Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Random Skiing post of the week. Vermont Helmet Camera

BTW anyone know how to embed Vimeo to blogger?

Damage Control

so I was sick enough to not ride from monday to saturday but since I still kinda of want to do well in the MOM series I went anyways hoping that only my cold infected lungs would be a bother and not the stomach issues I had the day prior. I normally ride at least 10 hours a week if not much much more some weeks. I have no real "training" schedule and probably do tons of junk miles.

I decide to go to Brady's take a Vitamin-I  to make sure I do not Soil my chamois. get there sign up. Hear we are doing 3 laps! I am excited but also know that my cold weaken lung are going to cause me to hack a lung on Brady's short but pretty steep and tight climbs.

Decide to run my wimpy 20 cog on the rear which will leave me spun out on the parade lap, but should be faster on the Singletrack.


Apparently I was the 10th fastest person last week, so I got the last call up.:) but being that we are doing about 3/4s of a mile on flat paved road knew that many geared riders were going to pass my now even more under geared SS. Oh BTW Single Speeds are stupid. were off and I am spinning at bazillion rpm to go almost 20mph. Lots of geared riders pass me, luckly they aint in my class. Only Justin and Evan are far ahead by the short pavement climb. I accelerate up the climb starting regain some postion.

Lap 1

Spinning down the next fireroad section I hold my own and start to hold back slightly to get up the first steep and just technical enough climb that I know people will be walking. I make the climb passing a bunch of riders walking. Success the 20 tooth is working out. On top of the climb starts what I have dubbed the log crossing capitol of the world. The first lap goes like this.

hop log
log pile in the middle of the middle of the turn
log pile
big log pile

basically I think there are about 123 log piles per lap here coupled with the tight singletrack its heaps of fun, but makes it hard to pass. On this lap I managed to drop a bottle, which lead to the 3 SS guys who were behind me passing me. Kieth Hower provided motivation though for alot of the laps as I refused to be passed by him, he also never called it out. Kieth your a strong rider. Ride with less anger and you wont break your bike!

down the doubletrack section that is scary and make my sphincter clench everytime I go down it at race pace.  

Lap 2

my lungs hurt but my legs feel great. I am really starting to hate this cold. I am holding my own and doing quite well. This lap goes smoothly and I ride everything except for one to steep hill. end of the lap I catch up to a junior finishing his 1st and only lap and start encouraging him to sprint it out. Which he does, but he also abruptly turns left and stops right in front after finishing. I do my best job to impale him with my bar ends and luckly I dont succeed. As soon as I untangle, I start riding realizing that my handlebars are really crooked and I am way to anal to ride with out everything "perfect" so I have to get my tool out and straighten them and now start with a couple SS guys in front of me.

Lap 3

so now I am playing catchup to about 3 SS. Luckly for me I again make the climb and again catch them all as they are walking. Luckly for me this would be the last I would see of any of them. Brian B says at the top you must be hurting, instead of responding that yes my lungs were left back at the car I just pedal as fast I can down the super fun technical singletrack. For what I lack in pedaling proweness I more than make up in the ability to go down singletrack and mach looney. Mark Liti provied a good rabbit for me but I never caught him.

end of the lap there was a super fun Pump Track section. Leelikesbikes would be proud.

notice that intensity? yeah thats because my lungs were screaming not because I am fast but because I am still sick.

ok so 6th outta of 15 SS for the day, really bad overall. Still kept my third for the series which is my realistic goal. Although Jay B, Brian P, and Darin arent going make that easy.

results and standings

this week so far still have a cold but have been out  enjoying the chilly fall weather on the road bike. Waiting for some cross parts as this weekend is a cross double header! My plan is beat Pflug! ha I wish but I hope to do as well as possible and hopefully my cold is gone by then.

coming up next why Single Speed bikes are stupid, but yet I continue to ride them.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I am 3rdiest......MOM opener Bavington TT

So lets start with some simple math.

I won money today, actually the first time I have ever won money MTB racing.

2 Jackson's I am a rich!

but since I paid 20 to enter I only really won this.

I then went to Mad Mex to consume

and this

which left me with this

long story sort you cant get rich racing bikes, especially when you like limey alcoholic drinks as much as I do.

ok on to the Bavington TT

Month of Mud(MOM) is how I got started bike racing in 2006. I remember the first time I ever did this TT it took me 56 minutes to complete it. So 43:34 this year wasnt so bad.

So signing up in the morning I notice how many people are there. 192 to be exact. second biggest MOM ever. I go get my number and I am 220, meaning there is already 20 people in SS. There would end up being 28 people in SS. I am almost sure that is the biggest SS class ever at MOM. 

