Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guts, Man!

Check out the Ethiopian in Green off the start. Within two seconds of the gun he loses a bright green shoe and the announcers don't even notice until the 2:40 marker. Heart, man. Live your life like this guy races.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Salomon XR Cross Max

Salomon is getting ready to reveal the 2011 secret - XR Cross Max. The perfect "door to trail" shoe. I have a funny feeling there's a box of these sitting somewhere, maybe even at Purolator, with my name on it. Can't wait to giv'em run.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Steed Defends Dirty Duo Title...WITH ME!

Maybe some pressure is just what I needed because I/we had a phenomenal day yesterday at Run the North Shore's first trail race of the season, Dirty Duo.

I woke up feeling all tight and visited the bathroom about 5 times. It wasn't pretty, but I just kept telling myself it was pre-race jitters. At least I was hoping that was it. After a quick coffee, pulling up my Zoot calves, and cranking up the Salomon Speed Cross 2's I started to feel like a racer again. I had no clue what the day would hold, but I knew my partner, Kim Steed, really did want to win this one. I would have to race hard, but also smart because the Dirty Duo course is not one where you can recover later.

The incredible race director, Heather briefed us on the course and we were off and heading up Lynn Canyon. I started with serious fasties Dario Herrera and Mel Bos, and thought maybe I should ease up a bit. I chose not to and heading into our first hill set I felt great and hooked up with a few others. One being Geoff Watts who carried our pace almost the entire race, particularly on the downhills. The two of us ran nice and easy up Lynn Canyon, Geoff took off down Twin Bridge hill to fisherman's, and then I caught him going up Bridle path and across to Old Buck. Going through one of many amazing aid stations at Old Buck, I looked at my watch and I knew I had been going too slow - it said 1:06 and I figured if I wanted to come close to my goal of 2:20 I'd have to get moving. For me the race really began here because I started realizing how strong Geoff was and that my hope of wearing him down wasn't happening. I tried to push him to red line on Old Buck and up to Mushroom Parking lot at the entrance to Ned's, but no dice. I needed to beat him to get Kim out first. Geoff was strong and we started downhill together...and stayed together. I don't think I've ever gone down Ned's so fast and I was able to hang on until the Bottle Top descent where Geoff stopped to tie a shoe lace. I reeled in another guy and kept a great flow until the bottom of Homestead when Geoff ran by and passed another racer. Knowing what was coming up I geared down and wondered if these two guys had any clue what was up ahead. About half way up the steepest section I left them walking and hoped that was the last time I'd see them again...until the finish that is. The race back through the canyon was fast, I felt light, and I had an eye open over my shoulder for Geoff. I'm not stupid. I knew enough not to count this guy out. The climb out of the creek was hell and what was to come was even worse. Diamond trail to the cemetery was so messy it was difficult to get any sort of rhythm happening. I couldn't tell if I had the stupids or if the trail was just in bad shape. Emerging from the trail on to Lilloet Road was the second time I looked at my watch and I saw 2:18 and some seconds. Since half way up Homestead I'd been using all the energy I should have used earlier so mustering anymore wasn't going to be easy. Through the cemetery, passed the equestrian center and I could see Lara and Saje. At 2:21 I crossed the line and handed my timing chip to Kimbo who took off to have an incredible ride. The ride we needed.
video
I had the fastest relay run time of the day which brought me over the line second. to Mike Murphy. It didn't matter though because Kimbo's time of 1:52, and our total of 4:14, was fast enough to bring us a couple of 1st place gold medals. Full Results here.
Although I viewed this race as a whole lotta' pressure to begin with I can now look back and determine where I need some attention for the upcoming season. Thanks to Curb Ivanic from Core Running, who had an awesome race, I climbed better than ever before and felt super strong across the core, even at the end of the race. The most important thing to focus on before the season continues is some turn over. It would be great to be quicker on the flat sections.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Steed to Defend Dirty Duo Title

Usually this time of year I'm thinking about "am scraying" off to Mexico or Hawaii and I never have the opportunity to race the Dirty Duo. This year's a bit different in that I'm heading off to Mexico the week after the Duo. Back in December I realized this and I just needed a partner.

I was ready to run, but who do I know that's willing to rock out on the bike at any moment? Welbourn, Bob Welbourn! Not only would this guy want to ride, he'd kick ass. This guys a lung with legs and he keeps a pretty strong cyclocross rivalry going with Kim Steed. In fact, these two duked it out for top spot this year right until the last race of the year.

This was terrific. Bob was interested and again he wanted to beat Steed, last years winner. I figured he'd have a brilliant chance, but I'd have to beat Chris Downie. Yeah, I know...Chris Downie. No such chance in that one, I thought, so I told Bob he'd have to do some serious catching up after I came in off the run.

Two weeks ago I get an email from Bob saying he lost a fight with a car door and a broken hand has him off his bike for six weeks. Guess what? I felt bad for Bob, but the burden was lifted. I had no pressure to try and run with Mr. Downie anymore and things were feeling good.

I still wanted to race however, so I contacted a few people to see about getting another cyclist for my team. I explored a couple options and nothing was too promising until I got an email from Kim Steed. Downie is injured and Kimbo needs a runner for his team. Seemed like a perfect set up to me until Steed laid down the pressure - Being last years relay winner, "I got a title to defend", he says. So either way, if I race with Kim I get pressure or against Kim I get pressure.

Anyway, I'm pumped and proud with my new Steed jersey in hand regardless of the pressure. Although not fast, I'm feeling fairly good for a March race and I'm sure things will go well. I've never raced this course before so I have no idea what I'm capable of out there. Having run most of the courses trails I can say it is easily the hardest 25km course in North Vancouver so suffering is inevitable. The Lazy Trail Runner is running the solo run course so I don't have to worry about racing him too much - other than his overall time of course. I can't have that off-the-couch, potato chip eatin', Lazy ass beat me too badly.

Race report to follow after this weekend's race.