Friday, May 30, 2008

Slacker updates...

Well it seems I've been slacking on updating the blog. Busy work schedule and beautiful weather has been to blame.

This is the view I get to enjoy during road rides near my house. It would seem that I should stay local more than I do, however I prefer riding with other people vs. riding alone. I forgot my camera so the iPhone was up for the job, the only thing that sucks is the aspect ratio it takes pics.

Tuesday night was the 2nd SMC Bear Creek Short Track Series for the season. I was able to rush out of work and get there in time to warm up on the new course. This loop was a little longer than last month, a little less technical, but with more climing in my opinion.

I rode the first race and came in 2nd place, chasing Gunnar Bergey the whole time, last month was the exact opposite. That kid is FAST!! If he keeps it up this kid is gonna kick some ass in the jr expert class real soon. Keep it up!

Here are a few pics my wife took from the Short Track race. In all the blurry pics you'll notice that I'm chasing the really fast guys. The pictures of me alone are either of chasing Gunnar or the "A" race guys.

Sunday I hope to race the Marty's Reliable Cycles Lewis Morris Challenge. Now I'm off the head to SMC to meet up for the Rodale lunch ride.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Passing the torch...

Apparently I've passed the torch to Duane as the FME (Fastest Man in Emmaus) This is a title that Bill Strickland came up with. You'll have to ask him the true meaning - I can only assume it is only partially true and partially a joke?? On to some actual riding info.

I got to enjoy some road miles with the Rodale/Nodale brunch/lunch ride crew. This is a really fun road group - although I don't love road riding, I would much rather be on dirt. I have done more road training this year than previous, seems a lot easier on the body. On any give ride you could find a few local pros road racers, a national champion expert racer, some really fast track racers, and some folks like myself (mere mortals).

We did a total of 40 miles with 3300 feet of climbing in about 2hrs 40min. This was my first ride of the week and was quite challenging. I like how these folks push the pace on the climbs, although most times I can't hold the pace.

After some coffee, a slice of pizza, and some post ride conversation, I headed home to feed the puppies and head out for the Spokes Bike Shop shop ride. We ride Blue Marsh from Old Church Rd and do roughly 13 miles. It takes a little over 2 hours, for some riding, regrouping, and just messing around.

I figured I had to make up for not riding all week, weather sucking and lack of motivation. I want wish all the Granogue riders good luck and it looks like they should have some great weather. I wish I could be out there with them, but unfortunately work has to be a priority sometimes.

Enjoy your holiday weekend with some great weather and good rides.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Interesting read...

I was checking out Bill Strickland's blog and stumbled upon a really interesting article he wrote for Mountain Bike magazine in '99. I figured I would pass along the link for everyone who hasn't read it to enjoy.

How true are these statements in your life?


Sunday, May 18, 2008

5/18 Lehigh Ride..

Today was gonna be a tour of Lehigh and Salisbury for some folks that haven't ridden around here, and it turned out to be a couple locals having a good time before the rain hit.

The plan was to meet Keith, Christine, & Dan at SMC to carpool over to Lehigh for a couple hours of fun before the impending rain. When I arrived at SMC, Dan was already there and Keith & Christine were getting their gear and bikes all together - only to find a flat rear tire on Christine's bike. She figures she'll change it at Lehigh, so we all jump in our cars and head to the trail.

We met Frank at the parking area, only to find another mechanical issue (this one a little more severe), he cracked the face plate on his Thompson stem, leaving the bike out of commission. He returned home to grab another bike while the flat was being fixed, then we headed in for some great trails.

After as much rain as we had for the past couple days I had expected some areas to be more muddy, but was very happy to see that the trails dried up well. It was almost the perfect mix of dirt/mud for traction. I led the group through Crazy Bones, I got to race a deer down the powerline, then we climbed up Ono (lungbuster) out to the Goat (a tough rock garden) to meet up with Frank on his super pimpy Superfly.

Here's a blurry pic of Frank flying through the Goat, he's going so fast I can barely capture it on film. Gotta love those 29" wheels.

It seems that the 29'ers claimed the rock gardens for the day as Frank, Keith and I went through the Goat like it was paved.

Some more climbing was still in order as we went up Superman, a 12 or 13 turn very tough switchback climb which is fairly technical at points with a few short recovery points. At the top we saw the SVB crew out on their normal Sunday Loop. This group can be as few as 2 and I've seen as many as over a dozen riders on this ride. As the saying goes, what goes up must come down, we descended for a bit (thankfully) as I think everyone was tired of climbing (except for maybe Frank).

We finished out the day with the Channel 39 loop, some rim trail, a quick downhill through Deer path, and a wet rocky Wayne's World crossing. Only 9.5 miles of trail were ridden in about 2 hours and 25 minutes, but we finished just in time for the rain to start (perfect timing). As we were all tired and ready for coffee, we headed back to Emmaus for some SMC coffee.

