Monday, July 29, 2019

Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin could do it all. Until it all became too much. - The Washington Post

This is a long article--the most ambitious attempt that I have seen to tell the story of the life and death of Kelly Catlin. Over the years we have lost a couple of friends from the TNR to suicide. Hopefully something positive can come from these tragedies--a willingness to offer help and support when we can--and a willingness to reach out for help when we need it.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

My Crusher in Two Photos

The day started well. I felt great for a long time.

Somewhere in the Sarlacc Pit, the lights went out. They never really came back on.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Crusher Redux 2019: (Including Scientific Excuses)

Crusher in the Tushar 2019

Crusher Pre-Ride; Dave, Joe, Dan, Shae and Jeff.  Notice the "most beautiful waterfall in Beaver" in the background.

The Crusher is a unique event that cannot be described accurately by statistics.  The combination of a truly harrowing race course, great organization and wonderful volunteer support is unparalleled.

This year's edition saw us rolling out in overcast weather with scattered drops of rain heading towards a bank of dark clouds rolling over the Tushar mountain range.  The dirt/gravel section heading up was well wetted down and packed with all the recent rainfall almost all the way to the point where the elevation topped out.  One rider I passed commented on how the rain had just "stopped" in the middle of the road.  It did in fact look like someone had hosed down half the road and then just stopped.

The cruise across the upper alpine meadows was quick and the gravel well traveled and less chunky than in years past.  There were usually one or two obvious lines that had no doubt been well worn by the pros who rode ahead.

The decent down the Col d' Crush was manageable, perhaps not the absolute best condition ever, but far from the worst.  It was here that my new Lauf fork shone, letting me cruise all the uneven ground and washboards with nary a worry.

By the time I'd cruised into Junction folks were pretty spread out.  Occasionally I'm able to find a group that naturally forms out on Highway 89 down to Circleville.  No such luck this year.  I picked up a smaller guy on an adventure bike with a crazy double-decker Hover bar, and another fellow on a MTB.  We took it pretty easy and rolled into Circleville against a cooling headwind.

It's here I feel inclined to mention the importance of temperature on performance.  We'd seen predictions that the weather would be in the high 90s in the valley, and in fact on our drive down to Beaver the valiant Anderson Subaru Forester was taxed to its limits as it descended into 100+ heat.

Pre-Ride crew with Dawn our driver, soigneur, and head cheerleader

Looking at my data, at the top of the Col before descending the temp was 55 F.  In Junction it was in the low 70s F.  The temp stayed flat into Circleville.  But then over the next section through the Sarlacc pit the temperature spiked to 97 F (a rise of 25+ degrees in 25 min).  The temps remained in the high 90s up the Col for the next hour until a much welcome bank of clouds rolled in.

Once again on top of the Tushar range, the temp in the rain and then hail quickly dropped again down to 50. Joe passed my by with a hand-up at the last aid station as I leisurely waited on my special order of banana and Snickers.  I did my best to catch him up and we rode together into the mist and thunderstorms across the alpine meadows.  I lost contact with Joe on the last gravel ascent, and I mentally wished him well as he rode out of site.

As my tired muscles tensed on the last gravel descent to the paved road south of Eagle Point resort it was then that they decided to cramp.  Hot Shots to the rescue!  With a warm tingling belly I tapped out the rest of the quick descents and slow ascents to the finish, just in time to join Joe in watching Shae mount the podium as second place finisher in her age group.

I think the take home lesson from this year's experience is this: heat kills.

If you don't believe me ask Dave or Joe.  We all experience it's soul sapping effects in the Sarlacc pit as we entered that especial hurt locker.  And the data bear this out - as outlined in this excellent article: "The cardiovascular challenge of exercising in the heat".


Having a particularly cold and wet spring here gave us few opportunities to become acclimated to the heat.  In fact looking back, my best year at the Crusher was preceded by a week spent with our scout troop at an Encampment near Hells Half Acre, where I trained for a week in the mid-day heat (90s) spent my night sleeping sweaty in a hot tent.

Dave swears this is the last Crusher, but if perchance we decide to do something similar in the future down South where the weather is more oppressive, we'll need to add something like this into the training regimen: "Heat acclimation improves exercise performance".

2019 Crusher in the Tushar Results: Dong and Grant Take Victories

Monday, July 8, 2019

Summer Solstice TNR

Here are a few pictures from our Summer Solstice TNR.  Although it fell a few days after the longest day of the year we made use of the beautiful weather and rode all the way to the Ririe Reservoir.  The truly dedicated actually touched the water...