Monday, September 26, 2005

gravity is a harsh mistress

schaeffer trailwork on saturday went well... i had a good crew (jens, jake, jon, and steig) and we were able to get the upper half of the halfpipe rebuilt - with the exception of one turn that was very close to a tree that housed a nest of very large bees. the other crews got another new section of trail open and got a lot of the new trail signs installed in spite of the park staff delivering most of the signs to the wrong locations.

the mixed messages reception was a lot of fun. saw a lot of friends and the exhibit got lots of really good reactions. it was great to see how the other participants reinterpreted their parent images and honestly i felt like a pretender amongst a lot of really talented photographers. the exhibit is still open for a week or two at the columbia arts center.

plans for a ride on sunday evaporated when everyone bailed and i ended up heading to schaeffer for a couple of hours in the afternoon. i rode the new halfpipe a couple times to check out our work then just rode around, mixing the loops up. ran into eric welp from the team and his fiance and rode with them for a while.

finally feels like fall is starting. new leaves were down on the trail, starting to obscure old lines that got abandoned this year. there was a definite chill in the air all afternoon and the sky stayed gray. now i'm starting to feel like racing 'cross.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


went to wakefield tonight

rode the singlespeed

something was missing

not sure what it was, but something just didn't feel right tonight. my legs just didn't have it together. i wouldn't say i was tired or feeling blown up, but i just had no power, and technically i was just a little off... i wasn't making it up little climbs that i normally clean. might have been the riding this weekend at douthat or the running or maybe i overdid it a bit on the commute into work yesterday. maybe i'm just coming down from the peak that i hit for the sm100.

i was thinking about doing a 'cross race on sunday, but i think i'll skip it and just ride. haven't done more than look at the bike in the workstand and i need some serious practice on my dismounts before i race so that i don't embarass myself. looks like the start of my cyclocross season will be the october 8th hagerstown race.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

where in the world...

sitemeter has added a cool little world map feature to their system that puts a little dot on the map for the estimated location each of my last 100 visitors... i've gotten a little obsessed with it. most of my traffic comes from the dc area, then the east coast, but i get a decent number or hits from the rest of the US and occasional hits from europe (mostly england, france, and sweden), canada, and australia... looking at the refering pages, it looks like most of my overseas traffic comes from links from singlespeedoutlaw. if you're coming here from a long way off and feel like letting me know where you're coming here from, leave a comment...

Monday, September 19, 2005

random bits

singlespeed reborn...

put a new singleator on my IF sunday morning (to replace the explodalator) and then hit the trails at schaeffer for a late afternoon spin. ran into shawn and did a good loop around the trails with him. my knee was still sore from a stupid fall on saturday but felt surprisingly good and the new shorter fork made the IF handle more neutrally.


we finished up the ride over on the new section of the halfpipe that we built in the spring. we're going to work on fixing some problems with it on the schaeffer workday this saturday and i wanted to give it a look over before the weekend. this isn't the main project for the day so we need to make sure that there are enough people to handle installing the new signs before i get people to work on the halfpipe.

the tick...

the tick is back on tv. it may have been back for a while but i just noticed that this old obsession of mine is in repeats on toon disney. i've already got the tivo season pass set up.


the hackensaw boys' new album 'love what you do' is out; they'll be back in the area at the funk box (formerly the 8x10) in baltimore on october 14th... big sandy & his fly-rite boys don't play around here very often, but they're going to be at iota in clarendon on october 23rd... angry johnny & the killbillies will be at the velvet lounge this saturday (september 24th)... listen to kexp...

Sunday, September 18, 2005


made the annual pilgrimage down to douthat state park for the MORE fall camping trip this weekend. douthat is an amazing park for mountain biking. located in the middle of the george washington national forest in the bottom of a valley with ridges towering above the the lake and campgrounds. left the house mid morning friday and arrived mid afternoon. set up camp as quickly as i could and got together with mike, scud, mark, gary, dave, and travis and his family for a quick ride around the eastern side of the park. despite some navigational difficulties (all y fault) and a couple of mechanicals we had a great ride... ross camp hollow to mountainside to brushy hollow. it's a classic douthat ride: big climbs - but they're steady and never to steep, narrow contour trails snaking around the hollows, and a long downhill full of flowy singletrack and tight switchbacks. after the riding, all there is to do is crack open a beer, get some food, and wait for the campfire to get started.

