Advertisements

Author Archives: rjb294

What am I going to do?!?!

Hearing all the war stories from LR100 2016 really got me interested in this race.  The atmosphere, the beer, the food, the mud, the fun…  These are all phrases I heard from my Team Virtus teammates after last years race.  They convinced me that this was the race to try, so who was I to let them down?!?

I was on a deer stand hunting for the a turdypointer when registration took place.  Luckily Jim Smith was gracious enough to sign me up.  He also talked me into signing up for the fat bike division.  My first thought were hell no and I think I even asked him if he was nuts.  But after much discussion, it was decided that we would both enter into the fat bike division.  After all, we have ridden our cross bikes 100 miles many times.  Never before have we ridden that far on our fat bikes.  Adventures needed to be pursued.

My training leading up to the race was less than stellar.  A new baby at home, and 2 other very busy kids left me with little time to spend hours on my bike.  That is no excuse though, and I have finished races before with less than stellar training.  It is just a matter of will.

So race day came and I was at the start line.  I will admit that my mind was definitely not right from the get go.  I woke up and looked outside.  Rain…  Now the race director did say that some rain will do the roads some good.  So there was that.  I looked at the radar before departing for the start line and it looked “ok”.  My mind debated a lot on what to wear.  Being cold is not my forte.  In fact I hate being cold.  So I wore my winter tights, bibs, long sleeve base layer, team issued jersey, water resistant coat, shoe covers, half fingered gloves, full fingered gloves, lobster gloves, and head cover.  I was still a little chilly, but feeling ok.  I was afraid that I was overdressed, but after seeing others at the start line with more on than myself, my mind was more at ease.

IMG_1414

Jim Smith and myself ready for action

The race rolled out on pavement and then turned to fast gravel.  I was trying to keep Jim in sight without going to hard, but soon he was out of reach.  Riders got strung out quickly and I settled into the groove.

 

IMG_1422

This was nice riding at this point.

IMG_1425

Still having fun at this point

The bike was handling very nicely and I was enjoying myself until….  Yes, the mud pit.  I think this happened around mile 26 or 27.  As I looked ahead I noticed that some were walking.  But the gravel/dirt didn’t look any different.  I thought I could ride it.  That was a huge mistake.  As I peddled into the tacky mud, my bike came to a grinding halt.  No big deal I though.  I’ll just push it up this hill.  What I didn’t count on was my tires locking up because of mud buildup.  No big deal I thought.  I’ll just carry my bike up this hill.  Wrong…  My bike had turned into trot line weight and there was no way I was getting it on my shoulder.  I scrapped the wheels off the best I could with my glove.  Enough to at least hoist my bike for a bit.  But then my lower back started killing me and I had to set my bike down. Son of a B@&$H!  My second attempt ended like the first.  In pain an more cursing.  I though, “What am I going to do??!”  I can’t push my bike because mud gets stuck to everything.  I can’t carry my bike because it’s heavy and my back hurts.

Oh fudge

Thoughts of warnings from my team mates rang through my head and now I understood.  At my most low moment Chuck walked up behind me.  He gave me a few pointers on how to carry my bike and what was working for him.  He even carried my front tire for just a bit, but I finally told him to go on.  He lifted my spirits some and somehow I  figured out how to carry my bike for more then 10 ft. at a time and made it through the first hike-a-bike section.

Now that I was back on the bike, mud was being flung everywhere.  My glasses were completely covered and I couldn’t see.  Those had to come off and then the mud flew into my eyes.  Then it started pouring rain.    Great…  This is when my hands and feet started to hurt.  Moisture was seeping into my once dry socks and everything was getting soaked.

When I arrived at the 2nd hike-a-bike section there was a group of riders at the top of the hill.  They were all just staring at what was to come and probably contemplating death.  I rolled up to stop, only I could not clip out!  Like a complete armature, I fell right into one of them.  WTF!?!?!  I hadn’t done that in what seems like years.  I laid on the ground, embarrassed, cold, wet, and still clipped to my bike.  The rider I fell into was very gracious as I apologized all over myself.  He assured me there was no worries and even said he does that all the time.  That made me feel somewhat better, but I was still completely embarrassed.  I was very pissed after that.  I said F@#K IT and decided to ride this section of hike-a-bike.  To my surprise I could.  As long as I stayed in the really soupy sections, I was getting through.  This made me very happy.  I rolled past Chuck, who was walking and he yelled something like “Go Robby Brown!”  If I stopped I knew I was in trouble.  Thank God I was on a fat bike.  I made it all the way through this section.

