Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cold weather stuff review

1) Moose Mitts

These things have been pretty amazing so far. Hardest part was actually getting them due to the handmadeness of them. I ordered them around mid November and got them one week ago after a USPS slip up. Trails Edge in Michigan makes these all by hand and it shows, high quality stuff.

Cost was $60-about the same as some piece of shit Gore "Windstopper" gloves I bought last year. Quotes mean they did not work well. But yeah, Moose Mitts. I am able to wear them from 35-40 degrees with no gloves. Add a thin XC glove down to 25 or 30. Rode this morning in 14 degrees with a very thin fleece running glove and was fine. Get some.

2) RBH Designs VaprThrm socks

I have only ridden in these twice but they do what they say. The whole vapor barrier idea is to contain sweat to keep insulation dry. The socks were 35 or 40 bucks and made with three layers laminated together to eliminate the plastic bag in the shoe feeling. One thing with them is they take up some extra room in cycling shoes so they would NOT work in a tight fitting pair. I have used them in my Shimano winter boots and my summer mesh shoes (this morning, super cold) and they work great. Feet are sweaty and warm. I'll take that over cold any day. I think with some Grabber toe warmers I have will have the cold feet deal pretty much managed. Available direct here.

In other news, I have been looking at SS cross bikes way too much. I want one for next year. Something about 16 pounds would be sweet. I am going to just patiently wait and watch ebay for 9 months or so. Maybe something will fall in my lap (besides a beagle with static) soon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

OMG...what to wear???!!!

Sorry. Could not help myself. It's just cold. That's it and it sucks.

This is the time of year I tend to try and convince myself that other activities will help me get in shape for riding next season.

I'm jealous of runners for about four months of the year. They stay warm. They get to run on sidewalks and tracks. They don't have to wear lights. It is over with quickly. Makes my knees go.
Weight lifting for the winter is also an option. It seems intuitive-legs get stronger and stronger legs make bikes go fast. Seems is the key there, the year I lifted I was still small and weak but also slow come March. I can do without all the Bros and Cougs at the gyms anyway.
This is actually pretty fun but Melissa's entry into grad school has curtailed four hour hikes this year. Fun and I miss doing it. Dog walking is a good substitute.
Cold. Traffic. Dark. Traffic. Really cold. Time consuming. Perfecto.

Have been perfecting the winter clothing system for road bikes for years and still don't have it down (mountain biking is easier to dress for-less wind). Here is what I have found to work. I want to get this written down somewhere I won't lose it.
Helmet only til it drops below 40 then add a scarf. Hat or earband thing below 30.

Arm warmers at 55. Make it a long sleeve wool jersey at 50. Add another wool jersey below 40. See a theme here? Below 30 add a vest. Easy.

Knee warmers below 60. Thin tights and baggies below 45. Thick fleece tights below 35 with the baggies.

Hands and feet
This part really sucks. Have not found a good cycling specific cold weather glove and refuse to buy more this year. Got Moose Mitts instead. They came today and are warm and should keep the sweat from building up. Stoked. Feet are the toughest part. While the rest of your body works hard the feet dangle like icicles ready to sweat then freeze as soon as they can. I have some Shimano MW80 winter SPD boots which are good BUT once they are sweaty get cold. This can be solved with a vapor barrier system. The goal of a VBL is to keep your insulation dry so it, er, insulates. I did a ghetto version yesterday with a thin sock, grocery bag, wool sock, then shoes on. Warm feet at 35 degrees on a road bike. Awesome. Went ahead and sprung for an actual VBL sock from RBH Designs last night. High hopes and all.

Important points:
Sweat is the enemy, start out cold the first 20 minutes and the rest will be better.
I don't like Windstopper stuff, it just makes me trap sweat. Wool rules.
Layer, layer, layer. Champion sells good baselayers at Target. Skip the fancy shit.
Chemical heat packs do well.
Get off and walk to unfreeze feet.
Bring extra gloves. They will get wet at some point.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bamacross State Championships - Avondale Park

The honor of "Hardest 30 Minutes of My Four Day Weekend," was a hard fought battle with the Bamacross State Champ race squaring off against digging around in Christmas decorations, hanging close to 20 pictures agonizingly straight in the house, rotating the tires on my car in way too little time before Thanksgiving dinner.

Winner: Bamacross

I know exactly what to do (I think) as training for cross races. Run a couple times a week, preferably up hills. Short, high power sprints would be good practice. Combining these two and running fast WITH the bike would be super. Knowing and doing are two different creatures, of course. I knew...didn't do. I did well at Sloss Cross so why mess with something that ain't broke all of a sudden? So, after convincing myself cross training was unimportant I gladly lent Eric my cross bike to use as a commuter for the last couple weeks. I got the bike back the night before the Avondale Park race and deemed myself well (enough) prepared. I mean, really, I have pumpkin bread for energy food...guaranteed success.

I have done the Avondale race before and most of what I remember is a looooong flat section and a ridiculous steep run up some old stairs. Great fun until your lungs are trying to make an early escape from your chest. We watched the women and old dudes put on their pain faces for a bit then I did a quick preride with Alan before the race to practice my runups. Still dismal. Alan gapped me by about 20 seconds on the big staircase and I was busting it to get up them. Oh well, race time!

I was lined up maybe fifteen people back. Starting up front is a huge advantage in these races. From the start I was probably top ten or fifteen the first lap and noticed Alan out front where he would stay for the rest of the race. I was getting burned on the flat sections, but I picked my knife with one gear to bring to this race, so that's life. Hoofed it up the run up and realized and "hoofing" would result in me not being able to pedal hard the next minute or so. Not a good trade so my new strategy was to soft hoof it up the stairs and save my power for the bike. This was working well and I was able to move up through the field the next two laps. Pretty sure I made all my passes on the technical backside of the course and eventually found myself about ten seconds behind Alan. Just. Couldn't. Catch him. He got the win and deserved it, great payback for the hard work he has done for this season. I was able to hold onto my second place to make the top two steps of the Men's 4 race a Bici Coop affair with Chad in the third spot.

Congrats to the Porter guys on some strong racing and also Lee and Riley (5th place!) holding it down in the 1/2/3s. Bummed that I have to work next weekend but had a great time at this one and at Parkside Cafe afterwards. Thanks to Brent for keeping this whole deal rolling.

I feel I am at a juncture after this race. Rules are to cat up after three top threes and I have two. I will not have a third since I will miss the next race but feel it is time to move up. Not sure if I want to bother with this. Moving up will mean: Getting a real cross bike ($$$$) and training for cross races(nope, focus is on the MTB ultras).... I don't want to do either one. This is really just end of season blather and I will probably just go Do The Right Thing and get my ass handed to me in 1/2/3s. My character could use some building next year, anyway. See you guys then.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Way to go, Vassago.

