Friday, August 27, 2010

"I am to be the fastest"... what Quinny said as he dropped the hammer on his older sister, pedaling away from her in his second to largest gear.

If I rode up along side him he'd put his head down and surge forward.

If a climb would thwart his progress, he'd get off and run.
surveying the carnage of his "attack"

Martha's Vineyard is really more fun on a road bike, but I've carved out a nice 6+ mile training loop in the state forest.
The singletrack is more wiggly than twisty, and when you come out to the open sandy fireroads that cross the the forest, you're greeted to a headwind to keep you on your game.
Although close to zero elevation gain the wiggles and wind made a 53" gear a little faster than a 56"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random randomness

My mom read my blog. She now knows her son has a potty mouth.
I'm 44 years old, why does this concern me?

Comparing my moving time with my race time shows that I was wicked slow with my flat repair. Next time 1 stop instead of 3, and I'll whip the tire levers out immediately instead of trying to be a man and get a slimy Stan's and mud glazed tire bead onto the rim.

My friend Jacky's daughter wants to be a bartender; may be she should reconsider.

I'm off to MV to celebrate Quinny's 10th birthday as soon as my last customer shows up. I'll get a couple few days of big gear churning in the Manuel F Correllus State Forest. I haven't mountain biked on the island since the Summer of 2007. I brought a 51.6" gear that time, this time I'm bringing a 56.3"; should be fun. Kids have their bike up their too; being able to let them ride without worrying about them being splattered by some jackass cutting through our street at 50 mph will be nice.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bikes for Bovines: I guess karma wasn't done with me yet

I won this race last year in the Cat1 40-49 class. True, much in part to Jonny Bold's mechanical misfortunes, but I was pretty pleased with myself as Kevin Hines "only" beat me by 6 minutes racing the Pro/Open class.
So I wanted to do well here.
At registration there was only one t-shirt left, I passed on it hoping to kick start the karmic turn around. Plus do I really need another t-shirt with a bike on it?
This race is a little different as they send all the Cat1s and Pros off at once. Those on singlespeeds spin wildly trying to keep up for the mile or so of flat fireroad, praying for the climbing to begin.
To my surprise when the climbing did start, Reinout and Kerry shot forward.
"No, don't chase, it's a long race, ride your own pace" I told myself.
As the trail tilted a little steeper and got a little rougher, things began to go my way.
First I closed down the gap to Kerry and Reinout (they are 1st and 2nd respectively in the overall standings for Cat1 SS). Then slowly started to reel in the geared riders from the age classes.
By the time I got to the singletrack crossing the mountain to the last grunt of a hike-a-bike, I had opened up a nice little gap.
A geared rider caught back up to me and passed due to his technical proficiency, and I could hear a couple more closing, but the guys who mattered, those with one gear, were out of sight.
Things are starting to go my way...pffffft....
What the?!
Nailed a rock with my rear tire, and now it's loosing air. That's the problem with suspension forks; your front wheel doesn't tell your rear wheel to look out for that pointy rock it just so effortlessly absorbed.
Stopped and tried to give it a quick blast of air in hopes it would re-seal. By the time I finished fumbling with my inflator, and got everything shoved back in my pockets, Kerry was right back on my wheel.
Rode a little further, and the tire went soft again. Kerry offered assistance, but I said I was all set and he headed off. Shot the rest of my first CO2 cartridge into the tire, but still too soft. Pumped it up with my mini pump, but by the time I got to the feedzone it was soft again.
Oh fudge! I should have just put a tube in it in the first place.
Let this be a lesson to all you young'uns from your ol' Uncle Charlie, don't dick around, just put the fucking tube in it!
At this point everyone had passed me.
Wait! Aren't we playing by Saxo Bank rules? Isn't everyone supposed to wait, holding hands singing Kumbaya? Oh that's right, IT'S A RACE!
I had a long super spinny descent and and didn't see anyone. A 50+ rider I had passed on the hike-a-bike came big ringing it passed me on the long flat fireroad to the start/finish, but I was Mr. Lonely.
Finally I'm climbing again.
I start bringing back riders, one by one, but they are few and far between. I catch David Devine from Union Velo and move up to third place in class.
As I come out to the feedzone, the marshall points up the hike-a-bike and yells "there's another singlespeeder right there".
As we both are run/walking our bikes up the climb I catch him near the top. As I start making my way back down the mountain, I start thinking "It took me just over a complete lap to close down the gap on Reinout, he must be a pretty good descender".
Getting to the bottom and turning to the final long fireroad stretch to the finish, I glance back and he's right there.
He takes the lead and I draft him for a nice easy tow.
He's pushing pretty hard, but I'm having a pretty easy go of it. Pedal a dozen times, coast, repeat.
I could just let him wear himself out, and try and come around him at the line, but for some reason, God only knows why, I decide to take the highroad.
"Reinout, quit killing yourself" I yell. "Why would I want to do that?" he replies.
"You can waste yourself towing me to the line, or we can pedal it in, pick a spot and sprint for it".
And that's what we did. We chose a spot, sprinted, and he won.
I think that might have been just the push to get my karma back in line too.
At the awards, Kerry got a Starbuck's gift card for 1st place, and I got a Dunkin Donuts card for 3rd. Kerry goes to DD more often so he swapped with me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Karma, you bitch

