Sunday, November 26, 2006

How to get to the mall without driving

You could get a ride from someone - still gotta fight that %$#$@#! traffic!
You could take the bus - smelly!
You could ride the recently completed Lick run Greenway! SPLENDID!

So if you know Roanoke, you know the center of the shopping universe in these here parts is Valley View Mall. You've got your Target, your Best Buy (don't get punched in the head), Circuit City, Macy's, JC Penney, Old Navy, blah, blah, blah. Isn't Christmas shopping fun? I know most of you who read my blog would rather shop online at bicycle-stuffs-o-plenty, or other cyclo-etailers, but you may have someone on your list that wants something other than bib shorts, arm warmers, shoe covers, etc.So, now you can toss your messenger bag over your shoulder (or hook up your trailer if you're hardcore) and ride all the way to the mall on your bike without having to deal with the brain-dead mentality of most motorists en mass.

Yes my friends, you can ride on a car-free Greenway to do your shopping!! I'm gonna venture out there by bike at some point just so I can smile and get a chuckle at the bumber to bumper traffic.

Check out the map here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Another season comes to a close

There were highs. There were lows. Not many terrible crashes or mechanicals - that's something to be thankful for. Thanks to all my family and friends for the support!

I would especially like to thank my sponsors for the opportunity to represent them in the regional race scene. There are many places that they can put there advertising dollars. I'm honored that they have chosen to support our race team. THANK YOU to all of them!

El Toreo Mexican Restaurants
Mail It Plus
The Bullington Firm
American Flyers
Glowbug Web Design
Cafe Michele

2006 Races
1. Poor Farm Cup - 14th (Singlespeed) [40th of 96]
2. Hancock 100 WVMBA - 5th (Singlespeed) [35 of 45]
3. Commonwealth Games Road Hill Climb TT - 6th (Cat 5)
4. Commonwealth Games Road Race - 11th (Cat 5)
5. Commonwealth Games Crit - DNF (Cat 5)
6. Commonwealth Games MTB TT - 1st (Singlespeed) [5th of 31]
7. Commonwealth Games MTB XC - 1st (Singlespeed) [1st of 31]
8. MW Windows- 4th (Singlespeed) [11th of 54]
9. Southside Scramble-3rd (Singlespeed) [9th of 49]
10. Peaksview-2nd (Singlespeed) [9th of 60]
11. Falling Creek - 2nd (Singlespeed) [8th of 38]
12. Poor MTN Hill Climb - 3rd (Singlespeed) [48 of 88]
13. Bare Bones I - 2nd (Singlespeed) [4th of 12]
14. Bare Bones II - 2nd (Singlespeed) [4th of 10]

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Uses for a Bare Bones Mountain Cross Trophy

1. To keep you company when you are lonely

2. A lightning rod3. Face guard

4. Cup

5. Prosthetic hand

6. Head
7. An award for a job well done

Congratulations to Ron for winning both races in the series to collect the trophy. Many thanks to Dick Howard for putting together this awesome mini-series. Hope to see some more of these events in the spring of 2007!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tuff 10

The description of the 2.25 mile course at Green Hill Park in Salem said that each lap would have about 200 feet of climbing. I've ridden there on many occasions and had an idea of what to expect, but I was still surprised how much those 200 feet of climbing hurt by lap 4. Wide open is a very accurate description. The park is a draw for equestrains and cross country runners, but is an awesome venue for a cross/mountain race.

About 15 racers showed up to brave the wicked winds, chilly temperatures and 12 total creek crossings. Four laps, ten miles total, but this was no easy race. Granted, most of us who showed are technically in the "off season", but this race would have hurt even if it were held in the thick of mountain bike race season.

Some showed up on cyclocross bikes, but more brought mountain bikes. I had my singlespeed GF Rig with 1.2 tires and a rigid fork. This course had a bit of everything, so each type of bike had it's place to shine. The start finish is along a flat gravel road that quickly turned onto a muddy, rocky dirt road. Across our first shallow creek crossing led to that 200 feet of climbing. All of it comes next. The pic below is looking back on the climb. Zig, zag, repeat. The pic above was taken at the top of this open-field climb. Next, some singletrack in the trees to the left of the picture leads all the way to the far end of this equestrian field. Then it's downhill in the open fields back near the start where we crossed the stream two more (cold) times.

Ron showed up on his cross bike and took the win. Russ was flying on his newly constructed singlespeed into 2nd, Chas had his cross bike which he rode into 3rd, and I finished 4th followed by Doug on his full suspension MTB in 5th. We all had about 2 minutes between us.

Next Sunday we show up and do it all again. I'm pretty sure everyone had a blast. We were all freezing by the end, but smiling.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

When is a race not a race?

So tomorrow will be the first of two Bare Bones Mountain Cross (more cyclocross than NORBA-like Mountain Cross) races at Green Hill Park in Salem. I have done absolutely zero training for racing a bicycle in the last month and a half.

Endurance training: NOPE
Intervals: NOPE
Tempo: NOPE
Race simulations: NOPE

It's the off season. Well, if you're not a cyclocross racer it's the off season. This is the time of year my body is getting used to lifting weights again, and doing yoga and pilates and fit-ball stuff for core strenght. I do exactly one ride per week, Thursday night. And that is very low-key. I'm so far out of "race mode" that my body has forgotten what that feels like.

So, Sunday will be about trying different things. I may try a completely different warm-up than I've ever done before. Perhaps I'll use some different fuel before hand, or during. I'm going in as low-key as possible. I plan on having fun and finishing, but that's the only expectation I have.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Gears for the new year

The 2007 mountain bike racing season will be full of changes for me. First, my year will most likely be split between two classes: Vet Expert and Singlespeed. In order to be competitive in races like The Dragon's Back in Craig County and Middle Mountain Momma at Douthat State Park, I'm gonna need more than just one gear. I've ridden up the back of the dragon on my GF Rig and it wasn't pretty. There is no way I would try to race against someone with gears up the dragon's punishing climbs!

Enter the 2007 GF Paragon. This will most likely be my weapon of choice. Basically the same frame as my Rig, but geared. The stock Paragon comes with "OK" wheels, so the first upgrade will be to the Bontrager Race Lite Disc 29, with fancy DT Swiss-made hubs. I'll also be trading the basic Bontrager bars and seatpost for Race Lite Carbon stuff.

It may take a bit of getting used to, this whole shifting thing. I'm so used to standing to hammer up climbs and sending my heart rate into the "I don't want to know" range...

I'm looking forward to climbing in the saddle once in a while, something I've not been able to do for the past couple years.

The first half of the season will be focused on racing the geared bike in races like the two mentioned above, Massanutten Hoo Haa, and perhaps some WVMBA races like Canaan Valley.

The second half of the season will be focused on bettering my 2nd place overall in Singlespeed class in the VA Derailer Series. I had a couple good races, a couple mediocre races, and one really bad (hillclimb) race. Next season will be focused on eliminating the mediocre and the bad ones.

Race on...

PS: I guess I'm gonna have to change my blog profile to read "Bicyle commuter by day, Singlespeeder at heart, MTB racer by choice", or something stupid like that.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm not Lance Armstrong

Why is it that every time I commute to work in weather that is nice enough for motorists to have their windows down, some nerd shouts "Lance Armstrong, whhooooo!"?

Why do people shout stupid stuff at cyclists? I don't go out on Sundays and yell "Whhoooo, Tred Barta!" at hunters.

I hear the Lance Armstrong thing alot, but I've had all kinds of other stupid stuff yelled my way.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever had shouted at you while you were riding?