Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pick Up Your Balls

"And light up your cannons for a 21 gun salute. For those about to rock we salute you".

In the same manner, the 9th Annual 12 Hours Of the Hill of Truth began with the usual artillery blast that those who have done the race before have become accustomed to (though you never get used to that #$^#$ thing going off at 3 am. Can I get a witness).

I had the pleasure of riding this race on a team unlike my usual M.O. of doing these things solo. I hadn't raced on a team in a year and I forgot how much fun it can be. I also forgot how damn nerve racking it can be too. My team (NTMBA Factory Team that became Larry Roberts after registration) consisted of me, Bob Lamberson, Larry Roberts, and Wes Lamberson. In years passed, we were always a force to be reckoned with in the Vet class, winning 2 in a row and finishing 3rd on two other occasions. This year we signed up in the more competitive and growing singlespeed class. Our competition included a couple of fast local teams and a team of our friends - Grannys Rotten Teeth.
Beautiful weather greeted the 244 racers that lined up for the mass start (just say no to Le Mans starts- another reason to hate the French) and the cannon went off at 11:00 officially starting the race. Bob was our first guy out followed by me, Larry and then Wes. After the start, I went off to warm up. I figured Bob would be back in about 50 minutes and my plan was to ride every lap WFO so I needed to warm up really good. Bob came in in 51:00 (hey, I have raced with the guy for 5 years, I know my teamates) and off I went. GRT got a guy( good friend Brad Reed) in about a minute earlier and their #2 (Greg Carr) out so I had a rabbit to catch. Catch him is what I did. I caught Greg about 1/3 of the way through the lap and really tried to put as much time into him and GRT as possible. At the end of my first lap. we were up on them by about 2 minutes which put us loosely in 3rd. Two minutes isn't very much time, we needed more.

Fate stepped in however on Larry's first lap and he had bunches of trouble with his cleat and we lost a bunch of time. Wes had a solid 4th team lap but still at the end of the first rotation, we were in 4th and about 3 or 4 minutes back from 3rd. Bob and Brad duked it out on lap 6 and I set out again after Greg on lap 7. Near the end of lap 7, we were back in 3rd by a minute or so. Additionally, the 2nd place team had a bad lap due to a broken chain so 2nd through 4th were separated by only a couple of minutes. It was getting exciting.
Unfortunately, Larry's and our troubles were not over and at the end of the second rotation (lap 8) we were back in 4th by about 9 minutes. Mechanical failures are a part of endurance racing and we have benefited from them and been hurt by them over the years. It's racing. We learned long ago however to never, never, never ever give up as even long races can come down to just seconds at the end. Larry was awesome. He didn't let his problems get to him. He rode and ran as fast as he could to save as much time as possible. We were down but not out.
The rest of the race, we talked trash to our buddies and put as much pressure on them as we could. Both teams were turning in solid lap times into the dark and neither one of us were making any mistakes.
At 10:45, I was sitting in the transition area with Dr Skip (from Dr Skip's Medicine Show fame) and a bunch of friends from both teams. Greg had been out for about 10 minutes and I knew I wouldn't be able to run him down unless he had a slow lap. I took a couple of shots from the quart jar of "mountain nectar" that was going around and it warmed me up. Bob came in and I went out in pursuit of Greg. I rode my 4th lap (teams 14th) as hard as I could. It was nice to pass people again (in solo racing you learn to get passed ALOT! I hate getting passed). I was blowing by people that were really tired from the day of racing. I felt great (must have been the moonshine). When I got around to the hill of truth and didn't see any lights, I knew my last chance to get Greg was lost. I was happy. Those guys really rode their asses off to beat us and it made for one of the most fun and exciting races I have done in awhile.

We ended up 4th with 14 laps.

Grannys Rotten Teeth: (L to R) Brad Reed, Greg Carr, Anthony Duncan, Alan Sparks

Many thanks to John Baker and everyone that put on this race for giving us such a fun event and great venue; Thanks to my teamates Bob, Larry and Wes, that was fun; thanks to GRT for the competition; thanks also to Paul for the space in the camper; thanks to Bob for the beer lap treat.

Last but not least, thanks to Vassago and my other sponsors for your support.

You guys rock!

Friday, October 26, 2007

12 HOT

Team racing returns to Duckman's Racing Calendar this weekend at the 12 Hours of the Hill Of Truth in Oak Ridge Tennessee.

