7/27 Looking Ahead
It seems like I set myself up here for another race entry, and it looks like you have tuned in here to read about it. So I guess I will try to lay out in some cohesive manner the rambling thoughts, analysis's, and retrospect's that have been mulling in, out and around my head since what has become to be a mission of competition directed towards a single goal or maybe more specific one single man. It's not in my nature to be spiteful or full of vengeance and that is not what drives this ambition. Rather a matter of being in a place to succeed at a personal obtainable goal OR to add validation another persons string of victories. You see, you have to go back not 1 year, but rather 2 years to see something other than a first place class finish for Matt Marcus in the WVMBA points series. So maybe I think that's not right, or maybe I wish that was me.
I made the trip with my chaperone in the lime green box on wheels, where I tried to describe the course to Dwayne. The best I could come up with at the time was a comparison to the course at Big Bear Lake. Geographically I would say that is correct, not a lot of elevation variance, but add a Canaan-esque mix of technicality - 100% rideable relentless go go stop go stop flow on roots and rocks. Crit corner mad sprints skills one after another. It's a lap course, and before you or anyone poo-poos the lap course, I will take the time (realize the fact that I may be a bit biased on this matter) to defend the lap track. First off no more than 2 or 3 laps can make for some fun strategic racing, you know what is coming up again and places that you can hopefully trim some time. It can remove some of the "home course" advantage while you make once a year trips to the different courses sprinkled about the state. The lines get beat in a bit more and things tend to get faster. When it comes to racing faster is better.
As the experts straddled to the line it was a noticeably small field as all fast paced boys of the WV Nightclub Contingent was away at the Wilderness 101. I was looking for this (that doesn't realy go where I wanted - it's supposed to be me) at start at the the singletrack entrance that follows starting sprint up the gravel hill climb. (that is M.M on my wheel in 2007) What I got was the opposite, I was on his wheel and locked on it when it was tight or twisty or gravity fed. Which was most of the time, so I don't know where he would get up on me. Never more than 15 seconds that I could deduct from the visible wrap-abouts where I would count off the seconds. Count to the point that he was spotted and you have your gap. Always a 10-15 seconds count off, that's nothing that turning the dial to eleven momentarily wouldn't and didn't take care of. So then I would be back on. And off. And on. So was the first lap.
I am going to throw out a bit of race strategery here only if you promise not to use it against me. It's mental, so if you don't really believe it, it won't work, but I have sensed the negative aspects playing out behind me when someone catches up then disappears when they can't hold on. Also I have seen positive results when looking ahead and making passes. When you are chasing a rabbit in the hunt and your target is in sight, if your momentary goal is to catch that rider - that is probably all you will get. So you are catching that guy, you are obviously faster, the mindset needs to be "I am going to pass that rabbit", leave that rabbit a lone and b hind. That was lap 2. I made a crucially timed pass (read - where it's is the tightest and twistyness) ahead of a rocky downhill to maximize a gap. Granny gear climb (my fortay) and my rabbit hops up and away from me. More work, more mindset and I finish lap two barely ahead and enter last lap into the briar patch, right where I want to be.
So far the race has been a matter of riding everything clean, trimming seconds and milliseconds at every obstacle. It all adds up. It's that close. I even could notice time being made on every whooop. The whooops (not to be confused with whooompf!%)s) are the product of maybe too much speed for a particular instance/obstacle and rather than braking to survive, a spontaneous "whooop" can pull you though. So a even a little bobble could be a major setback. One need to work waay hard to make up a bobble. I found myself behind again when I threw my chain over a very suspect big chainring and it wasn't going back till my gloves were greasy. 20 seconds of down time easy. That late in this game was huge, but I was game. Pushing it past distortion i was rockin and rollin but not without a bit of feedback, first in the form of racking my boys behind the saddle then a couple minutes later, slipping my knee sharply to the stem. I didn't let little things like that bring down the show, I kept a roll on to finish at 2:16 - 38 minutes faster than my time at last years race, fifth overall. Oh, by the way Marcus was 4th ... overall. I got only Hope for next week.
Moore and Co. finishing Little Beaver
7/26 The Long and the Short
Even the locals say "that's a hard pull" - up Wild Cat Hollow
Atypical race week - Monday I hung out as much as possible in any horizontal position. Tuesday - recovery ride at the park for one and a half hours, river trail and easy spinning. Wednesday was the time trial at Putman County Park. 18 minutes and 45 seconds, burned in a course record, and went home. Group ride till dark in the park again on Thursday. Off the bike on Friday. Then Saturday morning dusted off the VA grunge, broke loose a seized headset on the road bike for a staple 30 miler w/gravel. Being back on the road felt fast and easy, even seemed to flatten some of the hills. Well rested but tired. We will see what Sunday brings.
