Thursday, December 30, 2004
and if you haven't already, go donate some money to the relief efforts...
is there any amount that i can donate that will feel like enough? is that possible?
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Monday, December 27, 2004
Sunday, December 26, 2004
i stayed the night at my parents and after breakfast, as they were getting ready to head to the airport i started to get ready to ride... they live a couple of miles from schaeffer farms, and 2 days of sub-freezing weather held he prospect of good riding conditions. i finally got up there around 1 and it was quickly apparent that conditions were not the best... in spite of the temperature staying below freezing the sun had warmed the trails enough to soften the surface of the more exposed parts of the trail... i stuck to the more sheltered parts of the trail and rode for and about an hour and half, huffing and wheezing in the winter air, alone... completely alone... for the only time i can remember i rode a full loop at schaeffer without seeing another soul... just a deer, some squirrels, and a few cows...
flew down to tampa today to meet up with my brother and parents... i haven't see my brother play for almost a year, so i'm looking forward to watching the games... i've also been tasked to videotape them to help with the college application/recruitment process. hopefully it'll be easy enough that i can get my dad to handle the camcorder for a couple of the games and i can shoot some stills...
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Friday, December 17, 2004
Monday, December 13, 2004
VO2Max test on saturday morning to get my heart rate zones to help out with training for next year, then Mitch & Amy's annual holiday cocktail party that night... fun, as always...
sunday... dry and sunny, a great day for a ride... but i was not riding, i was at work... we had to do a disaster recovery drill for one of our products... thankfully, it all went pretty smoothly and we were done earlier than expected.
time to start thinking about riding this weekend...
Sunday, December 05, 2004
the course was pretty similar to the course i rode there last year, but with an extra trip up one of the climbs and a gravel pit and technical section... did a couple of pre-ride laps to check out the climbs then rode down to the start to line up...
the field was big and the start was pretty typical for me... i ended up in the top 20, hanging at the end of the lead pack... the 2 laps i slowly moved up, eventually getting into a group with kevin dillard of NCVC and a couple of other riders starting the 3rd and final lap... kevin came by me coming across the dam and so do another couple of riders... held close to the tail of this group around the flat section and then we hit the final grass climb... i attacked up the climb and passed and dropped the rider right ahead of me and make the turn onto the road for the finish... chain into the big ring and a couple cogs smaller in the back for the fast road downhill to the bottom of the finishing climb... get aero and keep pedaling and i'm within a couple yards of kevin with a 100 yards to go. sid lea is up with kevin but he sits up - turns out it was chain issues. i start to accelerate and when i hit the flatter section of the climb and put the gas down and come by kevin... coast across the line and drop the bike on the grass and collapse for a couple of minutes... don't know how many riders were ahead of our group, but i figure it's 5-7 so i'm pretty sure i'm top 10... took a while for the result to be posted, but i ended up in 9th in a 48 rider field...
Friday, December 03, 2004
had lunch with my grandmother on wednesday before taking her to the airport to catch her flight back to the England... being over here i feel that i don't know much as i should about the family history, so getting to talk about her life made for a great lunch and i got to catch up on news about the rest of the family back in England...
MABRA cyclocross championships this saturday at Lilypons and the Capitol 'Cross Classic at Lake Fairfax on sunday... looking forward to both.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
it's strange how much more i find i can give during a race... my legs were flat today, but on top of that, todays practice "race" just didn't have that extra something that can make you suffer more, hurt more, give more...
6 days to the lilypons, 7 to reston... rest tommorow, then wakefield 'cross practice on tuesday and one last chance to get my remounts under control...
Saturday, November 27, 2004
the virginia game is the biggest of the year and after a scoreless first half and a virginia opening the scoring, the team stepped up and racked up a 24-10 win against a good UVA team.
not bad for a team picked to finish 6th in the ACC and who now will be playing for the outright championship (they clinched a share of it today) against fellow big east transplant miami next weekend...
back home now in a great post-ride haze and tech is leading uva by 7 and driving with 5 minutes left...
Friday, November 26, 2004
dinner was great, as usual... food and family, then some board games... somehow we avoided the usual "what are you thankful for" discussion/interogation at dinner, which i've never enjoyed, in spite of bring thankful for so many things...
back at work today... someone's got to be here in case things stop working and this year it's me...
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
sure, there's some freeride sillyness, but there are also really great segments of riders ripping beautiful buff singletrack and some northshore squences that are almost beyond belief... the movie was made a co-operative effort of the cinematographers, photographers, and riders, hence the name "the collective." i'm not much of a reviewer, but i'd say the only real drawback is that it's not long enough, only 45 minutes, but there is extra footage in the bonus materials, plus a behind the scenes video, and optional filmmaker commentary and music only soundtracks.
one of the collective members is mountain bike photographer-god sterling lorence, and the influence shows in throughout the film, especially in the black and white north shore segments.