Thursday night was awesome.
My new suspension fork was working out nicely and I found two bottles on the trail. Not just ordinary bottles, but one was one of those fancy Camelbak bottles all the kids are talking about.
Everytime I came across other riders, I'd stop and ask if they had lost a bottle. Everytime the answer came back "No"!
You can never have enough bottles.
Yesterday as I was rolling out I reflected on how everytime I loose a mini pump on the trail, it is quickly replaced by another found on the trail. The woods are like a pump exchange. Loose a pump, don't worry, one will come your way soon enough.
Well as my suspension fork was working so well smoothing out the trail in front of me, I slammed my rear tire into a rock and flatted.
"Better today than Sunday" I thought, as I considered a beefier tire to race on.
The cuts were too big for Stan's to work it's magic, so I threw my spare tube in and started pumping (with a wonderful pump I found on the trail)...and pumping and pumping.
Shazbot! My tube has a hole in it!
"Better today than Sunday" again came to mind as I began the 3 mile walk back to the truck.
But then a group of cyclist stopped and offered assistance. At first they thought their puny 26" tubes would be of no use to me, but I reassured them of it's doability.
After copious thank-yous I was again on my way, still cutting my ride short and heading back to the truck before my luck ran out.
Which happened after 1.29 miles when I flatted again.
Should I have left the bottles?
Placed an add on Craig's List for found bottles?
Hope that's all out of my system for Sunday.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

