Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So I guess race season is now officially on, after completing the Mohican 100 this weekend.

Crap, I have some work to do. Like getting some sleep this week before the Stoopid 50.

It's been a long winter, and spring I guess, of not riding enough, and too much homebrew. Have to figure out how to increase the riding a little, and keep up the beer intake. Ha!

Maybe I'll have a race report later, but the short version:

I start too slow, and finish the race feeling too good. I guess it isn't necessarily a bad thing finishing the race, feeling like it was a fun ride and looking for the beer truck, but I'll always wonder, could I have gone 4 minutes faster and nabbed 4th place??? I'll work on fixing that at the Stoopid and also at Lumberjack.

Maybe I won't wait another 8 months before the next update...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Iron Cross Recap...

Finally getting around to putting up my race report from Iron Cross.  Sorry it's a couple of weeks late.  Things have been a little crazy over here lately.

First off, I did do the race on gears.  Maybe next year I'll have a decent single speed cross bike built up.  I have one now, but it is on fixed gear commuting duty, and I don't really have enough faith in the wheels anymore to really take it off road.

The whole weekend was awesome, aside from the fact that we were uncharacteristically ill-prepared with our beer supply, the night before the race was awesome.  Had a pretty decent fire going.  Camped in a cabin with a bunch of friends.  Jake and I were doing laps of the "Spiral of Death" with our lights until about 9:30.  Maybe if we had more beer, there would have been some shenanigans with the fire, but it was not to be.

Race started out with the awesome spiral of death and a little cross course. Down a dirt road to a paved rail trail, through a sand volleyball court, to pavement. Pavement turned to a jeep road climb, to a pretty smooth fire road for a while. Saw sled dogs in training with this crazy shopping cart frame thing with a fat couple in it, stopped on the side of the road.  Poor dogs.  At this point it was about 8 miles in, and there was a group of 4 maybe that had Pflug in it way ahead of us out of sight, another group with 6 or so that I could see, and then 4 of us.

Eventually pop out on pavement downhill to a right turn onto more of a main road, with a small group in which nobody knew how to use their momentum on the rollers. Climb for a bit, get passed by the video truck, and Jpok, back on to fireroad past the first checkpoint.  Pull him for a bit, until it starts climbing again.  Says that it's going to be a long day for him, he's really hurting on the climbs.  Get to the left turn for Lippencote trail, the hardest single track of the day.  Catch and pass maybe 4 guys pretty quickly, JPok caught back up to me and passed me on the downhill dropping off of a rock where there wasn't a line. Roger Masse passed me on his single speed MOUNTAIN BIKE with suspension and disc brakes, while my hands are cramping trying to hold onto these stupid fucking road bars. Fuck canti brakes.  Finally get to route 30, bomb down the hill, get past the single speeds again, go past flea market where there fortunately is NOT a car crashed into one of the tents, and make a right into Caledonia?? state park.  

Suddenly realize that our group picked up a few more, so I hang at the back cruising along at about 25 or so on the pavement, make a left onto another little fire road climb, left again to a single track climb, onto the powerline to the 1000' vert in about a mile and a half "run" up. Get to the top at the same time as 5 other people, and have to wait in line to fill up my water from the single water cooler at the aid station. Awesome.

More fire roads at the top, killin myself to try and catch back up with Jake, who was leaving the aid station as I got there.  Bomb down hill for a while, hard right into a double track climb that turned into a twisty single track climb, that while not yet muddy, it was getting soft, and did, as I found out later, after another 100 people rode it.  Catch up to Jake when it popped out on another road, but had a searing cramp in my right leg, and I told him I'd see him later.  Did the pedal once, coast and stretch thing for a mile or so, didn't get caught by anyone, so it was ok.  Finally get the cramp worked out, catch Jake a few miles before checkpoint 3, rode together bullshitting for a bit, we both say how much better this race is when you get to ride with people you know for a bit, and I pulled him to aid 3. Filled my bottles, grab a banana, and rode away from him on the climb.  That was the last I saw of him.  

Less than a mile out of the aid station, Pflug is fixing a flat, and I asked him if he needed anything.  He said he was good, thanks for the offer, but things just weren't going his way today, and this was his third flat. Ouch. I wish him good luck, and continue up the hill.  He seemed remarkably calm for having 3 flats already.  About a mile or so after I pass him, I hear a loud BANG.  I imagine that he was not so calm anymore.

