Monday, August 24, 2009

Bike Adventures

Mark is having bike adventures in Washington.

On June 1st, one week after touchdown for a summer job in the capitol, he competed in the Clarendon Cup criterium in downtown Clarendon, a trendy suburb of DC.
Well, sort of.
I'm not sure he would call it “competed.”
I think for him it was more like “survived” 10 minutes on the course before being nearly lapped and pulled by the ref as the field containing the current national elite time trial champion and a former Iranian Olympian along with a coterie of 1-2 masters men who were added to Mark's wave at the last minute.
He went into the race knowing he would be lapped, but thinking he would be able to hang on for 45 minutes, get in a good high end work out, and eventually be lapped after about 25 miles.
This was before the 1-2 masters were added to his wave of Cat 3,4,5, Master's Men. On the day of the race. And, a criterium at that.
In the end, he was one of about 40 people lapped and pulled--2/3rd's of the initial field of 60—which, judging from the remainder of the summer, only served to whet his appetite.

The next day was a chipped and timed “non-competitive” ride with awards that was part of the Air Force Classic in Crystal City just before the UCI rated Pro race. 72 miles in three hours on a rainy morning. It hurt, but out of 2000 entrants, he was only one of two riders to do the highest number of laps—9--on the course. About 100 people made 8 laps. And the rest did what they could—or got smart and quit early because of the rain.

He's taken really well to Washington. Within the first week of being there, he’s already seen several familiar faces from last year's summer sojourn. Last year, Peter was kind enough to direct Mark to some of the local clubs, and this year he's already reconnected and riding and drinking beer with the boys (Peter is a dedicated DC runner—and enjoys 3k sprints on a regular basis).

Church Creek Individual Time Trial the next week, pretty much the same course and the day before the Eagleman 70.3. Hot, muggy, windy. 40K in 1:01, 7th out of 52 in category.

A few weeks after Mark's 10 minute foray into riding with the East Coast boyz, he went for a solo ride on a popular route along the WOD recreation trail—and broke a shifter cable 0 miles out, but too early for any bike shops to be open. Stuck in his 39-11, he prepared to ride his newly minted single speed, over hill and dale, 40 miles to Purcellville town, but (and this is the power of advertising on a mobile, human billboard), he spotted a rider in a “Bike Shop” jersey, flagged him down, and found a bike shop only 8 single speed miles away. Whew.

That same week he went for a ride around Haines Point, was 6 miles into it, did a nothing in particular pedal stroke—and pulled his shoe away from his cleat.
Since they were Mark's favorite cycling shoes, and a giveaway several years back from fellow Outlaw Bones—he mourned them.
But not for long.
There's nothing like a good excuse for new cycling equipment.

Next week was a DC Triclub training triathlon followed by a barbecue. 400m/26k/5k. Sold out at $5.00 and 200 entrants. Fully supported and marshaled. Definitely the right price and fun. Mark went home with a 7th overall.

After 4 weeks in DC, learning a new job, and getting into the swing of a new training routine, Mark participated in the Dextro ITU World Cup Triathlon. 100% closed course through Potomac Park, Downtown, the Mall, Capitol Hill and Penn Quarter. A great way to tour the city without the worry of traffic. Prior to the race, enough rain fell to warrant the title of DC as “the new Calcutta” (Washington Post). Rumors of strong currents, sewage run-offs, and cancellation of the practice swim lent an air of pre-race apprehension, but the swim itself turned out to be odorless and the water “tasted fine.” Mark characterized the swim as a constant stream of debris hitting him in the forehead, and the 1500 meter choppy and misty swim was impossible to sight, marked as it was by 5 buoys, with two of these obscured by a large stone bridge, and 1 buoy flagging the finish dock. It was this swim that likely cost Mark his goal of going under 2:20, but he did PR and rode his fastest 40k in a triathlon and ran his fastest 10K ever.

In July, he did the “Total 200” Double Century ride and felt good except for a lull at miles 125 to 150 and two flats during the final 8 miles.

The following weekend, was the Giro di Copi Road Race in Barnesville, MD. In his words:
Three beautiful laps, 39 miles. Caught in a crash in the first mile, stayed upright, but then chased hard for the next five miles to catch the field. Made the selection of about 20 riders, but got dropped in a 150 degree corner, chased till eyeballs bled for about eight miles but caught the break. Cooked. Dropped on last hill, last rider shed from the finishing field. Fun.

That same evening, he did the Rockville Twilighter 8K run in 35:07, followed by listening to a band, drinking too much beer, and getting home way too late. Recognized the name of former Texas/New Mexico runner and triathlete, “DeHeer,” as the 4th place finisher with a time of 24+, but did not locate him. After a late night, rallied the next morning to get up at 5 a.m. for an 83-mile ride.

The last weekend of his DC stay was a ride up Mt. Weather with members of the record setting RAAM mixed team. A punishing 55 miles. Followed by a very rainy Crystal City twilighter that evening. Heavy legs, but 20:52 for a 5k. Found DeHeer. Not as much free beer this time, and got back home a little earlier. 91 rolling and rainy cycling miles DC to Sugarloaf the next morning.

1500 cycling miles.
5 cycling events
2 triathlons
2 running races

That's Mark's adventures in DC.

1 comment:

SWTrigal said...

Yikes!When does he have time to work? Well at least he does not have time to get into trouble!