Monday, July 20, 2009

12 hours of 909

Laps/Time/Mins per lap

The times shown are with breaks. The first 5 laps I didn't rest much but after that I was stopping after every lap to eat something. I was searching for the results and found that Heather Rizzi from Team GT blogged about the race and said that the laps were almost 9 miles long and 900 ft of climbing per lap. So if I went 11 laps then I did almost 99 miles and 9,900ft of climbing. That's a lot of 9's. Can I just call it 100 miles and 10,000ft of climbing? Thank you that's much better. I can't find the results yet but I think I did the most laps for solo and matched laps with some teams.

The top men soloists were on single speeds! I think single speed is the way to go for long events like this because as long as you don't pick a monster gear you save yourself throughout the race. Monte did a great job trying to reel in his team with killer lap times, but unfortunately his new found gears might have got the better of him and cut his race short. I'm sure racing every weekend since February and not resting much has a lot to do with it too. Get some rest Monte and you'll be killing it again soon. I think my 34x21 was just right for this longer race. If I come back for a short race I would use a 19 or 20.

The course was really amazing! There was only a few sections that were muddy despite the 2 inches of rain the night before. The worst of it came as a freshly bulldozed logging road that had most of the climbing for the race. The tires just got stuck and slopped mud over the brakes and gear(s). But once that was over you got to go through 40 feet of standing water that washed the mud from the tires and then my bike would feel lighter again. Then it was down hill swoopy awesomeness that was wicked fun! The rest of the lap was all like that with a few short climbs that were not too hard but towards the end of the race I was walking up.

I thought my back would kill me or my butt, but they didn't. My hands started to hurt a lot and get those blisters under the callus but then I switched to my old fox gloves that had some padding in them and they worked perfect. I wish they still made those. That WTB rocket v saddle worked really well. I kept the tire pressure around 23 and that helped too. I'm still not too happy with the lack of clearance the rear tire gets. Rocks were getting lodged between the tire and frame and grinding. Not cool. I also found out the next day that I broke a spoke on the rear wheel.

11 and a half hours of riding with mud

Thank you all for cheering for me and wishing me good luck. I had a lot of motivation thinking about you during the race.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pat's Peak

The race was good and I surprised myself with getting 8th overall in the Pro/Cat 1. As I was warming up for the race I felt like I just couldn't get it in gear. Funny because I only have one gear. Not funny because the start was watching everyone pass me up hill clicking through their gears. Then we get to the flat section by the pond and there is like 20 guys ahead of me just floating away from me while I make a half assed attempt at spinning very fast. Then the first tricky section (with the pallets) hit and I took the wrong line while my team mate Josh was telling me which line to take. I wasn't paying much attention and later as he was telling me the story about how I took some funked up line that took me off the bike I would respond with "I don't remember." Well the next 4 laps I would take the right line (actually it would be the left line) and everything was fine.

Everything was fine. We all got to the bottom of the first climb and I could see everyone. Cool, I wasn't out of the race yet. Colin and I dueled a little bit on the first or second lap. We would hit a hill and I was ahead and then he would pass me with his mad skills on the down hill. It was fun to watch him go so fast down some rough terrain and right then I was wishing for a full suspension bike. My 34x23 was not helping me on the flats or down hills but it sure saved me to go 5 laps up a ski slope. I think I could have gotten away with a 22 but I didn't have one at home. I've got to remember to order one.

It was fun riding with Colin and Kevin. Even thought they might not sound like they had any fun in there blogs they really were having fun. I think. Well it seemed like they were having fun. I'm sure it wasn't fun going over the handlebars but hey no one got hurt. Too bad.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. Here is my view about the conditions of the course and all that jazz.

I'm not just saying this to be the devil's advocate but I liked the course. Maybe it's because I raced it last year when the conditions were much better and that's when I fell in love with the course. This year with the radar full of red and green the night before the race and with all the 24 hour riders (God bless them) out on the course turned some sections into a muddy yucky mess. But it's not like we haven't ridden through mud before. This whole year has been shit for weather and mud is the name of the game. Yes I will admit that my heart sunk when I came across the palleted section and saw 4 inches of slop. But actually the conditions got better as the race went on. Things dried out a bit on some sections and overall it wasn't too bad.