Vassago is having a nice Black Friday sale right now, $329 for all steel frames. Not posting a link, refuse to advertise for them for free. This would be so much cooler if I actually needed one of these...

Don't need a mountain frame at all, but I keep trying to convince myself the Fisticuff cross frame is a good idea. Only problem is the 90 MM HEAD TUBE...I just don't get it, that is the ONE thing a cross bike should have different fit wise than a road bike. A taller head tube. Unless you like running 100mm of spacers and a Zoom Heads Up riser. The comfort look.

I wonder how many caffeine addled morons got trampled trying to get a toaster on sale today. People should be prepared for some physical contact going into a frenzy like that. I know better and am on the couch drinking coffee, which I really doubt will result in me getting trampled or bit.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Super Sunday

The weather was oddly perfect for late November today, high of 75 and the right amount of clouds (have no idea how to quantify that). I hated riding Oak Mountain earlier this year when it was hotter than four hundred hells every Saturday and I felt obligated to ride 6 hours every time for Fools Gold prep but now it has gotten back some of its old charm. I have ridden the trail three times in two months probably with one of those being a night ride last week.

Plan was to do a lap with a HRM on to further my quest of finding the perfect gear out there. My goal is to find whatever gear I can go fastest on with the least amount of work on my part. Secondary goal was to ride to the top of Peavine Falls to eat a leftover cinnamon roll. Genius, eh? Ok, not quite genius but a good way to practice changing cogs frequently.

The 32/19 was about 4 minutes faster than the 32/20 over the "new" big loop out there which is around 22-23 miles. Should put a computer back on the bike at some point to get a correct mileage. The 19 just feels right and I don't feel like bothering with the smaller cogs I have sitting around.

I did not have a goal of seeing two dachshunds trail running today but I was lucky enough to happen upon them anyway.

Really, really, really need to get the Reba rebuilt, my fingertips feel like they got stepped on by toddlers for four hours today. Bah. Oh, and preesh to Brandon for getting a bigass cabin for Southern Cross.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sloss Cross- Bamacross #4

I have been trying to get a bike together for a cross race since the first one a month or so ago and finally made it out to one this weekend. Threw some Bontrager 29-3 tires on my Inbred and geared up to a 32/15 hoping that would be enough (it was not).

I did my usual 60 mile loop Saturday morning and nothing but fumbling over barriers was in my head the whole time. The ride went by super quick....really not that bad without the IPod I accidentally gave to the thrift store. Not sure how doing a long ride before a race is the best idea but hey, gotta do something after I drink coffee for an hour on the weekends!

On to Sloss. This was probably my second cross race I have done and it was awesome. The Bamacross guys did a stellar job on course layout although all the neon yellow tape confused me going through the turns during the race. Lots of people out for the race including many from Cahaba Cycles and the Bici Coop gang with a badass pit setup. I raced Mens 4 division with close to sixty other guys! That is way more than last time I raced, I like it. Goal at the start was to avoid any crashed during some tricky berms in the middle of the course and not throw up on the first lap. Double score.

I was probably top 5 or 10 guys spinning like mad down the pavement to get on to the actual course. I thought I would have an advantage in the turns because of the mtb tires but it just wasn't going my way. The guys with real cross bikes seemed to be able to dig down into the gravel and get some grab while I was drifting to the outside of the turns. Before I know it I was dismounting to dash over the first set of barriers. Shit, way too long since I have done this....slammed the rear wheel into the last barrier which I would do the three laps after as well. Next was the middle of the course over a railroad bed dropoff maybe a foot high then up two big, sketchy berms. This was where I made all my time up in the race, I was able to ride them each lap and passed two or three people each time.

Russell, thanks for the pics.

As we entered the second lap of four, I took a look back to see a train of at least fifteen guys right on me. Whoah, close race. Alan was nearby, as was Zach and Sean and a bunch of others I didn't know. I made time on some of the turns and the Berms only to get burned over and over on the flats. I had nothing on a real cross bike here, one would have been perfect for this course. A cross bike, who would have was nice to battle back and forth instead of being in no mans land the whole race.

Sean and I had a decent gap on the other guys now and a photographer near the last set of barriers said we were in it for third place. This didn't mean shit, I was going as hard as I could and barely able to breathe through all the dust in my throat. No water for cross? Please. I was able to get around Sean again on the berms and held him off through most of the course until the last straight section. 56 gear inches goes only so far and it wasn't enough. He got past me here and I could not pass again through the last twisties. I was happy I resisted the temptation to sit up and coast once he passed me which is my usual way. I think Alan was a few seconds back in fourth. Ross won our race and got bumped to 1/2/3s. Ready for Avondale!

Saw Lee out there and he mentioned something about doing the Colorado Trail Race next year. 50o miles. Self Supported. Hard core. All that is good. The bad part is it looks like about a 3 week time commitment and tons of gear to buy. Probably skipping this one but damn. Some day. Send my reg. in for Southern Cross in February, we should have a good group going from BHam out there.

OH! Just got an email from Maxxis accepting me into their sponsor program for 2011. Hell. Yes. Guess I need to find a Maxxis replacement for my trusty Rampage, Ardent maybe?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Two days in a row.

This will not happen often that I have something of substance to write about two days in a row. Truthfully, this is two weeks worth of stuff in two days...race season is over, not much to say. With that said, thanks to Richard (Dick?) Clark of Backcountry Research for sending me some 2011 stuff to uh, do some research with. After a double blind study I have concluded that one of these velcro thingies full of Awesome will indeed keep a tube attached to any round device on or near a bike.

This is the Zone, which seems to be a gussied up version of the Vital. I used the old model last year and it worked great but this seeems even better. It will probably end up on the seatpost but I can't stare at it worried it will fall if it is behind me.

To the right of the stem is an Epic Ride Research Mountain Feedbag. These things are badass for carrying any sort of food or map but I have managed to wear a hole in mine by keeping loose tools and whatnot in there. I have heard of people using chalk bags that climbers use on their bars for food but never dog accessories. We were at Superpetz or one of those deals last week and they have some sort of bag to carry something a dog would never need for about 7 dollars. Looks like it could replace the Feedbag eventually. Maybe Petco will sponsor me....

I am going to give the Wald cruiser bars a fighting chance before pulling them off to put on wide, flat bars like the rest of my bikes have. They have maybe a 25 degree backsweep and a couple inches of drop. They felt fine riding the trainer tonight, but who knows what will happen when I have to ohhhhhh, you know, turn and stop. Minor things.

Here is the current bike setup in the living room. Hell of a lot better than leaning them in one big pile and hoping they don't fall when a dog gets close.

Left to right:

Inbred cross bike: 32/15 with skinny Bontrager TLR tires
Trek 510: 40/14 fixed with stuff laying around. Oh, and XTR pedals worth more than the bike
Scandal: Winter mode waiting for the Reba to be Rebuilt. Great bike in any form. Way better than the two Niners or countless other SS bikes I have owned over the years, mostly due to not having an EBB to dick around with.

