Lincoln Steeplechase 2014

Lincoln Steeplechase 2014

It was hot. It felt cool in the shade, that wasn’t going to be enough. Those open meadows, hot and humid, would ramp it the heat even further. Plus, no breeze in and among the trees.

I went out with the leaders.  A young man in white with a shaved head was already distancing us. I remember somebody telling him at the start line “don’t go out too fast” but I was pretty sure he wasn’t following that advice.

Right away I was in trouble because my heart rate pegged and my stomach felt ill.  I spent the next 3 miles trying to slow down and, while my pace dropped and my perceived exertion improved, my heart rate wouldn’t budge from 175.  That was okay. I would be able to handle that, but it would make the hills extra difficult.

I had the three other runners in sight most of the time, watching them switch leads, watching the boy in white fade from his initial efforts, until we hit the twisty section and I was alone.

My body temperature was building the entire time.  After clearing Pine Hill, on the mostly downhill-to-flat section, I was feeling the tingle creep up the back of my neck.  Whatever last minute surge I had been planning was quickly scrapped. Too hot. Too dangerous. I was close enough to the finish to know I could coast in and maybe even hold position.

Coming onto the paved path, with a mile to go, I was caught and passed. I picked up my pace a little bit but this was no neck-and-neck sprint to the finish.  On the long straightaway, I could see the boy in white coming back to me.  He looked blown.

As I approached him, I could see he was in bad shape. He wobbled and listed — telltale signs of heat stroke.

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New Kicks

inov8 trailroc 235

Just in time for the Lincoln Steeplechase, some new trail runners. Inov8 TrailRoc 235.  I know the minimalist thing is a passing fad, but I’ve come to prefer the stability and sensation of a thin-soled, zero-drop shoe.  I’ve put them through their paces and am ready to race.

What the…

world ports classic

I caught this on the Tivo the other night: the World Ports Classic.

Generally, watching bike racing on TV is pretty boring.  It takes some good race action, some good commentary and a couple of beers to liven it up.  This race had none of that, so it was pretty dull.

Unless you’re into shipping containers.

The World Ports Classic raced from Antwerp to Rotterdam on the first day. Then they turned around and went back on the second day.

The footage became oddly fascinating after awhile, when the parcours started wending its way through the massive shipping complexes, past working gantry cranes, giant ships and millions of shipping containers.

It reminded me of the industrial park criteriums that I raced in the 1980s and 90s.

Only scaled up the pro bike racer level.



The Group Crash

purity of speed

Part of my summer lovin’ transition back to cycling is the Tuesday Night World Championships.

Baptism by fire. Speed and wobbly wheels. No crashes, fortunately, but a few close calls. I’m on the rivet the whole time, sucking wind, legs burning, heart pounding. I can follow wheels, but that 30% extra when I go to the front puts me over the edge.

Tonight, I got called out for skipping pulls in the break by some punk-ass kid: “I know you masters and how wily you can be.”

Yeah, I’m saving it up for the sprint.

Really, I’m just trying to stay on the fast train for as long as possible and get some training effect. Because trying to do this in a real race is just money wasted. I used to be able to ride away from a group like that. I could have popped them, one by one.  And I would have enjoyed it, too.

The savvy, energy-conserving style of riding only came when my fitness had left. Before that, I was a gentleman. I didn’t skip pulls. I didn’t let gaps open up. I did my fair share and then some.  And I spent a lot of energy doing so. And got worked over by riders who were more clever than I because of it.

Had I know how to ride like that when I was at the top of the sport, I would have won a lot more races.