Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Stuff From Vassago and WTB

Hot from Vegas and Interbike, pics of the new Bandersnatch featuring a disc only rear triangle with replaceable derailleur hanger and clearance for 3.0 tires and beefier construction all around (not to mention a dead sexy color).

Still to come is the Chupacabra, Vassago's new singlespeed endurance race weapon (I can't wait!!!)

Three new treads from Wilderness Trail Bikes for 29'ers are the Stout, Vulpine and Prowler.

Stay tuned for more.......................................

Monday, September 24, 2007


Those were the words that rang through my head yesterday as I came rolling to a stop along a road in the middle of Southwest Virginia. Only moments before, I was tooling along in the peloton in the 6th Annual Benge's Revenge, 75 mile road race in the heart of SW Virginia's coal country.

My kind of race!

The course features some real treats in the final 10 miles with the 2 mile climb up Powell Valley Mtn and the final climb to the finish at Flag Rock with an average grade of 11% that spikes to 20% in some places.

My day however, ended 23 minutes into the race with a broken spoke on my rear wheel. No team cars, no neutral support, just me, a stray dog and a real bad attitude were all that remained as I watched everyone else disappear over the next rise. I was bummed. I had great legs and was looking for a top ten finish and some morale boost as I have been feeling pretty crappy lately. I tried

Oh well, stuff happens. I waited for a ride back to the start for about 20 minutes and then hung out until my buddy David finished, chatted with some friends and called it a day.

Maybe next year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jedi RIde

With the shorter days of Fall, my weekday road rides get switched to my weeknight mountain bike rides. One of my favorite venues is Buffalo Mountain in the Cherokee National Forest. Last night The Great White Goat and me set out on a 1:45 ride 1:30 before dark. Yeah baby, perfect night for a Jedi ride.

We leave the parking area and begin to climb immediately. I don't ride here much in the Summer and I was impressed with the work that the USFS had done to the road. It was in pretty bad shape at the end of last Winter. Roughly 5 miles later, we are at the gate below the fire tower and ready to hit the blue trail (technically it is the orange trail but it was the blue trail before it was the orange trail and it will always be the blue trail to me). The blue trail is the only legal OHV trail in the Cherokee and it is heavily used by motorcycles and atv's. It gets regraded once a year or so and for a few weeks after, it is a blast to ride.

We got it in prime time.

We started down and had the sun just disappearing behind the ridge. We had about 45 minutes of daylight left and about and hour to ride still. We hammered! After the blue trail, we dump onto a connector that takes you on down to yet another sweet descent and back to the fire road. (the names have been changed to protect the innocent). Towards the end, it is getting hard to distinguish between rocks and leaves and you really have to use the force to avoid some wicked tank traps at the very bottom just before the fire road.

We made it back just as the last remaining light disappeared, thoroughly stoked to be alive and riding our bikes.

disclaimer: Mountain Biking is inherently dangerous. Mountain Biking in the dark without lights is not only dangerous but stupid as well. Do not attempt to do this on your own or even with someone else.
Leave the stupid stuff to the pro's.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Warriors Path 6 Hour Race/Cookout.

Saturday, I took part in the 6th Annual 6 Hours of Warriors Race/Cookout at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport, Tennessee. This was a free event put on by the Northeast Tennessee Mountain Bike Association in the spirit of the founding fathers of mountain biking - to hang out, have friendly competition and eat some good grub at the end.

Master Chef, Larry Roberts

Try having this temptation at a race. This spread was in the start/finish area. Pure torture for those trying to race.

The day's event actually got started the day before with steady rain all day long. One thing about Warriors, the trails are quite durable and weather resistant but damn evil when wet. The race start of 8:00 meant the first few laps would be tough.

After a few words from the Minister of Pain (aka ME) to the effect of "Um.. y'all be careful, the trails are wet and someone might get hurt if you get lazy", the race began.

Me and Vassago teamate Chris Davis before the start.

Uh, maybe I should have listened to my pre-race speech. My plan was to ride about 2 or 3 laps and then hang out as people arrived for the cookout. Well about 50 yds into the singletrack, my front wheel slid off of a root and I hooked a tree with my bars and went down hard. I got up and my bars were crooked and had to be straightened.

Everyone passed me.

Something inside me clicked and I went from casual to WFO race mode just like that. I got back on my bike and went through the first trail - Darwin's Revenge, like a man possessed. By the time I got into the first somewhat downhill section of Boneyard (see a trend with the trail names?), I had made my way to mid-pack. I didn't really know what the hell I was doing, I was riding by instinct and stupid - a bad combination.
In Boneyard, there's three really big roots that you can usually manual BMX style over and never think twice. I came up on them and a buddy of mine at the same time on Saturday. He bobbled a little and I had nowhere to go. But down.
I crashed harder than I have crashed in recent memory. I hit the ground face first and everything went black for a moment.
I remember thinking "Damn. That hurt and how can I go all over the Southeast in all these races all year and never crash once and come to a charity event in my back yard and yard sale?"
As I rolled over, I could taste that metallic taste of blood and I saw it dripping all over the ground. I thought I broke my nose. I just sat there for a minute and finally took my waterbottle and washed off my face.

