2011 Applefest Relay and new bike parts

2011 Applefest Relay

Hollis, NH 10/01/2011

Mia and I ran for the 2nd consecutive year the Applefest Half Marathon Relay on Saturday 10/01/2011.  In it’s 29th edition this year, this has got to be one of the most organized races we have run.  I guess after 29 years you have to be doing something right.
There are two options for participants, a full half marathon and a relay option.  For the relay option runner 1 starts at the Hollis-Brookline High School and runs 6.4 miles to hand off to runner 2, who completes the next 6.7 miles to finish back at the school.  The organization for getting runners to leg 2 and then runner 1 back to the start is all accomplished with school buses.  They really have the system down well, and things went off without a hitch.

The biggest difference for 2011 was the weather.  Last year it was already in the mid 80’s by the time the gun went off at 10AM.  This year it was mid 60’s and overcast with the forecast calling for rain.  Both of us had agreed to bail if it was pouring on Saturday morning.  Luckily it was not.  It spit/drizzled a bit before the race started, but no serious precipitation.
I knew I had about an hour for Mia to reach me at the transition area.  My only goal was to stay warm and not get rained on.  I think I accomplished both rather well.  Given that the 2nd one wasn’t really in my control, I just say we lucked out.
Mia came into the transition in about 64 minutes, knocking almost 5 minutes off last year’s time.  I was really happy she showed up when she did.  It started to rain as she came in the last 75 meters.  It really could not have been better timing on her part.  I gave her the gear bag and a quick kiss and I was off.  I remember the first 3 miles of my leg being pretty easy.  No hills or anything to worry about.  I did not keep a count, but I easily passed 50-60 people in the first 3 miles.  I was trying to keep my pace sane too as the climbing begins at about my 3 mile mark.
I honestly don’t know if it was last year’s heat, or perhaps I am in better running shape this year, but I really  never felt bad or even in difficulty during the middle section of my run where we gain the most elevation.  Really the next thing I knew was that we were hitting the 10 mile marker which meant that there was only 5K to go.  Right around 11 miles you hit the next major flat section of the course and I really decided to pick up the pace a bit.  I was still feeling pretty darn good, so at the 12 mile mark I picked it up again and was running around a 7 minute per mile pace.
There  is one more short hill with .7 miles to go, then it is a slight downhill for .4 miles and to the finish.  I came across for my leg at 51:48, knocking 3:00 minutes off my time for last year.  Not too shabby.  I hate to say it too, but I wonder if I could have gone a bit faster?  I’m not saying I would have knocked another 3 minutes off, but perhaps I could have done 10-15 seconds more per mile and killed another 1-1:30…….I guess that will have to be next years goal.

The best part about this race is the apple crisp!  I’ve stated many times before that I love races with a party after.  This one does a stellar job in the food department.  There are so many awesome volunteers and the food is pretty good.  The exception to that is the apple crisp, which is flat out great.  I highly recommend doing the race just to get the apple crisp!
We’ll definitely be back for 2012.

New bike parts…….

So, I sold my hardtail Salsa Moto Rapido.  I think I only rode the thing 5-6 times in 2011.  I definitely used it more in 2010, but then again my Cannondale Rush was out of commission for almost a month last year waiting on a rear shock part.
For 2011, I ditched the rear shock which was still acting up, it was losing about 25lbs of air every ride.  Rhino Bike Works hooked me up in May with a replacement and things have been great on the bike ever since.

BUT….Shimano announced that the XT group would be offering a 2 x 10 version for model year 2012.  I felt that this was definitely the way to go.  My 2006 9 speed XT was still functional, but not as lively as it used to be.  I rationalized the upgrade by deciding to sell the hardtail.  I made enough off the sale of that frame/fork to by all the parts except crankset for the move to 2 x10 on the Cannondale.  I purchased a right hand brake lever, a front and rear derailleur, 10 speed cassette, and shifters and still had $25 left over at the end.  Not enough for a crankset, but that would come.  I figured I could have it by early December, but by then the riding would probably be done for the year……..

I don’t really know why it took me so long to figure this one out, but it came to me early last week…..I have a 2 x10 crankset on the Fargo.  Why not just steal the crank off that bike and put the XT triple on the Fargo and call it good…So last Thursday during a rainy evening, that is exactly what I did.

Triple and 9 speed (before)......
11-36 XT Cassette
Switch out the XT triple
New front and rear XT derailleurs
Sram X7 crank stolen off the Salsa Fargo
XT rear installed
Nice clean look on the bars
XT triple now on the Fargo

I get great satisfaction out of playing with quality bike parts.  It’s a very good feeling when I can build a bike up and have it run nice and smoothly.  If I could  bring in the salary that I make at my desk job and play with bikes like this every day I would be in heaven.
Everything went together really well.  Even moving the XT crank to the Fargo.  All I  needed to do was adjust the limit screw for the front derailleur and it shifted like a charm.  I definitely credit a large part of that to using barcon shifters.  They are not as finicky as indexed shifters.
My only missing part is a new 10 speed chain.  That is my goal for Monday after work.  Get a chain and get the Cannondale up and running.  If the weather holds out, I’ll take it for a hate run/break in run Monday after work.  Yippee!

Thanks for reading!


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