Sunday, October 26, 2008

Big Boobs And Dirty Granny

The 10th annual 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth was Saturday in Oak Ridge Tennessee. I have done this race 7 out of the 10 times, it has rained 4 of the 7 times and I have been on the podium there 5 out of 7 times. It has been cold 7 out of 7 times, the cannon has been loud as **** 10 out of 10 times and it has been a lot of fun all the time.

I always do this race on a team because it is a great way to end a season and with all the solo stuff I do, it's a nice change of pace to be able to go out and ride laps as fast as I can without having to save something for later. This year's team had longtime teamates Bob Lamberson and Michael Ritter and new this year was Steve Stidham. Leading up to the event, we had been talking a lot of trash with some friends of ours on Grannys Rotten Teeth since they beat us last year (one of the two times I have finished off the podium at 12HOT). It got hot and heavy on's forum but it was all in fun. In light of what we had planned for them, we named our team Granny's Gettin Flossed. To make it more fun, me and Michael dressed in drag.

Rain the day before made the course a little tricky in places and although it's not what I'd call a technically demanding course, it does have things that you'd better pay attention to or you might get hurt - or go swimming!

Saturday morning, Bob and I did a lap of the course to warm-up and check things out. I confirmed in my mind that the gear I brought (32X17) was the right choice. Although there's a good bit of climbing on the course, there's more really fast stuff that a smaller gear would spin out too quickly. I might suffer on the climbs late in the race but it was a fair trade. After our lap, it was time to race. Our plan was simple: ride hard, fast and smooth and make no mistakes. After Bob left, I went to get my um,............kit on. It's true what they say, blondes do have more fun.I had all sorts of attention from people that I had never met. I rode around to warm-up and I must say I looked dead sexy.

Bob came in and I went out, his lap was in the low 40 minute range and I was expecting the same since we are pretty close in riding style. I had a little traffic to deal with but not too bad and I was having a pretty good ride. I came to a place called Rachel's Landing where a crowd had formed to view the carnage and to fish unlucky ones out of the lake (Rachel's Landing is a 20yd long, 10 inch wide section of trail that has a drop-off into the lake. It's easy to ride but if you are a little sloppy there, you will get wet - some people did) and as I came through, the woods erupted with laughter and cheers as the hot blonde with the huge ta-ta's made Rachel's Landing her bitch.

I did a low 40 minute lap and handed off to Michael who was doing his best impression of Allesandra Ambrosio and went to get some food. I discovered that I had an unfortunate wardrode malfunction and would have to retire my costume for the rest of the race. Darn! Michael did a good lap and so did Steve. We were in second and about 20 minutes away from first after the first rotation (4 laps). That doesn't sound bad but if the guys in first were each putting 5 minutes a lap into us, there's a problem. It was early though and we didn't think much about it. We just kept to our plan.The big battle with GRT didn't quite materialize. After all the trash talk, they got scared and entered another class rather than suffer a huge defeat to us in the singlespeed class. Fear is a powerful motivator.
We all continued to have mid 40 minute laps and none of the mechanical issues that plagued us last year. By the time it was getting dark and the mid-point of the race, we had 10 team laps, still second (now 2 laps down dammit!) and we had 2 laps on third so we were relatively comfortable. One thing we have learned though is to never, ever give up. We were two laps down on first but a bad lap for them could put us right back into contention so we kept on with our original plan. The dark brought coldness and after three hard laps with plenty of time in between to get cold and stiff, my legs were starting to feel like two pillars of poo. My gearing was working fine on the majority of the course but it was starting to make me suffer on the climbs. My lap times (all of our lap times for that matter) were still consistent though so I wasn't doing too much damage to myself. I only had to do one more lap anyway.

That lap was my slowest and it seemed like it took forever to get warmed up. When I did get warmed up, I rode like shit. Places where I was smooth earlier had me jammed up like a monkey um,............. nevermind. Let's just say my last lap wasn't my best effort. When I got back, Michael set out on our last lap and in doing so, we got one of our laps back from the 1st place guys (they still beat us though) and we had 4 laps on 3rd (I think) so we were going back to the podium. It was nice but it would have been nicer if we won. It was still fun though and even though GRT didn't race in our class, we still flossed them from across the way so there.

photo credit - Mike T

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In This Corner...........

