Wednesday, December 17, 2008

100 Run in 100 Days

There is a challenge going on from a forum I go to. The goal is to do 100 runs in 100 days. That doesn't mean you have to run every day, you can do 2, 3, 4... runs in one day, as long as they are 30 minutes each. This should be a fun way to get me working out consistently over the winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tulsa Marathon

Not sure why it has taken me so long to so this post. Maybe because I was a little disappointed in the race.

The Tulsa Marathon was on Nov 11, 2008. Kim and I went up on Saturday to the race expo. I picked up the packet, shirt and we walked around a little. I actually found a pair of shoes to replace my old ones at 60% off, so that was nice. We went back to her brothers apartment where we were staying and just relaxed. We watched some football, talked and had a nice time. I cooked some spaghetti like I always do. It's relaxing to have the same thing before a race since you know how your body will react.

Race morning came and we headed out to the race start. It was nice compared to NYC. We were able to sleep in and I was able to park about 30 seconds away from the start. Not too bad. It was pretty cold at the start, about 35 so we were bundled up. Luckily it wasn't long before the start. All at once we were all gathered in the corral and were off.

The first few miles were a slight uphill, but not too bad. We went down by the river and finally saw a few people. It seemed night and day compared to NYC. The crowd was almost non existent. There were bunches around water stops but it was pretty lonely. I was running a good pace, about 8:40 miles which was a little faster than I hoped, but I felt great.

I got to the halfway point in 1 hour 55 minutes. At the turn around we finally got the wind at our backs and I picked up the pace a little bit. Nothing else of note happened for a while. Then came mile 20. A group of us headed into the water stop when all of a sudden a woman stopped dead in her tracks when she got her water. I was right behind her and ran straight into her. All of a sudden my right knee locked completely up. It would not bend at all. I ended up walking about half a mile before I could move it at all. I was able to do a run/limp for a little bit before I had to walk again. My race was pretty much done at that point it was just a matter making it to the finish.

It seemed like the last 6 miles would never go by. My knee started feeling a little better and I was able to run more and more. Not fast, but I made progress. Then mile 24 came and it was time for the brutal hills. Why they designed a course to have long steep hills at that point in a race is beyond me. Everyone around me was either walking or doing a little shuffle. Mile 25 came and it was downhill again. Then the sweet, sweet mile 26 sign and just another turn and there was the finish line. I ran across in 4:10:01. Not was I was hoping for, but I finished.

After the run was disappointing. All the marathoners were herded into the food tent with what looked like only 2 lines. There were not moving at all. I stood in the same spot for about 5 minutes (standing still isn't fun on the legs after a marathon) before I left and went to get my post race beer. Kim and I got over to the beer tent only to find that the half marathoners polished it off about an hour before I got there. Ugh. We decided to call it a day and just grab some food on the way back to OKC.

I'm not sure if I would do the full marathon here again. The half would be fun, but the full was just not worth the money for what you get out of it. The nice thing is that it is close to home.

Since then I have been resting quite a bit. My knee is still a little sore from time to time. Now on to the Houston marathon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NYC Marathon

It has been a while, so I hope I remember everything...

Marathon morning came and I was supposed to be at the bus to shuttle you to the start line at 5am, so I set the alarm for 3:30 so I could get up, wake up and head to the subway to Bryant Park. Well I set the alarm for 3:30am, but the clock was 12 hrs off. So at 5pm, it was set to 5am. Luckily I woke up at 4am and saw the clock. I rushed to get ready and headed out the door. I got to Bryant Park and just followed the crowds to the never ending line of buses. I got right on and off we went. The next 4 hours were really long. My wave didn't start until 10:20 so I tried to sleep, but it was too cold. I just surfed the internet on my blackberry for the most part, ate a little and drank a little.

Pretty soon it was 9:30. I waited in line for the restroom one more time, dropped my bag off and headed to the start corral. It was amazing the amount of people crammed in there. I am glad I'm not claustrophobic.

I'm in the corral on the left side.

You could hear in the distance the announcer starting the race and we finally started walking towards the start line. New York, New York was playing and we were really doing this.

The first mile was on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. It seemed like it would never end. It did have a great view of Manhattan, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I wish I had a better camera to take pictures, but I did take this with my phone.

