Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big Guy on a L’il Bike: Mount Alton Ride (9/11/11)

Distance: 22 Miles
Difficulty: Hard
Great Views of Lake Winni from atop.

Sure enough, I thought. I can’t ride it up this hill with it like this. So I picked up the Day-glow Death-trap, slung it over my shoulder and started running up the hill. And from behind me all I hear is Alex yell: “Oh No!!!” (I don’t know if it was in empathy or disgust.)

I got to the top of the medium sized steep climb where everybody but Alex (still struggling up on his Gary Fischer commuter). “Does anyone have tools?” I demanded.


As Aharon, Tim and the rest of the serious runners spent Sunday morning going on 10-17 mile runs at paces I don’t run races at, I tried to find a bike. For the ride we were planning later.

First in the garage was the maroon/brown mid-80s steel Trek. It had the issue of two flat tires and a misaligned rear wheel. I remedied these situations to find out it was also the size of a BMX bike and the rear brakes didn’t work at all.

So, I went with the second choice. It was a later Trek. An all aluminum Trek 1200. The color scheme was only slightly worse than the WLAF’s Orlando Thunder. (There was a little less blue in this day-glow yellow-green). After pumping up the tires and getting used to riding clipless pedals in sneakers, it wasn’t horrible. It still was built for someone around 5’7” and maybe 10 cm smaller than my Specialized. But, the brakes worked and I didn’t hit my knees on the handlebars.

The route Matt had planned was 40 miles with 5 hills. The first hill was Alton Mountain which was a steep bear of a hill. However, atop the hill there were views of Lake Winni were well worth the climb. Had I brought my camera to New Hampshire at all – you would see pictures of the great views.

Next was a long sweeping downhill away from the lake. Those on road bikes that fit them screamed down the mountain. I was a bit worried about the tipping issue – either sideways or forwards. So, I was back with Alex who is both tremendously light and was riding a Gary Fischer commuter bike. He eventually gained on me.

My speed slowed more once my handlebars stopped responding. Well, the handlebars responded fine, they turned – just they didn’t take the front wheel with them. So, I had to slow down to take turns at speeds that I could lean into the turns. This however meant that I kept losing ground to all the other riders.

At last, I passed Alex and caught near the others. I watched them fight their way up the steep incline. It seemed like a good hill. But --- When I tried to pull my way up, the handlebars kept moving instead of giving me power. Thus I had to dismount and run up the hill.


Atop the hill I did get tools from Aharon and “repaired” the handlebars. The concensus was to turn around and go back as opposed to following Matt’s route over an unknown amount of dirt roads. I would have done the dirt roads on MY bike; but, I was happy to avoid such things aboard the Day-glow Deathtrap.

Instead we retraced our route to make it a 22 mile out and back.

Next year I want my bike and to do Matt’s route.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Over the Top: Revenge on the Runners (9/10/11)

After the Lake Winni Relay, we hung out around the fire pit at the "Old Guys' House."

At some point Tim came up and said: "Jesse, come here you have to Arm Wrestle."

Dutifully, I walked to the table and put down four different runners who earlier in the day had beat my team by four hours or more. Included in that group was Coach Joe O'Leary. Sure, he might destroy me in swimming, biking and running - but Drunk Arm Wrestling...

Strangely enough, the body type that makes you great at running does not make you good at arm wrestling, even though I didn't have my hat to turn backwards - so them I'm like a truck!

Dancing with Herbert: Lake Winni Relay (9/10/11)