17203122_10206802204413119_33089899618538226_n

Hike-a-bike….NOOOOO

Now comes more mud flinging.  I had to stand while going downhill so I wouldn’t get all the mud in my face.  Race they said…it’ll but fun they said…  Miles ticked off and I started thinking about the 2nd half.  That’s when the 3rd hike-a-bike section hit.  Once again, I could ride the soupy sections which made me happy.  But halfway up the last climb the soup was gone and I my tired can to another halt.  S!#T!!!!  I was forced to scrape off more mud and carry my lead weight, I mean my bike.  I made it to the top and riders had found a hose.  I waited my turn and sprayed my bike off just enough to get my chain back on.

I saddled up to the slop again.  The next 15 miles or so was a blur.  I remember riding through the cattle farm which was cool.  I did see a stop, but I knew that once I stopped I might not start again, so I chose to skip it.  I found out later that they had beer there.  Damn…  There was also a really good off road section and this reminded me a lot of Cedar Cross.  There was a very fun downhill section with a hard left at the bottom.  My cross bike handled this with ease.

Gravel/dirt/mud gave way to pavement and I rolled into the half way point around 1:30.  Still time to go back out, but it wasn’t looking good.  I found Janie and Emma and Janie said “Wow, you look like shit!”  This is a word for word quote.  I was shaking uncontrollably and was having a hard time talking.  I couldn’t feel my hands or feet, so I decided to call it quits.

17264606_10155173097931742_6642441290755031781_n

52 miles of fun and done!

17155931_10155183623063421_5113802724444753035_n

Before and after 52 miles

Janie and Emma helped me get my helmet, gloves, and jacket off and I headed to the heated bathroom to get semi cleaned up.  After changing and spraying off the bike enough to get it back on the rack we headed back to the start/finish line.  Janie was gracious enough to help out and drop off a rider who was in a very bad place.  He was cold and wet and in major need of assistance.  Janie is a great person!

The shower never felt so good!  I feel sorry for whoever had to clean our hotel because there was red dirt and mud everywhere.  After the shower and a dip in the hot tub we headed back to the finish line to cheer on those who were crazy enough to finish and also cheer on and congratulate our teammate finishers.  Congratulations to both Jim and Kate on their finishes.  Amazing is all I can say.

IMG_1418

Jim Smith (AKA BLUE) is an animal!  You’re my boy blue!

17265194_1636618743019725_5865383340132497087_n

Nothing could stop Kate from finishing.  Not even brakes. 

This race is definitely it’s own animal.  After finishing DK200 twice I thought this was going to be a walk in the park.  Boy how wrong I was.  Will I return next year?  I don’t have that answer yet.  I would like to say yes, but I might be on a different bike.  This was by far the hardest 52 miles I have every done on my bike.  I really underestimated the hike-a-bike sections and my mind/heart was not really into it from the get go. I have to do a lot of soul searching before I am a 100% for this grueling event.

 

 

Advertisements

Rise and shine….

It has been a long while since I have done an early morning run.  My schedule has worked out to where I can get runs in just after work and before I pick the kids up from school.  Or I can get a run in when my son is practicing baseball.  But today’s schedule would not give me the time I needed, so I decided to rise and shine and run.

When Lukas Lamb talked me into signing up for the Mark Twain Endurance Run I started looking for motivation.  The rise and shine video really spoke to my inner drive.  I started running.  Every time I feel myself not wanting to run I watch that video.  It inspires me to go run and to push forward.  I keep the ultimate goal in my mind and just run.  I run when I don’t want to.  I run when it rains.  I run when it is hot.  I run when it is dark and when it is light.  I just run.

