Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Long pine classic 2010

1 2781 2:06:35 2781 SNYDER AARON ELITE OPEN
3 93 2:10:56 93 adams ray ELITE OPEN
4 101 2:13:13 101 hoover andy ELITE OPEN
5 2896 2:14:15 2896 Miller Matt ELITE OPEN
8 2782 2:22:31 2782 HARMON JAMES ELITE OPEN
9 538 2:23:42 topher Valenti ELITE OPEN
10 585 2:25:25 585 DECARLO CHRIS ELITE OPEN
11 106 2:25:47 106 laub mike ELITE OPEN
12 2785 2:25:59 2785 ATKINS DANIEL ELITE OPEN
13 103 2:29:49 103 KEMBLE ANDREW ELITE OPEN
14 439 2:31:40 439 alesio andrew ELITE OPEN
15 446 2:33:00 446 macinni john ELITE OPEN
16 2929 2:33:08 2929 Groves Leonard ELITE OPEN
17 1855 2:34:21 1855 Viglaski Rickeg ELITE OPEN
19 97 2:47:53 97 bonora dan ELITE OPEN

Last year the LPC was much cooler. This year it was 95 degrees out.
I was having massive anxiety attacks thinking about how much the start of this race sucked last year. With my super spinney gear 34x21 I was passed by everyone before we even got to the single track. So this year I was prepared. The 33x20 I ran was much better and so I was able to get into the single track with the top 10 guys.

After a few bobbles from up ahead involving one of the Alesio twins I found myself in 3rd or 4th. I was so happy that I wasn't stuck behind so many riders like last year. This was going to be a good race I thought.

Then I flatted. SOB! WTF! I flip the bike over and pull the rear wheel off and see that it's leaking from the bead. So I used my co2 and blasted it with air. It sealed up and I listened for air as 10,15, or 20 riders go by. Nuts! So much for my strategy.

I got back on and the rear tire feels soft and I know that I'm on the Virge of pinch flatting. I was cursing myself for not bringing a third co2 for this situation. Now I have to decide weather or not I should put a tube in and use my last co2 or just use my remaining co2 and hope I don't flat the rest of the race.

I decide to stop again and I can't find my last co2. WTF! I must have dropped it when I was messing with my tire the first time. So now I have to ask someone for air. How is this going to work out. Riding much slower now I keep on going. I asked one guy for air and he had none. Then down one of the first big down hills I find a guy with a flat. He has just enough air left in his co2 to harden up my rear tire for the rest of the race.

Suddenly I was flying. Wow I didn't know how much that rear tire was dragging. Now I'm having a hard time slowing down. Maybe I will be able to get back into this race after all.

But then I ran out of water. I don't know how I could have downed 2 liters in less then 30 minutes but I did. Or maybe when I was fixing my flat the water drained out of my pack?

Luckily there was a water station before the first major climb and I filled up my water pack, but it costs me time to fill up. Also at this point of the race the sport riders merge with the expert/elite field and I'm behind more riders and can't get buy. I was able to pass on the climb but it really took some extra energy to pass on the softer loose stuff. I cleaned the first climb with some encouragement from a fellow single speeder. Thanks!

When I got to the second and most heinous climb all I could see was guys and girls walking there bikes up the steep hill. Imagine everyone pushing their bike up this monster climb and no one is happy and everyone is cursing the guy who made this part of the race. Then imagine some fucker running up this bitch of a climb and passing them like they were standing still. Well that fucker was me and It really sucked when you didn't get out of my way!

Sorry for that unfortunate outburst. But I know that climb sucked and I followed my plan to get up it. If your only plan was to bitch and not get out of the way then you failed. Wow I better get off of this subject before someone thinks I'm really an ass hole.

I literally had to push my way through riders pushing their bikes up this hill!

