Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not strong

In an attempt to peak for this coming weekend's Middle Mountain Momma, I entered myself in the Waynesboro Criterium this past Sunday. I got shelled. No excuses except that I wasn't strong. 

I wish that I could say that I had fun, but getting embarrassed is nowhere near enjoyable. Road racing isn't at all like mountain bike racing. If you're having a bad day, you just can't cruise to the finish while enjoying the scenery. 

Road racing is 100% competition and 0% "just here for the ride". I will chalk it up as experience and move on.

Next time, I will be prepared. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Tomorrow I race on the skinny tires for the first time this year. Think about a fish, and think about no water. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Cornflakes without the get the picture. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I've been having mountain and road bike flashbacks a lot lately. Places that I've ridden storm into my memory at the most awkward times. Random trails and roads I've ridden. I can't quite place them, but I know I've been there.

Were the trail segments I see part of trail system I experienced during a race? Or were they just glimpses of fun rides past?

I have to confess that I have many more road flashback than trail, although I spend more time on the dirt. Weird, isn't it?

Are these random flashbacks a part of the natural aging process, or am I just day-dreaming about riding my bike?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A small change, a huge difference

When I first put the Niner back together after repairing the trashed eccentric bottom bracket, I scrounged for parts in the bottomless old-parts pit I have stashed in my basement. I believe that it was about three beers into the build when I was groping around in the darkest recesses of my long-discarded old parts that I came up with a pair of matching grips. ODI lock-ons. I was set. I slapped the grips on along with a borrowed Fox F29 and off to the Six Hours of Warrior Creek I went.

I noticed that after a few hours of riding, even with the fancy-schmancy suspension fork, that my hands were hurting a good bit. I've been riding rigid 99% of the time for about a year now, and my hands have grown accustomed to a little soreness. This however was more of a deep bone soreness.

A few days after Warrior Creek, the rigid fork went back on the bike. I never had this kind of soreness before riding rigid, so I thought I'd go back to it. The pain was worse...alot worse. I looked at my trusty ol' Rig hanging on the wall which I had ridden all winter with no hand pain(fully rigid with a carbon fork) and finally figured it out - it was the grips.

The ODIs are a slightly smaller diameter, and made of slight stiffer rubber. I swapped them out for my trusty OURYs, and the problem went away. 3 hours of tough terrain Sunday and another bumpy ride tonight, all with no hand pain.

It's amazing to me that such a seemingly piddly little thing can make such an enormous difference. Who'd a thunk it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Don't take it for granted.

Every time I jump on my bike and hit the roads around Roanoke, I realize just how lucky I am to live in such an amazing place. I am still in love with this area after all these years.

Pookie & Laura climbing on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A spectacular view of the Roanoke Valley from Bent Mountain.

Ragweed may not be like the sunflowers in the Tour De France, but it's still pretty cool!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why are people so afraid of giant robots?

Every time that I see a giant humonoid robot during a road ride, they are alway friendly. I don't understand what all the fuss is about.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

RACE REPORT: Six Hours of Warrior Creek

The past few racing seasons for me have been full of really cool experiences. I've done some very fast, short mountain cross events that sent my heart rate into the stratosphere for an hour. I've done some awesome cross country events at superb venues. I've been part of teams of really incredible people for 24 and 18 hour events. And now I've done my first solo endurance event.

I'm a fast learner. It only takes me one time bent over heaving my guts out on the side of the trail to realize I made a mistake or two. For example:

1. Lap one of a six hour event should not be ridden at the same pace as a regular two hour cross country event.

2. Not drinking or eating anything during the first lap of a six hour event (at cross country pace) is a poor choice.

3. Repeating mistakes #1 and #2 again during lap two is also a poor choice.

So there I was, 25 miles into it when my body shuts down. It was just about 15 minutes into my third lap of the 11 mile course. The legs lock up, my head starts pounding and I feel like I'm gonna hurl. I was pushing up things that I easily rode on laps one and two. I was finished. My decision was made: I was going to limp back to our pit area, sit down and feel sorry for myself.

I realized that I had no fueling plan going into the race, so it was no surprise when the tank ran empty. I hobbled under one of our pop-up tents, grabbed a bottled water and propped my feet up. I was D-O-N-E.

I ate some Clif Shot Bloks, downed some Hammer Endurolytes and a bottle of Cytomax. 45 minutes went by and I didn't care if I got back on the bike or not. Then like a switch being thrown, I felt better and decided that as long as I was there I would do another lap for fun. Yes, fun! I was so busy racing that I forgot to enjoy the trails. They are awesome! The guys at BMCC in Wilksboro have built a heck of a network of killer trails. They are a kick to ride, and I had a blast my last lap. Even passed quite a few folks!

I finished up my 44th mile with a smile on my face. (Yea, it does look kinda fake, but I was spent and had to force it a bit - I was really smiling inside though!)

Post race, lots of beer from Boone Brewing was handed out, and the event was a great time. Next year I will do it again, and I will have a better plan.

The chicky side of the house delivered the goods as part of the winning three-person female team! Congrats to Gina, Jen & Pookie! Nice job ladies!