This morning was about myself.  When I stepped outside, the sun was starting to come up, but it was still dark enough where I couldn’t see the time clearly on my watch.  I was immediately inspired.  I was up before the sun and it felt great!  The only sounds were that of nature and the pack of coyotes off in the distance.  My run started with a nice simple warm-up down the road and back.  Before I knew it I was on the gravel road that leads to a horse barn.  I pushed down and back on this road and then headed out of the neighborhood.  The pace I had set felt good and I told myself that I was going to do 20 minutes out and 20 back.  “Steady Brown…Steady.”  But to my surprise, when I got to 20 minutes I was only .2 away from 2.5 miles completed.  Why stop now?

I wanted to continue on past 2.5 miles, but time was not on my side.  Reluctantly the turn around happened at 2.5 miles.  The rest of the run was great!  I only saw 1 car and it was nothing but me and the birds…and the pack of coyotes I could still hear in the distance.

Morning runs are definitely going to start happening more and more.  I loved the peace and quiet.  I loved the coolness of the air and I also loved hearing the coyotes.

“I am a great champion; when I ran the ground shook and the skies opened and mere mortals parted the way to victory” ~Dreamer

 

Frozen Feet Half Marathon short and sweet

Since I don’t have the writing skills that my comrades do…here is the Frozen Feet Half Marathon report short and sweet… from my phone.

Where was everyone else?

Where was everyone else?

The race started for me in the 9:30 pace group.  I really didn’t know what my pace would be so I opted for a slower paced start group.   The first mile or so ticked off and I felt great.   We got to the first “trail” section and I found a burst of energy.   I was having a blast and had a smile on my face the whole time.   The tunes were jamming in my ear and my legs felt great.   People probably thought I was nuts as I passed them on the trail.

Elevation profile of the Frozen Feet Half Marathon

Elevation profile of the Frozen Feet Half Marathon

As we came out of the single track it started to rain but I really didn’t mind.   I had water and tunes and my legs still felt great.   Then came mile 7-9.

The gradual hill was fun for the first mile and sucked/blew balls at the end.  I was very happy when we got to the top.  There was an aid station there but thanks to the Ultimate Direction vest I was wearing I didn’t stop.   I passed so many people who stopped for water at the aid stations.

Easy access to water.

Easy access to water.

The downhill was a blast.   When I got to mile 11 I thought the worst was done, and I tried for a second gear.   But my lungs said, “No way, son!”  I struggled through that mile and again tried to reach for the second and third gear.  But the head wind and 12 miles behind said, “Nope…. not today.” I kept my sights on people ahead of me and pushed to the end.

adfadfa

Clock Time is not accurate. Official Time was 1:52:11

My finishing time was 1:52 something which was around 8:34 pace.   Not bad but I feel I could have gone harder.

It was a great race and I would like to do it again.

Thanks to Kate, Adam, and Michelle for getting me out there and for just being awesome.

Kate's official time was 2:01:43

Kate’s official time was 2:01:43.  Doesn’t she look happy?

Adam set a PR with a time of 2:03:48.

Adam set a PR with a time of 2:03:48.

"The DARKNESS doesn't need darkness for slumber." - BLD

“The DARKNESS doesn’t need darkness for slumber.” – BLD

 

Gravel, Hills, and Wind ~ DK200 2013

The weather leading up to the race was rain, rain, and more rain.  My thoughts lead me toward the Cedar Cross which I really enjoyed this year.  I had thoughts of smooth packed gravel with some mud spots.  FUN!

Travel plans were made with the team and of course, Sarah and I were late.  But the team held to form and everyone was running a little behind.  We posed for a nice picture before making the trek to Emporia.

Image

We are a good looking group, but we were missing a new and vital member…CARA JENKINS!!!!  The trip was full of good conversation; talk of a glorious finish

Complete Name, event, location.

and of course cookies!

The time and miles passed pretty quickly and we arrived at the grand hotel….THE ECONO LODGE!

We settled in and headed to the Pizza Ranch for some yummy carb load.  After dinner we headed to Emporia to check in and attend the pre-race meeting.  We looked all over for Cara but could not find her.

Image

The pre-race meeting went as expected and we headed back to the hotel for final preparations and bed time.  Adam needed to be fired because he forgot half of his stuff.  But he managed to get it in order and we hit the sack….JACK!