From the land of the riding hillbilly with a combined weight of a little too much, the 4 man towers of power, the sultans of smack, the Ayatolla's of Rock and Rolla, the Saints of Singlespeedia, the Knights that say "On your knees, beyotch!" we are coming to Oak Ridge Tennessee this Saturday to unleash hell and fury at the 12 Hours Of The Hill Of Truth.
Last year, we fought the good fight yet we were slain, victims of our own misfortune. It seems that a group of old ladies (I use that term loosely) took such a liking to their podium spot that they plan to homestead on it again this year. The only problem for them is that we let our guard down once, not again. So before it even begins, I bid thee adieu Granny, though you may have tasted the sweet taste of victory last year,

this year Granny's gettin' flossed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Am Not Dying, It Just Feels Like It.

I kept repeating that to myself and reminding myself that medicine, by it's nature, to do you any good has to taste really nasty or hurt like a $&%$@, several times over the opening two rounds of the 2008 Mud, Sweat and Gears Cyclocross Series this past weekend. New this year was me racing Singlespeed and also Masters 35+. The Singlespeed race is 30 minutes and the Masters is 45 minutes, both a lot shorter than the races I am used to doing but the races I normally do aren't done WFO the whole time either. Cross races just plain HURT!

I was on the line for my first Master's race and I looked around at all the pro1/2 and cx3 riders I saw plus the field in general was big. In fact all the fields were pretty big, a nice testament to the popularity that this series has earned in the few years it has been around. Low entry fees, great prizes and awards and stiff competition make this series one of the premier Cyclocross series in the Southeast. A win here means you did something. Once we were off, the butterflies were gone and I was at my redline from the beginning. As I expected, I faded within the first few laps and camped out somewhere at the back if the field. It was really painful but I did what I could.

I ended up 22nd.

By the time the Singlespeed race was ready to begin, I was questioning my motivation and wondering if I made the right decision to do two races. To make it more fun, they called a holeshot prime. The Singlespeed race is another class that the pros and other fast guys have found to be a good place to get podium spots and more track time. I guess that's fine with me, If I win a race, I want to know it's because I beat the fastest guys around not because none of the fast guys showed up. The start was brutal but I felt better on my mountain bike ( at the last minute, I borrowed a cross bike from a friend to use until my Vassago Fisticuff comes in. I could not have even dreamed of being competitive in Masters on a singlespeed). My mountain bike fit me and I have been through a lot with it this year. It's like an old friend.
The Dwayne Letterman designed course contained one sand pit (I love it!!) and the WTB Weirwolf on my Optimus just ate that up. The bucking and kicking I experienced earlier on the cross bike was replaced by buttery smooth ripping it. I felt good in the sand but suffered everywhere else. I ended up 10th.

Sunday's round 2 found me with poo filled sacks for legs. I could not get warmed up for the masters race and after the start, I wasted no time doing a solo break off the back. My only goals were to not get lapped and not finish last. I got lapped on the last lap - dammit but managed 21st which was not last. I just kept reminding myself that this was training and it had to hurt for me to get faster. About 40 minutes into the race, I was really tired and that led to a spectacular endo in the sand pit (on Sunday there were 3 sand pits. Evil but cool at the same time). It didn't hurt but it did piss me off. I was happy when the race was over.

The s/s race was the last one of the weekend and I had no motivation to ride. The temperature was now near 80 and it was miserable. My motivation returned when I heard "GO" and I got a great start. I stayed near the front for the first lap but then began a slow trip back through the field and settled in at 11th by the finish. I was tired but so was everyone else. I felt good about what I did.

All in all it was a great weekend of learning for me. I know how fast I need to ride and I have a pretty good idea on what I need to do to get there. I definitely feel like it did me some good. It will be interesting to me to see how I progress over the course of the series.

Thanks to David for the use of his crossbike, I'll clean it up before I bring it back.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Time To Hurt..

The opening round(s) of the 2008 Mud, Sweat and Gears cyclocross series are this weekend and I just licked the stamp (not really, with the internet, does anyone lick stamps anymore??) on my registration for Masters 35+ and Singlespeed. Two races, two highly competitive classes (regularly attended by pro riders) and who in the hell do I think I am to believe that I can do it? Um......well I have big kajones and little sense, all that is needed. I have won already.
Joking aside, I know that I have just scooped out a double serving of pain and it is going to hurt but I am fine with that. To get faster or better at anything, the best medicine is doing whatever it is with someone that is better than you.
Like a farmer that plants the seeds in the fall and waits patiently while nature does it's thang, I am working on next summer's legs. So though I may suffer (let's face it, bike racing is a painful sport. It ALWAYS hurts, you just get faster), though I may suffer today, I will ride fast tomorrow.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

2009 - Year of the Bike Racer

2008 isn't even done yet and I am already thinking about 2009 and what events I want to do. I tend to recycle my schedule from year to year with minor changes but I kinda strayed away from that this year with several new events. Following the same theme for 2009, I have a rather ambitious list of road and off-road events in almost every cycling discipline except track (dammit I wish we had a track nearby). Only a handful of these are "A" races and the rest are for training and for fun, well they are all for fun.