Pic dump over, time to go train for this cross race. I rode earlier and will walk the dogs up soon later. Pretty much the same as intervals and run ups. i think.

Monday, November 1, 2010

No really, it IS about the bike

I was about to say I had a love/hate thing with road bikes but immediately realized it is mostly indifference. I don't particularly enjoy road riding, I just do it to go to work or be in shape for the few times a month I manage to go mountain biking. A necessary evil if you will. Seeing that I "must" have one of these evils I have tried to do what I can to make it better.

List of bitches (complaints, not women):

A) I don't like the way road bikes fit. All the positions on the bar feel awkward and staring at a front hub is not conducive to avoiding traffic and potholes on a commute. Add a loaded pack in...yeah, no good.

B) Super easy to flat the tires and no room for bigger tires.

C) Road riding is boring, I need entertainment.

The fix:

First thing you will notice is Luke, the terrified cattle dog under the bike. It came very close to falling on him right before I took the picture and making him stay next to it did little to build his confidence in the situation.

This is a rushed picture of my new "road bike" after I built it. I mostly just moved parts over from my Surly and it turned out pretty damned good minus the camera glare but that is not a quality I was really looking for. Have not actually ridden it yet but the fit is dead on close to my mountain bikes and the old Trek fixed gear (I hate writing "fixie"...). NO TOE OVERLAP on this bike. Yes, I am excited about that. The old Trek does not have any either and it made unhappy with any bike that possesses this evil trait.

Novelty has not worn off the Powertap yet. Amazing how a simple screen can turn any boring stretch of road into an opportunity for self loathing or accomplishment. Mostly loathing, though. 140 pounds doesn't produce many watts. All the other parts are solid and dependable. I have had a carbon wonderbike (Trek Madone) and as badass as it was I too scared of breaking it to enjoy it so steel it is.


Soma Double Cross 56cm (57.6 TT, score)
Surly Crosscheck fork
Dura Ace 9 speed w/ flat bar shifters
XTR V brakes
Powertap/ Open Pro wheelset
Panaracer Pasela TourGuard 28c tires
Thomson post and WTB Vigo
Cheapie stem with Wald 872 cruiser bars flipped upside down
Shimano pedals

Built to last, son. Pity it's first ride will be on a trainer. How sad. Learned my lesson last week about long commutes in the rain...mean sinus infection all weekend.

More news and pictures this week after I find the camera cable.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Soma Double Cross

Got a new cross frame sitting here in the living room....but not to build into a cross bike. I got a 56 Soma Double Cross frame to replace my Surly Pacer. Why? Longer TT, no toe overlap, good to go with the Wald 872 cruiser bars I am using on this bike, AND better tire clearance. Who knows, it might see use as a cross bike with a second wheelset. Pics next week.

Also, got some of the 2011 stuff from Backcountry Research in yesterday. Pics of that also.

Pondering selling my inbred, dunno.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Next year!

Reminder to self: Southern Cross is Feb 26, 2011. Going to try and do this one barring an ice storm in North GA which is a good possibility. Going to ride the inbred with a bigger than a good idea ss gear and some 1.75 tubeless tires.

In other news, had one of the best rides of the entire year this weekend. Me and Tyree went up to Raccoon Mtn in Chattanooga, TN the day after the 8 hour race up there. This trail is awesome...if you have not been yet, GO, it is very much worth it. Weather was great, trail was packed down, and we went and rode Chunky. Chunky is the supposed Freeride section of this trail. One or two big drops are about but it is mostly big rock formations to ride up and down. I still have a rigid fork on my Scandal and it was great up in TN but sucks here at Oak Mountain. I think OM has just gotten so worn down over the years it is all washboard surface on the downhills.

Friday, September 24, 2010

September update

Very little interesting bike news this month...most of my time has been spent packing to move this weekend and riding my road bike to the tune of 200 plus miles a week. Almost all of this miles have come in commuting form due to finding a new less trafficky route home. This would generally be mind numbing for it but the Powertap on the Surly has made it so much better, almost like playing a video game with bad graphics the whole way home. Cycleops has awesome customer service by the way. Thank you guys for the new CPU.

I have not ridden a bike with gears this much in a long time and I am still not used to it. Something just feels wrong. On the upside I can ride everyday in the hills around here and not be fried by Thursday every week so that is cool. Very little mountain riding, I do not have time for it right now and I miss it.

I have been reading everything I can about an old running coach by the name of Arthur Lydiard. All of his training makes sense and is somewhat in line with the latest research on endurance training. I hate running but cannot stop reading about it....shrugs. All of this stuff discredits the recent trend of "do intervals to train for anything no matter what time of year" bullshit written everywhere. There is no easy way to get good at riding a bike for a long time except, ding ding ding, to ride a bike all the damn time. His findings are also something to think about for those that think P90x and Insanity are magic. Actually they might be magic but certainly not sustainable.

Three races I want to do are coming up that I will not be doing. Swank 65, Raccoon Mtn 8 Hr and Chainbuster 12 Hr. up in NC. I really need to cut the spending for the rest of the year on this stuff til I get a big sponsorship contract which should actually be any day now.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good advice

the words of Jonathan Vaughters--”It just doesn’t matter how your legs feel, you have to stop caring how your legs feel.”

damned rain on my off day

wishing i had the money to go do the breck epic

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's cross clinic

Well, got the cross bike together with some sweet tubeless tires which I flatted on the first ride. Rode Blood Rock on it then pinched the tire or ran over a railroad spike fifty feet later...not sure which. Probably pinched.

Then it stormed. So much so that I could not find a leak. Then I stood in the rain for about 20 minutes.

I really don't want to dick around with these anymore or shell out $120 for real tubeless cross tires. I think I will just use the wheels from my Scandal which is out of commission at the moment. Rampage 2.35 will be a good cross tire, won't it? I have lots of tires sitting around but none that are easy to set up tubeless and I am too spoiled not to go back to tubes on a bike that rides over bumpy things.

Bye now.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Gotta post this, first time I have been on a podium and not stared around sorta confused and ready to be far away from it.
Cycling News report

I am normally trashed after a race but don't feel like I did anything after Fool's Gold. It is strange. I am "resting" for no other reason that I am done with big races this year. Wish my bike fared as well.

Brake pads are GONE. Backing plates are all that is left of the front but there is still some pad on the rear from my conservation efforts during the race. Bottom bracket felt like shit yesterday but is fine today, guess the humidity freed it up? Either way, back in the frame it goes. I feel like a moron for buying an ISIS bottom bracket and crank....the only good replacement is the rare and expensive SKF units. Should have just got the square taper and bought a new $6.72 Shimano UN54 every year. Oops.

