Saturday, October 23, 2010

ABRA CX #3 Little Washington

today brought me down to Washington, Pa which at 40 minutes to get to was probably the easiest race for me ever to drive to.

As always in cross I was late, got there at 10:20, registered, dress, drank some HEED, downed some clif shots and went out to warm up at 10:35. soon find out that my 40/18 gear is pretty fing stiff and I am no where near spinning it out anywhere. Panic ensues and I begin to try to change my bike to a 38/18. At about 10:56(11am start) its together and I made the right choice with this gear. The course wasnt practically hilly, it just had dont of tight turns and the longest straight aways were maybe 200 yards long the 40/18 pretty much made no sense to me.

Due to my crappy race at Waynesburg  2 weeks prior I knew I wasnt getting a call up. Gerry Pflug, Montana Miller, Rob and Don got there though. It wasnt so bad I was only second row back. At the start I get clipped in fast and quickly find myself getting to be in the front group. Half way's though the first lap its me, Montana, Gerry, and Rob Lochner pulling away from the rest of the SS/cat 4 field. This was expected, well except I didnt expect to be there.

Montana though in a effort which caused Gerry Pflug's chain to drop right here

after Gerry dropped his chain, which I guess this is luck's way of keeping Gerry in check I grab on to Montana's wheel for 2nd place. Lochner didnt match this and was left in 3rd. Me drafting a very speedy Montana.

The next lap I do an ok job of keeping up with Montana, but I am truly running at 11. I hold his wheel for most of the second lap but lose it on the long flat section. this was un in the spiral of Doom entry.

He was able to put this much into me in such a short period of time

I though that would be the last I would see of him, but coming into the barriers he was on the ground. I got with him again. He was simply to fast and I was running at above my breaking point already. He slowly put a minute gap into me(according to my dad). I continued to run at my breaking point which was getting critcal at this point in time, a couple really stupid remounts and 2 falls now had 3rd and 4th aka Rob Lochner and Marc Glass Bearing down on me. The Pflug also was no longer having bike trouble and was sitting in 5th moving up fast.  Rob and Marc caught me on the long straight to pavement and I couldnt match them at first, but after the first tight turn I was thinking they must have used a decent bit of energy to catch me so I start to go into the red again.

Rob leading, Marc, Me and Gerry

I am figureing the Pflug can actually help me I put my head down and wait for his pass

I then grab his wheel down the road section and held it till the run up.  It was a great boost and put me decently ahead of Rob and Marc. thanks pflug! For the next couple laps I start to put much less effort into the  slow sections but give 110 percent on the faster longer straight away. I also stopped making stupid falls.

It was still painful

it was tons of fun, there is nothing I love more on a bike than carving turns

I ended up keeping Marc Glass at bay, I also got some time back into Montana but not enough to make it a race again. Finished 3rd in SS behind Montana(2nd) and Pflug(1st). Actually pretty stoked on that, still wishing I can some how get a 1st but Pittburgh wasnt built in a day you know?

I am sure Montana and Gerry will blog about this at some time also more pictures to come.

Monday, October 18, 2010

North Park MOM Time Trial

I have a love hate relationship with Time Trails. I hate them cause they are short, intense, and hurt so much more than a normal XC race or even a 50 miler. Heck I actually enjoyed the 2 50 milers I did this year and they werent all that painful. I love them because TTs have alot of elements I like. My extra chunk I carry around is actually not all fat, there are some large muscles in those legs. I should probably lay off my love of mexican food, and ice cream but that is not going happen. I may not be able to climb or respond to attacks in an XC race like the best but I can put out tons of power on flattish course better than most. Course knowledge is another key thing. I am expert course remember, I get this from Autocross. Yes as a  younger man I use to burn petrol just because it was fun and was actually quite good at it.

 I know everyone I am racing against is probably more fit, and probably has a nicer bike than me so I do what I can. I try to race smart and get every advantage I can get. This weeks key advantage was this, prior to this week I have ridden the first half of the TT loop at least 10 times. In the past week I was able to get 6 laps of the TT course. I basically have it remembered down to the root now. I was going to ride anyways so why not ride the race loop? This knowledge helps alot in TT.  Going into the race I knew this was going to be tough to do well with the couple solid climbs in the race.