I will be 1/4 of the NTMBA Factory Team along with Bob Lamberson, Wes Lamberson and Larry Roberts. We are going with our sights set on Singlespeed Class supremacy.
It has been exactly one year since I rode on a team and I am excited to get a break so to speak from the rigors of solo racing and to be able to go all out each lap and hang out in between.

After last weeks MSG and Rowdy Dog, the 12 HOT will be just what I need to get me to the Treeshaker 12 Hour event next week in top form ( well top form for November. It's been a long year).

See y'all on the other side.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Epic Rides

I just got home from my Wednesday night ride at Buffalo Mtn. This ride goes on pretty much rain or shine throughout the winter. Tonight it was raining and about 55 degrees. Me and Bob Lamberson were the only ones to show up.

Go figure.

I like Bob. We have been riding and racing together for about 5 years. Bob is one of the few people I will follow through any singletrack at speed and not worry about a thing. I can always count on him for some hardcore riding.
We started climbing immediately and rode the 4 or so miles to the firetower gate mostly in the dark and rain. We had a little contest to see who would turn on their light first. It got pretty damn dark before Bob cracked (okay, it was a draw, I went for mine about the same time). Lights only served to illuminate the fog and were pretty much useless.
We hit the ATV trail that only a week ago was dry and fast to find it filled with water and nasty. (Don't worry, no trails were harmed as the trails at Buffalo are all weather and damned near indestructible). The fog only made it worse. Visibility was about 3 feet and we both got disoriented a few times and had to search for the trail (that we both know like the backs of our hands).
After the first section of ATV trail, we both decided it was to dangerous to continue with the fog the way it was so we hit the fireroad back to the cars.

Did we chicken out? No, I don't think so.

Where were you tonight?

Monday, October 22, 2007

MSG #2 and Rowdy Dog XXC - The Devil Made Me Do It.

Round #2 of the MSG Cross Series rolled into Johnson City's Winged Deer Park Saturday and it was also a stop in the Redline Cup O' Cross Tour which brought more people than normal out. That's a good thing.

After last Saturday's disaster, I made sure I had everything I'd need to race : bike, shoes, shorts, jersey....I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. After round one, I was sitting in 3rd place for the series and this being a double points race, I was hoping for a good result.

After warming up and getting a good look at the course which featured 2 sets of barriers, some really tricky off-cambered stuff and a 40 foot sand pit that had already claimed a few victims, I was excited.
I made sure I got to warm up this week.

My excitement soon faded somewhat when we lined up and I see Andy Applegate (a really fast pro) and a few fast roadie friends of mine - Mike Mefford and Michael Walters among the others including series leader Todd Braswell. This was going to be a tough one. Another interesting point was my son Nathan was starting his very first cross race just in front of me. Yep the singlespeeds run with the kids. Make of it what you will.

Go little buddy!!

I gave Nathan a few last minute instructions and saw him off. I was proud. Next it was my turn. I lined up in the front like I always do and waited for the word. It came and we were gone.

I am a big Duck in a little pond.

The first lap was really fast and it didn't take long for the order to be established. Going into lap 2, I was in about 4th place and over the first set of barriers, I trip like a big Dork and fall down. I kinda rolled back up on my feet and only lost one spot so it wasn't so bad. I eventually got passed by both Mikes and my buddy Alan Sparks by the midpoint in the race. My heartrate had been pegged since go and I was really suffering. I decided to try and limit my losses and gear up for a last lap attack on whoever was close to me.

I am really killing myself to dump my buddy. That's what friends are for.

Heading towards the end of the next to last lap, I roll up behind Alan and attack him on the climb that led to the finish line. I really buried myself to seal the deal lest he had any thoughts of a counter. It worked out and I finished 6th and moved into 2nd in points in the series OA.

Did that hurt?

Nathan finished 7th in the kids race and was talking about the next one on our way home. He's hooked I think. I was proud.

Off to change my Jabberwocky from Cross bike to Endurance bike and load up for Blacksburg and the second race of the weekend - the Rowdy Dog.

I only learned about this race about a week before from Vassago Team Manager - Misty (thanks Misty, I think) and teamate Kevin Clark. I thought it would be good for my training for the Treeshaker especially since I had not had a long off-road ride since the Fool's Gold race in August. I got the tires and gear changed on the bike and loaded up the Jeep for a 0330 wake-up call. I was on the road to pick up my buddy and partner in pain, Bob Lamberson and his son Wes by 0430. Wes was due back from a band competition about that time and I soon learned the bus he was riding broke down somewhere on the interstate. We went and found him at a truck stop along I-81. What luck.