Race: Lake Winnipesaukee Relay
Location: Weir’s Beach, NH
Individual Distance: 9.3 Miles
Goal Individual Time: 1:20:00
Actual Individual Time: 1:13:54
Team Distance: 65.1 Miles
Team Time: 9:28:52
Around Mile 3 of my leg I came up on my prey - Ann Rowley of relay team - Doublesexy. When I got close enough for shouting distance, I yelled:
“I’m coming for ya, Rowley!”
I quickly made my way past Ann with a brief chat and looked up to see where the next person was I needed to pass.
For about two weeks I’d heard: “leg 3 is the hardest leg;” or, “you’re going to walk up that first hill.”
Before our second leg came in, Aaron told me to try to catch Double Sexy. I responded, “Oh, I’ll catch Ann.” I got the baton from Yili, I was a little more than 2 minutes behind Double Sexy’s hand off. I came out of the parking lot and crossed Alton Bay to make the left toward Bay Hill Road.
Well, I can’t say whether it was the hardest leg or not. But I can say I jogged up the first hill on Bay Hill Road V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y! The comical steepness was only made up for by the fact that it was way shorter than the Bridge of Flowers hill. As I shuffled up cars that passed me seemed to strain heading up.
Thankfully that ended and I was on 28, heading to Wolfeboro now. I looked down the first hill and saw Ann halfway up the first hill on 28. I knew I had plenty of time and could run my race and catch her.
En route to passing Ann, I had to pass the three teams she had blown by since the race started.
After passing Ann I saw two blue shirts in the distance, one pale and one dark, that I had a chance of catching.
Around mile 5 I passed the pale blue shirt who was a member of “Girls with Guns.” Right at the last water stop on the route I was behind the team with the dark blue. I said something to the volunteers which caused dark blue to turn around. He looked SHOCKED and said: “Wow, you must have been far back.”
I smiled, “You’re the sixth person I’ve passed.”
While I had three miles left, I saw no one else to pass. Under normal circumstances I might have slowed down at this point. Now I was just out running by myself and I’m not too good at self-motivations sometimes.
Fortunately, the guy in dark blue had enough motivation to keep coming at me. Over the next few hills he kept creeping up and then I would widen it on the downhills.
With about a mile left we turned left onto a town street. I hopped onto the sidewalk. It became mostly flat and I glanced back twice and dark blue was farther away each time. Then, with a good two block view he was gone. Now I gunned it. Ran into the parking lot and gave a little Ickey Shuffle before handing the baton to Aaron.
After the race, I had got myself food at the pub across the street.  Upon leaving the pub, I realized, crap everyone's gone.  So I had to hitchhike.  Fortunately, Sara, Wendy and Steph were the 10th car by and picked me up!
My team, Herbert and the Exotic Dancers, came in 21st out of 31 in the “Mixed Open” Category. Other Somerville Road Runners teams won the Men’s Open, Men’s 40+, Men’s 50+ and Women’s Open and took 2nd in the Mixed 50+ category. Ann Rowley’s Doublesexy beat us (thanks largely to their ringer – I’m sorry, “emergency replacement” – Jim Moberg)
When I got home on Sunday, I had a facebook message from Ann:
“Next year, you and me, leg 3 rematch.”
You’re on, Rowley. I’m coming for ya!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Laboring on the Goose: Run the Goose 7K (9/5/11)

One of the cooler shirt designs

Event: Run the Goose 7K
Location: Gloucester, MA
Distance: 7 Km or 4.35 miles
Goal Time: 30:30
Actual Time: 33:16 (but ran too far)

Watching the guys and gals come into the finish line for the 25K made me happy I ran the 7k. They were definitely hot and haggard from the hills and heat.

The race started okay. (Although I almost missed it as I stood at the starting line some Irish guy told me: “The 7k starts over there!” And I got to the start in just enough time.

My goal had been 7 – 7:10 miles. I kept that up until we were actually running around the reservoir since the trail was dirt or uneven. That slowed me a bit.

But the real problem started around mile 3.25 when I got confused at the directions. One arrow pointed one way while another pointed another way. I saw a runner ahead of me and figured, he must be right.

About a quarter mile down that, I saw about a dozen people running toward me. What’s going on I thought.

“We went the wrong way!”

Crap, so now a dozen of us ran back to the crossroads where the guy who should have been there the whole time had now returned. I gave him a satirical: “Thanks!”

I probably slowed down considerably at this point, once you’ve gone the wrong way, you stop caring as much. But I put in a good strong last mile.

4.7 miles – 33:16

Extrapolated out to what I should have run around 30:45 for the 7k – pretty good! And, shockingly, it was a 7k PR!