Sunday, December 30, 2012

Juicing Preparation and Mountain Biking

So, I decided rather than just jump into juicing, I would experiment with different recipes for a few days and then do a full detox starting Jan.2.  The first two days, I drank nothing but my own home made juices with a sensible (vegetarian) dinner.  The third day I went on a decent bike ride of ~18 miles/~2000+ft, and was a bit worried about how my strength/energy would hold up during a decent ride. I packed two bottles (one w/apple & pear juice, another w/water) and off I went.  To make a long story short, my energy and strength seemed to be no different than any other ride.  The big test will be when I am on the detox and get in a 30+ mile ride with 4-5k of climbing.

*My recipes used thus far:
Morning 'Green' Glory
1 cucumber
3 kale leaves
1 handful spinach
3 celery stalks
1 large apple
1 lime
1 mandarin
Pretty darn first ever concoction

Sweet Beet Treat:
1 pear
1 beat (w/stalks and leaves)
2 mandarins
1 cup mixed blue/strawberries
Dark red and delicious!

Orange Crush:
1 large orange
2 mandarins
3 carrots
1 mini lemon (or half regular sized)
1 apple

Pineapple Citrus 'Punch'
1/2 pinapple
1 lg orange
3 mandarins
1 lemon
1 lime
3/4 thumb of ginger
This made a lot of juice...and good thing as it is De-licious!

Veggie Experiment:
2 kale leafs
handful spinach
2 celery stalks
three thin carrots
3 tomatoes
1 lime
When mixed, it turns and earthy brown.  Taste is earthy, but I like the kick the lime adds.

*All recipes I have found on-line and then altered slightly based on what I had in the fridge. ;)

Thursday, December 27, 2012


The New Juicer
In order to improve my cycling performance I have turned to Juicing. Steroids/PED's you ask? Nope, can't afford that. I am talking fruit and vegetable juice! Much cheaper than the Barry Bonds/Lance Armstrong program I am sure (but sadly, not by much, or so it seems). This type of Juicing should help me loose weight, improve performance and become a heck of a lot healthier.
Since my 20's, whenever I realized my daily diet was off-track, I did a juice detox; usual 3 days, then back to eating sensibly.  When I was in my 20's I ran my first Marathon at ~5'8", ~153 lbs.  Got as low as 149 during triathlon training (also a vegetarian at the time) but after a couple knee surgeries I was comfortable and in-shape at ~165 as a regular exerciser.  Well, let's fast-forward 15 years.  Married, two kids nagging injuries and the constant consumption of dark beer, racks of ribs and a the development of an eat-all-you-can philosophy, I have seen my normal daily weight fluctuate from ~177 to now ~185 (once peaked at 195 after a two torn calf muscles).  Time to get serious about getting into shape.  It is frustrating going on long bike rides and actually feeling my stomach slowing me down.  Plus, I am not a bad climber in my 180's...imagine how much better I will be in my 160's!?!
My First Juice
So as I was getting geared up to detox, I came across this thread on MTBR about juicing. Amazing timing really. I then watched the movie Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead and it has inspired me to not just go beyond a 3 day detox, but why not shoot for 5 days? or even 10?  After all, those guys did 60! 
So, I picked up a juicer and fortunately my friend Melissa is up for a juicing challenge (edit, she will be blending), so here we go!
The Plan.

Experiment with juices between the 27th - the 31st.  Then come January 1st  (so cliche' but oh-well) I will start the juicing.  After juicing, I will continue with a vegetarian diet for 30 days and then a month of no red meat...all the while, juicing once or twice a day.  The goal? Drop 20 lbs over the next 4 months while at the same time becoming a lean, mean mountain biking machine!

Edit (after Laura's post):  This wonderful concoction (called "Morning Green Glory" was made from:
4 medium kale leaves (w/stalks)
1 handful of spinach
3 celery stalks
1 avocado (peeled)
1 fuji apple
1 very small lemon (unpeeled)
I must say, it was pretty good.  Might add another 1/2 apple next time, but it made a lot of juice and I drank it all and am looking forward to more combos.