Kevin, Me, Jeremy, Bob and the other guys.

In Blacksburg, we hooked up with Vassago teamates Jeremy Arnold and Kevin Clark and quickly got down to business. It was damn cold. Our start time was 0930 for the 50 mile (shortened to 40) XXC race where all other classes started at noon. My plan was simple - ride. Do the time and not get hurt. I kinda forgot that when we started and Kevin and Jeremy took off like a couple of convicts in a crackhouse raid. About 5 miles into the virtually all singletrack course, I was way down in my pain cave already. I stopped myself and reminded me of what I was doing there. It was tough but I had to stick to my plan. My body was having a hard time adjusting to the rigors of all-out, WFO for 30 minutes cross racing to chugging like the little engine that could for ever and ever endurance racing. My legs didn't know what to do for awhile.
The first hour or two were really tough for me.

There were plenty of rock gardens filled with baby head sized rocks all the way up to microwave sized rocks.

Metamorphic Rock: Formed under extremely high temperatures and pressure over millions of years. Exceptionally durable and hard.

Duck Flesh: Formed under moderate to low heat and pressure over about 9 months. Susceptible to cuts and bruises. Underlying bones break easily when subjected to rocks at medium to high velocity.

Yep given all that, I played it safe and went on a 5 hour training ride. The course was brutal. There was no place to relax it was either short, grunt climbs or fast sometimes technical rolling stuff that demanded your attention. I started to get bored about the time I started running into traffic from the later starting races. It kept me sane for the last hour of the race.

From a race standpoint, I didn't do so hot - 8th place (out of 9 or 10) but from a what I went up there for in the first place standpoint it was all aces. I rode well, never crashed and didn't get hurt.
My teamates Kevin and Jeremy finished 3rd and 4th respectively, Bob got 6th. I think we all had a great time.

I had fun.....................................

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mmmm, Pain.

Coming up this weekend is a pain double-header beginning on Saturday with round #2 of the MSG Series which is also a stop on the Redline Cup O' Cross tour. Action begins at 11:00 at Winged Deer Park in Johnson City.

The second part of this suffer fest is on Sunday in Blacksburg, Virginia and the Rowdy Dog XXC event. The 49 mile mtb race is going to bu just the ticket methinks to get me ready for the two upcoming 12 hour races, the 12 Hours of The Hill of Truth next weekend and the Treeshaker the week after.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Every Girl's Crazy About A Cross Dressed Man

Round one of the 2007 Mud, Sweat and Gears Cyclocross series got underway yesterday at Steele's Creek Park in Bristol, Tennessee. I was looking forward to opening day since I have been training for weeks for this - yeah, right. I hadn't practiced a dismount since last year's MSG Series. I was anxious to race though. I hadn't raced since the Fool's Gold race back in August and I was getting really antsy.

I have had a rush of crappy luck recently, I almost broke my face at the 6 Hours of Warriors in Sept and a couple of weeks later, I dnf'd at Benge's Revenge due to a broken spoke. I was looking forward to a fresh start on the fall series that will have me racing for the next six weeks. My luck wasn't any better yesteday as I was getting ready to warm up and realized my shoes were at home. With the Pro's just starting, I had one hour to drive the 22 miles back to my house and get back in time for my race. It also meant I'd get to race with no warm-up whatsoever, effectively taking the pain I was going to feel and kicking it up a notch - BAM!

Don't you know I got behind every piece of slow moving vehicle you could imagine. Heavy equipment, cops, tow trucks, old people. About the only one that didn't get in front of me was someone on one of those little electric chairs. I was really pissed off when I got back to the park and pull in behind a guy at the self-serve entrance gate that only accepts dollar bills. He is out of his car, scratching his butt and looking puzzled. He asks me if I have change for a $5 ( I didn't) . I did have $2.00 so I jumped out, gave him a buck and wished him well ( I also wished he'd get the hell out of my way because if my math was right, I had about 10 minutes left before I was supposed to start).

Oh the drama.

I did get to the start on time. Actually I got to ride 3/4's of one lap for a warm-up (oooo big deal, might as well read a magazine instead but at least I got to look at the course). I was really in a bad mood but decided I was going to make the best of it. When the starter said "GO" I popped in behind the guy that pulled out front.