To me the open ski slope sections were nice because you could see who was ahead of you and it gave me hope that I could catch a few guys before it was over. Maybe it was the gear that I had that kept me from red lining the climbs and I didn't overheat too much.

As far as going off course I remembered all of the turns from last year and didn't have a problem. I loved the guy at the top of the course with the ramp. Every time I went off that thing I laughed and it was fun. It kept me in a good mood though the race.

At the start of the race when we were asked if we wanted to do 4 or 5 laps I really wanted to do 4. I'm sure Andrew Freye wanted to do 4 also. It's amazing that he won the 6 hour race with 11 laps and then race the pro race the next day and get 2nd! That dude is Amazing! 5 was the number and I'm happy it was because I was able to wait it out and pass some guys on the last lap. Sorry Josh.

So overall I enjoyed the course very much. I can tell you which course I won't be enjoying if I even go. Mt. Snow. I have a feeling I will go, but I'm threatening to not go if there is any rain a week ahead of the race. So I'm pretty much not going. We'll see. I raced that course 3 or 4 times over the last 2 seasons and the only time I had fun on that course was the day before Nationals last year. I liked the changes they did because of all the bitching on the Root 66 bitch board. (I miss the old rt 66 message board, don't you?) So the course was somewhat rideable. And I didn't scream like a girl when the down hill rooty craziness was dry. Then it had to dump rain overnight and messed things up. Let's just all pray to the Cycling god that there will be no rain this year. Please!

My new bike, the Salsa Selma single speed, is doing very well. I'm loving the traction and handling of the small frame and big wheels. I like my new tire, the Hutchinson Python, on the rear. I've discovered that if you lower the tire pressure to 23 it grips anything. Even though I'm fully rigid I think I can still go faster with the bigger wheels. However, I don't like when the mud sticks to the tires and my bike instantly becomes a tank. Dry conditions are a plus for this bike.
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

PA trip, The Long Pine Classic

I had a really nice time going to PA to visit our friends Julie and Tim with their 5 kids. It turned out to be an all bike weekend! As soon as we got there Friday night they wanted to ride bikes and on Saturday Luke and Bethany took me on an epic ride up Kings Gap. Luke is now hooked on bikes and wants to ride for a living. They all came to watch me race on Sunday and on the way home Luke said," everywhere I go I see bikes now." That's when you know your hooked. It was all he could talk about.

Friday night I pumped up tires and straighten wheels. I tried to fix little Joel's tricycle but it was missing a pedal.
That didn't slow him down he just pushed his bike up the hill. Total single speeder in the making.Luke with the full moon behind him. Bethany looks really cool in this shot. That was a magical night. There were firefly's out in full force and a really sweet sunset. It seemed like a dream.Bethany and Luke at the top of Kings Gap.
It was Bethany's idea to ride from their house to Kings Gap on Saturday after breakfast. It turned out to be an epic 2 hour ride. These kids are only 8 and 10 and they were on bmx bikes. I had no idea what Kings Gap was but it sounded cool. 4 miles of climbing later and we were at the top. We had to stop a few times and at one point Luke said he felt like turning around but then said "I'm not a quitter!" They did awesome! 12 miles all together. It was the longest they had ever ridden and they were really proud of themselves. I was really proud of them too.

Here's a little video of them going down from King's

On the Fourth we headed over to Julies Aunts house near Lancaster and had a picnic, played Frisbee, and the kids played with sparklers. Afterward we watched some serious fireworks.On Sunday I drove down 233 for 45 minutes through Michaux State Forest and arrived at the Chambersburg Reservoir. Julie and Tim live on a farm surrounded by corn and soybean fields with only a few trees along the roads and houses. But if you drive just a little bit south your in the mountains of pine trees. Michaux is a really beautiful area and I hope to get back there to explore some more trails.

The start of the race was weird. They did a "neutral" start by having a dirt bike pace us down the dirt road for a mile and then turn off before the single track. I don't know if this was good or bad, but I was getting passed by every geared rider in my class and the expert class. So basically it was a plan to screw all of the single speeders. We finally got to a hill and I could pass a few people before the single track but I was DFL!

One thing that was good was that the conditions were dry and fast. I was really happy I put my new 2.1 Hutchinson Python on the rear. I could really feel the difference in less rolling resistance. I ran 25lbs of air in the back and I think it was perfect for the dry conditions. I was slipping on some wet rocks for one little short wet section but I think if I lowered the pressure it would be fine.

