Pumpkin Pickin

•October 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment


Charmed, I’m Sure

•September 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Charm City CX Day 2.  I didn’t race Saturday because I was volunteering at the St. Michael’s Century.

Well, I sucked, but not as bad as last year.  Last Year 57th place,  This year 42nd.  However, a closer look reveals that relatively they might be the same.  Last year I was up against 94 others but this year only 67.  Despite the numbers I think it was an improvement – and that is good.  Given that last year I went into cardiac arrest with a dust induced asthma attack – lung choking – burning meltdown episode – and I had no such lung/breathing issues this year.

Although I am disappointed with the race overall (not the organization or support) – I am really only bummed about how the bike failed to complete its part of the bargain.

Lets start the balance sheet at zero (0):

I had a good start.  Despite the onslaught of crazies passing me from my 7th or 8th row start at unconventional and impolite angles I quickly made places up in the first few turns.

+1

BUT, things started to go wrong mechanically.  Not all me fault, but mostly.  I am “Mr. Mechanical” after all.

At the stairs run-up a rider was down and I tried to get around, as did about 3 others ahead me.  Then Marc “Bull in a China Shop” Gwadz tried to use the Rugby scrum approach of barreling through.  He bumped me and my chain came off.  Places gained were all quickly lost – and then some.

0

Got back up to speed and started regaining spots.

+1

A few laps later – rear tire starts going squishy on me.  I hit the deck a few times.

0

Rear tire definitely not going to make it – must pit.  Time lost in the pits.  But big thanks to guys who helped with wheel change.

-1

Rear cassette and chain disputing appropriate gear to be in.

-2

They work it out.

-1

New rear wheel is low on pressure.  Never checked it before putting it in the pit.  Rookie move.

-3 (an extra ding for being a ding-bat)

It becomes painfully clear to me that my handling skills are not good and apparently all of the improvements I’ve made with my MTB descending skills this summer don’t translate to riding squishy, skinny tires on grass at high speeds. Also, riding the bike at speed (and on new tires ) for the first time on race day is clearly NOT how the Euros do it, despite what I’ve read.  Where did I read that?

-4

So the tail of the tape shows room for improvement.  When you suck – you can only get better.  At least that’s what I’m banking on.

My Shenandoah Mountain 100 History

•September 9, 2010 • 1 Comment

2002- 9:26, 24th place.  Wet behind the ears, eyes wide open, and totally clueless what I was getting into. Rode my steel ht KHS.  No disc brakes.  V’s all the way.

2003- 9:45, 55th place.  Drank too much the night before trying to make friends and hang with the “rock stars”.  Went for repeat binge after finishing and ended up on my hands and knees puking at 3am.  Lesson learned.  Still on the KHS.

2004- no race.  A little thing called my wedding got in the way.

2005- 9:10, 33rd place.  Riding the Trek Fuel 80.  Tore my rear tire sidewall coming down the Cookie trail and hit aid station #1 dead last.  Took it easy from there and it paid off with my fastest time yet.  Lesson learned.

2006- 9:35, 49th place.  Rode strong from the start.  In fact, outside my league.  Suspected something was amiss when I was riding with and later dropped (temporarily) Matt Lee (multi-time Continental Divide winner).  Cracked like a China doll on the hard right turn up to Aid #5 and crawled the rest of the way.  Lesson learned. Still on the Fuel.

2007- no race.  A minor injury (broken collarbone and scapula) got in the way.

2008- 9:27, 62nd place.  Got stuck behind the now famous “great moto start debacle bottleneck”.  Perhaps a good thing as I started slow and just rode to finish, posting a decent time.  Riding Cannondale Scalpel.

2009- no race.  Family visit of the child (mine) kind.

2010- 8:37, 48th place.  Felt like poop much of the day, especially the first 40-50 miles but my legs came around a bit eventually.  Rode the single speed which forced my hand: put up or shut up – I chose the former and posted my fastest time yet.  SS all the way.

Failure to Launch

•August 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

SM100 is in jeopardy.  After getting my ass handed to me by a teenager at the last Cranky Monkey mountain bike race (at Fountainhead) I had some additional salt thrown into the wound.  I realized my down tube had a huge crack it, nearly half way around the tube, while cleaning it off back home.

