Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Short track...

Tuesday night was the 3rd month of the Bear Creek short track Xc series put on by SMC. I figured since I was off work and testing out how the ribs were feeling, I would check it out.

The ribs felt ok, and everything went well in the first race. I was able to go out front and stay there for all 3 laps. Gunnar was on my wheel for awhile until he bobbled in one of the rock gardens and a few guys got by him. Then it was Evan chasing me the whole rest of the race, another bobble and Evan was gone, leaving me in first, Dave Joachim in 2nd, and Evan in 3rd.

The second race was a whole different story! I was chasing Yozell, Lath, Vegan Rob and Topher - damn these guys can ride. I obviously have no chance of hanging with these guys, I'm just using that race as a learning experience and a little longer workout. These guys ride soo smooth and fast that its ridiculous.

The first 3 laps went fine and I was sitting mid-pack, then on the 4th lap I flatted in one of the rocky areas after the start/finish area. I probably had about 10 seconds on John Eurio at this point and he got by me while I was trying to get the Stan's to seal the cut - not happening.

I walked back to the finish area to fix my flat to do the 3rd (fun) race. This month was a miss and out in the gravel parking lot. This was an issue for me as apparently I can't corner for shit, I crashed 2 or 3 times, with one of them grinding my right bicep into Dan's rear wheel while trying to pass him.

So while trying to heal my ribs, it was probably a bad idea to take chances after riding clean up till then. Yeah well, at least I have a little time until Marysville. Head on over to to register for this cool event. I'm really looking forward to a full weekend of camping, drinking, and even racing.

See you all there!


Monday, June 23, 2008

No XC for me...

I was contemplating doing the XC race at Neshaminy on Sunday, but with the way my ribs were feeling I through that idea out the window. In lieu of racing, I called Dan to see if he was up for a chill road ride.

Dan was doing some family stuff, then called Cody to arrange a 12:30 meet at the Velodrome. We left from the parking lot around 12:45 for a leasure paced ride towards Kutztown. The pace started to pick up as I was testing out the ribs while sprinting every hill on the way out. We stopped that the Bagel House in Kutztown for some iced coffee.

Instead of just heading back east the same way, I convinced them into heading northeast a bit for some hills and a little more distance. We weaved our way through some backroads in Berks county, needing some water we all stopped at a gas station for bottle refills. It seems that helped Dan and Cody to make it back to the cars.
At first when I saw this pic I thought Dan was throwing gang signs.
Once back at the Velodrome, Cody headed home and I told Dan I would ride home with him since I made the ride a little longer and faster than planned. So by the end of the day I had a little over 50 miles and a total time of 3.5 hours with a fair amount of stopped time.
When I got back to the Velodrome I saw Taylor going out for a ride on a borrowed Wilier which is one sweet bike. I headed home to go to dinner with my wife and in-laws. A couple Sam Adams lager's and a filet later I was feeling pretty good! I even forgot my ribs hurt, until I tried sleeping - that's a real challenge right now.


Friday's bruised ribs & mullets...

Dan, Mike and I went to Rattling Creek on Friday morning for what is supposed to be the best singletrack in PA. We did a little over 20 miles of almost all the singletrack there, most of which reminded me of the Stoopid 50.

On the way to the ride I stopped at a little gas station at the bottom of the mountain, and saw this amazing site --->

That is probably the craziest mullet I've seen, so much so that we had to play stealthy paparazzi and grab a pic.

The riding there is very cool, with some of the most flowing singletrack around. There were a bunch of mountain laurel plants along the trail and room for one bike on the trail with very little sight-line to rail the corners.
After Mike put a bounty on the next rock garden of 2 gel packs for cleaning it (Fawns Ridge), I got a little cocky and my front wheel got caught up on a rock so I tried to trackstand it for a sec and then hop the front end over it. Well I didn't succeed, I went down like a ton of bricks and jacked my ribs and hip up.
Here are a few pics from the day.

Now my ribs really hurt, guess that should be like another 4-6 weeks of pain.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stoopid 50 - err Stoopid 40 for me...

