Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yankee Springs TT Report

A nice weekend, a nice race, and a nice result. It doesn't get much better than that. The weather turned out to be in our favor and was sunny and mid-70's. The team did a pre-ride Saturday afternoon and conditions of the trail seemed to be good. Some sandy corners, but all was good. Nothing like a fast and FLOWING course.

The race started after a unique Van Halen version of the National Anthem! I was third off the line and passed my 15 second man a few minutes into the loop. I was looking for the first starter, but didn't find him until mid-way through the trail where he was camped out on the side of a hill looking like a spectator. From there on out, I saw no one. I was looking behind to see if anyone was coming, but nothing. I was handling the bike really good today. I spent some time riding laps of Torn Shirt and Murray Lake last week and it seemed to help. Better than sliding all over at Pontiac. I had one quick slide-out where I almost fell, but just a quick knee down. In the last mile I pulled a stupid rookie mistake by looking behind me since I thought I heard a chain. I didn't see anyone, but I met a nice inch thick sapling. It bent over, but I had to unclip and let it slide trough so I could keep going! Just before the finish I was passed by Christian Tanguay who eventually won the race. It was fast and fun and a really good turnout. I cracked the top 10 with a ninth place finish of 46:00. I was happy with the result and not really any bad mistakes today. The Western Chapter did a great job and put on a fun race.

Next up is the Greenbrier Challenge in Maryland this weekend where I am sure the competition is going to be strong. It sound like the course is what I like, one big climb in it like Boyne.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pontiac Lake TT Recap

Lesson learned-greasy mud throws the bike down fast!

The race went well, I tried to keep the rubber down, but that sure as hell did not happen. I put a decent 42 minute lap in for the first loop, and a lap 12 seconds slower on the second loop. Not too bad, but I was really tentative on lap 2. Overall, I am happy with the result. There are a lot of places where I can make up time, so just a little work and handling should do the trick.

I started off in the middle ring and then not being able to hit the big ring. As soon as I eased it off, I was able to shift up. The lap was going good and the body felt great. About 3 miles in I slid out on a greasy corner. I could feel it going...I threw a leg out...I kept sliding...then I fell. It was one of those falls that you know is coming, but I dragged on for so long. I kept the pace up and eventually caught my 15 second man on a loose, rooted climb. Not too far after, I was cruising down the trail and was carrying all of my speed through the corner when all I knew I was down. It was quick. No reaction time at all, I was just down on the ground. I guess that is the safe and best way, but it was quick. Shawn was right behind me and hit my down bike and flew over. Sorry about that. I got up and my bars were twisted, so I decided to pull the tools out (I did try to force the bars over, but it was not happening. I started loosening one bolt when I realized I was a dumb ass. I put the tools away and went on my way. I guess I whacked my brake caliper into my rotor because it made a horrible high pitched sound the rest of the race.

Lap 2 came and I was riding good, but braking in every corner. After a guy went by me, I got some more motivation and picked up the pace and went by him not too long after. I came in at 1:24:16, my fastest Pontiac yet. 14th overall isn't too bad, better than I was expecting.

After looking at my bike later, I noticed some carnaige. I have a nice sized dent in my top tube. I lined it up and it matched with my brake lever. The lever snapped out of place(like it should upon impact) and it crushed my top tube. That exlpains the twisted handlebars. It doesn't look broken, just a nice indentation.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pisgah National Forest

Why, why did we ever have to come back. The riding is just so good and the views of the mountains and waterfalls/streams were magnificent. To bad reality has struck and so has Michigan weather. Give me a break, low 30's and 29 degrees on Friday. WTF? Why can't we just have 80 degree temps like the last few weekends down south? Okay, so this is how it went.

-Drove down to NC on Friday and got to the campground around 8 pm. Put the tent up, moved it, moved it again, and then took it down. All thanks to Ranger "stormin' Normin'" Somehow, he had a problem with all of our tents and decided to change his mind in the 15 minutes that he was gone. Oh well, it all worked out...except for the zipper on the other tent!!!

-Rode some dirt road to Candy Bottom, then hit up Daniel's Ridge. Some good techy climbing and some good efforts thrown in. We rode by a really neat waterfall and it seemed like we were riding through the jungle. Leaves were on the trees and the rivers were flowing at full stream.

-Finished up the day with some screaming fast downhill sections that were super fast and flowy. It sure did get the adrenaline flowing. Temps were in the high 70's and it was a picture perfect day. Cleaned up and then went shopping before hanging out at everyone's favorite store(Sprawl-mart.)

-Day 2 had a nice long ride in store. It poured on us the night before, but seemed to stop in order for us to get some time in the saddle. We rode up Laurel Mt and had lunch at the top. It turned into an epic ride with a good solid rain after a long hike-a-bike section. It cooled off and the wind set in. The rain made it for some fun times cruzin' down the downhills with wet roots and rocks. The downhill section was a blast. Some tough switchbacks and then narly rock gardens and some drops.

-Rode up to Pilot Rock and saw the view. It was much better than the 10ft view of haze from Laurel Mt. The weather had turned around and the trail was in good shape. Closed off the ride with a fast and fun downhill then a road climb back.

-Day 3 turned into a beautiful day. Around 80F and sunny skies. The ride of choice was Black Mt. It was a really fun fire-road climb to the top at a good clip. It then turned into singletrack and some hike-a-bike sections. We stopped at a great view of the mountain valley with a scope on the road that we had climbed. Once we got the the top, the fun notch was kicked up. The downhill was the best I have ever ridden. We screamed down it and rolled off water bars that seemed to never end. Flying over rocks and roots and flowing through the corners made the entire trip worth it. We descened for a while until we hit some other trail that flew down the rest of the Mt. with whoop type jumps and fast wide corners. It was my favorite ride of the weekend and I wish we had that stuff around here.

-Then...we had to leave. Randy, Amanda, and I took the 10hr trip back to poor old Michigan. It was a great trip and well worth the time and money invested. I only wish I had an entire week to ride there. The trails really seem to help the technical skills and overall handling of the bike. I was home about 2am this morning and had to get up just past 6 for school. Time to make up that lost sleep.

Now, what shall the weather do? I hope it stays dry tomorrow so I can ride down to the Poto and get a quick lap in and back home. I am assuming it will take somehwere around 3.5hrs for the loop. We shall see...