Dare Mighty Things

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt

Monday, August 31, 2009


I suck as a blogger. As the days turn to weeks and my blog drops to the bottom of other peoples blog lists I somehow become less and less motivated to post. My silence is as much a function of my lack racing as it is my lack of things to say. Since the 24HOGG I've taken a week of recovery, determined my racing schedule for the rest of the year, and began purposeful training for the 12 hour adventure race and Reach The Beach Relay coming up in back to back weeks. Just a few days ago teammate Steve Sprague sent me a link to a mountain race up at Sunday River, the MNT EPIC, coming up on the 11th of October. I was sort of looking for a end of the season challenge and it sounds like the 12 miler at the MNT EPIC may be just the thing. I also had a chance to meet a new teammate, Ryan Welts of Milford, NH this past weekend. Ryan contacted me interested in learning more about who we are and what we do. Austin and I met him for a run at Mt. Blue Job this weekend and he seems like a really nice guy and super competitive endurance athlete. He'll make an excellent addition to the team. I'll leave you with this...since hearing and seeing this video a little while back I can't get it out of my head. If you're wondering what I'm listening to on my iPod before a race, this is it. Play it loud.

Monday, August 10, 2009

24 Hours of Great Glen

WARNING: Extremely long blog entry. I have broken my own cardinal rule for blogging...no longer than a screen view. Because of this I'll give those with short attention spans (like mine) the spoiler...acidotic RACING "B" won the acidotic vs. acidotic race and Ted Hall was the '09 King of the Glen. It's a great story if you've got the time.

Gorham, NEW HAMPSHIRE--The 24 Hours of Great Glen is fast becoming one of my...okay, it is my favorite event of the year (with the upcoming Reach The Beach Relay a close second). The 2009 version was by far the most fun and competitive race I've ever been involved with at "The Glen". The reason for the great time and great racing was due entirely to the crowd we brought to the base of Mt. Washington...Ted Hall, Austin Stonebraker, Steve Wolfe, Steve Sprague, Nick Pennell, my brother Jay, and my son Brayden. When it became possible to field two teams of 4 the task was to put together two evenly matched groups to at least make the racing interesting from an acidotic vs. acidotic standpoint. Historically the sport division at the 24HOGG is very competitive with the Top 10 teams doing at least 26 laps. In addition, we also include a race within a race with the crowning of the King of the Glen award for the most outstanding acidotic RACING teammate at the event. As it would turn out, the racing for both the acidotic vs. acidotic and King of the Glen would come down to the last lap.

