Monday, July 30, 2007

Twice to Heaven

I missed out on Single Speed Outlaw's trip to Buzzard Rocks this weekend, but I did manage to show some more folks our Heaven or Hell Trail in southern Michaux. Darius' brother was in town from State College Saturday afternoon, so we took a quick evening loop finishing on Heaven or Hell. That trail was heaven for Nabil. Here's a pic of Nabil from Darius' website.

Sunday Martin and I took the Cupcakes to that trail for the first time. After finally getting some rain overnight, the rocks were a bit sweaty and I was worried that the trail would be more like hell than heaven. It wasn't too bad, although it did cause me 2 crashes in places I've never crashed before. I think the Cupcakes liked it, especially Rich who sessioned each section until he got it. Travis and Tomi were nursing busted ribs and high$$ entry fees, so they didn't mess around as much as the rest of us. I think they'll be back though.

Now it's time for me to get some rest and recovery before the 100s.....
Can't believe it's almost August already....

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wakefield final

My Wakefield gearing experiment is officially over for the season. Feeling a little lazy, or maybe a little silly, for changing my gear twice/week for the past month, I just left my Michaux 32x20 on for this week's Weds. at Wakefield race. That's 4 gears lower than I'd been running. It made a huge difference, and I dropped way down the table and got to see the backsides of more friends than usual. And since this was the SSers drag race, that view was a little different than usual too.

pic swiped from Gwadzilla

Huge thanks to Potomac Velo Club for putting on this annual highlight of the bike community's season.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wednesday Wakefield 3

After last week's rain out, we got it on again this week. A few hours before the race, my legs still got tired climbing the stairs. Was hoping for a magical Michaux bounce in a couple hours. Good pre-lap though, spent a couple times going over that log at the high spot of the woods, the one everyone goes around to the left. My log mentor, Barry O'Melinn has been telling me for years to hop that one in the races. It is the straighter line after all, and it's kinda clumsy going around it at speed. I tried it each lap, and I even got passed once there by Jonathon. Later on, I passed a lapped racer as he went around it. Didn't seem all that faster to me since I had to slow down some to get the wheel tap right, and I got passed there. I guess Barry just manuals it?? I'd like to see that.

I had the hole shot somehow as Jonathan washed out on the gravel 20 seconds into the race. I geared it past Pearce as I think he was looking back at Jon. Held 1st all the way thru the creek trail, then pulled aside and let Pearce go, and asked Nick if he wanted it too. That began my yo-yo between 3rd-5th-3rd-5th for the race. I was beaten by guys running 29ers with both lower, and higher gears, and Paul on his 2:1 26er. Same story every race. I'm beginning to think that gearing has much less to do with it than legs. If I make the last race, I think I'll just be leaving my Michaux gear on.

Cool shot of Kent over the second roller near dark. More pics from Ben here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

the hundie-K

A few more miles in the books now, and I'm enjoying my recovery day at the computer chair. Sooo, peeps did show up after all. How 'bout that? I think we had 60-some starters for the 100K. Not as many as the 100 for Maximus, but way better than the pre-reg site looked.

I had a good race. No flats, no mechanicals, no funny belly. I had one silly front wheel wash on Abby that had me laughing like, WTF was that....? I also took a couple of idiot lines on 3-Mile as if I'd never ridden that trail before. I hope Churtle didn't see me dab those...

  • smilin' for the action sports photogs Tomi and Jake
  • Miller High Life courtesy of Tomi and Jake
  • seeing Lee and Travis hunting for carnage at some of the more interesting sections
  • some of the logs on Yellow Ridge
  • Methodist Hill, even the climb out wasn't as sucky as I expected
  • Canada Hollow, yummmy stuff here
  • Grave Ridge at 50-miles in (maybe this should be a low-light?)
  • riding with buddy Albert most of the day. he had more issues than I, otherwise, I'd have been solo much of the day
  • riding w/ Cheryl, and then watching Michele and Cheryl duking it out for miles. I'm not sure where exactly I passed Michele for the last time, but she sure looked broken. Don't mess with Le Turtle out there...
  • some of the logs on Yellow Ridge
  • every inch of trail after Grave Ridge until crossing 233 again. that stuff really messed with my finishing mood

Friday, July 13, 2007

log jammin'

This has been my practice log for the past several months. It's at Wilson College, where I ride most evenings with Oliver and his buddy Brandon. I've been learning to clean this thing with sandals and flip-flops on. Though, on the advice of a friend, I got some Keens, which at least offer some toe protection.

I clean it about 6 outta 10 times usually, and tonight's attempts featured my worst endo yet. The kids howled at that. Good to not be clipped in for that one.

Here's another log feature at the Wilson equestrian center. Most of their log features are landscaped with flowers and boxwoods and such, so I stay away from those. But this one has some promise too.

is anyone coming to this party?

There's a big race in Michaux in a couple days. The longest mountain bike race ever held here, and I'm wondering how many peeps will be racing? I know a lot of my Virginia friends won't be making it. Many don't like the early 0700 start time, or they don't like the extra long distance (how many people have ever finished a "regular" Michaux race and wished it were longer?). Others don't like the feeling of not choosing the longest of the 3 (10, 25, or Monster), so they stay away from the 25 too.

And once again, there's a severe date conflict with another popular race, the one at Fair Hill. It's gonna be hard for the Balto-Philly-Delaware contingent to skip their local one-lap classic. That's a lot of folks that would ordinarily race Michaux. There's also an XTerra tri at Rocky Gap, MD that is taking a few of my Bike Lane team mates.

