Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ode to Sidi Shoes


Ergo 2 Limited Edition Bronze & Silver
(makes your feet feel soooo happy!)

Dragon 2 Limited Edition Sidi in Bronze & Black
(ohh la la!!! xoxoxo)


































Oh Sidi I missed you so
My feet were born to fit with you
On the road and on the trails.
And you were gone such a long long time
You welcome me back
And I want to say
I am so thankful to have you on my shoe rack.
You've always been my favorite
And now I know
What makes me go fast
With the right looks that are real nice
You fit me perfectly so.
Thank you Sidi
I love you.

Cool casual shoes

Check out my new cool casual shoes by Vasque:
So cool and comfortable I might hit the hiking trail tonight!!

:-)

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Butte 100

My attitude about this event was that I picked this as my favorite race.  I wanted to race hard and win if possible.  It was an opportunity to test my climbing skills and improve from my 3rd place result from last year.  My intention was to finish the best I could. 



Photo by Jon Wick (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonwick/sets/72157627268159234/)
I got there really really late on Thursday, so I only had Friday to get the bike set up and prepare for the race.  I also had to get my race package and attend the riders meeting, and somehow fit in a decent dinner.  This is part of being who I am, and it's not easy going to sleep at 2 AM when you're used to 10 PM, eating a semi-ok dinner late, and not sleeping well when you're alone in a hotel somewhere.  It's been this way a long time and I still don't like doing it.  But that is the way it goes, and you have to adjust, acclimate, and make the best of it no matter what. 

So before I get into the race story, I just want to thank the race promotion crew, and especially Gina Evan the race director, who picked me up at midnight, got me to the Day's Inn (owned by the Leipheimer family & was so comfortable!!), shuttled me around, and everything went the best it could possibly be thanks to them.  If it weren't for their generous hospitality and giving me free time on Friday to prepare for the race on Saturday, I could not have done it without them. 

On Saturday morning, I woke up really really really early.  The race stared at 6 AM but I had to get up at 4:30 (3:30 CA time), and I had 30 minutes to get cleaned up, eat, and be ready for 5 AM pick up, with the race start at 6 AM.  But with all this, I was grateful for the super early start and did okay anyway.  I managed to eat what the race offered: bowl of rasin bran, coffee, OJ, and some organic fruit blended thing in a jelly bag.  They were great and I had two.  It wasn't much but I packed my jersey and bags with plenty of Hammer bars, gels, chews, drinks (water and Heed), and supplements to keep me alive for the 10 hour journey.  I ate and drank a lot...probably more than I usually do, which proved to be a major advantage because I felt good and didn't bonk.

The race was everything I anticipated it to be and more.  It was perfect weather, and maybe a little too hot for a while, but an afternoon shower cooled it off and it was beautiful.  The race promoters had every detail ironed out too.  We had timing chips, so by the end of the race we had the results within 30 minutes.  There were so many volunteers at the aid stations, so when I was desperate for water, they were right there.  It  is such a long race, so when you're out there for hours and hours, it really helps give you motivation to have a smiling face wanting to help. 

The course was marked really well and the miles and miles of single track were beautiful.  The amazing course had the most perfect combination of descents and climbs all the while with the breathtaking backdrop of beautiful mountains, streams, forest, desert, and meadows.   The Butte 100 is a mountain bike race make for mountain bikers.  There was over 16,000 feet of elevation in the midst of the continental divide.

There were also so many reasons why anyone would want to quit, but you don't. If you finish, it's a major accomplishment.  When you're out there racing, the only thing you think of is that you want to finish and it's not about the guy you're beating.  It's more about the personal conquest and mountains you're conquering.  Like many races, I kept myself motivated by asking myself questions like, 'what will i do all the rest of the day?'; or when I got lost off the course: 'Is there a chance I can pull out of this hole now?'.  I watch, wait, hurt, and wonder what advantages I might have.  During a 10+ hour 100 mile race, the ground is leveled by the challenge of the race course and weather conditions.  The physical challenges, terrain, bicycle, gears, etc., give you advantages...or not.  Certainly, every other person out there is hurting too, it just boils down to who has the most advantages and who is able to use them best. 
Photo by Jon Wick (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonwick/sets/72157627268159234/)

During this race, I was doing great.  But, at about 30 miles into the race I ended up at a closed gate without any marking that I went through, but I didn't see any markings on the trails so I turned around.  When I met up with the second place person, he confirmed it was the right way so we rode together a while.  I was riding my own pace, but worked on about a 10 minute lead at about half way through.  By the second half of the race, I was getting a little tired and trying so hard to make sure I didn't have mistakes.  Then, even though the was marked well, I thought I got lost again because there were no markings in a section that really didn't need to be marked, but I'm paranoid about getting lost now.  Anyway, I spent at least 30 minutes getting back on track and someone told me I was now in second place.  I had lost about 15 more minutes but I focused and was determined to catch the guy that managed to pass me.  It was so long before I caught him, but when I did, we rode together a while before he started cramping.  It seemed like forever to get to the end after he pulled off and I finished first place in 9 hrs 36 min.
Photo by Jon Wick (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonwick/sets/72157627268159234/)

In an average week, I'm lucky to get in 16,000 feet of elevation, so this particular race is without a doubt (to me), the most difficult race that I'm more than pleased to participate in.  This was also one of the events I could see what my fitness is like.  This race is totally different from Leadville 100.  It takes about half the time to ride 100 miles in Leadville as it does in Butte.  But, it is perfect for guaging how the body is working and to mentally prepare for the brutally fast 100 miles in Leadville.

Of all the years I've been doing this, I've noticed that the smaller the town is, the nicer the people are.  The bike shop donated a bike to a raffle only for the volunteers, who did such a fantastic job.  I thought that was really nice of the Leipheimer family to take care of them so well and the volunteers were really happy.  I guess I like this race so much because of the town, the race promoter, the mountains and beautiful, amazing, brutal climbing, and because of the wonderful people in the town.

I am so lucky to be able to race mountain bikes.  Some people can live their entire lives and never see what we get to see in a race like this.  I get to explore so much and witness this amazing world.  100 miles is a lot of territory and not easy to get around, but on a bike, it's the most rewarding experience anyone could dream possible.

Gosh, I love this job.

Tinker 

PS - If anyone has any photos I can post with this story please email to me - dtinkerj at aol.com  --  thank you!