5/31 WVMBA #4

The Breakdown.   Where did it all go wrong?   I think that is one of the reasons I like racing, like I do.  Just as soon I think I got a handle on it, it can all go flying out the window.  Last Sunday's race was for me an exercise in perseverance.    You put everything you have on the line and hopefully your body and mind produce some sort of positiveness in the form of keeping somewhat in touch with your competition.   Or due to a series of unknown (and known) factors you watch it all fizzle and fade away.  Down to just holding on.  And then to a level a bit lower than that.    I did manage to hold on to third place in class, but there was a hUGe (1/2 hour) gap between me and 2nd place.  If more people would have shown up to waller in the mud, I would not have be so lucky. 






A last minute bag change to a Hydropac from a fanny pac (they're not THAT dorky in the cycling world) seen all forms of nutrition not making to the starting line.  When I got back to the car after the race there they where in a nice little pile on the back seat.   During the last hour of the 3+ hour slog I moved even further back in my misery, due mostly to mal-nutrition.  Oh and the mud, or as it was reported "standing water" just messed with me more than I could handle.  The bike held up fine, with just one instance of chain suck, mostly due to panic shift.  But what little flow there was, was reduced to the point skidding into or over the next obstacle.  It got to the point of just wanting to get this over with, without any scars or lasting psychological breakdown.   So to end it all up I won my entry fee back, got to add to some trashing of some local NIMBY trails and hang out with some good folk, who all happen to ride bikes.  So I will call it a wash.

At this point (6/2/9) I have spent more time disassembling, inspecting, cleaning, replacing and lubing the bike than I did racing it.  It will be good to go for this weekends real mountain MTB race at the Hoo-Ha! on Virginia's Massenutten Mountain.  It will be ready to go, and I will find out about 20 minutes into this 5 1/2ish hour marathon cross country race how ready that I am.  I am going to start packing my Camelback right now and I going to stick with it.


5/30 Cow Cross Creek Route

Cross Creek?

All right.  It is kind of a new route, put together from an old loop.  Moved the start up to Rons, that eliminated a 20 mile stretch of gravel and climbing and replace it with some flat Teays Valley roadway.   But it is a winner of a route so it needs to be called something, just as a point of reference.  It starts and finished on Cow Creek Road in Teays Valley.  And map my ride says that the above creek/road is Cross Creek.  Map my ride very often has the names wrong but, that road/creek is somewhere out there somewhere I am sure.  Plus a cross bike is the most appropriate bike form to make the this particular journey, so the tag Cow Cross works for me. 

 map my ride

 us rt 35 


all road ride

'cross bike


Ron loves this sort of thing - he just doesn't like to admit it


5/28 Rode Road


They say if you don't like the weather wait 15 minutes and it will change.  I gave it about an hour, after the rainy deluge put the kee-bosh pre-riding the Putnam Co race course.  Drove towards the blue skies, and parked on Hurricane Creek Road.  Finally hit the not yet new rt 35.  Buffalo Bridge, Custer Ridge, Gritts Farm.  Fully expected the tasty Courtney treat to be all washed up.  The lower portion was the hour point, so handily made the 'bout face for the out and back.  I remember there is a lot of prime gravel out on the  loop route,  and with the new road just laying there waiting on its' grand opening - it is so much closer.  Say Saturday ?  yeah.

Courtney Branch

180 degrees


5/24 High Point WV

How could you not? I mean it is the highest point in the state and there is one sweet trail that just glides off it.  Weekend break in the racing opened the door for the tour with the West Virginia Night Club .  I had been warned "to watch out for those damn single speeders".  I knew that, so I brought along my loaded arsenal in the form of 2.35's with 6"inches front and rear, variable drive train w/27 gear ratio combo's., and made no apologies for it.  But, I was glad to see Dave, Gravy show up on his new Trek Top Fuel, so I wasn't such the gear queer. 

Lower Timber Ridge 

Departure from Seneca Rocks at an appropriate 9:40 start time for a nine A.M. meeting time, for the 23 miles of backroad riding/climbing to reach the Knob.  Just one regroup before the summit - right before the East Overlook at a natural spring for some cool mountain refreshment.   About 2 hours to reach the top.  The numbers depict a fairly chill pace.  But real life, was I was chasing mere glimpses of riders along the saw toothed profile that is Lower Timber'.

Spruce Knob Approach





Huckleberry in the Spring - a first for me.  Four (or Five) previous trip have always been in the Fall, ever  Since Allen Moore turned me on to this loop a few years back.  Incredibly dry, no leave cover to hide obstacles, and a trail that just gets groovier beat in, and constantly maintained (all in good way).  We bypassed the High Meadows, and continued the downhill gnarfest all the way to Seneca Falls.  Kinda felt that I was leaving trail behind, but I didn't really feel bad, so I got over it.  