LIke a ballerina in combat boots

I searched the web for a simple picture of a ballerina in combat boots, and got nothing. Tutu+combat boots got me a little closer to what I was looking for but still no cigar. Lots of pictures of Reverend Tutu, if that's your bag...
I bite the bullet and bought a suspension fork for my Swift. I love the Singular rigid fork, but until my hand is closer to 100%, I need a little help with the rough stuff.
I found a used Manitou Minute 29 with 100mm of travel for a decent price, contacted the seller, and said if you ship it today I'll take it.
Read through the reviews at, and they were mostly favorable.
After I sent the money to the seller, shot he me back an e.mail about how he never actually rode it and how his friend fixed the problem with his.
Ut-oh...what have I done!
The box shows up today, I take the fork out, compress it release it...CLICK. Compress, release, CLICK! CLICK, CLICK, CLICK!
After the scary e.mail, I read about how the original Absolute Dampers clicked on rebound, and I guess this one had never been updated.
I hope I can live with it until I get the fix.
On the ride over to the Rez, I mess around with the damper settings. Each of the 6 positions really changes the platform. Each setting other than locked really clicks loudly.
I hope I can live with this...
Then I hit the trails, and the clicks magically stopped.
The only noise the shock made was that qweefing sound. I can definitely live with that!
On the platform settings the click came back but open, which is what I prefer, it was silent. I'm guessing it originally was clicking in the open position because it needed oil to be worked through it from just sitting for so long.
The shock is much more laterally stiff than a Reba, and the height and offset is perfect for the geometry of the Swift. Every pound of pressure seems to make a great deal of difference, and I'm quickly zeroing in on just right for me (somewhere between 72-75 psi).
I wish the rebound knob was notched, because it too is quite sensitive to input.
I used 96 of 100 mm of pleasure with the greatest of ease. So much so that I had to stop and add more pressure in my rear tire to keep up with speed of the front end.
So although I love my Swift as a rigid, suspension's not so bad...
My wife is Lithuanian. Every year the Knights of Lithuanian have a pancake breakfast to raise funds (Kim's parents are members), and since Kim went to art school, she gets asked to make the posters for it. The colors of the Lithuanian flag are green, yellow, and red. Kim made the posters with flags that were green yellow and red; just like the sticker on the fork. Only problem is the flag is YELLOW, GREEN and RED. So Manitou is in on a little family joke of ours.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I don't race to win stuff, but I do love winning it. If you say you don't like to win stuff, I'd say you're a liar. Now that I got the name calling out of the way I'm actually going somewhere with this.
I wouldn't mind seeing all the stuff that us grownups who really don't need it (I did really need the backpack I won at Hodges, but that's another story) rounded up and spread amongst the juniors.
Imagine prizes going 5, maybe 10 deep for all junior categories? If all the grownups just excepted a medal, and a hand shake. Hell, even a job well done certificate printed on recycled paper, just think of all the booty the juniors could haul home.
And then they might tell their friends how they won all this cool shit riding their bikes, and maybe their friends might want to try it.
Once they see how fun it is, maybe they'll stick around and keep on racing when they are grownups just for the satisfaction of doing their best?
Just a thought.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Millstone Grind Race Report; Sorry Sam for I have Sinned

Living the "pro" life

I wasn't planning on doing this race. Google said it was almost a 3.5 hour drive away. For New England that's far (we're kind of spoiled in that regard). But my whole family is away. Kim and the kids are on MV, and my folks are on Nantucket. I'm stuck in CT due to work responsibilities. Lots of cycling friends are away too (like up in VT to race the 'Grind).
So what was I supposed to do? Stay home and watch the grass grow?
I decided to go all pro and book a room at the Days Inn and go up the day before for a little recon.
James and Kerry had the same idea so I had someone to pre-ride with.
In the morning James and I headed out for a lap. We made it about 2 miles before we decided it would be best to go back to the truck and get a lighter gear. We had heard it was about 60' of climbing per mile, but in actuality it was more like 100' per mile. Made a couple of wrong turns, and discussed just which sections were going to really make us suffer.
Later in the day Kerry and I hit it. No wrong turns but I amused Kerry with a couple of panic stops as I failed to comprehend that the blue tape meant I can't go there.
Race day.
We line up. There are a couple of serious looking cats in the group. Jay Provencher from Bike 29, who reminded me somewhat of Filip Meirhaeghe (with a better complexion) and Don Harmeyer from Belgen Cycles.
Jill sends us on our merry way, and I do not get the hole shot, Jay does. Don fall in line behind him, followed by myself and Kerry, who rides for Biker's Edge (by the way). After we get through the major suck of riding through a grassy field we hit the single track. The four of us are quickly separating ourselves from the rest of the pack.
Riding third wheel, I'm feeling pretty comfortable, if I can just stick with these guys through the singletrack, I might be able to do something on the climbs. There are no real sustained climbs, but there are many many short punchy ones.
Don and Jay are excellent technical riders. They are just flowing through the singletrack, getting little gaps on me that I need to close again and again. No problem, I'll get them on the climbs right?
Wrong! Those fookers are opening it up on me!
Well maybe I can hold on for third I think as they start pulling away (nice positive attitude huh?).
I occasionally get glimpses of Don in the woods but Jay is long gone.
Near the end of the lap we come out onto a fireroad and I see Don up ahead. I count it off and he has about 30 second on me.
About half way through the lap there is a steep punchy climb that I was able to ride the first lap, when I get to it on the second lap Don is standing on top of it. I yell up to him "You better get back on your bike!" I run it this time, and I'm hot on his heals, he's beginning to cramp, and I get around him. This motivates me to up my pace a bit to hopefully get a gap and out of sight (out of sight out of mind).
Coming through the start finish area, I dare to glance back and I'm in the clear.
Now if only I don't fade like I have the past two weeks.
The course is very twisty. You can often get a glimpse of the riders 20-30 seconds ahead as you weave through the woods. I see an electric blue Niner.
It's Jay.
I didn't think I'd see him again. If I'm seeing him now, he must be fading, or I'm going faster. When I get to the hill I caught Don at, Jay's standing on top of it. He glances down, and gets his hustle on.
He's far superior to me on the descents, and anything technical, so anytime the trail turns up, I give it all I've got.
Finally on a short grunt after this giant rusty boiler abandoned by the quarry I catch him as he dismounts.
From there, there is a lot of twisty descending and singletrack, and he's keeping me insight. Fortunately there is a series of steep switchbacks, and I employ my number one strategy; kill it on the climbs.
Apparently this works as I get to the line alone.
I won.
Jay came in second about a minute back, and Kerry rounded out the podium.