Then there's the Michaux locals, many of whom are helping out with the race instead of racing, as did many for the Spring version. For a variety of reasons, it could be a fairly slim field. The pre-registered list on BikeReg was certainly pretty small, though it also was for Maximus, and we did get a huge turnout on gameday.

One friend said, "...the world doesn't need another endurance race.." This is a friend from the group of six who have done every Shenandoah Mtn 100 since Chris started this business. Starting this year, Pennsylvania alone now has six 50-milers, one 100K, and the 101. Is this the future of our sport? I don't mind terribly if it is, though I certainly do have fun at the little sprints like Wednesday at Wakefield too.

Hope to ride with some friends on Sunday, come on out if you're on the fence.. Prove me wrong.

Friday, July 06, 2007

SS Outlaws

I spent some of Freedom Day riding with a band of Outlaws
in the Frederick Watershed. The Outlaws are a posse of uni-geared riders with an equal interest in advocacy, trail work, party rides, and racing. Their technical skills are at the top of the table, and their home turf is the 'Shed.

A couple days later, their leaders, Mister and Missus Outlaw came up for a shorty ride in southern Michaux. One found Heaven, one found Hell, a not unpleasant place.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

a Watershed moment

Wow, I can't rave enough about how fun the trails are in the Frederick Watershed. I got a late e-mail to join my old GWNF crew on a Shed ride on Sunday and it was cool to get to finally ride again with peeps like the Barrys Quigley & O'Melinn, Dan, Junkins, Nancy, Kara, Tom & Julie, and Cowtilly. These are the people I learned to mountain bike the big stuff with, and I miss not riding with them now.

And those trails. In the past few months I've ridden many places with great trails. Besides Michaux, I've ridden the State College/Rothrock Stoopid stuff, the Rothrock Tussey Ridge trails, Rattling Creek Singletrack, the Stokesville area, Marysville, and Blue Knob. And hands down, the most fun is the Frederick Watershed. Not Gambrill, but, the 'Shed. It's like Abigail, Buckets, and Canada Hollow. And then there's that low-speed-techy trail into Little Canaan, which is a little like Heaven or Hell. Oohhh mannn, I wanna go back there right now....

The last 3 times I've ridden the Shed in past few years, I've always thought "...damn, why don't we ride here all the time.."? The fun:work ratio is so much higher than the GW and Michaux.

Monday, July 02, 2007

local, fast race

With most of the usual crew down at the Tour de Burg, I woke up on Saturday without a real bike plan for the weekend. I checked the MASS calendar on the fridge and saw that Kuhn's Marysville festival weekend was going on, and that the longer xc race was Saturday. And, it had a late afternoon start, which could work out perfectly for the homestead that day. I checked the pre-reg list and saw a bunch of Chambersburg friends Joel, Martin, Chuck and Cathy, plus Fat Marc, Huber and others, so it was an easy dunk decision, and only an hour away.

I lined up with the 10 single-speeders, and among friendly banter, Keith noticed that I seemed to be missing a lot of teeth from my rear cog. Yeah, I geared up for this course to a 32x17. Most of the 10 thought I was nuts. I got the hole shot and held onto 1st for a little while until Keith blew on by. A couple more quickly followed, and then I had comfy 4th for a long time with no immediate pressure on my wheel. But, really, this being the kind of fast, tight, twisty course, without a lot of hills, it was the kind of course where if you slowed down to blow your nose, a couple guys would come around you. I worked pretty hard to hold onto 4th, but it wasn't enough and I dropped back to 6th on the second of our three laps.

I thought I had a little more gas in me than I was using so I picked it up a bit, and some of the guys in front of me started coming back, like Keith, who looked in distress when I passed him. I passed a few more single-speeders and started thinking that I was now sitting in 1st or 2nd. There were several Enduro class racers riding single-speeds still on the course too, so I couldn't really tell for sure who I was passing. I kept going comfortably hard, harder than I usually go, thinking for a whole lap that I had one of the top spots on the wooden steps. I haven't seen a SSer behind me in a long time, and I knew I had several lapped riders buffering behind me as I casually finished out the race with a smug smile and a blog story already in my head. As I'm walking up the one steep section near the end of the race, I hear someone grunting behind me. I turn to see Keith mashing his way up that climb. I yell encouragement to him to clean it, and then I think, WTF, where did you come from? I thought you were done. Dammit Keith, you're efffing up the end of my story. I jump on his wheel and try to sit in and think of where I can use my bigger gear to jump around him or out-sprint him. We only have a little course left and I tried to make a move around the flat pond section, but I couldn't even get close. If anything, he gained another bike length or two in last hundred yards. Nice job Keith! He took 3rd, and I ended up with 4th. Obviously, the real first and second guys were nowhere to be seen by us.

What a race though. It was like Fountainhead or Quantico, and I worked it hard. Too hard perhaps, as I had trouble putting away 2 beers after the race.

Congrats to Martin for winning the young experts and to Cathy for putting in 5 laps in the Enduro. I certainly did not wish for any more than my 3 laps...

It was cool seeing Kevin Dillard, who made the trek up north to race and shoot. Here are a couple of his shots from the weekend. Another gratuitous narcissistic shot from his RAW gallery, and a cool one of Fat Marc and Chunky. Marc had another battle with zombies on Saturday.

Shooter vs. Shooter, here's a pic of Don Pagano who shoots a lot of the Michaux races.