Monday, July 30, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays

A big congratulations to Wes Lamberson who placed second in the Sport Jr XC (on a singlespeed) and 1st in Beginner Jr DH at the NORBA National held this past weekend at Sugar Mtn.

Also a shout out to Vassago teamate Namrita O'Dea who placed 8th (also on a singlespeed) at the 24 Hour Nationals, the 24 Hours of Nine Mile in Wisconsin.

I am confirmed for the Fool's Gold 50/100 Race on August 18 in Dahlonega Ga. I hadn't planned to do this one but since Vassago is a major sponsor of it, I wanted to go. I am going to ride the 50 instead of the hundie because it fits better with my schedule right now.

Hopefully the rain will stop by the time I can get out and ride. I am not in the mood to ride in the rain today (although it may be better to ride in the rain because the humidity will be about 3000% this afternoon).

Peace out

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Grrrrrr. The Best Laid Plans..........

Well, I had planned to take this weekend to do alot of stuff that desperately needs to be done around the house. Stuff like mow, trim, cut some limbs out of the neighbors tree that are hanging in our yard, pressure wash the house, deck and driveway, fill the cracks in the driveway and seal the driveway and deck.

It's raining.

We need the rain and I am not to disappointed by it. I just wanted to get this stuff done and I have to wait now. I am impatient.

I have got quite a bit done anyway. Me and Nathan cleaned out the garage. I took pics of a bunch of stuff that goes on Ebay and I made room for a freezer that we are going to go get (when it stops raining). I also did some laundry and cleaned out the kitchen cabinets (whoever guesses the age of the oldest box of stuff I found in there wins something nice).

I also spec'd my second Jabberwocky that's due to hit my porch on Tuesday. I wanted to try some stuff from WTB which is another team sponsor. Over the years, I have aquired a bunch of "pet" components and I never really try anything else. I am looking forward to experimenting with some new stuff.

The only firm selection I have made and I can't budge on are the wheels. I absolutely love Stans rims and DT Swiss 240S hubs. I am going to build a set of wheels based on those items using
Supercomp spokes.

Friday, July 27, 2007

You might take competition too seriously.

Didja ever wonder why packages get damaged in shipping?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Training Day

Ok, first let me clarify training. I do not train, I ride my bike and try to be consistent with it. I vary my efforts and it works pretty well for me. Usually a month to six weeks out from a big race, I'll ramp it up a little and ride my ass into the ground before backing off 7 to 10 days out.

Since I did ORAMM last week and all the racing the week before, I planned to take the month after it to play (although that may change a little), I got back on the bike tonight for a easy 20-25 miles on the road to get my legs exorcised from any demons that remain from the race. I met up with a couple of friends and several people that I didn't know on a weekly ride they have going on. I particularly wanted to do this ride because there was a 2 mile climb near the end and since climbing is a weakness for me, I need all the help I can get.

My legs felt suprisingly good for all the punishment they have gotten in the past few weeks. I rode easy until I had to stop for a nature break and I bridged back to the group at the base of the climb. I made my way back to "mid-pack" by the top and didn't really feel like I was killing myself to do it.

Big News

It's all but a done deal.

I have signed on with Vassago Cycles for the rest of 2007 and for 2008 to be part of their Endurance Racing Team.

I will be doing select races in the Southeast (and who knows where else) on a pair of Vassago Jabberwocky singlespeeds - 29er's 'natch.

I am excited about this opportunity to race their bikes and maybe even do some R&D.


According to the late Bon Scott, "Hell ain't a bad place to be". Or at least the figurative hell of being on the road touring 300 days a year.

I wouldn't know about that but at the end of the day after the 8th Annual Off Road Assault on Mt MitcHELL, I felt like I rode my bike right up to the flaming gates of hell, rang the doorbell, and rode like crazy away. The day started with the realization that I was a good 30 minutes late getting to the start. I don't know how that happened but me, Nancy and Nathan drove like crazy to the town of Old Fort and arrived just in time to hear that they delayed the start by 30 minutes. Cool. I had 45 minutes instead of 15 to get ready. Then at 8:07, I am talking to Bob and Anet, I hear "Racers are you ready?" What the ????. Nancy was in the bathroom and she was going to miss the start. I had to ride back and tell her what was going on.

