Sunday, June 3, 2012

eRock 2012 is in the books

Hey, guys. Here's the final blog post about eRock. Saturday afternoon got a bit crazy as some big thunderstorm cells wandered through the area around Palmer Divide. The race got called because of weather at about 3:30 pm - multiple lightning strikes in the area and some heavy wind. We were all happy they stopped racing when the lightning started but we were a bit disappointed that they decided to abandon and not wait for the weather to clear up. Here's a quick summary of some thoughts about the race:

  • On my last lap I was fortunate enough to see a guy in front of me that was just slightly slower than me. For 3 1/2 miles I slowly closed the gap between him and me and finally caught him on the level jeep road. I could see him look behind to watch me close on him and he tried to stay away but his back was bothering him and he had trouble climbing. At one point I said to myself "hey, if you don't catch him, it's ok. Think about all the stuff you've been through the last two years. You should just be happy to be out here and if you can't fight through the pain to push up the hill, it's ok." And then it hit me. I am NOT SICK anymore. So I shouldn't use that as an excuse anymore. So yeah, I've been through a lot. And yeah, I'm not sure what my body is capable of now or in the future. But I shouldn't hide behind that. If I want to go faster and get stronger, than I should - here's the big surprise! - go faster and get stronger. Wow. Pretty simple stuff. Stop making excuses and turn your damned legs on the bike! So I caught him, asked him how he was doing and he said "I'm tired". Well, 20 hours into a race, with probably little sleep the night before is a pretty good time to be tired. So I said "Yup, it's that time of day" and I put the (little, tiny) hammer down and pushed to the finish line. I put about 2 minutes on him in the last 2 miles. Ah, the joys of competition! It may seem small and petty and unimportant to care about such things. But when you're trying to rebuild  your body, you have to take joy in the little victories and this was certainly a victory.
  • It's great doing something like this with engineers and project managers. Not only is everyone super prepared, but everyone is anxious to out-prepare everyone else. (Did I mention that this group is a bit competitive?) So if you ask for sunblock, everyone dives into their bags to see who has the best sunblock that is most easily accessible. And after a meal, people instantly do the dishes without being asked. 
  • It's been a month since my last chemo, and this weekend it was great to have my legs hurt and not feel so totally gassed from lack of oxygen transport. Yeah, it hurts when you ask your legs to do more than they want to, especially three times over an 18 hour period. But to be able to get enough oxygen to your legs to have them work hard enough to generate metabolic waste products is really good news for me. I hope that my o2 transport continues to improve so I can work my muscles more so they in turn will get stronger. That's the strange perspective you get when you've been really ill. Someone else will complain about their painful legs. I'm really happy to have my legs hurt because of what it means about my overall health.
And a few pictures from Saturday's racing (thx Tony for filling in for Glenn as team photographer!)

Me charging down the final straight after passing my competition (note that you can't see anyone behind me. In rowing terms, this is known as "horizoning" someone, as in they are so far behind you that they're beneath the horizon:

Gary charging off into the storm (note the big rain clouds behind him):

Waiting for Gary to finish so we can complete the tear down of our campsite. In classic Colorado fashion, we've all got rain gear on our tops and shorts on. From left to right, me, Ed and Carlin.

If you want to look at race results, we're the BikesOrBeers team in the 8 person coed division.

And to give you a sense for how slow I am compared to folks that are somewhat serious about riding their bikes, check out the Strava segment for the course (I am currently 18/20th. Ed (6), Tony (7) and Gary (10) are also on our team). For me, definitely room to get better!


Ari Newman
Ari NewmanJun 01, 201217.5mi/h166bpm240W Powermeter-27:25
2Chris GravesJun 03, 201116.3mi/h171bpm--29:31
3David B.Jun 01, 201216.0mi/h-262W-30:01
4Dave ChorenJun 01, 201215.8mi/h-154W-30:25
5matthew clineJun 01, 201215.6mi/h-242W-30:46
6Ed BaldufJun 01, 201215.3mi/h170bpm187W-31:21
7Tony ApuzzoJun 03, 201115.3mi/h145bpm249W-31:29
8Craig KellerJun 01, 201215.2mi/h-115W-31:35
9Kent SmithJun 03, 201114.7mi/h148bpm139W-32:41
10Gary BonnerJun 02, 201214.0mi/h-136W-34:18
11Paul GoldbergJun 01, 201213.7mi/h155bpm218W-35:03
12Kim NordquistJun 03, 201113.6mi/h---35:21
13mark truelsenJun 02, 201213.4mi/h-132W-35:55
14Mike BeanJun 01, 201213.1mi/h-149W-36:38
15Christopher FosterJun 03, 201112.9mi/h160bpm--37:10
16Jeff WheelockMay 09, 201212.8mi/h---37:31
17Jon ElliottApr 28, 201211.9mi/h---40:15
18George FlorentineJun 02, 201211.9mi/h153bpm107W-40:28
19Rob GaffneyJun 03, 201211.6mi/h135bpm--41:23
20Justin GritzmacherSep 04, 20118.3mi/h---57:44

Saturday, June 2, 2012

day 2; breakfast at eRock

Good morning, eRock fans! Reporting to you (sort of) live from the 24 hours of eRock, here is my morning post. We had a pretty warm evening last night with the temperature in the mid-50s. Great weather for a ride. I got to bed about 12:15 last night and had trouble sleeping the first couple of hours because of the DAMNED TRAINS! Loud, loud, loud. There's a train crossing near the open space we're using so the train always blows its whistle as it passes by where we're camped. Pretty difficult to sleep with this happening every 30-60 minutes.