I looked at my Garmin and saw I was running about 8:30 miles. It was a little faster that I planned, but my heart rate was down and I felt good so I stuck with it. At mile 2 we started seeing the crowds forming now that we were near the first neighborhoods. I was at mile 3 before I knew it in just under 28 minutes. Not too bad. I made it to the 10k point (6.1miles) in 55 minutes. Actually a bit faster pace on miles 3-6. The next few miles were a bunch of the same. Tons and tons of people cheering you on and the never ending mass of runners. I even caught a couple vikings at mile 8.

About mile 12 and we are all still a huge pack in a Jewish part of town.

At 1:55:50 into the race I was halfway done. It was at this point where I started to think that I had a shot of finishing in under 4 hours, something I was hoping to do at the Tulsa Marathon a couple weeks later. I was going to try and save my legs for that, but feeling this good I couldn't.

Mile 13, feeling good.

I got on the phone and called Kim around here to let everyone know where I was. They were waiting at mile 15 for me. Unfortunately, I missed them there. As soon as I passed that point, we were under the Queensboro Bridge and I didn't have cell service. As soon as I made it into Manhattan, I called them to let them know I made it past them. They then hustled on over to mile 24-25 to see me there.

Mile 16is, from the Queens Bridge

As soon as you get in the city, you start seeing people again as you take a left curve off the bridge. You keep curving around and all of a sudden you are on First Ave. To me it was like a wall of sound. People 5-6 deep on both sides of the road. It was amazing running up this 6 lane street with all the people cheering.

It seemed like we were going up a hill forever and I started feeling the miles. Someone was holding out bananas so I grabbed one. The last thing I felt like doing was eating, but I stuffed it down. I knew I needed the real food. I started feeling better almost at once. That random person helped me keep going.

Right before mile 20 I started feeling tired again when another spectator was holding out orange slices. Those were the 2 best quarters of an orange I ever had. I think the sugar hit me all at once. I looked down at my watch and I was still running about 9 min miles. At this point all I had to do was hold on.

Just before mile 20, we head into the Bronx

I was still feeling OK, but I just wanted to make the turns and head back into Manhattan and get to Central Park. Mile 21 came and I was on my way.

Mile 22 came and we were in Harlem. That was quite an amazing part of the city. People playing drums on the sidewalk, gospel choirs singing from the steps of their churches, and kids running up and down with the runners. It seemed like that lifted people spirits a little.

At mile 23 we finally got into the park and the first of the hills. Stupid, stupid hills. The last thing you want to do 23 miles into a race is run hills, but here they were. The crowds once again helped as they got louder and louder as you entered the park.

At miles 24 I saw my mom and Kim on the side lines and gave them a quick thumbs up. I was so close to my 4 hour time I didn't have time to spare going over there so I was gone too fast. I think mom got a good picture of me running though.

Then one of the best signs ever.

One more mile...

People started falling apart here. Lots of people walking, trying to stretch and just trying to make it through. I tried not looking at them though, I wanted to finish running.

We turned a corner and I thought we were on the home stretch.

But we weren't. This mile was extra long I think. Finally the 1/2 mile to go sign. Almost done. Then the mile 26 sign.

I was just barely hanging on. I was trying to run as fast as I could but felt like I was standing still. Then a slight turn to the left and we saw it, the finish line.

I made my way around the last of the straggling people and crossed the finishline with my hands in the air.

I looked at my watch and I did it. I finished the 2008 NYC Marathon in a new personal best time of 3hrs, 58mins, 22secs.

They handed me my medal and foil blanket and we were ushered down a long corral to food and our bags that we dropped off at the start.

I finally made it out of the chute and found the family. I tried to clean up a little, changed socks, put on some warm clothes, took a few pictures and we headed back to the hotel. Everything happened in a blur that day. At first it seemed like it would never start, then it was over.

We went out that night to Hard Rock Cafe and I had a celebratory beer and hamburger. All in all, it was great race I would recommend everyone try.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New York, Day 5

Well, day 5 came way too soon. Our vacation was almost over and it seemed like we didn't get much of anything done in the city. One of the things I absolutely wanted to see was Yankee Stadium before they tore it down to move to the new one next door. I'm not a Yankees fan by any means, but it is one of those places that any baseball fan should go.

Unfortunately we got there just as the tour was leaving and the next one didn't start for 2 hours, so we didn't get to go inside. It was still pretty neat to just be there and see it next to the updated model just across the parking lot.

After walking around, taking pictures it was time to head back to Manhattan.

