Wednesday, July 27, 2011

buckin' the trend

We're stuck on 666 posts, so I'd better throw another one up to prevent satan from getting all up in our business.

And what better way than with a race report from the (in)famous Huck-A-Buck presented by Happy Fun Racing. This race is always a good time (even without beer laps). Announcers, hilarious local riders, good prizes, fast trails, ample parking. A happy fun time.

Actually, what am I saying? The Huck is usually on the hottest day of the year so it usually feels like hell (a true sign of the devil). Luke "Li'l Pow" kicked things off with the very small guy's race. Luke suffered a bee sting on the drive over but that didn't stop him from racing. True Bull City style (even though he's from north Raleigh). He's a tough one, like his old man.

And speaking of the old man, JD stripped the derailleur off his 29er and joined me in the singlespeed group. He did, however, neglect to put a bell on his bike, which seems to be an important thing for the Happy Fun guys. Here's the math:

Bell = front row start
No bell = tough luck

I was sporting a bell and got a good start position, but was almost too lax in my start and nearly got boxed-out by the Grassroots Bikes dude on the Surly Pugsly. Those bikes are designed to ride through snow, but since late July in North Carolina is the opposite of snow, I didn't want to get stuck behind that guy.

Settled in behind Robbie (former ACCCCCCCCC rider from WVU) and Sean, who set a fast first lap pace. Second lap or so, Robbie crashed and Sean started feeling the effects of the heat so I decided to give it a go and quickly found myself out on my own. JD wasn't so lucky, suffering an early crash or two. This probably wouldn't throw off his rhythm in one of his typical 100km race, but in a short xc race, it puts a fellow at a great disadvantage.

And yeah, so applied force to the pedals and the wheels went round and round and I didn't fall over and then I won. yay! I don't win a lot of races, so let me gloat.

Okay, I'm done gloating. Partially because the two dudes who beat me last time weren't here this time. Also because I know that I have many more whuppin's to receive in the not-so-distant future. Also, much praise is due to JD and the rest of the BCC mountain bikers who make outstanding training partners and are constantly blazing off to fast starts. Since I'm consistently forced to follow JD, Ben, Daniel, Linus, and others on their speedy starts, it's helped me to learn to settle into a reasonable (if not comfortable) rhythm. This one's for you, team!

Okay, as always, mad props to the promoters, Happy Fun Racing and all the sponsors. Also here's some additional product placement for fellow singlespeeder Rob who recently launched True Blue Wrench Works in Carrboro for all your repair needs. He spun off from Back Alley Bikes (Jason was also out racing and shredding w/ gears) who is also a fine wrench. Do support our neighbors on the short side of the Triangle.

And, since we're past post #666 and since I haven't posted a musical interlude in a while, here's the bull city's finest. Hail Satan!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Iron Mountain 100k

My first time racing or even riding these trails had me a bit nervous. I didn't really know what to expect from the course and I had set a goal for myself to try and ride all the climbs that my technical skills would allow. This meant modifying my usual singlespeed setup but even then I knew there would be climbs where walking would be just as fast as a 22x32 grind and save precious energy. I arrived in Damascus Saturday afternoon and was amazed at the number of bikes I saw rolling down the Virginia Creeper Trail and parked outside many local businesses. This little mountain town has a great biking culture and it shows. Free camping just for the race was available right in the middle of town next to a cool little river.

The race started Sunday morning at a reasonable 8am. After the race meeting we headed out of town following an ancient Suburban pace car. After a couple of miles we jumped on the Virginia Creeper (rails to trails). I saw a couple of riders take off from the pack but everyone else just sat back in an easy pace. I tried to pull a David Shaver break away so I wouldn't have so much traffic on the first singletrack climb. It worked at first but then the peleton sped up and passed me. I had no Kevin Costner helping paint me as a "dum dum" nor Ted Danson calling off the wolves since I was a "nobody."

Despite the traffic on the first climb I got to ride up tons of technical singletrack even late in the race when I was sick of it, my legs were stiff, and I was wishing I had my singlespeed as an excuse for walking. I had a little crash on a really slick off camber downhill section that was covered in wet roots but the pain of those scrapes got covered up pretty quick by muscle fatigue from all the climbing. There were some loooong fireroad climbs that had me wondering if I missed the arrow several times. The reward was a big variety of downhills. Some were really fast and flowy while others hammered you with loose, rocky steeps that made one finger braking hard to maintain. Finish was 31st out of 50 something in open men with a time of 7:03. I lost 3 or 4 places near the end when I stopped to help another racer with a flat and a failed tube. We didn't know that we were only a half mile from the finish but no biggie. I was glad to help out since I had no mechanicals and he was nice enough to find me after the race and give me a replacement tube.

Cuddles No More

“I’m pretty disappointed, but if this is what people want to see, a race decided on a downhill. I don’t think that. A finish like this should not be allowed.”--Andy Schleck, July 19, 2011

Andy and Frank of LAY-O-PARD Trek can just suck it, ATMO. While I didn't get to see it on the telly, I was pleased by the Berto-Cadel-Sammy attack. They and, God-bless-him Thomas Voeckler have made this tour more interesting than any since Floyd's win in the Tour which shall not be named.

I'm going to put it in print here: I am pulling for Cadel for the win. And, can we get a "hey now" for Thor Hushovd? Amen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to lead a celebrity life

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all. You check your map, find a beautiful spot miles from nowhere, pack a tent, some snacks, and go. For most of us this enough to guaranty a restful and quiet weekend. That's not the case for Hollywood, who is pursued by admirers even into the deepest wilderness. You can see a full report here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The bicycle is not your friend

A little parenting advice from Mark Weir. Baby Hollywood probably got the same from his papa.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011