Race Notes:

Millstone Grind is an excellent event. Well run, and well catered. Cookout for the racers, free neutral feeds, raffle, and a super fun course. Definitely going to be on my calender next year.

I rode my Karate Monkey. I've been highly frustrated with my fading lap times the previous two races and wanted to try a suspension fork. My suspension fork's steerer is too short for my Singular, so I rode the KM. It just might have worked as my laps were all right around 47 minutes. Speaking with two guys who did ride rigid, I told them I thought it was a great course for the rigid. They informed me of the contrary, that the course was pretty rough, so I guess the fork helped out. Plus racing for Marble Design I could write off my motel room. Sorry Sam.

I rode with a hydration pack. This helped not only by being able to drink almost anywhere on the course, which would be hard to do on such a course, but also on a mental note as I wouldn't have to figure out how to drink with my left hand (little things are big to Charlie). My back is hating me now.

No heart-rate monitor. I used it at Hodges, and it did confirm that my heart does indeed beat fast during a mountain bike race. Good to know.

I drive faster than google. Google said it would be almost a 3.5 hour drive, I did it in about 3, which included 2 stops to use the potty on the way up and one on the way home. There was also a lot of RV traffic and some construction on the way home.

I won a pair of Mavic shoes! I'm like the Imelda Marcos of cycling footwear, so this is great!

Everyone is so friendly in VT. I like that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kinda bummed

This weekend I'm going to VT to race the Millstone Grind.
I'm going all pro and driving up the day before to check out the course and spending the night in a motel.
Sound pretty cool, right?
Well it would be the perfect family get away, but my family already got away! They began their 2+weeks on MV yesterday.
I'm also going to race my Karate Monkey.
Don't get me wrong, Mary Jane is a fine bike, but I'd rather be on my Singular.
But I came to the realization that I'm just not up to rigid yet.
Over the past couple of weeks when out training, I was beginning to feel my regular loops were too rough for significant training value. I felt I was spending too much time gingerly picking lines through the rocks, instead of hammering.
Riding those same loops with the suspension fork showed me it wasn't the trail, it was me.
Same thing happened at Hodges Village; the last lap I was pussyfooting through the rocks to avoid the inevitable agony. I tried to man-up through it, but on a subconscious level, I think my brain was sending out self-preservation signals.
Instead of feeling like Sayid showed me a special Republic Guard handshake for a few hours and the fatigue that entails, I decided to suck it up and let Reba suck it up for me.
If that doesn't net me some improvement in my late race performance...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

All I Wanted Was a Handlebar...

