Friday, August 31, 2007
My options were to get there asap and time trial my way to the group already en-route or get ready on the way over and make them wait until I finished (like I haven't had that done to me before).
I started at the first red light. Shoes and socks gone, shorts, jersey and socks laid out on the console ready and waiting. Next red light comes the hard part - the shorts (I wear bibs). The trick to changing in traffic is to pull up short of the cars next to you, that way you are out of the line of sight of the drivers around you. I had a big truck on one side, a minivan on the other, I was good. Here I go making the switch the only problem was my shorts got hung on the lever that moves the seat back and the damn light turned green. I am now driving half-naked to the next light. At the next light I have the minivan again and now a VW on the other side. I had already managed to get my shorts free before I got there and all I had to do was get them up and get my jersey on. About that time I see a kid in the minivan waving at me.
I waved back and wondered what he thought ( he couldn't see anything except me doing some strange movements and pulling a jersey over my head).
Ah finished. I made the ride on time and ready to go and it definitely was what I needed.
Good luck to The Great White Goat heading to the SM100 this weekend and also I have several friends competing in the collegiate race this weekend being held on the campus of East Tennessee State University. Good luck to all of you.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Oh, on Monday we called it our water heater.
Yep, I went to the Temple of Duckman - aka the garage, to get my bike and stuff to ride and I am met with 50 or so gallons of water in the floor and the water heater looking like a damn fountain. So Tuesday's training was pre-empted by cleaning up water and the closest I got to a bike was moving them out of the garage to get the old water heater out.
A trip to Lowes and $350 later and I have a shiny new unit ready to be installed. My buddy David was drafted (he picked the wrong day to stop by for a visit) and while Nancy got me a sandwich, we had the garage cleaned and the old water heater out pretty quick. With the new one in place and wired up, all I needed was to make one more trip for a couple of hoses and I am done. I had beaten the odds that say each project of this level requires at least three and no less than three trips to the home store. The first trip is for what you think you need. The second trip is for what you forgot or didn't know you'd need and the third trip is for the stuff you really need because all the **** you got on the second trip was wrong.
I was gonna do it in two. Or so I thought.
It seems that my fixtures on my house are from the Late Ming Dynasty and aren't compatible with anything made in the last century. The first hoses I got fit the heater but not the water pipes. The second pair of hoses I got (that were supposed to fit - thanks Lowes guy) didn't do it either. So at 9:00 last night I realized I'd be making that third trip and we'd be taking cold showers this morning.
Thankfully it has been so hot in the South lately that the water wasn't that cold and I now now there's some odds you just can't beat.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
At any rate, I am really pumped with my year so far. It has been a breakout year for me with all the solo singlespeed stuff I have done (and lived to tell about it). I am not new to singlespeeds. I have been toying with them for several years. It was just last year though that I gave the geared bike the old kick to the curb and went full singlespeed monty. I am well pleased with my decision. I have been able to do some fairly hardcore stuff that just a few years ago, I would have never dreamed of doing.
I hear that alot of racers get depressed after a race so I guess it is something in our blood.
At any rate, what's next for me is more training, a much needed vacation Labor Day weekend and them comes the 4th Annual 6 Hours of Warriors Race/Cookout on Sept 15.
This is a totally grassroots affair that has riding, racing, eating, skills clinics, first-aid clinics, bike maintenance and more. It is hosted by the Northeast Tennessee Mountain Bike Association at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport, Tennessee. It's a real hoot and alot of fun to be a part of and is designed to give back some to the sport.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The Fool's Gold 50/100 wasn't even on the radar when I penciled out my racing calendar for this year, in fact I only decided to do it 3 weeks ago. I had just got the deal with Vassago and since it was a Vassago Sponsored event, I wanted to be there.
Our plan was to leave JC early enough Friday to be in Dahlonega and at Camp Wahsega before 9:00 to pick up the registration stuff since there would be no Saturday sign in. We executed it with the deft precision of a train wreck... Several circumstances arose and we didn't get to leave until after 5:00. For awhile, I thought we might make it anyway and it wasn't until around 9:30 and we were somewhere in North GA I realized that the word Dahlonega must be an Indian word meaning there's no easy way to get here. We went through town after Mayberryish town (some of which had already rolled up their sidewalks and turned the lights off for the evening) and finally got there and into our motel at about 10:00. Five hours of sleep later and we were off to find a race.