Also, for full disclosure, here is a pic of my last meal before juicing  ;-)
FWIW the cake was split four ways so don't you judge me!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Whole Enchilada--Auburn Style

Was suppose to ride Annadel with the good guys at the Bicycle Emporium, but unfortunately plans fell through.  It was probably for the best as those guys are all faster than me and I was sick (head cold) which means I am slower, with less energy and strength that normal (and normal is not so great). so I was on my own, yet determined to ride, so why not ride 'The Whole Enchilada'! In Auburn, this means riding from the Confluence up to and around FHDL (Foresthill Divide Loop) and back (on several different trail systems).
My route started on Flood Rd. and I rode these trails in this order: Flood--Stagecoach--Clementine--Connector--FHDL--Connector--Fuel Break--Culvert--Confluence--Stagecoach--back to Car.
My goal for this ride was to only pedal enough to not fall over thus saving everything for the ~5000' of climbing (see Strava to the right). Some of the trails were a tad moist and naturally steep, so I ended up off the bike a handful of times (only for a few moments) due to loosing traction, but what-evah! In spite of blowing snot the entire ride I was able to press on and muscle up the Stagecoach climb at the end for a slow, but strong finish.
A good day.

*This 2nd ride with the Niner Rigid Fork was a real test and it performed wonderfully.  In fact, other than being tired, I feel surprisingly good after the ride.  I honestly might have more elevation gain during the last three months in Auburn that the previous seven months in NC.
The lone pic taken near the start of the ride, on the Flood Trail.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Am Hard! First Ride With Niner Carbon Fork/Review

TMI? Maybe, but I am pretty excited after my first ride with the new Niner carbon fork.  Hit a night ride led by Travis of 'Bicycle Emporium' here in Auburn.  Forgot my phone, so no Strava, but the ride was ~14 wet, muddy miles with many sections of trail where one moment of lost concentration means tumbling down, down, down...and likely being helicoptered out (if you survive, that is). I set my front tire at 20psi and realized that with my riding style (slow, methodical) I could go even lower.  I also learned that I cannot just grip tight and 'hit' obstacles like I could with suspension.  The front wheel is more likely to jettison left or right.  More focus on the trail is needed and using the arms more as suspension is a must.  I can tell with a few more rides, this will become natural.  I also realized my stem needs to drop ~10mm.  I figured this might be the case when I set it up, but I would rather start out with the steer tube too long than too short. With Niners short headtube (~80mm) the short steer tube may make it hard to resell the fork, but I don't think that is going to happen. I may switch the REBA back on for certain occasions or just use it as a backup for the SIR 9, but I am keeping the Niner fork.

The bike was noticeably lighter when I lifted it onto the rack and toward the end of the ride, it raced up the 2 mile Stagecoach climb with much more ease than before. When back at the shop, after a beer or two we weighed this bad boy and it came in at 19.9lbs. The only item on the bike not normally there was the spare tube (usually carried in a pack or pocket), so we figure under 19.5 lbs at normal riding weight, but whatever, it is light and I am not.  Looking forward to more rides on this bad boy to lighten myself a bit.
Good Times.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Are Not Hard, Unless You're Rigid!

Well I guess I am hard.  And it did not take porn or a little blue pill, but rather a carbon Niner fork. First 'real' ride will be Thursday night (12/6).  Since I installed this bad boy myself, I am hoping I tightened everything enough (but not too much) and it stays together as I prefer not to eat teeth at any point during the ride.
Went with a Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.35 up front with ~19 psi to help take the edge off.  I will give a ride report in the near future.
Dang, I need to get this bad boy on a scale.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Great Day to Ride!

So it is storming outside. I am not missing a ride because of some silly wind and rain. Oh, but I do not want to be ostracized by the mtb community who surely are policing the trails to capture any deviant wet-trail riders, so I dust off the road bike and off I go.  Damn! Not even a mile away and a mechanical!  Got something metal stuck in my rear brake. Off the bike, take off pad, clean it up and reinstall.  Damn, now the wheel is rubbing. Sucks fixing a mechanical during a ride.  Sucks even more when it is pouring rain.  Screw it, I will just get a better workout.
Decide to use the rear brake sparingly (in the pouring rain) and stay close to home just in case.  Ended up with 40 miles (See Strava to the right for the map/stats, though it is just off) while never venturing more than maybe 2 miles (as the crow flies) from my house.  Good ride, good hills, good workout, good times!

 And FWIW I ran into four mountain bikers who said the trails were great.  Next time screw the trail police, I am riding trails damn-it!!!

HELP!  Trying to choose a name for this bike.  I do like Acronyms, so the two leaders are TIT (Titanium is Tremendous) or DEB (Do Everything Bike).  Any others?  Let me know.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OUCH, That's Gonna Leave a Mark!

Wait until just before lunch to view.

