Friday, August 31, 2007

hey, let's run through stinging nettles!

So, Moon and I are going to partner up for the Southern Kettle Moraine Challenge 12-hour. Our as-yet-unnamed team had our first group practice together last night. I rode the MTB over to Healthy Habits around closing time, and we ran from there up to Crow Creek Park and around the Psyclofest course and back. On the way back, we decided to be "adventurous" (get it?) and go off-road into some brush prairie. We discovered a small creek that we got to jump and a little hill to climb. I noticed a little blood and scratches and poured some of my water bottle on my legs. It was all good fun until we got back to the shop and I noticed that my knee was no longer bleeding... because it had completely swollen shut. Both of my legs, from mid-thigh to sock, were covered with bumps in random shapes and sizes. This gave my legs the overall appearance of gourds. Mild burning was to follow. I'm just glad I got the whole stinging nettle thing out of the way.

Lesson #1: Always wear pants when running through foreign brush.

I got to ride home in the dark after that, which came as a welcome distraction from the freakshow that was my lower extremities. Brilliance abounded that night when I got about a quarter of a mile from the shop and my headlight began to dim.

Lesson #2: Always charge your headlight battery and/or carry a spare.

Luckily Moon was headed along the same way (kinda) and was willing to share some wattage. I owe him a growler of Bent River.

-Keep it down!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


This past Sunday was the Du-State-Du, a duathlon out at Loud Thunder State Park.

My buddy Laurel Darren is a pretty solid runner, and she was looking for a cyclist. It was only 15 hilly miles, so I agreed... even though my road season has sucked thus far.

Saturday morning I did the X-stream Cleanup along the Mississippi. After a day of picking up the trappings of our local white trash, the free-beer-and-brats party was a welcome event. Too bad I was racing the next morning at 8am. I only had a handful of beers and skipped the brats. By the time a got home, I was just stinky and tired-- so I chugged some water and passed out.

Getting up the next day was a little easier than one would expect. I hosed myself down in the shower, choked down a waffle and some juice, and hit the road. I got to the race before Laurel and had some time to have Moon look over my bike and get in a warmup.

It rained a little during my warmup, which had me a bit concerned about the supposed mile-long 15% descent on the chip-and-seal surface of Illinois City hill.

My biggest mistake was nursing Clif Shot Crisp Apple all morning, and then trying to take a Clif Shot Sonic Strawberry gel as Laurel started the run.

They had all of us bike suckers in what could only be called a holding pen, waiting for our runners to tag off after the first 2-mile run. I got down half of the gel, and felt that familiar tightness in the back of my throat. Lucky for me, I brought a bottle of water to help me out. As I stood there, poised and ready with my hands on my knees, a fellow biker asked if I was okay. I nodded, and just as I was about to say something really witty-- up it came! This was a good one, coming out of my nose and launching forward by at least four feet. And bonus: Crisp Apple is green.

Other Biker: "Oh, shit! Are you okay?"
Deb: "Yeah, just lightening the load for the climb."
OB: "Wow, that's dedication."
D: "No, that's Clif Shot Crisp Apple. And I've got about 12 minutes to get rid of the rest of it."

I caught one woman and two caught me on the bike. Only one woman that caught me didn't have a number (bikers in teams didn't wear numbers). We ended up getting second place, so that was on me. Laurel set me up to keep the first-place team at bay and I didn't swing it. Illinois City hill was not nearly as epic as legend would have it. It was only about .25-.5 of a mile and pitched at the top to max out at maybe 8-9%. I did it in my 36/23 and was fine, spinning past the dorks on MTBs. The turnaround was soon after the summit, and on my descent I saw a few people actually walking their bikes. Hmmm... maybe if I had run first it would have sucked harder. Who knows.

Lessons learned:
1. Eat a meal of solid foods the night before a race.
2. Minimize beer intake the night before a race.
3. Get the electrolyte beverage down. Chug it and finish it... don't sit there and suckle it. Use water to satisfy any nervous oral fixations.
4. Waffles are gentle coming back up.

keep it down,