Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bear Creek short track xc...

South Mountain Cycles put on the first of their short track series tonight. This was my first short track race, and it hurts.

I got outta work just after 5pm and blasted over to Bear Creek to check it out, a few people were there already. I spoke with Dan on the way and he had just left work at around 5:20 and he said he was bringing the new SS 29'er. I saw Bowman at the reg table and signed up for both the sport "B" race and the expert "A" race.

I went out and pre-rode the course, about 45 seconds in following Joe Luby, I overshot a turn due to minimal brakes after Sunday's mudfest. A short time later I went into the rock garden after the bridge a little hot and went over the bars - yeah even on a 29'er it happens. I rolled back to the reg table to possibly bail out on the "A" race and just do the "B" race - I figured with my lack of brakes and I would probably be tired enough after the first race, but I'll make the call after the first race.

Chuck had us roll down to the bottom of the one road for staging. On "1" we go, and we sprint up the hill, a right turn into the singletrack for a little climbing to the log ride/balance beam. The lead group was Gunnar, Joe Luby and me, and Gunnar was rocking the course. I ended up getting by them and grabbing the lead for the next 4 or 5 laps. I averaged about 3 1/2 minute laps for 7 laps.

As I'm riding around cooling down, and hacking up a lung, Topher, Matt Miller, Matty B, Keith R, Mike Yozell, the Nudy brothers, Matty K and another guy I didn't know were getting ready to head down to the start area with Chuck, so I decided to suck it up and do the "A" race after all. Again we go on "1" and sprint was on with Mike Yozell, Topher, Matt Miller and a few others were off fast. I was feeling a little tired from the first race, but kept on moving. Matty B, Keith, Dj and I were battling it out most of the race, with the fast guys probably 15-20 seconds up ahead. I got around Keith on one of the road climbs (he was on a SS 29'er) and I had gears, and I was chasing Matty B. A lap or two later - the final lap, I catch Matty B in the rock garden - apparently he bobbled because someone was off the bike in front of him, so I got by him and sprinted up the road hill AGAIN. Chasing Dj this time, I was on his wheel and he stands up to sprint, I shift down and stand as well giving it everything, just not enough as he got me by a wheel for 4th place. The fast guys obviously stayed out front but thankfully didn't lap us - placing - Mike Yozell, Matt Miller, Topher, Dj Nudy, Me. I didn't see how the rest of that race panned out but I'm guessing Matty B came in right behind me.

After everyone cooled down, Bowman lined us up for a missing out race. There was some handicapping setup, so we spread out in the designating (by Bowman) areas. This was the first time I've done this kind of race as well, short story - I took the win after about 15 laps. There was actually a $20 prize for the missing out win - cool I've never won cash at a race, so I get my race fee back + $10.

Bowman, Chuck and I headed down to the bar and had a few beers and wings. Time to race home and hang out with Christine around a fire and eat some burnt marshmellows. Take a shower, clean out the car, take out the trash - time to sleep. Night.


how to be a man...

Now this guy manned up, singlespeed cross bike at Greenbrier. I saw him come through on his 3rd lap and he was moving pretty good. I'm sure it was hell on the rocky muddy downhill - probably just ran it. He's a better man than me, I don't think SS rigid drop bars would've been too fun.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Perseverance or stupidity...

Sunday morning I packed up the car and my wife, niece's and I headed to Boonsboro, MD for the AMBC Greenbrier Challenge. This race is a blast, and attracts the big dogs as it's a USA Cycling national qualifier. They had about two inches of rain just days before the race, so it was bound to be a muddy mess.

When we were close to the race I was checking the fields for standing water to get an idea of how wet were gonna get, and it didn't look too bad. I got to go out for a pre-ride with Travis and one of his teammates, and realized just how muddy we would get. However a quote for the day "mud don't stick to wet" - only a few might get that (inside joke) We rushed back to the start with minutes to spare before the start.

They sent off the 19-29 class, then my class 1 minute later. I was starting at the back of the pack, after getting there almost late. I was able to work my way up on the first climb and picked up some places. Down the next fun rocky downhill and a nice doubletrack slight downhill through some puddles (lakes) and make right turn through a deep stream crossing, up a bit of a hill I'm now 1st or 2nd, and I stupidly down shift in the back (forgetting I was in big ring up front) my X0 rear derailleur cage explodes! I jump off the bike and run up the rest of the hill and around the log at the top to pull off and assess the damage - diagnosis = not trail repairable.

I walk/run/coast out back to the start and leave my bike with The Bike Lane guys, and run to my car to get a spare cage I thought was in my tool box - which I found that I had left at home on the workbench. Damn, now what - I see Liz packing up her stuff after finishing 4th in her race, I convinced her to lend me here X9 rear derailleur. After unbolting her derailleur I run down to The Bike Lane ez-up and bolt the derailleur on and off I go to RESTART my race.

