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