Monday, June 11, 2007

50 miles of MUD!!!!

My Results:

Sport 19-39 Men
11th Brandon Lockwood Viking Sport Seattle 7:14:07
106th Brandon Lockwood Viking Sport Seattle 7:14:07

I found some photos of me on the site
I would like to maybe get some prints, which pics should I get??
Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3 or Pic 4

This weekend I drove down to Blodgett,OR just west of Corvallis for the Test of Endurance 50 mountain bike race. I arrived Sat. at 5pm just in time to pick up my registration packet. I met Mike Ripley, the race promoter and all around nice guy, and then followed him up to Blodgett school where the race was going to start from Sunday morning at 9am. The camping was a little further up the road at Blodgett Cafe. The had some food specials for the races which included a lasagna dinner with salad and hot marrionberry pie with ice cream!! I ate dinner with Doug Walsh and his Trans Rockies partner Brett Foster both from the Seattle area. Nat Pellman and his girlfriend also came down from Seattle. A bunch of out of town racers camped out in the Cafe's grassed field, THANKS! Mike had a bluegrass band perform and a keg of Mirror Pond beer! I spent a fitful night's sleep in the back of the Subaru waking up with the sunrise at 6:00am. The Cafe had a wonderful all you can eat breakfast of eggs, pancakes, fruit, cereal, and coffee for only $5!!! I then started getting my stuff prepped for the race, fill the hydration pack and mix the water bottles with Hammer Heed and Perpetuem. Then I drove over to the school for the start of the race and was greeted by a couple hundred people. They were buzzing around getting ready for the 8:45 start for the Singlespeeders and the 9am start for the geared racers!! There were about 30 singlespeed racers and around a 100 geared racers.

When the race started Mike Ripley rolled everyone out pacing the first mile in one big mass rolling start and then he pulled off and the race was on!! I quickly slipped to the back of the pack as the trail started to climb right out of the gate. I prefer to ride alone or with as few people as possible and I knew if I was closer to the front I would get caught up in racer mode and blow-up very fast. I had 50 miles to ride and I did not want to wither out in the first ten or so. I felt strong, my legs felt good and my Achilles was not bothering me. As the race progressed the rain came down and the course got muddy. As more and more racers crossed trough the new freshly cut singletrack it started to become mush. After 130 or so bikes ride the single track it is not single track anymore. The mud was slick and plentiful. It was mostly clay and very sticky!! I looked forward to the fire road for a chance to spin the mud off of my bike. Very fast I packed on an extra ten pounds of mud upon my bike and person. It coated my water bottles and globed up my tires. I must speak VERY highly of the Michelin AT XC 29 tire I was running in the rear. It shed mud like crazy!! It may have had small knobs but they cleared the mud so fast that the tire was able to find purchase in all but the thickest of the mud. I was able to ride up and through most section that other people could not ride. I was running a Kenda Nevegal in the front and was greatful for it width and corning knobs! The only down side was that it did not shed the mud as easily and it did a hell of a job packing mud up into the fork cross brace. I never washed out and endo'ed I did wash out a few times but was able to keep myself from going down. Towards the end of the first 25 mile lap I was following a racer down a crazy red clay muddy down hill when his front wheel washed out and over the bars he went smashing his hip into a rock and instantly cramping up. I stopped to help as well as about 5 other riders that I had been riding with on again off again. I helped the guy work out his cramp and then I stayed behind to ride the guy out while the other went on to tell the aid station. After about a mile or so he went down again and decided to walk it out. At that point he told me to ride on and realizing that I was eating up my time and momentum I left him to walk out on his own. I took short 10 minute or so breaks at the aid stations where I was able to eat food, replenish water bottles, and wipe off my glasses.

At the half way point I knew I was cold, sore, tired, and NOT GOING TO QUIT!!! At least two other riders decided to call their race off at Aid #1 while I was there. I personally couldn't believe that after 26 grueling miles one would quit without getting pulled by the race officials for being outside of the time to finish. I was right on order with completing within 6 hours (I didn't realize how much I would slow down on my second lap!) having finished the first lap just outside 3 hours. The second lap was a very lonely lap for me. I rode for a very long time before a lone female rider passed me on one of the grueling uphill climbs. We proceeded to trade back and forth for the rest of the lap, I would pass her on the downhills and on the single track and she would pass me on the hills. At one point during the long fast downhill fire road on the backside of the course I reached a max speed of 35.8 MPH!!! Mind you this was on wet fire road where my glasses were completely covered in mud and water essentially leaving scream downhill blind!! When I finally hit the last Aid station (#1) I knew I only had to ride 1 more mile and I had a GREAT sense of accomplishment! I didn't quit even when my Achilles was screaming, or the mud was packing on so bad the bike weighed 20lbs more, or even when I started to get a cramp in my right thigh (the only good leg I have!!) I powered through to finish!

On the order of equipment my bike performed FLAWLESSLY!! The best decision I made was to add a 22 tooth chainring and front derailleur to my bike. Despite the amount of mud that packed around my bottom bracket and front drivetrain the front derailleur shifted without fail EVERY time I pushed the shifter!! I did encounter chain suck once, mid way through the second lap, when shifting up to my 32 tooth chainring but it was quickly rectified with a good yank and never happened again. I had to bang the mud off numerous times and if I had known I might have brought some fenders?? But I am convinced that James Bleakley built me a bike for the ages!! I just wish my body had held up as well as my bike did. My knees are sore, every muscle in my body is in a knot, my left Achilles is on fire, and I have a nice bruise on my right hip and forearm from a mudslide/crash right into a tree on lap one!! But I am pretty sure I will be ready for the Cascade Cream Puff 100 miler in a month???.... I have a Dr.'s appointment next week with Dr. Christian Peterson, a Viking Sport teammate and sports medicine doc that my PT Erik Moen recommended I go see!!

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