I see lots of old and new faces. Justin is surprised to see me on a wagon wheeler. I am surprised by just how many fast people are there. My goal was a good placing going in to the race. Seeing all of the fast guys on lighter bikes has me hoping for just a top ten. Aaron S run expert....why I dont know. So new goal is to beat my last year's time of 42:59. I am actually thinking that there is no way I am going to be top ten in the field. 

so preride/warm up done. down a Gu take on water, let out water.  Spin down the road to try to not enter the course cold.

Line up, my friable attempt at a track stand works and shoot up the first hill. The first section of singletrack feels ok besides the fact that I am buried with in a couple minutes seemingly not recovering. I am trying to control my breathing, but it just is not happening. I love anaerobic! eh not. at least I am going faster than a turtle down the trail and despite the hurt can keep going.

cross the first road you can see me trying my best to not lose my lungs. Hey look my shirt is actually zipped up. photo by Benjamin Stephens

now we are in the meat of the singletrack at bavington. for those of you that dont know, Bavington has some really twisty fun singletrack. Its not technical from a normal stand point but is technical when you start trying to go as fast as possible down it. its tight and require you to be on your game to find your flow. I love this course cause I loove turns and basically its a couple hundred different turns that I now have memorized down in 8 miles. For those of you that dont know Bavington has about 40 miles of awesome trail when its not all over grown.

In this section I am doing well, I pass a couple guys dont make any mistakes and overall my go slower and smooth strategy is at least making it so I am not hitting my handlebars off everything. I even make the climbs going pretty fast. My only real mistake is slowing down to get my jersey unzipped just so everyone can see how hairy my chest is.

cross the road still doing well, heart rate still pegged but its not slowing me down much. TT hurts so much more than enduro races. catch some more people. I was expecting to have been caught be Jay Blews or Darin Shriver, but they havent caught me yet and they havent come. Hit my favorite turn of the whole course(a  left hander at like 15 mpher up a hill), cruise though to "the Drop" and at the drop I finally get my heart rate down.

The Drop

This makes me laugh

cross the road up till the second last section of singletrack and now I can really start to hammer on the straights. everything is still smooth. Untill the dreaded hairpin left handed cliff side that goes straight up hill. damn it dab. It would be my only mistake the whole race though and Ill take it. Flow though this section. out to the road....

Hike a bike next, I pass 2 guys on the hike a bike huffing and puffing like a mad man. Very much like Carson passed me last year. Flow though the last section, love the couple quick rollercoaster type up and downs. Hit the finish. 

told you I had a hairy chest...dont worry girl if thats not your thing it can all be gone as well.

Finish i look and feel like death for what is sure a bad place. 

bad news 

I didnt beat my last years time. 43:34 this year 42:59 last year. I am thinking 29ers might be slower at bavington.

good news

Noone caught me and only Evan and Justin beat me in Class. I stayed ahead of alot of people who I thought for sure would catch me. So far 3rd is my best finish in an expert category. I am actually quite stoked on it. Results

more good news not that bavington is known for flats but the new Hutchison Toro tubeless ready was awesome. Rolled well, gripped better in turns than the ignitors, was easy to grip while pedaling, and most importantly DID NOT FLAT. Its good enough for absalon I guess its good enough for me. ran it at 24 psi.

So thats all, looking to try to do well again at Brady's Run for round 2. I also might be going to the Pyclocross race on Saturday at Kent State. For sure doing Brady's Run though, hoping to see another huge field of one speeders out there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I am the DNFingest

an entry on how to epicly fail.....

about a week ago I found a link to michaux endurance series. I had never been so I decided why not and I pre reg for the 40 miles of "The Terror of Teaberry". I am at the point where I can do a 40-50 mile MTB ride at will and am figuring this race should be no problem. I may not be that fast but at least I dont quit. Well untill today....

The forecast called for rain, ironically I wanted that. I was think man the trails are so dry they are kinda of slippery. Rain could make them tacky again. Well I was right kinda. before leaving th radar in michaux area showed the rain clearing, but driving out from the burgh its never stopped once I got to the laurel highlands all the ways to Michaux.

i get there sign up, and get myself ready. I feel good, I actually feel like I could do well today. At the race meeting they says its only 36 miles. Now I am thinking this might be easy. 

the start...was le-mans style. I hate le-mans style starts I dont totally suck at running, but I do totally suck at running with cycling shoes. We start "the couple hundred yards run" more like a half mile trail run to get back to our bikes.  Tomi McMillar got a great shot of me suffering on the run. BTW all photo credits go to him on this one.

I'm the guy on the far right with bestest jersey's in the world from the shop that sponsors me. 

Get on my bike right behind Aaron. hit first section of singletrack. Its packed and everyone is just trying to go with out hitting people. behind him I am figuring ok just hold his wheel. 

