Saturday, March 29, 2008

NORTH SHORE (AIN'T) RACE

Been planning for months to do the North Shore Circuit Race this morning, but woke to rain and cold weather in B'ham. No biggie. Drove out to the course where it was snowing and sticking and getting worse. It's a big collegiate race, fundraiser for Western Washington University's cycling team, but they had to cancel the time trial--four inches of snow out at Mosquito Lake Road.

I went back and forth--should I stay or should I go? Stewart thought they'd cancel. Heard a course marshall say they'd delay. Road seemed treacherous to me, especially the long descent on Y Road. So I bagged it. I wouldn't feel comfortable riding it much less racing it. Kinda disappointing but I quickly got on the phone and arranged a ride with John and Scott tomorrow.
UPDATE: All races were cancelled. Truly a bummer for WWU cycling team.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

COUPLE MORE CHUCKANUT 50K PHOTOS

Above left, in the glasses, is Rick Hill, a truly inspirational story from this year's 50K. Last year, a month or so before the 50K, he suffered a stroke, a kind of blood clot in his brain that luckily, doctors were able to treat in time. Thus he whimped out of running last year's race. (Kidding, Rick.)

Here's the thing: this year he runs pretty much his best time ever! (I say pretty much because over the past few years, alterations have made the course a little longer than last time he ran it.) This year's time: 5:47. Way to go, Rick!

Also, please take note of John Schick at the far right, running backwards as he shakes hands with someone on the sideline.

Below, just a perty pic of a runner ascending the Fragrance Lake Trail.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

SAMISH ISLAND SATURDAY

video
Got out on the first ride of the year with Johnny (4:30) Clark and Scott (4:35) Young. Sixty miles down to Samish Island and back. Hooked up with Mark Rhode for about 25 miles of it. Kinda funny that a road cyclist should have the last name of Rhode (pronounced "roadie"); sim. to the hard-core B'ham swimmer named Bob Fish. I digress. During one stretch down in the Skagit Flats, I rode alongside everybody thinking I was snapping off a bunch of photos. But my camera was in video mode so I was really shooting a bunch of really short videos. (See above.)


Luckily, I did get some shots. Scott, with his manly pink T-Mobile hat which matched his manly pink T-Mobile shirt. (He revealed that later.) Scott proved to be very annoying because he was exceedingly strong, damn him. All in all, a super great ride.


Rhode, Scott (you can kinda see his pink shirt) and John:

Here's John, his expression saying: "Oh great, Mike's got his camera out again; I love when he breaks out his camera."


Meanwhile, while we were out riding, the amazing Fabian Cancellara was at it again winning Milan-San Remo. Launched a solo attack with about 3K to go in the roughly 180-mile race. (Like the way I mixed kilometers and miles? So European of me.) He da' man. Total ride time was more than seven hours.
At home, we're in the throes of a bathroom remodel. He's an in-progress shot of the bathroom sans tub, toilet, and before the new floor goes in.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

YET MORE CHUCKANUT 50K PHOTOS, VIDEO

video

Here's Beau Whitehead at the start of the Fragrance Lake Trail. "You're the smartest one here, Mike," he says. That's a sentence I've not heard too many times in my life.

Training pals Christy Fazio, Scott Young, and John Clark.
Jason Russ, who finished in 4:55.

Scott Jurek, who finished third. For complete results, go to: www.gbrc.net/results/results_c50k_08.php.

I'm still going through my pics.

Monday, March 17, 2008

MORE CHUCKANUT 50K PHOTOS, VIDEO

video
Above, video of Scott Young's 14th-place finish.

John Clark at aid station 2 with Brian Herring running along looking like he's trying to interest John in a real estate deal of some kind. Beau Whitehead, who finished 15th, just behind Scott.
John, shortly after the finish.
John and Scott hook up after the race. Scott Jurek, who finished third.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

BIG BIG WEEKEND

video
Wow! Lots going on this weekend. Watching my boyz in the Chuckanut 50K on Saturday. Last Wednesday, I predicted John would run 4:33 and Scott 4:46. John goes out and runs 4:30, 12th place, while Scott blazes a 4:35--a PR by over an hour! Incredible. Inspiring as hell!
Saturday, I jumped back and forth between the race and my real boy's chess tournament at Assumption School. See Baker (right) below with medal and trophy-winning friend Tristan. We're all going to state next month!
Sunday, I rode a 36-mile road race in Ravensdale with some Fanatik guys. Below are Tim Reinholtz (who raced Cat 5 with me), Dave Bishop, and Chad Clarke who both raced 4s. Fun, intense and we all finished safely. Later that morning, Fanatik's Jeff McConaughy won the Masters race. Way to go!
Here's Chuckanut winner Bryan Dayton.
More pics and video to come throughout the week!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Chuckanut 50K Weekend

