Sunday, May 18, 2008

Off-road Analgesic

Some of you may be expecting a Sunapee race report but instead find another boring trail ride report. Maybe the one or two trail riders that stop by occassionally will have moderate interest. I'm dissapointed in how the racing season has gone so far and need another day or two to sort out what to say about Sunapee. This is only my second season racing Masters 45+, and yet something seems to have changed. Other competitors have commented on the nature of 45+ races lately too. There's probably more to say about post Sunapee race happenings than the race itself, such as the 60k ride with Solobreak and Penney, or the state trooper hottie that pulled me over for speeding on Rt 103.

Whole ride, Massabesic Lake lower, Wahoo loop upper left

For now though, you get a trail ride report. Often my weekends throughout the summer have a race on Saturday and long trail ride on Sunday. Sunday's are my fun riding day. Probably junk miles, but psychological benefits outweigh fretting over what the training task master we all have in our heads dictates to do. There's nothing like a long, solo woods ride to sooth over disappointments.

The FOMBA trail system near Manchester, NH has been open a while now this spring. Conditions were dry. I parked at the Massabesic Lake park and started my ride like the annual FOMBA Turkey Burner fun ride. It's a big, fast loop around the lake on a mix of single and double track. I brought my new Garmin Edge 705 with me to gain more familiarity with it. I noticed that about 10 miles into the ride, the riding time and distance of both the 705 and my Cateye wired computer were within 0.1% of each other. In other words, they were in exact agreement.

FOMBA singletrack, clockwise from upper left, Ladyslipper, Deer Run, Red Pine, Sampler, Moose Track, Fisher Cat, Woodpecker

Then I got to the FOMBA singletrack network. This is the most noodly cluster of trails you can imagine. Tight, twisty, technical, and probably packed in something like a mile per acre. I noticed my Edge 705 started losing distance against the Cateye. In fact, in 8 miles of squiggly trail, I lost nearly a mile against the Cateye. That's >10% discrepancy, or 100x the error on straighter, faster terrain. The elapsed moving time stayed in perfect agreement. I know that a downloaded track file in DeLorme can truncate the distance in twisty terrain, but the GPS itself should never do this, as it integrates velocity to accumulate distance. Or so I would think. This is going to require more research, maybe a post or two on Garmin forums.

After riding seven FOMBA singletrack loops, I thought to myself that no ride at FOMBA is complete without doing a lap around the old Watershed Wahoo MTB race loop. This was my favorite race in the EFTA Championship series, partly due to its non-technical nature. It was essentially a 100 minute time trail speed fest with a couple thousand feet of climbing, four times around the hilly circuit. It was easy for me to win my expert class and placed 4th and 5th out of 300+ overall a couple years. No race-paced laps today though. At best, I was bumping up into tempo pace on the climbs. Sunapee race and post race ride really sapped me.

I did not do any MTB races last year, although I signed up for the Hampshire 100k and bailed on it. This year will not pass by without some competition on dirt. I'm planning to race the Shenandoah 100 later this summer. The longest MTB race I've done to date was the Vermont 50 Miler several years ago. The Shenandoah will take much longer (9+ hours?) and has much more climbing. Floyd Landis finished 3rd in 7:24hrs last year. Ought to be an epic.

It was an amazing morning to be out. Perfect temps, light breeze, pretty near had the place to myself, and bugs were barely noticeable (maybe if I stopped, I might have noticed more bugs). I rode 33 miles in 3hrs with about 3200ft of climbing, nearly all on dirt.


solobreak said...

I saw she had you pulled over, but didn't think you could have been there long enough for anything more than a warning?

Hill Junkie said...

That was the second time I got pulled over by a state trooper that already had somebody else pulled over. I was doing 64 in a 50. She asked when was last ticket, I said "it's been a while." It has, in NH. I guess they don't check neighboring states. I got let off with a verbal warning. Actually, three of the last four times I've been pulled over for speeding the last couple years have been warnings.