After this climb I knew the worst was over. My thinking was that I was out of the race and I just was out there doing my best. Then I catch one of the twins and a Scott rider on the last climb. Alesio was dying of thirst and asked me for some water. I reluctantly gave him some and hoped that I had enough to finish. There was a water station at the end of the final climb so he would be ok. But it gave me new hope that guys were dropping out with cramps and dehydration.(nice, what a dick!) So I booked it up the final climb and saw the other twin at the water stop. Wow maybe I'm in better shape then I thought.

I rolled in for 8th place, but only found out that I got 8th today. Results were messed up and it was hot. I took off without my $80. Oh well.

Will I be back next year? I don't know. But I'm leaning towards no.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Putney West Hill Race 2010

2nd place and afraid to even touch "the one" Michael Broderick!

33x20 has been my workhorse gear for climbing races. And when I say climbing I mean normal climbing. Not Mount Snow climbing. I think I will be putting on my 22 tooth cog that I got for being in Single Speed USA in Tucson last February for Mount Snow.

Putney has some good climbs in it though and I suffered through them with my one gear. I think if I had gears I would have cranked them all the way down until I was spinning like the road runner and not really go anywhere. The climbs reminded me of riding my fixie over the winter and pushing a 42x17 up these big hills in the north west corner of CT.

Before the race Josh mentioned that Justin Lindine would be at the race. So I thought for sure he would win. But instead of Lindine, Michael Broderick shows up straight off the world cup tour in Europe. Super nice guy. I imagine he was yawning out on the course when no one could stay on his wheel.

On the starting line I was looking around for some other top guys. Powell, Snyder, Mooradian,? Nope. So who do I have to look out for to get some points. Foley was the only one that I would have to worry about. Unfortunately for him he was having a bad day and finished 7th. And Josh was also not feeling good for 8th place.
30 seconds to go! I hope this works.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coyote Hill 2010


John Foley and I duked it out but Foley took 3rd place and me 4th.

I think the most I think the most interesting thing about the race was our bikes. John has a full suspension 29'er with gears and I'm on a fully rigid ss 29'er. Except for both being 29'ers they were essentially at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

The terrain was brutal with roots and rocks and fast down hills. At one point I had to launch over a mud puddle at the bottom of one of the fast descents hoping that It wouldn't end my season early.

I dropped Foley on the initial long fire road climb and gain about 45 seconds then he would catch me on the back half of the course. My guess is that he used all of his suspension to compensate for the loss of time. Then we would finish the lap together.

The last lap I knew my only chance was to hit it hard on the climb no matter what happened. Sure enough he caught me towards the end of the lap and I held his wheel. He was in front of me as we passed Sweeney walking his bike from a double flat. I was on his wheel and needed to pass him but couldn't find the strength or line.

Foley's HRM was going off like he was a ticking time bomb. My own alarms were going off in my head.

I couldn't get around him and that was it.

So is it the bike or the rider? You decide.

I also thought that my Stan's crow tire worked really well on the wet roots.

The Monte was there too. Unfortunately he was running on empty and all of the training for his big event left him without a leg to stand on so he dropped out after the first lap.

All of his training payed off in Ohio at the Mohecain 100. Harlen Price and Gerry Pflug didn't know what they were up against. Way to go Monte!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Winsted Woods 2010

33x20 was a good gear for the climbs but super spinny once we got out on top.

I went out way too hard on the first 1/4 of the first lap and had to suffer for the next lap. Just keep climbing as hard as you can and pedal through the rough stuff.

Mooradian kept out of sight ahead of me and I would see Powell already descending when I was going up the second climb. I was really lucky to not flat on the rocky decent. Too bad for Foley who flatted. Foley moto'ed past me on the rocky decent like he was on a freakin' dirt bike. He would have placed better than me for sure. Lot's of flats that day.

Josh had a mechanical after a crash which cost him some time and frustration.

Congrats to Charlie Beal for wining the single speed class. And Brian Cantele who won the 40+ class wearing a 503 cycleworx's jersey.

See you at Coyote Hill.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Orchard Assault Umass 2010

I won.

Thanks to Thom Parson for bloging about this race last year. It helped me to chose the right gear. 33x19.

