5/23 Tour de Lake WVMBA #4
Shaking it out at the beginning of the race. Pushed the redline early on to get it up that first climb - "that's where the whole race shakes out". Pretty much, if you knew where you where going, the front runners missed that first funnel feeding where the race course squeezed into a single track. So a little reshuffle there when those brothers got it back in gear, then just an hour and 45 more of trying to hold on for what was what. Seconds within my last two races here (2:03:something). Over heated little bit as the temperatures was a summertime like sunny 90 degrees., but fast 2 hour race lends themselves well to recovery, and pushing yourself to define that redline, the one to be avoided when racing the Epics.
So a good hot day of racing them there bicyclitiia. I got what I wanted with one more 1st place points on a close-ish course to home, and was looking for a reassuring confidence that I am still on track for what may be one of the biggest races of my life.
5/18 It's Starting to sink in
I am going to be lining up (I guess) with a BUNCH of fast people. There is the men's field with lots of pro riders from all around the country doing some real serious racing. Then there is the women's field that if I do my very best I might be able to hang with the front runners. I am talking abut the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic . I need to wake up...
5/12 Just Idling
Not wasting any time here...
Photo: Nate Shearer
just trying to cut into the standing around time on the SDS. Plus this was around 7PM - going into the 13th hour on day one, the soft grass felt soo good, made my world a little better place for just a little bit, a quick recharge, if you will. I had actually forgot about this, but I felt I would be seeing this again because I seen the cameras coming out as I went down. You can thank my fellow ride bloggers for putting this image out there on the world wide web, may it provide you with a balanced image of my skewed self image.
To which brings me to mention that if you haven't noticed already, I have updated the links to your left to include those people or organizations that I have and/or hope to cross paths this year and that update their blogs on a regular basic. Check out Sue and Nate with whom our paths crossed various times at this past weekend's S-D-S . Roger Masse' update the 29er Crew site with his début year impression.
Sue captures my dejection very well about two hours in, as I roll up to the first water stop, where I proclaimed my brilliances of pulling up to the water pump with absolutely no water, only to find out that the pumping mechanism was stripped, rendering it completely useless in the retrieval of any water. I ending up filling my water pack up from the creek with no ill effects to make it to the next chance for water, four hours away,
Photo: Sue Haywood
5/7 Stokesville Douthat Stokesvile 2 day tour
Slowly coming back to life after the weekend's two day tour from Stokesville, VA to Douthat State Park; 160+ miles 12,800 ft. descending day 1 - 11,500 day 2. Forgetting about all the related climbing and walking. 6 and a half years doing this tour and this was my first year doing it single speed. It has been described by a lot of single speeders as "not a very friendly ss course" and I must admit I was a bit intimidated about having just the one x one gear, especially the daunting climbs up Elliot's and Crawford Mountains near the end of day 2. 32X18 was what I brung, so that was what I run. One other SSer, Nick spinning his 32X21 made it a bit farther up some of the long steeps, but not by much (usually) . Yes at times not very single speed friendly, oh sure people have done it before single speed, but do they come back with the same one gearness? Excluding the expatriate singlespeeder Tomi that has thrown it in altogether, and started harassing innocent trout .
photo: Pat Miller
I kept an open mind about what bike I was going to ride and didn't really decide until I was in the pavilion at the Stokesville campground. I brought along a geared FS bike and it was in the sag wagon the whole time, but I have to admit it was maybe silly pride, that kept me from hopping on that bike for some of the ride. Or maybe it became more of a "bucket list" (hate that term) item, which is basically goes back to silly pride. Mostly it is just the sweet ride that the 29er Superfly is - it can spoil a person. I think I can look back at this a long way down the road and be comfortably proud of this one.
photo: Pat Miller
Sun going down near the end of day 2 for some of the last group to make it up Dowell's Draft, to end up in near quazi-darkness.
Links to the photo galleries, so far;
5/2 Middle Mountain Momma, WVUS #1
Douthat SP & George Washington National Forest, VA; A favorite place of mine to ride or race. Middle Mountain Momma is the race and was I think my first bike adventure out of state back eleven-teen years ago. That was on the 20 mile course and I stepped up to the XX course (<40 miles) in 2004.
It has been a couple years since I did this race last but considering that this year it is the opener for the WV Ultra Series as well as a US Cup qualifier, we (Andy & Von Joseph, myself) made the overnight trip, car camping along scenic Smith Creek, to be able to roll fresh to the 9:30 AM start time.
Photo: Kyle Inman
At the start line I look to my right to size up a pack of 56, then up to my left rolls one of my class competitors - Don Crampenelli (as listed in the results). No reason not to think that I couldn't take the hole shot and make the turn up the creek crossings without anyone to slow me down where things tend to ball up (lesson learned from the last race at Big Bear). I didn't take the lead position but managed a first wheel behind some other gusty rider. Plan was to hold that wheel till maybe a bobble and make it to the first intersection a couple hundred yards upstream as fast as possible. The young Matthew Schumacher, must have had the same plans and was the first to pass me.