acidotic RACING vs. acidotic RACING-B
It's not easy trying to come up with names for more than one acidotic RACING entry at an event and it often happens at the adventure & mountain bike races we do. Without any disrespect I registered the two teams as acidotic RACING and acidotic RACING-B. I may have been trying to get in the heads of our "B" squad (can you guess which 'team' I raced on?) but that thought only dawned on me after someone mentioned that "B" sometimes stands for "beaters". That euphemism was commonly used in high school to describe our JV squad. Either way I think a couple of the "B" teamers may have been a little bent, perhaps silently. That slow burn may have lit a fire under them because the racing between the two teams was incredible. For the record, acidotic RACING included Ted, Jay, Brayden, and myself while acidotic RACING-B consisted of Steve S., Steve W., Nick, and Austin. Right out of the gate, Ted our first rider, set the tone with a blistering 48:25 which would turn out to be the fastest acidotic RACING lap of the event. The 8 minute lead he built on that initial lap would grow to over 20 minutes by the time our fourth rider, Brayden took his turn. Mechanicals, or bike breakdowns, are part of any mountain bike race but they are much more common at the 24HOGG because of the number of miles ridden and the condition of the course...super muddy. Brayden, and acidotic RACING, experienced his/our first mechanical of the race with a busted chain on his first lap. Steve W. took advantage and not only made up the gap between the two teams, his put acidotic RACING-B ahead by 3 minutes. The "B" team's lead would be short lived however as Ted regained our advantage and again placed us almost 9 minutes ahead. We would maintain that lead though the rest of the afternoon as both teams turned in strong and consistent laps. By the time our first "night" doubles came up (we traditionally ride two laps back-to-back at night to give everyone a longer break) we had built the difference back to 16 minutes. Then it happened, our 2nd mechanical of the race. Ted flatted on the 1st of his two night laps and after struggling with an incompatible pump he finally received aid from a fellow rider and turned in a slow lap for him at 1:17:18. That bike failure reduced our lead to just under 2 minutes. Within moments of Ted taking out on his 2nd lap, Austin began his 1st night double. Obviously fresher, Austin clocked the fastest acidotic RACING night lap of the race with a 59:33 and put acidotic RACING-B back on top by 5 minutes. For the next two laps (#11 & #12) "B" built on their margin increasing the lead to 8 minutes by the time I rode my first night lap at just past midnight. When "B" decided to hold off on riding their night doubles until 9:00 pm (we started at 7:30 pm) it put our two teams out of sequence. My first night lap was Nick's second and with his sketchy health going into the event I was able to make up their lead and then some despite losing my lighting system with 3 miles to go in my 2nd night lap. Finishing with just a headlamp I clocked my slowest turn of the event with a 1:06:57. Despite the lighting issue, we had once again gone ahead but this time by over 22 minutes. But, like any great heavyweight tilt, the match was far from over. On Brayden's 2nd lap his lighting system also croaked and he made it out of the woods with barely more than a flashlight. That misfortune was quickly capitalized on by Steve S., also riding lap #16, putting "B" back on top by 12 minutes. They would maintain the lead until lap #19, when I was able to overcome the 1 minute advantage Steve W. had on me at the start. When the lap was finished we were back on top but by less than 5 minutes. With Sunday morning in full swing the racing action began to heat up as quickly as the day with no less than 3 lead changes in the final 4 laps. Lap #20 was a battle between Steve S. and Brayden. The hotshot teen rookie had a 4 minute lead on the 24HOGG veteran but finished a minute behind him. On Lap #21, with that minute gap to make up, Ted took on "B"'s top gun Austin. The two traded blows the entire lap with the racing almost literally wheel to wheel. When it was finished Ted had helped us regain the lead by nearly two minutes. Now with 2 laps likely left in the event before the cannon fired at noon everything seemed in place for a pair of acidotic RACING "victory laps". Nick had pulled out of the event after his 4th lap due to health issues leaving "B" down to three riders. acidotic RACING "B" had decided (or more likely Steve W. had decided) that the only self-proclaimed 'non-mountain biker' would ride the final two laps of the event in the most hellish set of doubles imaginable in the 24HOGG! When lap #22 began, Jay had a minute lead on the Wolfeman. When lap #22 ended Steve had put "B" back on top...by 16 minutes!? The irony is that Jay is one of the most accomplished mountain bikers I've ever seen and Wolfey is, well, he's not. Our 4th mechanical of the day would turn out to spell defeat for us and sweet victory for team "B". Jay's chain broke 4 times during his final lap. Steve W., "riding scared", passed him and never looked back. By the time Jay handed me the baton for the final lap of the event (#23 if you're playing at home) Steve was long past blueberry hill and on his way through the meadow. I managed to make up some of the gap, but alas not all of it. I rode a 57:24 and he pulled a 1:04:59 which was an incredible time for him considering it was his 2nd in a row! Team "B" took home the acidotic RACING title and the two plus cases of Redhook. Theirs was a victory well earned.
King of the Glen

1. Ted (9 pts) *2009 King of the Glen*
2. Austin (11 pts)
3. Chris (12 pts)
4. Steve W. (20 pts)
5. Jay (21 pts)
6. Steve S. (23 pts)
7t. Nick (37 pts)
7t. Brayden (37 pts)

Fastest Lap
1. Ted (48:15)
2. Chris (49:18)
3. Jay (50:00)
4. Austin (51:17)
5. Steve S. (56:00)
6. Steve W. (57:21)
7. Nick (1:02:42)
8. Brayden (1:06:59)
Cumulative Time (Fastest 4 Laps)
1. Ted (3:26)
2. Austin (3:32)
3. Chris (3:34)
4. Jay (3:47)
5. Steve W. (3:59)
6. Steve S. (4:02)
7. Nick (4:49)
8. Brayden (4:56)
Fastest Night Lap
1. Austin (59:33)
2. Chris (1:00:01)
3. Steve W. (1:05:36)
4. Ted (1:05:54)
5. Jay (1:07:21)
6. Steve S. (1:12:43)
7. Nick (1:12:59)
8. Brayden (1:19:19)
Fastest Last Lap
1. Ted (53:01)
2. Austin (55:31)
3. Chris (57:24)
4. Steve S. (1:01:37)
5. Steve W. (1:04:59)
6. Brayden (1:06:59)
7. Jay (1:20:40)
8. Nick (1:30:10)
Total Laps
1. Steve W. (7)
2t. Chris (6)
2t. Austin (6)
2t. Jay (6)
2t. Steve S. (6)
2t. Ted (6)
7. Brayden (5)
8. Nick (4)
Much like the team title, the KOG was settled with the final laps. Ted and Austin were clearly the class of the acidotic RACING set of entry's and the two giants hammered it out the entire race. Ted Hall in the end was able to edge out his rival with a blistering sub 54 minute last lap.
Next Up: 12 Hour Adventure Race USARA Qualifier, Pawtuckaway State Park, NH
[Photo creds: Team acidotic RACING (Chris, Brayden, Jay, Ted-KOG), Jay in pink robe, Ted-KOG on Blueberry Hill at start, bikes in waiting, "fixing" Austin's big ring, Redhook is always with us]