Next up we went to Central Park to see what we could see. It is amazing how big the area is. We walked around for a while (mainly looking for a Gyro stand) but will have to go back to see the rest. One of Kim's favorite parts were the horse drawn carriages. As we made our way across we saw a really pretty pond, right there in the middle of the biggest city in America.

We finally found a gyro stand and ate lunch under the Columbus Statue with quite a few other people. Pretty nice to eat outside and the food was great. We started making our way back to the Subway to go back to the hotel and found the ice skating rink. Maybe next year we can go. I don't think my legs would have been up to it this year. We had to get back to the hotel in order to get changed for our night out on Broadway. Kim and I had dinner with her mom, aunt and uncle at a place called Patsy's. Frank Sinatra made this restaurant famous and it really was great food and company.

Kim's aunt and uncle were going to another show, so Kim and I along with her mom made our way to the Gershwin Theater to see Wicked. Kim and I had seen it before in OKC but it was cool to see it again in NYC.

Before we knew it, it was over and we had to head home. This sign was too true.

It seemed like a really busy day of running all over NYC and everything was going by so fast. It was hard to believe we only had about half a day left.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New York, Day 4

I am skipping over day 3 right now, but will come back and do a race report.

On Monday I actually felt pretty good after the marathon. It was a little hard to go up and down stairs, but other than that no real issues. Kim, mom and I headed into the city to meet Kims mom at the Empire State building where we were going to take a little tour and take in the view from the 86th floor. But first we stopped at the "Marathon Monday" store to pick up finishers gear and souvenirs. I made out pretty well with a couple shirts and a new track jacket.

We were really lucky and all met up right when the tower was opening so we didn't have to wait in line at all.

The views from up there are amazing. You can see the whole city and the taxis look like ants.

After the Empire State Building, we all got on a tour bus to take a tour of the city. It was nice because we could get off at any stop, look around, and then get on another bus and keep going. A lot easier to see the city like this than doing all the walking (especially after running a marathon).

We went through all the little neighborhoods, saw hundreds of Starbucks. We got off at the City Hall stop. Here is Kim in City Hall Park. Pretty cool area. I couldn't believe how many parks the city had.

Next, we walked over towards Ground Zero of 9/11. It is crazy the amount of open space there where 2 huge towers once were. Very somber there. But it is being built up again.

After walking by that, we headed to Battery Park. I was starving so I got a pretzel. Tasted great. From here we saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

We didn't take a tour this time because the lines were so long, but that will give us an excuse to go back. We hopped back on the bus at Wall Street.

The next stop was Chinatown.

If we go back, this will be once place we skip. It was interesting to say the least. It just seemed so dirty there. Lots of smokers, fish for sale, dirty sidewalks...Just not real nice. But we made our way through and finally got into Little Italy. It was amazing the change from one street to the next. All of a sudden the smell of garlic was in the air. Our main purpose here was to go to Lombardi's Pizza, the oldest pizza joint in America. There were 4 or us so naturally we decided to get a small "White" pizza (different kinds of cheese, no sauce) and a large prosciutto. All in all, 14 big slices of pizza. Of course I made a pig of myself and polished off about 7 of them. It was so good and I couldn't let them go to waste. We were walking a lot, so I didn't feel too bad about it ;). Mom had to catch a subway back to the hotel so she could get to the airport so we parted ways. it was nice to have her wile we did though.

Now, Kim, her mom and I headed back over to the bus. We went by all of the "rich" apartments like the Trump tower were a bunch of Yankees live.

We also passed by the UN building. That is another place I would like to tour too. After passing by a bunch of other landmarks, we got back off near Macy's and headed back up towards Rockefeller Plaza. It was election night so it was pretty busy with all of the NBC people out there. I went into the NBC store and got a 30 Rock shirt (one of the best shows on TV).

We walked past another Trump building, the Trump Tower and decided to go inside. It was a really neat building. We went to the second floor and sat down at Starbucks to rest our feet a little.

A cool water wall in Trump Tower

After recovering, we went a little farther north and found FAO Schwartz. Very cool toy store. This is where a famous scene in the movie "Big" was filmed where Tom Hanks played on a big piano.

Lego sculptures and huge toys were everywhere. We were getting hungry, so we headed over to a little place called Serendipity 3 for dinner.

This place is famous for their desserts so Kim and her mom were ready to get to that part. This is their famous Iced Hot Chocolate.

