Monday, May 25, 2009

Off to Italy.... Coming home tomorrow.

It's our last day in Italy and I wanted to give you all a quick update of the last week...
Tuesday: Missed check in for our flight by 2 minutes... had to buy new tickets and leave Wednesday.  I recommend not flying Air france!
Wednesday: Departed, had to pay $300 for each bike to fly internationally! I recommend not flying Delta!
Thursday: Arrived in Milan, luggage didn't though. Missing bike, and clothes for Kristina and Ian and the car seat. Waited in the airport for 6 hours for a ride to Finale.
Friday: slept through breakfast.  Found out our luggage showed up to the airport, but they wouldn't deliver it until Saturday. Spirits not doing so good ; (  Gave up and went to the beach and ate gelato. Spirits getting better ; ) 
Saturday: Race day,  Got my bike at about 10:00, built it, and did a lap on the course before the start. 
The race: 24 hour format, we had a 6 man Singlespeed team. of the 24 hours we lead all but about 20 seconds.  Team NASA/Niner won the overall with the largest margin of victory in the 11 year history of the race(so I was told) with more that a two lap lead. 
Sunday: Won the race, enjoyed the party and waited for a ride to town(I thought Humboldt time was slow). Pizza, Pizza, Gelato, sleep.

Finishing the lap down in the new Niner Kits.
The team on the stage, Winners overall, and Solo Female!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mud, Sweat and a mountain bike marathon.

I'm a little slow on getting to this, but like any traumatic experience it's good to talk about it.

Last weekend was Dirt, Sweat and Gears 12 hour. after last year I was hoping for poor conditions so I could win the overall on a singlespeed. little did I know the conditions from last year were great compared to this year. Leading up to race day the course was wet from 8+ inches of rain in the week but had promise of drying out the last three days without any rain. Any one that could access the inter web, and it's series of tubes, was checking the weather. things were looking great, everything was just missing us to the north.

Then about 3 hours before the start someone showed me the radar image and the whole western third of Tennessee was covered in red. We figured that it would hit just exactly at 9:00 when the race started. Unfortunately we were wrong, It hit about 2 minutes before the start. Last year a rain like this created a horrible second lap but everything else was fine(the other 8 laps). This year was so bad that I was lapping people less than 3 miles into my second lap and that has nothing to do with how fast I was. the course had the worst anyone had ever seen/hiked in.

My lap times were something like this:
Lap1: 1:15
lap 2: 2:00
lap 3: 4:00
lap 4: 3:00 (I used cross tires for this lap)

Out of the 42 miles I "raced" I think I was only on the bike for about 14-16. the rest I was carrying my bike on my shoulder.

This post is a work in progress.... check back later for more.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Did that really happen to me?

Things are a little different than last year, especially the weather. the story last year was heavy rain the night before the race, but pretty good the rest of the time. This year has been dry for the races but wet most of the rest of the time... I think it has been raining since Thursday maybe Friday and we are surrounded by water. We decided to check out a place called Land between the lakes. only to find out the "land" part between the lakes is getting smaller because the "lakes are getting bigger....

So for the "did that really happen to me"...

It was time to get out and find some of the singletrack we came here to ride. I was looking for the Piney trail, I saw a sign pointing down a paved "Trail" I thought I would follow it to see if it turned to a good trail. About a half mile later I realized that this was just a little loop that was taking me back to the campground. And very close to the lake. Well actually the lake was covering up the "trail" in a few places. After riding through a couple pieces of the lake that conveniently cleaned off my tires of the mud they had collected in the last couple rides in Little Rock I saw up ahead the there was railing/bridge ahead. But the Hand rail was only about 2.5 feet above water. I started to to ride through the water and it was much deeper than the last couple, almost up to the BB but not quite. I was slowly riding through the lake when all the sudden. SPLASH!!! No I didn't fall in, but rather a fish about 2 feet long went crazy right in front of me and hit my tire.

I never thought I would hit a fish with my bike. I could see Dejay throwing one at me while riding but never this.

Here are a couple photos from the last couple weeks of traveling:

This one was in Oklahoma, I'm not sure if they meant to do this or not...
Here is a picture of the new SS:

Friday, May 01, 2009

On the road and ready to write(a little)

Well the family and I are on the road again we decided to take it a little slower and skip the first race of the NUE and race in Prescott AZ at the Whiskey Off Road then take out time to get to Dirt Sweat and Gears for the third installment of greatness. 

After the Spa City Extreme it was back to training and time to do a few XC races to work on some speed. most of the XC races were disappointing after riding the great trails of the Mas O Menos and Spa City courses. The Kenda cup races were the least either mostly dirt/pavement road courses or they were so rutted out or full of braking bumps that though I was on the bike I really didn't want to be there. 

I had ridden in Prescott years ago, long before I was racing mountain bikes and really didn't do much of anything that I can remember, just some muddy single track. I was very excited to go back and explore more of the area and enjoy the trails. Including participating in an Epic Rides event, Thanks Todd!!!! 
Race day was cool in the morning and colder after the race was over. the whole time in between was super fun.  It was a great course for me, long climbs, flowing singletrack, some technical descending and more than 3 and a half hours(barely).

I sat back until the end of the first big climb to make a move for the lead in the SS field, and only had to fight with one other to get to the single track first with Dejay in third place a few seconds back.  I knew I had the endurance and that a 12 mile long climb to come so I really pushed the pace through the single track, By the first long descent I had a gap and quickly caught a group of four geared guys  that were somewhere around 4-8 place overall. once we hit the bottom, they were going slower than I wanted so I pulled them up the next 30 minute climb, and where they thanked me by dropping me on the next long fire road descent.

The bottom could either really motivate you or truly wreck you.  you hit the bottom of this 9 mile descent then had to turn around and go right back up and do three more miles past where you started coming down.  On my way back up, Still in the SS lead, I figured out that I had about a 2.5 minute lead over second(Mike H - SS winner the last 3 years)  three minutes wasn't much so I really went hard on the climb only slowing down for a minute when I could feel some cramps, but then it was back to racing.  I also had some good motivation that after the top of the climb it was mostly downhill(with a tail wind) to the finish.  The last three miles was littered with riders from the 25 mile race as well, so I had some carrots to motivate me as well. 
Here is a great little video from one of the 25 mile SS guys, I passed him right after the two courses came back together. 

Whiskey Offroad: Hurt from Mark Challoner on Vimeo.

Marks comments on his video: "This is just a small sample of the suffering that occurs on the big climb at the Whiskey Offroad mountain bike race put on by my boy Todd Sadow at I was battling for third place in the 25 Proof, when my friend John "Fuzzy" Mylne came stomping by us! Fuzzy had started an hour earlier than us for the 50 Proof, and had already been climbing for 12 steep miles!"

Hopefully I will be saying this a lot this year... after the climb was over it was a sweet trail(s) back to town where I captured another SS win and another top 10 overall finish. 

Update: We are on the road in Little Rock, AR and almost to the Cotton Mill in TN. I'll post some pictures that I have from the travels across the road soon.