The alloy bar on the Karate Monkey wasn't showing me any love so I thought I'd replace it with a carbon one.
Being the cheapskate I am, I scoured the closeouts and sales for a bar that would not only fit my old school 25.4 stem, but would put my hands in the same place as my current bar.
Found it.
But the problem with scouring interweb for bargains on things you want or need is you find things you didn't even know you wanted before you have the good sense to log off.
Hayes Stroker Gram hydraulic disc brakes for example.
I love me some BB7's. Liked them way more than Juicy 5's
But when they're just about giving away light weight hydraulic disc brakes, what was I supposed to do? About the easiest brakes I have ever set up. Ever.
They work too (but in fairness, a rusty u brake would work on the dry trails we have right now).
Sure, I could save for the fork I really really want, but, I can buy these now!
Besides, I'm getting used to the Reba, and I don't know if I really want to go down the HT route with the Singular; it's fork handles so nice.
Mary Jane is on the super model side of 23 lbs now.
Not bad for a heavy bargain steel frame.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monkey Madness

coming soon...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Flawed Test Numero Tres

After the beating I took on Saturday, I decided to try something different today, well not really different, but revisiting the past.
I went back to Mary Jane, but with a smaller gear.
I knocked 2+ minutes off my previous best riding a hardtail, with a 5o.4" gear (as opposed to a rigid with a 53").
Other than the suspension fork, and the smaller gear, I ran the Maxxis Ignitor (f), Aspen (r) combo pack. Weather was warm and humid, but honestly I've become accustomed to the heat and humidity, so it can't really be considered a factor (so accustomed I might have created more work for myself by not running the a/c in the shop today). I used a hydration pack so I wouldn't have to try and drink with my left hand, and to hopefully give my right as much of a break as possible.

I think the smaller gear and the squishy fork worked in concert with one another to be faster. The smaller gear kept me seated or low, hovering just off the saddle, so the fork wasn't pogo-ing all about. Staying seated I could lay down the power (okay stop laughing now), while the fork did it's job soaking up the rough stuff. Curiously, although my thumb was inoperable and numb for 5 or 10 minutes after the ride it didn't feel any worse riding than it did all day, and actually feels the best it has all day right now, about an hour since finishing my ride.

I think if I'm going to race or ride offroad I'm going to need the fork for awhile.
Unfortunately the suspension fork I own doesn't fit my Singular, and I'm not in the position to buy a new fork, especially not the one I really want.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Norcross Scurry

