Monday, January 26, 2009
Now, if only I could figure out how to fit a pillow and a Russian phrasebook into my mini-wedge....
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Could I just get one elbow flick? That’s all I want is one – just one! And while you’re at it, how about pointing out the big pothole? Or, maybe if you’re not going to point, you could at least shout out a warning that you’re going to ride within inches of the right side of the series of giant and treacherous rumble strips in the middle of the road that warn of the stop sign coming into Ovid? This was also the year of the long slow pulls. Ugh. If I hear the word “slowing” while riding on gentle rollers one more time, I’m going to scream. To borrow a term used by Peter Harker, we were riding with a bunch of ‘gomers’ this year. I haven’t been this frustrated with my assigned pack of riders since the days of “bow-legged half-wheeler guy” in 2004.
If you want to eat at the Olive Garden on Friday evening, you better be prepared to eat early or wait a long time. Shown here, Bob, Corte, Kristin, Beth holding Lily, Annie, Jack and John
From the get go, I knew this was going to be a different ride from last year. Our start group had only Peter Harker and Corte Haggard riding for team Norda’s. Compared to last year where we had 8 Norda’s riders and similar number of ‘Bountiful Mazda’ riders and a handful of other experienced riders willing to work in our group of Open Cat 5 riders. This year we were back to the old days of Packs defined by age. In 2007 our pack of Norda/Mazda riders immediately went to the front and set a strong, not hard, but steady pace that caught the two groups in front of us – even with an earlier than usual group pee break about 20 miles into the race. This year there was no one to control the pack.
Bill helps John and I get our food and drinks organized early Saturday morning. Then Bill will make the 30 mile drive to Preston to hand out the musette bags.
Disclaimer: For those who haven’t been on a ride with me, let me say, I do have an opinion about how a group ride should go and I’ve been know to be ‘somewhat’ bossy when on a group training ride or in a race like LOTOJA. Back to our story…..
Tait is ready to roll
Peter, Corte and I stayed near the front, but had few opportunities to work at the front because guys like ‘fat guy in the green vest’ would go to the front and stay there pulling a weak 20mph. Then, when the guy finally came off the front, he would drift back and then signal with his arm that he wanted to get back into the pace line about 10 positions back from the front. This when I was about 12 positions back waiting to get to the front and try to rev the pace up a notch or two. It was all I could do not to ride up to the guy in green and yell, “that pull was pathetic, too long and too slow. NO PULL FOR YOU! Back of the line!”
At about state line Peter and I were sitting about 7th and 8th in the line up. The guy in front of me goes directly over a big hole. Bam. I do the same then Peter follows. I can’t believe one of us didn’t pinch flat right there. The hard hit caused Peter’s plastic mount for his Power Tap Computer to break sending his computer flying. It took a moment for Peter to figure out that it was his computer bouncing down the road. He pulled up and u-turned to try to salvage it. If this was 2007, I’m pretty sure the Mazda/Norda’s guys would have all sat up and waited for Peter to chase back on, but this was not 2007. Most of these guys didn’t know how to work in a paceline, let alone any race etiquette -especially during the 30 mile warm up where there is never any attacking. I sat up and slow pedaled hoping to be able to help Peter chase back on once he retrieved his computer. Corte kept going. He figured, correctly, that Peter and I together would have no trouble chasing back on to the group. After a couple of minutes, Peter still was not coming. I could see our group riding away in the distance and the group behind just coming into view about to pass Peter. I figured he could use the next group to chase back so I took off on what was a tough 4 or 5 miles of riding at my limit to chase back on. I was screaming in my microphone for Johan Bruyneel to tell Corte to sit up and help me chase, but alas, I didn’t have a radio or a microphone and Johan was tied up denying rumors that Lance is coming back.
I finally chased back on about a mile outside of Preston and then went to the front as we rolled into Preston which was a good thing because there was a section of gravel road under repair and ‘team Gomer’ was struggling to ride across the gravel. I was first into the feed zone. I threw my vest and full fingered gloves at my brother Bill (aka YPR, super soigneur), grabbed two fresh bottles, told Janet that Peter had lost his computer and was a few minutes behind and then took off.