Monday, November 22, 2004
the drive down the race on sunday morning wasn't bad, and the entrance to the farm was marked with a yellow and black flandrian lion flag... got registered and then took a couple of quick warmup laps around the course... most of the course ran on farm tracks through the fields, a mix of grassy and double track... the double track sections of the course where slick and muddy, but most had pretty good lines through them... a couple of grassy downhills, mostly though the middle of the fields, wet, with off-camber turns... about a quarter of the way around was the first technical section, a short dirt downhill, followed by a run-up back to the fields... thanks to the rain the dirt was 2 inch deep thick mud. i chose to run this whole section, figuring that i'd be just as slow if i rode the downhill and then dismounted for the run-up... this was pretty common in the C race, but it seemed to harden up a bit later in the day... the run up on the other side was challenging, since there was almost no footing on the slope...
back through the fields to my favorite section, 3 log steps in place of barriers... i rode them on both warmup laps but figured they wouldn't be much of an advantage in the race, since most people would be able to ride them... more fields, then a couple of fast downhill corners and very off-camber right turn... i was able to find a line and get through cleanly, but a lot of people had trouble here... back down into the woods through a gully... easy to ride, just point your bike at the other side and let go of the brakes, but it seemed to scare a lot of riders. up a short dirt climb, then onto the grass and a very soft climb... i ended up running it, but some riders were able to grind it out, so i probably should have tried it on my warmup laps... one last trip though the woods, including a very cool banked turn and a quick climb and then a climb to the finishing straight... the final run into the finish line was flat, with a couple of good lines...
lined up in the third row and waited for the for the whistle... not having ridden since wednesday i ended up losing a few places on the start... the first lap was chaotic... i got stuck behind a rideron the first pass through the logs and had to dismount... after the chaos of the first lap i started pulling back a few riders including a lanterne rouge rider just before the first runup, but the remounts were my undoing... at the top of the 2 run-ups i was so exhausted that my remounts were awful... including one that went so badly i ended up on the ground. i probably lost a couple of minutes just from the runups and remounts...
after 2 laps, the signal was up for 2 more, so i dug in and tried to pull riders back on the climbs and technical sections... i passed a couple who decided to run parts the 2 rideable singletrack sections and by the last lap i was closing on a Team Fuji rider. I made up some time on the logs, which he ran and by the climb to finishing straight i was only a couple of bike lengths back... I held back a little, sticking as close to his wheel as possible - if i'm going to sprint i'd rather be sprinting from behind, since it give you something to chase... once we hit the finishing straight i start pulling closer, and about half way there i hit the gas and come around, beating him by about a bike length at the line... i think there was a bit of a reaction from the crowd and i sat up and coasted to the next break in the tape...
no one i knew had seen the sprint, so i wasn't if they'd give me the place and i had to wait untill the results were up... 18th place in the end, and i did win the sprint... don't know how many were in the class... they've only published results up to 20, but i think there were 25-30.
stuck around for the rest of the races and took pictures, i'll post some later...
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
it started with the drive, an hour and half through georgia avenue, then beltway, then 270 stop and go traffic... only a few minutes to get things togther without holding up the group, but that all went smoothly and we were rolling up the first climb - the worst on the ride, or at least it seems that way since its right out of the parking lot and you have no warm-up beforehand... started strong, but the hard cross practice session left my legs empty and i dropped from the front of the group to the back...
ride the road for a while and then hop onto trail, riding the rocks pretty well... cross over the road at the overlook and drop onto the singletrack... starting to get warmed up and i'm back near the front of the group... looks like i'm going to clean the first technical section, but i'm following another rider and following a line thats a bit different than usual, nearer the outside of the trail and with the trail covered with leaves i ended up going over the bars... hit the ground with my left arm locked and landed on the bars leaving myself with a sore shoulder and what i'm sure will become a pretty nice bruise on my left side... shaken, spooked, back on the bike but somethings not right... my light isn't right, it's there, it's on, but not right... stop, reach up, it's loose... another stop, spend a couple of minutes messing around with the mount (the only thing i don't like about my Lume HID)... catch back up to the group, pissed of, frustrated, and with a rip in my brand new - delivered this afternoon - shorts...