Horton Trail was described as a 5%er if you are on a single speed.  A steep hike-a-bike that you'd be doing good if you could turn over the cog for five percent of it's distance to the top.  Oh did I mention that I brought gears?!.  Still steep and long enough to put me off a couple, few more then/than that times.   Plus, steep granny-gear climbs are my forte' and having a motivated ss'r  chasing me down the whole way up, well, I wouldn't call it "payback" but let's just say single speeds are fun - somebody should do it.  It just doesn't have to be me.

Total time out was right about six hours with stops for water, food, sanity, safety, and flats.  I finished up like I could have done more.  Probably the best I have ever felt doing this epic.  (maybe cause this has beed a day two ride feature in the past)  I know the cool temperatures played a  factor.  I left behind 80 degree temps that I have been riding in all week, for 60's and 70"s with one quick rain shower that we left behind in a hurry.   Six inches of travel didn't hurt a bit either, never felt heavy, locked out on the climbs and was dialed in for the trail.  I will say it again; Technology - if you have it, use it.


facebook photo album



5/22 High Point of Kentucky

Cumberland KY, 4150 foot Black Mountain; 2500 ft vertical gain on state route 179 - not more than a lane and a half of pavement to reach the gap, hang the left on the 4 lane gravel clear cut.  Sweaty body dusted by the only ridge traffic, one very much loaded logging truck.  Staying the ridge is a turn to good old fashion dirt road.  Black Mountain Ridge Road is mile after mile of 200-300 foot lobs and lugs.  No GPS.  No Map.  Just run the ridge for an hour, try to keep my wits, see I can find the left hander for the loop.  Made one turn, but would not, could not commit.  Looking at the maps now I see I was a couple miles short.  Bailed on the loop.  Backtracked b-line trimmed the hour ridge to 45 minutes, little bit gravity effected, but mostly that knowing where the heck of the woods I was going, speed thing.  I know what I am looking for, Right Fork of Cloverlick - 2200 vertical foot of drop in five miles on gravel and rock - the type of road surface that has previously shut down the CRV 4X4 hill climb attempts (for safety sake).  The trick is to find that last little connector...

going up

the clear cut ridge road



turning point



5/20 Group Ride Day


Just a reminder.  5/21 is the Odd Thursday ride.

6PM is the riding time

from the MayWood 'hood

 If you are interested you may inquire HERE.

same route almost


5/17 Tour de Lake

Spencer WV;  Took a little drive out in the country for a little race around a lake.  It was the 16 annual Tour de Lake.  It is hard to believe that I have been going out there for 16 years.  Not consecutive years, but I was there for the first.  They used to have a a Winter series too that I couldn't get enough of.  The trails have expanded through the years to over 24 miles of trails.  The race loop started with about a half hour of mid contour trail down one side of the water shed, then back on the other side of the lake at about the same contour level.  High stimulus single track with its twisty dippty tight and tricky features.  The second lap puts you up a little higher to run some climby ridge with maybe one too many (or just enough, depending if you are catching up or being caught) little climbs and descents.  Then back on the other side for the high line single track.  Finish line right on the dam of the Lake.  Practically continuous single track that  Fetty's and the other friends of the lake have fought for and worked to keep it's pristine condition prefect for biking and hiking.  If you didn't race it, you missed out.  But maybe you should check out.  Just follow the tracks. 

The race stacked out like this.   I like that.




5/14 State of Trail


By looking at the weather forecast it is not going to dry out for awhile. There are sections that where underwater. If you access any one of these sections - please turn back.  It won't get better. because  something like this http://www.cyclingdirt.org/videos/coverage/view_video/234968-2009-dirt-sweat-gears/177284-daniel-musto-mid-race-interview-4th-solo-women-on-lap-2  isn't cool on a sustaining basis.

actually think is is pretty cool, or I wouldn't have posted the link

5/9 12 Hours                        

Andy Cremeans poster boy @  iplayoutside.com

Eleanor WV;  The twelve hour format racing made a muddy debut to the West Virginia mountain biking scene.  With most of the East coast socked in a wet weather cycle - a small field of mostly local riders, plus a few transplants from PA's 12 hour event that got totally rained out, lined up and hoped for the best.  The first lap riders were greeted with a wet but ride-able track.  But consecutive laps beat the course into a mudder, that tried the resolve of each and every racer out there.  Throw in a hard rain shower three hours after the start and throw out any hopes of the track t0 dry out.  This left many a racer to throw in the towel.  Six laps would win the race and by the ten hour mark the race was down to only five racers on the course.  Tip of the helmet to those (Andy, Kris, Jason, Rowman? and Steve) die hards that stuck it out.   Oh btw, I sat on the porch and drank. 