Corte carried his extra water so he rolled right through the feed zone. I caught him out of town and we discussed where our first comfort stop should be since we missed our chance before
I hung with John as long as I could. He told me Peter had rolled into
Lance Armstrong says you can really only go full out for about an hour in a long race. I had spent way too much time and energy on the chase back into
Soon I was dropped by the leaders of the 1400, 1500 and 1600’s and even the sole leader of the 1700’s – Nate Pack, the overall winner two years ago and the single fastest rider in the race for the past three years. He must not have an annual racing license because he rides in the Citizen Race category like we do. Each year he does the 30 mile warm up ride into
I rode by the Diamond R and saw Robin Fife’s mom out front washing windows. I shouted, “Hello Rasmussens” and got a nice wave in return. A ‘Fat Boy’ would have been good right about then.
As I approached the false summit, first Peter, then Casey came by. Peter had his computer taped to his handle bar. I told Peter that I had waited for a couple of minutes after he lost his computer and he replied, “Yeah right”. I don’t think he believed me…… Even though I wanted to sit on their wheels, my legs refused to ride at that pace.
With the false summit in view, I caught Tait (and shortly there after, his brother Trent). Tait started 6 minutes in front of me. I rode along with him and then tried to pace him across the saddle and up the real summit. He was having none of it (turns out his wheel was out of true and was causing his brake to rub – something he didn’t figure out and fix until over 100 miles into the race. I’m sure Tait will send his detailed report on your request). I even stopped for a pee break that I didn’t need and still pulled him back. Even though we had discussed this exact scenario of me catching him on Strawberry and then rolling over the summit together, it wasn’t going to happen. I rode away and left him to suffer. (I’ll need help weaving this part of the story into a church talk).
I missed hooking up with a fast group going into
The stress of the support brought on a severe migraine for Jackie, but she was a trooper and carried on in pain. No stress for the veteran Kristin.
Later I found out that John and three other from his 1600 group were approaching the false summit and John and another guy got dropped. They were chasing the leading two across the saddle with John sitting second wheel when they caught two other riders from another group. John assumed that they would just roll past the two slower riders, but the other guy in his group decided to tuck in and draft. John wasn’t expecting this and rode up on the guy and crashed. His head bounced on the asphalt a couple of times, cracking his helmet and he left skin from both knees, his right hip and thigh. He was able to climb back onto his bike and chase. By the end of the day, he was coming into
Peter’s pace up
We grabbed our food in
Last feed zone in Alpine and we were off. Here we hooked up with two pretty strong riders and found ourselves in our first powerful group of the day. One of the guys was a fresh relay rider and we benefited from his fresh legs. For most of the race, I had kept to my strategy of staying out of the wind and taking short pulls when it was my turn up front. Peter, on the other hand, is a hammer head. He had taken dozens and dozens of long hard pulls since we left
By the time we rolled into
Peter is already plotting strategy for next year. First off, he and I are going to buy an annual license and race Masters 45. This will give us an earlier start time; put us in the company of skilled cyclists that will be both a safer and faster group to ride with. You can’t break 10 hours riding at 20 mph on the flats with team Lexus. This will take away any chance for me to podium since I will get dropped by the leaders somewhere on Strawberry – but there will be other faster and safer riders to hook up with after I get dropped so my chance of improving on my time and getting closer to the sub 10 hour goal increases.
Peter’s also going to start weight training and is encouraging me to get a power meter so I can take my training to a new level. I think Peter should just hire me to be his coach. While I’m grateful that he took a ton of long, hard pulls for my benefit this year, my only advice for him next year is that when he gets to the front, go hard, get off and measure your time in the wind in seconds, not minutes. He is such a strong rider, I think that by staying off the front and saving his legs, he should be able to hang with the Masters 45 leaders all the way to
Note, along the lines of staying off the front: Brian occasionally listens to his dad and brother who told him at dinner the night before to stay out of the wind. He told me that he was about 120 miles into the race this year before he took his first serious pull. He eventually caught Corte after starting 21 minutes behind and they rode together most of the way with Brian finishing a respectable 11:37 after riding very little this year (three jobs, one marriage and two honeymoons got in the way of training). Proof again, that Brian was only half joking last year when he said something like, “I don’t see what’s so hard about this race?”
