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.


Tahquitz rock overlooking Idyllwild.
the mountain

the other side of the mountain from the valley.

Bud is the owner of the Bike Route. He was here when I was a kid.
High dessert terrain. Swoopy and dry. Perfect.
1st place out of 2! I won the XC, TT, and Super D for pro ss.
My award.
Don't worry if you cant read the numbers. I cant either. But if you compare my times I would have been 5th for Pro. I'll take 1st for ss instead. Manny Prado takes the win.

I have a huge race report that someday I will post. It took me like 4 hours to write it and my computer wont give it back. I hate computers! Have a nice day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Singlespeed-a-palooza 2010, and my game.

Dear reader, It’s All Lepo has been on the back burner lately and I’m sorry for that. It’s important to me that we all connect on this level for some reason. I know the behind the scenes of what goes on in my life is important to you. And vice versa. I will try to do better.

The reason for the lack of posts is that I got rid of the internet at home. I stopped using the internet mid March and I’ve only been on it one or two times since. I can check my email and blogs from the library computer, but I have only gone twice.

Singlespeed-a-paloosa has been on my mind for a long time. I was really focused on seeing if I could beat the “Monte”. For some reason this year I have jumped up my game a lot (I’ll talk about that later) and I’m able to hang with some of the best single speeders in the country. So thinking that I might have a chance gave me some hope.

The start of the race was interesting rubbing elbows with Dejay Birtch. Who came all the way out from CO to play in the mud and lose his brakes. Dejay is sponsored by Niner, and also hosted SSUSA in Tucson last February. Super cool guy with a super cool bike. Not so cool brakes.

Dejay and Foco were hitting it hard up the Major Mike climb with The Monte just ahead. Getting around Foco on the climb was a good move because The Monte and I took off together and got a good size gap off the front and didn’t look back. I ran a 33x17 and didn’t have any trouble keeping up with The Monte’s 34x16. I was feeling good despite the wheezing and grunting, as someone pointed out on Big Bikes comments. I wonder if they noticed me drooling all over myself, or saw me dry heaving. This time of year with my allergies I get a little congested. Once the pollen goes away I sound much better. We rode together for the first lap and up Major Mike again and that’s when the shit hit the fan. The first lap was great without most of the mud, but once 250 riders came through it was a different story. My brakes started failing during the first lap and once I started descending down Major for the second time I knew I was in trouble.

My brakes were bottoming out as I watched The Monte float away. Things started to get hairy and I resorted to going “Old School” and put my foot on the rear tire to slow me down. This only partly worked and I didn’t have much control. I eventually went off the trail and decided that a stone wall would make for a softer landing than a tree. I don’t have luck with trees. After crashing and not getting hurt too bad I continued on trying to see if I could catch The Monte. I never gave up, but It would escape me and I would come in happy for 2nd place. Way to go Monte! You truly are the fastest single speeder in the land.

Amazingly Josh Wilcox came in 3rd! 2 spots on the podium for 503 cycleworx! And Stine came in just after him. Way to go man! Sean Cavanaugh did very well after a season off of racing. And CB2 without a front brake from the start came in 12th.

Thanks Darkhorse cycles! The new course was awesome! I really liked going through the building and the stairs were a lot of fun. Not so much the second lap when my bike weighed 15 lbs more but still fun. And thanks for the huge payout! Thanks for giving us single speeders a chance to shine. Looking forward to the DH 40!