a bit of climbing, stop to wait for another rider who's having a mechanical, more climbing and some nice twisty singletrack... decide to walk the next downhill, it's a tricky one when you can see it, and between my awful riding so far and the lack of light and the leaves covering up a lot of the trails i figure it's better off walked this time... twist and ankle walking down, the same one i twisted this weekend... up a short climb and we split up, considering how my night is going to this point, i pick the slower group... we choose to do the extended loop backwards from th direction that i normally ride it, making a long downhill into a long climb, but giving us a nice twisty downhill at the end...
after a nice downhill we hit the climb, and discover one of the problems with technical climbs in a group... when the person in front of you stops, you stop, on and off the bike all the time up here, some because i get stuck, more because i get stuck behind people... at this point the ride has had no flow, no rythym, it's been on and off the whole ride... too many breaks, too many stops...
actually surprised myself a couple of times on this section, cleaning rocks that i didn't expect... as the climb ended we had a nice twisty ride through the woods, just slightly downhill... across the road to the big rocks and heading back along the ridge to the cars... feeling better now, get to the front and finally get some rythym going... by the end of the ride, fresh of the last downhill, i'm in pain from the crash, but feeling good, riding better...
a final word of advice... if you're riding in a group, and you get stuck, please get off the trail as soon as possible, thanks...
Sunday, November 14, 2004
saturday i decided to take a break from riding and go for a long run, heading from home down into the park and up towards the park police station... plan was for about an hour, twice as long as i've ever done before... 20 minutes into the run, and about as far as i'd get from home, i had a bad footfall on a small rock and twisted my left ankle... this is the third time this year that i've twisted an ankle while running, and it turned my rest of my run into a miserable and cold 40 minute walk home...
prospects for riding sunday didn't look good, i had to go into work early since census was coming in to do a security scan on the network and i'd need to be there, at least for a while to make sure that everything went smoothly. packed up my riding gear anyway and left my 'cross bike in the car where its been since the tuesday night cross ride at wakefield - in case i was able to get out of the office early enough to hit schaeffer...
as it turned out the scan was a lot faster than i expected and i was on the road to germantown faster than expected... stopped by my parents to change, then hit the trails... two nice loops, sunny and chilly, but not too cold... took a break in the middle, back in the parking lot, to chat with a couple of the regulars up there... trails were pretty dry, a couple of new mudholes, and the fields are probably a write-off from now untill late spring, unless there is a good freeze...
dc united is up 3-1 near the end of the first half of the mls cup...
Friday, November 12, 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
the top500 list
yeah, i'm a geek and i know it...
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their
government to it's true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are
suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long
oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at
home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an
opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game
where principles are at stake."
Sunday, November 07, 2004
caught the last part of the dc united game on saturday night... they won on penalty kicks after a tie in regulation and a scoreless overtime and are back in the MLS championship after and extended absence...
up to schaeffer on sunday under another beautiful blue sky... a bit warmer than saturday and not surprisingly the parking lot was full, cars parked all the way up the access road... surprising that with so may people there you don't see too many people on the trails... i passed a few kids riding, some with their dads... it's always cool to see kids out riding... the trails were hard and fast... i hit just about all of the trails, some sections a couple of times... since i was riding by myself i rode hard and my legs were worked by the end of the ride...
saw the incredibles on friday night... it's an amazing movie...
Friday, November 05, 2004
riding tommorow, gambrill probably, with my brother, who's back from school in florida for the weekend...
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
'cross clinic/practice out at wakefield tonight under the lights on the ballfields... then home to get the next MORE newsletter put together...
Monday, November 01, 2004
2 minutes into my drive and i hit a police barricade trying to get onto beach drive... strange... plan b... head down connecticut ave to pick up rock creek parkway further south... another barricade blocking the ramp to the parkway, this one with a couple of marines alongside the cops... damn, is it the marine corps marathon today? keep going down conn. ave and try to make it over to independance and get to 395 that way... no luck, get onto constitution heading west; no way across the mall, but i can get to 66... i'm a bit behind schedule now and it'll be the long way round, but it'll work...
as soon as i get over the bridge the signboards start reading "accident at spout run parkway - exit closed" but that won't be a problem for me, i don't need that exit... a minute later and there's traffic heading towards me in the shoulders, then i hit the backup... everyone is out of their cars wandering around the interstate, not a good sign... turn the radio to the news/traffic/weather station... the whole road is closed so they can bring in a medevac heli... think about turning around, but i don't know where to go in on the virginia side and heading back into DC doesn't seem like a good idea... 45 minutes parked on 66 before we start moving... too late to make a 10am race in richmond...
went for an easy road ride in the afternoon... would have rather been racing...