First single track

we then hit a long shallow uphill and I pass some people but aaron passes more. I lose his wheel, never saw him again.

then the 'fun' began. I look up and see a line of people starting to walk. Rocky section after rocky section its all tough and barely rideable. Apparently this is easy compared to the stuff I dont see. We get out of the first rocky section and hit gravel road. then hit some fun flowly loamy singletrack with these pretty ferns everywhere.

I am enjoying life right here, this was REALLY fun stuff. tomi got a picture its was damn good looking trail.

so I am now taking everything as fast as possible. the new 29er is so fast and stable and I am just going as fast i can. untill I hit a couple small rocks and get bounced then here the hiss from the rear. I yell FUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKKK excuse my michaux. pull off. I try to air it up and see if the Stans will seal it. it doesnt its a fairly large 6mm hole. It doesnt, its tube time. 

Its so muddy I can not get the tube in with out it getting covered in 'forest". I pump it up much harder to the feel than my front tire and get on my way. I have watch 15-20 people pass me. 10 minutes later I hit some chunk at speed and I now hear hissing. Its the tube, I wish it was a rattlesnake. Put my second tube in(I am now out of tubes) and get on my way. I pump this tube up much harder than the last one. For the 5 minutes I got to ride it, it was pretty much the least grip tire ever.  yep 5 minute thats how long it lasted. i am now out of tubes. Sweet. I have tube patch kits but its rainy and I will probably never get one to stick. 

I hear motos, it the sweeper crew. their KTMs are sweet. I so want one of those right now over my flatted out bike.  they give me some paper towels. I walk for 30 minutes back to last road I was on.there is patch a tube and ride it back to the car. i feel defeated and it sucks but I dont trust the rear tube.. This is my first DNF ever. I also drove 6 hours round trip to not finish. be continued


after at least 30 minutes riding the road I get back to my car. At least it over. I figured id hang around and take some pictures of the riders finishing.

Lance showed up, I wonder what trek would do if they found him riding a Cannondale

Jay Blews had the best showing out of the westernish Pa SS.

Rob finished trust me he badass for that.

Montana is dazed and confused

all in all not a bad day. Some freeze thaw/penn state peeps were great cheerer upper at the end. The drive back was sunny.

Its now time for Month of Mud. Which is the series that I credit to my start in bike racing. This year I plan to run the Single Speed class. I should be able to make 4 of the 5 races skipping sadly, the North Park TT due to a commitment. 

fall is here I know because of these pictures

Well its not officially fall yet, but the humidity is gone, the days are mostly cooler and the sun is setting early.

Which means night riding!!

Red Sky at night sailors(and bike riders) delights

I use some pretty bright lights

and apparently I am 'artsy"

photo credit to Kent Douglas(with my camera though)

leaves are changin as well but no pictures yet.  Misucks write up next.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweet night ride last night!

Got some cool pictures which will be posted when I have time.

Terror of Teaberry is on sunday and it will be the first enduro race on the Monocog Flite.

yep and I ride it at that saddle height as well. It helps me freely ride trails!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It would have been funny but "Pap and kids" did not beat "Off Constantly"

This story starts last year. I raced the 24 hours of Seven Springs as a "ringer" on very much under prepared corparate team. Our 8 person team went to a 5 person team prior to start. I was made captain that day. Sweet make the youngest guy the captain I am really good at bossing around 50 year old guys.....not.  Frustrating and not what I was going for. I had some of the faster lap times and learned what not to do. Like let teammates go out with no tubes/pump. Some guy did that to us....  and had 4 flats on 3 seperate laps in 2009.  No amount of weight weenieness is an excuse for losing 3 hours on course.

Fast forward to spring of 2010, I am more committed to riding than ever. With goals of doing well at some 50 milers this year in prep for 100 mile races in 2011.  A couple of my friends asks me about doing a 24 hour team.  Sure why not cant be worse than last year. I am not fast enough for an expert team, and me running sport would surely lead to a protest. Basically I am in no mans land between expert fast guys and sport. I find 4 people really fast and decide to do a 5 person open team. Lucky enough we are all young and with the right person we can do 0-124 age group, noone raced this class last year.  The fifth came when I had friend call me and ask if I was doing the Shenandoah Mountain 100. My answer was no as it was on the same day as 24 hours of Springs, but do you want to do springs with me? Yes, sweet Kelsi is in.

Being that I would rather approach anything with a carefree attitude, than serious mister type a racer stuff. My buddies being simpson fans dubs us "Off Constantly". We should have strong team against anyone else in our age group despite having 2 females. the 2 female are 2 off the most bad ass young girl riders in the area and can be faster than some 'fast' guys. So the team was going to be me, Kent Douglas, Mike Ambrocik, Erika Kopanic,and Kelsi Randall.

One week prior to the event Erika develops a strong allegri to the ground with a dislocated elbow, she was clearly the second fastest on the team after me. bummer. Jason Berardinelli will replace her and I have no idea how good of a MTB he is. turn out he is pretty damn good.