We were pretty worn out from a long day of touring and walking so we headed back to the hotel with a quick stop in Grand Central Station so Kim's mom could see. Once we got back to the hotel, I was out pretty quick but ready for another day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New York, Day 2

The goal on day 2 was to stay off my feet as much as possible to save my legs for the marathon on Sunday. It didn't really work out that well. We left the hotel in the morning and Kim and mom decided to go shopping at Macys and one of the hundreds of H&Ms in NYC. I went my separate way and went more North up to Niketown.

I took the subway up and then walked around for a while before I finally found it. There was a street fair going on that I looked around at and smelled all the food being cooked. If it had been closer to lunch time, I am sure I would have pigged out.

Once I found Niketown, I saw that it was quite amazing. All the stores in New York seem to be huge and this was no exception. It was 5 stories of Nike with each floor having a theme/category. I browsed through all of the running gear, jackets shoes, and just about everything that Nike had to offer. I was able to restrain myself and not buy anything, but it certainly was neat to see. On my way back to the subway, I had a great hotdog from a vendor. Greatness...

Next I hopped on the subway and headed towards a place called Paragon sports. That is a huge sports shop that has pretty much anything you could want/need for any sport. I also had a couple game cards that you take there to see if you win anything, but I didn't. I wish I had my dad's luck. I was able to find some socks that I was looking for (2XU compression socks) that help your legs fight fatigue. I can't say enough about how great these were. As soon as I put them on, my feet and calves felt better.

After that, I hopped on another shuttle that was headed to the race expo. I went back to look at the gear again and try to pick up a couple posters and a Pint Glass. I wasn't able to find the glass, but I did get to meet Olympic marathoner Brian Sell, which was pretty cool. I also picked up another poster that I am going to get framed to commemorate this race. After wandering around for a while, I got on yet another shuttle bus and headed back to where the women were shopping. We met up, I had a couple slices of pizza while they had some hot dogs and they went back at it in Macys. I went to the Starbucks in there to get off my feet and just watched the people milling around. Not too long after that, we headed on back to the hotel to grab some dinner.

The restaurant looked Italian from the outside, but it turns out it was Romanian. Mom and I had chicken parmesan with spaghetti and Kim had cheese tortellini. So much for going native Romanian, but it was really good. Back a couple more blocks to the hotel and I got everything situated so I wouldn't have to think much when I woke up at 4am to get to the race.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New York, Day 1

Finally getting around to doing a blog about the NYC trip from last weekend. Kim and I woke up real early (like 3:30 am) in order to get to the airport for our 6am flight. It was easy to get up since we knew we were going to someplace fun instead of work. No issues at all on the flights and we got to NYC at about 1:15. As soon as we got our first bag off the baggage claim, mom showed up. We got our other bag and headed out to the hotel in Queens. The area was a strange mix of people from all over the world. You could hear people speaking Chinese, Spanish and various others from Europe. Pretty cool. The hotel/room was nice, nothing fancy but got the job done and was nice and clean.

Right after we checked in we headed out to the city for some lunch, packet pick up and sightseeing. We had lunch at a little deli, not too bad and lots of people watching (nothing too special). Then we headed out to the expo.

I got my packet, looked at all the goodies in side and started to look at all the booths and shop. I wanted to buy a lot of stuff, but decided it was going to be a long trip and ended up with just one shirt.

Next we headed back to Manhattan. We went by the NYC Library and took pictures by the famous Lions.

There were also some pretty cool street dancers that had a pretty good crowd.

Next up was Times Square. It was Halloween night, so we knew there would be some interesting people out and we weren't disappointed.

Here is a Teletubbie playing Rock Band as an example.

A group of bikers were out riding (known as Critical Mass) to raise bike awareness and they were all dressed up.

We headed over to a little pizza joint and had some great pizza. The New Yorkers know how to make a good pie. I think the highlight for the ladies was the dessert, a canoili of some sort with strawberries and cinnamon.

We were all pretty tired at this point, so we headed back to the Grand Central to get the subway back to the hotel.

Lots of people dressed up at this point, a favorite of ours was a group of guys dressed up as skunks. We got back to the hotel, planned out the next day and slept great (well I did anyway).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NYC Marathon

My bib number is 33370 if you want to track my progress. There should be a link on on race day. I am scheduled to start at 10AM in the "Green" corral so hopefully I'll be done by a little after 2. Just in time to get cleaned up and have a tasty beer.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall Classic Du

Last weekend I did my last duathlon of the season, the Fall Classic that is put on by my Tri Club. The race is a short fast course consisting of a 2 mile run, 14 mile bike and then another 2 mile run.