I got back to Bob just as they said GO.

We sat there............... Yep it takes some time to get 450 bikes moving and we were pretty much in the very back. I was antsy about being there but it turns out that it was a good plan because I had to spin my 32X20 like a madman just to keep up with the slow people on the flat stuff leading to the first climb of the day: Mill Creek.

I just tried to relax and go with it. I was nervous about all the pain that was to come and about the 10:20 ass-thrashing I suffered through last year on a really nice fs geared bike and now I am on a rigid s/s. Even though I believed in what I was doing, I was still afraid that I'd not make it up the million-mile climb to hell, or Curtis Creek Rd.

Anyway, about half the way up Mill Creek, we took a detour and ended up standing in line for about 10 minutes (I am not kidding)

while traffic got funneled up a really steep (but not as bad as Heartbreak Ridge) hike a bike.
Then came the 21 (or so) switchbacks of Kitsuma and more bike-hiking. What was worse was that when I could ride, everyone was spinning like mad in their granny gear and you just can't ride that slow on a singlespeed. I got frustrated and when I got to the top and down the other side, guess what.


Granted it was pretty nasty looking but I had enough and I went straight down the middle passing and picking lines over the drop offs. It was really cool to have all those people get outta my way. Roughly 13:47 into my 15 minutes of fame however, we were off of Kitsuma and back on the road where about 90 of the 100 people I passed, passed me back. I learned you have to be humble sometimes on a singlespeed.

On to the road I called "Slow Death On a Grassy Road" and I passed more people which made me feel good.

The climb here just got you in the mood, so to speak, for the beating you were about to get on Curtis Creek which was coming up in another 12 or so miles.

I stopped at each aid station only long enough to refill my bottles and go. I made it a point to make sure they were both empty by the time I got to the next one. I also shoved something down my piehole every hour, on the hour. I got really sick last year and that wasn't happening again if I could help it.

I rode with Wes most of the first third of the race and I could see that he was going well. I had a feeling.............

At the aid station before the million-mile climb to hell, Scooby and I hooked up and just cruised on the gentle early slopes of Curtis Creek before things get evil.

After awhile of that, I lost touch with him and tried my best to stay within myself and just keep pedalling. My back was beginning to hurt from all the grinding and about 7 miles into the climb,I cracked like Humpty Dumpty. I stopped to pee and Scooby passed me back. I rode/walked for the next couple of miles but so was most of everyone else I was with so I didn't let it get to me.

Finally, I made it to the oh-so-glorious top of CCR and the aid station where I got more water. it was then that the reality of the reroute that had to be made to the course set in. Last year, we went across the BRP, down a really nice and long, leg enriching descent before climbing back up to the BRP and on to Heartbreak. This year that section was out meaning we went straight out the BRP for 6 or 7 miles to Heartbreak.

What's the big deal?? Well the 9 mile climb of death was now the 16 mile climb of death.

Somebody kill me now.

With all the traffic and I don't know how many diesel campers passing, I was certain that I had left earth and was now in hell.

I made it to HBR and down it ok. I was really getting tired and althouh I never crashed, I tripped over my bike a few times and took looking stupid to a new level.

Anyhoo, I was happy when I got back to the top of Mill Creek and I was standing at the base of Kitsuma (again) and it hit me that all I had to do was finish one more climb (actually 4 or 5 more climbs but at that point who's counting). I rode the final few miles tired but energized by every inch I got closer to the end.

I crossed the line in 8:31:something, nearly 2 hours quicker that last year on a bike with 17 less gears and 100 mm less suspension. I ended up 16th in Singlespeed.

My Vassago only had a few miles on it at the start and it was an untested, unproven piece of machinery. At the end of the day, it had proven itself over and over and is now a member of the family.