This Sunday was the 2nd annual Stoopid 50 in State College, PA. I did this race last year and finished in 6 hours 59 minutes. I really wanted to beat my time last year by at least an hour, I figured that was feasible with better fitness and some longer rides than last year.

I arrived Saturday night around 8pm, set up camp, grab some spaghetti dinner, and watch a movie at the pavillion. Sunday morning started with packing up the tent, then enjoying some pancakes and coffee. The race started promptly at 9am with about 3 miles of road/gravel road then entered some sweet singletrack. There was quite a bit of bottle-necking early on with a few mud bogs and muddy bridges.

When the traffic cleared it was a blast, until at about 7 miles I heard my rear tire hissing - hopefully the Stan's would fix it, not a chance. I pulled off the side of the trail and there was about a 1/4" slice in the tread, so in goes a tube and there goes 25-30 riders right by me. Now of course I'm in chase mode (read: time to blow up)

I passed right the through the first aid station and up the gravel road towards the hike-a-bike. Boy was that fun, it felt like we were walking forever. Finally at the top, you have a nice break from climbing for a bit, some sweet decents on some really cool singletrack. I made a turn onto the road exiting the singletrack and caught up to Mike Carter who also had a flat. We was climbing really strong and pulled away from me up the next long (2 mile) steady climb. That was the last I saw Mike until the end.

At about mile 30 my stomach started feeling pretty bad and my legs were cramping pretty badly. I felt as though I was drinking and eating enough - I guess not though. I pulled in the aid station around mile 33 and those people were great! They filled my camelback with water, my bottles with Heed, gave me a sandwich and a cup of Coke. I grabbed my drop bag, downed some sportlegs and E-caps and headed out. The next couple of miles were really cool sweeping rollercoaster like singletrack, with a few climbs thrown in.

Now the rocks were starting again, usually I'm pretty good on the rocks but by this point I was riding pretty sloppy. I rolled up to area where the guy was taking pictures through the one rock garden, and I was walking! After walking the rock slabs, I jumped back on the bike and cruised down to the next road crossing around mile 40, this is the point where I was really done. There was a guy hanging out at his truck and offered to give me a ride back to the start/finish area. I unfortunately took him up on the offer - my first DNF. While we were driving back to the finish I saw Mike Carter riding strong to a 5:47 finish!!

I rolled though the timing table and told them I DNF'd, went to the car and cleaned up. After getting some food I started to feel a little better, but also glad I didn't do the last 9 miles. So the Stoopid 50 ended up being the Stoopid 40 for me. They had a really cool pint glass for the riders - fortunately not just the finishers.

I hung out and talked with a few friends and then headed out on the 2 hour drive home. I guess if I really want to do these longs rides I should start riding a bit more. Seems to me that I'm a bit more suited towards the 2 hours and under events.

Hopefully the weather will hold out for the Neshaminy XC race this weekend. Look like some rain is headed our way for a few days. This is a day of registration only, since it doesn't drain all that well I guess. See you all there.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Racers wanted:

One of the coolest mountain bike weekends is rapidly approaching, the 2008 Visit PA Mountain Bike Stage Race and Festival Weekend. For those who have not attended this event, you have really missed out on some fun, so make sure you go here to pre-register for the event.

The event is held at the Oesterling Farm (map) in Marysville, PA near Harrisburg. There is a night time trial, XC race, endurance race, short track race, and a hill climb. For those who can't make all the XC races in the MASS series, you can earn the equivilant of 1 xc race by doing the short track, night time trial, and the hill climb.

Kyle Hammaker's family handle a lot of the food concessions, and they do a great job! Mike Kuhn's family & friends handle pretty much everything else - and these folks know how to promote a race and party!! Hopefully the band from US Open MTB Relay return, because those guys rocked!

Hope to see you all there, and bring the whole family as there are a lot of things for the rest of the family to do.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Danville = hurt!

Yesterday was the Tour De Tykes XC race, the 5th race in the M.A.S.S. The temps were in the mid 90's, which made for a very challenging day for any course. However, Danville boasts that they have the most climbing per mile of other races.