So you want to know how my game has improved? It didn’t happen overnight as some people might think. It’s not like I did one thing differently and all of a sudden I’m faster than last year. There are a few things that stick out in my mind that I can say has made me faster and one of those things is Josh Wilcox. Josh and his bike shop 503 Cycleworx has helped me to get to where I am today. He provides me with the tools and information that I need to get faster and he pushes me to do better and is super encouraging all of the time. Plus he is really hard to keep up with and pushes me past my limits constantly. Bottom line is without Josh I wouldn’t be doing as well. Also guys like CB2 (Charles Beal). He schools me over the technical stuff in the West Hartford Res and is also really encouraging and positive to ride with. You all have made me a little bit faster by giving me the incentive to try and reach your level of riding. Inspiring riders like Sean Cavanaugh, Thom Parsons and Rob Stine, not to mention The Monte. You all have given me tons of encouragement, advice, and positive vibes that only fellow single speeders can give. So I would like to thank you all and everyone else I might have not mentioned for your help.
I also think that my wife Jesse has been a huge part to help me do better. She keeps me fueled with Gluten free bread and helps me to make the right choices for food. She is my biggest fan, and she is also understanding of how much time this hobby consumes.

I’m going to CA this weekend for the Idyllwild spring challenge. I’m going with the same gear as single speed USA. 33x20. Saturday is the 30 mile XC event and Sunday is the Super D and Time Trial. It should be a lot of fun. I’ll try to write about it when I get back.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Going back to Caly... to Caly... to Caly

I just couldn't get enough of California I guess. So I signed up for the Idyllwild Spring Challenge stage race. It's a 2 day event. 30 mile cross country race on Saturday, Super D and TT on Sunday.

I know what you are thinking. Why go all the way out there and spend tons of money to do that race when you could have gone to Trans-Sylvania Epic which is closer and more "Epic."

My answer to you is that it's complicated. I don't have $900 to spend on strictly bike stuff. I do however have some money to spend on "Vacation." Going out to CA is a vacation. Going out to CA to do a stage race is awesome. Get over it!

Furthermore, not to make you jealous or anything but I used to live in Idyllwild. Yep, in the 7th grade. But that is were I first got into mountain biking and wanted to get into racing. So this is my Mecca.

I have this memory of riding there, back in 1989. We met some old timers who had only one chainring up front. They said "it's all you need." I thought they were being macho or something. But now I'm coming back with only one gear. Does that make me macho?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mt. Tam

California was a lot of fun. I was able to get out for a ride the day after we arrived in SF. Thanks to Thom Parsons who hooked me up with Pete Verdone.
Pete brought me one of his creations. This is a SS Trail bike. The fit was perfect for my taste. And it rode nice. The slack HT was ideal for descending. I just wish I knew how. Some of the stuff Pete was sending me down was insane. I just walked. He rode it of course.

The climb we took to get near the top of Tam were all fire roads. Some beautiful stuff.

I love this shot because it seems so surreal to me. That's how it felt. Like a dream. I couldn't believe I was out here on the West side riding bikes in the warm weather. And the way it all came together was perfect.

Pete took me down some sweet trails that were all off limits to bikes. He called it "Poaching." We ran into some surly hikers with their dogs off the leash. They were pissed but Pete was able to sweet talk them and remind them that they too were braking the law by not having their dog on a leash. We went on a busy Sunday afternoon so no wonder there was so much traffic. The trails were sick. Sometimes the single track was only 15" wide one a steep side hill. I wanted to look around more but I didn't dare. I had a few close calls that kept me focused and heart pounding.
Pete had a lot to say about 29'ers. He doesn't like them. I don't know if it is because of the type of riding he does or just is a die-hard 26'er. He was telling me of a 28'er that he made. He thinks the 29" wheels are too big. He might be right. The 26'er he had me on was easy to pedal over. Kinda made me miss the 1x1. But I won't go back.
Pete thinks outside of the box and makes changes to his bikes that make sense. Like putting a 7" roter on the front. He said it evens out the braking. This caught me off guard a few times and I locked them up like nothing. He builds fast motorcycles for a living so he knows what he's talking about.
Unfortunately this was the only day that week that I rode a bike. I did however get some trail running in. I ran the shore side of Mt Tam through Muir Woods. Running through the redwoods was another dream come true experience. The trails were steep and had stairs. It was fun to be running along the trails that were unrideable. I ran for about an hour and a half and only got about 5 miles. Trail running is my new favorite thing to do. I know you guys are cringing. I'm not going to give up riding bikes anytime soon (ever). But when you want to get out on some trails and don't have a bike you have to improvise. And if I only have an hour to do some kind of "training" then I'm going to run because I feel like it's a more intense work out.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Flip flopper

If you are at all familiar with who I am and how I go about doing things you will know that I usually jump right into things without too much hesitation. The classic "think before you act" usually doesn't apply to me. I just head in some direction hoping to get there somehow. And I tend to tell people one thing and the next day say just the opposite. I try to do things on the cheap and usually pay for it in the end. Life can be cruel in that way. Sometimes.