Great, I get to climb the start 3 more times. But, I have yet to DNF a race and I didn't really feel like starting now. So there I got passing everyone I can to hopefully not DFL the race, but I'm 47 minutes back at this point. I love this course though, the rocky/rooty stream downhill near the end is a blast. I think I felt a 100% better this year than last year, so my fitness must be better than this time last year.

I finished the race dead last, but I finished! My times with out the mechanical should have secured me at least a top 3 if not the win - based on how I was feeling pre-mechanical and subsequent lap times. On a more exciting note, Travis got 2nd only seconds behing the lead, his wife one her class, Mike Carter got 15th in expert 40-49, Liz took 4th place, and Aaron Snyder got 4th place in PRO! with the fastest lop time of the day.

My first DFL and hopefully my last, now I gotta order a rear derailleur and some pads from my newest sponsor Magura USA. I'm not sure what's next on the schedule, supposed to be rainy this weekend and the Campmor series starts Sunday with Wawayanda - we'll see.


Friday, April 25, 2008

bike Friday (day off)

I woke up early on my day off and met Frank, Weldon, and Geoff for a Jordan ride. We busted out a 10 mile loop in about 1 hour 11 minutes - I was on the SIR9 SS. I definitely need an 18 tooth rear cog for Jordan, although I don't know if it would great for Salisbury.

After the ride, I had a doctor's appointment then headed to the chiropractor for a quick work-over. I shot back over to Emmaus to meet Brian for my 2nd ride - the brunch ride. We did Hemp Hill backwards 17ish miles in 58 minutes, just in time to stop at SMC for a post/pre ride espresso.

When we got to the shop there were a few people getting ready for the Rodale lunch ride - round 3 for me. We downed our coffee and did the Vera Cruz with Spring hill loop - 20 miles in an hour fifteen minutes. Now I'm starting to get a bit tired. Well all enjoyed some post ride coffee, while Ryan grabbed a 40 of Corona (in a paper bag) and a few of us drank on the stoop of Armetta's - what a great afternoon!

I had to head to Spokes to pick up my bike after the new internals for my Lefty SL were installed - ahhh, now you can actually lock it out. Chip also spent some time on my rear wheel which was pretty far outta true. Looks like I might need to use a beefier rim soon.

That's it for my bike Friday, although I probably should've taken it a little easier today with Greenbrier this Sunday. My wife and I went to Texas Roadhouse for diner and then ice cream afterwards - I guess that was the perfect recovery food, although I'm not sure I burned as many calories as I took in. Yeah well, now I'm gonna just chill and prolly hit the sack early.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Leesburg Bakers Dozen...

Last year a few friends did the 1st Leesburg Bakers Dozen - 13 hour endurance mountain bike race, and they raved about the venue. Mike Carter and I were talking about doing it Solo, but later decided with Greenbrier next weekend, we would do a 2 person team.

My wife and I had planned on leaving around 3ish on Friday to head down to Virginia for the 2nd annual Bakers Dozen. As with all my other trips, I was running late. Strauser showed up at my while I was still getting my back up bike together - well building it actually :) Then I had to wash my main bike and get that all ready, pack the car and head out. We probably left the house by 4:30 - and encountered traffice on rt 83 which really slowed us down.

We arrived at the race around 8:00pm and found the Spokes Bike Shop banner, where the Carter's were parked - saving us a spot. We set up camp and hung out with everyone for awhile then went to sleep.

The next morning I awoke to Lisa cooking pancakes and sausage in their camper. That was really nice to have some real food before a race like this. Mike and I had our game plan set - I would start the first lap, since I usually go out pretty hard to start, and he has the steady endurance to go all day. Then we switched to 2 on 2 off laps, with Mike busting out a 3rd in his rotation. Another rotation of 2 on 2 off, then we switched to 1 on 1 off laps for the duration. Our transitions went off without a hitch (except for one) Mike came in from his last lap at 11:46pm, so I rolled through for my last lap, number 24 for us. I felt pretty slow and every log crossing seemed about 3 inches higher than the earlier laps.

I finished our 24th lap at 12:25. We ended up in 7th place, 1 lap off the leaders and 50 seconds off 6th place. I'm very stoked for where we ended up. After it was said and done - I'm not sure how fresh I'll be for Greenbrier now :)

Mike Belefonti rocked out 14 laps for 11th place solo - exactly one year after his 1st chemotherapy session and it was also his & his wife's wedding anniversary. For those who know Mike - give him some props next time you see him. Vance from our team did a 2 person team with a friend of his Donnie and ended up with 21 laps for 15th place - a very solid ride. And Brian Strauser from the Dirt Devils busted out 10 laps for his first ever endurance event, and he was on a fully rigid singlespeed Kona Unit 2-9.