I own 4 bikes and three are out of commission at the moment, all that is left is the '84 Trek fixed gear. This is ok, all I really "need" is a bike to ride to work. Mountain bike rides can wait OR I can find a Niner demo from Cahaba to ride. That would be cool. No more typing...back to my End Of Season Recovery Fest.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fool's Gold 100 (or 50, whatever)

Leading up this years Fool's Gold event my main concern was weather, heat in particular. The 100 degree heat has drained the life out of me on most rides the past three months here in Alabama and I was not looking forward to one of the harder 100 milers around in triple digit heat. I would never have guessed that rain would be my biggest problem this weekend. Well, that and the abrasive soil content of North Georgia.

When we rode a couple weeks ago in Dahlonega it rained all night the night before and the trails were moist and dried out around noon so it was not a concern at all. Heath and I drove up on Friday, got checked in at Wheel Works and headed out to Camp Washega to find our cabin to stay in for the night. I didn't realize until we arrived that the cabin in the woods would not have AC...dumb, dumb, dumb. At least it was right by the start of the race so we would not have to drive at 6 AM.

I finally drifted off into a damp, sweaty slumber and was soon awoken by claps of thunder. Shit. I immediately had visions of Dirt, Sweat, and Gears in 2009 where I walked my bike through mud for about 25 miles.

Three hours later the downpour had not eased at all. Double shit. I ignored it and slept until about 5 AM and exited the cabin to be greeted by a noticeably more full stream than I had seen six hours before. We grabbed some of the hot breakfast provided by the organizers and set about getting ready. I am usually meticulous getting ready for a race and was a bit stunned when Eddie O Dea said the 100 milers were about to still locked to the car, no air in the tires, no number plate. We rushed over to the start line with the other 100 miler racers and the 50 mile guys waiting in the wings to begin their race 15 minutes later than us.

There were 15 singlespeeders including me and Heath and probably 50 guys in the open class including all the big guns who were leading the National Ultra-Endurance series Fool's Gold is part of. I noticed about 5 brave women there ready to tackle the long race also. I was a bit intimidated lining up with guys that travel around the country doing these things. Heath and I planned to stick together for the first lap then figure out the second when it came around. The race begins with a 10 mile gravel climb up to Cooper's Gap which was unknowingly going to be one of the more pleasant sections of the course. About a mile up the road the skies opened up with another deluge which would not let up for another two hours. I remember grinding up the climb in my 32/21 and thinking I was having a damn good time for riding up a huge hill in the rain. The trouble began on the backside of this, the Winding Stair descent.

The descent was very steep gravel road and was even sketchier than usual with the rain killing my vision. We took it easy on the turns and safely made it to the first section of singletrack. This is usually a fun, twisty section but the rain had turned it into a complete mess. This was the story for the rest of the race. It was on this section, about 20 miles in, where Heath asked how my brakes were doing. Mine were good ( I thought) and his were rapidly fading. I stopped at the end of a long descent to wait on him and was not paying attention when I noticed a rider hauling it into a sharp left hander I was standing near. I realized it was Heath just when he getting vaulted over a small log into a tree on the outside of the turn. I knew his brakes were done at this point but did not want to kill any hope he had. We made it to Sag 2 which was a total mess with missing drop bags, no water in the coolers, and plenty of riders with broken bikes already. This was the story of the day. The mud ruined brake pads and shifty bits with equal aplomb. We began the Bull Mountain loop which is where things got tough. The climb up Bear Hare took was too slick to ride and took close to 45 minutes to hike. This was the last time I saw Heath til after the race.

The descent down Bull Mountain was really hard on those with no brakes. I passed lots of riders walking down it and cruised into Sag 3 where the number of riders with dead bikes had doubled. I waited on Heath for about ten minutes then decided to go on alone. I kept broken up food in my jersey pockets unwrapped so it would be easier to eat. I reached in and pulled out a mass of Clif Bar, mud, and bits of trail debris. Oh well, can't starve out here...ate the mess and kept rolling. Between Sag 3 and 4 I realized why my brakes felt ok. They are Shimano XTs which are self adjusting as the pads wear so you cannot tell how much pad you have left from lever feel. I washed the bike off in one of the many deep creek crossings and saw a lot of piston and not much pad. Ugh, not good. I was still able to slow down but was not sure how long the pads would hold. After Sag 4 I began the No Tell/Black Branch loop which was tough in the dry and mostly unrideable in the now worsening mud. The downhills were the steepest on this part of the course and covered in peanut butter type mud. No crashed but I had little control of the bike here and just sorta pointed where I hoped it would go. I found myself beginning to doubt the possibility of a second lap, I would have to track down new pads, change them and fix the front brake that had been dragging for the last 40 miles.

I was struggling to walk up a greasy, doubletrack climb and saw a rider on the side of the trail who asked to use my multitool. This no longer even felt like a race and time was of no importance to me so I stopped and put on a new derailler hanger for him. Impressed...not many people carry a spare one. I spent about ten minutes on the side of the trail then pressed on to finish up the remaining seven or so miles. This consisted of a series of relentless gravel rollers that were a bit of relief since I was actually able to ride them and did not have to worry about my deteriorating brakes. I was in cruise control mode thinking I would need to head out for another fifty miles. I rolled across the finish line and someone stopped me and told me they cancelled the 100 miler due to the horrible conditions! I was in disbelief at first then a wave of relief hit me that I was done. I didn't feel like I had even raced, but I was finished. It was the oddest sensation but I didn't complain.

I finished the lap in around six hours which was my goal time for a lap in the dry which was cool. We watched all the stragglers coming in and washed our bikes. Heath and many others had to bail halfway through due to not having brakes or shifters. We saw everyone gathering for the awards and headed over to watch. They did the 100 miler awards separate from the 50 and based on times for the one lap completed. I had no aspirations of better than a midpack finish at a national level race and was stunned when Eddie called me up as 4th place Singlespeed. Total shocker but it great to get up on the podium at a big race like this one. Glad I happened to be wearing and Endless Bikes shirt so I could represent properly. Really mixed emotions about this race...stoked on a good finish, unstoked (not a real word...dont care) that I only got to ride half of what I signed up for and the sad state of my bike. Big races for this year are done so now it is time to eat, drink, and relax before cyclocross starts up in a couple months. I will try and post some pics from this race when I find them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Up in bear country

Yeah, said I would not pre ride the Fools Gold course. I lied...and it was awesome.

Went up and stayed in the Hiker Hostel in Dahlonega Saturday night and met up with the guys from Wheelworks to ride the race loop. Ended up only being five of us and the two that knew their way around bailed at the halfway point. The map Jon drew us might have worked well if we knew the trails. We did NOT know the trails and got really lost but still had a great time. Thoughts as they come to me:

Miller High Life tastes much better in the middle of a long ride.
The big gravel climb and Bull Mountain were not all that bad.
More technical than I expected (throwing the Rampage back on the front for the race)
Climb up Black Branch was just hellish, steep, rutted. Whatever, I'll walk it BOTH laps.
Air felt much better than the sauna that is Alabama right now.
2 laps seems doable and actually quite fun.
No more risers, I need the flats for a good climbing position.

