and it burns, burns, burns...

Ring of Fire started.  Ian, Joshie, Jay and Eric W raced.  It was freezing.  It was also Jay's birthday.

Du the Ashevile Du, First Duathlon in the Books!

This past Saturday KB and I decided to throw caution to the wind, and enter an event which had something other than just cycling (or presidential challenges, or burpees, or drinking) on the menu. With a small base of running miles from the cold and wet winter this year, we both signed up for the inaugural Du the Asheville Du Duathlon (say that five times fast) located on the lovely Biltmore estate grounds and featuring a 5K paved run, and 10.75 mile gravel road bike ride, and a final 5K gravel/trail run.

Leading up to the event, the weather was looking horrendous, a potential for a wintery mix and an almost certain guarantee of some sort of precipitation during the entire event.  with a 9am race start time and a recommended time to be on the grounds due to traffic by the even organizers of 7:30am, I awoke pre-dawn at 6:30 in the morning to make my self a small breakfast and try to actually be awake by the start of the race. I'm sure I've mentioned how much I am NOT a morning person.  To add insult to injury, a glance outside showed a constant light rain.  Great.  Unamused I slowly got dressed hoping for a call from KB saying she wasn't doing this in such adverse conditions, but alas, she arrived at the house promptly at 7:15am and we loaded up all of our requisite gear and headed out to Biltmore.

Brrrrrrrr.  I realize there are a lot of places much colder than here, but I am NOT a cold weather person either.  Pair that with being 8am, and you can imagine how grumpy a Joshie this can make.  The weather gods were nice enough to grant us one small reprieve, the rain had stopped.  I need to send them a thank you card and on a side note, also remind them that it's Spring, that means the weather is supposed to be getting WARMER, not colder... Jerks. Anyway, we signed in, got our timing chips and then immediately headed back to the car to sit in our last moments of warmth before we headed out on our first ever duathlon.  With minutes to go before the start, we emerged from the car to our long line of growing spectators (Jess, Spankye, and Dacia) signed a few autographs, went for a brief but brisk walk to spool up the legs, and then lined up for the start.

With the sound of the horn, KB and I immediately jumped to the front to set the pace of the race.  Sike! I caught a brief glance of the leading runner from our mid field position, you'd of thought he was being chased by a pack of wild dogs...  It was a race so I wanted to put out a good effort, but I also wanted to conserve what I could for the final run as I had never done an event like this before.  I believe KB had a similar game plan.  So we put in a solid first run, meandering our way with the pack of competitors and  besting both of our previous 5K best efforts in the process too!.  Finishing up the run I realized that I had zero experience in the "transition" area, it took me over 2 minutes to make the switch to bike mode, compared to the top of the field making the switch in approximate 45 seconds... pffft, get a job you hippies!

The bike portion of the race are where KB and I definitely excelled, I can't recall ever getting passed. This consisted if two laps, an "outer lap" of approximately 7 miles and then an "inner lap" of about 4. We mashed the pedals up a gradual gravel climb away from the river followed by a fun drop back down for the first lap on a portion of Biltmore that is typically closed to guests.  Absolutely beautiful farmland, no wonder they want to keep it to themselves.   Back around for the second lap, there apparently was some confusion as to the turn for the inner lap for some of the top competitors (read your race packet and course outline!), but by the time that we had made it around for our second laps, everything had been worked out.  this much abbreviated lap meant that the distance to reach the top of the climb was also much shorter and steeper.  This is where I had my first notion that maybe, just maybe, my legs were getting tired, but with the fun down hill again, I took a conservative descent in preparations for the final run and didn't think about it again.

Ugh, transition again, and again, slow as molasses ( Hey, I'm southern deal with it).  Running shoes back on the feet and out of the gate, I noticed a slight issue.  My legs no longer wanted to follow the motion of one in front of the other, meaning they were toast.  This was highly compounded by the fact that the first portion of the run was an uphill.  I did my best to maintain proper Hoff composure through the crowd at the transition area, "Hi!  great race!  Have a good one, thanks for being here (I'm going to puke on you and then pass out.)!!"  Once out of the masses, I had no choice, I had to walk for a bit. After a stern talking to, my legs understood that there was no turning back now and fired up once again.  It was definitely slow going and we (my legs and I) had agreed that on any significant uphill, we could have a brief walk for a break.  On the last major hill of the trail, walking, my HR was touching 168... Walking.  I finally made it to the top and then I knew the end was near.  after glancing at my watch, I also realized that maybe, jut maybe I could finish right at one hour, 45 minutes, if I just kept up a consistent pace.  "Coasting" as best as I could on the long downhill back to the finish, I saw our huge pack of spectators (Jess, Spankye, and Dacia), so with a renewed grin on my face, I gave it my all to be done with it. KB had a much better experience with the second run despite a brief moment of her calf wanting to cramp up right off the bike.  No walking for her, that's awesome!

I finished up at 1:48:16, just off my hoped for 1:45, but I'll take it!  KB wasn't far behind, just off the 2 hour mark at  2:03:18.  That a Girl!  So while I immediately swore off anything like this again post race, after a few day of recovery, ok, I might could be persuaded to do this again.  many thanks to all our fans that came out (Jess, Spankye, and Dacia) and to the crew who put on the race. I'll probably be out there again next year!