Cruising The Riviera
7/20 Mind Games
Sunday Racing, Valley Falls; Going in with a game plan to start slow and finish strong. I thought my main rival would be away at the weekends nationals, but eye-balling the competition at the start line I spot Matt Marcus lingering at the back of the expert riders. So my slow start consisted of going slow enough for about 100 yards into the long opening road climb then settled in to keep that #10 national calf marking in sight. Three sport riders got in-between us before the single track downhill and I regrouped to a mindset of not falling out. That is to keep in control and not make any mistakes that would take would take you out of the position that was earned from the climb. At the first switchback the trail turns and narrows and 1-2-3 three sport riders fall out and I am back in place. By the bottom I am once again sucking a C'dale 29'r wheel. I keep it there with a little yo-yoing back and back on - up the climbs and down. Holding a wheel is not one of my strong points, mentally it usually beats me down, but this seemed to be paying off. It was still way too early to be thinking of when to make a move. Just don't fall off.
Then I fell off. A panic double shift into the hard turn to the grassy 'hike-a-bike" (totally rideable) jams my chain between my 34t cog and my spokes. My bike is rubber side up rear wheel out of the dropouts and the misguided chain back on track. Eternity passes before I am back in the saddle.
Tour day France viewing pays off with Bob Rolls commentary playing in my head "bo'Yes will have to enter into the pain cave for quite some time before he even has a chance of seeing Marcus again" I was motivated to make a run for it. My brain starts making deals with my body. My body tells my brain that if it is going to suffer like this for a while you will have to feed me and water me down. I mind and start drinking and pushing the pace. Time goes on and I keep looking for the man in black. In the long stretches - nothing. Winding thru the "vertigo" single track - nothing. Long lonely suffering has got to pay off, but all that I see is - nothing. At some point around 45 minutes of "hunting", I back it down a notch a concede to just rolling in the position I am in.
At the last water station right at the same point I previously jammed my chain, I get a report the Matt is 15 seconds in front of me. Poppy-cock - I didn't really believe it. Granny-gear motoring upward I spot him about half way up. Reel. Click. Reel. Click. Top in sight. Marcus looks like he is sleeping. Reel and set - make the surprise pass "on your left" - grab a bunch of gears for the downhill and go for the gap - never looking back. Rail the open downhill at super sonic speed - down and around, I produced that quite gap I wanted. I could hear nothing behind me, but could feel a that visual lock was on me and that I was still in sight.
Clean fast riding thru the tight single, stick a granny gear headwall was like sticking nails in a coffin, can't let anyone see you walking - that would be a sign of weakness. Pop out on the road for the last climb and about half way up I sneak a peak over my shoulder - nothing but tarmac. In front I am closing on LB - grinding his single speed up the road. Things are good - hold this pace and first place is, kwonk, all, kwonk, wha? kwonk, kwonk, kwonk - that's the sound of 29r tires gripping and biting hard - Matt is out of the saddle and just, well kwonking. He passes and enters the single about 20 yards ahead of me and it takes the whole hillside before I am back on his wheel at the bottom. Flat gravel road with a slight incline would be race decider, I would have to hang. A little cat and mouse on who would pull before I would witness the second Matt-Attack for which I had no answer. 48 second gap at the finish. Oh so close. My work here is not done.
7/19 Kanawha State
Saturday fatty; Hooked up with a group Saturday morning for a ride in the forest. Even though it is only about a 45 minute away, seems like I always option out of making the drive. A favorite local spot for a lot of riders, yet I don't think I have came here to ride for a couple of three years. Sure I have done the race here just about every year, but not going to get in a big fun ride. We started with 9 riders - Philip, Matt, Rich, Jeff, Adam and a couple of new faces who's name escapes me. We started up Middle Ridge and down Teaberry following the race course somewhat. Back up Mossy and over to the infamous Black Bear. Cleaned the spectator falls section with Matt and Phillip while the others took the longer bypass. We stayed intact heading up Pigeon Roost and played on the rocks of Pine Ridge. Adams crew opted out for the roll on down to the cars and we were down to 5 for the hike up Dunlop. Always nice to get that long head wall under the belt before the race. Recent chainsaw work on Wildcat has cleared just all the downed trees from the trail with the exception of of some creative open ended ramp work - go big or go home. I kinda half-assed it, stepping off on top, fully expecting to see a down ramp on the other side. Matt on the other hand ate it up in typical Matt fashion. Reprieve along Davis Creek Trail and back to the car. While Rich and Jeff packed it in with 18 miles, 4 climbs and 4 sweet trail descents, Phil, Matt and myself refuel for another climb up Middle in search of the elusive Ballard trail. Five+ hours for the long group and 24 orso miles. Long climbs and fun trails with a good crew to enjoy it all with. Racing tomorrow at Valley Falls - I should be primed.
