Sunday, June 29, 2008


I arrived in Flagstaff a little before 2:00 am. Sleeping in the back seat of the car in the parking lot was a horrible idea; I think I slept about 2.5 hours before I had to get up. I knew the race turnout was going to be a little smaller this time with the rescheduled date. Four was a good number. It made the race seem like more of a social group ride than a dirty century.

The four of us (Rob, Randy, Art and I) rolled out a few minutes after 6:00 am down the Flagstaff Urban Path. I was eager to christen the new bike on a endurance ride after the KMC debacle a few weeks ago. The new Leviathan is not only lighter and bigger, I feel more confident riding it. Randy and Art slowly began to escape my vision as we continued to ride on the Old Munds Highway toward Munds. I thought about waiting for Rob, since I had after all ridden this ride solo before and was not too keen on doing it again.

Nevertheless, I pedaled on alone. The night before was a hot ride without AC in my benz. It was obvious that drinking two Nalgenes during the short drive was now taking its toll as I had to pee about 5 times before reaching Munds in what seemed like a very brief time. My goal for the Coconino Dirty Centurty (other than finishing) was to really focus on being able to just ride the entire time, rather than taking long breaks (like at the store during KMC and the Circle K during the Sedona BFL). In other words, to pedal at a rate that I could sustain for 8+ hours without bonking.

As I was entering the Munds area near the highway, I started to notice some construction signs. In front of me about 1/4 mile down the road, there was a water truck spraying the road down. I got a little muddy as I barreled down toward the truck. The driver turned off the sprayers so I could pass, or at least that is what I thought. I dashed by the sprayers only to get soaked (actually stunned me for a second). Classic. The driver probably thought I was a jackass, but I thought he turned them off to let me pass. It felt good though as the cool weather was now beginning to get a little warmer.

On to Schnebly and Sedona. Hot Shot was great. A little before the trail, I passed a pink jeep tour operator. One of the clients yelled out as I passed. "Did you really ride up from Sedona?" I thought for a second about telling them my plans, but I merely commented "No, just out for a fun ride from Flagstaff."

I found a GPS on Munds Wagon TR, assuming it was Randy's or Art's, I tucked it away in my bag. After exiting the trail to the road, I thought I would see them. Time to barrel down to Sedona. I thought maybe I would pass one of them as I was going down. Still no sign of either as I got down to the bridge and turned around to head back up Schnebly in the heat. Somewhere during the climb, I managed to lose my bite valve for my bladder. Bummer. So much for having a lot of water. It was a long, death march back up to the vista point. I saw Rob on the road. He missed one of the turns on Munds Wagon and had jumped on the road. I showed him the trail and continued on the hot climb upward.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. I rested once, very briefly on the entire climb. This is when I realized that I still had a fair amount of water in my bladder. Along with a Powerade, I hoped to make it to Flagstaff without resupplying. That gamble paid off. Toward the vista, I was passed by Randy. It turns out they opted to resupply in Sedona while I had just brought more water. I gave Randy his GPS and he quickly shot ahead. Next, Art passed me. Strong riders, I'd be lucky if I ever saw them again during this race.

They rested up at the highest point on Schnebly, so I passed them again. We were making really good time. The first half of the race was completed in a little under 4 hours. Then, they passed me a little before the highway.

The route to Munds Road and Casner is another difficult, rocky climb. Upon its completion, I was glad to be on forest roads again. An ATV-driver stopped to ask me where I was going. I told them the route and asked him if he had seen 2 more mountain bikers. They were just a few miles ahead of me, it turns out. I pedaled upward toward the pass, before dropping down to Mormon Lake. I rode along toward Mormon Lake and exited on the highway, but not before getting a quick burst of rain. Rain seems to be magnified on the bike. Its cool qualities are a welcome relief after riding in the "heat."

As I was turning left onto the highway, I noticed a tandem approaching. I waiting a few seconds for them and asked if I could join them for their ride. It was nice relief since the wind had started to pick up. Turns out they were from Tucson also. They pulled me until my exit up to Horse Trai/AZT; I passed Randy and later Art on this section of the trail again. This section of the AZT is super rocky, making it tedious and often painful to ride. Taking into account we were riding it after doing 90 miles, it seemed impossible at times. I learned my lesson during the pre-ride... most of the rocky stuff is better done out of the saddle. I'd say that 80% of this section was done hammering out of the saddle in order to avoid in butt problems.

Art seemed like he was ready to go on ahead, which he did a little before the observatory. Randy seemed to be having problems. I slowly slipped away before the fun singletrack after the observatory. I managed to make a wrong turn while coming into Flagstaff, so Randy caught up with me at the last minute. It was nice mistake since he and I sat down for a quick beer at the brewery.

Post-race thoughts:
the Leviathan is wonderful. I have already seen a big difference in my riding, more confidence and a faster pace. Look for faster times and more miles in upcoming months. The goal of being able to ride 100+ miles during back-to-back days without a problem recovering is slowly forming. The day after the race, I feel great and am about to do a short recovery ride around Flagstaff.