The race for those have you that havent done any 24 hours racing. You should. Its just about as much as turning fast laps as it as about hanging out with friends.(BTW Jon Pratt and Ben stepthens get almost all the photo credit here). Upon arriving its damn cold. Its freaking freezing at 3000 foot high in the mountains of Pa.

 I am so glad I brought ski socks, a thermals for the night along with all my cold weather riding gear.

kelsi tells me on the ride up she actually wants to do the run. I hate le mans style starts and the idea of passing nearly the entire field on the second lap will sure boost me ego. So she leads off. The starters get ready for a torture device know to Mountain bikers as a Le-mans style start.

The crowd gathers to watch.

Kelsi lead off with a strong lap and got some sweet pics in the rock gardens as well.

The 650Bs are easier in the rocks.

Next came my turn.. My first move though was a washed out turn on to my knee on the VERY first turn. Whats really funny about this is I warned everyone about this turn on how lose it was. I then spent a minute or 2 fixing my crooked handlebars.  Then off I was on what would be a really good lap, despite the crash and bike fix would my teams fastest.  The entire lap my new 29er was awesome, it has changed how I ride in technical terrain.  Rock gardens are downright easy now...typical race course trail

 and I could pass on less than ideal passing lanes. Passing is something I did alot of I easily passed 30-40 people on this lap.  the 32-19 gear felt good except going up the dreaded ski slope fireroad climb where I was chugging along struggling just to keep going. Nice thing about a SS is that you may sometimes suffer going up, your suffering at a faster speed than geared riders.

Pratt got this photo of me topping out the climb. Painface.

i finished strong passing people although the lap. turned in a 1:10(should have been 1:06 without messing with my handlebars). Next came our ringer aka Jason.

  Jason turned it what would be the second fastest time on our team at 1:16. He was happy, we all were happy. We also learned that we had competion in our class in the form of "pap and kids" which is exactly what it sounds like. it was a grandpap with his 4 teenage grandchildren. they were already an hour back at this time. Unless we did something stupid we would easily beat them. the new goal was to beat our camping neighbors "8 balls and a pocket" and whoever else we could.

After some eating and hanging out at 9:01 it was second lap time. Mike and Kent turned in good efforts and we are doing ok overall. My real competion is to stay ahead of my teammate. I love night laps!! I feel at night with proper lights you can see better than during the day. I was rocking a 900 lumen Slickrock, 500 Lumens MOAB, and 100 lumen Stella pointed at the ground. I charged hard and was hoping I had enough power for the dreaded climb on my one speed.  I got caught up in traffic on the climb and lost traction and ended up walking the last section. I passed some geared guys riding as I walked.:). pass alot of people on this lap and felt fast with a 1:16:45 on this lap. 3rd fastest on my team.

Jason turned out a fast 1:19 at night and kept up his fast lap streak. Jason's night time post climb pain face.

 Mike and Kent both turned in solid 1:45ish laps at night. I couldnt sleep due to the wind howling all night and blowing my tent around. Kelsi and me got the coldest time to go. Lows dropped into the 30s for a couple hours that morning. Kelsi was admittly alittle slower than I expected and I got frozen waiting for her.  Next time warmer clothes.

I left my 3rd laps really cold. I wasnt really warming up riding my bike either despite my winter clothes either. I hit the 3rd climb and local semi pro roadie Stevo passed me on the first major climb. I accelerated and held his wheel for about 3 pedal stroke till he pushed on faster. He was the fastest guy all weekend with a 58 minutes lap around the course.

Then my hell lap started. I had a rock go straight though my rear ignitor as I pedaled. I could here the stans spurting out every turn of the wheel. I stopped and filled it up and tried to plug the leak with leafs to give the stans sometime to bind against. The 4nm hole was to much. I had to stop and put a tube in it. UGH do I hate tubes in wheels. I could instantly feel how heavy and bouncy the now tubed tire was. On the final rock garden prior to the climb I hear a hissing noise. Pinch flat rear tire. the tube lasted about 3 miles. Yep tubes officially suck.

I spennt another 10 minutes patching the tube, the only good out of it was I know had enough energy to make the big ski slope climb. even at that I want to finish with out stopping again so I was really carefull in the last miles rock gardens.. I was slow, embarrassing slow. 1:55. yuck.

I get back frustrated enough that I have a mind to go out on my lighter Jamis 26er SS and try to redeem myself. PBR and my parents fresh breakfast won out though.

PBR its so good it won a blue ribbon good enough for 8am.

we ended up with 15 laps. 3 laps a piece. Not bad at all. better than my team last year and good enough to get some real sweet jerseys

thanks to out support crew Amanda Ambrocik, Patty and Ed Ambrocik, and Linda and Dan Matta your food and support helps alot. 



My team Off Constantly won the 0-124 5 person open this past week. more to some soon.