 Race Day was quite a pleasant morning besides the chill, I saw my first frost of the year. Had a decent breakfast, some banana and a gu prior to the race. Fellow SSer Heath Neely helped me in a pinch with a headset problem I should have taken care of the day prior. I choose my normal 32/19 gear today which felt great for everything except was stiff on the 'expert" loop climb and was alot spun out on the start of the decent....but its a SS its almost never in the right gear or always in the right gear.

On the initial climb my legs just didnt like me, what ever it was I was running on 7 of 8 cylinders today. Not horribly bad but not good either. must have been my exuberant preriding the day before and the couple days doing intervals the prior week.  Not everyday your going to feel perfect so I pushed on.

the first climb. Thick Monster!

A couple people were actually cheering me by name, whoever you were you guys rock!

Such a little fun rock pump, I am actually smiling despite my pain

it was then up alittle to the first little flowly DH that I nailed! sharp hairpin left and up the next climb.

my old buddy Vaughn got a sweet shot on the climb.

I climbed as fast as the tired legs could go, got up to the next flowly section and just nail it again. The preriding at least kept me going quickly on the gravity assisted parts of the TT. Over the little bridge up the switchback and into the first fun dip of the race. though the first rock gardens which the 29er just rocks on. Made sure to take the right over the log pile that I knew was quicker. up the next climb.

Despite not having a 100 percent legs I literally rode every thing perfectly, no dabs, no washouts, no bar hits on close trees, I was going quick and efficient up to the road cross over. Take the expert loop which has a super sweet log jump/pile thing at the start and just wheelie hop the whole thing(sick brah!) down that fast DH, left on the hairpin of DOOM and now on the last hard climb of the day. The climb goes up gradually at first then turns left and gets looser and steeper. 20 percent grades, with loosen dirt + Single Speed its tough and my tired legs start to faultier half ways up the climb. I end up hike a biking it but at least it gives me a chance to rest.

topping out the last climb its now the start of the final decent, its start rolling and slow. I see Evan Perrone with sadly a flat tire. If not for the flat he would have in the hunt for first for sure.  Slight DHs that are straight and not technical are a SSers worst enemy and thats how the decent start. Spinning at a 234 RPMs down the decent I feel good now, I hit a couple of the really fast turns and nail the left handed sweeper on top. Down to the road, up the last 100 yard climb to the final loose and very fast decent. I nailed it. Literally left nothing out there on the decent. stayed off the brakes where I needed to, kept everything just this side of control from the edge. caught MJ(thanks for the cheers I was outta of breath!) in the finish line grass and whew it was over.

4th place out 19 in Single Speed against a bunch of rock stars. the results.

after the race I ate some , then went out on with Brian and Michelle Beitko for some post race riding. What a pretty day to ride. Went up to ride the new pflugstein trail which is coming along. The bridge that you can jump off of to the rock roll down is still my favorite part of that trail but its starting to become alot more rideable than it was mid summer.

Michelle smiling for my camera

Her husband Brian was kicking my tired butt

Fun sweeper on Pflugstein

Pretty Trail

we then rode up to the swimming pool and I said hi to all my old car racing buddy up there for the NHSCC autocross. They left me while i tried unsuccessfully to sign up to run. I then finished up with Pie Trainer over to koko buki where I called it a day on dirt.

On the road ride back to my car I saw this awesome display of fall

that all for now folk, Little Washington CX, and the MOM finale at Moraine next week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

We are crossed up.

Last sunday me and 10 other were really confused. We took are cross bikes into the woods for some singletrack riding. We didnt stop there though. Not only did we ride singletracks some of use rode the log piles and bunny hopped the biggest obstacles we were able find.

Cross bike while very efficient in a cross environment make for a rather rough ride on otherwise easy singletrack. Its is great cross training though for cross. The skills you can learn by riding singletrack will make you a faster cross rider. My bunny hop gets better each time I go out and ride trails, hopefully soon I can start to bunny hop cross barriers.