Then I got back on my bike and rode on. Like what else was I supposed to do?

I took a shortcut back to my truck and cleaned up and assessed the damage.
One cut on each leg, a badly busted nose (my face still hurts), a cracked Giro helmet and a hurt ego.

I needed a few of these.

I mean, I know the trails at WPSP better than any trail on the planet, how could this happen?

Ah, suck it up buttercup and go on. My head hurt for the rest of the day but I still managed to place 3rd in the High Noon Smackdown - a 1 mile uphill/downhill TT and later on in the afternoon, I went back out with Bob Lamberson, one of my best friends, and we rode a lap in a two-man paceline that was nearly perfect. Bob is one of about 3 people on Earth that I trust riding tight singletrack at speed three feet from his back wheel.

My Vassago teamate Chris, outlasted all the others and resisted the draw of the smell of hamburgers and won the OA in the 6 Hour Race. I think everyone had some sort of injury, if not physical, mental anguish from the beating that Warriors can dole out. Another close friend of mine, Jay Hayes, probably fared the worst with a deep cut on his knee (and a matching cracked patella) and a broken wrist.

It's a good thing this was for fun. If it was serious someone could have died.

Can't wait until next year.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

You Might Be A Redneck If..............

I have to live with these people.

Pic courtesy of Drew

Monday, September 10, 2007

Who Cares If I Look Funny.

I had a crap day at work Friday, I had to work again Saturday morning and I was really stressed out. I needed to ride. I wanted a 3 hour ride but I also wanted to ride my mountain bike. I have been doing alot of road riding lately and my Jabberwocky needed some love. With time constraints being what they were, I was in a dilemma. Do I load up the mountain bike and drive to some trails, wasting ride time? Do I give the mountain bike the cold shoulder again and hit the roads (that can be dangerous as mountain bikes are very jealous and will only take so much.) I decided to do something I normally do not like to do. I rode my mountain bike to the trails.

I know that's not a big deal. It's just that I have a strong road background and when I am on the road, I like to go fast

and a singlespeed on the road is more of a lesson in futility than speed. Plus I look pretty damn funny spinning along on the flats at 140 rpm's going about 12 mph. I just never liked riding a mountain bike on the road.

I did it though and I had a good time. It was great for training. Some of the Marathon XC events have sections of road where geared bikes absolutely eat my lunch (only to get payback on the next climb we come to) and I need to train for that if nothing more than to condition myself to not hate it so much. I rode from my house to the trails at Warriors Path State Park and did a lap and a half there, then I went on to the main part of the Park to meet Nancy and Nathan at the playground. It was a good 3 hour training ride and by the time I was done, I was stress free again.

This is a hard month for me as there are no races in September (none that I can make anyway) and with two 12 hour races back to back (one is a 4 man team so it will be easy) right in the middle of Cross season that begins Oct 13, I have to maintain what endurance I have plus build some anaerobic fitness for Cross.

The rest of my season looks like this:

Oct 13 - MSG Cross #1

Oct 20 - MSG Cross #2

Oct 27 - 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth (4 man team)

Nov 3 - Treeshaker 12 Hour (solo)

Nov 10 - MSG Cross #4

Dec 1 - MSG Cross #5

Dec 8 - MSG Cross #6

So begining Oct 13, I will be racing for the next 5 weeks, off for Thanksgiving and then 2 more.

Pain. It's what's for breakfast.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

How I Spent My Summer Vacation - A Photo Essay

While The Great White Goat was having fun at the SM100, me and Nancy headed off to Blairsville in Northeast Georgia for a little r&r.

We made some friends like Herman the snail.

We took some pics of us and Desoto Falls (to bad there was no water)

Well, a little water maybe..........

We hiked up to Brasstown Bald (it hurts almost as much on foot as
it does on a bike).

But the view is worth it.

Our truck is in the second row from the right, third one down.

Awesome views.

Leftovers from the Tour De Georgia

Looks alot different huh?

Bike Shot.

We returned Monday so we could pick up my dad at the airport who was flying back from California after helping my sister move to Mammoth. I went for a early morning ride.

Black marks and horse crap. That's either one fast horse or someone
knocked the shit out of it.

One of my favorite short loops has three killer hills on it. Since hills are a weakness of mine, I train on them almost every other day. This is the first one and it's about 600yds long.

Not that steep but it hurts a whole lot.

It kicks up at the top. Some sting in the tail as Phil Ligget might say.

It's all good.

After the ride, we headed to Pigeon Forge for some go-carts.

If you aren't first, your'e last!

Shake and Bake baby!!

Hi mom!