saturday morning things actually got started a little sooner than usual, which was a good thing for me, since i needed to finish up my ride by 2 so that i could pack up, clean up, and hit the road by 3 to come back home for a party on saturday night. i announced that i'd lead a steady moderate group, planning to ride both sides of the valley, about a 25 mile ride. since these groups can get pretty big dan hudson offered to come along and split off with a slightly more casual group. in the end i ended up leading a small group of riders on a ride that was probably a bit on the more spirited side of moderate. we rode across the lower trails to stony run and then climbed up stony run to tuscarora overlook where we lost Joe Penano due to some miscommunications - we found him later in the day. after a quick stop at the overlook we consulted the map and decided to try the lookout rock downhill. i'd never riddedn it and afterwards i wish i'd ridden it before. it was a great rocky and rooty downhill, a bit steeper than the rest of the trails in the park. after a quick stop at the campground to refill waterbottles we went out and hit the mountainside to brushy hollow loop again and then went back over to the trails on the west side of the park for another quick downhill. we managed the whole ride in less than 4 hours and then i had to head home.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


managed to wake up early enough to try to make the tilden cyclocross workout but i couldn't get myself out of bed. slept in a bit and then put the new (used) fork i just bought on my singlespeed. headed up to schaeffer mid afternoon for a quick ride to dial in the shock and see how my knee feels. i ran into a couple of friends in the parking lot about to set out on their rides and it turns out i'd missed meeting up with matt by a couple of minutes.

5 minutes into the ride i started hearing unusual noises coming from the singleator and decided to stop and check it out when i got to a good place to stop. 10 seconds later i start to pedal and something feels wrong... a strange noise, the pedals just spin, no resistance, no speeding up. i stop and look down, expecting to see nothing more than my chain off the chainring, but then i notice my singleator, or rather half a singleator. the pulley and chain guides were gone (along with whatever hardware was holding them on) leaving me with a spring loaded arm and silver axle attached to my bike, not very useful for tensioning a chain. i managed to find one of the silver chain guides, but none of the other pieces... the whole thing was under tension when it exploded, so they probably flew off into the undergrowth. i took the chain off and walked, scooted, and coasted my way back to the trailhead.

superman attacks...

went up to avalon saturday with tommy and a couple of his friends... a great day of riding around the park without taking ourselves to seriously. this is the first ride in a while where i haven't had workout goals at least in the back of my mind.

broke out the tracer for the ride, which i hadn't ridden since my dnf at the schwenksville race back in march. the bushings in the shock needed to be replaced and i finally got the replacement bushings, reducers and tool that i ordered on friday so i swapped out the bushing after work and put a set of big intense system 4 cross country tires that i used to use all the time.

the bike and tires felt great for the first half of the ride on the sometimes flowy, sometimes technical patapsco downhills and they were hooking up well on the climbs. i took a little while to readjusting to the tracer after riding the epic all summer. where the epic is fast, twitchy, and jumpy the tracer likes to stick to the ground and flow through whatever it come up on.

when we went over to the howard county side of the park my troubles started... following tommy into a hard right turn my front wheel broke loose and i went over the bars, taking most of the impact on my right knee, and putting a pretty good gash in it. a little while later, following tommy down a long fast downhill i overcooked a left turn and my tire broke away in the sandy soil and i supermaned over the bars... then exactly the same 5 minutes later.

part of the problem was probably riding trails that i only faintly know faster than i should, but i think these tires are coming off the bike... i might put a set of big motoraptors on or try out some of the 2.3 nokian nbx's that they've got in the shop. the intense system 4's would probably be good winter tires when the trails have a tack to them, but they didn't handle the sandy and loose conditions we've got right now. a day of rain would be a good thing right now.

Friday, September 09, 2005

the hackensaw boys...

if you're in dc and don't have any plans tonight i'd like to suggest checking out the hackensaw boys at the 9:30. they're hard to describe but i'd say they're sorta old time back porch string band bluegrass played with an energy and passion that i've rarely seen...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

the 2005 shenandoah mountain 100

standing on the starting line on sunday morning i honestly wasn't sure what this year's shenandoah mountain 100 had in store for me. i'd been feeling pretty good for the last couple of weeks with a couple of big rides under my belt and a couple weeks of good rest and recovery. this summer had already been great - lots of cool rides with friends, an epic stage of the tour de 'burg, singlespeed worlds, wednesdays at wakefeld, the 24 hours of big bear and more - and this day could be the icing on the cake.

i'd driven down the day before with matt and his wife katie, set up camp with the MORE contingent in a nice and shady part of the campground that scudamore had managed to reserve, and got a quick ride in to make sure my legs were loose after the drive. the order of business for the rest of afternoon involved a strict regimen of eating a lot, drinking a lot of gatorade, a little bit of bike maintenance, and a lot of socializing.