Goals for the race:

Dont quit
Dont suck
Eat over $100 of food to justify the entry fee

Much more excited about this race now that I have seen the course.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One month to go

Fool's Gold is August 21st and I have felt like crap on the last couple long rides I have done and think I have the reason nailed down...or reasonS. Coffee and beer. Strangely enough, beer the night before and coffee the morning of a ride in the heat caused some dehydration before the ride even began.

I was off last Thursday so headed out for 5 hours on the Pacer. An oppressive wave of heat greeted me when I walked out on the porch at 8 AM. uhhhh, yeah. 107 heat index and one of those "polluted air warnings." The first couple hours were okay, hot but I was able to keep a good pace and just trudge on along. At about mile 65 I was getting cooked heading past Bass Pro Shops in Leeds and stopped to grab 30 oz of ice water from a gas station with the intent of pouring it on my head.

I knew better. I knew not to guzzle a bunch of ice water at once....but it tasted so good compared to the hot Gatorade I had. Now bloated and miserable, I had to do another 20 miles in the sun to get back home where I lay down in the living room for about 15 minutes. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Chalk that one up to a "learning experience character builder something or other".

Had a much better ride today. Drank Gatorade this morning instead of coffee and felt strong for about 4 hours at Oak Mountain. Pretty sure a skunk sprayed me or I ran over invisible cat shit somewhere...I smelled like death for about an hour and a half until the heavens opened up with a monsoon that washed the death stench off. The rain felt great at first but feeling good doesn't mean much with too much grit in the eyes to see anything. Made sure to head down the BUMP trail to see how slick it got in the rain. Awesome ride.

There is an organized Fool's Gold pre ride this weekend but i don't feel like driving out there. I figure affixing the course profile to my top tube with packing tape is about 30% as good as a pre ride and will cost me two tanks less of gas. I win.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"It can't be that bad..."

That is what I said to myself Friday night, a bit confused when Heath said he did not want to do the alleycat Saturday so he would be fresh for a 6 hour mountain ride on Sunday. I decided to soldier on and did probably the hardest 10 miles on a bike I have ever done during the Bici Coop alleycat.

4th place, finished with a flat tire, had a good time. Only problem was the next day fatigue.

Um, yeah.

Now I know why he didn't want to race. My legs were completely useless Sunday. The first 20 miles were ok but I felt like I was going backwards after that and bailed on doing the last loop. This either means I suck, I suck at doing short efforts....or more likely, both of these. Lesson learned. If these were midweek I would be ok, but christ...that just ruined me. Meh.

Schleck killed it in the first biiiig Alps stage yesterday, nice to see him get a win.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Road bike stuff

This is the latest iteration of my Surly Pacer, a bike I have had for almost two years and has felt odd for much of that time. I bought it after realizing I would at some point drop the Madone 5.2 I had been riding on concrete or something. I never really hurt bikes in is usually from leaning them up in a bad place. All of my current bikes could survive being dropped from a roof rack and I am fine with that...even if it means they weigh a little more.

Current spec:
Pacer frame and fork (heavy, rides well, has not broken. Awesome.)
Powertap hub on Open Pro rim with ancient front wheel
Protoype commuter tires
Dura Ace 9 speed drivetrain w/ XTR bb
105 brakes
Niner wide ass flat bar w/ Ergon grips (these blow on a mtb but are ok here)
Cane Creek headset (as good as King if not as pretty...)
Thomson post and WTB seat (Rocket V, needs to be a Vigo at some point)

I have decided that from a biomechanical standpoint it makes sense if all my bikes fit the same. This means wide bars, a someone short cockpit, and bars about even with the saddle. It is working well so far. I got a deal on a Powertap and have ridden it a couple times.

Road biking is always a bit boring but with good enough gadgets I can get by. I need a downloader thingy so I can have the computer tell me how tired I get around here instead of depending on the burning sensations in my legs and lungs, which are oh so subjective. I am doing the Bici Coop alleycat race tomorrow. Looks fun, 10 miles on some roads around town that I rarely ride. Can't beat a race that costs 5 dollars! Well, I guess free would be good but I don't mind paying the cash to good folks.

Oh yeah, and Hop City beer in Atlanta is badass. Went there a couple months ago and they have a good selection of homebrew stuff as well as plenty of good beer from everywhere around. The guy working there kept reccomending stuff we have around here in Bham. The Hebrew Messiah Bold is one that comes to mind, need to get this when I run out of the good stuff from out of state.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer is here

For as balls everywhere. I have not updated this in a month and for good reason. I have been lazy since Burn. I sat, I drank beer, I sat some more. After about two weeks of that deal I decided I would have to ride myself back into shape which is finally starting to come around. I rode about 4 hours out at Oak Mountain last Sunday and felt strong again, it was a strange feeling.

List of goings on:

-Registered for Fools Gold 100 Singlespeed and talked my buddy Heath into going.
-Bought a used Powertap. Geek mode ON.
-Missed another Bici Coop alleycat race.
-Found out they are doing a Tour de Birmingham all of July which I will do most of.
-Got the Scandal finished...24 pounds with 900 gram tires, pedals and all that stuff you need to ride.
-Headed for the beach for a few days with NO bike stuff involved. Nice change of pace.

I'm out, I will do a better post when I do better stuff that makes for a better post.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spectator friendly

Bump and Grind is this weekend....and I am not racing.

I have no idea if I could even pull it off after Burn last weekend and the ever increasing entry fees for short races is not exactly a motivating factor to bring me to the start line. Mostly I am just stoked to hike up to the top of the mountain and watch everyone else race this year.

I am back to feeling normal after the 24. Well, my hands still feel all geriatric but other than that I'm good. The day after sucked, I felt like I had a fever all day and got really tired taking the dogs for a walk. A flat walk.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Burn 24 Hour Race Report

This race could easily be summed up in 3 words for the ADD folks reading this...hard as shit.

I got it in my head to try a 24 hour solo race after finally doing well at a solo 12 (Dirty Spokes Unicoi) last year and went ahead and signed up for the Burn 24 Hour Challenge wayyyy back in January. I knew having already paid my money would serve as motivation to do the long cold rides in the winter, which I suffered through gladly hoping I would have enough miles in the bank come May 29.