I didn't really think much of it then and I just rode my pace and followed him for the first 3/4 lap. He turned out to be a lot stronger than me (won Master35+ and got 2nd OA in CX3 last year, he should be a lot faster than me.) and I didn't want to try to match the pace he was setting. After 2 laps, I looked back and only one dude was behind me about 30 sec back I was guessing. This was weird. I felt like s**t and my legs filled with lactic acid really fast. I just knew everyone else was about to pass me. Coming around to the front stretch on lap 3 this is what I saw
Mr Sandbagger checked out and It was just me and the dude that was closing in on me, slowly but closing in steadily. I tried to ease up where I could because I was about to die. On the run-up, I hopped back on my bike and squished one of my boys. There's nothing like riding a bike with a heartrate at around 190 and mashing one of your nuts to really make you want to puke. While I was trying to recompose myself, my stalker caught me and passed me.

I figured he would and there really wasn't anything I could do about it at that point. I got it back together and now the hunted became the hunter, yeah right. I was keeping him in sight hoping he'd blow.
Going into the last lap, I felt like I could get him. I put my head down for one last hail mary attempt and got to within 20 feet of him. He saw me and put in a surge of his own. With about a mile to go, I should have waited longer before I moved but I tried to get him in a spot where I noticed I was faster. I had hoped I could blow past him and make him think I was stronger than I really was but it didn't work.

Ah, it was better than nothing. I got 3rd.

In the end, I was not surprised that the Masters/CX3 guy whipped our asses, I was surprised to see that we had almost a half a lap over 4th. There were some strong riders back in the field. I didn't expect that.

My Vassago Jabberwocky performed like a champ despite all the ribbing it took from comments about the little bitty cross tires I put on. It was just one more confirmation that I am on the best bike made. It takes whatever I ask it to and doesn't complain one bit. I could make a number of comments about that but maybe I shouldn't. That whole Lorena Bobbit thing still gives me the willies - so to speak.

Addendum: The 1.56 mile long course designed by Dwayne Letterman was one of the most fun cross courses I have ever ridden. It had plenty to keep you interested instead of just being a crit course on grass. Thank you Dwayne, Eric and everyone else involved in putting on this series.

You guys rock!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I Will PT You Until Your @$$hole Bleeds

The days are getting shorter and gone for this year are the times when I could get off work and knock off a quick 40-50 mile ride before dark. I must resort to trainer rides, night rides and the ubiquitous PT regimen.
I am fascinated by Rangers, Seals and others that do all this hardcore stuff using only bodyweight or good old-fashioned drills passed down from the 1950's gym classes. What's old is new.
I typically do anywhere from 2-15 sets of push-ups, bodyweight squats (think they are to easy? try doing 500 bodyweight squats. I guarantee your ass will be kicked), pull-ups, burpees and a whole list of odd looking exercises with an evil little device from the former Soviet Union.

The Kettlebell.

This 16kg (35lb) cast-iron beauty will take the place of a whole garage full of weights and whip you into tough guy shape pretty damn quick. I have been using them for about a year now doing cleans, clean and jerks, swings and the mack-daddy of kb excercises - the Snatch.

Imagine hanging this puppy between your legs, back and mid-section tensed (unless you like to screw up your back). Now in one motion, using your hips, not your arms, swing this thing straight up over your head. Here's where it gets interesting. You now have 16kg's of cast iron above your relatively soft head. In about a second, it will flip over your hand and hit the back of your wrist. You have to control it (unless you like broken wrists) using your legs as shocks.
Dropping it is out of the question for obvious reasons. Now do that for 200 reps on each side.

I can only do 100 - so far before I am at my max HR and I feel like I am going to puke and die.

They make those up to 106lbs. The 16kg one are what Russian girls use as birth control. I am a little Duck in a big pond.

Those Russians are hard.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Are You Hungry?

I know what you are after. Come tell Uncle Duckman. I know what you like. Pain. You like that?
I know you do. Uncle Duckman has looked forward to October for some time now. It is time for the harvest of pain to begin.
First comes the opening round of the Mud, Sweat and Gears Cyclocross Series on the 13th. Ole Dwayne and Eric are serving up double fist portions of hurt for you. The very next weekend is MSG number two and one week later is the 12 Hours of the Hill Of Truth. Just because October ends doesn't mean the pain has to stop. Noooooo, fear not and let your heart have no troubles. The very next week is the Treeshaker 12 Hour Race on Nov 3. Seven short, fall days later is MSG number 4.
So there you are my students of Pain. You like?

I knew you would.

Friday, October 5, 2007


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