7/21 It's a jungle Out There...
... ride in it
This was not a race for me, but a race for trail runners. I was there to ride ahead and hang some orange ribbon in places on this Boy Scout trail that is already lined all along its 31.7 mile length with its familiar yellow-white-yellow blazes. My 7:20AM start put me ahead 25 minutes of the racers and I rode the exact same 50k course, including the 10 minute add-on road section at the beginning.
Being as the was the inaugural race I didn't really know what kind of pace the front runners would be putting in. Some people predicted a 4:20 to 4:30 winning time and I mulled that time in my head the whole time as I turned over my single 32:19 gear.
The first leg up to Lookout point I had strung ribbon throughout the wooded sections earlier in the week, so I kept a good pace to the 1st aid station and arrived there at my 1 hour mark. I spent 7 minutes there attempting to adjust my rear hub all the while blabbering 7 minutes of good trail/race information to some inquisitive aid station volunteers.
The next hour was spent traversing the ten miles down Guyan Creek gravel up and over Blackjack right to the entrance to Jenkins Creek. This is a long flat holler that leads to Barkers ridge and aid station 3 at around 2:15, and at the half way point of the KT itself. I figure I was on a good 4.5 hour pace as I ride this closer to home section of trail more, well I always go around mile 13 ...
The 3 hour mark clicked off up the climb into Canaan Lands with eleven mostly trail miles to go. My 4 hour mark didn't really stick in my head but probably along the ridge leading to the Ol' Baldy Trail. Just one more climb back to the ridge along with the rambling track inside of Camp Arrowhead before finishing up along the Mud River on the Adahi. Stopped short of crossing the finish line (not racing) at 11:55AM for a total time of 4:35. By the way, local favorite and 50K winner Robert Smith ran a 4:26.
This beat my previous self support full KT crossing (the 50k substituted over five miles of the Kanawha Trace with trails in camp due to logistic purposes) ride times by an hour and a half. A lot of that can be attributed to all the maintenance to the trail and volunteers and water stations along the Trace. A 75 degree overcast Summer day boded well for the moto-ing.
When all was done there was a little matter of getting back to my car at Fraziers Bottom. I still had my lunch of a boiled egg and a Tram Bar, there wasn't much of chance to eat it during my ride. I wolved that down in the parking lot and collected my first trail run shirt ever for all my cheerful service and started back-tracking the KT, marshaling runners along the way. Rode around mile 13 on the way back and found the sweeps and Dwayne cleaning all the orange ribbons from the course along mile 14.
I threw in the towel and bailed out for the road at Barnetts Branch - four miles short of the trailhead, I had had my fill of the Kanawha Trace. At least for one day.
A progressive Photo compilation along the Kanawha Trace:
7/10 Valley Falls WVMBA #7
photo: Phillip Poff
Valley Falls WVMBA #7; I went into this Sunday race not knowing - I just came off six days of racing the Tour de Burg in Harrisonburg, VA on Wednesday and I was pretty wiped out from that, but took two days off the bike and got in an easy three and a half hours on the mtb singlespeed on Saturday and everything seemed to be fine with the bike and the ol' motor so I decided to see how things would shake out at the Twin Falls SP race.
I like the terrain up there with its really rockiness at times track. The sustained climbing is relatively short but steep enough in places to dismount even some geared folks. Lap courses help me with pacing, and I wanted to get a slowish start before I really wound it out. But you know my fellow Masters wouldn't be starting slow so I went with everything I had down the rocky road and into the first climb, putting myself into 12th overall and 1st in my class.
After the shake out I found myself in Brocc's view when I remembered my plan to start slowish (about the time he was passing me). So this was good, as I used everything I had at times to be slowish and keep him in my sites. The long first lap he pulled me along till the steep paved climb that led to the bestest and longest downhill on the course. Brocc is a fearless descender and I knew I had to be ahead of him or he would float away from me in the woods. A small gap as I entered the woods first and we exited the tight trail at the bottom together.
Back on his wheel on the flat and smooth gravel road something kicked in, maybe it was Marc Glass up ahead (heading for a DNF), or sensing some weakness in Brocc, or possibly the realization the plan for a controlled start timeframe was over and just knew it was time to go. I put myself ahead and out of sight right after the first lap. Snagged one of my bottles from my drop and concentrated on putting everything I had going up the sustained climb for a second time. There are lots of places to be spotted ahead on trail on the switchback climb and that motivated me even more. I had squirrely J Marteen in my sight ahead nobody sneaking peaks behind me, racing was good.
Less than two shorter laps to put in to the finish, I thought it would be smooth sailing till the rear tire that I have ran all season (mounted it for the Dragon's Tale) punctured on the long downhill, (stupid old rocks anyway). I had previously snagged a tube/inflator that fell from Joey Riddle's bike on the course and used this for my repair, not really trusting my long-time saddle mounted spare tube. Turned out his and mine both had holes in them, ran through all my C02's and started patching. Bummed a pump from John Weber then after three patch attempts, I was close to dead last.
I thought hard about dropping out, my car was right there at the start/finish and I did grab a good tube before I went out for my last lap and passed a few other stragglers and Matt Marcus who had been dealing with his own problems with a broken chain.
So this is what I get for running most of my stuff to failure. But this was a test of my condition and I got the answer to that, so I won't beat myself up to bad. But I did pull that new tire off the shelf and put it where it should have been from the start.
7/9 Sum sum Summertime
Here we are, well into Summertime, not the time really for sitting at a pc and blogging, but rather to be out and about enjoying the days outside. Some of that enjoyment is on the local Boy Scout trails that the area BSA trail crews have SO pimped out, although I don't think they would phrase it that way. This Saturday is first ever 50K trail run and just about everything along the 32 mile trail has been clipped snipped or cut, makes for some good riding.
There are rumors that one particular runner completed a spring crossing on the trail at three plus hours. I know what I think about that, we will see come race day. I will be out on the Trace race day ahead of the racers in rabbit mode, checking course markings, and clearing spider webs with a 1/2 hour head start, so if you see me out there in this BSA jersey, I am out there to help and assist, but the goal is not to be seen.
7/1 1-7 Tour de Burg
Summertime also means Tour de Burg in my book. Underground racing that gets high in the mountains of Virginias' Shenandoah Valley. Six days with seven stage and over 30,000 feet elevation change over 300 miles. A huge block of training that just can't happen this time of year without the rolling support that goes along with the tour.
A lot of gorgeous country side and mountain vistas. Racer/photographer Nathan Shearer captures maybe a bit of the allure of 4,200ft Reddish Knob, one of the high points of le Tour, in the panoramic shot above.
Not so much a race for me, I finished 30th out of 34 GC men (riders that completed every stage), and 3 out of 3 singlespeed mtbs. Maybe I could have finished a few spots higher if it wasn't for bad luck and destroying equipment, but where I finished is not what it is all about (I lie) but just to ride amongst the sheer caliber of riders from all across the country as well as the locals in-the-know, people that share a lot of my extreme nature, people that I can call my friend., I fit in about where I could.
photo: James Kelly
I came home stronger I believe from this tour, and that it is what all the hurtin' is about - plateau climbing. When the fitness levels off this will get you up to the next level. You come home and everything on the bike seems easier, mainly because well, it is.
go on back
Barboursville FAT Tire Brethren
Beech Fork Association of 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 administrator at bike bFAT