Morning came early and I stuffed some breakfast down and water.  We loaded the car and headed for the start.  Pictures were taken and before we knew it….literally, the stat had occurred.

Image

Sarah and I before the race

Sarah and I before the race

Image

ImageImage

As we were taking pictures we heard….GO!  WTF?!?!?!  People were shouting that the race had started, and we didn’t even hear it.  Not the best start to a 200+ mile race.

Cooler heads prevailed and I found some people going my speed.  I rode with Jim Smith for a while as Casey and Aaron headed up the road.  The wind had started to gust some, but we were heading south so I did not care.  I looked down a few times a saw that I was cruising in the 20’s.  I thought about backing down, but I knew that I needed to get to the checkpoint as fast as I could.  I knew the wind would be taking a toll on me later on.

We crossed a sweet swollen creek with a very enthusiastic lady on the other side.  I didn’t get a photo, but here is one….

426647_10151692332991742_1971777284_n

Not long after this I rolled into Checkpoint 1.  I was feeling pretty good, but I had the wind in the back of my mind.

20130601_092842 20130601_092847

Sarah thinking she is tall

Sarah thinking she is tall

20130601_093014 20130601_093716 20130601_094752

After a quick stop to refuel and to change socks, I was back on the bike.  I noticed that we were going to be heading more west and north west.  The first few miles ticked by with no problems.  Aaron and Casey were already up the road.  My goal for this leg was to find a group that was going my speed and hang with them.

As we were about to turn west, I got passed by a group that I thought I could tag along with.  I grabbed the back wheel and sucked their draft.  It was nice, but they were booking it.  I felt confident I could stay there for a while, but as we headed more and more west, I felt myself struggling to hang on.  As they rode away from me, I felt like a failure that I couldn’t hang on.  I was now left with battling the damn wind by myself.  F**K!!!

I tried getting my mind right, but I could not clear the mechanism.  The suckfest was on, and there was nothing I could do about it.  My mind wandered to my pace and just what time of night I would finish.  I seemed to watch my cyclometer more and more.  At one point…probably one of my weakest points….I had only done 4 miles in a half an hour.  I was no longer having fun riding my bike.  Thoughts of quitting were in my head.  I think this is one of the first races I have really thought heavily about quitting.  It was not my proudest moment.

Somehow I managed to go on and finish the 2nd leg.  100 down and 100 to go.  As I pulled into the 2nd checkpoint I did not know if my day was done.  I think I told my awesome supporter and wife Sarah “I really don’t want to ride west or North West anymore.”  As I took a peep at the map, what spirit I had left,….sank.  The 3rd leg was entirely to the west/northwest.

I sat down and Sarah immediately brought me food.  Aaron was there and he was hurting just as bad as I was.  Casey was getting ready to head back out and looked fresh as a Missouri Morning.  I think I even heard him say, “MOOOOOornin” as he rode off.

It felt awesome to eat and I quickly downed 2 sandwiches.  While doing so I acquired some big time chills.  I threw the arm warmers back on, but was still shivering uncontrollably.  Aaron was curled up n a blanket and eating everything in site.  Sarah offered me her fleece coat and I snatched it and quickly threw it on.  Aaron and I chatted about quitting, but when he said he was feeling better, I had no choice but to join him.  We recovered a bit more and then got ready.  A quick look at the map showed 13 miles east.  EAST!  HELLZ YES!

We knitted up and headed back out.

CP 2!

CP 2!

My sulk station!

My sulk station!

Gotta have clean glasses!

Gotta have clean glasses!

How many miles left?

How many miles left?

My ass hurt so much I couldn't sit on the saddle

My ass hurt so much I couldn’t sit on the saddle

Aaron and I heading out.

Aaron and I heading out.

The first 13 miles of Leg 3 was AWESOME!  We had a tail wind and the gravel was fast.  My legs felt ok and Aaron and I were enjoying the downhills.  I hit 41 MPH and Aaron said he hit 44.  This of course was just before we turned North.  Damn wind….