Saturday is the 16th running of the Chuckanut 50K and the last time on the course we have all come to know and love/hate. Next year, plans are for the route to be much hillier. Above and below, Chuckanut studs Scott Young and John Clark had their final one-on-one coaching sessions with Chris Carmichael. "Run like the wind, my son," he told Scott. Whereas to John he said, "Just don't run like Mike McQuaide and you'll be fine."
These guys have trained hard, been running like two times a day, John had 108 miles one week, Scott's been burning up the treadmill at the Y sending the watts meter into the red and man, I'm glad I'm not doing the race this year. I'm not worthy.
I've written down my predictions for what I think John and Scott will run; I'll let you know Sunday how close I am.
Speaking of Carmichael, a couple more tidbits from last Saturday's talk. He said the Leadville Trail 100 in August is the mountain bike race that Lance is going to do. (Along with this year's Boston and New York marathons.) Also, he thought that if Lance decided next year to come back and do the Tour de France that Carmichael believed he could win it. (Please Lance, don't do it. Think Michael Jordan in a Wizards uniform; that should be enough to scare you.)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

BIKE SATURDAY

We hit the Seattle Bike Expo on Saturday. That is, John Clark, Scott Young, Jen (me wife) and Baker (me son). Above, please enjoy a photo of Chris Carmichael and myself. Chris, who coached Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France victories, was a featured speaker. Real nice guy, who spent a few minutes before his presentation talking to Scott, John and I, who were all kinda schoolboy giddy with tongue-tied goofiness. His presentation included footage of Lance in the TdF including a behind-the-scenes story about how fortunate Lance's foray into cyclocross turned out to be during the '03 stage when Joseba Beloki crashed right in front of him and Lance had to cut across the cornfield and over a ditch.
We coveted a lot of bikes we did. Here John and Scott drool over a Cervelo P3 time trial bike not unlike that used by Fabian Cancellara. World Champion rainbow stripes and all. Probably $7,000 with the Zipp wheels.
Below, John does something I would never do a week before an important race. Have his body fat tested on one of those notoriously innaccurate body composition bathroom scales. John's got less body fat on him than an Olsen twin yet this thing tells him he's like 16 percent body fat. This right after some guy, who looked no trimmer than John, butted in front of him and registered something like 5 percent body fat.
Below, Scott tries on a pink shirt. Behind him, an alarmed onlooker phones a loved one and asks for help.
John and Scott are running the Chuckanut 50K (www.gbrc.net/chuckanut50k.php) next Saturday and I wish them all the luck in the world. It's sure to be an epic battle with neither one of them coming right out and actually saying it, but you know each wants to pound the other. As it should be.

Good luck to both of them!
After that, we ride.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

SEATTLE BIKE EXPO

Chris Carmichael is coming to the Seattle Bike Expo (March 8 and 9; http://cascade.org/EandR/expo) to do a couple presentations on working with Lance Armstrong. (Carmichael's the dude above who's not Lance.) I wrote a piece about the expo for this Thursday's (March 6) Seattle Times Northwest Weekend section and was fortunate to spend about 20 minutes with Chris on the phone. (You don't mind if I call you Chris, do you?)

He seemed like a real nice guy who, at the time, was in the throes of dadhood. ("Connor, put that down. No, Connor come over here, please. Connor ..." And so on.) Here are excerpts from my interview with Chris. All words are his.

"I’ll be doing a couple presentations, basically presenting what it took for Lance to win the Tour de France seven times. ... What made him so special was just his approach. He was a 365-day 24-seven athlete. ... He was just meticulous about everything he did, from training to his equipment to nutrition to selecting his team to everything. As an example of how meticulous he was, in his seven Tour de France victories, he had only one flat tire—and that wasn’t by luck. It’s just an example of his approach. ... I hooked up with Lance in 1990 when I was the national team coach. You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize he was special."

On how he's working with Lance these days:

"I help him with his running. Next month in Boston (Boston Marathon), he’d like to be low 2:40s, and next fall, mid 2:30s at New York (New York City Marathon). He also wants to do an ultraendurance mountain bike event--those are his three goals this year. He likes to have goals, they keep him motivated and fit."

I asked Chris if this is leading up to Lance eventually doing an Ironman triathlon.

"I doubt it. You don’t just go out and do an Ironman. He just wants to enjoy himself. The last thing he wants to do right now is follow any kind of structured program."

Then I got selfish. I asked him if he had any advice for a 46-year-old endurance athlete who's just now getting into bike racing.

"First, join a cycling club. You'll gain loads of experience on group rides and build your skills like learning how to draft--remember, where there’s a wheel there’s a way. Also, you need to get comfortable riding at higher pedal cadence--at least 90, 100, 110--that way you can adjust to the abrupt changes in speed. With experience, you'll get a feel for the ebb and flow of a race and you'll gain an understanding of tactics. You go into each race with a strategy; the strategy is your plan, the tactics are how you implement that plan. ... Also, I'll be selfish and say hire a coach—it’s going to help you with your training as well as the physical and nutritional aspects."

Nice guy; I look forward to his presentation.

Switching gears completely ... we finally got around to having Baker's 9th birthday party today--only two weeks late! But we has excuses. He was sick. Jen was sick. Etc. On video below, note that we couldn't find matches or a lighter and so couldn't light the candles.
video

The party was at Leading Edge North, the gymnastic place. Lots tumblin' and fun!