Up and down on fire road some more, and bombing down a pretty fast section, hit a pretty nasty pot hole while in the drops, loudly mother f-ing my bike up in down because it really hurt, I see a friendly old lady directing me to take a right turn. "Um, sorry about that."

Double track for a bit to a field, almost miss a turn, through grass back into single track to aid 4. Still have over a bottle left so I don't bother stopping.  A bunch more singletrack, pretty fun, with some sketchy little rock crossings that I am too tired to bother trying to ride half of them, and JPok catches me again.  And he has a master on his tail. Ok, follow them for a while, until we pop out into a field where they ride right past the arrow telling us to turn left. I make the turn, and yell for them. JPok looks, and crashes into a tree.

Single track approach to the last climb which should be rideable, but I don't bother. The master guy caught back up to us, and also decides to walk. JPok is worried that he's going to be caught, there was another singlespeeder on his tail, and he shouldn't be too far behind.  Just before the top of the climb there is a sign, "Larry's Tavern - open 11-5.". YES!!  I yell "Larry, I need a beer!!!!". I stop, chug half of a cup of ice cold PBR. Neither JPok or the other guy stop.  I told them that was a mistake.  

Start riding down the gravel road before the fun fast downhill pavement near the finish, and I thought that Justin was with us, so I hang back and wait for him to give him a pull.  He said he's dead, and I told him too bad, hang on as long as he could.  Pull him most of the way, until the steep-ish climb when he falls off. I figured he had enough of a gap now to hang onto 3rd place.  

By this point I had caught back up to the other guy, and he glued himself to my wheel.  I tried to pull away from him a couple times, but still he just sat there. I kept slowing down, and he still wouldn't pass. I slowed to about 5 and pulled to the yellow line and told him to have fun. I was annoyed.  Two more miles and we were done. Yay! Time to sit around and not drink beer due to poor planning on my part.  

For 9th place I win a bag of coffee, weird but good BBQ salsa, and a bag of tostitos. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Revenge of the Rattlesnake

I guess it's time to put up a few race reports.

Revenge of the Rattlesnake, Davis, WV.

I was planning on taking this weekend off, but at the last minute, I managed to get out of working all weekend, packed up the car, and headed to Davis Saturday afternoon with CB, to camp out and hopefully get a decent nights sleep for a change.  Of course that didn't happen. The late night hellbender burrito seemed like such a good idea at the time. My stomach happened not to agree with me.

Wake up pretty early, tear down the tent, which we apparently set up on the spot of what would be checkpoint 3, and went to the bed and breakfast in town, for, uh, just breakfast this time.  After stuffing myself with banana and oat French Toast, registered, changed, and did some last minute bike maintenance. Rolled around for a little bit with a light warm up, and lined up at the start.  All I remember from the pre race meeting was "stay on the trail, and follow the damn arrows."  Awesome.

Roll down the fire road, into the first single track, and just about on the first rock, we have a collision!!  Managed to avoid running over Roger, who was somehow thrown off of his geared bike, (I told him it was a conspiracy set up by his jealous singlespeed that he chose not to ride again this week) and had a wide open line in front of me to chase down the fast guys.

Having a ton of fun on these trails!  Been a long time since I've ridden this part of Davis.  For the longest time I was back and forth with Benji, and we started to catch up with Elk on a pretty moderate climb leading up to a road section. Benji pulled away from me and caught him, but Elk didn't want any company, and rode away from both of us like it was nothing. Ok then, see ya later.

Heading on Mountainside trail, which was basically a really flat, extremely bumpy double track, and I heard some company coming up behind me. A quick glance showed that it was Morgan, and he was gaining on me fast.  I stepped on the gas a little more, and immediately kicked a stick into my chain, and dropped it for the first time this year. Took a few seconds to get it back on, but it was long enough for Morgan to pass me, knocking me into third.  Pop out of the rough part of Mountainside into a grass field, to find him fixing a flat!  Regain second place, and start the longest climb of the day, on a fireroad.  Amazingly I catch back up to Elk, who is also stopping to fix a flat, putting me into first. Awesome!  Now all I have to do is hold onto it for about 25 more miles.  Finish off the climb after getting passed by Roger, Mark Glass (who said he was racing master, but actually in singlespeed) and Mike, pass them again, and roll on through the aid station up a quick road climb into a screaming fast downhill fire road descent, when Glass passed me like I was standing still. Wow, gotta work on my descending for next year.  Catch back up with him pretty quickly, and keep rollin.

