Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Race Report - 1st Annual Millstone 12

This race caught my eye way back in the spring.  It's a newly established event, run by the same folks who put together the Bradbury 12.  I haven't been to the Bradbury 12 (yet) but rumour is its very well done.  On top of that, the trail network produced many positive reviews in 09' during an EFTA series race "The Millstone Grind". 

Another appeal was that I hadn't ever done an endurance event nearly this long.   The longest ride to date was the Hampshire 100 last year.  That had me thinking I may not be up to the challenge,  so a quick & short notice email was sent to the Bikeman team.  Takers?  Nada..  Just one team-member who chimed in that he'd be up there with his family.   Ahh well...  S'pose it's time to step up. 

Plenty of pre-planning took place.  I topped off my Stans sealant levels (and found my first ever Stans goop balls!!),  fixed up a second complete set of wheels & tires, looked around online for recommended sources of replenishment, read some forums and asked a few folks whether or not that chamois creme stuff was necessary & just generally got all wound up strategizing.

Everywhere one looked there was a common them regarding these longer length races.  "Don't start too fast".  Alright then - that'll come natural.  I don't start fast in those weenie sized 2 hour races anyways.

I also had to coordinate a place to stay as my wife and I were headed up to Maine to connect with our daughter the following Sunday.  Where in Maine you ask?  On an island that's a whole mile long with very little in the way of things like running water and stuff.  Thinking entirely for my better half (maybe not all the way entirely) I shopped around online for cabins with lots and lots of stars..  Mo' stars is mo' better - right?

I found and reserved the last available cabin in what can only be described as flatlander paradise..  Oh the irony.  Growing up in VT we surely had a little passive-aggressive thing toward dem' flatlanders.  After grieving over my present state (that's a two-fer) I present... 

Sterling Ridge Resort...  

This place makes wonder if the LL Beaners ever up and duke it out with the Eddie Bauerers.

Our quaint cabin.  Probably close to 1000 square foot of it.  Where I come from - this is called a home.  It really was almost too perfect.  Lucy and I enjoyed the resort lifestyle as efficiently as possible.  After all, I'd be leaving early in the morning, coming back late at night - then take off again the following Sunday morning.

Here we are savoring, wallowing and embracing the moment while cracking each other up at the absurdity on a little rowboat floating across the 10 acre pond. 

I was enjoying the resort lifestyle so much that I finally broke down and burst out:  "Why would anyone ride a bicycle for 12 hours!!?  THAT'S RETARDED!!

While out there on the pond, Lucy felt it was the right time to ask:  "So...  would you be like totally offended if I like.. didn't go the the race with you tomorrow?  I mean, it'd be like such a waste to not take full advantage this place".  What could I say?  It was either agree or drown her in front of all the flatlander lawyers who reserved early enough to book a waterfront location.  I can imagine how the shoreline conversation would go:   "I could get him down to 5 years.. with custody" - "Are you kidding?  Look at that hair! - red heads induce mental breakdowns- I know an expert that can prove it".

Soon it was bedtime.  I drank oh so conservatively. Aside from being woken by a serious thunderstorm with gale force winds - a good nights sleep was had. 

The drive to the race was about 45 minutes away over Smugglers Notch.  Purty part of the state to hang out for sure.  I arrived about an hour and a half early, checked in and set up my feed / service station.  Luckily for the folks camped out - they missed the storm 30 miles to the north.  That'd have been interesting..

Pretty soon we all lined up and took off @ 9:00.   I placed myself maybe a bit too far towards the back thinking "It's a long race - don't start too fast"   I'm somewhere under the arrow. 

So the first lap:  I just kinda hung out.  Conditions were a bit wet from the rain the day before.  I kept thinking "too much tire pressure gotta stop and let some out" while negotiating several rooty sections - I never address it.   About 3/4 of the way in I start lighting things up here and there.  Only to dump pretty hard through a nice rocky technical switchback section.  Ok stupid.  It's waaaay to early for this crap.   

On the second lap I started riding at a hasty but normalized pace.  Through the woods in a few sections I could see and hear Steve Segenchuck yelling out from ahead - so I started counting down the gap. One-one thousand, two-on thousand.. I'm roughly 45 seconds behind.. Don't be hyper, don't be hyper..  Right - like that'll ever work.  I'm just hyper.  That's half the reason I ride bikes.

Third lap I catch up with Steve and blubber something about going too fast so early in the race.  Steve offers "Dan is about 30 seconds ahead".  Ooh goody - someone else to get hyper over.   I get seriously hyper and wipe out pretty hard on a little bridge.  Of course there are spectators - and of course I jump up instantly yelling "I'm Ok!!"  In truth - my leg is pretty scraped  up- it would start to bruise over in 30 minutes.. 

I catch Dan, pass and now settle into what I think to be a reasonable pace.  Each lap I grab a bottle of Hammer Perpetuem.  The stuff is supposed to work entirely by itself.  Let's hope all the rave reviews and advice on the big expensive bag of magic powder is right.  

The next few laps I'm in cruise mode - things keep getting drier, and I'm starting to really nail some key lines.  Luckily these trails are just plain awesome - at least 99% singletrack, not too technical, but far from boring.  Along the way, some gorgeous quarry remains.  I'm in my happy spot.  Just 7 or so hours left to go!!