As luck would have it, the first person I ran into was Vassago teammate Chris Davis who was standing in the parking lot of this restaurant waiting for it to open. I asked him where the race was because the directions I had were a little vague and he got us heading in the right direction. Camp Wahsega is a 4-H camp that is located adjacent to Camp Frank D Merrill - a Army Ranger training facility and the Chattahochee Nat'l Forest. It is one of those places you will never just stumble on when you are out driving. You have to want to find it and you have to want it really bad, otherwise you'll never see it.
I first looked up my other Vassago teammate and race co-promoter - Namrita O'Dea and she got me hooked up with registration (thanks Namrita!) and the went to get ready as the 100 mile race started in the dark (6:30). I was still trying to wake up and bitching a little about it when Nancy reminded me that most of my races are already 2/3 over by the time this one starts. In effect she was saying "quit whining you wuss, and go ride your ass off"! Got it.
After a few words from Race Promoter Eddie O, Bruce "the mouth of the South" dunno his last name gives us the "ready,set go"' and we are off.
Pre-race coffee and wake-up ride.
Here's something to try. Go out next Saturday and get up at 5:00, be on your bike no later than 7:00 and immediately, without any warm-up, climb for 5 miles. Howzat feel?
Yeah, that's what I thought too about 4 miles into the first climb. I was actually faring pretty well. I had all the leaders in sight and found a pace I could live with. The first selection of the race had been made and there was a group of about 30 of us. Then things got ugly. We came around a corner and it got steep. I went with it for awhile but I soon found myself waaay down deep in my pain cave - too deep for this early in the race, so I backed off. I even pushed for about 50 yds just to get my heart rate down. One thing about Marathon XC type events that always gets me is not knowing where the hell I am. In 12/24 hour events, you can not know the course, take a couple of laps to learn it and you have it down cold. You know where everything is. Not so in Marathons. You don't know if that climb is 100 feet or 1000. You don't know where you can go hard or where you need to back off. I get such a feeling of isolation and it drives me nuts. For example, if I had known that climb was only another 500yds and there was a long recovery after, I would have just gutted it out instead of pushing.
After about 3 hours, I got really discouraged. I realized what was going on in my head and I just tried to ignore it. Besides, my legs felt pretty good and the trails were awesome. I had a group of 5-7 riders that I'd pass on climbs and they would pass me back on the other side. We did that for awhile and that kept my mind occupied. The singletrack parts of the course were sweeet! Eddie and Namrita really did a good job laying it out. There was alot of fast, flowing stuff, just enough technical to keep your mind focused and plenty to hurt. The big line at the beginning on the course profile is nothing to be concerned about really. It's all those little squiggly lines near the end that get you. There was one short, ass-busting climb after another in the last 15 miles of this thing. It really was a fun and demanding course.
I hit the wall again at about 4:50 and just cruised on home so to speak. I started catching and passing some of those that rode away from me earlier and that helped with my encouragement. It was getting hot now and the race was really getting tough (all the training I did in the heat helped though. I had no heat related issues.)
I came in at just over 6:00. Not sure exactly where, we had to leave before the results got posted. I came, I saw, I rode really hard. That's enough for this time.
All in all it was a great race, well organized, the course was good and well marked and the beer at the end really hit the spot.
The stupid song of the race. Each race, I get a stupid song stuck in my head. This time it was "Uncle Tom's Cabin by Warrant. I could not get that damn song out of my head.
My record still stands. I have not crashed in competition a single time this year (cue sound of me feverishly beating on wood). The race was crash-free (for me) and my Jabberwocky worked like a champ. The more I ride that bike, the more I find to love about it.
This was my 25th endurance race (12/24, XC Marathon combined) and I learn more and more about myself every time I go out.
Many thanks to my sponsors: Vassago, WTB, WB, Bike29 and Cane Creek. A big thanks to Eddie and Namrita O'Dea and all the volunteers and sponsors that helped put this race on.
Lastly, a huge thanks to my wife Nancy. Having you at these things is really, really nice.
Friday, August 17, 2007
My ride last night went well and my legs feel really good. On the 2 mile climb up Buffalo Mtn, I pushed the pace to see what was there and I felt really good.
I think all the training I have been doing in the heat will really pay off - or not. We'll see.
I'll be back Sunday with a full report.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The black one I have been riding will be used for training, beer crawls, and as a back-up for the solo enduro stuff.
Many, many thanks to my really cool sponsors: Vassago, WTB, White Bros, Bike 29 and Cane Creek and especially our Team Manager Misty for hooking me up with the goods.
A pile of bike.
Spokes prepped and ready.
Soon, another Jabberwocky will be unleashed.
I wish the punk all the luck in the world in her new home.