Kris Aldridge (#72) single speed and overall win

Andy representing bike bFAT 2nd - single speed

Jason Cartwright on Faceplant 


then more rain

end of the 12 hours


5/7 Odd Thursday

just a little soggy group ride action on a Thursday evening



5/6 Cleveland - Asheville

South of Louisa KY;  Long miles, route 23, coal trucks, steady rain, and then a flat tire would be enough for me to through in the towel.  So I had to swing around to see if this stopped cyclist needed assistance.  Meet Todd Boyd - In route from Cleveland, Ohio bound for Asheville, NC.  I had a floor pump in the car and was able to lend a hand getting him back on the road.  He had left Athens, OH that morning and still had another 30 or 40 hilly miles to roll before reaching the next town with a chance of some warm and dry lodging.  I was seriously impressed, with his home made panniers as well as the scope of the whole journey, and  I was a little bummed that I couldn't help out a little more.  All I could do was wish him well and hope he had a good journey.   




5/5 This Thursday is Odd

So, that means will try to have the group ride, unless the weather is totally ridiculous.  The route will definitely change due to some high water.  Be sure to pack a hand saw and/or clippers as we will be taking care of some small projects along the way.  Roving start determined by the participants from the greater B'ville metropolis.  Still some good stuff out there to be had on MTB.   If you are interested you may inquire HERE.

Ride this Thursday May 7, 2009, RIDING 6:00PM 

The route may change but the game will stay the same.  


5/3 Do You Feel Like I Do?

WVMBA #2  results

24 miles in the mud. 

Wes Rhodes after the finish

Racing in the wet and the mud, yeah it ain't too bad, you are probably not getting an off road workout in, f not for the race.  So that is a good way to look at it because they don't call off no MTB race because of the weather.  I arrived at the race about a half hour before the start with Andy, which left just enough time to get registered and changed into the racing kit, and pedal around a bit.  I had been lounging around for a couple of solid days so I wanted to stay in that mode for as long as possible before the race.  No wasted energy before the race and not really any warmup, other than not getting cold. 

The start was like any other start, by which I mean it was fast and hard.  I tried like everything to put myself in a good position before blowing up before the end of the first climb.  The wide gravel track took its toll but the top of the climb finished off on a single mud track so I was able to hold on.  I think it kinda worked and didn't get myself worked over too much before the slippery descent.  Then came one of the toughest parts to manage - when you have to back of a bit and regroup without loosing any position from the heat from behind and not leave too big of a gap in front.  Did that by taking time gaps from some marked riders ahead.  Does wonders for the mind, what can look like huge gaps in front can be defined hopefully in seconds and strategized upon. 

All kinds of mind games and instant game plans kept me moving up slowly but surley.  Got to have those mini-goals and they need to be progressive.  That's the name of the game.  One of the first game plans was to not fall down, but that didn't really make me any ground on the competition, so I had to come up with something different or things would not be changing for the better.  So I went with - quit riding like a pussy and trust the bike.  It seemed to work and I made a few passes.  Found a bunch of folks that didn't really seem to like the elements or was just starting to give up on the going fast thing before I got to the I want to end thing. 

Took a notch or two off the class standings on a course that suited my style of riding, and finished in the money.  No detrimental mechanicals other than some slow or no shifting due to the mud cake.  Even the rain held of till the end, though it mighta help out the stickiness a bit.  A fine day of good  clean  fun.


5/2 Go Team


Challenge at Mountwood Race right up in Parkersburg tomorrow, I will be rolling up there and hitting the sod on those bicyclist built trails, I expect other big crowd.  Today is race prep.  The bike is just about primed.  Washed and buffed ready for a fresh application of mud.  As the black sheep member of the WVMBA Cycling Team (another blog that you can check to see if I am ever going to post anything else again) I will be out there representing the part of the state that got cut off the jersey.  The jersey is just part of the team kit.  That's right it is called a KIT, not uniform, or outfit.  Kits are cool, well, after I got mine back from the tailor for the custom modifications needed to make me feel fast as well as comfortable.   

For some reason, jersey manufactures think that elastic in the sleeves and around the bottom of this particular garment serves some other function than just bunching things up in a ball.  It can be quite annoying, this is probably why you see some pro riders and others taking to the scissors and cutting some or part of the sleeves off.  I think this is a stylin' top and it has these green stars on the sleeves that would just be a shame to discard.  So I had the elastic threads removed, and it feels more like I am wearing a shirt.  And when I get up to speed the sleeves flap a little bit and make me feel like I am going fast.  I don't have to be constantly pulling the bottom down - gravity does that for me.  Plus it doesn't actuate my pot-belly-pig tummy like the stock version does.  I look lean and trim.  I left the stretchy stuff on the top of the pockets as I think that serves the purpose of keeping things in place that I (or others) might need during the course of the race.  Nice and handy, quick access. Quick equals fast, could I say?  I can  see myself doing this to a few more jersey's so I can feel fast and quick more often.  The only thing that I thought about adding, and should have, is a couple little V-cuts on the sides along the bottom hem due to the length down around the waste and because  V is for "victory".   Shoot!  missed it by that much.










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.




Counterfor more info  administrator at bike bFAT










West Virgina Night Club

Bad Idea Racing






Its all about the champagne