Being on a singlespeed competing against geared riders there will be points where the advantages over one or the other will change. As my heart rate climbed and my leg speed turned toward a slog, it was that time. A little wheel rub (his on mine) put the young Matthew off his pedal and it must of lit up the pack surely hungry for their own bobbles - because there they went, somewhere in between my gasps for oxygen I see a pac of a dozen racers spinning away from me. This is just foreplay, I didn't get too excited.
I laid back and got ready for the 45 minute climb up Stony, comfortable there in about 14th spot. When the real work started on that climb I could see up ahead my class mate Don. This was a good place to keep an eye on my competition, and besides I liked the company I was in with Dave McCormick and TedA that kept me in a reassuring pace all the way up the '1500 single-track climb. Don was out of sight heading down hill on Middle Ridge and didn't come back around till the next climb, Watched him and another racer ride straight up the forest road missing the turn to single-track by running over and past race markings. Heard the guy in-between us tell those two riders they were going the wrong way and them answer something. Felt a smile cross my face. I then felt like it was a good time to start going fast.
Picked off three more (to go with the passed three on Middle Ridge) movers, and three more non-movers (flats, etc.) by the time I finished the lasso loop. Then it was just mano a mtn, as I motored the last half of the race all by my lonesome. Hit a quick pace up Smith Ck Road section and then just kept moving smartly to the finish.
Photo Matthew Schumaker
results are here but the jist is personal best (guessing) time of 4 hours 25 minutes, 7th overall XX, 1st Master (WVUS), 2nd or maybe 3rd single-speed, 1st guy named Mike, Mac , or Diesel Powers.
4/27 Braxton Co. Ups and Downs
Finishing up a month of going big on Wednesday rides with a little seven-some hour road ride in Braxton Co, WV. Not a lot of smooth sailing here, something like 18 climbs (not to mention the climbs that "weren't climbs") and 18 creek crossings. Guess that will happen when you are driven off the main roads and rooting out the isolation and sketchiness in-between. Least I had the ability to coast on the downhill's. Eric sporting his fixed gear got like twice the ride than I, poor little feller. Though that'll make him tough for next months PMBAR in 10 days.
With most the trails in my neck of the woods being a bit soggy this was a good alternative to fat tires, covering a lots of ground escaping the rat race in this beautiful section of central West Virginia.
So glad I got the photo below to remind me that there was a few stretches of flat rolling, 'cause I really thought it was either up or down the entire way...
4/23 More NRG
Pete from Athens Bicycle posted about the NRG epic on the 29er Crew blog.
Bonus Loop « 29er Crew – Mountain Bike Racing Team
4/20 NRG Epic
I don't like to to throw that word around - epic, but 100 miles around and through the New River Gorge definitely extended beyond the ordinary in size and scope. Around 12 hours total time and a ride time of a solid 10 hours. 8700 feet of climbing = 8700 feet of descending Amongst tornado warnings we depart the bike shop at 8AM and finished up right as the light of the day escaped us.
Andy Forron owner of New River Bikes in Fayetteville provided the guide services for the day and nailed the logistics along the course.
The epic crew Pete & Joey from Athens, Ohio, WV's e from Colorado, local Andy, homey Andy and myself fresh and happy at the start of the day.
4/18 Ridin and Racin
It seems that when big things are happening the blogging lags. Racing and recovering and riding, guess I need to add reporting for 4 "r's.
Photo from last weeks ride with shop owners Joey and Mandi Riddle from Joeys Bike Shop, across from the train depot in Elkins, WV.
Mandi Riddle somewhere above Elkins, WV
Results from WVMBA #2 at Big Bear Lake, near Morgantown WV: http://www.iplayoutside.com/iplay/Events/?eid=2011/04/13200r2.html
Not a flawless race and maybe? shorter than the stated 20 miles, for I was just ready to start making moves... So not too disappointed with 3rd. Some days you are thankful just to to be alive. Bike racing can be so relatively trivial.
4/10 Mountwood XC
I love it when a plan comes through - 1st place smack down in the Masters class and what I am figuring is a top 10 finish overall on the expert long course. Twenty four miles of dry to tacking single track at Mountwood Park outside of Parkersburg, WV. Always a evolving course through the years, and the hard work of the RVMBA crews have refined this years course into the best ever. Taking out all the really hard grunts and replaced them with woodsy flowing single-track.
iPlayoutside photo by Julie Black Rider
As you can see, with last years first place series class finish I was entitled to a number change in the single digits. I lobbied hard with the officials for the number six just so that it would match my my new last years racing jersey from Twin Six. A fine fitting performance garment and American made, this is the jersey that all the other old men are going to have to keep an eye on again this year. But I guess I wasn't deserving enough to be all coordinated, so now I have this funky 69 thing going on for the rest of the year.