I made the decision last night to run 32X19 gearing Saturday. I had been using 32X20 and while that is good for long climbs, I spin out really fast on rolling stuff. I am not a spinner. My riding style is more like mashing grapes. There's never a perfect gear on a singlespeed, it comes with the territory. It's all good though. From Namrita's description of the Fool's Gold course, I think I'll be happy with my choice.
Tonight is bike prep and get stuff ready night and I'll ride again tomorrow on the road.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
VAN HALEN AND DAVID LEE ROTH ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
HISTORIC CONCERT TOUR MARKS FIRST OF ITS KIND FOR VAN HALEN IN 22 YEARS
LOS ANGELES, CA -- August 13, 2007
Beginning this September, in what promises to be the most exciting live tour this year, Van Halen will embark on a national concert tour throughout the U.S. and Canada with its original lead singer David Lee Roth for the first time in 22 years.
Considered by fans and media alike as one of the most highly anticipated tours in rock and roll history, Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen will perform with Eddie's son, Wolfgang who joins the line-up as the band's bass player. Van Halen and Roth have not performed or recorded together since 1984's classic multi-platinum album 1984 and subsequent tour, making this tour truly a historic event.
25 dates in all were announced today for the tour which is slated for a September 27th kick-off in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tickets for select dates on the tour go on sale beginning on Saturday, August 18th and are available on www.LiveNation.com. A complete list of confirmed dates can be found HERE. The Van Halen tour is being produced by Live Nation. Individuals who have the Citi® / AAdvantage® card, the official credit card of the tour, will be offered access to purchase preferred seats to all U.S. shows.
Fans can enjoy the ultimate Van Halen experience including concert pre-show parties, backstage access, premium seating and more. For additional details go to www.ILoveAllAccess.com.
Fans are encouraged to also check in at www.Van-Halen.com or www.DavidLeeRoth.com for additional information.
Monday, August 13, 2007
The angle of my bike gives some clue to the hills
I had originally planned to do hill repeats on some of the bigger climbs but it was so damn hot that I decided to just say no. I got plenty of what I came for as it was.This is steeper than it looks.
Cooked yet? Not quite.
Competition, heh, heh, heh.
This little one has some spunk.
Disclaimer: No family members or wildlife were harmed in the making of this post.
Friday, August 10, 2007
I was dreamin' when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin'
Coulda sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple
There were people runnin' everywhere
Tryin' 2 run from the destruction
U know I didn't even care
'Cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over
Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999
So long Disco..............................
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Cross season is just a few weeks away. Where endurance races are all about suffering for the long haul, cross is about going WFO, full-tilt gonzo for 30 minutes and they kill you.
But they are a total Blast.
My buddies at TCRC are putting together the Mud, Sweat and Gears Cyclocross Series once again and it should be another great Fall of racing action. I will be there on my Vassago Jabberwocky giving it my best shot.
The fun begins Oct 13 and continues 10/20, 11/3, 11/10, 12/1 and 12/8.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
There's no turning back now (not that I am worried about it). Like when I made the decision to go all-rigid and one-speed (try to find a derailleur cable in my garage, HA, fat chance!) I am now full into 29'ers.
So long Dean. Good luck to you.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
I am not against riding in the rain. In fact, most of the riding I do is in the rain. It is sometimes so bad that I have been associated with some black magic and implicated in causing it to rain. Ok maybe that's exaggerating a little but you get the picture. Anyway I have been dying to get my Vassago Jabberwocky on some familiar trails to see what it would do and there's perhaps no trail on the face of the earth that is more familiar than the ones at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport.
When I got there, there were a few people standing under the kiosk out of the rain. Damn the rain and full steam ahead, we're riding.
Disclaimer: I do not advocate riding trails that are sensative to wet riding. The trails at WPSP were designed to drain well and are generally very durable. Occasional wet riding does not hurt them. I would never ride a trail wet that could be permanently damaged by doing so.
Warriors is very rocky and rooty. It is a place that will bite you hard if you are a little lazy or not paying attention.
Warriors is also one of the biggest turtle refuges in the Southeast. I counted 7 yesterday (which averages 1 per mile) a buddy of mine found 5 in a single puddle the other day. For years there was one turtle that someone stuck a Mavic sticker on roaming around there. They mythical Mavic turtle hasn't been seen for awhile. Dunno if he died or if the sticker just came off. On most days it is hard to go there and not see one somewhere.
Anyway, the ride was great and further solidified my joy with my Jabberwocky. It handled the tight singletrack at Warriors like a champ. It climbs like a monkey on crack and sticks the turns like I am on rails. I had no trouble feeling confident stuffing this bike into rooty wet turns or going through some of the many rock gardens at WPSP.
That's my story anyway.