Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bear Brook fun fast ride

Went tent campin for the last time this year this past weekend in NH and hit up Bear Brook with Taylor Clark and Anthony Catauro from Clark Bros Racing, and Ken Avery from Geax (sporting a prototype tire on his Transition Bandit 27.5).  Lots of nerdy tire, bike, and racer talking on this ride. My bike geek meter was delightfully overloading. We got in a bunch of fast miles too, of course.

The trails were not what I expected. It being NH, I was expecting lots of climbing and more rocks (especially knowing that Taylor is very skilled in the rough stuff and has to ride rocks somewhere - it ain't at Bear Brook I guess). The trails at BB are pretty well groomed, and the climbs weren't thigh-busting - you definitely gained el, but in thoughtful switchbacks.

Bear Brook is a dragstrip. Very fast. Some real grin-inducing sections that ride great both ways. It reminded me quite a bit of Nickerson State Park in a lot of places - similar fast trails carved in the hillsides (with lots of downed trees - tho from logging in Bear Brook as opposed to winter storms in Nick). Bear Brook's trails tend to go for longer, though, as the area covers like 10,000 acres, which is more than 5x the area of Nickerson and 10x the area of TOT.

Something dawned on me while riding here and comparing it to the many places I've ridden. While Cape Cod doesn't have the elevation, some of our climbs are just as hard, maybe harder, if a bit shorter. Part of that is that some of our trails, especially where we train a lot in Sandwich, are mx trails. Mxers can climb ridiculously steep, rutted out trails. Mtbikers have a limit on what makes sense as far as pitch and looseness of climbs go. But we train there anyway. Roger Wharton didn't call them his "heartbreakers" for nothing. I'd even go as far as to say that some of the climbs where we train in Pine Hills (over the bridge in So. Plymouth) are among the hardest I've done anywhere because they're long (relatively speaking..5 mins) and straight up the hillside.  

Bear Brook is also super popular. Tons of riders and lots of racer kits and bikes, whole teams even. Again reflecting on living on a peninsula - there are 3 MTB race teams here, and we often split up geographically between the 3 riding areas (Corner at Otis, Sea Sports at TOT, CCMTB at Nickerson).

So overall a really fun ride. Assuming we'll camp in Auburn NH again next year (if the campground can get rid of some of the riffraff), I think I'll probably hit up FOMBA again.  There's not a ton there, but with bike mileage to and fro, I could get in a solid 30. And what I rode and FOMBA wasn't fast n flowy, but it made up for it in rocks everywhere, something we have to go lookin for down here in paradise.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Landmine Classic 2013 race report

You finish, you feel like crap, you force yourself to ride around a bit, you check the results board, you leave the venue, you stop at the first store you see (Wholefoods!) and buy too much food and then EAT your face off.

At least that's my usual post-race routine, with the occasional podium ceremony thrown in if you're lucky enough.

Then a couple days go by and the results come out and you look at your time and other guys' times and do some calculations and generally feel pretty good or pretty not-so-good about your performance.

Except not this time.

This time you look at the results and go "huh?"

My time doesn't look right in relation to some other guys' times. It looks around 2-4 minutes too good. I know of 3 guys passed me who started after me, and their times should be at least 2-4 mins better, but they're not.

So, either:
1) Some of the times are wrong...OR...
2) I inadvertently cut the course and then re-joined it without realizing it - I've looked at the map and can't possibly figure out where I would have - if I did, it would have had to happened between feedzone 2 and 3, maybe near the end of 3 where there were some tight loops?...I don't know...OR...
3) The riders I'm comparing myself to went off course, and then I passed them while they were off course - which seems ever more unlikely.

I faithfully followed the course arrows and confess to being confused a couple times (I know I'm not alone there) - BUT - I think I stayed on it, and had people in front or in back of me almost the whole time.  So I'm really hard-pressed to figure out how I could have cut and rejoined without me or someone else noticing.  

Anyhoo, I've sent the awesome folks at Root66 a message with the details and will let them decide my fate. I'd DQ myself if I knew for sure I cut the course, but again, I can't figure out how I could have. So maybe it was just a timing error. Confused.