Here is the culprit. It tore me up!
So I have heard this saying that life sometimes gets in the way.  Well, when it came to riding, that was rarely the case when living in NC, but living in CA has been a different story.  With us being gone for seven years, it seems like every other weekend we are visiting friends and family, or they are visiting us.  Add to the mix a house that needs a lot of work and BAM! Life just got in my way, and my riding time has suffered.  So, the last thing I needed was an injury to take away further ride time.  Welcome Murphys Law.  So while I am building a deck, I accidentally put a 7/8 inch wood boring drill bit through the soft part of my hand (between the thumb and index finger. While I do not recommend doing this, if you are hard pressed to put a hole in your hand, apparently that is the spot to aim for.  Luckily I only nicked the bone in my thumb and did not sever any tendons or ligaments (always confuse the two). When it first happened, it was gory.  I could see the bubbles from the fat layer and I could see deep into my hand as the skin was ripped away from the tissue underneath.  The photo was taken in the doctors office after the bleeding had stopped and I had been given some numbing shots.  I tried taking a picture in the car as I was driving myself to the doctors, but strangely it did not come out well.  So to make a long story short (I know, too late) I messed up my hand, got 13 stitches (a tetanus shot), and was knocked out of riding for three weeks (though I did do an easy road ride with the stitches, just don't tell my doc.).



Sunday, October 21, 2012

My First California MTB Race

The TBF (Total Body Fitness) 50 Mile MTB Race was held in Granite Bay Beach (Folsom Lake), It was a fast flowy 12.5 mile course (x4) with nice elevation and some decent natural rock garden obstacles (plus some soft sand obstacles) tied together with some double track and a bit of paved road.  For my NC friends, I would compare it to a blend of 286 and Warrior Creek with at least one tough single track climb and double track climb that might be comparable to something at Dark Mountain.  Unfortunately I have been sick for a while...first a sinus infection, then some nasty head cold, so basically this ride kicked my butt!  Only one ride in the two weeks leading up to this and it was a 40 mile road ride (Auburn to Colfax and back) that I barely finished.  Still, I paid for the event and I was itchin' to get a feel for the racing culture here, so off I went.  I rode hard my first lap, letting the momentum of the race help carry me (1:07); the 2nd lap I settled into my pace and rode within myself (1:10). I realized I had a serious lack of strength so I focused on spinning hard and going as fast as I could on the flats and downhills while I struggled on most climbs and walked the one steep double track climb as it was just too steep and loose leading to instant spin out. Lap 3 (1:13) was mostly like lap 2, other than a stop to take a whiz off the trail and cramping beginning with ~4 miles left.  The last lap was a constant fight with cramping legs, but I gave it all I had and finished it in 1:11 with a total time of 4:42. Ended up coming 7th in Single Speed (don't ask how many SS riders were in the race please), and if I would have been in the 40+ group, I would have been 23rd (again, don't ask how many riders were in the category please).
So what did I learn? There are fast riders out here, and a whole lot of em at that. Sure, I was slowed by illness (constantly blowing and spitting snot out throughout the race), but I rode pretty well and would have likely been mid pack in previous races. Out here I was that guy that a few people clapped for at the end of my race..."Oh, look at the short, old, bald, kinda chubby, special needs guy finishing...good for him...way to go buddy!"  Am I discouraged?  No, on the contrary, I am motivated. I need to get my butt into shape.  And as always, I start tomorrow!

Feeling like crap at the start of the race...

Feeling even crappier during the race.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Somethin's Gotta Give

Every few months I post about trying to lose weight.  Unfortunately, I would like to do it by exercising/riding more and eating what I want because I like to eat.  O.k., I really would like to loose weight by getting full body lipo, but that is not an I guess I should watch what I eat and excercise more.  Sounds easy enough until human nature kicks in...and for me that means craving anything and everything fattening and unhealthy.  I can eat well for a while and drop 3-5 lbs. pretty quickly.  But then, out of nowhere, I have a couple donuts, some fast food, a sundae at Leatherby's, and BOOM! 5 lbs back on.
Case in point: Friends are visiting a few weeks back.  What to do for dinner?  In-N-Out sounds good, so does about BOTH!  Yeah, this one even disgusted me evertime I thought about it...for about two weeks; but then it started sounding good again. I don't thing there is any hope. :(

More meals like this and I will need more than Jenny Craig, I will need a cardiologist!

This is what I had the next night to make up for it...I healthy salad, loaded with cheese, bacon bits and ranch dressing. ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tough Ride!

