Monday, September 29, 2008


The Tymor race was definitely a last minute decision as I had a rough time at the end of August in the Shenandoah 100 and I needed some time off after feeling severely burntout. I decided that I would enter the race at Blue Mtn NY and needed some kind of workout to get me excited. Tymor was it. My new frame was finally built up so I should test it out somewhere right? Ok so the race seemed like the perfect spot.

I knew the race would be good with Tim Schopen at the helm as he puts on many great races. He does the Tymor races as well as the Darkness @ 909 Night race - which is always a blast and a must do if you're in the lower NY area around Halloween.

The weather was pretty crummy all weekend so that I'm sure had to do with the low numbers. The were only a few hearty souls that showed up to challenge the hills and deal with the super slick conditions that Tymor is known for. In my division I had one other challenger. Gavi from Campmor was there to try his first MTB race. As a Cat1 road racer I knew he would have great legs but I wasn't too sure of the tech skills he had. We actually did a nice prelap of some of the course as well BS'd and enjoyed some of the scenery there.

They decided to send all of the Experts in one wave(this shows how small the field was). The sports followed 1 minute behind. The pace was pretty solid off the line as Gavi took off and was killin it. He said later that he knew his tech skills were pretty poor so he needed the gap. Granted - I wasn't going to be the guy to chase him though. Through the hills I kept a solid pace but didn't really pin it. I wasn't going to kill myself as I didn't know how bad all the climbing would be. I rode most of the climbs having to jump off only a couple of times to crest the steep demanding hills. I kept riding hoping to see my competition in sight and I did after a bit. Once we got out of the climbs and into the more slick techy stuff, I crept up and let my handling skills speak for themself. It was only a matter of time until I passed him and I did. Repeat more of this for lap 2.

Just before the end of lap 2 Gavi made a wrong turn directly in front of me and I called him on it and he got back and proceeded to pass me a minute later. The 3rd lap we didn't have the climbs so it was mostly the techy stuff. I was right on Gavi's tail waiting for a slip up. It came. On a nice downhill I stayed on him and he got a bad lean going. He had to stop on the side of the trail to stop from falling down the ravine of doom immediately below. Once this happened I pinned it and hoped my technical skills would be enough to hold me in front. They were. I tried to stay smooth and keep the pace hot and it worked. I finished and cruised around a little bit to see Gavi finish a few minutes behind me.

It was a great day, really great course setup, and some sweet competition. I don't know if I've had a race where it was more challenging and competitive going back and forth for one position. It was great for the experience bank and for preparation for next weekend. I'll take 1st place of 2 and the race was over in just over 2 hrs. The rain held off and I meandered home with my 1st place plaque and a couple of bucks more than I left for the race with. The Chainstretcher at Blue Mtn should be fun next week! The trek held up great and was really fun to get back on that crazy light carbon HT. I'm looking forward to more races on this rig...

New Bike is Alive

After a little indecision I finally have a bike to ride... I've had a little bad luck with keeping bikes in one piece lately. I had my 2006 Fisher Ziggurat that had a crash replacement that turned into a 2007 Trek 9.9 Elite. The Trek then failed as the bottom bracket was spinning out of the frame so that turned into a 2008 Trek Elite 9.9 SSL. I was going to try and sell it but in the long run I decided I wanted a fast light 26'er to rock the races with. And so it was as it was built up and born on Saturday. The build kit was the original from the Fisher and is still as light and nimble as ever. It's amazing how stiff and how responsive it is while still being compliant enough to not destroy your body. Great stuff! I look forward to racing on this bike and having experienced much pain together.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Hill Ride has been Ridden...

For about 2 years my friends and I have discussed a ride that would incorporate all of the larger climbs in the West Milford area. Well today I got out of work promptly and headed out on a solo attempt of this hill route. It went well with 5 extended climbs to suck the power out of your legs and a little bit of recovery in between. 60 miles in 3 hours and 37 minutes.

Check it out below:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

NUE Overall Results

The overall results have been posted. Check them out:

My main goal this season was to finish 4 of the 8 races and hopefully contend in the overall for the series. After completing the Cohutta 100, Mohican 100, Wilderness 101 and Shenandoah 100 I've got that much more experience under my belt and a better understanding of my pain tolerances. I felt good for most of the races and had my ups and downs and finished in a solid 17th place. What a great series and I couldn't have asked for more visiting all these gorgeous places and meeting all of these wonderful competitors. I'll be back for more next year and probably trying a couple new venues as well. The downtime is gonna be nice but I can't wait to start ramping it up for next year.

