Ali did a good job of covering the setting and an even better job of placing 20th in the 65 mile race! For my story, I somehow overlooked the fact that the 100mile race would have nearly 70miles of continuous gravel road riding. Why did I think that would be fun on a SS? The road climb and first 15miles of singletrack were a blast and I was moving great while still riding efficiently. I was hanging with a small pack of SS riders through the singletrack and passed most of them where the gravel roads start but I knew there were several more SS riders ahead of me that I would never see. In addition to that, several of my competitors would pass me at times usually while I was walking part of a climb to save some energy, hold off cramps, or give my aching knees a break. I would pass some of them back or at least catch up briefly at the aid stations since my motto is to keep moving as much as possible no matter how slow. The clock still ticks while you're standing still. I lost count of the number of climbs on the gravel roads but was almost burnt up when I got to the singletrack. Surprisingly the climbing got easier from here on out and despite all the pain in several parts of my body I finished up and was even able to maintain a fast speed on the final descent that brings you about 1.5 miles of pavement away from the finish line. I was so glad to be finished so I could say "been there done that" and "no more 100mile Cohutta races for me."
Monday, April 27, 2009
Last weekend, fearless singlespeeder JD and I, the less-fearless geared rider, competed in the first race of the National Ultra-Endurance Mountain Bike Series. Held on trails next to the Ocoee Whitewater Center in Duckworth, TN, and site of the 1996 Olympic competition, Cohutta served up 35 miles of rolling singletrack, beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains, and formidable rivals. The singletrack was separated by gravel logging roads that climbed at total of 11,000 feet in 65 miles (my race, see less-fearless) and 12,000 feet in 100miles (fearless JD). For the record, JD and I rode to the start from our campsite- another 2 miles roundtrip for each of us.
My race went much better than I could have expected given the limited training I was able to do since February. The singletrack was fun, especially the opening section which thanks to a pre-ride the day before the race, I was able to cruise through in my big ring (!) with little braking. But that singletrack was preceded by a stiff opening three mile road climb. Starting fifteen minutes after the hundie riders, we 65ers took off at 7.15am. Foolishly, I tried to stay with the lead group of riders up the climb. That worked for a mile and a half; the group split with me in the bottom half, and that group split again up the last pitch before entering the singletrack, with yours truly sitting last wheel. Three miles in and I was spent.. oof. But I tried to hold steady through the first section, hoping (like everyone else) I might gain time on the wide-open fireroad climbs and, what I discovered would be the blazing fast descents. I cleaned the first section of singletrack, the closing section, when I was tired, it was hot, and I wanted the race to be over, and even the "tricky" water crossing in between- so I'm happy with that. I kept pedalling, yo-yo-ing with a handful of the same riders: often catching them on climbs only to lose ground on the rapid gravel road descents as my frequently smaller size made for less gravitational pull. Note for next year- less tire pressure would have been a better choice. I ran (Chris- rubbed?) a higher pressure, thinking I would benefit on the gravel roads. In hindsight, lower pressure would have been better so that I could carve the turns a little more. Instead, I slide through the corners, floating and bouncing on top of the gravel.
The race was a surprise in many ways. I didn't expect to discuss Foucault during my ride, but did. Or 9-11. Thanks to John from Asheville for that conversation. Thanks also to Linus and Brian H, from the Bicycle Chain of Durham, who always keep my bikes running in top notch shape. Where would I be without them? Riding a mud-caked bike that doesn't shift or brake quite right. I'll leave JD to tell his story.
Sorry, no pics yet. They may surface later this week. I'll post if they do. I finished in 20th place. Don't get too excited it was more than 1 hour behind the winner, Tom Bender, who turned in an unbelievably fast 4.40.
B-Swad, Li'l Dave, and I spend a sunny Saturday helping out at the TORC/Trips For Kids skills clinic. Sorry we didn't take any pictures, but we did indeed lead a group of cool elementary school kids around Crabtree. Lots of these kids don't even own mountain bikes and totally shredded on the loaners from TFK. The trails were super-dry, which led to a number of washed-out front tires. But these kids jumped up, brushed themselves off, and were back on the bike. Totally awesome.