Ben Stephans got some GPS data from the ride. I was surprised to see 2900 feet of climbing.

Oh yeah we also rode the BMX track, learning to pump.


Rob on the singletrack

Joe and Tim on the leafy trail

and lastly a video of me and Jake's BMX escapades

SCSSS - Singletrack Causes Spontanous Smiling Syndrome

Got to ride Raystown Lake last saturday. For those of you that dont know Raystown Lake is a 40 miles of purpose built MTB trail located just south of Huntington, Pa. These trails are some of the fastest and flowiest trails anywhere. Simple put I was spontaneously smiling at several point while whooping it up the whoops.

So here was the GPS track

and some pictures.

me and my big "motor" love these fast trails

J's bike nearly let us down a mere 8 miles into the ride

Jason takes his fun way to serious

He was railing some hard turn though fun to watch.

At Raystown they take the flow so seriously that they actually blow leafs of the trails.

Peee Aaaaayyyyyy lookin pretty

Short little clip of J's motocross steeze right here.

all in all 24 miles at a average speed of 10  mph, apres ride was some pizza being served by a pretty Italian girl in some no name town in Pa. I will be back, just dont if Ill be back this fall.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Month of Mud was finally muddy!

after a horrible Single Speed race and a pretty good B race, I was more than warmed up from the Grove City MOM infact I was tired. Although HEED and Vitamin I helps my muscles not ache and made me about 95 percent for the Grove City race.

Grove City  cross was the exact opposite of the ABRA Kick Off in Wayneburg. Where saturday was dry, warm, fast and had bunch of tight turns on a non technical course. Grove City was cold, wet, slow,muddy had open areas and was actually quite technical. Grove City's is a really hard place to gear a SS for as well. There are a couple loose climbs, some singletrack, and a couple really tight turns that make you want an easier gear...but there is also some long road sections that will quickly spin out a low gear. I went with a 40/18 gear which kept me from being spun on out on all but one section of road and was good for 95 percent of the course. In the dry I think that it would have been perfect but with the wet there were several sections that become run ups for me.


No call up for me as I was nowhere near the 10 fastest at Brady's Run. but I was still only 2nd ish row. The SS is easy to hammer up to speed as its just feels great sprinting on it. I quickly passed a bunch of spun out SS guys at least the 40/18 was doing something right. In the prologue laps things opened up quite a bit and I luckly found my way to Jpok's wheel who was being pulled by his teammate down the road. I had delusions of grandeur and actually tryed to jump Jpok out of the hairpin on the road.  I got past him for couple seconds but he went past me with Montana in tow on the road. That would be last I ever saw of the eventual 2nd and 3rd place. Evan Perrone the leader of the series was already up the road.


not having the legs its was hard to go flat out. Knowing that the first 3 were most likely gone my goal was just to hold off fellow SS Rob and Darin that I could see ever so close to me everytime the course doubled back on itself. Some racing and battling with a fast veterans Joe Fotia, Matt Tinky, Don Powers and expert rider Kieth Hower. The course was a mess and some of the tight turns were really wearing on me on my SS.

Some of the pschocrossers today, Fred Jordan photo

Ben got a great picture of how muddy this place was

also I was having to run a 50 yard long section in the woods because my gear was just to tall for the loose. muddy, rocky climb this made it pretty hard to hold my ground. I did stay almost to close for comfort ahead of Darin by the last lap.

Last  Lap

with no Single Speeds in sight in front of me, but Darin and Rob with in 30 seconds of me at the first barriers. I decide to start putting out everything I have to keep them as far a away as possible. Kieth was glued to my wheel after my 50 yard foot sprint in the back woods and I was also hoping I could beat Keith as well despite being in separate classes . Nothing against him he is just strong enough Id feel good about beating him. I did a strong and smooth lap but Kieth was smart and in my draft nearly the whole way. I put some distance on Darin and Rob. I was hoping Id get to hold his wheel to final hairpin to sprint it out but I made a bone head move in the second to last non pavement turn and he went right past me while I was on the ground. I got up looked back and still went hard cause I didnt not want to be caught. Finish.

