Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dusk 2 Dawn 12 hr Race report

Geez, after reading the report that I wrote earlier today I realized that it is just kind of long and boring. I could have really used an editor on this one. Oh well here is the short version...

The race was a lot of road biking at night followed by trekking on a barely navigable trail while being followed by a train of hitch-hikers. The canoe was painful, then a short running section where I almost heaved, then more road biking followed by a ROCKY singletrack. Laid the smack down in a race to the finish and won our division, third overall 4 person (only beaten by two nationally ranked teams). 60+ miles total, awesome race.

Now the long version...

The Dusk 2 Dawn is a race run in July at night in order to beat the summer heat. Luckily July was very mild in the Midwest and we had great weather to race in. It was our first attempt at a night race and I think that we were all a bit apprehensive about the endeavor. I don't know about every one else, but for me the experience of racing all night is kind of surreal. Even now it doesn't seem like we raced all night long, it kind of felt like we woke up in the morning and raced for a normal day, only it was dark (don't know if that makes any sense, but you just have to experience it to know). I had to keep reminding myself that it was 2:00 A.M. and all other sane people were in bed.

We loaded up Chris' "Red Dragon" and made our way to Perry Lake, KS. The trip was pretty uneventful and we were mostly concerned with not repeating the mistakes we made on our way to the Mission 18hr (i.e. dinking around too much and missing the pre-race meeting). We arrived at a fairly deserted race site in the afternoon. We checked in and only noticed one other team lying on some picnic tables trying to get out of the heat. We decided that laying around in the heat was only going to sap our energy and went to the Motel 6 for a few hours rest in the A.C. When the four of us got to the hotel and asked for a room the guy looked at us and said you know we only have rooms with two beds. I replied "oh no problem, we don't plan on doing much sleeping" He gave us a kind of OK, don't ask, don't tell kind of look and handed over the keys.

We got everything ready and made our way to the pre-race meeting where they gave us the maps and clues about a half hour pre-start time. We planned out our attack and it looked like it was just going to be an almost all on trail endurance fest. After the national anthem Jason blew the horn and we were off. We started with a small 3 CP orienteering section to get everyone separated out. CP 3 gave us a little trouble but nothing too bad and we made it back to the TA in front of quite a few teams. We also realized that the "trails" were not always well defined and the brush was very thick.

After the TA I handed the maps to Chris since it was all road riding and he drove us in most of the roads. I also have a terrible habit of taking us on "detours" when navigating by roads. Chris rocked the bike nav and set a blistering pace where we passed several teams and got to the bike drop off with only a few teams in front of us.

After we dropped off the bikes at CP 7 we headed off on a "trail" run. The trails were super hard to follow and it was nearly impossible to bushwhack with the thick brush. We had some trouble finding the right trail and my stress level went to critical. I really did not want to be lost in the dark in the thick brush. We found CP 8 and I told everyone that we couldn't really run because I could not keep track of us on the map, and if we lost track of our position in the dark it would be very costly to try to find our place again. We got a pretty good system where Chris would keep us on the trail so that I could keep thumbing the map and just watch his feet to step over roots and rocks. One team went running by us, but we saw them a little while up the trail looking for a CP about a mile out of place. About halfway through the trail run Chris told me to look back and I saw a train of about 20 headlights just following our lead. At one point we tried to lose them by punching fast and taking off across a field to the next trail entrance. The hitch-hikers punched and sprinted across the field, then lined up right back behind us. It was pretty funny. We finally finished the trail run and decided to take a less traveled bushwhack to our final trekking CP. We passed by a bathroom to make a few deposits and to fill up Chris' camelbak. When we got the the next CP we were surprised to see all the canoes. We had misunderstood and we thought we were running back up to the bike drop to hop in canoes.

The paddling section was BRUTAL. Judd and Dave were having some kind of paddling disfunction and were having a hard time keeping up with Chris and I which never happens. Usually Judd and Dave hand us our lunch in the canoe and we struggle every stroke to keep up with them. The lake was only a few feet deep in some places and it was like a maze getting through the trees and branches sticking up out of the mud. Most of the time I was thinking "man I do not want to run aground and have to step out into the mud" It was pretty spooky in the middle of the night. We felt we had a terrible paddle but our splits weren't too bad.

We had another small orienteering section where I started to feel the nausea set in. After having concentrated on the DAT so much I had neglected my training and was now feeling the effects. After trying to choke down some shot bloks I nearly blew chunks and decided I needed to walk a bit or I really was going to heave.

We got back on the bikes and made our way on the last part of the journey. The sun came up and thankfully we got to do the singletrack in the light. The singletrack trails were as good for biking as the previous trails were good for running. The trails consisted of more rocks than dirt and it was impossible to get up any speed. It was hike-a-bike up every hill and white knuckle going down. As we came out of the singletrack we had a couple miles to the finished when we came up on the now two man team of Wounded Warrier who have been our rivals in the series. At this point I was still feeling like dung but when Judd asked me to dig deep, the adrenaline kicked in and we destroyed those guys on the hill. We came zooming across the finish line like we were in a sprint finish in the Tour de France and found out we were the 3rd four person team and the first all male team. After dismounting my bike the quads rebelled by cramping up and leaving me rolling around on the pavement. It was great!