Made up for last weeks DNF with a 34.5 mile ride with over 5k feet of climbing.  Actually felt good going up the last two miles of climbing toward the end.  Maybe I am finally starting to get my Auburn legs. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lesson(s) Learned

 Joined a group of riders for what was to be a monster ride last weekend.  A guy (Paul) was having his 50th birthday, so he wanted to ride 50k (not here to argue, why not 50 miles? Sure, it can be done, but with the beer this guy was putting down pre, during an post ride, and with the climbs around here, 50k was going to be a feat).  At least a dozen riders set out for this monster ride that was going to consist of up Stagecoach, through Auburn, back down to the confluence via Manzanita, up Clementine, Connector, FHDL, Connector, Culvert, Confluence and then beer.  I was pumped.  I knew there would be riders I could hang with, so I was looking forward to this one.  Then it happened.  ~10 miles into the ride I flatted.  Tore a sidewall on my Maxxis Ikon.  I had been meaning to replace this tire for the last month...waited too long.  No problem, I will throw in my spare.  Oops, no boot and nothing to use as a boot.  Plus my spare (that slightly bulged out of the tear)...the same spare that I always cinch tight to my seatpost with an awesome strap, well it had a slow leak. Doh!  Attaching the tube to the seat may be a good idea for races, but when on training rides, put it in the pocket or pack. So I was done...well, I was done after a long walk back to the car. Lesson(s) learned.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Out for another awesome Wednesday night ride with the Bicycle Emporium crew...a new guy to the group ride shows up on his brand new bike...le'ts call him Jason.  Jason is a cool guy who is working hard keeping up on the climbs like a champ.  All is going well until we get to a steep gorge that required hiking down, crossing a rocky stream and hiking up. the other side.  A number of us had already crossed, and some were in the process of crossing when we heard a yell, combined with the sound of falling rocks, snapping branches and rustling leaves...followed buy a thud.  Jason had fallen down the steep ravine to the river bed nearly 40 feet below.  Rather than go into too much detail, lets just say we got to him quick as we could and were relieved to find he was not too badly hurt.  A ton of sticker bush scratches, a bruised leg, and a bad headache (and likely a concussion).  We helped him up to the trail and a few people stayed with him the 2 miles out to a road where a truck was waiting to get him up the hill.  So all is well it would seem, then to top it off, I got a 2nd wind going up Stagecoach (2 mile doubletrack climb) and surged ahead of a bunch of guys that are clearly better riders than I.  I never am one to try and show anyone up, but I could not believe my pace on the SS as I had fallen back, then caught I just kept it going to the top of the trail and the extra 2.5 miles back to the shop.  It was cool to get some props from the other riders for my climb...good guys, strong riders...I just had a good climb (honestly did not know I had it in me).
Anyway, the lesson learned here is to ALWAYS wear your helmet, and you even when tired, just keep pedaling and good things may happen (that is kinda my riding mantra).

The outer view of Jason's helmet...yeah, it saved his skull for sure.

You can see where his helmet broke in four places from the impact.

Nothing to do with riding, but here is the honey I was hanging with this weekend.  Wood never looked so good!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Time to strip the decals off the Titanium frame.  Here is what I did.
I read a good forum first on then I got started.
1. I put my bike on the rack outside to be well ventilated.  I put on some rubber gloves, then brushed on the Jasco with a $.79 paint brush.  I was careful to first remove the front tire as to not drip any of this on the tires as it might eat through the rubber.
2. I waited at least 15 minutes though it started bubbling right away..
3. I began scraping off the decals with my plastic scraper (still ended up with a couple minor scratches on the frame)
4. cleaned it up well and saw I was left with some residue and ghosting.
5. Took Goo-Gone to the rest with a clean rag.  It did absolutely nothing.
6. Put on more Jasco to get the rest of the stuff off.  Nothing.
7. Ended up using a 3M grey scrubbing pad with a little of my Pedros cleaner (probably could have used just water).  This did the trick.  I rubbed in the direction of the grain, which in this case was vertical (in relation to the tubes).  Now it looks fantastic.

Explanation not needed, but here is one anyway:
In case you are one of those cynical people who thinks it is silly to remove the decals just because it is a Motobecane, well you are mistaken as that is not the case.  I think 'bikes direct' bikes are fantastic and recommend them to people who are not brand snobs and who are looking for a great deal.  I left the decals on my first Motobecane (Fantom Team), a bike I raced (and won) on.  I simply like the clean look, especially on a raw frame.  I also removed the decals on my raw Misfit Dissent (scroll back a few pages on the blog to see those pics) and I have also removed the decals from my rims (the Vuelta's and both sets of Stans Arches).  I even took the decals off my Reba fork at one point, but the 2011's are so subtle I don't bother.
Minutes after pasting on the Jasco.