Meanwhile, no power meter for me. I don’t doubt that they are an effective training tool, I just prefer to do my training more socially with the morning and Saturday ride group where I can compare notes with Paul about who’s grandkids are cuter, learn about Steve’s trip to D.C., hear Mark’s stories about helicopter rescues on Mt Whitney and all the other good stuff we cover on the rides. I’m staying true to the original club name, ssRcc – semi-serious Recreational cycling club. I think if I ride more and lose a few pounds, I should be able to improve my time next year. It’s worth a shot.
Last. I can’t thank enough those that provide support for this ride. It is a long and very stressful day. My daughter Kristin is the best! My best investment each year is her plane ticket to SLC. This year she supported John and me. She mixes the energy drinks, and is always there ready to go with the musette. This year, Jackie provided support to Brian and Mark Nebeker (that’s a story for another day) and found out first hand how quickly a migraine can set in when you’re not sure where to go, if you have time for a bathroom stop and all of the other unforeseen things that happen. Having Bill in
25th Annual Race
My 5th LOTOJA.
My brother Tom owes me dinner. He also laid down the law at this year’s race. Having raced LOTOJA just once before as part of a relay team, Tom signed up to ride the full race this year. He didn’t just ride, he rode hard. Twice during the day he rode me off his wheel. First up Strawberry and then again on the
Next to the 2005 race in the cold and rain, this was the most difficult race for me. The weather looked like it was going to be perfect. No vest, toe warmers or full fingered gloves were required at the start line. Many didn’t even have arm or knee warmers. What we didn’t know was that a brutal head/cross wind would torment us from
The 5400 start pack at the start. (l-r Todd Udall, Dave Preszler, Peter Harker, Paul Badger, me, John Emmett, Brian Emmett and Corte Haggard).
There were three different start packs in this year
When I looked at the various start groups, I correctly predicted that the 5400’s would catch the 5300’s and the 5200’s before
As we left Logan, the Norda’s guys were at the front with each of us taking a couple of turns in the rotation while some interloper from the 5300’s sitting about 10th wheel kept telling the guy coming of the front to go in front of him. On my second time coming off the front, I declined and told the Mazda guys to fell free to work with us. They willingly went to the front and kept a good pace along with a couple of guys with Rocky Mountain Spine and Sport jerseys.
We caught the 5300’s about half way to
As we passed the Diamond R ranch in Mink Creek, we were cheered on by some “ssRcc Rocks!” and “Fat Boy?” banners. I found out later that Robin Fife had made the signs while visiting her parents the week before. A couple of years ago on a training ride we stopped in for some water and Robin’s dad, Garland Rasmussen, not only gave us some water, but offered up some Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches.
The pace up Strawberry was more than I could handle. I had some pretty ugly stomach cramps bothering me so I settled in at a steady pace and kept looking over my shoulder for Corte to appear. Brian, John, Casey Robles and Kurt Anderson were long gone with or just behind the leaders. Tom and Dean were also pulling away but in sight. I’m pretty sure Peter, Dave and Todd were making time up ahead also. Jeff Shepherd and I settled in for the climb – neither feeling that great. Besides my upset stomach, I had my first of many cramps during the climb. Jeff never did feel good and would later abandon at
I heard from Peter that Tom was feeling it on Strawberry. According to Peter, “Tom passed me like I was standing still – and taunted me by saying, ‘Come on, you’re not going to let Bob’s little brother beat you up this hill are you?’” Peter said rolling with the large group at top speed into
The situation on the road now was Brian with the leaders, John and Kurt behind in another group and Casey behind them. Right behind were Tom, Peter, Dave and Todd. I was alone a couple of minutes back. At the top Dean sat up to wait for Shep. Somewhere behind me were Corte and Paul. Behind them the group of 5300’s who would stick together for the day with Corey and Richard Brand taking more than their fair share of pulls with Eric Mortensen, Scott Muir, Tait Eyre, Bill Freedman and Marc Fuller. Trent Eyre was now off the back of the 5300’s and would spend the rest of the day on his own. I’m sure each one of these guys has their own battle story to tell. Tait’s report is here: http://lindsayburg.blogspot.com/2007/09/lotoja-2007.html
John was the first to roll into the feed zone in Montpelier
The misery of Strawberry behind I'm feeling better and looking for Tom - who will not be caught.
