Robert’s Winter Rides in Metro Detroit

Robert Herriman has posted the winter ride series for 2010/2011. Those events are now displayed on in the left sidebar.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Robert takes attendance and awards points to each rider. The colder it is, the more points you get for that ride. Night rides get bonus points. You also get extra points if you’re on a singlespeed bicycle.

This points competition is a clever means to motivate cyclists to ride, especially in the worst of conditions (more points!).

All are welcomed, but be forewarned that the pace is generally brisk.

Leadville Trail 100 run: #5

Photo by Dave Finamore

Yeah, it’s old news. I ran the Leadville Trail 100 in August and finished. I’m now halfway to my goal of 10 finishes and a super grande Leadville belt buckle.

So what happened during the race? The conditions were perfect. Everything seemed to be going great until about mile 25. My stomach digestion was starting to slow.

My stomach got worse as the race progressed. My belly was full of toxic brew of Gu and Endurolytes (a brand of salt tablets.)

I had a decent but uninspired 3000′ climb up Mt. Hope Pass. My new Montrail Rockridges worked great on the descent. They hooked up and protected my feet from the rocky trail surface.

But my stomach just got worse. My weight at the halfway mark was the same as the day before, but I felt bloated.

My return climb up Mt. Hope was painful, but that’s par for the course. There’s a lot of human carnage on this climb and I wasn’t the worst.

On the flip side, I had my best descent ever coming down off the mountain. For the first time, I wasn’t passed — not bad for a flatlander.

At the 60-mile aid station I saw Kevin and a very pregnant Shelby Bauman. They cheered me on and more.

I continued to run into the dusk. If it weren’t for my stomach, I would have felt pretty darn good. All those extra training miles were paying off.

At the mile 75 aid station a runner named Dave was asking runners if they needed a pacer. I asked him what his expectations were. If he wanted someone who was on top of their game, I wasn’t the one to pace. Dave said my pace would be fine. He carried my pack and helped carry on a discussion which made the trail go by faster.

He was available for pacing because his runner had dropped out. She’d suffered severe hip pain on top of Mt. Hope Pass and couldn’t even step. Her Mt. Hope pacer literally carried her down off the mountain — an unbelievable feat!

My stomach just got worse. And midway up the Powerline climb I mentioned to Dave that I had thrown up in nearly 28 years. Then I threw up. I immediately felt great and started hiking up the hill, getting all chit-chatty all of a sudden.

I basically didn’t eat for a few hours. Then with just a half marathon to go, I did started nibbling on solids. I was mostly power hiking so the lack of calories wasn’t a big deal.

The sun came up for the second time during the race and I slowly made my way back in to Leadville. On the final stretch, the owner of Lifetime Fitness pulled up next to me in his big black SUV and asked how it felt to finish. It felt good.

Surprisingly enough, I finished with my second fastest time ever: 27 hours and 55 minutes.

Nothing spectacular but it counts.

What I did right

  • The Montrail Rockridge shoes were a great choice. Having zero blisters in 100 mile run is amazing. I only had one minor trip and fall.
  • Wearing compression socks may have helped keep my legs fresher despite the high-dork factor.
  • The replacement water bladder in my Nathan water pack didn’t leak. It’s a very convenient pack for these types of event, especially when running unsupported.
  • I lost weight leading up to the race.
  • Having Dave pace me for the last 25 miles. It’s so much easier to slack when it’s just you. Thank you, Dave!

What I did wrong

Apparently Endurolytes salt tablets are made to complement other electrolyte beverages, but I was taking in water. Endurolytes also are relatively low in sodium and contain a bunch of other stuff. I believe it was that other stuff which accumulated in my stomach. I plan on switching to other salt tablets next time and may even use an energy drink instead of water.

First ever Detroit chicken races!

The first ever chicken races were held in Detroit on Sunday. Seventeen Detroit-based hens competed in the races.

The word  “competed” implies there was actually some racing. The chickens seemed rather indifferent. Now and then a couple birds sprinted, but at the end of the event, none reached the finish line.

Noting the chickens’ disinterest in the foot race, the race promoter wisely changed the rules so that the bird closest to the finish line after 3 minutes was declared the victor.

It was a great time, especially hearing the pre-race scuttlebutt from some of the chicken owners.

“She laid an egg this morning. That’s a great sign.”

“Dude, don’t smoke near my chicken! She’s gotta race.”

Although they didn’t win, Team Cluckstrong was among the more organized teams with T-shirts and Team Cluckstrong arm bands (and leg band for the bird.)

Overall, it was a great time — the silly side of urban ag.

Our Detroit chicken race photo gallery is on-line.

The Detroit News has more coverage of the event.

There’s also a Detroit Chicken Race page on Facebook.

And here’s a short, but interesting video from the Detroit Free Press.

Watch the video on the
Web site

Detroit loses a lot of spunk

It comes as shocking news that one of Detroit’s always-energetic, engaging fitness cheerleader is quiet. Julie Hecker, the leader of the Motor City Rah-Rahs and Punk Fitness died of a massive heart attack on Wednesday.

From the Freep:

Hecker, 44, was a vivacious personality who bridged her own love of dance and exercise with the city’s gritty rock scene. It was an unorthodox combination that often found her with hula hoops and bright sportswear leading crowds of leather-clad rockers through energetic dance routines.

“Anyone who has that energy is like a pied piper,” said Vinnie Dombroski of the bands Sponge and the Orbitsuns. “She had that spark, and people wanted to see what the spark was about. She knitted the whole scene together. That’s why so many people are shocked and just sick over this.”

The Metro Times also has a touching blog entry, Remembering Julie Hecker.

I worked with Julie only briefly while doing sound for the Detroit Derby Girls, where she was a fixture. She really worked the crowd during halftime and introduced a helluva lot of Detroit kids to hullahoops!

She also proudly promoted Detroit music during all of her routines, something I really appreciated.

Instructions on how to contribute to Julie’s funeral

Springtime big ride in Detroit

I took the fixie out last Sunday on a 50-miler around Detroit. There’s so much happening in the city, that my rides are often unplanned connections between events and sites.

The first stop Sunday was at the new Ferndale Bike Shop. Nice shop, good start. Jon Hughes (and family) is no stranger to bike shops. Is this the first bike shop in Ferndale? Is it in recent memory.

Next stop was the soon-to-be-demolished Romney family house in Palmer Woods. What a shame that such a house has fallen in such poor condition. One-time occupant Mitt Romney agrees but says it’s “sadder still to consider what has happened to the city of Detroit, which has been left hollow by fleeing jobs and liberal social policies.” Detroit has been left hollow by families moving to the northern suburbs, something Romney’s family did in 1954.

Once in Midtown, I checked the construction progress on the UCCA’s newest community garden project on John R and their greenway along Kirby.

Since the Tigers were playing, I made a quick pass by the park to get a score update. My normal stopping spot is now occupied with fenced in stadium smokers. Bummer, but at least the Tigers were still ahead.

Heading east, I sneaked through Flower Day at Eastern Market. The place was hopping with people, music, and, of course, flowers.

After a visit to the RiverWalk, Milliken State Park, the Wheelhouse Detroit, and a lap around Belle Isle, I headed home.

A great day. Another great ride.

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