Added Jasco to the top, started scraping the bottom.
You can see the residue and 'ghosting' on the bottom decal.

Another shot of the phantom decal (which actually looks kinda cool).

Rubbed the frame with the 3M pad and it cleaned it up with little effort.

Loving the finished product!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

On The Road Again

O.k., so I mentioned I found my weekly mtb ride every Wedneday night out of the Bicycle Emporium.  There are a couple good shops here in Auburn, but these guys lead a mtb ride that ends with beer every Wed. so there ya' go.
While in NC, I was on the mtb most of the time, but not here.  There is just too much good road riding with beautiful views, wide lanes and lots of long, steep climbs.  So I needed a new road bike, not only for future commuting, but for riding at least once a week.  So, what did I end up with?  (drum roll please........) A Motobecane Titanium Fantom Cross Team.  I had been ready to pull the trigger on a used one for months, and finally found one.  I have already been on three rides, and I do like the bike a-lot!  The only negative, it is advertised at 17.5 lbs (w/o pedals, cages or reflectors). So I was disappointed when the bike shop just threw it on the scale and said mine was 20.05lbs.  Mine has 700x25 Schwalbe Durano tires instead of the 700x32 Kenda Cross tires and a few parts are different, but not necessarily heavier.  I am thinking maybe the guy was tugging on my bike a bit to get me to buy some lighter-weight parts, but you never know.  Hopefully this knowledge does not mess with my head.  I have felt strong during climbs thinking I was on a lightweight bike.  Now that I know I am on a boat anchor, maybe it will affect me?  Nah, I will know I am getting a better workout and will feel good going by guys on their 16-17 lb carbon bikes.  Yeah, suck on that weight-weenies!!!

Near the top of Indian Hill, one of the more popular climbs around here (cause it is pretty and kinda easy).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Truth Hurts

First group ride in Auburn tonight (out of Bicycle Emporium).  I was a bit worried about my fitness heading into this first ride as I had only been on the Niner once in the last several weeks thanks to life getting in the way (moving to Ca, buying a fixer-upper house, watching my girls while mommy works...). Still, I knew I would push myself in a group and so off I went.
I was pleased to see that many of the other 20+ riders were guys, like myself, who looked like they enjoy a good meal and beverage(s).  I started thinking that I would have no problem keeping up with this group. WRONG!  Maybe I was unusual in NC (insert your joke here)...a short, chubby, unathletic looking guy who could ride and most importantly, who liked to climb.  Well, out here (probably much like the NC mtns) everyone out here can climb.  We rode a rough route (one I had not ridden) and it kicked my butt!  I was able to hang, but it hurt.  Luckily the cramps did not start until I was pulling back into the parking lot of the shop.  After the ride, riders gathered in the shop for beverages, food and conversation...I think I just found my new Wednesday night ride. ;)
Good Times.

The Route:
For those in the know.  We started at the Bicycle Emporium and rode across the freeway and tracks to the Manzanita Trail head...a tight twisty technical downhill that runs down the canyon into the StageCoach trail and on down to the bottom where the Forks of the American River meet (the Confluence).  Then up, up, up the Confluence trail (thought people only rode down that trail) and finally to the Connector Trail.  Back to the Fuel Break trail and then the fast downhill on the edge of the Canyon (many areas with little room for error) back to the Confluence and then the two mile climb up Stagecoach and another 3 road miles back to the shop.
For some better info: follow this link: Auburn Endurance Loop, Manzanita Trail, Auburn Area Trails.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Welcome to California!

Well, it has been a month since my move, so it is about time I started getting back to writing about stuff that the three of you sometimes read.
My ride reports over the last month?  Four rides, three of them on a (wait for it (I hope you are sitting down))...on a road bike.  Yes, I have only been on the Single Speed once since arriving.  Why the disparity?  Well, when I arrived, my Niner had a flat tire and needed the brakes bled yet the road bike was ready to go.  Plus the first ride was just to ride around town to get to know the area.  But honestly, the scenery on road riding is fantastic in the Sierra foothills.  I definitely see a balance of road and mtb riding in my future (whereas in NC the balance was more like 4:1 toward mtb).  Now I can hardly wait for my new road (CCX) bike to show up.