I'm glad those who showed up did and sad those that couldn't make it didn't. I hope the people that couldn't make it get to come out and enjoy what amazing trails we are lucky enough to have in our area. Some of what Lehigh has to offer makes a lot of other areas seem like paved bike paths.

Good luck to all the lucky ones who will be racing Granogue next week, I have to work and will regretfully miss this great race which Marc organizes in honor of Andrew Mein. There is also a raffle to benefit HERA Womens Cancer Foundation, so buy some tickets - you don't even need to be present to win!!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


At French Creek, they gave out some nice pint glasses to the top 3 in each sport/expert/beginner class. So this is what I filled it with, some Mad Hatter IPA from Shangy's in Emmaus, PA. They also give a medal for top 3 as well.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

French Creek..

The weather held out for the French Creek M.A.S.S. race. They pushed back the start times 1 hour for each class and dropped the Endurance down to 5 hours. The park rangers were diverting parking from the upper fields where everyone parked last year, down to the surrounding parking lots, most of which are about a mile away from the start.

The race started the same as last year up to the cabins, however instead of going left down the washout, we turned right and climbed for awhile. The was a group of about 5 of us leading up the gravel climb, then a few dropped off and it was just Nick Capriotti and I up the washed out climb. We caught a couple of the senior 1 guys, fortunately they were cool about moving aside.

I had no idea what was coming next, fortunately Nick knew the course and I was content just following him for awhile to pace myself. Up the short section of road we picked off a couple more senior 1's to put some places between us and the rest of the group. Then came a nice rocky downhill, Nick was taking it a little easier than I wanted to go, so I passed him. I really starting picking up the pace and rockin' this downhill to put a gap on him. I thought I flatted going down this section, I must've hit the rim quite a few times.

Through the next few climbs and singletrack I couldn't see anyone chasing my down so I thought I was in the clear. A few minutes later I saw one of the Loweriders crew (I thought it was Nick) back a little way. I tried kicking up my pace just a bit more and was holding my lead, then came the beginning of the end - CRASH, hard. I smacked a pedal on the last downhill switchback and got shot off the bike, smashing my forearm into a rock - instant lump. I jumped up all flustered and about 150 feet later same damn thing happened, now I gotta calm myself down a bit. After the downhill you shoot out onto the road and you're supposed to make a left back into the trail towards the finish. I say supposed to because I noticed the flags for the turn a little late and grabbed some brake and the bike washed right out from under me and I slid for about 20 feet on my left side. There goes first place, the Lowerider's guy got by me, I jump back on the bike and attack with as much as I got. 3.5 seconds back - I got my best XC finish yet 2nd place and at a place like French Creek with all the rocks and a good amount of climbing (not my strong point)

So 3 crashes later, a little clean up, some recovery drink and an excellent burger from the Nudy family - apparently they were running the concessions there. Their sons are some really fast expert racers in the MASS.

The Spokes Bike Shop team had a great day! Mike got 6th in expert, John - 1st in beginner, Lance - 2nd in Sport master 1, Lisa - 6th in beginner, Stanley - 12 in beginner.

The Emmaus crew were all camping at the park, and I was invited to chill with them for a bit. These folks really know how to camp and party - they were cooking some great food. We had some killer nachos, some steak, and a really good pasta dish with grilled salmon. Hoping to not be in too much trouble for being out all day I headed home to chill with Christine.

I think we're gonna go to the Rodale crit race tomorrow morning, my first road race. Its only 12 laps (1 mile laps) so I'm hoping to do well and ask?? for an upgrade to Cat 4. Bill gave me some pointers, so I'm thankful for that.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Big wheel vs. little wheels..

Today I woke up early to ride Sals before work with Weldon, after getting only 2.5 hours of sleep. For some reason I couldn't sleep last night, so I cleaned the Caffiene and did some maintentance on my little wheel bike (Rush). I found that the seatpost was cracked right where the binder bolt is - damn carbon posts, or damn me for probably tightening it too much.

So I'm considering taking the Rush to French Creek this weekend, wondering if the suspension is a better choice than the hardtail there. So to make sure everything is all good with the bike I rode Sals, I could definately feel the difference IMMEDIATELY in the wheel size. I felt a lot closer to the ground and the bike just felt twitchy, I guess I just got used to the slower steering 29'er. I still really like the 29'er just want a little suspension.

The bike definately didn't flow the same through rock gardens, but I was appreciating the rear suspension all over again. I find myself getting fatigued on longer rides, mainly lower back area on the hardtail. So now this has me thinking of selling the Rush and maybe the Caffiene and picking up a Niner Jet9, I'm just having a hard time with the retail only pricing. I hate paying retail.

Now I'm really tired though, 2.5 hours of sleep, 1.5 hour Sals ride at 6:15am and work (well sit here) from 9am-9pm. Makes for a long day!

Thats all for now, I'll update if the bikes are getting sold and a FS 29'er is in the works.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Michaux Maximus...

