Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 January Mountain Bike Marathon

So here is the format.  Ride one lap through Governor's Creek (~5-6 miles), then hit the road (mostly gravel/dirt w/ paved connectors) for over ~31 miles, then back for one more lap of Governor's Creek.

Unfortunately, I had only been on one mtb ride in 13 days.  It showed (I have more excuses, but will save them for later).  I geared my bike with a 42x21 ratio (geared for the road) and off I went.  Inspite of starting at the bottom of a hill ~1/4 mile before the single track, the bottleneck trail of bikers was long and thick.  I found myself too far in the back and was stuck with a bunch of guys that were only going to slow me down, but this early in the race, I did not care.  A few guys made efforts to pass, which I found comical considering how crowded it was.  As two guys tried to squeeze past I gave them room and when they said "thanks" I simply said, "I'll catch you later." And I meant it.  It was funny when things finally stared clearing out, I came up on one guy who was walking his bike in the middle of the trail and as I approached, he made no effort to move, he just said, "Go ahead", I shouted, "Go where?" as I rode off the trail and had to dismount to avoid a wreck. "Oh, sorry dude."  "Yeah, well screw you, you trail hogging son of a ...." is what I wanted to say, but instead I said, "No harm done" as I ran my bike past him, and was on my way.
The 'road' portion of the ride.
Exited the woods and hit the pavement with a couple gearies, and we pace lined to the first dirt road.  Unfortunately my odometer was not working (turned out my sensor had slid down my fork), so I had no idea of our speed, but we were moving.  Eventually caught an old Irishman on a SS and he joined in for a few minutes before pulling away.  I moved with him and off we went.  He said that it was nice to leave those geared riders behind.  I said, yeah, unless they catch us.  He assured me they would not (he was right) and off we went.  I lead him onto the next road section and started to pull away before I heard a yell.  I turned back to see him turning right onto a gravel road. Doh!  I turned around and finally caught him.  We continued to ride together at a solid pace, picking off some riders and picking up others, until we came across a group of ~5 riders (including my buddy Steve Rodgers).  Funny, but at the starting line I pointed at Steve and said, "I'm gunning for you Rogers", now I literally was.  He and his group picked up the pace and so we two SS'ers joined the pace line.  This all went well until one of the last big climbs on the 2nd to last gravel road.  As we started going up, (as always happens on a climb) the pace line started breaking up.  I knew this was the moment to go for it.  Though my legs were screaming, I started doing the Contador Dance up the hill and dropped everybody.  I kept pushing, wondering when the peleton was going to regroup and close the distance.  I kept pushing.  Eventually I started looking back.  I could see no body.  Oops, I missed another turn!  It was the last turn onto the last set of dirt road that would eventually lead straight back to the trail.  I fought up the initial small ascent and started feeling cramping in the legs.  Dang it!  I kept pushing, but my left leg was starting to cramp, so I had to ease off.  I knew I was slowing down.  I looked back again and saw my SS brothers red and black jersey in the distance.  He was gaining on me.  By the time I reached the hill at the start, he was upon me.  As I entered the single track, I knew this is where the 42x21 gearing would hurt.  Still, I pushed through and passed a few people.  Some who passed me back after I cramped and had to dismount.  Three times I had to dismount a walk a short section due to cramping in my left leg, and three other times I dismounted on a short accent just to avoid a sure cramp.  Still, I passed more than passed me, and kicked it in near the finish to take another rider before the tape.
Two years ago, in muddy conditions, on my 26" single speed (with 44x19 gearing) I won the SS division.  This year, I was 6th (one place behind the same SSer I rode most of the race with).  6th was also DFL for SS'ers (62nd out of 106). The difference was that there was a VERY strong field this year (including SSer extraordinaire Kelly Klett, whom I talked into the race the day before).  Funny, but I always seem to do better in the races without a strong field, hmm.
Anyway, I cannot brag about the result, but I am proud of the effort, and surprised considering how few miles I have ridden this month (fewest in nearly 2 years). Also, I have dropped ~5 solid lbs over the month of January (thanks to a healthier diet), so as I increase my miles and decrease my weight, I will be on track to be where I need to be for the important races: PMBAR and Burn24.  What makes them so important?  I am on a team and cannot let down my team mate.
Now stop reading this, put down your beer, and go plan a ride!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Niner Time!

No, not the S.F. 49ers (the city of my birth) but Niner bikes.  After switching to 29er several months ago, I have ridden or owned several frames.  Some I liked (Misfit, Soul Cycle...) and some I did not (Trek, Salsa...) for various reasons, usually a combination of fit, feel and placebo (knowing a frame is a Tank made me less fond of it, even if it rode o.k.).  So, with everything I have taken in, I have decided that what I, what I need is a Niner One 9 and a Niner Sir 9.  The One 9 will be my racing bike.  It will be light with the Crossmax wheelset and Ikon tires.  The Sir 9 will be built as a 1x9 for the wife.  It will be a respectable weight, with nearly identical parts to the One 9, but with Stans Arch w/Hopes combo and likely Slant Six tires or Racing Ralph's.  I will occasionally ride it as a SS.  Now, all I need is to find a couple of good deals on these frames.
One 9, Ultra light and Fast!

SIR 9, Smooth and still Fast.

***NOTICE: I will offer a finders fee of the 6 pack of your choice for any person who finds me a deal that leads to the purchase of my new frame(s).  So, stop sitting there reading this...go and find me a frame!!!

EDIT: Many tips came in through trianglemtb.  Ben and Kip ultimately provided the winning tips leading me to the frame(s). Thanks everyone!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Confessions of a Serial Mountain Biker

A recent thread on TMTB has inspired me to come clean and confess to some little known (and often, things you don’t want to know) truths in my mountain biking past.
_ _ it happens.
  • Once dropped a deuce on my favorite numbered trail…hey when you gotta go, you gotta go.

  • My first time riding Uwharrie, dropped a deuce  in 30 degree weather.  Some walkers passing by politely pretended they did not see me as I squatted against a tree.

  • Dropped a deuce (#3 really) on Black Mountain…then again, who hasn’t?  It was my first time there (PMBAR preride) but sadly, I had it coming out of both ends.  Not a good day.
I know what some of you are thinking, maybe I should just list the trails that have not been fertilized with my waste product, but rejoice, only the three above mentioned trails have been blessed.  On a side note, I guess when people say I am full of sh!#, they are indeed correct.

On with the list.
  • Yes, I work Umstead into my riding plan for two reasons, one, it is a great workout.  Two, eye candy galore!  Confessing here, not apologizing.

  • I don’t like riding “Rocky” trails.  Why?  I don’t like getting hurt.  When confessing this to a fellow rider recently, they inquired, “So, you get hurt every time you ride that trail?”  I answered, “No, just every other time...” I just don’t like those odds.

  • I would really like to be one of the top 40+ guys in the area.  Unfortunately, my desire for ribs, beer, salty snacks, ice-cream  (you get the picture) out-weighs (literally and figuratively) my desire to do what it takes to step up to the next level. L   

  • I like riding my road bike.  I do not like riding the roads of North Carolina; however in California, where the shoulders are wide and the bike lanes are plenty, I will be on the road again.
More confessions coming as I recall them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

HTFU Uwharrie Style

Spent a nice Saturday with some fellow riders hitting the new and improved Uwharrie Wood Run trails.  The first and only time I had visited Uwharrie was almost exactly one year ago...went with a couple of guys for a group ride on a cold (high 20's low 30's) January day.  I remember riding double track up to the top of Keyauwee and then some single track and double track on the way down.  Unfortunately the guys I drove with, while both good guys, were ill prepared for the cold temps.  After one 7 mile loop they were done. :(  So, a four hour round trip for 7 miles of riding led to me feeling not that impressed after a negative experience.
That has all changed.
The new and improved Keyauwee is now worth the trip.  With Rich A. navigating, we hit the new connector trail up to Keyauwee and then headed up the trai (cw).  Nice switchback and groomed turns made for nice climbing.  At the top we headed into Supertree and then down White Tail and back up Supertree (ccw).  Then back down Keyauwee (ccw) the opposite direction (did kinda a figure 8) before meeting up with a larger TORC group...then up the double track and back down Keyauwee (ccw) a 2nd time.  Nice to have Bobby set a blistering pace on that last run...caused me to work harder than I would have by myself and we ended up losing everyone in spite of stopping twice.  Ended up with ~34 miles at ~9.5mph running 32x20 on the Misfit Dissent.
Really looking forward to going back soon.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Resolutions, Riding and More

First I should mention that despite stating in my last post that I was going to visit less Buffets in 2012, where did I eat on January 1st?  You guessed it, An Eat-All-You-Can Buffet.  Still, I am going to hold myself to losing weight and keeping it off.  I joined in order to keep track of calorie consumed and burned as well as to track my weight.  I hope to post progress, when I make progress.  My overall goal: Lose 20lbs by May of 2012 (from 180 to 160) and keep it off!!!
I just love to eat all I can...then drive home full of regret.

So what else for 2012?  Considering we might be moving from NC to CA this summer, my riding could suffer, but I am still going to go for 2500+ mtb miles and 1000+ road miles...or at least 3500 combined.  I also hope to race in several events both in NC and CA.  More on that later.

Other resolutions.
Continue to raise happy healthy children.
Hopefully find employment in California...if not, at least I will have plenty of time to reach my riding goals. :)
Pass the Language Arts Praxis exam.
Begin learning to speak Spanish.
The Dillinger will look like this Hooligan, only with 29" wheels.
More bike rides with the wife (and kids).

Note: I have been waiting to build up a Soul Cycles Dillinger 29er that was supposed to arrive in sometime in it is January and it still has not arrived.  The Dillinger can run single-speed or geared.  I will likely build it geared for my wife, but am hoping she will try SS first....if the frame ever arrives, that is.  More to come on this later.

Hoping for a happy, healthy 2012 for all, with plenty of riding miles in your future. :)