Well, can you tell what this is leading up to?

I would like to detract what I said in my blog about racing this year in the 30-39 cat 1 class for 2010. I will not be racing in that class anymore.

I did some soul searching and looked at my goals for 2010. I want to be racing longer events like the Darkhorse 40 and VT50. And I'm already signed up for D2R2. So racing for an hour and a half just doesn't seem to cut it for me any more. Plus it's not about winning for me anymore. At least that's what I keep telling myself. However, I want to race like I want to win and then when I get 10th place I won't complain about it or give a list of shitty excuses why I didn't do better. I promise.

So just for fun I thought I might see if I could be upgraded to "Pro." I really didn't think that they would do it but they did. Yep, the guy who will finish 15-30 minutes behind first place is now pro. Thanks guys for your encouragement. Too many to write down here and I don't want to leave anyone out. You know who you are.

On top of that I get to pay $150 for my International house of pancakes license. Sweet, now I can compete in Canada.

And I got the upgrade to cat 2 for cyclocross. So watch out Reuter, Sweeney, and Wilcox, and Green. My main goal is to be the most videoed by the seat cam.

My winter training is not going too well. The weather is really getting to me. I was able to get out today with Josh for a 3 hour ride but that is all the riding I did all week. I'm hoping that everything will be all right. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling this way.

Sebastian is quite funny. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SSUSA 2010, a desert odyssey

Single speed USA 2010 was a single speed mountain bike gathering in the Tucson dessert. Dejay Birtch (Niner bikes) ran the show.

Me posing with the porta potties hoping to get a sponsorship from United toilets. Photo by Thom's helmet.

The week before the "race" I flew out to AZ to stay with my sister and visited some old friends.
Living in Tucson for most of my childhood I was brought back to the sites and smells of the dessert in winter.

Monte introduced me to Fantasy Island which was super fast single track through cacti. Monte had this one jump out at him.

Then it got stuck in his hand! Ouch!

Fast and flowy. FI was super fun! Banked corners and super fast chutes with little jumps at the top. With the F-16's flying overhead I felt like I was the pilot flying through the turns and pushing the edge of traction to go faster and faster. The first 10 minutes Monte was hammering through all of these twists and turns and ups and downs I felt like I was going to be sick trying to keep up. It was easy to loose track of time there. You just want to keep going because it's so much fun. When I look outside now I get kinda depressed thinking about how nice it would be to go riding there just one more time.

Wednesday before the race I scoped out part of the course I started this climb that lasted forever. I climbed for 50 minutes. I got lost 100 times and wound up being out there for 5 hours. I also wound up at the same quicksand monte went into. And yes I had to walk all the way back up the hill. Took forever. A dumb and dumber moment.

Looking out to Chiva falls.
Water crossing below Chiva.

After the race
Belt. There were like 6 of these there.
This guy is so cool.
Thom and Monte "stoned"