The logistics that go into getting to one of these things is insane....the travel time, the money, the preparation. It is hard to imagine doing more than one or two of these in a year.I asked off work in a 4 day block for this Memorial Day weekend to give time to get up there and a day to recover once back home. I went over to Tyree's place Friday AM and we began to pack up the new Honda Element (thanks Cahaba Cycles). We hit the road around nine or so and I looked out the back window and was greeted by two bikes swaying WAY more than I was comfortable with on the hitch rack. After a call to the hitch place confirming that yes, this thing actually could hold an entire fifty pounds of bikes, I still did not trust it. I climbed under the car, shook the rack around some and decided it was time to hit the road. I spent the next eight hours terrified that one big bump in the road was going to send the whole deal crashing down onto I85 N. Rain was forecast for the weekend and about 400 miles into our 450 mile drive the bottom fell out. The campground for the race in Wilkesboro, NC looked like an EZ Up graveyard.
We busted ass to set up camp and soon realized we had both forgotten any sort of clothing appropriate for cold, wet weather. Oh well, bound to forget something. A couple beers and a sandwich later it was time for bed. I didn't trust my Dick's Sporting Goods tent so I slept in the back of the Element which was surprisingly comfortable. I woke up at about six the morning of the race greeted by some of the thickest fog I have ever seen, a beautiful sight. After an espresso and some breakfast I headed out to take a look at the course to see if I would need mud tires on the spare bike I brought...ehhhh, probably not. We met up with Lee (also racing solo SS) and nabbed one of the last good pit areas near the start finish.

Noon brought the dreaded LeMans start, a run all the way around the campground. I say run-I mostly trotted and tried not to cleat anyone around me. With 430 racers in attendance thinning the crowd was a must so the promoter had us do a parade lap. About half of us did a SECOND parade lap....still not sure how this happened and it wasted a good bit of time. Meh. My plan for the first part of the race was to keep my heart rate down and figure out which climbs I could use without burning all my gas before nightfall. Plan failed. I am still not sure why but I just simply rode too hard the first six hours...I knew better, the heart monitor told me not to....check for my first learning experience in a solo 24. I felt good despite going out too hard and rode consistent laps around the 7.5 mile course until nightfall. The Dark Mountain trails up there were awesome. Good steady climbs, fun downhills, and roots....more roots than I have ever seen on a trail. Every last one of them was slick from the high humidity at the race and proved very challenging to ride. Right around dusk I came into the first downhill of the course and saw a female rider down in the trail. I had no time for a good reaction so I made a horrible one and steered directly into a tree throwing myself directly onto my ribcage. Shit...not the right move with 18 hours to go. I didn't look at the damage because I really did not want to know if or how much I was bleeding (turned out to be mostly bruising).

8 PM saw a quick light installation, some chicken broth, Wheat Thins and I was off again. I clipped an Ipod to my helmet with the buds sort of hanging from it to try and keep sane during the night laps. The temperature dropped some and I immediately felt strong again. I knew my best laps would be at night and I was right. I rode all night with no stops at all and just focused on laying down steady times. Around midnight I had a really hard time mentally and have no idea why.

One minute I was happy and cruising along and then really sad I was not at home with Melissa which I had convinced myself would be better than riding at the moment. After spending ten minutes talking myself out of sitting down to cry (it seemed totally reasonable and possibly even productive) I regained some focus and got in a good groove on the tech sections out there. The hallucination began a couple hours after this and I was convinced there were people popping out from behind trees out on the course. It was around this time I realized Snickers and Mountain Dew were the absolute best race food I had at the pit...screw the clif bars, I needed some gas station eats.

I was insistent before the race I did not want to know what place I was in til 6 AM. Tyree had told me a coupe times I was doing well during the night but I did not press for any info. I came though the pit around 4 AM and noticed a singlespeed in a 29erCrew jersey (ended up being Fisher rider Dave Holmes) pass me. I heard someone yell, " Go get him! You just lost second place!" I really didn't feel like hammering to catch someone after riding this long so put in a consistent lap to find out how much faster Dave was than me....two minutes. Not bad. I went out around five in the morning to catch him and leave him for good. I passed him about halfway through this lap and hammered both big climbs on the course to try and put time on him. He passed me again and we rode together through one of the more technical sections and came to a dead stop against a root and just sort of stared at each other in a daze...not the best way to sneak away from your competition. This effort shattered my legs, which had felt like iron up until this. My hands were also on fire from the constant pounding of the roots, all I wanted/needed was to hold onto my podium position.

Around dawn, I saw Lee back at the pit and found out he was in fourth place BUT a lap back on me. I was comforted some by this and went into survival mode the rest of the race. The last few laps hurt. I was totally drained, felt like my legs were about to cramp, just generally getting my ass kicked by this trail. I rode lap 22 with Lee and we got back to the timing area with an hour and a half or so left til noon. From the results it looked like second through fourth was pretty locked in so we tossed our timing chips in. Dave came through a while later and found him so he wouldn't have to go back out for no reason. After collapsing for a few minutes I went to check final results. 3rd place singlespeed and hanging out in the top ten of all solo riders with 165 miles completed! I still have not wrapped my head around this but I am more than happy with how my first 24 solo played out. Called my mom and Melissa to let them know I was alive and headed back to Birmingham watching the bikes bounce the whole way back. I learned a ton at this race.

1)Bring more food than you think you need. Its hard to eat crackers with a totally dry mouth.
2)Ipods rule at night
3)Go way way easier than seems prudent the first six hours
3)Have a good pit guy if possible. Tyree was awesome.
4)WTB Vigo was a perfect saddle, no ass issues at all.
5)Hands really hurt the last few hours. Not sure what to do about this. Hate the Ergons I have tried and am not sure what gloves I should try next. Riser bar seems like a good idea.
6)Caught off guard by how pitiful I felt when I was done, it was ridiculous
7)Advil, Snickers, and soda...yes, please
8)I might have a heat rash...or poison oak. Pretty sure I didn't get scabies out there

Oh yeah, I need a wheel sponsor. Mine are wobblin

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stuff I should already know.

Lets see if this work....just figured out I could drag and drop photos on here...yes, just like anything else on a computer that has ever happened.

Okay, seems I need an ACTUAL picture location to copy but it will not let me take one from Facebook. Whatever...

This has to be from the first lap at Fort Yargo a couple weeks ago seeing as I am not covered in a mixture of sweat, gritty sand, and leftover food yet.
Dirt, Sweat, and Gears was yesterday and I decided to skip it this year in favor of a lazy weekend at home. I am 60% sure I made the right decision on this one but they sure do have some good prizes (1st place singlespeed got a new Misfit Dissent frame). Next year maybe? I was able to build up the Scandal frame yesterday since I was home with spare parts galore so now I have a back up bike for Burn. This means I do not have to borrow a bike I didn't build! I also recently acquired a Trek 5200 frameset which is just BARELY too big for me. I have no idea what I am going to do with this thing. Not the worst problem to have, I suppose.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Good for nothing

My legs are useless right now and it sucks. It is 75 and sunny and I cannot ride due to some of the worst soreness in my legs I have every encountered. Here is the worst part-this did not occur from doing a long ride or anything else that would justify this in my mind.