So into the single track and I'm behind guys that were crashing left and right so I start to make moves and work my way up. I would get behind someone and ride their wheel for a while and then an amazing thing happened. I decided to just ask the guys if I could pass them. And they pulled over for me. How nice was that. I must have asked 3 or 4 guys if I could pass and they were like "Okay" and pulled off. Weird. Not what I'm used to.

The single track was amazing stuff. Not too twisty but plenty of curves and rocky sections. Really fun and fast stuff. I don't think some of these guys were used to going over logs too much and were getting off their bikes or crashing right in front of me. I wound up falling off my bike over a rocky section and scratched the Selma up a little and gave myself a nice bruise under my left calf muscle.

So finally we get dumped onto a fire road and I see the lead group. ( I think) I smashed like hell to catch up to them and managed to hang onto the Bike Doctor Jed Prentice's wheel. At this point we get onto a flat fire road and I draft off of him spinning like mad. I think he might have been a little annoyed and pulled over. So I pushed really hard to get to the next single track section. Jed got in front of me just before the single track and for the next few miles he would take me on a really fast ride. He's on a full suspension bike and I just stuck to his tire through every curve and drop. I was having some real fun now and encouraged him to go faster. We were rippin' it. We both made up a lot of time thanks to him. Thanks Jed if you are reading this.

We were still together all the way to the bottom of the course. Then all of a sudden he was clicking through the gears in panic mode. Down shifting. My self only having one gear I was able to pass on the right up the first short climb. And then I saw it.

Click here to get a better view of the miles and elevation gained.

Looking back I think Jed must have ridden this course before and maybe he was sketched out knowing what kind of pain must lie ahead. I just was out of the saddle trying to gain some ground between us. I don't think I have ever climbed anything like this. IT just kept going up and up and up. We would turn a little and more up. This was like going straight up the mountain. I don't remember for sure but I think I climbed all of the first climb. I knew that I had 2 more giants to go. The down hill after the first climb was super sick. Lots of turns and fast. Then it felt like you hit the bottom of a well and up you go.

At this point I wasn't even trying to climb. This was steep! So off the bike and I'm walking as fast as I could go. Up ahead I see some guys carrying their bikes. With or without gears (even granny) you were off the bike. Then I would hop on the bike to ride a short section and then hop off again. Once I was on top I got screwed again. (see chart, after second climb) A single speeds nightmare. Flat or slightly down hill perfectly smooth dirt road for what seemed like a mile. I think I was willing to sell my soul for gears at this point. All that hard work on the climbs just to be caught on the easy dirt section. But Cycling God must have heard my prayers and I made it to the top of the down hill without anyone catching up.

The third and final major climb was not so bad. At some point it dumped us out onto a dirt road climb and then I just annihilated myself! Out of the saddle and smashing it! I had the Bike Doctor again to thank because it gave me a vision to defeat the Doctor. I must beat the Dr. The stinking rich Dr. Up and more up. I thought it would never end. But it did. Right onto more flat or down hill dirt road that would make you cry to see how slow I was going. I'm tucked right up with my hands together at the stem and pedaling like I'm mashing potatoes. Slight down hill and it was pedal, pedal, pedal, tuck, pedal, pedal, pedal, tuck. How many minutes wasted?

Finally I turn off and I know the end is near. My camel back is out and my bottle in the cage is dry. One big loop and no feed zones. I think I like that. ? I don't know. Anyway, I'm trying to bomb this down hill and it's all loose rock and logs going across the trail. Full suspension would really have been nice. Down onto some single track and I'm giving it all I've got. Pounding my way through the twists and turns and thanking my bike for being so awesome! Out onto another dirt road and I'm tucking and spinning. I get to see Jesse and Julies kids cheer me on as I turn onto the final single track. I smash it up a short hill forcing myself to push with all I had left and I crest the hill to see a rider. Hey! I can catch that guy! So off I'm flying and up the next short climb and I've almost got him.

What are those people standing there for? Why is he stopping and why is the guy taking off his tag. Is this the end? Yep. The end. Weird. No finish line just the end. So I came in 6th place in the Elite group and was the fastest single speeder of the day! I won $105 too. I can't find the results yet but I will post them as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading my blog.