Training for STP 2016

March 6th, 2016

20160306_143137-1I’m thinking of changing my name to Duncan, because my exercise habits and weight have been all yo-yo the last few years. I was having a really good go of crossfit, but random aggravations of my back over the years have prevented me doing it consistently. I’d lost 20 pounds crossfitting a few years ago, then gained 10 pounds back in 2014 after injury. I participated in a weight loss competition at work in early 2015; losing most of those 10 pounds by April. At the time I was still going to crossfit, but doing a specialty program to protect my back and build endurance for my first 5k. I ran that in April 2015, a week after reinjuring my back again, and thought I’d found something to do while rehabing. I did another 5k two months later, but stopped running when I realized the shock wasn’t allowing my back to heal effectively. I spent the fall trying to get into swimming, but I stopped that because I couldn’t get over being the youngest person by ~30 years. I stopped exercising while doing 3-4 months of intense PT and gained those 10+ pounds back this winter. I’ve definitely been losing muscle all the while, so I’m sure it’s more than those 10 pounds in fat making my clothes uncomfortably tight. That was a ton of information – still with me?

My back is a lot better lately (not perfect by any means), so I’m getting back on the horse by training for the STP in four months. STP stands for “Seattle to Portland,” and is a ~200 mile ride… you guessed it… from Seattle to Portland. It’s a very popular ride in an area where there are a lot of rides and I’ve wanted to do it since learning about it a few years ago. A friend of mine, who rides like it’s his job, did it a few years ago and wasn’t crazy about it. I think partly because he decided to do it in one day 1.5 weeks before the event, but also because it’s really damn far. I know someone else, similarly trained as me, who did it for the first time last year and will be doing it again. Weighing those items, I’m choosing to believe it’ll suck and I’ll be glad I did it. I have a habit of signing up for things that force me to motivate; this is one of those times. The good news is I’ve already proven this works when I did 50 miles nearly three years ago. The bad news is I think that’s the last time I was on my bike.

It’s still the rainy season in Seattle – how you gonna train? Technology! My momma got me a brandy new smart trainer for my birthday, which is a cool piece of kit that attaches to your bike and controls the resistance to simulate elevation. Pair that with a training/simulation program like Zwift and you’ve got the closest thing you’re going to come to riding outside on a budget. I really, really do want to go back to crossfit at some point this year, but I’m going to use this over the next few months to turn the weight tides in my favor. I can toughen up my coccyx, get used to clipping in again, and do it at any time schedule permits. It’s gonna be a hectic summer, so I like having access to exercise in my basement. Only 130 days to train!

Pro tip: You can, in fact, fall over while clipped into a trainer.

Yes, a baby.

March 3rd, 2016

All the excitement is over on our family site. Go read it now!


24 Hours of LeMons

January 17th, 2016

Last fall, I flew to South Carolina to participate in the “South Fall” event of the 24 Hours of LeMons series. It had been four years since I was behind the wheel of a race car and the race was not too far from my dad in Charleston, so it was a good opportunity to have an active visit. Over the course of two days, we teamed up with two other drivers to complete 14 hours of lapping in our (supposedly) $500 car. The car had not been tested and none of us had ever driven it (it was a rental), so it was a weekend of wildcards.

A few months removed from the event, the things I remember are the weather, the fumes, and how different it was from the 100+ sprint races I did way back when. We didn’t have as many problems as another car on our team, but a significant gas leak and 115° temps in the car made it difficult to get any truly long stints in. We spent a lot of time in the pits trying to address the problem and/or switching drivers because the fumes were so bad it actually burned your eyes after 30-ish minutes. Our pit stops were also less than optimal, so we only managed to finish 44th in a field of 112. We did 296 laps, our team cars did 316 and 168, and the winning car did 373. I really wanted to get to 300, but I started to run out of gas during the last session and had to limp it home (fueling required the driver exit the car, making it worse to stop).

The race itself was… interesting. Training is not required to participate and the cars are mostly junkers, so people tend to be conservative and there’s a lot of broken cars. I’d heard reports that the events can be dangerous, but I my experience was quite the opposite. CMP is also a very safe track with tons of run-off room, so the event was a good welcome back to the driver’s seat. Were I to do it again, I’d invest considerably more into a formalized pit crew. Either that, or bribe people with beer. Overall, it was a quality way to spend a weekend.

Included below are a few clips of the event. There’s really nothing special, so I sped it up. If anything, the cars are interesting. [Photos]


24 Hours of LeMons24 Hours of LeMons – Seleted clips shown at 4x

Posted by Chris Derecola on Sunday, January 17, 2016