Shhhh, don't tell the wife!

Update and Pics Below!

of the scenery and biks, not the wife (you wierdo).


Riding in Tahoe.  6000' Elevation? Meh.

Unfortunately I have eaten too much of this....

and too much of this. 
 Gained nearly 10 lbs over the last 7 weeks...but the training and re-commitment begins now!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Farewell NC

Wow, what a send off...thank you to all who could make it.  For those who could not be there, here is the summary:
Less than two weeks before I hit the long road to California, some of my mountain bike friends throw me a 'Farewell Ride n' Roast' that consisted of riding the short way through Sludge, straight through Umstead Park, then the hush-hush Trenton trail, then Hubcap right back to where we started.  We drank a beer before we started and then another one or two along the way (or three if you were Ben or Chris) and then finished at Rally Point with food (mostly Ribs), more beer and a bit of a roast.  Surprisingly people took it easy on me.  David did not mention how much I talk while I ride, Chris did not bring up when I disregarded my map at PMBAR and just followed people, and no body brought up my former love-affair with 26ers.
Regardless, It was just fantastic to see so many people I have ridden with over the years...some who were there when I started with my first mtb in 2008, to those I have raced with over the years, to those who I have ridden quite frequently with on HTFU rides.  I never imagined when I started riding that I would become part of a mountain bike community, but what can I say, I fell in love with the sport and wanted to be as much a part of it as I could.  And if you are reading this, you already know that (besides the Dalai Lama) mtb'ers are the best people you will meet.  To all my riding friends out there, you will be missed.  Thank you for the encouragement, generosity and support along the way...I can only hope to find a group close to being as good as you in NorCal.  Speaking of NorCal, hopefully some of you will decide you want to ride some new trails in the Auburn/Tahoe area, just look me up and I will hook you up. 
Again, Thank you for all the memories.  Now I had better stop before I shed a tear in my beer.

 Thanks Vanessa and Cody for the pics.

Good -bye my friends, you will be missed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012 Burn 24

Another amazing Event!
The Scene driving in to the Burn 24, Nice!
There I am, white shirt and cap
 I am Burnt!  After completing the race as a 3-4 person team two years ago, then solo last year, this year I was talked into a Duo with Jeff D.  It seemed like a good pairing as we took 1st and 2nd in the Masters solo class last year.  Only problem: there is no Masters duo class, just open duo, but hey, we were in this just to have fun and to see how many laps we could turn.  We decided on each riding a lap to start, then alternating every two laps.
Jeff setting a fast pace.
We started out fast…too fast.  Before the race, I guestimated on Jeff pulling 50-53 minute laps and me pulling 55-58 minute laps.  Wrong!  My first lap was ~43., then my next two were ~45 and 49.  After I nearly died on the Lemans start, Jeff pulled the first (shortened) lap then on his rotation pulled ~44, 47 then ~49 and 49.  Every time one of us would ride by, the other would yell out, “Your going to fast!” or “Slow it down!”. It was not until half way through the race when we settled into the more comfortable pace in the low to high 50’s.  Unfortunately for me, the early pace was taking it’s toll on my legs.  My 2nd lap was becoming consistently 3-6 minutes longer than my first lap,  I was able to stave off cramping my first lap, but each 2nd lap the cramps came early and often.  On my last lap, I experienced something I had not felt since my first ever event (2009 JMM), debilitating cramps.  My right leg locked up so bad I fell over on the bike, screamed in agony (always one for the dramatics) as I attempted to get up, and could not even walk it out. This sucked!  One thing I have always prided myself on is not stopping.  I have seen guys pull 90 minute+ laps on this course…something you can only do if you stop (or ride gears). ;)  I knew that if I can keep moving, even with no strength, my slowest lap would be ~1:10.  Luckily, after what seemed like too long, I was able to get back on the bike.  I took a few rotations and felt o.k., then BAM! The other leg cramps up.  Luckily, I was able to fight them off and keep moving and I finally got to the final bombing downhill.  That last lap took me 1:03, ~9 minutes longer than the previous lap.  I was spent.  I was so glad it was Jeff’s turn as I did not want to do another lap, even though I knew deep inside I could, and would…if I had to, luckily, I did not. The team in 3rd was only 23 minutes behind us after my 2nd to last lap.  If they continued, and I did not go out for another lap, they would catch us.  I stood at the transfer area waiting to see a bike with #72 twist tied to the front, forcing me to go out for another lap.  Then it happened.  An attractive woman next to me had apparently had enough of the heat.  She pulled off her tank top (in what I swear was slow motion) to reveal a string bikini top underneath.  As several of us watched her walk away, I probably gazed a little to long and hard, but then caught something in the corner of my eye.  She had just walked past a bike with #72, sitting under the Trek tent.
TFKT Crew 2nd!  Whodathunkit???