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A walk in the woods

Mt. Hancock, NEW HAMPSHIRE--Karen, Madison, Jim, Ken, and I took advantage of the beautiful weather (and my vacation) to tag South & Mt. Hancock this morning. Two interesting milestones were reached as Madison climbed her first 4k in the Whites and I climbed my 24th, marking the 1/2 way point. After breakfast at the Tilt'n Diner we picked Ken up in Lincoln outside his timeshare where he's spent the week with his wife on a vacation of their own. We pushed off the Kanc trailhead by 08:30 and lazily made our way up the trail stopping often for pictures and taking our time with the numerous water crossings. Both Jim and Ken noted how unusual it was for the stream levels to be this high at this time of the year. Just another reflection of how wet this summer has been. When we finally got to the Hancock Loop Trail we approached South Hancock first. The climb was pretty steep and I stayed directly on Ken's heels letting him do most of the work. We reached the summit of South Hancock shortly before 11:00. My first time there I took in the scenic outlook and snapped a couple of pictures while we waited for the rest of the crew. After everyone else had arrived and we had grabbed a sip and a snack we headed across the ridge to Mt. Hancock. With nearly all of the elevation out of the way the walk over was easy and the footing very good. We reached the summit around noon and took advantage of the sun and the views to eat lunch. Ken and Jim entertained us the entire time with their back and forth "arguing" over the names of the peaks visible from the summit. It would take the map back at the trailhead to confirm what neither of them had identified (convincingly)...they were the Oceola's. The descent down from Mt. Hancock was steep and had it's fair share of scree to negotiate. We ran across quite a few folks climbing up the opposite way. We arrived back at the cars around 2:30. Pretty easy day as 9.something mile hikes in the Whites go. It was great to spend it with family (Ken is like family) and be there to see my oldest daughter bag her first 4k.

Next Up: 24 Hours of Great Glen, Gorham, NEW HAMPSHIRE

[Photo cred: Madison, Chris, & Karen on Mt. Hancock, scenic lookout from South Hancock, Madison & Pop descending from Mt. Hancock]

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Snowshoeing in August

Yeah, I realize it's August 2nd but it's never too early to begin planning a snowshoe racing series. In 2009 the Granite State Snowshoe Series (GSSS) was born as the collection of existing NH-based snowshoe races were organized together to further promote snowshoe racing in the region. Whether causal or coincidental, all six races in the series saw record numbers of participants. The series also developed a strong team aspect to this individual sport as a number of groups raced under united team colors including Dungeon Rock Racing, Rochester Runners, CMS, Team TNT, and of course the series champions...acidotic RACING. In addition to team excellence, the series witnessed the rise of two stars in the sport, Jim Johnson (CMS) and Liz Hall (acidotic RACING). These two athletes captured the men's and women's series titles. They were not, however, the only top athletes to compete in the series. Both categories saw fierce battles for podium positions with the Top 3 overall spots determined on the last racing weekend of the series. Laurel Valley, Leslie Dillon, Diane Levesque, Ri Fahnestock, Scott Graham, Jay Myers, and Steve Wolfe all either finished on the series podium or were within points of doing so.

Looking forward to the winter of 2010, the northeast will be the epicenter of snowshoe racing in the United States as the US Championships will be held in Syracuse, NY on March 5-7th. Not to be outdone, the GSSS will add a Granite State Snowshoe Championship event on March 13th (tentative) at a location to be determined. The original six series races will return with the possibility of an additional one or two races added before this fall. The 2010 GSSS schedule is set to be released very soon on the GSSS website. Check it frequently in the next few weeks. Snowshoe racing is argueably the fastest growing winter sport in the northeast and the success of our series is a testament to that fact.

[Photo cred: acidotic RACING's Jay Myers at the Pooh Hill Snowshoe Scramble, Madison, NH]