Monday, June 30, 2008

Bulldog Rump AMBC NJ State Championship 6/29

Yesterday was the Bulldog Rump put on by my club - Team Bulldog. It was race #5 in the H2H series as well as the AMBC New Jersey State Championship Race. The park it is held at is usually crazy fast when dry, and dry it was. We had a few sprinkles as we were waiting for the start and during the race but it held off and just made it a crazy fast day. As we lined up for the start there were 8 people in my class. A bunch of the usuals and then Topher. I knew topher from the NUE races and he's one fast dude. So I wondered how long I'd actually get to see him for. The gun went off and I was in a close 3rd into the first turn when the first two went wide and too close into the corner. I split them both and took first into the singletrack. I knew I was setting a fast pace so I decided to turn it back a little and see how that held up. Well a mile or so further into the singletrack Topher came flying by and that's the last time I'd see him. I few of the fast juniors came cruising through and I was sitting comfortably in 2nd for most of the first lap. That was until I hit one of the last downhills and flatted my rear tire. I pulled off to the side of the trail and waved to the pack as they flew by knowing it would take a lot to catch up.

I fixed the flat and as usual rode with some nice anger to try and catch up. I was pacing good and concentrating on being smooth to try and catch up. The pace was working well as I was picking off the slower riders from the other groups pretty well. One by one they fell. Lap 2 was fine and at one point I saw a racer in my category and wanted to close the gap. I counted he was 1:50 in front of me. By lap 3 at the same spot I caught him. I closed that gap FAST. I passed him and attacked to try and put a gap on him which worked for a little while but then he got a burst of speed and passed a few miles later. From all the hard work so far I couldn't hold on and let him slip a little ahead. This was ok as I figured I'd rest up a little and try to reel him in later. During the last lap I passed one of my teammates, and then another teammate as they were having flat issues as well. Then I caught another racer in my category and passed him. At this point I worked my way back into 4th. Then as luck would have it, 2 miles from my finish I had some shifting issues so I had to step off and one racer got by. Back into 5th. I jumped back on and then had flat #2. I ripped it apart quickly and realized I had a 26" tube for my 29'er and made it work and took off again, not losing any places which was great. I just wanted to finish now.

I made the final turn and all it would take was a mile of grass cross a road and then up to the finish. Well as I made that final turn my tire blew for the 3rd time... So I kept on rolling since it was in the grass. I hit the road, threw the bike on my shoulder, and ran up to the finish. Finishing in 5th place and feeling upset about the flats but good overall. Since Topher killed it and won the race handily and was from PA, I took 4th in the state. Not too shabby with all my issues. I think that if I didn't have the flats I would have podium'd for sure. It's all about livin and learnin.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Headin West...

Well each summer I try to take some time and get out of Jersey. It's just good for the soul. So I have been talking with my brother in Colorado. After a little motivating(suckering-thanks G-String) I am gonna be headed out to Colorado June 30th. I'll be spending two weeks in the Durango and Central Colorado area. So far Crested Butte and Telluride have been mentioned as must do areas. As my brother is an avid climber as well, our rest days will be consumed with climbing whatever trad/sport routes we will find in the areas. Should be a blast. I'll be sure to get some pics and post them up. I can't wait! 13 days!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Well I've been riding my Rig'ged Fisher for a few weeks now and LOVE it. Big wheels are really makin things easy. But...I'm expecting either a repaired or warrantied Trek 9.9 Elite to come in soon since I cracked the frame. To add to things I also picked up a STOOPID light Kona Kula Supreme frame(Scandium) that actually might fit my style of riding since I'm not what you'd call a "finesse" rider. So I'm going to have a sweet race bike one way or another. The problem is that I want to have a 29'er race bike and a 26'er. It looks like it's going to be a Fisher and Kona to rock for the remainder of the season. The decision is where to put the good stuff. I want good stuff on both but the wallet doesn't agree. I think all the nice components will go back onto the 26'er and I'll scrape together some parts to keep the geared 29'er rollin. In time I'll try to get some more goodies to make the 29'er even sweeter but for now this should work. It'll be nice to have both to choose from. Now what to do with the 9.9?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Big Wheels R Fun

Rode for 2.5 hours today in a local park on my 29'er. It is a really techy place and I was wondering just how good the handling would be. IT"S GOOD!!! I cleaned sections today that I have NEVER cleaned before. It's slowly creeping into my mind as this is what I need to be racing on. The next time I get a dumb idea of trying to climb a wet and slick rock face think twice...I ended up donating blood and getting a sweet bruise from my handlebar on my chest. Moral of the always win...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Recovery Feels Good...

Got in from work today and took a while to cleanup and check over the bike. The old rule of thumb is not to change ANYTHING in the days before a race. I did the Mohican on a new bike. My Fisher Rig was converted from a SS to a geared bike 2 days before the event. So I wanted to check it all over and see what damage I did to this bike. Once it was all good I went out around town to spin for an hour and just open up the legs again. I waited 3 days since I've had some knee pain and I wanted it to be rested before I jumped back on. The few days after the race I've been rather lethargic as I thought I'd be and the ride today felt good and I feel much better after the ride.

So as the legs get back to recovering from Ohio, I'm awaiting the news about my Trek 9.9 Elite frame that was cracked and "hopefully" will be replaced under warranty. It may need to be sent back or they will ship out a new frame upon receipt of pictures of the damage. As for now the Fisher Rig'ged(With gears) 29'er is riding well and gives me the idea that I'd like to have a 29'er for these endurance races and my superlight 26'er for the short races(As well as the SS for fun of course).