back to sunday morning and the starting line... a quick reminder from chris scott on the course markings and as soon as it's light enough the moto pulls out, leading us down to the driveway of the campground and towards the road. pretty chaotic at the start: 350 riders, most barely conscious but with adrenalin flowing. onto the roads towards the first climb of the day i'm taking it easy, just trying to get warmed up. my sunglasses are stuck in the vents of my helmet since it's still too dark to see with them on. joel gwadz and mike scardaville both pass me as we make the turn onto the road leading to narrowback and soon we're turning onto the fireroad. the road rolls up and down along the ridge, slowly gaining altitude and i'm trading places back and forth with a couple of riders, some of whom look like they're working way too hard for this early in the day. once the fireroad turns more concertedly uphill i was passed by evan and then frank from mt. nittany wheelworks and larry camp on their singlespeeds. saw chris redlack for the first of many times.

riding up towards reddish knob welp and ezra fly past me in a paceline and i try to hang but soon give up (too much work too early in the day) and find myself riding with larry and frank. just as we're coming to the turn towards reddish knob a large pack comes up behind us led by andrew from wooden wheels. knowing that the turn is coming, and not knowing if the rest of this group does, i decided to get to the front of the pack to make sure that there are no problems with the turn. lynn trail was less painful than last year and with the size of the group that i was riding with there was a bit of groupthink going on about when to ride and when to walk. the wolf ridge downhill was a blast. i wasn't a big fan of this trail when i first rode it last year, but the more i ride it the more it grows on me. the top section is a great ridgeline downhill and then in the lower section becomes rocky chute that makes your arms scream and your hands lock up. on the road leading to aid station 2 i caught up with frank and larry again and then went ahead of them as the road turned downhill and i could hammer in the big ring for a while. larry caught me again just before the aid station and we talked about how we felt. he was feeling good and i was worried that, since i was keeping up with him, i'd gone out too fast.

jon wheaton was still in the aid station as i stashed my arm and knee warmers, got my camelbak filled up, grabbed my extra hammer gel flask from my drop bag, and refilled my container of endurolytes. i was back on the road pretty quickly after eating a pb & j and a banana and i was heading towards the bottom of the hankey mountain climb. larry and frank come by me once again, but i was feeling pretty strong. after making the turn to continue the climb up hankey towards dowell's draft i caught sight of jon up ahead and started shrinking the gap between us. we rode together for a while and he mentioned that mike scardaville was just up ahead. i was climbing pretty well and soon i was ahead of jon and closing in on mike as we approached he top of hankey. as we got to the top i came by mike, then a little while later he got back in front of me as the trail rolled along the top of the ridge before starting the downhill. the hankey downhill goes on forever, weaving along the contours of the side of the ridge on a tiny ribbon of trail sometimes as narrow as 9 inches wide but so well made that you can hold a lot of speed. this is one of the only downhills i know that seems to get longer every time i ride it. i passed matt along the downhill as he was fixing what turned out to be his second flat of the day and then passed mike as he bobbled on the downhill and pulled to the side of the trail. i followed by almost doing the same thing 2 minutes later as my front wheel got too far to the outside of the trail and started to slip down the side of the hill. rolling into the aid station i saw joel for the first time since the start just before he hit the road. another quick fill up and mike and i hit the road for the ride out to mountain house and the braley's pond loop.

on the road i made a quick time check. i was just about on track for my goal of 11-12 hours, perhaps even slightly ahead. mike and i swept up 2 riders into our group and the found ourselves closing in on a bigger group. we we caught the group and i settled as mike and another rider from our group kept charging down the road. up untill this point in the day i'd had no problems with cramping, but i was worried about the climb up from mountain house to the top of the braley's pond downhill, it's a steep climb and has a couple of sections where the pitch kicks up and forces you to put a bit more power down to keep going. i had a twitch of cramping in the quads on the lower section of the climb so i stopped for a second and took a couple of extra endurolytes and a couple swigs of gatorade and made an effort to keep my gearing a bit lower and keep spinning. this climb wasn't the monster that it was the first couple of times that i rode it, but it's still a long and slow climb. thankfully though the reward for that climb is the sweetest downhill on the course. the downhill starts out a little sketchy, kind of loose and rocky, with some really narrow sections, but as it makes it way down to the bottom the surface improves and soon you're slaloming through the trees faster than you think you'd ever be able to. at the bottom of the downhill i see that jon wheaton was right behind me on the downhill and we ride the mile or two into aid station 4 together.