Regardless, the race was super fun, fast, hard, etc.  Typical Landmine. I raced Cat1 40's - geared - as my SS BB was giving me the blues. Me and gears don't mesh, so about halfway through, I stopped all the shifting shenanigans, let some air out the tires, and pretty much rode the rest of the ST in 2 gears - either 38/19 or 38/22. Much better.

For some reason, my memory of past Landmines told me that it was pretty much over after feed zone 3. Wrong.  There was one fairly bony section that took its toll before it got to the easier/fast stuff and quite a lot of Cat 3 (I assume) traffic. Love seeing those folks out there.

I am planning on doing the Freetown 50, hopefully on the SS if I can get it sorted in time. And I'm planning on doing a lot more road riding this fall, some martial arts, Pilates, and just generally staying in shape without as much suffering.  Looking forward to it!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hodges Village Dam 2013 Race Report

During some mtb races you start out in a pack, the pack sorts itself out, and then you end up riding by yourself for a long time - I've ridden races without seeing another rider for 20/25 minutes - you start wondering if you took a wrong turn.  Hodges Village Dam 2013 was the total opposite.

I was really interested to see how I would do in this race, coming off my bonkmeltdown at the Barn Burner a couple weeks ago. I put in some hard training miles since that race, hoping to salvage whatever I could from the season as it starts winding down -- and to see if I had any race left in my legs for 2013.

The SS class was about 10 deep and well stacked. Off we went and Mottram, Witkus, and Beal were off the front never to be seen again. Jason Rabidou was behind them and then Dave Richardson and then me. I was hoping to use Dave as a measuring stick as I'm usually competitive with him, but he beat me by quite a bit at the Barn Burner. 

It's funny how you can tell how a race is going to go pretty early.  I took a much shorter warmup then I did at the Barn Burner, and that seemed to help. I felt good from the whistle and was confident that my fitness would hold better than it did at the Burner. But I still dialed it back a touch in the first couple laps to make sure I had something left for the last two.  Glad I did as I was toast by the end.

At the first steep/sandy hill Dave went up a bit and then dismounted and pulled aside, presumably to let others (me) try to ride the hill. I passed Dave and tried to ride the hill but failed, and hopped off the bike and looked back and I didn't think there was anybody close enough behind me that I shouldn't just run the hill.  So I I felt a little odd bolting as I think Dave was being courteous, but it being a race and there being nobody close behind, I just kept going. I'm not sure if Dave was being overly courteous or had a mechanical or what (maybe I was just being a dick, though I don't think so). Anyway, I never saw Dave again, or after the race, so I'm not sure what really happened.  Ironically, it was at that same hill last year that a racer muffed it and then stood in the middle and wouldn't let anyone else pass and actually said 'too bad'.

So on I went and I eventually caught and tailed Rabidou.  We drafted each other, kept each other in sight and he and I rode together the rest of the race, trading the lead back and forth. Neither of us got more than 10 seconds up on the other. Man, it was fun. We were just locked in on each other's paces for 3.5 laps, missing that same new S-turn on all 4 laps, laughing at my awful CX skills, etc. We were having fun, but also still racing hard. 

Jason's a cat3 CX racer so he owned the couple of dismounts and run-ups during the laps.  He might've had a slightly easier gear than me too as he seemed to have more snap on the hills. My strength compared to him was in the techy singletrack, where I would slowly reel him back in - my slightly bigger gear may have helped there and on flats too.

I knew where I needed to attack him in lap 4 to beat him, but I just didn't have the power to do it and stay away, so I decided to stay put behind him hoping he'd make a mistake or gas. He did neither, and put a gap in me as we ran up the last get-off hill on lap 4.  He quickly remounted and was gone. I did my usual hop-hop awkward remount and I knew that was that. Then Matt Myette and his sweet matching Zancanato kit and bike came out of nowhere to catch me and he said 'hi' all casual and pleasant-like as if he wanted to chat.  I said 'hi - 4th is right in front of us - go get him!" and that lit a fire under him and off he bolted and caught Jason (sorry Jason lol) right before the finish. So Myette got 4th, Jason 5th, me 6th, all within a minute and only a couple minutes off the podium. I wonder if Myette left a little too much in the tank as he seemed a lot fresher than us at the 24 mile mark.

