Monday, September 10, 2007

4/5/08 RVV with SST

Saturday April 5, 2008 is the day of the cycletourism version of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen. A day where 18,000 people (mostly waffle makers) head out on the famous race course that covers the north west part of Belgium known as Flanders. (Hi dily ho neighbor) I did a shortened version of this course in 2005 with Mr. Russell, but i have always wanted to go back the weekend of the actual race to do the full 260km. In 2007 the entry fee was 15 euro ($20) i assume it will be close next year. It turns out there is a shuttle from the finish to the starting point in the morning. This is a relief since i was trying to figure out how to get back out to Brugge after the long ride. I had this image of sitting on a train all stinky cruising back from Brussells. (That would have been soooo euro) After the ride on Sat, I want to head over to some of the climbs and watch the actual race go by on Sunday.

Here is my time schedule so far. Let me know what ya think:
Thursday 4/3/08 fly to belgium and arrive morning of 4/4/08
4/4/08 put the bike together, visit with friends, drink beer, eat fries (mmmmm fries)
4/5/08 get up really really really early, head to the finish west of Brussells and catch the shuttle to Brugge. Do the's only 160 miles. I was thinking it would be cool to get a group of 4 people to go, that way we could have a decent paceline and show those Waffle makers what for!!!
4/5/08 evening more beer...lot's and more fries maybe some waffles
4/6/08 head back out to watch the actual bike race (note to self: bring beer and fries) maybe a little bike ride on sunday morning/evening

After that i haven't quite figured it out. There is another race on Wednesday, and it may be fun to spend a few more days in Belgium, riding and sight seeing.

I know airfare isn't cheap, but at least it isn't too bad in April. Let me know if you're interested and maybe a probability of being able to do it. We can try and keep the cost as low as possible, maybe just airfare, food and and a rental car. oh and about 30euro for the bike ride

Friday, September 7, 2007

How I spent my Labour day weekend - by Sam Thompson

It was the usual sticky hot summer afternoon last Friday when Sara, Katie and I jumped into the Audi with 3 bikes on the roof headed for the Valley for the Labour day weekend. We each had different plans for the weekend, Sara was planning on visiting friends in Richmond while i was planning to visit some friends and suffer with them for many hours on the mtn bike.

SM100: This was my third time doing the Shenandoah Mountain 100, the two previous times i finished at about 10-1/2 hours. The funny thing was, each race seemed so different (pain in different spots, trouble on other spots) but i got the same time. My goal this year was to get into the nines. I was vague about this goal, I said in the nines, but in my heart i was hoping 9-1/2. I didn't really make any special effort to train for this above my normal training. I have been riding my mountain bike more this year than previous years, and most of the races i have done were around the 30 mile mark. I figured i'm a little faster than i was two years ago, i should be able to improve my time. On the plus side i did break into the nines, 9:59:20 was my official time i believe. But inside i'm a little dissappointed, i wanted to do it faster. I should feel good about it though, i was dead tired at the end and everything hurt. IF i do it again, i will train a little harder.
RACE PREP: Rule # 1 don't mess with stuff like your shock pressure the night before the race, Especially if you descend like a little girl!!!!! I added some air to my F100R the night before cause it felt soft when i was riding my bike around on the road. (WHAT AN IDIOT!!) the front end seemed really stiff and just shook the hell out of my arms. I've been riding this bike for a few months and i feel like i can descend better on it...with the softer air setting.
THE RACE: Mr. Russell was nice enough to ferry me out to the race early sunday. We arrived about 6 so we had a few minutes to hang around before the start. We did learn that if you want to dress as a baboon for halloween, you can wear your PI shorts inside out so the red pad is showing....It's a good look. (good show Bill) The race went off at 6:30 the usual mad dash of crazys that think that the .25 mile gravel road from the campground will make or break their race. Once out on the road i started to pick up the pace to try and beat the traffic on the first single track. There was still a good bit of fire road and climbing before we got there, but the fewer in front the better. I saw Kevin from Tri-power on the road, and Bill from tri-power just past with water crossing with the first flat of the day. As i was moving through the crowds on the dirt road, i saw a few other folks i know, had a few brief words. That was about all of the fun for the day, soon it was up the grind to the radio tower, down narrow back, pace line down tilman and up the road to the dam. Lynn was like a long slow conga line. I walked most of it, since i was able to keep on the wheel of the person in front of me and if they bobbled, i didn't have to worry about falling. I shot down Wolf in my usual pokey fashion (is that smoke coming from my brakes????) Hit tilman, blew through aid station 2 and over the paved climb and up hankey. I was also slow going down Dowells. (i'm sensing a theme here) Filled everything at aid station 3 and headed out to 250. I passed Floyd Landis coming out of that point he was about 1.5-2 hours up on me...kind of sucks. After the mountain house/braleys loop, i started the death climb, which i actually did okay on this year. I was tired, but i stuck on a guys wheel and let him pull me up. It was nice to see Mark (the lube man) at aid station 5, and the cola hit the spot. The climb after Aid station 5 sucks....I can't say this is just mean for people to tell others that it is is a climb...plain and simple. Once at the top i knew what was left, i just focused on getting through the last two climbs. At the bottom of the last descent, my watch said i had 10 minutes to finish, i hamered that fire road and the single track through the campground and just barely made it.
All in all it was fun. Thanks to the Tri-power folks and support crew for letting me linger around. Thanks to Mark for transport and support. I'm glad that race is over....sheesh.