The race totaled over 60 miles in all and we had a great time. There were a lot of DNFs and making it in under 12 hrs put was quite an accomplishment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dusk 2 Dawn 12 hr Race map

Had to take a different approach to getting the race map online this time since Jason didn't use MyTopo. I scanned in the maps and overlaid them in Google Earth and published them. The scanned images are kind of big so it might take a while to load. Also, in the map below and when you click on View Larger Map, sometimes the maps don't draw in the correct order (i.e. some of the smaller maps are "under" the overview).

The best way to view the map is to download the kml file and open in Google Earth. The images are still going to take a bit to load but once loaded you should be able to turn them on and off and browse around no problem.

View Larger Map

Sunday, August 16, 2009

XTERRA Logansport 09 Off Road Tri

Photos of the race are HERE

Results with pace and rank calcs are HERE

Chris, Erik, John Bird (a coworker of Chris and Erik), and I went to compete in the XTERRA Logansport off road triathlon this past weekend. Chris, Judd and I did this race last year while it was Erik and John's first tri. John's overall goal was to not have the emergency medical service put into action on his behalf while I was wanting to improve over last year's mark and Chris was on a mission to once and for all determine who is the off road champ between him and the 5 month pregnant woman that handed him his lunch last year. Sure he had one of the most spectacular high speed, stick in the spokes, over the handlebars wrecks that caused him to hike-a-bike for 3 miles, but still, losing to a 5 month pregnant woman under any circumstances cannot be overlooked by your racing buddies.

We drove up on Friday and stopped in Effingham for some Big Az Biscuits and got to registration early enough to give the course a preview. While we previewed the bike trail, John decided to give us a demonstration on how to properly tip over on your bike when you can't get unclipped, after we got back to the hotel Chris adjusted the clips and he was good to go. It was the exact same course as last year, small bit of technical riding at first followed by a bunch of just all out fast rolling trail.

Saturday we got the TA set up and were ready to roll. I was of course full of piss and vinegar while John, Erik and Chris seemed like they were getting ready for a funeral. I asked what was up, John and Erik just had some first tri nerves going on while Chris said he just hadn't been feeling all that great. A half mile swim looks a lot more daunting when you see it all laid out in a lake instead of just 35 lengths in a pool. I lined up and noticed about a 13 year old kid to my right and knew that he was going to blow me out of the water (little kids always take me to school in the swim). They blew the horn and I began a my half mile journey of inhaling water and flailing all while watching the people in the survivor wave pass me. It felt like the worst swim of my life.

After the swim I hopped on my new Gary Fisher X-Cal 29er and started ripping up the bike. I knew that I had a lot of ground to make up so I just pushed as hard and fast as I could go the whole way. Man those 29" wheels roll fast!!! I passed a boat load of people and had a great time. John and Erik got out of the water in respectable time for their first tri in front of Chris, who like me put on a splashing and thrashing clinic and actually admitted to fearing for his life at at least one point in the swim (his time wasn't all that bad though). Chris overtook John and caught up to Erik on the first lap. Chris and Erik raced the remainder together. Erik and John both ate dirt on the bike and came back with some bloody legs which if you don't eat dirt at least once on your first off road tri it really doesn't count.

I made it back to the TA, stashed my bike and gear and headed off for the run. My legs felt a bit jelly-like, but not too bad. About a mile into the race a dude went flying by me like a gazelle. I asked him what lap he was on and he responded it was his second. He was the overall winner and it reminded me just how much of a pretender I really am. Overall I ran a 7:40 min/mi pace, that guy had to be going about 6 min/mi!! I spent the rest of the run pushing hard and giving encouragement to the first lap racers as I went by them on my second lap. I finished feeling like I had pushed hard and had a great race except for the swim. My overall time was 1 hr 36 min which is 11 min faster than last years time. I was 16th overall and 2nd in my age group so I am super happy about that. My swim split was 18:01 for the 1/2 mile including the transition time which is my PR!!! I am still trying to work out how that came about, I felt like I had a terrible swim and I must have drank about two gallons of lake water so who knows?! Erik and Chris came in at 2:06, the announcer's call as they approached the finish line was "Here come two guys that are trying to come in at a TIE!!" It was kind of funny. I don't remember what time John came in (like 2:12) but after he crossed, he felt like he was going to pass out. After getting some water and sitting down he came back to life and was thrilled that he had made it without having been administered CPR at any point in the race. This was the first time I met John and he is a real stand up guy, I hope to race with him again sometime.

After the analyzing the times the verdict is in.....CHRIS "Razor Legs" Wehrli, has snatched the off road title away from the pregnant lady....of course she sat out this year because she was 8 months pregnant.

My race map of the bike and run from my GPS watch color coded by speed (I know fancy smancy huh) is below. You can switch to topo map with the buttons on the right.

To get the full experience click View Large Map

View Larger Map

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quail Run Tri - Aug 09 Results

Results from the first Quail Run Tri held in Rolla MO in August 09.

To see the results in a full page click HERE

Info on publishing an excel table to blog is found here (so I can remember the next time I want to do it)