Down another fun switchback downhill, Mike was just behind me when I yell out, "Isn't this fun!!". "Yea, this is great!!". Followed by a scream and a thud.  Oops, sorry for distracting ya there.  Luckily he was ok. I guess I'll keep my mouth shut for the rest of the race.  Down the hill a little bit more, and we come out at the river.  Heh, I don't think I'm going to be able to ride this one...  It's only about chest deep.  I hope my iPod doesn't die on me.

Back on the road, roll through my former campsite/current aid station, and grab some water, as I'm completely out, Marc and Mike pass me again, and we start the nasty rocky fun.  Pass Mike again, and get past Marc in the first rock garden, and he asks me how much farther it is. I tell him probably about 12 miles, and he suddenly looks slightly worried, like he should have maybe gotten some water back there.  That was the last that I saw of them. 

Caught up to Benji just in time to follow him through Moon Rocks, which surprisingly isn't really any easier going this direction, and l thank him for showing me the line.  At this point I am feeling really good, and riding really well, going as hard as I can, because I know I have at least one guy trying to catch me.  

Heading into the last section of trail, I see Brad up ahead of me, and he's not looking too good. He asks me if I have any water, and I give him the rest of my warm accelerate.  I finally see what I hope to be the finish, and there's only 3 others standing there. I managed to get 4th overall behind TJ, Gunnar, and Joey. Sweet.

Not too bad for not racing that weekend.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Terror of Teaberry

There certainly is a reason for that name.  I think it's going to be haunting me for weeks.
Went out with CB the day before to camp out, and relax under the stars for a bit.  It was a great night, until I was awakened with the imposing sound of rain falling on the tent.  I thought, 'well, hopefully it won't rain too much tonight, and at least it should be nice tomorrow.'

We woke up to just a little bit of standing water.

Woke up with the tent basically floating in about an inch of water.  It could have been worse, at least it didn't leak.  Got moving slowly with my usual coffee and oatmeal ritual, did a quick once over on the bikes, and time to line up.  Line up on the road, getting ready to go, and all of a sudden "OK, everyone drop your bikes!!"  Wonderful, a le mans start.  I really dislike running.  Especially in mountain bike shoes.  They sent us out on about a half mile or so jog through the woods, back to the bikes, and we're off.

Head down a pretty cool rocky down hill, to a long double track climb, where for a short time I was ahead of the eventual winners of the single speed class.  That was about to change as it turned downhill, as these guys were all locals, and knew the perfect line to fly down the hill.  Alternated for a few miles between double track down hills, and tight singletrack climbs, eventually coming out on a long double track climb, before the fun really started.

Hook a right at the top of the climb, and the rocks started, and I guess that you can say the dirt ended.  Up until this point, I was back and forth with my friend Aaron, and I started putting a little gap on him.  All that I remember about this section is that it was mostly rideable, but I just kept losing my momentum, and had a hard time getting moving again.  Finally got through it, down some cool switchbacks, climb back up, and there's the aid station.
Heading down the road a bit, back into the woods to where the true terror begins to show itself.  Think big rocks, with rock ramps leading up to them, and rock dropoffs on the other side, onto rocks.  On the edge of a cliff at times.  I kept thinking that this would be a great place to screw around and try to learn how to get through it, just not so much racing in it.  A couple of times, I just had to stop and laugh, and think "really??  you want me to do what to get past that?  MAYBE if it was dry, no way in hell when it's wet."  Oh, I forgot to mention that it was still raining.  Not bad, just enough to make everything interesting.  Maybe a little too interesting.  I saw a couple of people getting close to me from time to time, including Aaron, but I was somehow able to slip away.