My gaze shifted to the bike and I began to walk over toward it.  THANK GOD!  There was a 2nd bike with #72 sitting next to it.  They were not out riding.  I saw some guys sitting there and introduced myself.  The were done and showered…said they could not even sit on the bike…I know the feeling.  So, we had 2nd locked up and I ended up showering, breaking down my tent and nearly completing getting packed up all in the time it took Jeff to cruise in on a 51 minute final lap.
Another great Burn24 and a nice way to finish off my events here in NC as I now look ahead to my inevitable move to NorCal.

My laps: 2,5-6, 9-10, 13-14, 17-18, 21-22, 25-26.
 Some notes worth mentioning:
I did lose my lunch (or Infinite anyway) on the trail (only once), but did not loose it after the post race meal (unlike last year).
I actually pulled in the faster lap.  Sure, we all know Jeff is faster than me, and this played a role in my early cramping issues (that and the heat), which eventually led to me pulling the slowest lap, but hey, let’s focus on the positive.

Yes, this guy podiumed...again!

Laura representing the Triad.

Finally met Mrs BikeTriad herself, Laura Mulchahy.

It was nice to meet her, her husband and a crew from G’bro H’ing The F.U. & getting it done. ;)

Picked up a nice pit spot next to Kip, Alex, Stranix and crew.  They blew away the 40+ 3-5 person male team.  Congrats to them, Mike and Andy for their podium finish (coed due) and all other Trianglites who showed up to represent.  Congrats!  Finally, big thanks to Jeff for being one heck of a partner.  Not only did he consistantly ride fast laps, his encouragement and his food that I ate when he was out riding, really kept me going.  Thanks Jeff!

Mike and Andy (right) on the Podium again!

Thanks to BikeTriad, Andy, Mike & LumenTrek for the pics.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

PMBAR 2012—Battle of the Bulge

Not sure what to title this write up...“Wheel Problems”  would have been on the mark also, but already I digress.  On the way to Brevard, Jay, Steve and I had to make a stop at an RV place to purchase some hoses for the propane tanks.  After a quick stop, I noticed a subway and made the suggestion to pull in for lunch rather than hitting the freeway and having to pull off again.  Jay takes the turn into the Subway parking lot when suddenly  CLANG-CLUNK-KERCLUNK!  A wheel had fallen off of Jay’s trailer, and due to the slow rate of speed, the trailer fell on the wheel.  This little mishap cost us ~4.5 hours (luckily the RV place was right there and could tow the trailer and fix the wheel).  Also, because the trailer rested on the wheel and did not scrape against the ground, only some pipes to the septic-tank broke so this mishap only ended up costing Jay ~$500 rather than $2-3 grand.  We were all pretty happy this did not happen on Hwy 40 while traveling 70 mph, so maybe it was a sign of good things to come.  We made it to Davidson River late, but still had time to check in, eat Steve’s spaghetti dinner and get a good nights sleep.
As far as a sign of good things to come, not so much:

Steve wondering if duct tape can fix this.
Blocking the entrance to Subway!

Simply put, Jay and I had a day full of mishaps and misdirection.
I was determined to be ready this year, because I remember the horrible feeling of being rushed last year and forgetting things.  No change this year.  There I was again, rushed to get to the start.  Forgot to add my 2nd bottle cage, so no extra water bottle…and there is more.  We are at the start listening to instructions and I realize that I had not eaten any breakfast.  Yep, just blew off the most important meal of the day.  So I begin chowing down on a bar, a Slim-Jim and swallowing it down with some Infinite drink.
Ready with my custom map strapped to my chest.
Bruce at Pressley gap, ready to roll!

Oh great, I have a flat.  So there we are, everyone is off and Jay and I are at the start fixing my flat.  Luckily we aired up, I spun the tire and the Stans held, so off we went, in last place, which means we were forced to walk up black.  In fact we had to start walking on the darn road before even getting to black thanks to the backlog of riders walkers.