Results are here for the Coconino Dirty Century. The time for Art is estimated, so that might change a bit. Also, I need to get home before I upload some more pics and stats from the ride. Randy commented that the CDC was more difficult than Sedona, a surprising comment. I felt like the CDC went down without too many problems on my end. The next race on the AES calendar, the Rock y Road, has been touted as the toughest day race in Arizona. This year's new mountain bike course is going to be harder.

Finishing up the day in Flagstaff before returning to Tucson tonight.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tour Divide/Great Divide

Read about Chris' amazing journey here and watch the leaderboard for Fred here. I added them both as bookmarks using Firefox or the Google Reader. This is good stuff.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Faster, Higher, Stronger

“People think cycling is an endurance event, but really races are won or lost more because of power,” Mr. Vaughters said. Read more here.

I can see myself buying a power meter in a few years, but right now I am still enjoying the idea of getting on my bike and just riding.

Some good advice for training rides on the road bike: Then set about increasing your average wattage. Mr. Vande Velde does this by punctuating rides with five minute “power bursts,” dropping into a low gear, pushing his pedals as hard as he can, his wheels turning at his top sustainable watts and barely 50 revolutions per minute. In the next five minutes, he’ll click up into an easier gear, pedals whirring at low watts and about 90 r.p.m. (which any recreational rider should be able to maintain). Then he’ll repeat.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Link dump

Imagine being able to do more road and urban rides with more access to water. Good article about sustainability here in the Times today. One of my favorite parts of my urban assault loop is that it passes 3 parks, and thus three bathrooms with water, a salient part of any ride in Tucson during the summer.

As we gear up for another Tour de France, some American companies have stepped up into some sponsorships. Alejandro Valverde is one of the favorites.

Streets of NY car-free in August for 3 days
It has been a long-held dream of New Yorkers of a certain (greenish) stripe: the streets of Manhattan free of cars. Now, for a few hours, on a few streets, on a few weekends this summer, that dream will become reality.

In the world of mountain biking, both the Tour Divide and GDR will be underway shortly, the former started last week. The spot leaderboard is one of the most interesting ways to watch the race, along with reading blogs, like Siren Mary's. Today, Matt and Reuben are within several miles from each other.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lemmon XC Week!

Hopefully there will be less of this (unnecessary hike-a-bike) and more riding with the new Leviathan. Cleaned it up after Saturday's KMC, possibly ready for a uber early morning Lemmon Death March. I did a purging of hair off the body today, mostly the head, but also the legs and other areas after the hot ride this past weekend. We will see what the body says after dinner tonight. On the menu, a fat tire and some Pad Thai,

Doing some reading on new items for the Lev, mostly bags that will increase my efficiency on multi-day, self-supportive riding. A new camera is also on the things-to-buy list. There is a Tour de Lush in Tucson this Saturday, coinciding with the plans to ride on Lemmon all weekend. This may warrant us to drop off the mountain for some beer and biking around Tucson.

Kaibab Monster Crizzle

125 miles and a DNF. This race is without fail one of the best races in all or Arizona. The combination of single track, amazing views, and scenery were worth the drive. Unfortunately, Nathan and I got lost at around mile 107 and decided to bail to the road rather than retracing our steps only 6 miles to the drop off of the plateau and climb the 1600+ feet. The major problem that I faced during the race was breathing and a little saddle sore from the new saddle.

Lessons learned: bring the inhaler on long rides that have high elevation and/or cold weather. I felt great during the first half of the ride, but quickly began to deteriorate thereafter due to problems breathing. More riding on Lemmon might help my lungs adapt to the altitude. This same thing happened at the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo, although then the cold weather was at fault. Bringing cue sheets and being more prepared would have helped also. I guess when you know the race organizer, you assume it would be hard to get lost.

Fun was had by all, especially the post-race drink at the North Rim with M and Dave C. Dave and Lynda's crew provided some great comic relief during the entire weekend. Hope to see you and the family soon. More importantly though, Dave and Meredith were nice enough to wait around until my car started. Thanks again. Silly benz. I need to do some work on it as soon as I can muster up the will power.

Looking forward to some Lemmon riding this week and this weekend as temperatures heat up to 100+ degrees.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hell Ride 5

Dave C. seemed to hit all the fronts with his amazing support, but just in case you are reading this and are unaware, I have been selected as one of the top riders to do Hell Ride this year. You can look at the candidates here, and if you think I have a chance to do it, vote here. Tell your friends and family, anybody.

Finishing up the packing for the KMC, 132 miles on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Epic Journey

Just in case you missed this thread, stop what you are doing and check this out. Seriously, your life will be better because of it. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Tour Divide June 13, 2008

The epic journey begins tomorrow. The leaderboard can be viewed here.

Monday, June 09, 2008

El Limon y El Lev

Failure again on Lemmon, after riding through Green Mountain, I returned the same way I came up, skipping Milagrosa to bolt down the highway. I know where the Sunset TH is to connect to Summerhaven, but I have never ridden the Butterfly to Mt Bigelow (which I hear has a number of down trees, another reason to pull the plug early)The GPS is fond of the new bike, although it turned off a few times during the ride.