Happy St. Paddy's Day Criterium Recap

Today myself, the Swedish Eagle and Jay Money Deluxe ((Jay$$$dlx) decided to test all of our laborious winter efforts of maintaining an immaculate diet and tireless training (read, eating whatever we want and drinking to improve tolerance) by entering the "Happy St. Paddy's Day" Criterium.  We three decided that we would contest the Cat 4/5 race, and Jay Money Deluxe also decided to make the Eagle and I look bad by ALSO entering the Masters 35+ 3/4/5 race.

The 4/5 race was up first, a wonderful wakeup call at 8:40 am (FYI, NOT A MORNING PERSON). While the Eagle and Jay Money Deluxe were in fine form from the get go, I must say that my motor was not ready for the sudden 25-30mph sustained efforts.  As I flailed in the mid-field for the first few laps, I was able to see from my vantage point the Eagle stay smartly towards the front of the field guarded closely by Jay Money Deluxe   Burying my shame of my mid-field laps, I knew I had to at least try to keep up with my teammates, so I slowly but steadily meandered my way towards the front third of the field to at least try and give five to ten seconds of team effort.  As I was working my way up, I could tell that Jay Money Deluxe had a second sense and knew I was coming up to help.  Jay Money took off, leaving the field for a nice flyer.  The Eagle and I stood our ground, firmly planted in second and third, with another racer in front of us, begging us to take a pull.  Sorry, boys, this is racing. Eventually Jay was caught as the last few laps drew near and I can't tell you how happy I was to finally see "3 laps to go." The peloton ramped up in anticipation, putting me into a spot of bother, and I knew I was going to have to dig deep into my suitcase of courage.  2 laps to go brought a much needed momentary pause, allowing me to get back to my fellow Hoffs. 1 lap to go. Jay started the lap up front, but I knew he had better endurance and a better chance of getting a good leadout for the Eagle, so I gave it all I had and got the front spot to lead out the other two for as long as I could. I managed to stay on the front for a little over half a lap before being shed as Jay Money Deluxe and the Swedish Eagle came barreling by.  My job was done, so I soft pedaled my way across the line, completely DONE.  The Eagle did admirably, nabbing a 6th place for the Team, and Jay Money Deluxe came across mid field (BTW, Jay also won two primes!).  Way to go Swedish Eagle!!

After a brief reprieve of a women's race after ours, Jay saddled back up and jumped into the Masters  race 3/4/5.  The memorable quote of this race comes from Mr. Deluxe himself, " Man I'm beat, I'm just going to try and sit in the pack on this one." Yea... okay.  Ring a bell for a prime however and Jay Money cannot help it. Ring a bell and he becomes a ballistic missile.  It's science, trust me.  Upon the  bell for the first prime, Jay Money Deluxe was sitting as previously stated, squarely in the middle of the pack.  However, upon coming around to the line on the prime lap, the man was in first place, winning the prime.  In a moment of realization after this lap, He did have a breif respite in his actions, literally looked over to me on the side of the race course and said, "what the HELL am I doing up here?!..."

 This did however seem to invigorate the old fellow. second prime lap, second prime win for Jay Money Deluxe and fourth (!) of the day.  The second prime win also created a small breakaway of three gents (Jay$$$dlx included) and road away from the peloton in a fury. Within approximately 2 laps they had a growing gap on the group of about 20 seconds which of course raised the bell again for a prime to try and spur the peloton to kick it up a notch and offer chase.  Jay Money stated to his two companions that he would not contest the PRIME (it's important, I'll explain later) as he had already won four.  This was with 3 laps to go I believe. Well, after that lap, one of the guys in Jay's group decided to up the pace to try and get away from his other two companions.  Jay had enough to stay with the chap (st. paddy's day, come on!), but couldn't find the power to get past.  1 lap to go and they had lost one of their companions.  It was going to come down to a sprint if Jay could just hold on.  Coming around the last turn, Jay turned on the heat to try and get the jump for the sprint, only... the other gent was very taken aback by Jay Money's effort to try and win the race and started yelling, "That's BS man, you said you weren't going to contest the race!" Apparently when Jay stated that he would not contest the PRIME, the gent thought that Jay Money Deluxe was talking about the final lap instead. Uhhhhh, what??  It's a race.  We may give primes as gifts, but unless we're on the same team.... you ALWAYS duke it out for the win, regardless of what you may or may not of heard.  Needless to say feelings were probably hurt, but hey, racing is racing. Our apologies for the misunderstanding, but shouting and pouting are never going to win you a race...  sorry, just sayin'...  Anywhooos, Jay Money Deluxe with the Win!!!  Bravo! Bravo!

Hoffencross 2013

Mark your calendars, the 5th Annual 2013 Hoffencross Invitational will be held August 2-3!  The format this year will be a multi-stage event, different from any previous years. There will be a points system that will challenge both cycling and non-cycling skills.  As always, dinner will be provided on Saturday evening at our house. Riders meeting will be at 9:30am, ride to start at 10am. Grand prizes for the female and male with most points awarded. The main prizes are good for one year and will become a tradition that is forwarded to the new winner each following year.  Bring your A game, but keep in mind that your status on Strava doesn't necessarily make you a Hoffencross champion.

Also, watch out for this guy. He is prematurely boasting of a potential win this year, in a similarly hideous outfit...


#Louisville2013FoamParty #hoffenchard #picklestinker