It looks like I'll have 3 more events on my calender for the remainder of the year. All just for fun but something to shoot for nonetheless. Any day on the bike is a good day period...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Shenandoah Mountain 100 Race Recap

My main goal this year was to compete in the overall for the NUE 100 series. I have completed 3 races so far and to complete the 4 needed to compete I entered in the Shenandoah Mountain 100. This was an amazing event that was very well organized and much thanks go out to Chris Scott and all the workers and volunteers. It was perfect! I got there mid day Friday and had plenty of time to set up camp and wait for the race start - probably too much time actually. I was really anxious to get started.

The race started just after 6:30 Sunday morning and 550 racers jammed through the back exit of the Stokesville campground. That was a sight to see in itself. The course was going to be muddy as the torrential rains we had the night before surely effected the grounds but from preriding I knew it drained pretty well. My goal was to finish in under 10 hours and in the top 100 of the Open Male. With the wet conditions I knew the first goal would be tough but maybe the second would be in tact. We hit the pavement and off into the first climb which was pretty good. Legs felt fine, body was good, nutrition, hydration was on. Hit the second climb and I was towards the front so I wasn't bottlenecked too badly. This section was known to be bad if in a crowd and I hit it at a nice time. There weren't too many people there so I rode the majority of the hike a bike except for some of the sloppy steep top. As I crested the top though my quad started to twinge so I knew that wasn't good. The downhill that followed made up for it.

The next section was on gravel road that was good to put down a little power. It had a nice false flat up and then down. It was kinda strange cause with this many people I didn't really have anybody to draft with. A sign of things to come. Up the paved hills to aid 2 I grabbed some water and off I went through the next paved hill and into the 3rd big climb of the course. It's a nice steady gravel road climb that pitches up a little steeper at the top. It definitely took some effort but was totally rideable as I cleaned it and took on down the other side FLYING down those downhills. The down were amazing. They were fast, slick and kept you on your toes. The effort I put in climbing this hill hurt a little for afterwards. I got to aid 3 and took water and left again onto the false flat road. Again - no one to draft with. I got to the 4th big climb - which I bonked on in the preride I did very well and only had to dismount a couple of times on the really shaley uphill sections. That downhill was very rewarding and so much fun, but I wasn't sure how much was left in the tank and I'd soon find out. Rolling into aid 4 I grabbed some coke and water and was on my way.

Now the stomach was not feeling good. It had started hurting towards the top of the 4th climb and now was not doing so hot. I didn't know if I could eat, drink or what. I just tried to stay on schedule and this was not the best time to fall apart. I was on the outskirts of the 18 mile climb. The stomach felt bad and stayed that way. I couldn't put any power down. And worst of all those that I could draft off of passed so quickly that I didn't have enough power to jump on. So I did the climb all myself slugging my way through. Finally reaching aid 5 I was hurting and knew my goal of breaking 10 was not going to happen since it was 8:15 of riding for 75 miles. Not good. So I decided to get some real food and see if that helped out. Pizza and brownies were great! I got more water and headed out. Now my stomach had started feeling better but the power was just gone. Recovery was nowhere in sight. I finally thought about it a while. I've been all over this season and I think this is what it feels like to be burnt out. It was really difficult to get any motivation and I just kept myself in preservation mode. The worst part is that once you get to aid 5 the big hill seems to be over but it's not. It keeps going to false peak after false peak. Finally when you get to the top its a relief but it takes a major toll.

After gettin down to the road - once more - the downhill from the top of the big climbing putting a big grin on my face - once more - I felt a little better knowing the end was near. Getting to aid 6 was nice. I again grabbed coke and water and was off. 88 miles in and just as I passed the aid station I looked at my watch and it hit the 10 hour mark. Damn! There goes my first goal. So I kept on plugging away trying to find the gas but it wasn't there. I made my way to the final climb and crested entering into the singletrack and swearing at all of those little suffering climbs that jumped in the way to my finish. The most exciting feeling was bombing down those water bars and seeing those tents that would signal the end of the race. Of course they made it even sweeter by putting some sharp bends in there and one last nice massive grass jump at the end to put a cap on a very nice course.

The course was a lot tougher than I first imagined. Looking at the profile online it seemed pretty basic with a few big climbs. Little did I know how those false flats everywhere drained you and how badly my stomach would rob my power. All in all it was great completing the race and meeting so many more good people out there.

At the heart of it I'm glad I was able to finish all 4 and in respectable times. Early this season I was having some bad knee trouble and I was wondering how well this season would go. I'm very happy with the way things have gone and it's only set my sights higher for next season. As I think back at what I have accomplished it I'm very proud. I do ride quite a bit but as far as formal training that's where I'm lacking. I've decided that next year is going to include a lot more dedication, sweat, off-season training, and hopefully a coach. I don't want to just eek my way through these races, I want to put my all into them. These are my thoughts as I'm feeling pretty burntout from 08 and dreaming into 09. As of now it seems like I'm going to take some time off and relax and not race. I'll look into racing again in October and hopefully some CX this fall/winter. More fun and pain to come...