After that section, it really wasnt too bad.  Made it to the next aid station, where I caught another singlespeeder who was stopped when I got there, and was still there when I left.  I've really been making an effort to not screw around at the stops, and I think it's been paying off.  The trail from here was alternating single and double track, mostly climbing, with a couple spots of pretty serious exposure to a steep, long drop down to the creek.  I saw one guy in the 20 mile race almost topple over the hill.  He was a bit shaken up.  Near the top of this climb was where I caught Montana, which I couldn't believe.  He is still recovering from the Breck Epic, I suppose.

Near the end, I finally caught up with an Indy Fab rider, who passed me while I was filling my bottles at aid station 1.  Was able to get past him on the road climb, and had a decent gap on him going into aid station 3, where I stopped at to get a litte bit of water, because I was completely out again.  I should have asked how long it was to the finish, as I thought that we had 8 miles to go, when in reality we only had 4.   We battled it out in the single track, when I finally conceded, and let him past me.  What I didn't realize, is that we were about 100 yards from the finish, and he was able to take 5th place from me. 

 I'm tired

In the end, I am just glad to have finished, when so many people didn't.  I'm pretty happy with 6th place at this race, especially since 4 of those that beat me were locals, and 2 of them built most of the trails.  I'm also happy that I beat my goal of 5 hours by a little bit.  I know, 5 hours isn't much of a goal for a 36 mile race, but this was far from a normal race.  I am also especially happy to not have broken myself, or my bike at this one.  Time to rest up a little bit before some more craziness....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

so much for that

So, I think that I said I would keep up with this blog a little better?  Um, maybe not.

It's been a pretty hectic summer, trying to keep up with the work and race schedules, along with life, and some things sometimes fall aside.

Raced at Cooper's Rock, WV this weekend, and had a great time destroying myself.  I was ok, but my cranks are now dead.  Sweating a little bit waiting for the new set to come in, to prepare for the Shenandoah 100 this weekend.  Getting a little nervous about gearing and tires, and I'm hoping to hold on to 5th place singlespeed in the NUE series.  Hopefully.  One day soon, I'll get around to catching up on here.


Now it's time to ride the fixie through the woods again on the way to work.  Hopefully I won't get yelled at by the railroad construction guys today as I run across the tracks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mohican 100 part 2

Talking to different people over the last week, it seems as if there was a disturbing trend following the Mohican mudfest..

I've heard it before, but this is the first that I've experienced it.... Muddy farmland and bike racing do not mix well in your gut, if you know what I mean....   I really wasn't feeling very well last week after the race.  I thought it may have been the post race BBQ, but no.  Looks like it was just too much mud....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mudhican 100

Hello new blog.  Figured I would start out with a mudfest race report from one of, if not the, hardest raceever on a bike, The Mohican 100....

A view of the storm from inside of our bug shelter.

We managed to survive in hurricane like conditions camping the night before.  Actually, I guess that they were tornado-like conditions, since the town's tornado warning siren was going off...

Steevo explains the finer points of holding down a dead man's shelter

What was supposed to be a fast, fun course, was a horrible slop fest, due to a week of heavy rain.  Despite this, nearly 600 people lined up to start either the 100 mile, or the 100k version of this grueling event.

I was able to start out near the front of the field, and although I didn't hang in there, I would have to say that I was around the 50th into the woods, which really wasn't too bad.  Until we hit the mud, that is.  Let's just say that the first couple of miles of trail involved nearly as much walking as it did riding...

The first 30 miles of singletrack really sucked a ton of energy out of the field, and by aid station 3, it appeared that many people were dropping out of the race.  Either that, or they just decided to take a little nap.  After aid 3, I pretty much rode alone for the rest of the race, eventually catching up with Montana and cruising along with him for awhile, until I managed to drift away from him at around mile 70 or so.  Spent about 25 miles back and forth riding with John Gorilla, and he sure rode like he was one.  Managed to get him at the line for 6th place by 8 seconds.  I thought we were racing for 4th. Oh, and he was racing with a broken wrist, on his singlespeed.  Made me feel weak.  Need to train harder.

Steevo and I had planned on staying there again after the race, and hitting up a road race in Youngstown, OH the following day, but instead drove back to Pittsburgh, and I was able to sleep in a warm dry bed, as opposed to a cold wet sleeping bag.  I think we made the right choice.