7/16 Out along the Border
A little foraging
7/15 WVMBA Racin'
North Bend State Park WVMBA #10: One week since the Tour de Burg, a bit curious to see what that six day block of intensity had done to the ole motor. No warm up or pre-ride on the single lap track, just off at the gun with a couple hundred yards before the first "hike a bike" ? everybody off and pushing while I spun it out in the granny. Passing a bunch of pushers I got the dibs on the the line. Stayed in the saddle for the first climb for a great start. The whole lead group missed the turn and had to back track back to Greg Moore that herded us up back on track before shutting the gate behind us. There was a couple other navigational issues to deal with that lead to feeling of being lost for certain sections even tho I was on the right track. Lots of super cool trails some with sheer drops off to one side. And I thought we was going to be racing rail trail. Seen one rider go down on the Tanker Spur Trail off the wrong side of a huge root ball and I made the pass on 4 riders by taking the right high line. Then immediately gave up those spots when I head augered right in front of them. Landed on a soft spot, shook it off and was back to motoring. Finished up at 2:13 about 15 minutes off the fastest time good for tenth or eleventh overall. Fist in class in a light field. The only other Expert Master was a Master racer that used this race to move up to Expert with the longer distances. Welcome to the club! Regardless of the field, I generally judge race results on how I feel on the bike and right after the finish, and it all seemed so easy. Viva le Tour!
sporting race swag - sparkling new Kenda Nevegal 2.35 w/SWS
In bPark - yes its the day after the race and I still have my race number on
Last week's weekly Thursday ride ventured out onto the Kanawha Trace for some downhill action on some of the area finest singletrack sections around these parts. We where going for the timed run from the top of Ol' Baldy. It wasn't there. More gas line excavations have laid waste to the whole area right below the knob - clear cutting thru 3 switchbacks of the KT and the Blue Blaze approach. This may be needed to help keep America warm and happy, but I still find it to be a genuine pisser. The price of progress, I assume.
Mile 6 - Kanawha Trace
Then Saturday's ride into
the city park and the river trail - first
first ride through the
section with all the
tree cutting, timbering, bull dozing and all of the work going on around
the soccer fields. This is
the Region 1 Soccer Tournament coming to Barboursville Park in 2009 and
The Village of Barboursville as a 2 year commitment and allot of work has to be done to get ready. The waterline run last year, new bathroom faculties near the gun range, seeding the entire soccer field area with a special seed, several new soccer fields and hopefully a 2 lane bridge with sidewalk over the railroad tracks between the soccer fields on the park side and 4H side. It's not a pretty line but at least it's a line
River "Trail" Barboursville Park
If you are looking for the TdB shizio go here it is archived in the archives.
These are James Kelly photos from the TdB
Beech Fork Association of Trails
Barboursville's Fun Awesome Trails
bFAT is an informal group of riders who appreciate the land and ride for a healthy well being.
Beech Fork is mostly a single track trail that follows around the lake leading into a combination of creek bed, hill climb, and fast downhill back to the lake. Barboursville's Park has some nice runs from the top with numerous scenic overlooks from the sheer cliffs and steep drops. The flat single track that follows the river and comes out behind the lake - is where the real fun can begin or end. Click on the link at top of page - above left to see a map! The Kanawha Trace and Adahi Trails are 32 mile and 17 mile multi user trails crossing over private land. Check with the Tri-State Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for trail information and registration.
bFAT email groupo<----click here Become a part of an e-group forum that will let all subscribers communicate (free!). Send an e-mail with the word "join" in the subject or body and you'll get hooked up with other riders, to do fun group rides, get trail info and conditions, technical advice, etc.
for more info admister @ bike bFAT