36.9 miles (approximately 15 of those miles are from the descent, and a few miles were lost in the GPS turning off)
8235 feet of climbing!

Here is another shot of the new bike and its components.

Frame: Large 2005 LenzSport Leviathan 3.0 with Fox RP23 rear shock 2007
Fork: 2007 Reba Race 80mm
Headset: blue Chris King 1 1/8"
Stem: silver Thomson Elite 25.4 5 deg 100mm
Handle Bar: Surly 1x1 Torsion Bar
Grips: ODI lock on
Shifters: SRAM X-9 trigger 9spd
Brakes: Avid Juicy 7 Carbon 185mm front 160mm rear
Cranks: silver Race Face Deus X-Type
Bottom Bracket: XTR external BB cups
Front Derailleur: XTR M953 trad
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X-9 med cage
Cables: Teflon cable system
Casstette: XT 11-34
Chain: KMC X9
Seat Post: silver Thomson Elite 27.2mm x 330mm straight
Saddle: blue Selle Italia Gel Flow Ti Flite
Wheelset: WTB Laserdisc 29er
Tires: front Kenda Nevegal rear Michelin XC AT
Pedals: Eggbeaters

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Big wheels

The new ride will be christened in an early morning Climb or Die? attempt tomorrow, the 2nd such attempt. The first attempt ended in failure. The network of trails has always been toted (at least by me) some of the best in the entire state. Climbing them only to descend them equals one of the best rides anywhere.

Today, I built up the bike, adding some new components. The test spin proved successful, while I was out, I picked up some flats for my old bike, soon to be turned into my commuter bike with semi-slicks Continental Traffic.

Camera is still broken from my Jug canyoneering trip, so I have been borrowing my roomies for some shots here and there. Not sure if I will have it for tomorrow, but I should have some interesting topofusion stats after the ride.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

AZ Trail

Lately, this has been on my mind

I plan on doing some touring this summer, using the AZT as my route to the north, a good time to recon for an early fall through ride. Planning on doing 2-3 weeks of touring in July.

Recovery drinks?

Today's Times article...

In fact, neither researcher regularly uses energy drinks or energy bars. They just drink water, and eat real food. Dr. Tarnopolsky drinks fruit juice; Dr. Phillips eats fruit. And neither one feels a need to ingest a special combination of protein and carbohydrates within a short window of time, a few hours after exercising.

There are grains of truth to the nutrition advice, they and other experts say. But, as so often happens in sports, those grains of truth have been expanded into dictums and have formed the basis for an entire industry in “recovery” products.

This is a good article that blasts the idea that athletes need to spend money on recovery drinks and energy bars for post-workout recovery. Bars and gels are ligther than most foods, so obviously those are preferable when doing long, endurance rides. However, I am not sure I have really ever eaten a recovery drink/bar (unless it was free, like after a race).

Yesterday's article about wine slowing aging was also interesting.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh la la

After racing both Saturday and Sunday, I got a dip tissue massage today. The most common phrase during the session was "wow, you are really tight!" I rested yesterday and plan to continue to rest today, commuting to work and also focusing on some much needed stretching.

Monday, June 02, 2008



The Deuces Wild Festival is one of the best events in Arizona. I raced both the triathlons on the mountain bike (road and mountain triathlon). However, while coming into the transition zone during the Olympic Road Triathlon, I unhooked my helmet, so I got DQ'ed. I guess that someone was supposed to inform me before I left transition and completed the run.

That said, passing a few Ironman wannabees on their $3,000-$5,000 road bikes and shaved legs on my ghetto mountain bike with knobbys was pretty amazing. Like last year, I was the only person on a mountain bike during the road triathlon. I got a few "wow" and "on a mountain bike?" The wind started to pick up toward the beginning of the hills, so I started to get past a little more. According to Debbie from, my combined times for both triathlons would have earned me a 1st place title in combined times between the two races had I not been disqualified.

My results are somewhat disappointing since I was DQ'ed and the fact that I am not in the same "running shape" as I used to be. Last year, I ran the same course about 4 minutes faster. Yesterday during the run course, I had to revert to survival mode during the run and about 10 people passed me. This goes the same for the mountain bike course that was only 15 miles long; my ability to spin fast for one hour has been replaced with the ability to ride for 12+ hours, sometimes ride almost 24 hours like the AZT 300 and the 24 Hours of OP.

I still enjoy triathlons but my training has transitioned to my endurance mountain biking this past year, hence my current running shape and results. Additionally, I rarely actually schedule a brick into my weekly rides, so that hurts a bit on my performance. Anyway, my next triathlon is the Mountain Man up in Flagstaff, another road triathlon. The Kaibab Monstercross and Coconino Dirty Century are the next endurance mountain bike races (both 100+ miles) during the month of June, looking forward to both of them.


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