Second place in the CAt1 Singlespeed class...yet I some how feel unfulfilled.
All week long I felt worn out, maybe from the heat, maybe from the beat down Steve Witkus served up on Sunday.
But Saturday I woke feeling renewed. Fresh.
In the words of Italian dopers I felt tranquillo.
The busted water bottle cage I had to change right before I left didn't even rattle me (there's a pun in there).
Weather was perfect.
Unlike last year, the course conditions were ideal. Dry hardpacked singletrack. If we ever resurrect a State Championship, Norcross would be a great venue for it (although Winsted would favor me).
Unfortunately, turnout was a little light, maybe due to being on a Saturday, maybe due to bad memories from last year.
Due to the lower numbers, they started the Singlespeeds with the 19-29 year olds. Right before the whistle I realized I didn't have any C02 with me, so I made a mad dash for my truck, and lost my starting spot.
Whistle blows, and I'm the second singlespeeder behind Steve. First corner, I have a yard sale (that means I crashed), fortunately not taking anyone else out. Gerry later told me I was lucky he was riding his Stumpjumper SS, as he'd have to run me over if he was riding his old Fisher.
I pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. Actually I just got back on my bike and started chasing.
Get back on and we're climbing. Carl Kresser is a couple of wheels in front of me. The trail turns down, I pull my front brake lever, and nothing happens?
I figure I must have knocked the cable loose, and it just needed a quick adjustment, so when I find a clearing, I pull over to investigate.
Cable is fine, but I'm missing a brake pad!
Second race this year I have to ride with only a rear brake, but unlike Singlespeed-a-palooza, if ever there was a course, and conditions that you could get by riding a skidder, it was Norcross today.
I start the chase again, and begin reeling guys back in. Frank, then Reinout, then Gerry.
Now I'm in no-man's land.
No man's land sucks.
It's very hard to stay motivated, when you're racing alone in the woods.
Whenever one of the leaders from one of the subsequent groups catches me I latch on and race with them for as long as I can.
On the second lap I catch one of the 19-29 y/o from Biker's Edge on one of the climbing sections. Soon after I crash on the one slightly greasy (very slightly) off-camber descent and Mike Rowell comes blasting past on his way to winning the 40-49 class (on a singlespeed). Later in the lap the Biker's Edge rider and one of his teammates from the 30-39 class catch me.
Soon after, I see Steve with his bike upside down fixing a flat.
This is a bummer, as Steve again was real strong today, but it also is motivating; if I caught Steve mid flat repair, maybe I wasn't too far behind Carl?
I bump up the pace a bit and the 30-39 y/o and I leave his younger teammate. We do the usual swapping through out the lap. I lead on the climbs and he reels me back in on the descents and in the rough stuff. we continue this for the third lap. Going into the forth he passes me on the Boy Scout "Trail of Laws".

Here is were I'm going to whine about my thumb:
Only having a rear brake meant I had to rely on my right hand more, as all my braking was done on the right. Usually you do the majority of you braking with your front brake / left hand. Today my left was getting a free ride, as my right was getting pummeled. By the forth lap I was in agony, bracing for the jarring and trying to pick my way through the rocks. Probably would have been less jarring if I blasted through full steam ahead, but the fatigue was taking it's toll and I was just hanging on praying for it to be over.

On the last lap he began to pull away. Another rider who had popped up a few times over the past couple of laps caught me and I did what I could to hold him in sight.
Soon Andy Chambers catches me and by the end of the lap Craig Kennedy does as well(great job Craig!).
My laps took a steady dive over the course of the race. My moving time on the first lap was about 33 minutes (actual time with crashing and stopping was more like 35), second 34, third 36, and forth 37. That kind of decline is a little disappointing.

But in the end it was good enough for 2nd.
Carl put in a impressive performance for the win.
Being at a Boy Scout camp the prizes were of a decidedly homespun nature. You could choose a bird or bat house crafted by the scouts, of a small cash prize. As I have Quinn to manufacture woodsy crafts for me I chose the cash which I quickly converted to calories in the form of a burrito at Moe's...and by the way, Moe's rules.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What If

"What if" is a slippery slope, but one we can't help investigating to some degree.
This year at Hodges Village Dam I was going to run a 56" gear (33x17), but after pre-riding, decided I would be better served with a 53"(33x18). Last year I ran a 54.8" (34x18).
The reason I question this is pre-riding, while talking with Kerry and Andy, and maintaining a much lower HR, my average speed was only about a half mph less than when racing.
I have no delusions of being able to match Steve on the day, but comparing my time to other racers who are a known quantity last year to this year, I feel I could have done better.
Andrew Chambers is a good example of this. Some races suit him better than me and vice-versa.
Climbing races suit us both, but Ski resorts suit him better due to the nature of the descents. Rougher terrain also works better to Andy's strengths.
For example, last year at Winsted Woods I was about 4 minutes faster than Andy. This year about 4.5 minutes. Last year I was about 2.5 minutes slower than Andy at Hodges Village Dam, this year over 8!
Although I know it would have no effect on the results it still has me second guessing my choice of changing my gear.
Food for though for next year.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm so happy...