So I was extremely happy with my race - not just how fun it was, but also with my fitness. I'm not sure where my race fitness went after starting the season with three 2nd places, but it seems like it's coming back around.  I think I just didn't do enough long/hard rides mid-season to keep my fitness up when I wasn't racing and most others were.  This is my first full season in Cat1, so I have a lot more to learn about training. I feel like my trajectory is definitely back on the upslope for this season though.  So looking forward to some more hard training and then hopefully feeling good at the last couple races.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Barn Burner race report 2013...Bonkerooapaloozafest

Let's start right off by saying that the Barn Burner was really awesome. A great new race venue, deceivingly difficult course, plenty of parking, very well organized, free beer  if you stuck around long enough (Harpoon Summer is quite tasty fyi), prizes, raffle, kids races. It had everything. And so well run it was hard to believe this was the first edition.

The course: if you rode this for fun, you'd think it was pretty easy. Couple of short steep hills, some slick roots parallel to the trail, one tough-but-rideable rock garden...and otherwise pretty fun and slow-flowy.

Racing it is a different story, I think because there really aren't many places to coast. You're constantly on the gas and it wears you down. Big time. There were quite a few shelled racers at the finish.

So this was like the single speed open world championships of New England. 21 pre-registered was the biggest SS field I've seen except for maybe the Cat 2 SS race at Massasoit a couple of years ago.

Lots of big hitters too. And some guys I didn't know, but who looked strong and had nice kits (I especially liked the matching Zanconato bike and kit...the googles tell me it might have been Matt Myette? Sharp.).

Sea Sports Teammates Tim Johnson, Gabe Agaman and I all pre-rode the course, which was, in retrospect, a mistake. I flatted and we all probably exerted more than we should have. Teammate Jeff Craddock had the right idea in not pre-riding, though navigating his two kids around the kid race probably was even more taxing.

So we lined up for the race and GO! and 20 people hurtled up the double track spinning like crazy to try to gain the single track holeshot. I have no idea what happened at the front as I was quickly far behind. I spent lap 1 and lap 2 working hard to make up spaces.  I figured I had made it to about 5th after 2 laps and knew there were a couple guys I have beaten in the past in front of me, so I felt pretty good.

And then the bottom fell out.

If lap 3 of my race was a music festival, it would be called Bonkeroo.  Or Bonkapalooza. Or Bonkfest.

I absolutely snailed the 3rd lap. So slow, cramps threatening at every stroke. People who I passed minutes before passed me back.  Charlie Beal had 2 mechanicals and still passed me back. One guy passed me, pulled off to piss (in what was clearly a metaphor for my race), and then passed me again. To quote Alec Petro's Strava description, I was "cratering".

I came through the start/finish after my worst lap ever and debated quitting rather than going out for lap 4, but I decided to keep going for some godawfulprideful reason.

I either very vaguely rebounded during lap 4 or just got used to the suffering and managed to put in a couple efforts here and there and squeezed out a 10th place zit.

I'm slightly encouraged and perplexed to discover that I wasn't the only one who was really hurting on what seemed like a fairly tame course. Maybe it was the constant twisty ups and downs that built and built and took their toll?  I don't know. I overheard TJ Jacius - who got an awesome 2nd step on the podium! - saying that he was really hurting during lap 4, so maybe it  was tough on everyone (except maybe Mottram, who destroyed everyone. Again.).

Weird result for me, I have to say. Smh. Not sure what happened. Onto the next.

So, must mention, teammate Gabe had a pretty awesome race - a great 12th place in front of some strong guys.

I'll let him tell the rest of the story.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Domnarski Farm 2013 Race Report

Cat 1 Singlespeed, DNF.

Bit late posting this obviously, but since I reference these blog posts when planning for races, this one may come in handy for 2014.

Having said that, if the future Finn is reading this...RUN 32X20 at Domnarski, you moron.

So for a person who believes that things happen for a reason, I sure messed up this time. On the day before the race, Adin Maynard comments in my blog asking about gearing and I inexplicably don't see it as a sign that running 32X18 is too big a gear for me. I figured out it was in the warmup. I didn't bring extra cogs to the race, so I'm stuck with what I was running.  Most everyone else in the Cat 1 field was running 32X20.  Adin, too, ran 32X20 and won the Cat 2 SS field (in front of a strong 3rd place for my teammate Gabe).

As for me, the Cat 1 race starts out in a 32x20 conga line up hill and me with my big gear, I'm struggling.  Too hard a gear, and being in a different gear in the conga line means I'm not going fast enough to be in a groove, grinding too hard, rubbing tires.  Up we go, I make a couple passes, the first 5 of us stay pretty close.

The thing about running too big a gear is that the lighter geared guys can go away from you on the steeper climbs, but you figure you'll get them on the gradual climbs and flats.  But you're spent from the steep climb, then you push to catch up on the flat.  You make up ground, but then by the time you get to the next climb you're spent from chasing and away they go. On a hill I attacked on last year (in 32x20) I ended up walking some this year.   I wasn't having as much fun as I should have.

So midway through the 1st lap Arnold Roest (eventual winner) goes by. That put me in 4th and I decided that if I could see Arnold by the end of the lap, I'd suffer through a 2nd lap.  I saw Arnold all the way up the power lines, about 20 seconds in front of me (I counted). Could also see the two leaders up further. Then I lost Arnold on the downs leading to the start/finish, but figured it was tight and twisty enough that he was probably right there.  But near the end of the lap I was pretty bushed.

I came upon a slightly dazed geared rider on the side of a rocky downhill trail and stopped to see how he was doing.  He was hurting.  Things happening for a reason and all, I decided to pull the plug on my day and ride out with him.

Domnarski Farm is a fun race (with the right gearing) and a good time.  There were a bunch of exciting finishes too - guys sprinting right to the line.  And it was great to see all the Root 66 crowd I hadn't seen yet this year -- bunch of really good guys.

So, now looking forward to the Pinnacle.  Curious to see if my climbing legs are adequate.  I'll be in 32x20.
I'll be breaking my 2-hour commute rule (again), but I've never raced there and it's supposed to be a fun race and it'll be my last one for a few weeks before I pick things back up in late July (so I say now...).  I have a shoulder injury I've been nursing since March that just isn't healing, so I'm hoping a bit of down time might help.  Of course, an X-ray might help too.  Maybe in October.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


In Medway, we call it skid-hopping.

We waited inconspicuously at the stop sign.  The pick-up truck pulled up and then took the right onto Holliston St.  The truck’s tires spun out momentarily in the deepening snow, a pause that allowed just enough time for the four of us to run out and snatch on to the back bumper.  Our weight probably helped the tries grip.  Off we went. 

We skid-hopped along the slick road for close to a mile before reaching the busiest intersection in town, the crossroads of Holliston St and Main St.  Three of us peeled off, tumbling in howls of laughter as the powder broke our falls.  But Ollie held on, and careened through the intersection still affixed to the truck’s bumper.  

We watched in shocked admiration. Then we saw the cop car, idling at the red light, its driver no doubt even more shocked than us.

It pulled out behind the truck and on came the blues and Ollie spun off into the plow piles at the side of the road.  We ran across the intersection and stood in front of the The Little Store and watched as the cop got out and we saw Ollie motioning towards his house that was just a few dozen yards down the road and off they went.

It was the stuff of high school legend, Ollie careening through the intersection. Fearless and unstoppable. 

It wasn’t the first crossroad he had careened through. 

Ollie came to Medway from Brockton.  Short and stocky, rumored to be a tough kid, saddled with a stutter that he learned to make light of as the years passed. 

High school fights, primal as they are, can make and break a kid much more than they should.  Ollie had to prove his toughness on day one.  He did. Tough. And smart, very smart. Athletic, funny, caring.  He’d overcome his new-kid status to be president of the class in two years’ time. Careening.

We’d stay in touch through college and for years after, but I’d eventually lose regular contact with Ollie.  Sure, there was the parking lot at Great Woods before a concert – I don’t even remember who was playing, but I remember the tailgating before and the faint “Finnaayyyyy!!!” in the distance, over and over, and standing on my car and seeing Ollie wandering through the parking lot calling my name out because he figured I’d probably be there.  And the random phone call when he was up from Virgina to play in a golf tournament and his asking if I’d come out and meet him in Hyannis and my laughing “are you kidding me, of course I will!”  And Christ, it was just like old times, the drinking and laughing, the deep appreciation for a friendship we hadn’t honored enough through the years.