We were back to sucking but it wasn’t as bad.  Riding with another person just really makes the ride suck a lot less.  As the mile ticked by we met up with another solo rider…..Scott Hefner.  He was out of Overland Park, KS and he was a God send!  Aaron and I chatted with him a bit and sat in on his wheel.  He was a very strong rider and pulled Aaron and I.  I tried taking some pulls, but my legs were really feeling it.  My left knee was hurting on every pedal stroke, and it seemed I always had to pedal.

As the miles ticked by we met up with another Sing Speeder who was riding strong.  We all came into the 3rd checkpoint together and Scott, Aaron, and I decided we would finish this thing together.

Arrival at CP 3

Arrival at CP 3

My support!

My support!

Installing lighting to be used later.

Installing lighting to be used later.

Safety First!

Safety First!

Ready to head to the finish line

Ready to head to the finish line

Our support crew was 2nd to none!

Our support crew was 2nd to none!

Sarah trying to grab my pickle!  Alright!

Sarah trying to grab my pickle! Alright!

After eating, changing, and fending off my wife, we headed north again.  We took off in the daylight, but “The Darkness” would soon arrive.  As the sun was going down Scott snapped this breath taking sunset.

Sunset at Kanza

Sunset at Kanza

As the miles ticked by I was very happy to be on the last 50 miles.  My spirits were high and my body started feeling a bit better.  My knee was still hurting, but my mind was better.  I always say, “Get your mind right!”, and it was getting better.  Riding with these other 2 people was exactly what my mind needed.

Just before we made that sweet left hand turn east we climbed a hill that seemed to last for 20 minutes.  Hanging on to the top made my right.  My mind was right again and I knew I was going to finish.  Once we turned east it was smooth sailing.  The miles ticked by more easily.  We double checked our maps a few times to make sure we were going to right way and were always spot on.  The gravel got smoother and faster as we headed toward the finish.

With about 2 miles to go I was in front.  We had about 10 minutes left until 12 and I wanted to finish be midnight.  I was pushing with everything I had left and pulling the group.  We raced toward the grated bridge.  By this time we had a good pack of about 10 riders.  Aaron and I took the bridge first and as we started to accelerate we heard a dreadful sound.  Scott had not made it all the way across the bridge!  OH S**T!  We quickly stopped and returned to him on the ground.  He was in pain fo sho.  We aided him the best we could, but he just needed time.  Scott’s helmet was scratched to HELL and he was complaining of right shoulder pain.  Luckily his bike was rideable.  Aaron bent his hood back into place and Scott made it back on his bike.  The group was back down to 4 as others had went on.  The Virtus way is to never leave a man behind and Aaron and I were not leaving Scott behind.  He was one of the main reasons we were going to finish and it was now our goal to get him to the finish line.

We slowly rolled through campus and rolled into the finish line.  I knew Bob Jenkins wanted to splash me with beer and splash me he did.  He missed me at Cedar Cross to get Aaron, but he was on the ball and got me right in the eye.  Well played Bob….well played.

WE MADE IT!  All the struggle, all the gravel, all the hills, all the pain, all the WIND!  We had done it.  We finished 200 miles.

This race could not have been completed without the help of a great “Support” crew!

Our "Support" Crew!

Our “Support” Crew!

How YOU DOIN?!?!?!

How YOU DOIN?!?!?!

20130601_222014

I found out later that Scott separated his shoulder when he went down.  It was truly an honor to ride with him and Aaron.  Without the two of them my day have been done at the 100 mile mark.  Both gave me encouragement and let me draft.  I could not have finished without them.

Another HUGE shout out to CASEY LAMB!  This guy rocked (get it) the whole race!  I am blow away by his ability to ride the wind, hills, and everything else that comes with Kanza almost entirely by himself.  Aaron had the privilege of accompanying Casey for part of the day, but this guy was definitely a man on a mission.  Great finish Casey!

Casey and Luke at the finish

Casey and Luke at the finish

It was time to celebrate.

"We're There"

“We’re There”

Aaron and I at the finish

Aaron and I at the finish

Team Virtus Strong

Team Virtus Strong

F**K YEAH!

F**K YEAH!

Tour De Jefferson City

For those who are interested, the Tour De Jefferson City is tonight! 

http://www.jeffcitymo.org/parks/tourdejeff.html

 

%d bloggers like this: