Monday, February 27, 2012

Lets HTFU & do a Metric Century...

O.k., how about we HTFU and ride a full Century!

So it is that time of year to build up miles and saddle time for the upcoming endurance season.  In the distance is PMBAR as well as the Burn24 and at least one Hundie (to be determined).  I will usually have a few Metric Centuries out of Old Reedy Creek Rd (ORC) that involve at least 18-38 miles single-track and 22 to 42 miles of hilly double-track.  Only once have I had the stupidity mental fortitude to ride nothing but Umstead for 62 miles.  That time may come again next week.  Still I am hoping for some single-track to mix it up...or maybe even a greenway ride out to Ben & Jerry's...god I love their ice-cream.

So, before I even post up the Metric Century, Mark (of Farnsworth Engineering) tells me, "How about an HTFU Century ride.  Well, I took that as a challenge, and I am not one to walk (or ride) away from a challenge so it is on!  Somehow, someway, we are going to come up with a 100 mile route around ORC that will see us riding ~35-40 miles single-track, 35-40 miles double track, and ~25 miles greenway.  The Greenway is necessary to get to Jimmy Johns for a mandatory pit-stop and also to, of course, Ben & Jerry's for Dessert. :)  I am now very interested to see how this ride may unfold (or unravel).  Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

WARNING, TMI: My Arse Hurts!

Funny, the picture is spot-on!
Really?  I pride myself on not using Chamois Cream, Bag Balm, Butt Butter Butt get the idea.  Butt (couldn't help it) after the most recent HTFU ride of ~52 miles, I find myself with a sore saddle.  I once gave a hard time to my buddies who use Butt Creams as I was proud that my butt could take an all-day pounding, lube free (insert your own joke you sicko!).  Now I may need to join the crowd of riders that lube up before each ride, or at least I will may need to lube up for the long, hard ones (get your mind out of the gutter).  So, what is next?  Shaving my legs, wearing a kit and riding gears?!?  H-E-double hockey sticks, No!.

FWIW I use the Nashbar R2 Saddle.  While the current saddle on my bike is relatively new (6 weeks), I have used this saddle since I started riding in 2008.  I do have a Terry Fly in the parts bin I could try, but I might just chalk this up to my first long ride of the year.  OR I might over-react and purchase a Specialized Phenom (white, of course) that I have had my eye on for a while.  Stay tuned.

Monday, February 13, 2012


The First Ever 2012 Bushwhack Mountain Bike Race...Brrrrr!

Sunday brought the first ever Bushwhack Mtb Race, put on by the Bushwack Adventure Racing. And let me tell you, this ride as a true HTFU ride!  The course was not too daunting:  ~6 miles of Crabtree, ~19 miles of Umstead double-track, finishing with a 2nd ~6 mile loop through Crabtree.  The kicker is that the race time temperature was ~27° F, brrrrr!   Naturally, there were several no shows…well they missed out.  The course was fun, yet challenging and the riders and volunteers alike were spirited and encouraging.  While there were no categories for this ‘open’ event, the start was staggered by expert, sport and beginner categories starting 1 minute apart.  I planned on running 32:18, much steeper than my usual 32:20, but it was a shorter event than what I am use to, so I was hoping I could pull more speed and yet not cramp up…ended up wrong on both accounts.
Glad to be ahead of the Tandem going into single-track!
My strategy for the beginning was not to get stuck in a Crabtree backlog.  The race started with a long out and back on the road to spread out the group before hitting the single-track, I did my best to spin near the front for two reasons.  First, it sucks being stuck behind a large group that want to go slower than you.  Second, when it is that cold, and you know you still have 30+ miles left, it is easy to talk yourself into accepting a slower, more comfortable pace at the start.  Letting the momentum of faster riders carry me through could be a difference of up to 5 minutes.
After rolling through Crabtree at a pretty good pace we hit Umstead.  To my surprise, who should come up behind me but Mark Farnsworth himself, Mr. Fe bikes, on the twenty-niner he recently built for himself.  I knew he had been doing some major Umstead riding and would likely go through at a fast pace…so my goal, stick with him!  I felt this should not be a problem as he was running 32:20 to my 32:18.  Wrong!
Goal for lap 1: Push it!
We did stay together for much of the ride, which went as follows:  Drop gearies on climbs.  Gearies catch us on flats and down hills.  Repeat!                                                                         
The difference came on the very last climb, the short, but steep Cemetery (or Graveyard) Hill.   Mark and I were pulling away from the rest, but I was having a tough time keeping up with his pace.  We both stand and power up the hill…ouch, the cramps are starting.  My 33:18 did not help me climb any faster as I had to climb gingerly to fight off cramps.  When we reached the top, I was beat.  Mark started to spin along with another single-speeder, and I started dropping back to nurse my legs.  I did not want to lose sight of the two riders in front of me so I started spinning with all my might.  I knew that with all things being equal, if we both spin 110 rpms, my gearing is going to allow me to go faster.  Well, apparently Mark was spinning at 150 rpms because I was spinning as fast as I could and they were pulling away from me.  By the time I entered the gate at Crabtree, they had already take the turn to the single-track.  My goal, just keep the legs going.
I'm to the right, behind Joe (in yellow). Cleared it!

Cruising to the 1st real Umstead climb. Crushed it!
Amazingly, before we arrived at the top near the parking lot, I had caught Mark.  He said something about how he had crashed as I went by.  I thought, that sucks to come this far and wreck.  Found out later he meant his body crashed (bonked), but hey, it happens.  I just kept moving, trying to go as fast as I could where the trail would allow it.  It was pretty muddy and sloppy on one of the last loops before the end (loop 5 maybe?) and I did slide into a tree, but only hooked my bar end and dabbed.  I quickly hopped back on the trail and carefully road through the freshly thawed, slippery mess.  Luckily, at this part of the trail, I could look back and see there was no one in sight.  This information allowed me to pick my spots and fight off cramps that became really bad by loop 2.  The race ended with another out and back on the road.  Luckily there was no one right behind me, as I would not have been able to hold anyone off on a long paved section with my legs cramping.  I rolled across the finish spent, but stoked.  No categories, so I do not know where I came in amongst the other SS'ers, but it looks like I came in ~25th overall (~2:29) which is great considering two weeks ago at the JMM I think I came in 67th (both races wtih ~100 riders).  Regardless, this really was a fun event.  After the usual hanging around and B.S.’n with different riders, a bunch of us headed off to Rally Point Sports Bar for some delicious spaghetti, salad, and $2.50 pints of one of my favorite beers, Natty Greene’s Old Town Brown!  Good ride, good people, good event…good times!

Photo Credits: (on the left) and Rob Ward (on the right).  Thank you so much for capturing these for means a lot!