Since I went for pretty much the whole summer without any posting, I felt that I owed it to both my readers to say what I've been up to:
The big news - On July 20, I was laid off. Another casualty of the downturn in the automotive industry. On the bright side, I had a month to spend with Brandy before she went back to work. I've been using the time to get caught up on projects, try to find other employment (jobs in Engineering are hard to come by these days), and of course riding a lot.
Lumberjack 100 came and went: I finished in just over 9 hours, shaving 18 minutes off my time from last year. My placing was 12th in the Singlespeed class. Overall I don't think I ran as solid as a race this year. Some inattention to my electrolytes had me showing some mild cramps about 40 miles in. By eating a couple bananas I was able to knock the cramps back... unfortunately the damage had been done and I was lacking any climbing power for the second half of the race.
PALM followed immediately on the heels of Lumberjack, as in Lumberjack was on June 20, and we started pedaling on PALM on June 21. This led to some logistical "fun" for me. On the 20th, Brandy and her brother Rocky took bikes and gear to the endpoint for PALM, and took the bus over to the start. This was consistant with what we typically do for PALM. I did Lumberjack, and afterwards drove myself and my friend Jon down to the start of PALM. Thankfully PALM started this year in Whitehall, which was just over an hour from Lumberjack. Brandy and I rode our separate bikes for this, as she wanted to prove to herself that she could do the whole week (with not much training I might add). Also, last year we found that on the tandem, we'd quickly pull away from Rocky. PALM also happened to be on the hottest week of the summer, with temperatures in the low-mid 90s.
I haven't been doing much racing this year. My races so far consist of one Lake Orion spring race, the adventure race, Lumberjack, Big M, the race at the Michigan Bike Festival, Pain Haven, and the Ithaca GP of Cyclocross. At Big M, I pretty much came out flat. I think for that race I was not fully hydrated at the start. I decided to race against the expert gearies in my age group, finishing 7th of 9. The good news was that I got faster as the race went on. The race at the Michigan Bike Festival was unique, utilizing the ski trails at Hartwick Pines, singletrack at Hanson Hills, and roughly 9 miles of bike path connecting them. I basically ran out of gas with less than a mile left (next time I need to listen to TMB and eat more than a Clif bar for breakfast). I didn't realize it at the time, but I let the eventual 4th and 5th place guys past me with < 1 mile left, giving me a 6th place finish out of 7.
Overall, the Michigan Bike Festival was a great time. Attendance was on the low side, but I knew a lot of the people there. Hopefully next year, more people from southern Michigan make the trek up to Grayling for this.
Over the past couple months I've been running more than ever before. No real reason why. I've also had a couple big mileage months on the bike.
Not much more to say. Next up is a couple Cyclocross races, followed by Iceman.