Brian is over unloading his musette on the fly
When I rolled into
Ron has a question for Casey
As soon as the road turned up on
About the time we found Peter, Dave and Todd stopped for a nature break. Peter, Casey and I stayed together over
Up ahead, John and Brian had just rolled out of
The rest and cortisone was not enough and he couldn’t get his knee to work on the steep incline so he was walking his bike up
When Casey, Peter and I rolled into
I stayed with them as long as I could but eventually I had to sit up. I pulled over to give my arm warmers to Kristin and Jackie on the side of the road and heard Dave yell to jump on. He was coming up fast with a group of 5 or 6 riders so I jumped on and rode into Alpine with Dave. Once we got there, Dave said he was going to wait for Todd so I decided to get it over with and keep going. I saw two guys from Sugarhouse Cycling Club that I had ridden with earlier in the day and said “let’s go”. Their names were Stuart and Joey. Joey was the strongest of the group and did more than his fair share of the work, but Stuart and I did our best when we went to the front. We all wanted to get in under 11 hours.
Just before Kristin and Jackie stopped to get my arm warmers on the road into Alpine, Beth drove by in the truck. I wondered why she was still so far back and was pretty sure she was going to miss John and Brian in Alpine. Turns out she did. The girls tried to get a Subway sandwich in Afton but the lack of competent
Fortunately, the cross winds turned to a nice but short lived tail wind as we turned into Alpine and headed up
Corte and Paul were still battling the winds. Once they made the turn into Alpine, Paul told Corte to go ahead so Corte left Paul behind and finished strong putting a half hour on Paul during those last 40 miles.
Even further on down the road the big crew of 5300’s was making pretty good time. Scott and Tait said they got over the climbs and felt pretty good considering. Eric’s cramping was not getting any better and even though they tried to keep a pace that would work he was falling off the back. Tait told me that Corey did what he could to keep him out of the wind, but in the end the cramping won and Eric decided to abandon the race in Alpine.
Even with Joey and Stuart doing all they could to
'Beat Bob' - with my slow start, Tom ran away with bragging rights for 2007. Here Sam and Mac show their team spirit in support of their dad.
Later Tom said his secret to climbing so much faster than me was me telling him earlier in the year that a he could easily ride a 13 hour time with the slower riders his first year. Turns out I was sort of right – he ‘easily’ rode a sub 11 hour time and that is no easy task. Nothing like an obnoxious older brother giving you some of the motivation you need accomplish an amazing feat (a lot of time on the bike also
The Emmett boys at the finish - John, Brian, Bob and Tom
Brian was the other superstar of the day. Before the race I stated publicly (see OC Register article http://www.ocregister.com/news/emmett-race-year-1840019-ride-says and article in the Herald Journal on Sept 7) that I thought John would try for a podium spot and that Brian would probably hang with his dad because he hadn’t trained as hard as I thought he should. Brian didn’t say anything, but he sure proved me wrong being the last team Norda’s guy still riding in the leaders 90+ miles into the race only to loose contact because he needed a longer pee break than the others and the leaders showed some bad etiquette and didn’t wait for him. He could make a real statement in this race as early as next year. I think he has the bug and is going to start looking at other opportunities to race – preferably shorter distances where bladder size will not determine the winner. At the end of the race, John finished in 9th and Brian 10th out of our start group of 55 riders.
Props to Scott Muir, who worried more than all of the rest of us combined - and trust me, we all worried plenty. He took his large frame and bad back over some grueling climbs and into some ferocious winds and came in with a very respectable sub 13 hours time. I was also impressed that Peter Harker came on with a strong finish. I know he was concerned with an illness and loss of weight the week before, but like Casey, he only seemed to suffer in the wind.