Saturday night I got my bike all ready to race on Sunday morning. Although I wasn't sure where I was gonna race, it was either Michaux 25 mile rocky race or 2 laps of Wawayanda (another national qualifier). I was gonna make the call Sunday morning based on weather.

I decided to take the closer drive to Gettysburg area for the Michaux Maximus 25 mile - which turned out to be the right decision weather wise. It couldn't have been nicer weather for the actual race, chilly at the start with the sun coming out shortly and warming up nicely with just enough cooling breeze.

I first did this race as a beginner XC race 2 years ago and had a blast - the promoter puts on a hell of a race. This year was no different, apparently last year though they got rid of the XC and went to just an endurance series with a 10/25/50 mile option.

Right from the start we got to race in some fresh singletrack which was cool but kinda sucked at the same time. It really seems that once it is all ridden in, that will be some really sweet singletrack. Mud and water holes were the next thing thrown at us and all I could think about was where are all the rocks I remember. I guess they had the same idea when planning the course, because before I knew it there were the rocks I was looking for.

The lead group was 3 guys and myself, with Lath Carlson and Mike Yozell passing us quickly (after starting 2 and 4 minutes later respectively). We then dropped the 4th place guy and kept on moving, next thing about 10 miles in the lead guy flats I get by him and I'm sitting in 2nd in SR. and according to the people at the course crossings I was 8th overall at probably mid-way.

A little later on the guy with the flat passed me somewhere on one of the climbs, only to catch him at Grave's Ridge (I think that's what the locals called it) where he apparently took a bad line and crashed in the rocks. That was a pretty nasty section, but also pretty fun at the same time. As it turns out that area claimed a few injuries. I really starting bombing down the next section trying to put some time between me and that guy.

After the last bit of singletrack the course turned up a dirt road to the finish which seemed to go on forever. I crossed the finish line in 2 hours 46 minutes in 3rd place in the SR class and 10th overall. Somehow the guy that crashed at Grave's Ridge, who never got by me after his crash ended up 5 minutes ahead of me and in 1st place. After talking with the promoter about it the guy admitted to never passing me, so the decision was that he must have "accidentally" cut the course and to move everyone else up a place and he gets a DNF. We all agreed and I went about our post race clean up, eat, and drinking. I was talking to Harlan and Aaron, and a few cars away I hear some yelling and swearing. I look over to see the DNF guy talking to the girl he was with, and she is flipping out about how he can't take DNF (as if there is some negotiation). He must have gone back to the promoter and said he couldn't take a DNF and now he remembers always seeing arrows wherever he was going. What nobody can figure out is how someone can win by 4-5 minutes and never pass me after their crash??

Oh well 3rd place is a great effort, what really sucks is the guy that got 2nd place should've really gotten 1st place. He wasn't around for the whole dispute out the placing. I went up for my pick of the prize table and scored a nice set of carbon flat bars.

The local contingent had a great day, Lath secured 1st in the SS class and took the overall win, Mike Yozell was 2nd in Vet and 3rd overall, Selene took 2nd in the womens class, Kim Dubeck finished her first race pace big mile event - 10th place and ahead of quite a few people, way to go Kim. She's gonna rock it at French Creek - I think she was toying with the competition.

The 50 mile race had the big guns out for some cash payouts. Here's the run down of the top guys - Chris Eatough, Jeff Schalk, TJ Platt, Jon Gwodik, Harlan Price, and Aaron Snyder. Those guys were flying with Chris in just under 4 hours for 50 miles! Topher took 1st in the SS class and 11th overall (on a freaking SS)

French Creek
here we come! Apparently they made this course super hard, with about 17oo feet of climbing per lap. Boy I feel sorry for the people doing the marathon - 6 hours of rocks.

Night all.


Friday, May 2, 2008

long day...

I had to drop off my wife's new car for its first service at Becker Subaru this morning. Instead of waiting for it, I brought my road bike along to pass the time. I met Brian Wacik for a ride over to the Yozell's house and pick up Erica for a ride before the Rodale lunch ride. We weaved our way through Emmaus, and headed out towards Mertztown and back to SMC to meet for the lunch ride.

14 riders showed up at the North St building for the Walker loop. I still don't know all their loops and when the sprints are and the KOM's (king of the mountains) These guys/gals are really fast, and when the sprints go - it is really on!

Back at the shop, most of the riders went back to work, Brian, Tom, and I met Christina for another ride. We did the Huffs Church loop, "rolling hill's" I was told - but after the 50 miles I had in already the "rolling hills" felt like serious climbs. We looped back to Emmaus to drop off Christina and Tom, then I rode with Brian back to his house and back to Subaru to pick up the car.

First oil change was free - now that is exciting. 80 miles later, and now I'm really tired. That was probably a little too much of a ride if I'm contemplating racing on Sunday. We'll see how tomorrow goes before I make that call.

I hope all the Lehigh Valley people find everything they are looking for at the Spring Velo Swap on Saturday. I of course have to work all day - again.