The culprit was about 30 deadlifts with 20 pound dumbbells....yes....TWENTY. I was thinking posterior chain strength was lacking and causing some lower back fatigue on longer rides. Ohhhh, how right I was. The good part of this is I know exactly what gym work I need to in the next couple weeks. I am also glad this did not occur the week before a race. My hamstrings are on fire right now and the 20 mile ride home from work last night was a total bitch, granny gear and all. Looks like this weekend will be cleaning house and maybe prepping my new frame.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dirty Spokes Fort Yargo 12 Hour report

Here we go again...another race with rain predicted. The second stop of the Chainbuster Racing 6/12 Hour Endurance series was this past weekend at Ft. Yargo state park in Winder, GA. I skipped this race last year (which was a mudfest from what I hear) for the disaster that was DSG 2009 up in Tennesee. I decided to go for it this year mostly because I could not come up with a reason not to. Additionally, the Burn 24 Hour is in less than one month and I felt I needed one long ride under my belt....and there is no way in hell I am doing a 12 hour ride by myself at some local trail.

We got the same hotel as in March when we went up to the Heritage Park race. The one difference was the most poorly designed handicap shower I have slant for the thing to drain, curtain bowed out but the tub did not. Just horrible- flooded most of the bathroom after the race. Back to bikes. I felt good coming up to this race, got in a hundred miler on my fixed gear the Sunday before the race with way more climbing than should have been on a ride of that sort. Took the rest of last week off and hoped for the legs to come around by race day.

After about 2 hours of fitful sleep we got over to Fort Yargo to get everything set up. I caught a couple glances of the trail driving in which would be a good preview of the rest of the race- super fast, buff singletrack with just enough nasty roots to keep you on your toes. I met up with Lee who we shared a pit with and he asked how many laps I was shooting for. Ummmmm. Not real sure so I threw out 9 as a number. The course measured out at 11.7 miles with 1600 feet of climbing (whoah). Lap 1 was super fast (over in 56 minutes) with tons of jumps and swoopy fast singletrack in and out of the woods. I had a local guy riding behind me giving me a veritable play by play on every trail feature coming my way. This would normally agitate me but he knew this thing inside and out, thanks Slo Mo whatever your real name might be. Lap 2 had me bumping up on 170 on my heart rate monitor again on most every climb. I felt fine at that point but knew I was digging a deep, deep hole for the next 10 hours.

The next lap I focused on just riding steady and not wasting energy and turned out a 1:07 which felt a little more doable. It was around this point where I fell into a groove where I was going just hard enough to not worry about how much time I had left to ride. Before I left Birmingham I grabbed a couple "just in case" gels that I doubted I would need. Turns out Ft Yargo had just enough roots to loosen the gel flask in my bag on the handlebars. Five ounces of Karo syrup, sea salt, and chocolate can and will get on everything given about ten minutes- this was disgusting and left me wondering how the hell a flask can unscrew itself. I had no idea what place I was in and on Lap 6 another singlespeeder caught up to me. This guy (Helmet Mirror Man) has beaten me in a few other races and I figured it was a matter of minutes before he rode away from me. We rode together most of that lap then he stopped in the pit. I would not see him again until the end of the race. After this lap the calculation began. Crunching lap times from the first half of the race to figure out how many laps was doable- ten seemed like a good guess so I ran with it and really hoped I would not have time to go out for an eleventh.

I came by the pit after Lap 8 to put on my lights and Melissa told me I was in first. I wasted no time and got back on the trail staring over my shoulder at every opening in the woods. My legs felt good but my hands were getting pounded by the roots and one of my toenails felt like it was slowly detatching itself from the rest of my foot. As I went out for my last lap the trail was getting quite deserted, I only saw a couple team riders still out there. They were easy to tell from the Solo guys- MUCH happier and cleaner. Every time I saw a light I tried to put a little more through the pedals but I was paying the price for not walking any climbs earlier in the day. My quads started the twitches that inevitably develop into cramps given enough time. I came up on another solo rider who said he was in second place in the Expert field. As I passed him the thought of winning this thing became a real possibility. I hammered the rest of this lap through the dark woods and came out into the clearing for the timing area in a little over eleven hours. No way to get another lap but it didn't matter a bit because I was the first singlespeed across and second place was over thirty minutes back at this point.

Ended the day (and night I guess) as 1st place Singlespeed and 2nd Overall with 117 miles and 16,000 feet of climbing. Lee ended up in 4th riding a rigid ss, dude has to have arms of steel! Super stoked to have finally won a long race like this and felt quite good the last few laps. Gives me some hope for the upcoming 24. We'll see.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I gave in

New frame will be here next week...

It is green.
It is 2pounds lighter than the Inbred.
Can't wait.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The thing that should not be

100 miles on a fixed gear- there are more reasons I should not do this than I care to list but none of them trump the fact that it will be way too wet to ride six hours of trail tomorrow as planned. I'm going to get going around eight or so in the AM then meet up with whoever wants to at noon from Homewood Cycles to round out my misery. I have been wanting/dreading doing this since I got my old Trek for $75 last year so here we go...

Also, Dirty Spokes 12 Hour at Ft. Yargo is paid for next weekend and I am going along with the girl and the beagle for support. I found a GPS of the course and it is 12 miles with 1600 feet of climbing per lap. The elevation profile looks more like this ^^^^^^ than one big mountain. This will be good if it is rideable and bad if I have to walk like five times a lap or something stupid like that. Report on this one up sometime next week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Doubled up

I have not posted on here in.....don't know, a couple weeks. In this time KFC has introduced the Double Down. I have been waiting on this with great anticipation partly because it reminds me of the concoctions made by the Rutgers Grease Trucks. The Grease Trucks serve creative disgusting food that only should tempt the drunkest of taste buds. I got the fried version of the double down and was a bit dissapointed. It was over 5 dollars and well, a big nasty mess of fried chicken and bacon. Not sure why I thought a sandwich without bread would be anything other than impossible to hold. I ended up putting it on a salad figuring the two would for a semi healthy conglomeration. Wont be getting another Double Down, which mean a trip to Rutgers University needs to happen in the next decade or so.
Two good rides this weekend.

