Monday, May 18, 2015

Weeping Willow 2015 Kenda Cup East #2

Ah Willowdale.  Always such a brutal welcome back to the race season for me.  I got pretty thoroughly smashed but it felt really good to be back racing off road albeit in a slightly modified form from what I'm used to.

Feels like its been a long road back even though it really hasn't been in the grand scheme.  But I think this was proof of concept that even though I will continue to deal with RA or whatever the hell I've got the dietary stuff I'm doing is working and I'll be able to come out on Sundays and brutalize myself.  THANK GOD.


I had pretty realistic expectations going into this race.  I figured I wouldn't know how to use gears properly at race pace (confirmed) and I figured I was going to get shelled out of the Expert Vet I field pretty fast (mostly confirmed).  I have settled on the fact that my fitness profile really doesn't lend itself to the shorter XC stuff.  Things seem to break down for me pretty quickly when efforts are near max for prolonged periods but I am perfectly happy at 80% for 7hrs.

But racing like a spaz at MAX can be so fun!

And man did I go full spaz first lap trying to hang a bit above my pay grade.  I realized very quickly that I had become very accustomed to that SS governor that keeps overall speeds in check to a certain extent.  I'm not used to dropping gears and getting up to 25+mph and barreling into singletrack with 30 other dudes.

I'm also much more used to all that early traffic blowing right past me relatively quickly.  Lap 1 was probably the longest I have spent in the middle of the Expert field 'scrum' in my whole career.  It was a bit nutty.  I'll be the first to admit I don't really have that killer instinct when it comes to making passes and really racing for yourself at the expense of others.  I'm far too friendly in those scenarios.  It was interesting to see more of those interactions of guys getting pissed and making sketchy passes, mid-race heckling...good times.

I was trying to hold wheels as best I could but I was getting pretty thoroughly swamped.  Riding the opposite of smooth, very unsettled on the bike.  I even managed to drop my chain not once but 3 times on lap 1.  I have never dropped the chain on that 1-by setup before yesterday but apparently diving into root fields at ludicrous speed all while trying to pedal the whole time will do it.  Those chain drops did a great job of getting me dropped and passed by large groups of guys.

attempting to finish strong

At the very least those spaz induced issues got me into a bit of open space so I could start to ride my own race.  Looking at my data it appears like my second lap was only about 2 minutes slower than my first which is a pretty good sign for any endurance endeavors I might have for this year.  In my head I was pretty well out of the mix so I wasn't really consciously trying to pull anyone back.  Per usual I was actually more in the mix than I thought and if I had gone about things differently I think a top 15 could maybe have been in the cards but that would have required riding like a spaz again so screw that.

Tail end of the second lap I fell into a small group of Elite women.  I got stuck with them for a bit because I didn't want to force any weird passes and risk crashing someone out.  I did get yelled at to close some gaps which was awesome. Yes Ma'am right away!  I was able to finish decently strong and I certainly felt like I had more in me and today I have almost no race hangover and feel 80-90% recovered.  So I think the message is clear.  XC is fun / training but if I actually want to be competitive stick to the 3hr plus races.  And I'm ok with that.

Next up is The Grind up at Millstone.  Been many years since I've raced/ridden up there, very much looking forward to it.  Doing the Marathon class...not very long at 24 miles but the trails are much harder up that way so it should be a long / hard race. #yeeehaaa

Saturday, May 16, 2015

VT Style IPA

I'm actually not sure if there is an official "VT" style of IPA but if there isn't there probably will be soon.  If you travel over/up that way and try any of a number of local breweries IPAs I think you will notice some similarities and an overarching trend.

Those Green Mountain guys and gals LOVE their big and bold punch you in your face floral citrusy hop bombs.  And bless them for it because some of the beer coming out of that region is seriously awesome.

I got the idea to do this batch while hanging out with my bros up at Grandpa Grunts in way northern VT.  I had been working on my gluten-free brew at the time as well as trying some commercial gluten-free beer that weekend.  I had a funny exchange with Dano after he had tried some of one of the gluten free beers I had (it was not very good, I think mine will be better).  Suffice it to say Dano DID NOT like it AT ALL and went on to comment that if he had to go gluten free and had to drink beer like that there was no way he could go on living.

I admired his dedication to the beer that he loves and he now has a reputation (at least with me) of always showing up to wherever hes going with some of the rarest most sought after VT craft brew around.

I crunched some numbers in my head and discovered that if I started another batch shortly after bottling my gluten free beer that I could have my own attempt at a beer Dano is willing to die for ready in time for July 4th and wouldn't you know it...Dano's wedding.

I doubt I'm quite on par with the Alchemist's and the Lawson's of the world but I think this should end up in the ball park.  The aroma and initial punch is certainly going to be serious.  2oz of Citra hops for 10mins at flame out and I'm going to dry hop with 1oz of Cascade and another 1oz of Citra.

Gluten be damned!
A video posted by @kevinorlowski on