birthday challenge
November 6, 2013 posted by

Lessons Learned At 25 Hours of Frog Hollow

Lessons Learned At 25 Hours of Frog Hollow

I knew I might be in trouble when my massage therapist could barely touch my quads two days before the race. Somehow, still, my glass-half-full optimism gave me hope that I could soft peddle for 25 hours of up and down riding over dirt and rocks. Turns out, this time at least, that I was as crazy as everyone thinks I am. While guilty as charged, I still managed to turn things into a positive by learning some lessons about 24 hour racing as well as my own physical limits.

Lesson #1 – Taper before big events

Not tapering = day 33 of challenge. Six days removed from my biggest climbing day in over a decade, eight from doing the first two days of Josh’s brutal challenge, and 10 from a 106,000lb lifting day using only shoulders and chest, and 13 from a hundred mile mtn bike weekend on super technical terrain. This is not ideal prep for anything physical, much less 24 hours of it.

Of course, right? But this is what I signed on for, sort of. I think it would have been okay if I could have planned for it. When the challenge began I was on the wait list. I just got in last week and decided to give it a go anyway.

 Lesson #2 – Use equipment you’re familiar with

While I couldn’t taper I could have, at least, used equipment I knew. Instead I rode the first 50 miles on a bike I’d never ridden to test it. It actually felt good (nice bike) until I got on my other bike, fitted for me, and realized I’d been riding with the saddle too high, which might have been the start of my demise.

I also rode flats for the first 50 miles. I’ve been working on riding in flats lately but, again, when I switched to cleats it was immediately apparent that I’d been wasting a lot of (what turned out to be) precious energy.

 Lesson #3 – Organize your gear ahead of time

I was too busy during the week to organize anything. My friend Josh, fresh off his birthday challenge the weekend prior, and I seemed, by far, to be the least serious people in the solo field. Everyone else had crews and tents and parts and all sorts of things that you might want around if you harbor any ideals about having a good race.

 Lesson #4 – Stop every lap with a plan

24 hours is a long time to race. To do well you don’t need to go that fast. Organizing a stop each laps to fuel, properly cloth yourself, stretch,tune your bike, etc,with hopefully some friends to help you  is the key to having a strong race over the long haul.

I did well with the fuel part at least, because I had a crew for that. My wife kept us well fed and rotated my hydration pack’s water supply. When I cashed it in I wasn’t peeing dark yellow, so hydration was good, and had plenty of energy.

 Lesson #5 – Exceed your limits with caution

Let’s face it; you do events like this in order to push yourself beyond where you’ve been. That is precisely why these things exist. Therefore, saying, “know your limits” would not make any sense because the point is to find out where they are.

However you can, and should, have a plan about exceeding your limits and how far you are willing to go. I had no idea where this would be but I was certain I’d find it somewhere given my physical state.

I’d done 10 laps (and almost 11 if the team chasing us had finished before the cut-off time) a couple of years ago. I figured 15 laps, under normal conditions, would be a respectable goal, with more than that the point I had to start paying close attention to physical issues and how much harm I might be doing to myself.

This race, however, wasn’t normal conditions. By the second lap I could tell I was in trouble. I almost quit after lap four (mile 52). I went out on lap 5 with my normal bike and set-up, thinking if things didn’t improve I might have to call it. They did. So much so I began to wonder if I might finish the entire thing.


Sometime during the night something strange happened. I began having trouble holding my lines. This is odd because I felt, mentally, fine. Wondering if the body was giving out I decided to play it safe and lay down for a bit. When I did everything hurt: legs, hips, back, stomach. I couldn’t sleep.

This was a definitely sign of serious breakdown. Any further racing and I’d be a risk of serious harm, like rhabdomyosis or even just a bad crash. So I played it safe and shut it down, with just over 100 miles done, with a dozen hours left on the clock. The 25 Hours of Frog Hollow became 13, and that’s okay. There are bigger fish to fry before this challenge is over.

pics: this year’s pics aren’t up, so you can’t see my beautiful new bike, but here are a couple during a better effort on this course two years ago, where jeff clapp and i finished 3rd in the duo division.

Opps, forgot the numbers. Here they are…

Steve’ 53rd Birthday Challenge

Join the Challenge and win stuff!

Beachbody Workout of the Day

P90X3 Ab Ripper – Yep, there’s another one. The same, but oh-so-different.

Synopsis –  Still pretty cooked so it was an active recovery/travel/work day.

 Reading & questions answered: /2809 (53/day) –   9 & 97 (346 questions and 1,943 pages), Exercise Physiology, The Charlie Francis Training System, Last Attempt – I have books in different places, cars, etc, and try and read whenever I have a break or down time.

Servings of Shakeology: /53 – 1(36) – w/ water – tried the new vegan chocolate, much improved!
Days of Ultimate Reset: /5.3 0(0)
Days taking supplements: /53 – 1(36)
Days of no alcohol: /53 – 0(32)****
Days of no meat: /53 – 1(36)
Coffee Cycles (more on this later): /5.3 – round 4.
King Pin fritters: /5 0(0)

Beachbody workouts: /53 –1(36)
Push-ups: /5300 – 100(3,120)
Jumping jacks: /5300 – 100(3,100)
Leg lifts: /5300 – 100(2770)
Crunches: /5300 – 100(2890)
Ab Ripper X Moves: /5300 – 100(3150)
Beast back day: /53,000 lbs. 0(54,000) 
Beast chest day: /53,000 lbs. 0(53,000)
Beast shoulder day: /53,000 lbs. 0(53,000)
Beast leg day: /53,000 lbs.
Beast arm day: /53,000 lbs. 0(53,000) 
P90X2 functional warm-up: /53 – 1(34)
Running drills: /53 – 2(33)

Neuro-integrating stretching: /53 – 2(34)
Iron Mind gripper and extensor band reps: /10600 400(6600)
Breath hold sessions: /53 – 2(34)
Stabilizer sessions: /53 – 2(34) 
Internal Organ Training: /53 –  2(35)

5.11 Climbs: /5 0(4) [4]
5.12 Climbs: /3 0(1) [1]
5.11 Boulder transverses: /5 – 0(5)
5.12 Boulder transverses: /3 – 0(2)
Campus board movements: /530 – 00(471)
Climb-specific pull-ups: /530 – 00(275)
Cycling on road bike: /53 miles 30(30) [74]
Cycling on mountain bike: /53 miles 0(38) [205]
Cycling on cyclocross bike: /53 miles 0(46)
Cycling on time trial bike: /53 miles 0(20)
Cycling on fixed gear bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Cycling on single speed bike: /53 miles 0 (51) [30]
Cycling on tandem bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Hiking: /53 miles –4(50) [10]
Running: /53 miles 4(40)
30 minutes of rowing: /5 times 1(4)
30 minutes of elliptical: /5 times 1(3)
30 minutes of swimming: /5 times 0(0)
Hours of travel 3.5 (43.5)

Tasks for his wife: /53 – 1(35)
Chores around the house: /53 – 4(36)
Tasks for his dogs: /53 – dogs are basically sidekicks so this one’s a freebie

Blog posts: /53 – 1 (37)
Team Beachbody Instructional Videos: /5 0(0)
Team Beachbody Video Chat /5 0(5)
Days keeping these stats: /53 – 1(36)

A Few Challenges of Yore

2000 – 40 Days of Hell
2003 – Get Back To Reality
2006 – This is Gonna Hurt
2007 – My Blood Must Be Fully Replaced Each Year
2010 – Birthday Tribute from 67 friends
2012 – Making Lemonade

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *