Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
The second day of the weekend was the WV Mountain bike champs. I started the race out with the mindset of 'just ride the race, don't race it'. I got a good start and hit the course proper in about 12th place. Being on a single speed did make it difficult as I had to cede positions and fall back to 20th on the long draggy and bumpy fields. I kept thinking to myself, just keep riding, don't push it. A teammate of mine was having a very bad day and kept washing the bike out. I tried riding him back into contention and just when he seemed to be getting the legs and confidence back he wound up with a huge glop of mud in his eye. I kept on pedaling and was slowly bringing people back. I got myself back to 15th place thru the early parts of the 2nd lap. Then we hit the big climbs which lead into what the locals call the moonrocks. Unless you know the local lines and even then, you're off the bike quite a bit. I out walked the few riders I was close to and started leading back down the hill. I lost only 3 places on the climb leading into the moonrocks, but gained 2 back and then we hit the descent. I did ok with only a couple bungups. I kept it together, then we hit the last real climb of the day and I just didn't have it. I had to bail and walk the bike again. I guess it's one of the drawbacks of singlespeeding. Towards the top, I was able to get going again after losing 4 places. I started getting a bit pissed. Then everything started firing. I was able to wind up the pace and regain the minute or so on the riders I had to cede on the climb. Most of it was because of my cyclocross background that reminding me to stay where it was wet and not try to tip toe around the sides and be in the sticking muck. From 3 miles out, I caught the first of the 4 that past me, I blasted past the first on on the flats, then caught another on a descent. Once on the twisting single track that was a bit muddy but not technical, I kept the steam up and caught the next two right before the graveled road climb with only a mile to go. I got half way up the climb and saw yet another rider just ahead who I had to let go on the first lap. He was off the bike as well but I could see he was having trouble on the climb. I got myself up to the top and then gunned it once I'd gotten back on the bike. It was not quite about half a mile from the finish and I caught him on a quick roller coaster. Instead of sitting behind him, I did the single speed blast over the top of the roller and spun it hard and created a big gap. At the final turn, I took a quick peak and saw that I'd demoralized him and he was now just riding it in. I didn't take any chances and came blasting down the hill to the finish and at least made the finish look good. I wound up with a 4th in my class, 15th overall and top singlespeeder in a non singlespeed class. Not too bad considering I'd started the day feeling like crap and was just looking to ride rather than race. I'll be taking next week off to train in the mountains and recharge for that huge race the Barbour Detour. I neeed a win and I'd like to repeat from last year.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Last weekend was a good one for me on mistakes. First, I used a new bike with only 15 miles on it for a race. Even though it felt ok, the feet positioning weren't quite right on it and it just didn't go as well as it could have. I've been racing for over 24 years now and I should know that you don't just put a bike together, ride it around for a couple miles and then go race on it if it isn't the exact same thing as the old bike. The bike does look cool and isn't that what it's all about anyway? After that poor excuse for a time trial, I spent the next couple afternoons riding the Philly course sans sleeves. Common sense says use sunscreen and pull the damn sleeves down on the shirt. Well, the sunscreen was gone after an hour of sweating and I'd forgotten to use it on Sunday. I'm currently sitting with shoulders that are seriously burnt and sore. After the skin peeling is done, the shoulders are probably going to look a bit spotty instead of a bit more tan like I was hoping. I guess I'm that example for all to look at and say 'nope, that's not going to happen to me.'
Monday, June 9, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Well, I think this is my first political statement here. I generally don't post political stuff online since I'd probably scare people in doing it. But the one comment about the upcoming election I will post is said all in this nifty picture from a wonderful little website I found several years ago and refer back to it many times, Despair.com. With the word "Change" being used so much in campaign speeches, this picture would be one to remember no matter who you plan on voting! Go to Despair.com and buy some stuff now! I'm on commission.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
WARNING! They don't let just anybody ride in this area.
Well, I have the 2nd round in the West Virginia road series coming up. Of course, there are some god-awful big climbs on it. The first is a 7 mile stepping climb and the race finishes on a 5 mile 'we did this because we like to see racers suffer' climb. It does finish near the windmills at the top of the ridge. I guess watching those come into view might help keep me from thinking about how much the climb hurts and how much I want to throw up. The climbs are not quite as high as the ones at the Mountain State Classic, but any climb over a mile for an old crit rider like myself is going to be tough. Last year, I cracked off most of the pack in the first major climb in the Mountain State til I followed a couple rapid accelerations near the top. I should've known to just keep myself steady since I'm not the light mountain goat I used to be. Nothing like trying to climb mountains when you are almost 20lbs over what you used to consider race weight. The next time you are snickering at some poor sap like myself, get a haversack and put 2 gallons of milk in it, then try climbing a hill. You'll see what sort of hell we have to go through. Anyhoo, enough whining and complaining about things I totally have control over. This past weekend, I finally got into the Laurel Highlands to do some training. These are the mountains that were used for Nationals the past couple years and further on up the ridges, the Tour de Toona. This is home turf for me. I do love coming up into those hills and have done rides where I've been over 4 and 5 major ridge crossings where the climbing is an average of 1200 ft per climb. It makes for a full day, especially when there are lots of little 2-400 ft pops between the climbs. The scenery on the tops is nice. Here's a few photos from Sunday's ride which took me over the ridges 3 times.
The first one was pretty tough at a 7.5% average grade. It wasn't too long, but I did have to work at it. The second one was about the same and the third while not as steep, was the hardest of all. It wasn't so much the climb was tough, but the only easy way out of the park was the way you came in. The road is broken and not taken care of and really beats the hell out of you if you're coming down the hill at over 25mph. I used to drop the cars at the top and they wouldn't see me til they were able to open it up at a couple miles to the bottom and could take it up over 50. Over the years, I'd had a few cars try to keep up with me and they'd almost wind up wrecking. It's tough to go fast on the descent now with all the potholes and bumps. If you weren't tired at the top, you certainly were at the bottom. It's almost as bad as some of the gnarly descents I've been on in a mountain bike race. There's also no catching any scenery on the way down either. Take your eyes off the road for one second and you are definitely smacking something that is going to make your day miserable. On the whole though, it was a great ride. I have to get a few more of these to get ready for the summer races. I really need about 3 weeks off from work. Any rich women out there want to take care of me so I can get some training in? I'm a pretty good cook and I can sing and dance too.