I got to Lake Overholser early to help set up and hand out packets. There were a lot of new people out there so I had to answer a lot of questions, which was fun. It was VERY windy and everyone was concerned about that. Last year a lady was blown off her bike and broke her pelvis. Pretty crazy. About 30 minutes before the race I started getting ready checking everything one last time. This was my 3rd year doing this race. In 2006 I did it in 1:34:54, last year I did it in 1:34:57, so pretty close.

A couple minutes before the start we all made our way up to the line. We took off at the shot gun start and I was in the front quarter of the pack. Since this is a pretty short race every one was really pushing it. I made it to the turn around I was feeling really good so I kept pushing. I entered into the bike area at 13:54, a little under 7 min/mile. I was out on the bike course in under 30 seconds (fast for me) and started hammering on the bike.

I passed my share of people but got passed by a few too. The first part of the ride was really nice, slight downhill and the wind at our back. We made the first turn and got sideswiped by the wind. Not too long after that it was straight into the 25mph wind and everyone was crawling. It was just a matter of keep spinning and get through this part. Finally made it to the bike turn around and had the wind at my back again. Flying along again until the wind in the home stretch. Ended up finish the 14 mile bike in 43:45. Transition was 18 seconds since I just had to take my helmet off.

The second run was just go as hard as you can and hang on. I started out and felt like I was so slow, but I was running 8min/mi pace. Finally got my legs back and pushed a little more. The final turn came and I was able to keep in front of a guy I heard sneaking up. I did the 2 miles this time in 15:10 for a finishing time of 1:13:33.

I was 30th out of 127 and 4th in my age group. Less than 2 minutes kept me from placing. So close. The good thing was now my wife says I need some race wheels to go a little faster on the bike. Who am I to complain? I think I know what I am going to ask for for Christmas.

Next up is the NYC Marathon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Travel Time

I spent this week traveling in Atlanta for work. It is amazing how much meetings can wear you out. Just something about sitting around talking all day. I would rather be at my desk banging out work on my keyboard. It was nice to see some friends again and hang out. It makes up for all the other stuff.

I was still able to get my runs in so I am still on schedule for the marathons. I can't believe we will be in New York in just a couple weeks. Tuesday I did 4 miles, Wednesday I got in 7 and Friday 10. I did find a cool greenway with a sidewalk through the woods. I think I am going to take my head lamp next week when I go back so I can see a little better. I got freaked out by a couple fawns running out in front of me. This weekend I have my last duathlon of the season so I get to break out the bike one more time to race. Then back to Atlanta for another few days. Fun stuff.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Race For the Cure

This weekend I ran in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5k. This was my first 5k run since July 4th, so I really wasn't sure how fast I could go. I have been focusing on distance not speed. Kim was doing the 1 mile walk with a couple of her friends. We got there about 15 minutes before the race started since the street we were on was closed and we had to walk a ways. There were a LOT more people than I thought would be there. I heard there were over 15,000 people out doing the walk and run. I made my way up to the very front of the huge pack so I wouldn't have to dodge people the whole way.

The gun went off and we all took off in what felt like a sprint. Probably because we were. My heart rate about a mile in was 190 beats per minute. My max is about 208, so I was redlining it and stayed right there the whole time. I just tried to keep going and only thought about how I was a quarter done, half done, etc and just ignore the pain. We turned the last corner and saw the finish line and I was at about 21 minutes. I started into my last sprint kick and crossed the line in 21:54, a new record for me by about 30 seconds. I felt like I was going to throw up, but it was the good feeling. I got some water and met up with Kims friends and headed back home to relax and watch some football.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This weekend I volunteered at the Redman Ironman here in Oklahoma City. There were two races this weekend, the half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) and the full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).