Anyway, got a few hours of sleep and woke about 6:15 and did my morning lap around 7:45. It was GREAT - managed to spend about 35 minutes very slowly gaining ground on someone, passed him on the double track jeep road and had a strong finish into the timing station. It's great to have someone like that to chase as it takes your mind off the pain in your legs. Similar to last night, I got my heart rate up to about 158 and pushed pretty consistently to keep in the 150-160 heart rate zone.

After the ride, I came back to the tent area, which looked like this:

Back at camp, folks were making eggs, hash browns, coffee and tea. Yum, Yum! Fueled up on some eggs and hash browns, two bottles of gatorade and a banana to replace electrolytes, some stretching on the foam log to get my legs opened up and then a morning nap. Stay tuned for another post this afternoon! Looks to be getting pretty warm today so hopefully it doesn't get too hot, doesn't get too windy, doesn't rain and we keep hammering laps! We'll see how it goes...

midnight at eRock

just a bit after midnight and the team is out doing double laps. Carlin should be done soon and Gary is just about to go out to the starting line to get ready for this 2 laps. It's a beautiful evening down here just north of Palmer Divide. It's in the high 50s, clear, almost a full moon. I finished my first lap at about 11:10. Kept my heart rate at about 158-160 for the entire lap, 42:20 or so elapsed time. Most of the other folks are doing between 31-33 so I'm way off the pace but I was hoping to go < 45 so it was a good time for me, given where my fitness is right now. The only negative to the course is that it's been very dry, so the course is very dusty and sandy. At times I was riding through a haze of dust raised by riders in front of me. My front wheel did  got a little side ways on the jeep rode on the west side of the course but I managed to get it going forward before I fell off the bike. It's really a hoot being out here with 400 similar minded folks. The next few hours will be hard on folks as exercising hard in the middle of the night doesn't come naturally to too many people.

I'm off to sleep; my next ride isn't until about 7:30 but I'll want to be up by 6:15 or so to get some breakfast into me before my next lap.

Stay tuned for more posts tomorrow as the 24 hours of eRock continues!

Friday, June 1, 2012

eRock - 9:15 pm

Checking in with a few early evening shots as the 24 hours of eRock moves into the evening hours. The moon is close to full this evening and it looks to be a nice night for riding. Here is a shot of the timing tent that everyone moves through at the end of the lap. There's a timing mechanism on the floor and a timing chip in everyone's race #.

And here is a shot of folks waiting to take off from the start line:

That's it for now! I have a lap at 10:30 so I'll post some more info around midnight after I finish my 1st lap.

eRock start!

The eRock race is on! Here's a picture of the start:

Carlin went off first and did a fast 33 minutes and change. Gary has just finished, pushing a 32:35. Amanda's out on the course, followed by Ed, Steve, Scott, Tony and I. We've got pasta cooked and people are fueling up - some folks are eating dinner before they ride, some after.

Here's Gary right after his first lap:

Check back in a couple of hours for some after hour shots! We had a bit of rain around 6:30 but no it's clearing up. Hopefully a nice night of riding awaits!

eRock 2012 - pre race camp setup

Howdy, gang! This weekend I thought I would change gears a bit and post a few things about the 24 hour of eRock we're doing this weekend. We've got 8 of us this year - me, Tony, Carlin, Gary, Steve, Scott, Ed and Amanda. I'll be posting photos and maybe even lap times through the nite and tomorrow so although boring to most of you, it'll be a fun thing I can do to celebrate being active and being done with chemo. Yeah!

Here's a couple of pics as our campsite came together:

There are about 100 teams in the race; a combination of solo riders (crazy!), 2, 4 and 8 person teams. It's really, really fun to get a few hundred cyclists together and spend 24 hours racing around an 8 mile loop! I know it sounds either boring or crazy to spend a night and a day doing this, but I really enjoy it. Our team is a somewhat serious rec team. We're in no danger of winning our division but everyone works hard on their laps but are also very supportive of whatever speed people go at. Which is a good thing, since I'm pretty sure I'll be the slowest person in the group this year. My last dose of chemo was 26 days ago so I'm still a long way from being completely normal in terms of blood chemisty. I'd say I'm at about 65-70% of the speed I was capable of in 2009. No one's sure how much function I'll get back so it's pretty much a wait and see game. So for now, I'm working hard, enjoying being able to be active and trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Good sleep, good food, exercise regularly, don't drink *too* much alcohol,, manage work stress, etc.

Ok, that's it for now! The race officially starts at 6:30 mountain time. I'll post pictures of the start - they have a running start which is a hoot to see. 80-100 cyclists clomping down the dirt road in their bike cleats and then off on their bike. Stay tuned for more posts as the evening progresses!