Saturday, October 30, 2004
grass, grass, and more grass... long grass, wet grass, and soon to be muddy grass made up all of the course... the course had 4 steep climbs, 2 of which i figured were rideable (well all of them where if you were on a mountain bike), a couple of slick twisty downhills, one set of barriers and couple of sections of leg-sapping long grass, including the climb up to the finish line...
we lined up half way around the course at the top of a long downhill with a right turn at the bottom... by virtue of being out at the start early i ended up in the middle of the front line and once the whistle blew i was briefly in 2nd place... once we hit the 2nd turn i was back to 5th, and by the third turn i was back to 7th then 9th... over the next lap i traded places back and forth with a couple of riders, losing time on the downhills and dismounts and making it up on the climbs... half way around the 1st full lap i locked up back wheel on a slick downhill and somersaulted down the trail... while i picked myself and my bike up 3 or 4 riders passed me, including a couple that i'd been swapping places with earlier...
over the next lap and a half i pulled back one of the riders and slowly put time on him so that by the last lap he was out of sight... i never saw those other riders again though... i don't know if i would have held them off if i hadn't crashed... overall it was a good race, 12th of 24, my best cyclocross result ever...
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Monday, October 25, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
schaeffer trailwork tommorow and we've got family in town from england starting this weekend so we'll be doing a big lunch on sunday up at my parents... when asked what he most wanted to do while he was over here one of my younger cousins replied "mountain biking" so it looks like i'll be taking him up to schaeffer at some point...
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker.
Bush and Faith vs. Facts - Without a Doubt [NY Times, Reg. Req'd] - Read it and prepare to be scared...
Monday, October 18, 2004
Friday, October 15, 2004
managed a good ride on the cross bike in the park last night and rode the hills... ran into dave vannier from the team as he was riding home from work.. trailwork at wakefield tommorow and then a 'cross ride at schaeffer on sunday... need to spend some time around the house taking care of things that have been ignored for the last couple of weeks.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
just put the october edition of the MORE newsletter together and i've just been paged that a router is down... need to have a look at this.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Friday, October 08, 2004
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Monday, October 04, 2004
Sunday, October 03, 2004
then the miracle... instead of the deluge that was expected we get sprinkles on and off all afternoon and a new group forms up for for a quick loop on the lower trails (huffs, blue suck, locust gap) that keeps getting longer... geek out a bit and download tim's helmet cam video to my laptop, people orbiting around the back of my truck watching ricky scream down middle mountain trail... more potluck and campfire fun... round out the weekend with another trip up mountain-side to the epic brushy hollow downhill
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
ran last night, and then again this morning... hopefully i'll be able to get in a ride tommorow afternoon - might be on the road though, since i don't know what the trails will be like after yesterday's rain...
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Monday, September 27, 2004
Sunday, September 26, 2004
yesterday morning on my way to avalon, i got a call from stu moulton - stuck in miami, thanks to the hurricane, and not sure when he'd be back... he was supposed to help pre-ride the venturequest course and finish putting up the tape that couldn't be put up while the trail was open on saturday... i said i could fill in, which is why i was riding fountainhead at 6 in the morning
i rode most of the loop, shortcuting near the end on the almost never used "shock-a-billy shortcut"... at the end of the loop i met stu, he managed to get into baltimore at 1am... stop at starbucks for another 4-shot americano and then meet up in the main parking lot... spent the rest of the morning running one of the passport control stations with juan...
Friday, September 24, 2004
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
going to hit the thursday night ride at wakefield tommorow...
the whole peloton is probably juiced anyway, so whats the point in believing in any of them...
just a quick road ride after work tonight, around the park, somewhat aimlessly... up and down the hills, around in big circles...
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Friday, September 17, 2004
Thursday, September 16, 2004
with ivan due to hit the area in the next couple of days IMBA decided to cancel the congressional ride that was scheduled for yesterday... they haven't been very successful with the weather for these rides, the first 2 where wet and now this one has been canceled. bike dc is still on for saturday, rain or shine...
allowing racers to use pits, canibalize teamates bikes, or accept hand-ups of parts is contrary to the spirit of mountain biking, and gives another advantage to racers on highly financed teams who have dedicated mechanics and can now use less reliable lightweight parts with less worry of mechanical failures. sure there are supported races out there, mostly long distance races like the SM100, but there everyone uses neutral support provided by the organizer.
will this affect me? not at all, but i still care... Andrew Juskaitis does a much better job talking about this on the VeloNews website.
Monday, September 13, 2004
rode my cross bike to the City Bikes team meeting tonight to get a feeling for it... looks like my position needs to be tweaked, feels like the bars need to be lower... first cross-specific workout on the bike tommorow, then a mountain bike ride and a quick run on wednesday...
Sunday, September 12, 2004
after picking up the beer we rode over to the art museam to hang out and wait for the rally to start. we started the ride by parading over to the top secret rally location and stashing the beer in coolers. the park was a bit crowded at the start of the rally, so instead starting with cross-country, after everyone had a beer - or two, the day started with the jackass trials - a short trials course set up at the rally site. not everyone rode the trails course, but ricky and joe made both made it look way to easy, cleaning it multiple times when everyone else was having trouble getting one clean ride. i spent most the trials event taking pictures and didn't take a shot at the course.
after the trials, we rode the rally course, some a few more times than others, with a beer stops between laps. i took one lap, then backtracked around the course to take a few more pictures. after the xc and some more time hanging out we ventured out into the field for the log pull.
everyone who wanted took turns pulling a log - attached to your bike by a length of chain and strapping - up a hill. i'm not sure who won, but there were a lot of very impressive pulls... the singlespeed outlaw and ricky both good pulls - joe held the lead for a while. i took one pull, but counldn't get my left foot clipped in and only managed 20 or 30 feet. i knew leaving the older 536 pedals on my bike would come back to haunt me.
once everyone was done trying at the log pull, the rally king and queen were picked and the event moved to a bar further up the river in manayunk for dinner and more refreshments. this was my first one gear good beer rally and it was a lot of fun - cool people, good beer, singlespeed bikes, and a great way to spend a september saturday afternoon... like most singlespeed events it was very low-key, everyone hung out and had fun... three cheers for the rally master.
I spent most of the afternoon taking pictures, they're posted here...
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
- Deke Dickerson, Sept. 9, Half Moon BBQ, TBD
- Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys, Sept. 10, Iota, $12
- Tarbox Rambers, Sept. 24 & 25, Iota, $12
- Reverend Horton Heat & The Hackensaw Boys, Sept. 29, Jaxx, $15
Monday, September 06, 2004
Stayed near the back at the start so that I'd stay out of the way of the hammerheads on the first couple of miles on the road. Hit the fireroad feeling good and climbed up and over Narrow Back pretty quickly. The pace was steady and social... Cookie trail over the top of Narrow Back was great, cleaned more of it than during the pre-ride. I passed a fellow City Bikes rider - Rob Leary - on the trail while he was dealing with a bike problem. He came round me at the top of the downhill to CP1. 10 miles down
CP1 to CP 2 - Lynn Trail and Wolf Ridge - 21 Miles
Rolled through CP1 and cranked down Trimble Road and made the turn onto the road to Reddish Knob and kept a good pace on the easy part of the climb. Talked to Barry Quigley about the prospects for new Clydesdale class. Lynn trail was just as bad as it was in the pre-ride, but I made it up with a lot of walking. The Wolf Ridge downhill was a lot of fun, the ridge-top section was great and even the lower rockier sections were fast and fun. At the end of the downhill the course heads back up Trimble road. A little group formed up with a couple of riders I knew and Brian, from Richmond. After a short climb we get a nice fast fireroad downhill, and then turn onto the road to Todd Lake and CP2.
CP2 to CP 3 - Hankey Mountain and Dowell's Draft - 13 Miles
Checked my camelbak and it looked like it was hitting my goal for drinking. I'd been out for 4 hours, so it was almost empty. Refilled with 50/50 water/gatorade, ate a couple of PB&Js, and grabbed my extra hammer gel flask from my drop bag. Out onto the road for a couple of miles to the bottom of the fireroad climb up Hankey. I suffered up the climb up Hankey... It was long and my stomach was tied in knots from the food at CP2. Had to force myself to keep eating and drinking. Towards the top I talked to another rider who was having a rough day. There was more rough ridge trail at the top before the downhill really got started, but it was just as much fun as I remembered from riding it last year.
CP3 to CP4 - Braley's Pond - 13 Miles
Quick refill of water and hammer gel and a snack at CP3 and then out on the road. The stage starts out with 5 miles on the road to mountain house, from there you head up Bridge Hollow on a tough singletrack for a mile and half. After a river crossing and set of rock steps I managed to ride most of first 1/3 of the trail (really fun climb), then walked a while, then back on the bike for the last section. At the top of the climb you head straight onto a great singletrack downhill. A bit of trail and a bit of fireroad into CP4.
CP4 to CP5 - Shenandoah Mountain - 18 Miles
Coming into 4 I wasn't sure that I had any climbing left into my legs, but I'd told myself that I wasn't going to drop there - if I made it to 4 I was going to head out to 5. I refilled my camelbak, ate some more food and, once again, hit the road. This stage starts with a few miles on the road, with a small climb thrown in, then gradually starts heading up to Shenadoah Mountain before turning onto a steeper fireroad for the last couple of miles. On the road I passed and then was caught by Bill Trossen who I'd met earlier in the year at the East Coast North American Singlespeed Championships of the Universe. We'ed passed each back and forth a couple of times during the day and rode together for most of the road out to the final fireroad. By the time I got to the fireroad I was alone and climbing slowly. I thought I had five miles, all uphill, to go to the aid station when I started up the fireroad and I was looking for an excuse to drop out. I was already behind where I'd expected to be and didn't think I'd get to CP5 before 6, which would mean not finishing until after 10. I got to CP5 sooner than I expected - probably because my computer was off by a bit...
At CP5 I talked to Nancy (my coach) and started half heartedly putting my lights on my helmet. I was thinking very seriously about dropping, but Nancy suggested just riding to 6 - a rolling climb up to the high point of the course - Little Bald Knob. While I was there Brian, who I'd ridden with on the road to CP2 came in and asked if I was going on. With that last bit of encouragement and the prospect of riding alone for 4 hours removed I decided to go on. I finished getting ready, refilled everything, and then got back on the bike. Just before we left a report came in from down the mountain saying that there were no more riders on the way up to CP5, and since we were he last people to leave CP5, we were the last riders on the course.
CP5 to CP6 - Little Bald Knob and Chestnut Ridge - 13 Miles
The climb along the ridge to Little Bald Knob wasn't as bad as I expected. The course climbs along a winding jeep road and I got a second wind as I realized that I might be riding slowly, but my legs would keep turning the pedals. After getting to Little Bald Knob we started down the long undulating Chestnut Ridge downhill. It's one of the most technical downhills on the course in places and has some pretty steep pitches, which after a couple hundred riders in one day were getting pretty loose and dusty. I had my one crash of the day on Chestnut Ridge, endoing on a tricky rock drop that I rode with no problem earlier in the year. We had lights on about half way down the downhill and it was dark by the time we hit the road.
CP 6 to the FINISH - Hankey Mountain and Lookout Mountain - 12 Miles
Chestnut Ridge drops you out onto the road just below CP6 (it's also CP2). Quick stop at CP6... Chat with the guys at the checkpoint - Jeremiah Bishop won, but that was no surprise - and pick up spare batteries for our lights, in case something went wrong on the last section of the ride. I was dreading this 2nd climb up Hankey, we were only going part of the way up, but it was a brutal climb 30 miles into the ride and I wasn't sure what it would be like 90 miles in. The second wind was still going strong and we made it up, with a little bit of walking. The singletrack downhill on Lookout Mountain was a lot of fun, a bit sketchy in the dark, but not too hard. A few more climbs on the fireroad and suddenly we're next to a campground.
I got a little air on the jumps leading into the finish and then it was over... Through the finish line, bang the gong, pick up my finisher pint glass and sit down for a beer and a burger in the pavilion. Sitting around after the race talking felt so great, really glad that I decided to do this and really glad that I decided to go on at CP5.
This was the hardest thing that I've ever done, mentally and physically. My finish time was around 15:15, but the results aren't up yet. The volunteers and other riders out there were great and encouraging throughout the race. Jason Ashmore - another first time rider - finished in 13:50 and City Bikes rider Joel Gwadz won the clydesdale class. Too many other friends riding to list them all, but congratulations to all of them. Results will be up at the Shenandoah Mountain Touring website soon.
A few brief lessons from the race:
- Just as soon as you think the climb is done, you'll get some more
- Riding with someone to talk to helps, especially further on in the race
- Pre-riding is a really good idea, I'm really glad that I knew most of what was coming
- Don't eat a lot right before a climb
- As hard as you might think it's going to be, you can't understand how hard it is until you do it.
- It's fun
- It's worth it
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Friday, September 03, 2004
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
stopped by hudson trail outfitters in friendship heights and picked up a copy of adventure sports to see which picture they used. not what i'd expected, it was one of the more boring shots that i sent in, but whatever worked for them.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
dropped the tracer off at filzbuilt yesterday to get a shot pivot bearing replaced. should be able to pick it up tommorow night which will give me a couple of days to give it a last going over.
trying to decide how much food i should put in my drop bag, i should be able to do okay with the pb&j and banannas from the checkpoints, i haven't had a problem eating them during my long rides. i'll probably stash some full flasks of hammer gel in case the checkpoints are out of flavours that i like.
I got an e-mail a couple of months ago (thanks to a query to the MORE website and a referral from Scott) asking for pictures, so I FedEx'd them a CD and then didn't hear anything for a couple of months. When I fired up the laptop to check my e-mail after work something stopped me from deleting an e-mail, the name was familiar, but I couldn't place it. I took a risk and opened it and got the good news. It's in the September issue so it should be out now... I need to find a shop that sells it so that I can see which one they've used.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Led a casual ride at Gambrill this morning, had a good time, other than breaking a 2nd pedal in as many weeks (attempts to fix it at City Bikes later in the day just ended up breaking it beyond any hope of repair). Ran into a couple of friends who are also getting ready for the 100 up at Gambrill and at the shop.
Just about every conversation with another mountain biker these days starts with "So, are you ready for next weekend?", with the reply "as ready as i'm going to be."
On the weather front, next weekend's now looking cloudy with a chance of rain.
Friday, August 27, 2004
Thursday, August 26, 2004
met with my nancy this morning to go over plans for the 100... we talked about food, supplies, drops, etc... she'd made up a tip sheet with some important items to remeber and hints on pacing throughout the course. need to get some gallon ziploc bags to make sure that i can fit everything into my drop bags...
back to work...
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Monday, August 23, 2004
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Friday, August 20, 2004
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Sunday, August 15, 2004
So here it is, my Top 3 All-Time Favorite Downhills...
1. Brushy Hollow (Douthat State Park, VA)
2. Dowell's Draft (GW National Forest, VA)
3. Bald Gap/Braley's Pond (GW National Forest, VA)
Or maybe Bald Gap should be number 2?
Saturday morning we met up with a couple of other riders at the Stokesville market. The general plan was to ride the start of the race through checkpoint 2, about 25 miles. After that a couple of us were going to drive to the other end of the course to ride the "Braley's Pond" loop (checkpoints 3 to 4).
The first part of the ride includes the first 2 large climbs of the day, Narrowback and Lynn Trail/Wolf Ridge. With a couple of navigation stops, it took us about 3 1/2 hours to finish the first section. The cookie trail on Narrowback was a lot of fun and the Wolf Ridge trail almost made the ride/walk up the Lynn trail worth it.
The climb up Bridge Hollow at Braley's Pond was better than the Lynn Trail climb and the downhill was, well it deserves a post of its own... Overall the day had 42 miles in about 5 hours riding, with at least another hour of waiting around and refueling.
On the way home I stopped by Mitch and Amy's new store in Front Royal. It looks like they've got a lot of work to do but it's a cool space and I'm sure it'll look great by the time they're done. Their Store: Vintage Swank (online only until October)
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
this afternoon was fun, the rain was really heavy, it was windy, and i was almost alone turning the cranks in the big gear...
Got my new camera phone today and tried to shoot the rainbow... It's in the shot but you've got to look closely... A couple of pictures that I though I took weren't on the phone when I got home...
Monday, August 09, 2004
The 100 will take me 12-14 hours IF I finish... still in doubt right now and will be until it's over.
The race is on 9/5 so 4 weeks to go...
Thursday, June 03, 2004
ECNASSCU 2004: I've Got to Climb THAT on a Singlespeed?
That’s what I was thinking as I checked out the course map and description for the ECNASSCU Part Deux for the first time. According to the description, stage 2 was a hill climb that gained 700’ in a mile. I’m normally at my limit riding Fountainhead on a singlespeed and I was starting to doubt the wisdom of trying to do this, and doing it while carrying half of my camera gear and trying to shoot the race. But I should start at the beginning and not in the middle.
I drove up to State College, PA on Saturday morning for ECNASSCU (the East Coast North American Singlespeed Championships of the Universe, Part Deux) and the MORE spring camping trip – convenient how those 2 events just happened to be in the same place on the same weekend – it’s almost as if someone planned it that way. Pulling into the campground around 12:30 I found Scott Scudamore and Mark Wigfield trying to out for what should have been a morning ride. I set up my tent and joined in the discussions around the map as we tried to hash out a route.
We finally set out on what we guessed was a 10-12 mile ride in Rothrock State Forest around 1:30, joined by fellow MORE members DT, Trevor, Eric and Lisa. The ride started with a 2 mile fire road climb that gained about 350’ from the campground. I was on my singlespeed, as I’d decided to stay in the spirit of the event and ride 1 gear all weekend, and I was feeling surprisingly good on the first climb. After some navigation discussions at the top of the climb we found our route and turned down a long smooth descent on an old fire road, losing over 1000’ in 3 miles. The downhill was pretty smooth, but you could let go of the brakes and hit speeds near 30 miles an hour.
At the bottom of the fire road we decided that instead of riding the road to the next section of the ride we could carry our bikes down a steep and rock portion of the off-limits to bikes Mid-State trail to get to a legal trail that ran along side a creek. The trail at the bottom was a blast with a couple of nice rock gardens that we sessioned for a while. Once we made through the trail we started up Long Mountain Trail to get back the vertical that we lost earlier in the ride. The trail turned out to be 4 mile, 1100’ climb up an overgrown fire road and I probably walked as much of as I rode.