I hope I can get this “resolved” (i.e. warrantied) before September 5th.

Drew pointing out the obvious.  If he could speak, he’d probably say:  “Daddy, your bike is busted”, or maybe “Daddy, you’re F*CKED”.

Clearly, Drew is not happy with this development.

Close encounter with crackage

Bliss

•August 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Looks like this

And this…

SM100 Prep

•August 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

•August 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Father’s Day Hoo-Ha

•June 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Kim, Drew, and I stayed at the Pocosin cabin in Shenandoah National Park over the weekend.  Owned and operated by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Pocosin is one of about 2 dozen cabins up, down, and near the AT run by PATC.  The cabin is stocked with utentisils, pans, plates, glasses, bunks and mattresses, Coleman stove (sans fuel), etc.  It’s clean and kept up, in part by the diligence of the campers who restock fire wood, sweep up, and so on.

Sunday morning we got up, had breakfast, and raced down to Keezletown for the Massanutten Hoo-Ha, part of the US Cup Triple Crown. I realized the night before I left my camelback bladder in the freezer at home, but thankfully the organizers had ample water on the course.  So off I went at 9am with about 40 other nut jobs looking to race for about 4 hours in sweltering heat, technical rock gardens, steep climbs, and sweet-as-butter buff switchbacks.

Despite a laundry list of mechanicals (hey, it’s me and my MO):

  • 2 flats – the 2nd was actually the patch on the blown sidewall from last weeks flat giving out.  I got across the finish line and had a nice inner tube balloon sticking out of the sidewall.  Phew, that was close to a flat-trifecta.
  • My fork seized up about midway through the race and half way through its travel (i.e. I was way over the front end on the descents) – my arms, neck, and back were killing at the end.
  • Seat post slid down about 4cm on 3 occasions.

I still had a decent race – I finished in under 4 hours, took 2nd in the small single speed class, and 6th overall in the XXC class.  I felt great climbing (again rocking the 32×19) and finished feeling strong, albeit a bit beat up.  No major wrecks was a plus.

Now working on recovering for the midweek tune up and 12 hours of Cranky Monkey as a “guest rider” with one of the many DCMTB 3-man teams on Saturday.  After (and still) some issues (brain, back, sinus) I feel like my fitness is finally coming around.  If I can avoid hitting rocks or trees with my body I should be ok.

Stoopid

•June 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hit the Stoopid 50 in PA on Sunday. Awesome event with great trails.  Just an incredible variety of trails with some flowing and smooth, others consisting of big boulders to get over, rooty-muddy-and slick sections, and of course the proverbial rock garden-baby head sections.  Mix in some steep fire road climbs and the prescription was pain.

That was, until it started to rain just before go-time.  The prescription was revised to include an additional dose of pain in the form of crashing.  Nearly everyone I spoke with after had some off-the-bike time (i.e. bailed).  I crashed no less than 3 times.  First few were minor, although my scratches and bruises today would argue otherwise.  The last crash was the biggie.  A wicked (and by wicked I mean evil) descent at the end of the race (maybe 1 or 2 miles left) was slick and my arms were uber-fatigued.  I was cursing my way down and went ass-over-elbows and crushed myself.  Enough adrenaline was pumping to get back on and ride to the end.  My quads cramped at one point when I tried to stand so riding was better.  I showed a fellow racer what I had not actually seen myself yet and he replied “Dude! I think you broke your elbow”.

Well, not exactly. Doubt I could ride in such a condition.  But my bursa sac was ready for a game of tennis.

I was happy with how I rode overall.  I lost time with a few crashes (my 2nd crash was immediately followed by another racer crashing behind me.  He was much worse off (handlebar to the spleen) so I stopped to offer assistance or at least moral support) and  when a good 10+ minutes after I  tore my rear tire sidewall on a super fast descent.  But after some time off the bike I was happy to be putting in some solid hours and technical riding.  I was killing it on the fire road climbs (32×19 was perfect gearing), but my high end still sucks (i.e. ultra-steep, short, single track stuff).

Next up – Massanutten Hoo Ha.  We’re staying here the night before.  Can’t wait.

Muddy Buddy

•May 23, 2010 • 2 Comments

Nice walk, picking flowers, checking out butterflies

Then a puddle was discovered…

The end result…