4/9 Dragons' Tale Clip
This is what I wanted to see - me. I am in this video at least three times, standing just in frame at the pre-race instruction in the black jersey and white helmet. Then on the bike, making no apologies in leading the parade pace, it's one of the things I do best. Then again, surfing the 2nd downhill to the last aide station. Andy makes an appearance too, right after me in green and gold WVMBA jersey.
Pulled this from SMT's blog that has a nice comilation of all the media coverage. This video from a spectators point of view of the whole event, leaving the gnarly ridges and lung busting climbs to fade in the racers mind, leaving only warm fuzzy thoughts (and maybe some scars) of what everyone went through.
With my warm fuzzy thoughts in mind the WVMBA series kicks off at Mountwood Park this Sunday, where I try to turn that long crawling pace for short fastness.
4/8 Kanawha State Forest
More good times in the forest, pedaling around with e for a couple of days this week. Enjoying the fact that these were his 2nd and 3rd rides this year. Leaving snow and coming from the highest town in the United States, Leadville CO at 10,000 ft, maybe gave him a little edge. It surely didn't make it any easier on me. I landed on the ground the first ride, popped up a good size cherry on my thigh. Seems like I pick myself off the ground a lot when I am riding with Eric, but I don't think it is his fault. Pushing the bar, is good stuff.
Looking forward to burning the rest of my vacation days logging some epic rides in the next month. I will try to do it in one piece.
4/7 Just Riding Along
Kanawha Trace around mile 9
Michael Tygart Loop multi use section
Pine Ridge Trail in Kanawha State Forest
4/3 A Little Knowledge and a Long Way.
So this is what you get for me thinking; First off no arguing it now, I am a single speeder. I rode single speed. The whole idea I spoke of racing two gears failed in the test stage. The corners I was going to cut, to make a fast sure change, with the horizontal adjustment screw resulted in a rear wheel slipping forward and thus making my singlespeed a very effective zerospeed. So I stuck with the easiest gear I have (19 tooth) and was happy with everything staying where I put it.
One thing I did do was take the profile (that was available to everyone that did not do this race and reads this) and tape a copy of it to the back of my race plate. The race course along the ridge was different than I remembered, forgetting we go up North Mountain twice.
But that ridgeline profile is so right on. The dotted vertical line represents the trail tops of Grouse, Deer, and Turkey (I should really look at a map because I probably got that all wrong), but there are sign posts that provide ridge top landmarks and besides I really wasn't much on reading at the time.
Following along on the map; first "quarter" - do backwards 1,2,3 throw a 1000ftr down and up and get a feel the 2nd quarter. Before even the half way point I didn't like what I was feeling. The little leg twitches that where saying "hey this is a little more than is usually asked of us" started talking about stopping all together. It was a tough quarter and I let some people leave me back that I didn't really want to. One of those was Sue that had been creeping on me all race.
Eat some banana. keep moving forward...
This is when I really started studying the profile, getting a feel for the scale, along the 5mi mark on the map. Used that to get me up to a little bit of that gravity reward before the really only test in the third quarter. Then just flow into the final leg of North Mountain. I got a little yo-yo company and got a random photo after a planned pee break. Lots of more awesome scenery out there, but remember I was racing, really. So this is what you get...
This is the high point in the 4th qtr around the 11mi mark on the map, with that hard 3qtr test right behind #13 Tom's head.
4th qtr tough, tough hauling through the dumty-tee-dumbs before a really big one and another half one of that. The little map knuckles near the end were more than the nothing I was hoping they where, but anticipation of the downhill with an aide station at the bottom was probably a factor. Passed a flatted single speeder Elk on the way down and seen what I believe to be the first place ss'r pulling out at aide #2 right about the time he seen me. This was about the 4 hr mark.
I took my order to go, taking just what I needed for the last two climbs. Elk lead me out and up as he rolled right past aide station #2 ahead of me. With ELk, me, and the NC kid there were three single speeders in shoutin' distance of each other.
Drink that watermelon Heed, believe that it will do something for me. keep moving forward.
At the top of the next to last climb Elk pulls off, I rode on. Pass the NC kid on that next to last downhill, then trade that back on the next climb. Trade his lead on the last downhill and lose that again super spinning the flatish road within sight of the finish line. Tried to take the "win" in a goofy singlespeed sprint at the line and come up a half bike length short. Finished up at 5:05:57, Andy who made the trip with me brought his Rig in at 5:36 flat. Full results are here.
The race did what I wanted it to. Trimmed around an hour off my geared problematic previous performance and will go a long way to what is to be expected of me in the season ahead. Plus, maybe proved that a little bit of knowledge can go a long way.
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