About 2 or 3 in the afternoon I start slowing down some.  Passing by the the quarry is getting to be a bit trying.  It's fairly warm out and the water looks soooo goood.  Maybe just a quick dip.  No wait, that could cause some serious chafing (side note:  zero chamois creme was used and zero creme was needed in the end for those who wonder if it's possible).  But it'd feel soooo nice..  I'm having my own personal Odyssey strapped to my bike taunted by beautiful cool clear water..

About 7 or 8 laps in after hearing the electronic voice booming:  "Alby King BIKEMAN, 4th place in category" over and over I barely hear "3rd place" while entering the woods.  Woah!  That's cool.  Maybe there's a chance at the podium.  I dig in a little bit going up the first climb - only to be rewarded with some cramps.  Dang.  

I did cramps for the first time at the Hampshire 100 last year.  When it first came on I thought to myself  "What the heck is this crap??!" - It was around mile 40.  Up ahead I saw a CAT 1 guy just plain STOP and grab his legs.  "Oh, that's what cramping looks like - I've heard about that." I figured out pretty quick-like that the key was to keep moving at a speed somewhere between stopping and going too hard.  Yet again the same method worked just fine here - the cramps subsided and I kept an even pace the rest of the way.  I was revisited by cramps maybe 4 or 5 times - but each time they were easy enough to manage.

On lap ten I finally pulled over to have a banana.  Screw this liquid only diet.  That might have been a mistake.  Upon getting off the bike I found it difficult to get into normal "standing" mode.  My lower back was extremely tense.  I had to sit down for a few minutes to massage it while chomping down the banana.  Then - off we go.  Gotta keep goin'.. 

Lap 11 - pull over again and have another banana.  I also have to pee really bad.  I time out the event:  Nearly 60 seconds - that's alot of hydration.  Maybe next time I'll dose up the powder to water ratio.  I take off and pass through the timer: "Alby King, BIKEMAN, 4th place in category" ARGHHH!!!  

Lap 12 - Huh.  I'm starting to feel good.  Like really good. It's also starting to cool down.  Either its the temperature or that amazing relief from the last stop..

Lap 13 - Geez'm I feel extra super good.  I go up the first climb nearly full throttle.  My head is thinking "what the heck are you doin?!!" My legs just want to go.  I do lose some gusto here and there - but it keeps returning. 

On the backside of lap 13 a couple of guys approach pretty fast in a flat windy section that passes through a new growth forest of Poplar or something like it.   I make way as soon as sensible and they go by.  I'm thinking they'll just drift away - but on a little switchback climb I'm having no trouble keeping up.  We get to the top and I maintain pace - down along the bumpity railroad track bed we go.  Damn.  This is effortless. 

There is a short little section of road after the railroad bed.  I pull alongside the leader and have to ask: "Who are you ?- I think you lapped me" - reply: "yeah probably, Greg Jancaitis" - I respond with a goofy grin: "Oh!  Janky!!" He gives me a look like "Dude.. who the hell are you??" Oh, right...  Not everyone knows everyone with general biking OCD reads Colins blog.  I'm such a loser.

I follow Greg and the second guy all the way home.  It occurs to me on the last significant climb before the fun roller coaster ride to the finish that I have the juice to just plain tear-ass up the hill - but I keep things in check.  I've already made a fool of myself - let's not push it.

Through the timer - and yep.  4th place (out of 21 solo riders, 10th overall. Results)

I'll take it.  Being my first serious endurance event I learned a bunch.  I mean, how do you practice for this stuff?  Really..   Go out and ride for 12 hours?  I think not.

My back is SCREAMING tight.  I waddle around aimlessly like a 90 year old.  Steve takes pity on me and helps fold up my canopy thing  - the scene is comical.  (Thanks Steve, I might have never made it home)

Here's the lap tally table: 

You can clearly see the comeback towards the end.  3 minutes separates lap 1 and 13.  Not that lap 1 was supah fast or anything. 

I get back to our cozy "cabin" and Lucy tells me about her day:  "I hung out at the pool, checked out some trails then walked down the road along a beautiful gorge to town and had a facial for only $25 bucks!". - "I had no idea they massaged your neck and shoulders as part of a facial - OMG!  It was awesome!!" 

So while I was beating my body senseless for 70 bucks - she was having what had to be one of the most relaxed days in a long time. 

I'm totally ok with that.  Wouldn't trade one bit of it.  I'm doing more of these endurance thingers for sure. 

Next up:  The Hampshire 100.  Who will be there?  Some guy named Tinker, "Janky" - and that sumbitch Brian Lariviere who beat me for 3rd.  This one's gonna be fun..  

One last bit of irony - I get home after a week on the Island in Maine - and what has been delivered from the good folks at Bikeman?

Oh look!  A Spearfish!!  A bike made specifically for endurance type events.  The kind of bike that helps with old man back pain! 

Hope to have her built up real soon..


  1. Are you going to strip the Moto for the Boingerfish, or have choices.

  2. Choices! Fer sure! They'll be sharing wheels - that's about it.

  3. nice job. I remember the walking around not being able to bend over or quite stand up straight from my first solo 12. comical scene indeed.