Thanks to Mike Mooradian for telling the time keeper that I won.

Josh got 3rd!

Perfect course for a rigid single speed.

That was a lot of fun!


Idyllwild Spring Challenge Race Report

Just to warn you this post is super long so get some coffee and a snack your going to be here a while.
The terrain-
The 30-mile XC course near Idyllwild is like riding through a dessert with vegetation on top of a mountain. Mostly sagebrush and manzanita and pine trees, but no cacti. The mountain is a giant rock of granite so the trails are sandy and dry with decomposed granite type of dirt. If you have ever been to Fantasy Island in Tucson they you know exactly what the trails are like in Idyllwild. Except put Fantasy on the side of a mountain. Banked corners galore. The trail went from 4500ft to 6500ft in elevation.

Kurt Gensheimer is a super cool dude that is from San Diego but originally from Boston. He was the only other Pro SS so he and I were 1st and 2nd both days. He ran a 34x20 on a carbon 26’er with a Fox fork. I ran a 33x20 on my 29’er. (44.2 vs. 47.9)

At the start of the race we were both wondering where all of the other “Pro” SS’ers were. Where’s the Niner Dudes? This is a National race, right? So why was it just the 2 of us? If I had known that there were only going to be 2 guys I would have signed up for the Men’s Pro race. I guess you can’t count on there being enough SS to show up.

The course is a 30-mile loop. No laps. It was kinda like the SSUSA course in Tucson. Lots of climbing too. Most of the climbing I knew was in the first 17 miles so my strategy was to leave it all on the big climbs and hobble the rest of the way home. Running the 33x20 was a sure bet that I could climb just about everything so I felt confident with each pedal stroke that I could keep up the tempo without having to worry about going too hard.

The Start-
Kurt and I started behind the pro class and after a quick section of single track (ST) and down a hill section called “The Demoralizer” it was flat city for about a mile. No way I could match the Big Ring pace and I could see up ahead Kurt spinning in quick spurts. Not knowing what kind of rider Kurt was I wanted to see how he handled the first climb/hike section. The “Tunnel of Love” was a washed out steep section that had some of the pro guys walking with their geared bikes. I’ve been practicing running up climbs so I buried myself and got a huge gap on Kurt and some of the pro riders.

One pro caught me with his FS bike on a downhill section but I soon passed him back on the next climb. (The first of three climbs with a prime at the top for the KOM/QOM.) The “Keen Summit” climb had a prime of $25. Manny claimed this one and the other 2 climbs.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Manuel Prado he is a big time rider for Sho-Air and won La Ruta. He is also a sick climber and won this race for the last few years. I bet he only weights 125 lbs. and I overheard him talking to a guy saying that back home he once climbed 60,000 feet in one week of riding. The guy is no joke. The other Pros would gather around him hoping that some of his skill and power will rub off onto them. I think he walked away with over $500 in prize money.

After quick decent on swoopy ST we made a right into a beautiful grass meadow that was a slight incline. Man I was needing a bigger gear right now to go faster. Doh! Stupid Speeder!
Then I climbed a fire road and dropped into some swoopier ST. The second big climb started. They actually had a sign that said, “start of climb #2”. I climbed most of it and ran some short sections. Each climb they let you know when you were 100 yards from the top so you could sprint to the top for the $50 prime.

Another down hill before the start of the 3rd and final climb. Pine rd is paved and steep. Jesse was there to give me a fresh bottle and half an orange. Thank you Jesse for being there. Jesse was so supportive to me the whole weekend. She took pictures and encouraged me a lot, and didn’t complain (more than me) when the awards took forever. She wants to go back for 2 weeks next year so we can do some hiking and see more stuff. Can you say training camp? At elevation! With some of the best trails in the country!

So, we climbed and climbed and climbed. And it got steeper and steeper. It was paved near the top and I had to get off to walk. One pro guy I caught in his granny and another one was walking. Finally I got to the top and asked the people at the trailhead how many riders passed. “Maybe 7” was the reply.