I found that I can not ride the climbs in this race at my current weight, which was about 8-10 pounds heavier than in previous years. I need to shed some of the excess fat before next year and then hope that I can avoid the hamstring and abductor muscle tears that have hampered my training the past four weeks (no more touch football on the beach with the Young Men). I’m also going to be more selective on my pre-race breakfast.
Thanks to my mom and dad for letting many of us use their garage for pre-race prep and for the killer peach ice cream.
Even bigger thanks to Bill, Kristin, Beth and Jackie (close friend of Brian) and all the others who provided support. It really makes the race fun to have so many family members participate. No one was more excited than Annie about Beth doing support. That meant that Annie got to stay in Logan and baby sit 11 month old Jack all weekend. He is pretty attached to grandma. She really loves that.
Till next year.
By Karen Kimball FOR THE
WORLD NEWS IRVINE
Early Saturday morning on a sleepy street in
LOTOJA stands for
A 206-mile, one-day ride is, “extremely uncommon,” says Loren Mooney, associate executive editor of Bicycling Magazine. “The double century is cropping up to satisfy those who have to keep trying the next extreme thing.”
For Emmett, a double century was his beginning in road racing. His interest in road riding, primarily for cardio training, escalated in 2003. When Emmett, a
With encouragement from a co-rider, Allen Barbieri, and the thought of family members who would be there, Emmett got back on his bike in time to prepare for the September race. Emmett finished in 10 hours 38 minutes and was satisfied to say, “been there done that.” Yet the weekend with family motivated him to ride again.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Now preparing for his fifth consecutive race, Emmett says, “It’s a family affair.” Two of his four children, John, 28, and Brian 22, and Bob’s younger brother Tom will be racing again this year.
In 2004, John’s first race, Bob Emmett recalls, “I had severe leg cramps.” John slowed his pace and stayed with his father to the finish. This year, John is vying for a top finish.
Over the years his wife, Annie, brother Bill, daughter Kristin, and daughter-in-law Beth have
driven support vehicles. They make drops of fresh water and energy drinks at intervals along the course, allowing the Emmetts to ride continuously to the 120-mile marker. Bob Emmett’s parents, John and Norda, wait roadside in
The biggest challenge of the race is
Without hesitation Emmett says 2005, the year he didn’t finish, was his most memorable ride. At mile 80 he faced pouring rain and freezing temperatures. He abandoned the ride.
“Hundreds of riders abandoned, many into ambulances.” His son John continued the final 120 miles allowing a friend, Mark Facer, a first-time rider with a desire to finish, to draft behind into the night for an finish in
Each year Emmett’s enthusiasm draws more riders. This year, 22 riders associated with the Semi-Serious Recreational Cycling Club will join him. From Irvine; Tait Eyre, Paul Badger, Eric Mortensen, Scott Muir, Peter Harker and former Irvine resident Corte Haggard.
Emmett equips himself for the race with a lightweight carbon fiber Specialized Tarmac S-works bike with a “Fizik” saddle. A comfortable saddle, his position on the bike, and a new set of durable tires are the things he considers most before the long ride.
“The training goes all year,” Emmett says. Winter training averages 60 miles a week. By summer that doubles to 120 to 200 miles per week. Emmett logs more than 5,000 miles a year to prepare for the race.
Working as a sales manager, along with family and church commitments Emmett says, “If we don’t ride early morning we don’t find the time in the day.”
Most who train with Emmett juggle similar responsibilities; somehow finding a spare seven hours a week for bicycling. Rides get worked around swim meets, Scout events, soccer. Some sacrifice sleep.
At 50 years old, Corte Haggard, four-year veteran of the race, boasts, “I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been.” Paul Badger enjoys the camaraderie. First-time rider Scott Muir admits to pre-race jitters, “Major worries and anxiety,” he says, chuckling. Training has already
One by one team members mount their bicycles for the final training ride. Emmett calls out specifics of the morning route. The snapping of shoes locking into pedals echoes as conversation fades. A few circle until the team pulls out single file; ready for Saturday and 206 miles.
EMMETT is ready for his fifth 206-mile bicycle race, which starts in
(right front), and a handful of friends, are preparing for a 206-mile bicycle race that stretches through three states. Here, they ride through
EMMETT (right) and other cyclists meet in