We, that is Namrita and I, have committed to doing the Winter Bike League this year. This is another first. We say nearly every that “we should,” but don’t. Namrita is all about getting stronger on the road this winter and that helps. I’m all about helping her. So far we’ve made 4 out of 6 rides and neither of us has been dropped. For those that don’t know WBL is a weekly ride series that starts and finishes in Athens from Dec to Feb. Each week the route changes. There is a progression from 75 miles up to 120 and back down to 85. There are intermediate sprints for various riders based on gender and ability or race category and a finishing attack zone that is just painful for a non-high watts producing guy like me, but I do it any way. The attack zone and sprints do not start until Jan. Dec is very mellow. All rides are two abreast and no crossing the yellow line. Most of the time the pace is about 20ish mph, though it can get spirited at times. It’s all very civilized unlike most group rides on the road. It attracts riders from all over the place including a bunch of pros that either live in the area or relocate there to train for the winter…hence my hurting in the attack zones. I’m never going to be a sprinter, but I’ll do what I can to max out my diesel.

What’s the point of relaunching myself into the blogosphere? Well, I like story telling and I don’t have the gumpion to get on stage at the Moth. I have some adventures planned this year that should be worthy of such tales. I’ll write some about my preparation for said adventures and at times ask for advice on equipment choices. I’ve also spent the last many years learning the nuances and minutia of pedaling a bike and I’m looking for an outlet to articulate my thoughts about that education. So that’s where I’m at. I’ll be back soon with more.

Time to quit slacking…

November 30th, 2011

I have fallen off the wagon of blogging, but alas I feel I have things to say again. I’ll be splitting my time between writing the Topeak blog and here, so cut me a little slack as I get back into the swing of things. I guess I better get my sponsors updated too. So much to do, so little time.

Lumberjack 100 – 2011

June 28th, 2011

This report is a little late due to our excursion to Costa Rica….I’ll write about that soon enough.

Prerace check-in:

This was my 4th Lumberjack so I was not expecting many surprises but the mention of new “run up” section during the race meeting had me a little apprehensive. I quickly forgot about it though and went about warming up. The start was standard for the Lumberjack which means long, flat and fast. I positioned myself well in about 12th place and held that all the way to the singletrack. Feeling comfortable just behind Jeff Shalk and Christian Tanguy, I made no effort to move up from there.

The first 6 or 8 miles is a series of short steep rollers which I felt really good on. Typically little gaps would open in front of me when I’m trying to hang in the lead group, but not today. I was right in the mix. As we exited the rollers and into a long flat doubletrack section I was a little surprised I was still in the lead group. I usually last about 10 miles and then fall back some into my own pace. Jeff and Christian are the favorites in any NUE race, so I stayed behind them as others came up from behind trying to move forward in the group.
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