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.


  1. Congratulations on a great result (nice write-up too).
    Out in PA did the sky get truly black and you could see a million times more stars than in CT?

  2. Michaux is super tough and the comp at m.a.s.s. is also, 6th is a great finish out there..congrats