I was out on the bike course making sure people that weren't in the race didn't try and get onto the course and directing a little traffic. I was absolutely amazed at all of the people out there for this race. There were over 800 entries from what I heard and about a third of them were for the full distance. People in all shapes and sizes were out there racing from 4 hours for the half to over 17 hours for the full. It really inspired me, so I have decided to make the plunge to become an Ironman next September. After my Tulsa marathon in the middle of November, I am hitting the pool to get a good base. Real training will start in late January. Next year will have a few longer triathlons to ramp me up. I am planning on doing a sprint(short) and Olympic (a little longer) one weekend in late May. Then I am thinking about doing the Buffalo Springs Half in Lubbock at the end of June. I am a little nervous, but excited to take the plunge.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

MS150 Day 2

Day 2

The night was kind of rough sleeping on a basketball court floor and Ike passing through brought lots of wind, rain and thunder. I woke up in the morning tired and sore from sleeping on the ground. I'm not as young as I once was ;)

Breakfast was pancakes and sausage from a husband and wife team that had obviously been doing this a while. They were throwing us the pancakes. Pretty fun to watch some people try and catch them on the plate. A few were lost to the floor.

The ride on day 2 started at 7:30 again and I was in the lead group. We all took turns up on the front and we were really moving. I was able to keep up with them for ~25 miles until myself and another ride had to drop off. We ended up riding pretty much the rest of the ride together until we were seperated at traffic lights. We stopped at a rest stop at mile 30 and that was it. We took turns drafting off of each other and we finally hit the promised tail wind. Ike was north of us at this point so we had the winds really coming at our backs as we headed south. All of that tail wind fun ended as we had to make a couple turns and head back north for the last 5. I was on my own at this point so it was really just a matter of keep pedaling (I had the "Just keep swimming" stuff in my head from Finding Nemo).

I finally came up on the hospital where we started from and rolled across the finish line. Total ride was 63.5 miles in 3:43:18. Only burned 3,165 calories that day. I was in just before noon so I was right in line for a hotdog, hamburger, chips, cookie and the much anticipated post race beer. Everything tasted great. The Red Bull people showed up so I grabbed a couple of those and headed on back home.

I slept like a rock until I had to get up to go to Atlanta this week, but I am almost back at 100% now. All in all, great ride and great people and I will be back again next year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

MS 150 report - part 1

This weekend I participated in the Oklahoma MS150 bike ride in Tulsa. I drove up to Tulsa Friday night and stayed at my brother in laws place. It was really nice because he was about 2 miles from the start line. I actually was able to sleep really well so I woke up just fine on Saturday morning.

I got the the start around 6:30. Put my bike together, dropped my bag off and made all the last minute preparations that you have to do at any event. I met up with a bunch of people from my company and we took a picture together at the start line. The weather was OK at the start. About 70 degrees and cloudy, perfect for riding. We took off right at 7:30. I started near the front since you never know how skilled the riders are going to be and you don't want to start a ride in a crash.

The first few miles were just a huge group as people started finding their pace. At 5 miles in I was by myself for a little while. That didn't last long as I was swallowed up by a group of about 15 riders. This was OK with me since the more riders you are with you can go faster with less effort due to the reduced drag. We came up on a wooden bridge a few miles later that we had to get off our bikes and walk across. Apparently a few people had already fallen pretty hard on it since it was a little wet. We stayed as a group until a rest stop at mile 35. I got some more Gatorade and a few snacks and headed on out again. At mile 25 or so, the rain started. Not real bad at first but it steadily got harder. I had a rain vest with me and put it on for a little protection. I got with another group for a while until the hills started and we separated.

There were quite a few "good" steep and long hills that really pushed you. One of the worst was dubbed "Pirate Hill" around mile 58. We came around the corner and all of a sudden you were on a steep incline with no warning. I heard that quite a few ended up getting off and walking it. I was tempted but no one else around me was so pride got me up. Right at the top there was another rest stop with a Pirate theme, hence Pirate Hill.

After a rest of about 5 minutes I set out on my own. There were a couple fun descents where I got up over 35MPH, but that was short lived since you have to climb another hill. There were a few dogs that liked chasing bikes, but a stern "Go Home!" usually did the trick. The rain finally started letting up about mile 63.

Here you can see what we just came through.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. I was by myself at this point and just riding. I got to the finish line after riding 75.5 miles in 4:23:46.

My GPS said I burned 3,900 calories. Not too shabby. I think the distance was a little short since I forgot to start my GPS right away after the rest stops.

All of our bikes were filthy. The rain plus gravel roads and dirt did a number on us.

These socks were white...

After getting in to the rest area I grabbed some food, few drinks (no beer though...) and watched college football the rest of the day. Dinner was some really good BBQ (brisket and smoked bologna), french fries, cookies and cake.