So it was a great event with a great showing by the local crew! Unfortunately there was one injury that I know of, and the race director's personal Moots-x YBB was stolen. Hopefully the injured rider recovers fast and the bike is recovered.

I hope I didn't leave anything out, and I will post pictures soon.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

strength vs. weakness...

I was reading some of Joe Friel's Cyclist's Training Bible, and there was some info about listing your strengths and weaknesses. I'm sitting here trying to come up with at least one strength, cause I can easily list some weaknesses. I guess I'm not great the finding my positives in cycling - great another weakness :)

So yesterday and today have been some climbing to work on that weakness. I did a lap of 2,5,10 with Dan on a borrowed (sweet) Independent Fabrication Crown Jewel. After the road, I threw my pedals back on the 29'er and did a lap up at South Mountain Emmaus - and I got a little lost. I don't know that network of trails too well, but in keeping with the weakness theme I did some climbing!

This morning we had to show up to work at 6:30 AM!! to attend a Employee of the Quarter breakfast. I usually have to show up at 9am - so after the meeting I jumped on my road bike and busted out another 2,5,10 lap in around 45 minutes. After my ride I got to have a coffee at SMC with Dan, Bill Strickland, and Mark Bowman. Bill just got back from Belgium, enjoying some classic cycling for 2.5 weeks (I'm sure we're all envious) Apparently he got to have lunch with a legend of cycling - read about it here.

For those that don't know what 2,5,10 is, it's 2nd, 5th and 10th streets in Emmaus, PA. It is a little over 10 miles and about 1500 ft of climb. 2nd is long and sustained, 5th is shorter with one steep turn, and 10th is a bear something like 21-22% grade I believe.

Now I gotta work till 9pm - and I'm tired, more so from just being here at 6:30 and not so much the riding. The weather was looking great for the Leesburg Bakers Dozen this weekend, however now they are calling for some showers on Saturday there. I'm hoping everything holds weather wise - cause 13 hours on wet trails might suck.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bike Line Fair Hill xc...

Well the first XC race is on the books. After all the ball bustin' from Dan about sandbagging, I guess it's a good thing I didn't upgrade to expert. Guess I'm gonna save that for later in the season.

I finished 7th out of 31 finishers, pretty tired after the first lap but was doing OK at that point. The second lap was a different story, I can never be consistent on my lap times and this time was no different, adding 2.5 minutes to my 1st lap time. So now I need to work on some distance and intensity I guess.

Any input on how to not drop off that much between laps, I was sitting 2nd or 3rd after the first lap - but then drop off pretty hard from there. I've done some longer rides, some fast rides and some slow rides. Any help would be great.

It was great to see everyone out there, and Bike Line put on a great venue. Next up Leesburg Baker's Dozen.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fair Hill XC!!!

Well the rain we were supposed to get bypassed us!! Fair Hill is on for tomorrow morning. The car is packed, sandwiches are made, bottles are mixed and I'm gonna get some rest.

Good luck to all Fair Hill racers.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fair Hill not so Fair???

So the kick off XC race to the Mid Atlantic Super Series doesn't look to be shaping up to Fair. Hopefully this weather will blow through here quickly without too much rainfall and they keep this race for this Sunday.

Apparently this is one of the shine only events, so no pre-registration on BikeReg for me. Let's all hope for the best on this one.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Team relay representin'...

Today was the M.A.S.S. Season opener - The Team Relay at Marysville.

The Spoke's Bike Shop team was in full force with a full 2 teams representing the shop. We had Team A - Mike, Vance, Mike B. and myself and Team B - Aaron, Tom, Lisa and Stanley. Our "B" team was full of beginner racers with a ton of heart, and they did great. Our "A" team was kicking it in gear - going back and forth with some of the Bean's team.

Mike Carter led off our team with the Le Mans start (he hates running) We made the tag without a hitch - or the running tag that some teams were doing later in the day. We went through the rotation a full 3 times and Mike B. got back in just enough time for Mike C. to head out for his 4th and final lap for the team.

It seems as if everyone had a blast with very little incidents of crashing, at least during the race (we had a few casualties on the pre-ride). After we were all gathered at the team pit ez up, we grilled some burgers and dogs and ate some great greasy recovery food.

This was definitely a kick ass venue - thanks to Mike Kuhn, the Oesterling's, and the rest of the VisitPA team! It was great to see all the people I've met throughout the past two years of racing. Happy 33rd birthday to Kim Dubeck who was partying it up typical Bean's style - and she had her own band on site - well her brother's and and they rocked! Since I was fried at the end of the race I didn't catch their name so if someone could let me know the name, I'd appreciate that.

Now I'm tired & somewhat sick, I think I've got some sort of cold brewing. Should be a full blown cold by Fair Hill. Night all.