Monday, July 28, 2008

the Wilderness in my head

I returned to the Wilderness 101 this weekend. I did the first two installments of Chris' version in 2001-2002, but then missed the next 5 of them. Hmmm, Oliver is 5 years old, coincidence??

I had a good, uneventful race, no flats, no mechanicals, no crashes, etc., but I'm not thrilled with my time of 10:55. I started in the very back and felt I stayed there, riding mostly alone until AS-3 or so when I finally started catching up to familiar faces like Frank and Harry. Funny how my mind works; last week in the blistering Curse, I told myself that the 101 would have to be easier. In the 101, I convinced myself that the SM 100 will be easier.

Looking back at those 01-02 results, I see that in the 2001 race, I was 17th overall at 9:17, interestingly, right behind Harry and Frank. I replaced my derailleur (with the spare I always carried) on the Fisherman's Path after ripping it off on the entrance rock. Would I have been sub-9? Seems absurd for me to say sub-9 anymore.... Jay Duffy won that race by more than 30 minutes with a 7:07. Kuhn-dog was 2nd, Jake von Gettier was 6th with an 8:15. Myracle Mark was 13th at 8:59.

In 2002, I rode the race with my friend Steve Viers who would be my Trans Rockies teammate later that summer. We rolled in with BarryOM at 9:52. Keefer won it that year with a 7:32, nowhere near Duffy's blazin' time. Was Jay juicing the year before?? Harlan was 8th.

So, the course is maybe a bit slower now with some more trail added since the first installments. I'm certainly slower and older, and riding my cheater bike in a race that isn't as cheater-friendly as say, Fountainhead is. My time is about an hour slower than 2002. I guess it isn't all that bad, but I sure seemed slow out there and started asking the questions.... This time the questions were turning into actual discussions in my head. Yet another reason I like doing these with lots of friends around....., they keep you safe........ from yourself.

Rollin' in pedal-file-style with Barry. This was also his 3rd 101, and he and Buchness are also members of the short bus that have done every one of the Shenandoah 100s.

Happy campers, always fun to be around.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Crunch time

Alright folks, it's getting to be crunch time for the funding for the Chambersburg Pump Track we hope to build next month.

Thank you all for your donations so far! I think its especially cool when we get those small donations from peeps that live far from Franklin County, and likely will never ride our track. Number of donors is almost as important as number of dollars. It shows the Boro that there are many interested folks for this kind of thing, and it tells me that we're doing the right thing for the bike community. That this is the kind of bike park we'd all like to have in our downtowns. Thank you all for your support, our cycling community always amazes when called upon. I hope we all get to ride it soon.

Hit the BikeReg link to help us get it done!

Monday, July 21, 2008

songs in my head

I went into the Curse thinking that it might be the hardest bike race I've done, for the temperature, and for my general perceived slowness and aged creakiness. Saturday was wicked hot, and I was tired, stiff and busy all day. Quigley came up to spend the night for the race, and we rode around town a bit with the boyz, and then feasted on Kim's gourmet talents and kicked a couple growlers.

As happens more often than not before these big, early-start races, I couldn't fall asleep despite being tired all day long. Went to bed before midnight after watching some of le Tour. No Zzzs from 12-1, then got up and went down to the couch and some more Tour. Slept a tiny bit between 1-2 until big Barry came downstairs to use the bathroom. He quickly went back up and I saw on the tv guide that the "The Meaning of Life" was coming on at 3:00 AM. Cool, I thought, something to do. Luckily though, I didn't see any of the movie, I somehow slept nicely until 6-ish. I don't think this is a nervous "how am I gonna do" thing, I think it's more of a fear of oversleeping and missing it, or an "I'm ready now, lets wake up and go" thing.

our neighbor Brandon bringin' it

The race was survival pace from the start for me. I hate that wildcat start down Pinch Flat Alley and took my time, passing many friends with their pumps already in hand. I took Abby Trail as slow and casual as I ever have, catching and chatting with Stephanie Stago a bit. Rode Abby clean until I got to Bender, then stopped and hung out with him for a bit sharing some fun until Stephanie rolled up again. I wasn't thinking about Abby or Yellow Ridge, my head was already on Dug Hill and Canada Hollow. Actually, this picture below is what was in my head most of the day. Dreaming about an easy week in Hatteras next month......., with stacked lines like this...

