Monday, April 27, 2009

Lessons from RAWROD

When it comes to epic adventures, time tends to dim not only the memory of the pain that would otherwise teach me to avoid future endeavors, but also some of the lessons learned during the day. So, I'm writing them down to help me remember them next time.
  • Proper bike preparation definitely includes making sure the fork settings are correct. I hadn't ridden my suspension fork in about six months and I didn't have the settings handy. I realized after a bit that the fork felt a little low both in the compression spring and the damping chamber, so that it felt like something like a low travel pogo stick. I ended up riding about half the day with it locked out.
  • Don't forget the camp chair. I always forget it and always regret it.
  • Take ear plugs for the night before. I was down before 10, but unable to sleep until much later. I don't do Ambien, etc. What I really needed was The World at War on my iPod - puts me right out every time.
  • Take more Carbo Rocket - I took the better part of a bottle, but at the concentrations I use it, that wasn't enough. I needed to put more water and other fluids in the truck as well.
  • Dan is my epic riding partner-in-crime. Do whatever it takes to get him there. If he's not going, I shouldn't go unless I am 100% comfortable with the likelihood of spending most of the day alone. And in the wind. And dehydrated. And not having very much fun at all.
  • Scott and TM are awesome. I need to feed them something awesome some time soon. Let me know when works for you guys.
  • No long runs the week of the ride.
  • Take a lens cloth for my glasses.

A few things went right:

  • Using only things that didn't need refrigeration was a good call.
  • The potato chips were awesome.
  • The cupcakes were also awesome.

I'm almost definitely not going to ride next year as I'll be doing IM St. George the following week. Maybe I'll head down and cook instead. We'll see if I can get Ben to come along and help with that.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


It was an epic day yesterday, even more so than this route normally is. I really hadn't planned on going since Dan was out and I didn't have anyone to ride with. I really had no interest in suffering in the desert alone for an entire day. The riding commitments made that swayed me in to going turned out to be campaign promises. So after getting an early start, I was left for dead on the first climb and spent a lot of time riding alone in the wind. At mile 30, I ran out of water and bonked. After riding alone and dehydrated in a demoralizing 10-15 mph headwind (gusting to 20) for nearly 20 miles, I'd had a gutfull of it and come to grips with packing it in. TM found me limping along and shepherded me back - gathering water, dragging me to the White Crack stop, and making sure I had enough food and water in me at lunch. I was thinking in terms of getting healthy for the truck ride in. TM was more thinking of pedalling. After lunch, we rode together for 10 more miles and I was back to about 80 percent. My legs never did come all the way back from the dehydration. We then had the pleasure of a cold, pounding rain storm. At least it came with a tail wind - for all of about five miles. I joined up with Scotty Pants as the sun came out. With the wind at our faces again. Mile after mile we slogged along in the wind and ground out a finish. I've never been so deep so early and am actually more than a little surprised that I finished. P.S. A little research has turned up different wind speeds. 10-15? That was in the morning, with gusts in the 30's. When the wind picked up in the afternoon, the sustained winds were closer to 30 mph with gusts in the 40's. For several hours.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Peer Pressure

It's that time of year. No, not administrative professionals' day, but RAWROD. Looking back on years past, I figured this year the ride just wasn't in the cards. I told myself that I need to be at the office to be available for work. It's slow and I need the hours. And there's the issue of who to ride with. I'm the special needs uncle in the family - the one who someone needs to keep an eye on at the river during a family reunion while every one else is fishing. And while the fish are biting. I'm that guy. But Sabrosa Jon wouldn't take no for an answer. He offered to leave later and to do all the driving. When that didn't work, he started enlisting help by sending over representatives to help resolve any doubts I might have about the ride. But I have long running doubts. The first year, I was at the same weight and a little less fit. I suffered miserably, mainly because I did it on a cyclocross bike. The second year, I was heavier and not fit, but chose the right bike. Not nearly as bad for most of it, but I ran into the back wall of the pain cave coming out of Horsethief. Last year (the third time) I had more fitness, but was heavier again. Dan had hit the back wall of that cave by lunch, and was deep-hole mining his own personal pain cave until his pick broke, forcing him into the truck at mile 85. Jon persisted and I find myself caving to peer pressure. Even if I find myself exploring a Mariana Trench of pain, the ride down and back is always worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Fisher Clan Brings It

Alika married Brittney on Wednesday. The weather sucked, but the food did not. We brought it. Mahana put me in charge of the food organization and Kehaulani in charge of the decorations and such. And it was on. We did garlic shrimp, spicy and regular; my luau-style chicken, kalua pig, roasted whole sirloins, potato salad, salad, poi, fresh fruit,and haupia. Kuhia ran the pig and the haupia and helped Lani grill the chicken. I ran the shrimp station. It was a memorable day and it was great to see the Fisher clan pulled together to go really big. P.S. I'm paying for it now. Two days of standing in front of the stove did a number on me - my knees and hips were hating it during today's (Saturday's) workout, so I pulled the plug on the ride and did some swimming instead.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Before California, I was worried about having a big drop off in motivation after what was supposed to be a training race. The very thing happened the first time I did California. Not so much this time. I'm motivated. I'm even a little bit excited about cranking up the intensity ahead of Boise. I'm also looking forward to some good MTB time in the summer and then hopefully back to it ahead of IMZ (assuming I can get a spot in Boise). I'd done my best to get out of RAWROD, but it looks like Mr. Sabrosa has worn me down and I'll be heading down to get my suffer on to hang out with the crew. Hopefully Racer can at least make the drive this year.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


As many-a-roadie can attest, motorists often underestimate the catch-up speed of road bikes. Especially in town, with the stop signs, and the traffic lights, and what not. With this underestimation, motorists sometimes find themselves in an awkward situation when you catch up to them - you know, after they've just shouted some lame remark or, better yet, tried to scare you by swerving as close to you as possible and/or honking or yelling. Every cyclist has been there. And instead of the usual one finger salute, you finally have a chance to actually call them on their behavior. What to do - do you dump a water bottle in their window, do you smash their window, or do you just look threateningly at them as they try their best to look straight ahead and ignore you? I rarely get it right. One time I did. Jared Hill, Ben Rabner, and I were headed back from a trip up Hobble Creek Canyon. It was spring time, late May if I recall, and during the week. And in the middle of the day. I was in college and school was out - what can I say. Anyway, we were riding downhill near Springville High when a couple of girls drove as close to me as they could. The girl in the front passenger seat shouted, "HEY" at the top of her lungs. The car speed off, the girls giggling with satisfaction. And then they ran into a line of cars at a four-way stop. I saw my chance and gave chase. I quickly realized I had plenty of time to catch them and plenty of time to plan what I'd do. I really wanted to get it right. With my plan thought out, I moved in close to the line of cars and slowed down. As I neared the vehicle, I leaned in until my head was nearly in the front window and screamed, "WHAT!?" The girls shrieked and jumped, which caused the former shouter to spill her drink all over herself. As I rolled on, I could hear the rest of the girls giggling - I assume about how the shouter was now covered in Diet Coke.

Monday, April 06, 2009

California Trip/Race Report

The Highlights, in time-saving, bullet-point format: - We had a lot of fun as a family, especially at Disneyland. - The location of the condo across the street from the beach and 200m from the transition area made the trip much more relaxing. - I got a wicked stomache ache from choosing the safe route and doing pasta the night before the race. To hell with it - next time I'm eating something I actually like. - I hate being in the last wave - waiting over an hour in transition before our wave staged sucked. - I had fun at the race in spite of an outgoing tide, lots of wind, and cramps on the run. - We managed to eat at only local joints for the entire trip.