It's hard to put it into writing what happened out there. But I will try. We all rolled out on the pavement. Our humming tires and passing of beer in the cool dessert air was quite an experience. The kind of thing you (we) live for. We got to the base of the climb and Dejay had us take our front wheels of and walk down the hill. We sang happy birthday to him and he thanked us and said "have fun." That was the start. I walked fast to my bike while others ran and people were saying "why are they running?" The first 6 miles was all hill. I knew I had to pace myself or I would be cooked the rest of the race. As some of you know I tend to blow it all on the holeshot, but not this time. I had to keep telling myself to hold back. It was a long ride to the finish and I had no idea what the last half was all about.
Everything was working perfectly. All of the climbs I thought were huge on Wednesday were not really that huge anymore. Having a 33x20 helped also. The course was either up or down. Not much flat.
The experience of riding with other singlespeeders from all over the country was really cool. Everyone was proud to say where they came from and asked me where I'm from too. Being able to talk was a good meter to judge if you were going too hard.
We made a right turn at the top of Redington rd onto some sick single track. Sharp rocks and sharper cactus all over. I kept praying that I didn't bite my sidewall on my new karma. Went by the first of many tire failures. "Sorry dude!" was the only thing I could say.
Then the single track ended at a fence. Uh? the yellow tape is on the other side of the fence. Sweet! Throw the bike over and hop the fence. Nice! Super fun!
Enter the rock garden. I've never ridden anything like this before. Thank god for 29" wheels was all I could think. There was water too. This was too much fun!
Got lost for a second and had to back track. Someone followed me too and was kinda pissed. But thankfully we were not too far from the trail.
Once I got to the top of High Chiva I knew I could start pushing the pace a little bit more. We climbed back up to Redington Rd and I saw a Niner jersey. It was Fuzzy! He finished 1st last year here so I thought I must be doing really well. I passed him on the road and was pushing kinda hard now. I knew that most of the climbing would end at the top of Redington. I was taking full advantage of the road by cutting all of the corners and tucking on all of the slight down hills to make up time.
Left onto the AZ trail. Some more climbing and beautiful views of the high desert. All single track now. Totally kicking it now and caught up to some guys. One guy was taking a leak and was just finishing up when I passed him. Nick and I would finish together and since he was taking a leak when I caught him I gave him 4th place so I wouldn't have to sprint for it. It wasn't a race after all.
La Milagrosa was the final push home. Miles of super techy down hill sketch town stuff. If you click on the link you will see what I mean. Just multiply the speed by 2, lock out the suspension, and change the music to Master of Puppets and you might get the feel for it. I walked some sections it was so steep. But again thank god for 29" wheels!
And thank God for Dejay Birtch and all the other people to make SSUSA happen. Boulder CO next year.
It was really good to see Thom and Mike out there. I'm hopeing next year we will see guys like Stine, Cavenaugh, Dougyfresh, and CB2 out there. We could all rent a cabin and ride all week long!
In the mean time we can look forward to Single Speed a Palooza! So sign up bitches!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's only January

I keep having to remind myself that it's only January. I've been too busy for Blogging. Facebook has filled the gap of my need to connect with people through short comments and witty replies.

I took the whole month of December off from cycling and did a whole bunch of running. I ran a few races including a half marathon that ended my running for the year. I got a wicked shin splint.

January came around and with the cold temps Logging commenced at work. The last 3 weeks I have been running early in the morning on Tuesday-Friday then carrying a 20lb chainsaw around for 6 hours and then after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays go for a 2 hour chilly ride on my beloved "Ranger." So you could say that I have been hitting hard. For MLK day I went out with Mookie and Josh for almost 3 hours of riding with 4000 feet of climbing. Kinda early for that but went with it. Rule of thumb: Avoid hitting any road that has "hill" or "mountain" on the sign for the month of January. Especially with a 42x15 (I mean 17) gear. It was cool to break 200 rpm on "do not coast" hill.

Well all that hard hitting paid off. Now I have Bursitis in my right knee. Thanks body. I really don't know how some people can just keep riding and running without problems. If I was riding my bike for work I would be unemployed.

Tucson is right around the corner. Fantasy Island is 2 miles from my sisters house. Looking forward to riding with Monte during the week and racing with Thom. It's going to be so much fun. It will be strange going back to where I spent 10 years of my life. Tucson is where I learned how to ride through sand. Getting a tan is high up on the list of things to do.
And thanks to CB2 I will be flying with my bike fully protected.

The plan is to rest up my knee and ride all week in Tucson with Single Speed USA as the finally.
New parts for Selma are on the way including this.