Jay pushing up Black, or Turkey, or Pilot, or Laurel, or Club...
Finally we make it to Pressly Gap and start to plan our route.  With a simple goal of 4 checkpoints and a finish before dark, we hurriedly decided to head down Maxwell (can’t remember what we were going to get first).  About half way down, Jay says, “You know, we could have taken Turkey Pen to Bradley Creek.”  Then it hit me.  My mind worked with the speed of a computer calculating all different scenarios and I immediately knew that was the correct route.  We came to a stop and started climbing back up Maxwell to Pressley, then pushed up Black, down Turkey Pen and to our first check point.  Surprisingly, there were a lot of people at that checkpoint, so I felt confident in our route selection.  Now off to Bradley Creek.

For mature audience...behold, my bulge!
We do the little climb not far past the first big river crossing, then hit the bombing downhill afterward, when BAM Pssssst! Flat #2.  Not just a flat, but a slice in the tire.  No boot, so I try sticking a bar wrapper over the slice (took way too long), hoped the tube did not bulge out of the tire too much, and off we went.  Now this is where I DNF’d last year after slicing up my leg on a fall, so we carefully navigated the rivers and just about reached the end when we ran into Kelly, who unfortunately had been sick all week and was calling it a day.  He gave us his spare boot (we decided to only use it if the tube popped) and fantastic directional advice to
 our next checkpoint.

With Kelly's guidance, and pointers I felt very confident we were on track so off we went racing down 1206 to Laurel.  All I could think about was getting a grilled cheese sandwich and a coke.  I remember passing a few trails, but could not see signs, but it did not matter, where we were going was beyond Janes' sandwiches.  Then we run into Steve and Tim.  We tell them out plan and Steve tells us, “Dudes, you are almost to 276.”  Holy Mutha F’er!  We went the wrong way on 1206!!!  Kelly gave us explicit directions, but assumed we knew which way to turn on 1206.  Actually we did know which way to turn, we just did not do it.  SON OF A B!$@#!  So, back we went, with Steve and Tim.

Dave Anderson and Jim Stranix at the top of Pilot.
Jay and I at the bottom of Pilot.
We decided rather than riding back to Laurel (maybe we should have) we hiked up Pilot (took me 59 minutes to get to the top) and down Laurel to the checkpoint, then back up Laurel and rode down Pilot to 1206 and off to 276.  Saw Hawkins coming down Pilot (among others), saw Anderson and Stranix at the top along with a constant stream of teams making their way from Laurel. Also noticed that the slice in my tire had increased in size and now had part of the tube bulging out.  Yikes, so coming down Pilot (and from that point on) I am trying really hard to avoid any rock or root from coming close to rubbing against the drive side of my rear tire as I really did not want to change the tire (again).
Anyway, we are finally are on track with mostly fireroads left to ride.  We get to the 225 checkpoint without issue and then head back up to Club Gap and gingerly down Avery to CP#4.  It was there we were told to double check our passport and instantly decided to take the side trail over to Clawhammer, and down to Maxwell.  We knew we would now be finishing in the dark, but now the goal was just to finish.  The tire was looking worse, but we decided to risk it and just go.  We road up Maxwell to Pressley, and made it up and down Black with lights on and no real issues (nice to see JD and Mark w/ 5 CP’s) and onto the finish where we downed our burrito, some beer and conversation with everyone else who had crossed the line in front of us.   We did not get the finish we wanted, but just like our drive there, it could have been much, much worse, and ultimately ended up o.k..

Heading toward CP#3, Look out for Poison Ivy!

Jay cruising down 225.

   Almost to CP#4, were gonna make it!
Thanks to the generosity of Kelly and his family, we enjoyed some delicious spaghetti and meatballs (and more beer) and spent the rest of the night exchanging stories of our day with Jeff, Bobby, JD et. al.  I seem to remember a comical focus on how my large bulge almost kept Jay and I from a qualifying finish, but I think it is only funny when you are not sober. 
Good times!

Note: The next day when we were packing up, a guy camping across from us came over to chat.  We started talking about the race and I eventually asked how he did.  He replied, “We had a pretty good ride, ended up winning…”  It was Jake Mcgahey.  Totally cool guy, we all talked about the race, work, kids, riding etc.  Really nice of him (and his wife and kid) to come hang out with a few guys that came in 67th place and/or DNF’d.  I’ve had this experience several times either training or at events where I end up just talking bikes with amazing riders.  One of the things I love about mountain biking is most guys, regardless of ability, love talking bikes as much as I do…
Just another thing that really makes this sport special.
Jay and I at the finish with burritos & beer...there is a joke there somewhere.