It would seem that they didn't lie, as this was the most difficult XC race I've down yet. I'm sure the temps had something to do with that, as I saw quite a few people DNF due to heat issues.

They did something different this year, a mass start of the whole sport class and your time started when you crossed the timing mat. Theoretically this would allow all the traffic to spread out on the climb before entering the singletrack, not sure if I like this method as you can't really rely on chasing the top guys or you don't know if you are in the lead.

My result was a good one - with a 3rd place finish. That was however, 8 minutes off the leader - damn that's a long time back. The rest of the Spokes team had a very good day as well! Seems like its time for chilling in the A/C since today its gonna be 95* as well, and almost 100* heat index.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bike friday..

My Friday day off program dealt me some nice weather, and I got a chance to ride with Aaron on some of his favorite trails. It's a good thing for me he had an easy day planne. We met at 9am and rode for a few hours, I'm sure he felt like he was being interviewed with all the questions I was asking him. I'm trying to see what the REALLY fast people do for training, and get some insight into my own riding.

I recently had an issue with my Garmin 305, to which the company hooked my up with some great customer service and helped me with an upgrade from the defective unit to the 705. This is an actual mapping GPS with all the features of the 305 and some power meter options as well. I got to test out the unit and recorded our ride for future rides at the same place.

The next great customer service story I have for the day is regarding Stan's No Tubes. I had recently got some 29'er 355 wheels from them, however the rear wheel was creaking and had some weird tensions. Maybe that was too light of a wheel for my riding, but they rebuilt the wheel to an Arch - supposedly approximately 20% stronger rim.

I sent the wheel to them on Tuesday afternoon, with them only being in New York it was there on Wednesday. They rebuilt the wheel late Wednesday and shipped it back to me Thursday, I received it Friday afternoon. Now that is some crazy FAST turnaround - Thanks to Mike @ Stan's. These guys have been a really great sponsor.

Next on the schedule, Danville (in the 95* heat) followed by Stoopid 50 in State College on the 15th. Last year I did this race in 6:59 - this year I'd really like to do sub 6 hours. That may not be much of a goal for a lot of others - since that would still be like 50th place in last years results.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lewis Morris Challenge..

I made the last minute call this morning to take the trip to Morristown, NJ for the Marty's Reliable Cycles Lewis Morris Challenge. This is part of the Campmor H2H series, a NY and NJ series.

We were set to do 3 laps of a 7 mile fast, few roots, couple rocks and a fair bit of climbing. They sent the SS class out first, followed by the 19-29 a minute later, then us 30-39 a minute later. That was 2 classes 30-34 and 35-39 starting together but being timed apart.

The trails were perfect! Fast, flowing non technical singletrack, with a gravel climb at the start of each lap. I took the wholeshot and didn't let up, however one guy in my class got by me up a climb that I tried to power up but it was a little longer than I though. However, he broke a chain shortly after that, putting me back in the lead. About 3/4 of the way through the 1st lap one of the 35-39 guys caught me and we rode the rest of the race together. I figured he would take the overall 30-39 win, but he started pulling back a little (cramping). Nearing the finish I threw it in the big ring, locked the fork and sprinted as fast as I could as I saw a few guys just behind me coming on fast. Turns out it wasn't anybody in my class, a few younger and 2 older guys.

So I took the overall 30-39 win, although this wasn't confirmed by results, podium, or medals. Apparently they had some timing difficulties, after waiting about an hour for results we found out they probably wouldn't have it figured out today.

After my race I saw Aaron and Matt (the fast guys) getting ready to warm up for their 5 laps of Pro/SemiPro racing. I feel as though 3 laps is enough, so I'm not looking forward to doing any more laps next year.

While waiting around I got see the really fast guys take off, and saw Aaron come through for a 25ish minute first lap! That is smoking fast! I didn't hit the lap button on the Garmin but checked as I passed through, 1st lap 31 ish, 2nd lap 33 ish, and 3rd 33ish for a 1:37. Right where I wanted to be from checking previous years results.

Time for some sleep!