Mohican 100 Race Report

It's 8:30 pm the night before the Mohican as I lie in my hotel room watching the weather channel and wondering how long it will take to be swept up by the incoming thunderstorms that are producing grapefruit-sized hail and tornadoes...wonderful. I did all the race prep I needed that night so all I had to do was wake up, put on my team kit and hit the road to Loudonville.

The morning of the race I awoke at 5(actually tossing and turning forcing myself to go back to sleep since 4) and started my morning ritual. Thankful that myself and the hotel were still in once piece, I started my day with a decent breakfast. I usually like to have a bagel with peanutbutter but since I couldn't locate any in this tiny town, I made a PB&J and grabbed a bananna to put down to start me off for the day. I then grabbed all my gear and piled into the car noticing the wetness of the area and wondering how much it had rained the previous night.

Arriving in Loudonville I got the bike out and geared up for the race. It grew closer and closer to the start time as we had a mini crit going on as people were trying to warm up. It was pretty crowded and I wondered how many people were actually in for the 100mi or the 100k. Since I was one of the gluttons in for the 100m I figured I'd take it easy out of the gate and settle in and do my thing.

7 am the race is on. Up the paved climb riding with a fellow local Chris Baks(Pawling Cycles) and realizing that I started from the back I had to pick my way through a LOT of people to get where I wanted to be. ***Mistake #1 - Start closer to the front*** We got into the double track and put the hammer down and had to deal with bottlenecking for a while. It thinned out and became better. All the while dealing with some very well dried out terrain and some slick corners, bridges and logs. The first hike-a-bike was a surprise as we all dismounted and trudged up this nice hill just wanting to be on the bike. I was starring at my gps calculating the mileage to go and noticing the nice mile markers that were laid out and how wrong they were. At mile 5 I think I saw a mile 2 marker and so on. I figured this may just be for some motivation, the bad kind for me. Aid #1 came up fast and I hammered through not wanting to stop til Aid 2.

Half way to Aid 2 I noticed I'd been pinning it the whole first section of singletrack(almost 30 miles). I had been going back and forth with Michelle Stopper(Visit PA) and tried to hold onto her for a while and she was just putting too hot of a pace down for me to keep up. I needed to start toning it down in order to conserve and still ride strong. At that point we hit a couple of really greasy sections that needed to be walked and my bike was caked with mud. Which started the chainsucking...and lots of it. In hindsight it wore off my light lube and was pulling my chain in whenever possible. This had to stop. The only way to stop it was to try and pedal smoother and ride it out till I got lube. At aid #2 I was relieved to see the stop so I could refuel and get some lube but they had no lube. ***Mistake #2 - Carry a small amount of lube just in case*** So I stood there, consumed a drink and a bananna, washed the bike and on my way I went.

Going in to aid #3 there was some more fireroad and some more singletrack that was sweet. Still chainsucking I had to bear with it and hopefully #3 had some. I wasn't feeling as well knowing I hit the first 30 miles too hard and had to conserve now. I fought it off and had a bast on more of the trails until arriving at #3. I was still feeling iffy but I knew I could get out of this rut. I took in some more fluids and some food and chilled for a few minutes too long. ***Mistake #3 - Take what you need and get right back on the bike***

I knew this next section would be a long haul so I worked on feeling better and trying to get the legs back under me. They came back and just in time. I hit the long rail section with some decent energy which was good cause I saw Carey Lowery sneaking up. I figured at this point if I could work in with people that I could save some energy and maybe crack into the 9's. So Carey, myself and another rider jumped in line on the rail trails. I couldn't believe how well they were pulling. I wanted to take turns to do my share but I couldn't hang on that long. So after a nice little effort trying to conserve energy I dropped back and worked on my own. Only to find a couple more riders to work with a little later. The rails ended and we finally arrived at aid #4 after a really sloppy messy section leading up to it. I knew if I got this far I can find the motivation to get to #5 and the end. I kept on it.

At aid 4 I got some more water and took a little more time than needed but got an ice cold pepsi(Which was AWESOME!!!) and hit the road again. I knew it would be a little bit of road and the end wasn't that far. I caught up with Mike Kuhn(Visit PA) and chatted with him and another rider and got some more motivation to keep on and he pulled away. I wanted to stick with him to hopefully save the 9 hr pace but I knew I couldn't. Then the last couple of killer hills came after crossing the suspension bridge. I wasn't doing that well but I knew I could get past them - walking. So I got over em and powered on to aid 5. I knew it was almost over but couldn't taste it yet.

As I hit that final piece of ST from #5 I kept looking to see the damn which would NOT come. That was one long 7 mile section. It finally came and I rode up to the bottom of the steps, dismounted and did the hike refusing to look at the top and focusing on each step at a time. Into the final section of trails I saw a guy suffering and used him as my mark and passed him gaining a little momentum to end the pain. Then as I was passing the cabins I saw another in front of me and used all I had to get past him and try and gain one more position. I had no idea if either of these two were doing the 100 mi but in my head they were calling me names and I had to get in front of them. Finally across the finish line I was able to grab my glass, some food, and some relief as I laid down in the grass. What a day. Truly awesome singletrack, great people, great venue and a decent performance. I know the things I need to do next time and I will hopefully have it all set for the Wilderness 101. That's the next stop on my tour. I completed it last year and if all goes well I'll have a new PR this year. Only time will tell...