Photo credit: Blatantly stolen from Mark @ the Cycle Snack

I was going to title this post "The Bitch is Back" (yeah, I was thinking about it for a while...) but as I type this I'm near giddiness.
Today I raced my bike today for the first time in over 2 months. I even did pretty well. Got home and Kim was making eggplant parm. Racing my bike and eggplant parm...does it get any better?
Yes it does, but lets get on with the race report shall we.

Hodges Village Dam isn't a course that really suits me. It's a power course. The climbing in it is all short bursts. It is a fun course; very rocky, rooty and twisty, but courses with more elevation gain work better for me.
I tried to compensate for the lack of elevation with a big (for me) gear; a 33x17. Pre-riding I decided this was too big (last year I used a 34x18). I had the foresight to bring an 18, a chain whip, a wrench, but neglected to bring the cassette tool. Fortunately Andy Chambers was well prepared, so 10 minutes before the start I was changing gears.
After the call up, I noticed there was no line at the portolets so I even took care of a little last minute business.

We had a pretty big field, I heard someone say 15, but only like 9 finished.
The whistle blew, and I got a good start; second wheel. Steve Witkus from Bikeman was in the lead and just floated away.

I was comfortable in second but Carl Kresser in 3rd place was right with me. When we got to a switchback I got a glance back and we were all alone. I was surprised Kerry wasn't with us.
Soon after I jettisoned a bottle.

When we got to the fireroad at the back of the lap, Carl passed me while I was taking a drink.
He led through the feed zone and began to pull out a little gap.
That's cool I thought, if I can maintain 3rd I'll be psyched.

I found out why Kerry wasn't with us as I caught him walking his bike out of the woods (bummer!).

I had yelled to Mark in the feedzone that I had lost a bottle, but when I saw it on the trail, I stopped to grab it. I'm still comfortably in third right?

But then I started seeing Carl. Was I gaining? If this comes down to a sprint and I lose because I stopped for a bottle...I'd still be thrilled with 3rd.

On the sharp steep hills, his gear was a little too big...and he was riding flat pedals!
On the biggest climb of the course I finally caught him.

After the feedzone there is a long fireroad section, as I got to the end of it I took a quick glance, and had he wasn't there yet.

The third lap went well enough, but I was beginning to fade. No matter how many hours I put in over the past two months, just riding along isn't the same as racing I guess.

On the forth lap a parade of juniors and 50+ riders passed me, but still no singlespeeders; I guess I had just enough left in the tank.


Thanks again to Mark for getting me a bottle even though I didn't take it.

I almost crashed one of the Pro women riders, Janis Sandlin, when I took the long way around and she took the correct line. She stayed upright, so she was cool about it.

The course took it's toll on bikes and riders. Many abandoned with mechanicals.

According to Garmin, I was significantly slower this year than last, which is odd, as last year the course was under water. The course was slightly different this year, but I doubt the change really had too much effect on that. When results are posted I'll be interested in seeing how my time compares to other riders who raced it last year.

I won a back pack! I need a back great is that!

Steve didn't just win the race he destroyed the Cat1 Singlepeed class. I knew the course would suit him from racing him at Winding Trails, but he just owned it! Congratulations.

I was impressed with Carl's performance at the Glocester Grind, so it was nice to race and meet him (I didn't know who the guy riding flats was until the podium).

On the last lap some of the CAt2's were pre-riding the course. That's cool if you stay out of the way of the racers on the course, but there were guys riding the singletrack backwards! Have some respect for the racers on the course.

The course was dry and dust. Surprisingly, I was as dirty as a wet race, and it was harder to clean up afterwords.

I wore a HRM for the first time in a race in over 2 years. Avg. 175, max 187. That's significantly above what I train at (just started wearing the HRM there too). I think I need to throw in a day or two of higher intensity.