jon and i headed out of aid station 4 just after matt and in pretty short order we picked up another couple of riders and were setting a pretty quick pace - a bit to fast of a pace for my legs. jon and i dropped off the back of that group and took it easy for a while. as we made the left turn to start heading to the climb up shenandoah mountain my legs were starting to hurt and soon i was well behind jon and lots of riders were passing me. up untill this point i'd been close to a ten hour pace and i thought that i might be paying for setting to fast of a pace. around this time i couple of decisions i made at aid station 4 came back to haunt me - my stomach was a little off coming into the aid station so i had the volunteers top up my camelbak with water and for some reason i filled my waterbottle with water as well as i was leaving - as i realized that i was running out of endurolytes. i took what i had left and tried to keep a pace that i could hold comfortably untill i got to the turn onto the climb.

once i hit the climb things started to turn around. i was able to get back into my climbing mode, shift down into the granny and spin my way up the five miles to the next aid station. it was a long climb, and at times i felt like i was crawling, and even got off the bike to walk a couple of steps to break up the monotony a bit. i got to aid station 5 a little ahead of the goal i'd set for myself on the road and decided to take a longer break than most than i had at the other aid stations. i refilled with gatorade, re-stocked my endurolytes from my drop bag, and had some food. joe penano, markie, and mark wigfield came into the aid station while i was there and after about 15 minutes i left with joe & jon to finish the climb up to little bald knob. the three of us rode together for the flat section and short downhill after the aid station but got dropped as the climb started up again.

the chestnut ridge downhill from little bald knob was a lot of fun. last year it seemed like it was full of little climbs but this year they didn't seem as bad. once i hit the skid road i was flying and it looked like it was going to get to aid station 6 a little earlier than i'd guessed at the top of the downhill and i might have a chance to finish in under 11 hours. when aid station 6 my stopwatch was reading 9:50 and i grabbed a couple of ibuprofen and banana and a red bull and was back on the road by 9:53.

i rode as hard as i could on the road to hankey and then set about setting a good pace up to the turn on lookout, in the little ring but a couple of cogs down from the 34 in the back. somehow i managed to dig down and find something to keep me going on the climb as i counted down the turns and then made the left turn onto lookout and started down the trail towards the final downhills. i hadn't remembered this section of the trail being so long so i was a bit worried untill i saw the turn arrows pointing onto the stribling springs trail. i rode the downhill fast - brakes squealing like i've never heard before, but that just made me use them less - and onto the fireroad. i pushed as hard as could on the fireroad and then saw the turn onto the downhill into the campground and weaved down through the tents and crossed the line with seven minutes to spare before 11 hours.

after the race i had some great food, several great beers, and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing, hanging out with friends, and waiting for more people to finish. after the awards (where i got a mention for cutting over 4 hours from my time from last year and a trip to the swag table) i ran into brian nutter, who i'd finished the race with last year. he'd finished in just over 12 hours this year, cutting 3 hours off last year's time.

thanks to all the great volunteers for keeping me going at the aid stations

thanks to all of the friends that were out there racing and volunteering

thanks to all of my city bikes teammates

thanks to all of the other racers for making the vibe at this event so cool

thanks to all of the shenandoah mountain bike club crew for keeping these amazing trails in such great shape

and of course many, many, thanks to chris scott for putting on such a great event...

Monday, September 05, 2005

just back from the SM100... beat my time from last year by just under 4 hours and 20 minutes. finished in 10:53 this year; last year i struggled to get to the finish in 15:10... i'll post more later.

results are up

Friday, September 02, 2005

Shenandoah Mountain 100 Bound...

heading out of work in a minute and over to whole up some supplies for the weekend... packing up tonight and giving the bike another quick look over. leaving for stokesville with Matt & Katie tommorow morning, so there'll be plenty of time to hang out and relax at the campground and soak up the atmosphere. drop bags need to be organized, camelbak contents planned, etc...

pete lent me his cool little Light & Motion Vega light which is pretty small & light. it's a single 5(?) watt LED with a built in rechargeable battery. hopefully i'll be finishing before dark this year, but it'll be nice to have a something small i can toss in my drop bag without taking up too much space.

the nervous energy/excitement/anticipation is building up... more than last year. higher expectations maybe or the fact that i know how hard of a day it's going to be any yet i'm going back for more.

good luck to everyone who's racing (or just riding) this weekend and have fun...

Thursday, September 01, 2005


i've been trying to donate some money to the american red cross for the last couple of days, but their website has been unresponsive & their 1-800 number is ringing busy... have set up system to accept donations for the red cross through their website. it's right on the front page in the top right corner...