Now came some gnarly down hill ST. I wish I could have pre rode this section because I think I could have gone a little faster. They had signs saying “Danger Slow.” I would get freaked out and slow down too much and then afterwards think that wasn’t bad. We went down part of the Super D course and it was fast like a water park slide. So much fun.

One final short climb to the end and down the Tunnel of love. Back on the pavement, and up the “Demoralizer”, Down a few whoops and I was done. 2:44:02. Kurt came in at 2:51:43. I would have been 6th if I was in the Pro men’s class. Which is about right for the guys I ride with here on the East Coast.

A Cat 1 Sho-Air guy in the 30-34 class would have podiumed for 5th with a 2:38.

Some thoughts I have are what could I do differently to make it with the top Pros that day. Should I get a super light geared bike with suspension? Would that make me faster? Or would I just blow up trying to push too big of a gear and not push myself hard enough on the climbs. I think a solution would be to get a 3-speed hub. I would still have the benefits of a straight chain line. Then I could have one harder gear for the flat paved sections and one easier gear for the climbs. Question is do they make a high performance 3 speed yet?

3.5 mile Time Trial-
After the XC awards on Saturday I headed out to the TT course. It was well-marked and super fun. Jesse hiked while I rode it. I sessioned a few tricky sections and did 2 laps. So I rode a lot that day. Romolo was out there too and told me we would have to do 3 laps. During practice it took 22 minutes so it would be about an hour and 6 minutes. I was happy to learn when I lined up that we only had to do 1 lap.

Using my cross style starts I just annihilated myself. I went out maybe too hard and felt the ride form the day before. I stuck with the 33x20 because it was a down and back up race. My goal was to catch the guy that started one minute ahead of me. I recovered some and hit it hard again. Near the end I spot my victim. I’m on the hunt now and I can sense his fear. Every short climb I buried myself and sprinted. Closer and closer I got until the final stretch. An uphill sprint to the line and I got him! Some guy was yelling, “your sprinting like a cat two rookie” to the guy next to me! I did get a “Nice single” from the guy I sprinted against.

Again I wish I were in the pro class because I had the 3rd fastest time for the TT at 17:53. Manny had 17:26 and Dana was 17:44. I would have loved to be up on the podium with those guys. 1st place for me again. Kurt came in at 19:10.

I’m definitely going to have to do more Super-D’s in the future. So much fun! At least twice I had a “Oh Shit!” moment. But I managed to pull it off. On the second OS I didn’t slow down enough for a right turn so I was sliding sideways for a while and had to go for a real crappy line. Going so fast makes it possible to jump further over stuff to clear obstacles. The 29’er wheels gave me lots of confidence. There were single track and fire roads. A little bit of up hill and lots of slight down hill.
Kurt had been to Downiville 3 times and is used to these high-speed endeavors. Plus a front fork gave him a slight edge over my 29’er wheels. Although I think 29’er on a rigid bike makes it feel like a 26’er with a shock.
He started one minute behind me so I thought this would be his chance to catch me. During practice I took 22 minutes to get down. I didn’t shine like the real pros but I still edged my way past Kurt for the final win. 16:26 was my time and 16:40 was Kurts. Not bad for my first Super-D. The fastest time went to Dana Weber with a 14:58. Sick!

It wasn’t all down hill. There were some climbing and some tricky spots and some flats. U was spun out with my 33x17. I could have used a 13 or 15, but whatever. 1st place again. Lot’s of cat 1’s had a better time than me. I’ll have to look and see all of the results to see where I placed overall.

Stage race results
Since I won all 3 events as a pro single speeder I won the stage race. Unfortunately I don’t think these results will count towards my overall ranking as a pro since there was only one other guy. If I signed up for the pro men’s I would have taken 5th for the stage race. On a rigid single speed to boot.
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Idyllwild Time Trial

I caught the dude that started 1 minute ahead of me. We up hill sprinted for the line and some guy shouts out to the other guy, "Your climbing like a cat 2 rookie." I thought it was funny. I got him at the line.

Here are the results.