Anyway, here's a rough draft of Duckman's 2009 racing calendar:

Knoxiecross - Jan/Feb (Cross)
Icycle - Feb (XC)
12 Hours of Santos - Feb 14 (12 Hour)
Assault/Carolinas - Mar 28 (RR)
Knobscorcher - Apr 5 (XC)
South Knoxville RR/TT - Apr (RR/TT)
Cohutta 65 - Apr (Enduro XC)
DSG - May 9 (12 Hour)
12 Tsali - May (12 Hour)
Burn 24 - May (24 Hour)
Tomato Head Omnium - May (RR/TT/Crit)
Settlers Life Omnium - June (RR/TT/Crit)
Cowbell - Jun 20 - (12 Hour)
Possum Creek- July (RR)
MTB Rally - July (XC)
Kingsport Crit - July (Crit)
ORAMM - July (Enduro XC)
Fools Gold - Aug (Enduro XC)
SM 100 - Aug (Enduro XC)
Iron Mountian Bike Race - Sept (XC)
Benge's Revenge - Sept (RR)
24 Hour Nats - Sept 19-20 (24 Hour)
Treeshaker - Oct (12 Hour)
12 Hot - Oct (12 Hour)
MSG - Oct/Dec (Cross)

That's a year full of racing that begins in January and goes through December. I have hopes that 2009 will be a big year for me as I have some big events that I want to do very well in such as the 12 Hours of Tsali and the 24 Hour Nationals in Arizona (my first time racing in the desert).

One big notable difference is the 7 road races I have on there. I kinda got the road bug again towards the end of this year (don't worry Misty, I have no plans whatsoever of turning roadie again) and since I renewed my USA Cycling License, I'd like to see if I can do well enough to upgrade to Cat 3 by the end of the year next year. Just for fun.

Guess I better get busy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's The End Of The World As We Know It.....

And I feel damn skippy.

With all the people fighting over gas and the money markets going apeshit, you'd think the end was near (what do I know, maybe it is). Either way, there's not much I can do about it.

Fall has hit the dirty south and the temperatures have dropped quicker than a skirt on prom night which has put me into my pre-winter whine mode. I don't mind cold so much once I get used to it. The only problem is I don't get used to it until March. Riding in the cold sucks. Riding in the cold while wet sucks harder. Coming into spring with an ass as wide as a truck and legs that look like the Michelin Man sucks even harder still. Therefore I endure riding in the damn cold and dark.

All is not lost though, Mud, Sweat and Gears is starting next week and my plan is to race two classes this year - Masters and Singlespeed. Masters goes for 45 minutes, Singlespeed for 30 so that will give me an hour fifteen of WFO, on the edge of blowing chunks riding for six races. You just can't get that kind of training by yourself in the Winter plus Cross races are a whole lot of fun. I am looking forward to it.

I have been looking at 2009 and working on the races I will be doing, both the "official" ones that my sponsors can count on me to really throw down for and all the others that I will use for training and some just for fun. It looks like I'll have a healthy mix of XC, Endurance, 12 Hour, 24 Hour, Road Race, Crit and Cyclocross racing on the schedule and racing begins in February and goes through December 2009. I could race in January too if I wanted but I need a break sometime or the other. The highpoints on my schedule for next year (so far) will be the 12 Hours of Tsali, The Cowbell Challenge, ORAMM, the Burn 24, and the 24 Hour National Championships. There will be more obviously but off the top of my head, I want to do well at those for sure.

I am anxious to see what my sponsors have out new for 2009 and also the rumor is we are going to be picking up a few new ones that I am really excited about. More on that later. I am working on a post where I am going to talk about the cool stuff from Vassago, WTB, White Bros, Crank Bros, Carbo-Rocket and more that I got to thrash, trash and (try to) destroy this year. It's all good and I learned a lot about what these products can take. For now I'll just say that Timex hasn't cornered the market on taking a licking and keeping on ticking.