I never crashed and rode all the technical stuff (including both times down Kitsuma) except for that swampy part on Hearbreak that scares the crap out of me.

I can't wait until next year.

I am extremely proud of Wes who spanked all of us on his singlespeed. We knew the day would come and I can't think of a better place to do it, and Anet who gutted it out for over 12 hours and finished like a champ.

Most of all, I wanna thank my coach (and wife) Nancy and Nathan for the moral support and for being there. I love you guys.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kingsport Funfest Cycling Events

I just came off of a weekend full of racing for Kingsport's Funfest. Three days wide open racing began with the Tour De Possum Creek on Saturday, The Kingsport Crit on Sunday and the Mountain Bike Rally at Bays Mtn on Monday.

The Tour De Possum Creek (TDPC) course was a little different this year with a slew of short, steep climbs in the first 25 miles. Not my strongpoint. The challenge was to complete the 43 mile course in under 2 hours. I lined up on the very front with all the local fast guys. I don't consider myself a fast guy but I always line up at the front to stay out of trouble. 500 bikes and riders of different skill on narrow SW Virginia roads is a good recipie for disaster and I didn't want to get caught up in a crash, especially with ORAMM coming up.

I stayed with the lead group over 3 of the 5 numbered climbs. We were averaging about 25 mph and I knew my time there was limited. On the 4th climb, I sat up and did my own thing for the rest of the race. I hooked up with my buddy David and we found a group to ride with. Nobody wanted to work in that group which kinda sucked - we could have gone better. It's all good though. On the climb up to the finish, I threw in the rest of my cookies and outsprinted all but 3 of the chase group.

Yeah, I sprinted for 57th @2:08. Oh well, it was fun.

The Crit on Sunday was a little more sucessful. Held on a dead flat 1 mile course in downtown Kingsport, it was fast. I lined up with all the other Cat 5's (technically I am a Cat 4 but I don't road race anymore except for special events and I don't have Cat 4 fitness so I race on one-day licenses.) I reckoned we had about 30.

As soon as we got the disclaimer from the USA Cycling official, we were off. I fumbled with my pedal for about 40 feet (that never happens) and ended up sprinting hard to get to the front before 30 rabid, lycra wearing cyclist hit the first turn - a 90 degree left hander. It went well and we had a pretty textbook race for awhile.

That is until the next to last lap when going into the first (and what I thought was the nastiest) turn my buddy Larry (second from left in the pic) crashed really hard nearly taking out Alan (far left in the Maxxis jersey) who would go on to pip me for the win.

In the sprint, I got on the wrong wheel and ended up 2nd (behind Alan) in 40+ and 6th OA. I was happy with that.

On Monday's Mountain Bike Race, I was tired. I was also on a new, unfamiliar bike - my Vassago Jabberwocky, that I had just got buit up a couple of days before. The race was dominated by local roadie hammerheads as the course is all fire roads and not very technical at all (except for one eroded downhill). I had a couple of adjustment issues that I had to take care of (that's what I get for not getting to ride my new bike much before the race) and that cost me time.
Even still, I ended up 4th in my class and 18th OA. Right behind my teamate's son Wes who has just jumped over to the singlespeed dark side this year. He has been getting stronger for several years and will be a real hammer if he keeps going , oh he's only 15.

After all that, I needed rest. I had some bigger fish to fry in 6 short days.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Hello and welcome to my blog. I have wanted to do this for some time and I finally gave it a shot.
This is a pathetic effort and not really expected to be an earth-shattering event that spawns books, television shows, comedic satire, and the ubiquitous copy-cat. If it does and I become a
millionaire, cool.

A little about me.

I am a 40 year old endurance junkie that loves long, hard, painful mountain bike races. I choose to ride a bike with only one gear because I like to push up hills alot. It has no suspension either. I like it that way, it makes me feel special. I am very happily married and have a 6yr old son that makes me equally happy. I am called Duckman. Maybe someday, I will tell you why I am called that and why all my bikes have rubber ducks on them.

I expect that this will change and be more refined as I learn what I am doing. In the meantime,
have a look.