Five hours yesterday on the Inbred, the majority of which was the LONG way to a five mile trail. I always stash my pack in the woods since I hate having stuff on my back. Got discovered by a runner this time who mentioned to me that he had found it. Fortunately he did not take it and after my long winded recount of why I put the damn thing under a pile of leaves there is no way he will ever mention it again.
Today was six more hours on the Inbred at Oak Mountain. I rode the trail four times which gives seventy miles give or take...not sure, no computer on the mountain bike. The fourth loop seemed easier than the third which gives me hope that there is some point where you can just go longer without the effort increasing. Seems to go against many laws of the universe, but I miiiiight be able to convince myself it works. Seventy degrees most of the day, pretty much perfect weather. I am very glad it is not 105 degrees yet outside during my longest riding weeks of the year. I think I have had 17 hours the past two weeks and 18 coming up next week. I am sleeping more than usual but am starting to settle into the high volume routine.
The Inbred is one of the only bikes I have kept for longer than six months but my eye is wandering once again with the new El Mariachi coming out this week: well shit, that is it the top of the page, uh look UP. FIXEDDDDD
Mission for this week: Find dog friendly hotel so we can go to the Dirty Spokes 12 Hour at Ft. Yargo Georgia.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring shed cleaning

Stuff I don't use that you can use if you pay me:

Light and Motion Arc Li Ion light (650 lumens, EVERYTHING included)- $175
Selle Italia SLR 135 saddle- $75
Fizik Gobi XM saddle- $30
Ergon GX1 and GA1 grips- $15 each
On One Carbon 29er fork- $150
Maxxis Aspen 29er tires ridden once-$10 each
Speedpay Zero road pedals- $50
Cane Creek Ergo Control bar ends- $25

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Laying plans

Yeah, the Hops have been Freed which is great and all but we seem to only have one beer distributor for all of Birmingham which is really limiting the selection here. Grass is always greener...I know, but I want a whole warehouse of beer to choose from. Good beer.

One of the redeeming qualities of having to drive to Georgia for bike races is the multitude of gourmet beer stores over there.

Green's Beverages- 2 locations (that I have been to at least), pretty good selection, sales staff known nothing about beer, cool Belgian beer cellar thing.
Five Points Beer- Located in Athens, best selection of anywhere I have been to aside from the awesome one in Asheville, NC which I forgot the name of, knowledgeable staff. I was too overwhelmed here to appreciate it much.
Turtle Creek Beverages- Winder, GA. Awesome store, one of the best I have been to mostly because of the two brothers that run the place. They know their customers and always have good suggestions based on what you already enjoy. And they gave me a free bottle opener- that is customer service.

Best thing I got over there was the Bell's Brewery Hopslam. This is pretty expensive, around 16 bucks for a sixer but brewed with honey and completely worth it. Get it if you can find it.

In bike news, I rode 16 hours last week and my legs are starting to finally shake the jello feeling. Easy week this week, I want to go do a night ride soon since I got some new lights (Ayups) recently and still have not ridden a trail in the dark with them-sad.

I am already registered for the Burn 24 Hr. Solo on May 29 but other than that I have no definite plans for the rest of the season. The Dirty Spokes series is great but I want to do something other than some lap races this year...seems more adventuresome or something to actually go somewhere in a race. The NUE 100 milers are damn expensive-around $150 for a day of riding. Either I am cheap or that is expensive, who knows. Cohutta 100 is a maybe right now. Fools Gold 100 I am going to go ahead and commit to...there, I said it so I am doing it. All 15,000 feet of climbing of it. What I really want to do are some of the stage races that seem to be popping up everywhere, particularly the pisgah one....hmmm

Monday, March 15, 2010

Heritage Park 6 Hour

Another bike blog...yay! Skip down for actual race stuff, lots of blabber below.

I guess this is where I justify why I succumbed to the blahg world. No good reason really, except that Shanna at Endless Bikes is hooking me up with some parts and stuff and I wanted some form of public forum to acknowledge this.

Option1: I could do this on MTBR but I gave that up for Lent this year, along with ice cream and swearing at other drivers.
Option2: Spray paint something on an overpass...effective but pretty sure I would get caught.
Option3: Blog nobody reads-the easy choice.

This time of year is one of my favorites due to NCAA playoffs, warmer weather, and the start of mountain bike race season for those of us who refuse to wade through 40 degree creeks at Snake Creek Gap in January. Same as last year, the first race of the year for me would be the 6 Hour Solo race at Heritage Park in Georgia on March 13. This was put on by the Dirty Spokes guys last year but now is being supported by Chainbuster Prodcutions. The course last year was 9 miles of tight, technical singletrack coated in a nice layer of slime-perfect. They took out one of the steeper hills and some other stuff this year to create an easier 7 mile course because of complaints that it was too hard. Wah.

I was more concerned with the shit weather and my shit immune system leading up to the race. It has rained almost every day here in Birmingham the past week or so and I anticipated something reminiscient of DSG last year. Worse though, was my state when I awoke on Thursday: feverish, weak, and generally miserable. A couple shots later (the doctor kind) and I was simply feeling miserable but not so weak. The plan was to just drink as much juice as I could in the next 48 hours and hope there were not many people racing Singlespeed on Saturday. Melissa and I packed all the garbage that accompanies riding a bike for an extended period and drove on over to Athens Friday night for a glorious night in the Sleep Inn.

We dragged on out of bed and over to the race site on an old horse farm of sorts, but I don't think any animals are kept out there. Somehow it only rained for about five minutes out of the entire day and it was perfect riding weather-55 degrees and cloudy. My plan was to start near the front to avoid the bottleneck of hundreds of riders entering the woods together. I realized how dumb an idea this was about 2 minutes into the race spinning out my 32/20 gear on a slight downhill while about two thirds of the field passed me, oh well. There are no big climbs on the course, just really tight twisties and muddy gullies to climb out of. It seemed like there were some new swoopy downhills this year which was awesome. I resigned myself to ride a comfortable pace, chat to whoever I was around, and try to conserve whatever strength the sickness had left me with. I settled in with another singlespeeder around the halfway point of the race, Scott Hodge of Addictive Cycles. This shop always seems to have tons of fast guys at every race I do in Georgia. We went into Lap 5 together and I heard Hodge yell to me that I was in third! I spent the next twenty minutes riding with him trying to figure out if he was joking or not. I decided I would ride better even if I was only pretending I was doing well so I ran with it.

I rode one of the climbs he was walking and ended up near some dude who told me he had "beard envy" and an extensive facial hair conversation ensued. He was not the most entertaining person of the race, though. That honor goes to some guy standing near one of the sections where it went from field back to woods. I passed him and heard him holler, "Alright number two looking stronnngggg. Keep it up. Big socks! Big socks! Keep on rollin!!" I laughed and rolled on into the next greasy downhill where I had my only wreck of the race. I am still not sure what happened but I remember having to pick what tree I was going to run into. I passed another singlespeeder at the end of Lap 6 and went out for a seventh and realized that this would be my last so I could finally push the pace a bit. This was my second fastest lap of the race and the only one where I rode everything on the course. Not five minutes after I completed this lap they had most of the results posted. I managed 2nd place Singlespeed out of ten or fifteen guys and would have been 5th place in Expert. Not sure how I did this with a bacterial infection but whatever, I'll take it-along with my 26 inch tire that was in my prize bag I can't use. Legs felt awesome all day, my one woman pit crew was great, and there was a rainbow that came out right at the end of the race.

Gonna add something about places for beer in Georgia later....wait for it, wait for it