stolen from Surfline

some lowlights & highlights
  • Kim and the neighbors brought the boys out for the kidz race and had fun
  • cleaning those 2 rock gardens on Sting Trail. I hardly ever clean those on a group ride
  • lower down on Sting, I brush close to a pine tree, and a thin branch goes hard into my ear hole. way deeper than any q-tip has gone before. and no cottony softness on the end of it. the hearing in that ear went way down for several miles. it's almost back now
  • helping EnduroSteve with a flat
  • skipping most of the alternate rock and log play lines that I usually hit on these trails
  • riding into Jake a few times. Last saw him at that dark dark place at the bottom of the Gilbert Road.
  • beer with Travisimo and Bender at the last water stop.
  • cleaning that super sketch off the powerline. had been in my head all day that I'd just walk the whole thing, but one clean led to another all the way down it. amazing, I even made it across the creek, never done that on a group ride
I thought I had my bungee budget managed perfectly to get me down the sketch, up the powerline, and home on the sweet Campsite-3 trail. When we took that right down Birch Run Road, something was wrong. I must've missed the left cut thru the woods. I must be following arrows from the 10-mile loop? After dropping down Birch Run, wondering WTF, I turned around and headed back up, looking for the easy way in that I most certainly must've missed. Another rider (the guy who was in distress at the last water stop) came down, certain that it was correct, that he heard it in the racer's meeting. OK, turn around and stretch that bungee out a little more before it snaps. Who in the world thought that adding Birch Run > Wildcat to the end was a good idea? I'm sure that person had a throttle.

All day I had Oliver's favorite song from The Band in my head. By the end, it had been replaced with a classic from the Stones Some Girls album. I'm sure you know the song.

Today is lookin' really good though. Just rode with Oliver over to his summer place at Wilson College, and am working at home with a mountaintop finish at le Tour on the tube. I'm starting to enjoy Mondays almost as much as Sundays. Thanks for reading if you made it this far...

Friday, July 18, 2008

rebel invasion

a Friday hooky ride with Nick and Dave from Old Forge.

Nick's plushy fork doing him no favors on the high line.

Crouse stylin' it easy

A soak in the creek and kickin' a growler of Roy Pitz made for a fine Friday.

final Wakefield

The last race of the summer Wednesday at Wakefield series is always a fun affair. Good friends, fast riders, the beer laps at Kilroys, the series awards, and the watermelon. Three and four years ago, when I was one of a few guys on "cheater bikes", I took home some gold and bronze hardware. Last year, I think I reached the podium once. This year, I barely stayed in the top-10.

No matter, I was in a dress, so what did I care? It took a bit of thrift shopping to find the right dress for mountain bike racing. I like a lightweight material, stretchy is good, and of course I'm a sucker for spaghetti string tops. A short or mid-length is good. Long dresses tend to make pedaling and straddling the frame difficult. Since I wore the same dress for the last 2 finales, and peeps were talking, I knew I had to find a new one. I learned a few things about buying and racing dresses:
I am not a Large size, I'm Plus
Thrift stores have very few cute sundresses for guys in my size.
It's weird to ask to try on a dress in a store.
It's best not to wear it to the office the day of the race.
It was hard to tell if the person ahead of you is in your class.
Your wife most likely won't be interested in borrowing your dress.

Pics courtesy of Mr. Voyeur T. Barsi

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Missed the MBM ride last night by about 45 minutes and didn't know where they were headed, so I just rolled my own w/ an emphasis on climbing. Rode some stuff I usually don't ride, and some of it in the opposite direction.

Here's my tach reading from the cableTV climb from Mont Alto

Sunday, July 06, 2008

the daily grind

Jay makin' it look like nuthin'.

This picture turned ugly seconds later.

But not as ugly as this.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

lucky break

Was finally on my way to ride the new and already infamous Iceberg Trail in the Shed when this happened 10-minutes into the ride on a flat, easy, doubletrack section.

Lucky this didn't happen 5 minutes later on the rocky part of Salamander.
Or, Weds. night at the Wakefield race, or
a couple weeks from now on a certain descent of Wildcat.

At the start of this ride, Jody noticed that he had a bent seatpost that was on it's way to failure too. After my bar broke, Darius called Outlaws Joe & Julie to see if they were coming up the mountain, and they were, and brought along a variety bag of handlebars, stems, grips, and a seatpost. While we waited, we hit the PRBs a bit, and found several sidewall cuts on 2 of our bikes. We booted 4 or 5 places while waiting, then booted one more later on the ride.

As for my On-One Mary handlebar..., it was bought April 2007 and used the new Thomson stem with shims. Shims are supposed to prevent this from happening?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pump Track donations

If anyone is inclined, we're taking donations for the new Chambersburg Pump Track we hope to build in August. Hoping for a grand party opening dealie the weekend of Teaberry, or in that time frame. The link will stick on the left for a while.