4th outta of 14th SS not good overall.  Results

The photo Paparazzi was out today in force. Ben Stephens, Jon Pratt, Thomas Tad,Fred Jordan, and Mike Briggs. Special thanks to these guys! I am sure all of the racers love to see the suffering. Here are some shots of me, and yes Jason it is all about me!

How not to run a barrier by me, my right foot got stuck so my timing was all off hence I had both hands on on the bars and not one on the top tube.

The back Boggy section leading into the hill of death. For some reason I look happy to be riding it though
Dazed and confused

 Pratt takes pretty pictures

The start of the Pavement section

Checking out my competion

Me staying ahead of old man or young whipper snapper powers
Air me!

Passing out on the bike is so me

Murphy's Law and a little bit of flow - ABRA CX Kick Off

Everyone knows what Murphy's Law is. Basically my first cross race of the season had so many mishaps that to finish well would have been a miracle. Going to recall these race as best as I can as I was half passed out doing both of them.

SS race

At the start line its announced there will be a 25 dollar holeshot prime. The Cat 4/Single Speed group is all talking and all the sudden the whistle blows. Talk about a blown start.  I wasnt the only one. Pflug also reported that he was caught be surprise as well. So now I have tons of people to get past. Which I do in a lap or 2 but Miller, Jpok are gone and I am struggling to go any faster. I preceed to duke it out with Don Power for first half of the race but I am having many issues. Issue one my shoes wont stay on my pedals every time I hit the 2 short uphills I am pulling my feet right out of my pedals. More serious issues were to come. The first serious issue is my ghettoiezed tubeless system burped my rear tire, and its was causing more burps it was making it very hard to ride the course hard as I had to slow down alot doing the corners. Then while battling with Don Powers I had the most serious. My square taper crank decide to back off the non drive side. I limped back to start area pedaling with one leg, and after a couple minutes and lots of places losses, I found a 8mm Allen wrench and tighten the bastard down to ARGGGGHHHH. At this point in time I was already lapped by the leaders. I finished 9th outta of 11 Single Speed (although would have been 5th Cat 4). If anything at least I learned in defeat

A. The course
B. To tighten my cranks bolts tighter
C. To not run 25 psi in my ghetto tubeless
D. To tighten my pedals up.

frustrated with my showing in the SS race I signed up for B race. I tighten the cranks bolts, tighten up the pedals, and also tried 33 psi in my ghetto tubeless tires. On different note the weather was amazing with temps in the 60s and not a cloud in the sky. Watching the womens was fun as well. B race time.

B(cat 3/4) race

 I first I got a second row start position, and I also notice my left pedal would not clip in(more on that later). At least this time I actually paid attention on got went when the whistle was blown. I came to the first steep climb and saw a pile up inside so I went outside and ran up passing a bunch of people stuck in the pile up. I then was able to keep hard pressure on, making move up though the field till I was solidly top ten. This course was a blast being super dry and havingg tons of turns places to pass. My favorite way to pass was to start late apexing turns untill I could be inside of people and use the SS advantage to get them coming out of the turn. So much fun. I was for sure running on all cylinders and felts like I was on the edge, but was able to stay there. Jordan V. and Tim Mould were great people who I got to race with in this race also got to battle with my teammate Stick who was glad I blew myself up. I was having issues clipping back in which ended up being that half my SPD was missing.  I ended up blowing myself up and had several people pass me on the last lap but still finished  9th outta of think 30. First SS as well.  This race hurt bad but I enjoyed myself and besides the pedal breaking everything else held together. This race felt like I was flowing instead of fighting. I also didnt leave anything left in the tank at all.

Ben got a sweat photo of me on the little downhill.

Greg Flood got this right after the little stiff climb

 Stick looks angry because he forgot his Thick Jersey and instead went with the ninja look

I also picked up some new 520s, and put some lock tight on my cranks bolts in prep for Grove City MOM the next day.