Props also to Dr. Mark P from Duke who does a bunch of these events and the guys from NC State who rode with us!
Thanks to Andrea and Tristan from TFK for getting us involved in this great event. There's another one coming up sometime in May--keep an eye out for it. Also, suport their non-raffle drawing for a mountain bike (see older post).
As an epilogue, Ben destroyed me on the RockyRoad trail while Dave was dirt jumping.
But what of the endurance racers???
Friday, April 24, 2009
I meat to write about the App State road race I did while moonlighting with the college kids:
The short story is that I hung with the lead group over mountains, through rain and large puddles. The group dwindled down to 9, two got away and after I tried several unsuccessful solo attacks I lead out the sprint and finished last in the group. Maybe that's a sucker's move to voluntarily lead out a sprint like that, but I figured it seemed somewhat honorable considering the fact that (1) most of the guys worked well together trying to pull the escapees back and (2) I did try to attack the group after struggling up the major climbs. I was just happy to be involved in a hard-ass race for a change.
I meant to write about this race in greater detail, but then I got some stomach bug that's going around and was at home in bed for several days. I won't write about my battle with the bug in any greater detail other than the fact that it is possible not to eat for two days, but you won't lose much weight. You will, however, feel much much weaker.
So, to add to my review of non-cycling-specific cycling products, I'm going to have to give the stomach virus a thumbs down.
But in an attempt to stay positive, I at least hope that the stomach bug took some pleasure in riding (rocking?) the Alpe d'Huez that is my small intestine.
I actually have no idea if the illness struck that portion of my body, or which direction it may have gone. In either direction, it crossed the finish line at record speed.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This is footage from the Presidential Tour of Turkey; the yellow jersey wearer is Daryl Impey. In the video you'll see what appears to be Dutch racer Theo Bos reaching out and pulling Impey down in the final kilometer of the race.
I, for one, wasn't aware that American football had that much of a following in the Netherlands, but it does appear that Bos has perfected the open field tackle, a la Troy Polamalu. Impey now needs to learn the stiff-arm.
Impey was awarded the win.
For more information see Velonews.com, where I found this clip. In his defense Bos is saying that his gaffling of Impey was inadvertent, but from the video it's hard to see that.
Be careful out there!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
The Triangle chapter of Trips for Kids is sponsoring a raffle for a totally tricked-out Vassago Jabberwocky. It's a complete singlespeed bike with American Classic wheels, White Industries ENO cranks, and other fine parts that will make you the envy of the trails. Not to mention most of the parts are white, and everyone knows, white is the new pink (at least in terms of bikes). (Don't worry, the chain is pink.) Best of all, the proceeds go to benefit this great organization.
Tickets go on sale Saturday April 4, 2009. The winning raffle ticket will be pulled on Sunday June 14, 2009 at TORC’s “The Tarwheel Race” at Carolina North Forest. Tickets are $10 bucks ($11 if purchased online). Click HERE for more info.
If you don't have a singlespeed, here's your chance to get in on the action. If you have a singlespeed, this one's probably better. If you have a better singlespeed, sell this one to me for $15 and you're still ahead of the game.
Do it for the kids, dude.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Greetings East Coasters! Many of you know that I recently started a new job at Wheat Ridge Cyclery here in Colorado, but do any of you know about my fascination with Bigfoot? No....not the monster truck, the hairy mythical beast that has haunted me since being forced to watch a horrific documentary in 3rd grade. Well tomorrow as part of a "learning experience field trip" for Wheat Ridge Cyclery, I am headed up the road to Golden, Colorado to see how they design and build Bigfoot's cousin.....Yeti. We actually sell Yetis at Wheat Ridge Cyclery, but for some reason they look like full suspension mountain bikes......not hairy forest beasts??? Perhaps this is the reason that we can't prove their existence?? Hmmm. I'll report back tomorrow and let you all know what I find out.
Until then, watch your backs on the trails for this guy......