Once we hit the top of trail it crossed a gas line right of way and became singletrack so tight that you could barely see the trailbed at times through the mountain laurel. We climbed for short time and then the trail turned into a sweet twisty downhill with a very steep and rocky section about half way down which we attempted to ride but I don’t think anyone managed it. After some more singletrack the trail dumped us out half way up the first fire road we climbed at the start of the ride and we sprinted back down to the campsites.
Later in the afternoon, as we drove into town, I looked at a copy of the course map for the race the next day and kept looking at the description of the 2nd stage. 700’ in a mile sounded like another long hard walk after my performance on Long Mountain. By the time we got back from town the rest of the group had arrived, set up camp and most had managed to fit in a ride. We finished the day with a great potluck dinner and settled in for a night around the campfire.
The next morning we had a great pancake breakfast – courtesy of Scott and his mobile kitchen – and then packed up the cars to head over to Tussey Mountain ski area, the staging point for the race. Since I, like most of the riders there, was there to ride and have fun, not to compete I brought my camera along and tried to shoot as much of the race as possible.
We started with a long but fairly gentle climb that started on road then became doubletrack and finally singletrack. At the top of the climb everyone lined up for the lemans start of stage 1 and I headed down the trail into the woods to find a good place to shoot. Since the race is a stage race I’d have plenty of opportunities to get ahead of the pack to set up. After the last racer came through I started down the trail, a sweet, rocky, undulating ridge top trail. I didn’t keep going for long as I had my first flat, then a second, and third. I ended up walking to the end of the stage and caught the support van just before it was about to leave. They gave me a “Rothrock Approved” inner tube to replace mine and gave me directions to the 2nd stage, since it had left long ago.
The stage 2 climb that I had been dreading was hard, but it was on a smooth gravel road and I surprised myself by managing to climb the whole thing without walking or stopping. At the top I managed to find the start of stage 3. Stage 3 was a 2-up downhill time trial, riders raced against the clock, starting 2 at a time about 30 feet from the entrance to the singletrack. When I arrived there were about two dozen pairs of riders left to start so I walked down the trail a short way to shoot the riders starting the stage. After the last riders started I rode back to the end of stage 2 with a couple of the Mt. Nittany Wheelworks riders who were helping to run the event. The finish of stage 2 was also the finish of stage 4, a climb on an old rough fire road and I wanted to be there early to make sure I was there when the racers finished in case it was contested at the end and finished in a sprint. After shooting the racers finishing (including a sprint) we rode over to the top of stage 5.
This is the stage that I’d been waiting for. I’d seen pictures and heard descriptions of it from last year. The racers were still waiting at the top and would ride it as a time trial, but the non-racers were already heading down the trail, and combined with the fact that I was carrying a lot camera gear I decided to ride down the fire roads to the finish. Once we got to the finish I walked up to the rock garden and spent the next 45 minutes shooting the action and watching riders come down and try to clean it. The atmosphere at the stage finish was amazing; everyone was watching and cheering on each and every rider as if they were old friends. There were a few crashes and less than half the field made it through to the finish without at least a dab. The biggest cheer was for an injured rider walking down the course.
Stage 6 started with a climb up a fire road that was followed by a beautiful bench cut downhill just technical enough to keep you on your toes. I got a head start on the climb and managed to make it up and find a place to shoot the downhill just ahead of most of the field. I rode down to the end of the stage just as everyone was forming up for stage 7, a short dab/no-dab section through a rock garden and 3 narrow footbridges. The atmosphere was like stage 5 with riders watching and cheering on everyone as they made their attempts on the rock garden and then the bridges. Very few riders managed to clean the whole section.
After the end of the stage 7 we rode trails back down to the ski area where Scott was firing up the grill for the post-race party. After some food and beer the top finishers and a wild card faced off on the go-kart track to decide the winner. DT rode the whole race fixed-gear and got the wild card slot. In the end go-kart the race was won by the same rider who’d won the most points during the race, a local road pro.
We rounded out the weekend with another night around the campfire and another great pancake breakfast, this one provided by Bill Trossen. All-in-all it was a great weekend. The weather was great, as was the company and the riding. If you’re thinking about heading up to the state college area I’ve got a couple of quick recommendations. First, get some nice thick tubes and keep the pressure in your tires higher then usual, and second, make sure you’ve got a map and some local knowledge of the trails – Rothrock is a huge park, not all of the trails are well marked, and some a definitely a lot better in certain directions.