Suicide leaves a blast zone that permanently scars family and friends.  This month marks five years after my buddy Scott’s suicide blew apart our tight group of mt biking friends.  I knew Scott was feeling at a crossroads in his life and I had bought him the book Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore, a career-search book that is more like a guide on how to position yourself to live what Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist calls your “personal legend.”  Scott never read the book.  I don’t know if it would have helped him as it did me and so many others – helped him to see the crossroad for what it could be – the opportunity to forgive himself for all the past bad decisions, and the clean slate needed to get on with living the life he was meant to.

While I knew that Scott was struggling (though not to what degree), I don’t know what Ollie was going through; I wish he’d have reached out to tell me.  I only know that he was a good friend and that I feel so, so badly for him -- for the pain that he must have been going through, so great that it would have made him reach a crossroad and decide to stop, forever.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Glocester Grind 2013 Race Report

Singlespeed Open 32x18

My first time doing the Glocester Grind.  Heard it was technical and muddy.  Surely it couldn't be muddy this year! Wrong.  Muddy.  And yeah, technical.  But I felt confident because I spent a good portion of Friday getting race ready:

Julian with a slight lead on me and Layni in her iBert seat.

Gabe and I were the sole Team Sea Sports representatives for the day. I gotta say, our Champion Systems kit is pretty darn sharp.  And comfy. I feel like I'm riding in pajamas.

SS Open class had 6 or 7 guys.  We go.  Shawn Mottram gets the holeshot and yardsales the first root.  That was pretty funny - especially since we knew he was going to kill us all.  He got back on and pushed his big gear over the roots and through the rocks and to grandmother's house and to a galaxy far far away from us.

I ended up on 3rd wheel behind an NBX rider. He was going at a decent pace so I sat in and got my bearings. Taylor Clark passed on a short uphill and as he threaded between two rocks, his bike lurched sideways and SNAP! went his chain.  He would DNF. That sucked for him as I have a feeling he was going to do really well.

I pushed on behind NBX guy, but wanted to pass so I could get a better view of the lines through the tech.  Just when I was deciding to pass, he went down in a rooty corner.  I went by and put a push in.  I then rode by myself for a long time.

On the 2nd lap I passed elite rider Alby King as he was finishing a trailside repair.  He went by me soon after and I kept him in sight for a while. That was cool as he was riding muddy technical sections that I chose to run the first lap.  So I rode them too.  He eventually put elite watts down and dropped me.

Also caught up to Mo Bruno Roy in a muddy rock garden.  We both had to run it. She remounts like a CX pro.  I remount like a drunk elephant. Gotta work on that.

So after all the mud and roots and rocks, I crossed in 2nd place (my fifth 2nd place finish in a row!?), about 8 earth minutes down on Shawn. Results here. Shawn was top expert. Sick. I wish we could give him a better run for it, but he's just waaay stronger.

Here's the podium pic:

(that's a joke some will get)

Overall I was happy with the day - I'm not the best technical rider, so I'm not used to that kind of riding.  But it really did get more fun as the race went on, so I found myself wishing there were trails like that on Cape.

While I was racing Glocester, my wife was racing a sub-27 minute 5K in the extremely popular and awesome YPD (Yarmouth Police Dept) 5K (the video looks like it was taken on the Zapruders' camera). Her time was a personal record for her, accomplished no less on World IBD day (she has Crohn's disease).  She is clearly kicking Crohn's ass.

Next race...hmmm.  I really want to do Domnarski, but it's not lining up well for me right now.  Gotta try to figure something out. I really want to do Pinnacle too, but it's well outside my 2 hour(ish) travel limit.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weeping Willow 2013 Race Report

Single Speed Open, geared 32x18 as it seems most of us were.

(There are some awesome pics of this race on sponsor Riverside Racing's Facebook page, as well as pro pics from Laura Kozlowski, including this great one of me and Matt Aumiller saying hi before the race.)

So, my goal going in was top 5.  Arnold Roest was nice enough to introduce himself before the race, which was good because that’s who I wanted to try to mark as I suspect he’s a bit faster than me.  Last year’s winner Ryan Littlefield was also in the field, but I wouldn’t know who he was until a bit later in the race…(cue the suspenseful music).  Some other fast guys there too -- talked to Matt Aumiller at the start line, I recognized NEMBA racer Mark Tucker too, as well as some guys quite a bit younger than me in our open field.

Off we went,
I couldn’t get clipped in,
too many people passed me,
put too much effort into trying to get to the front group,
but got there eventually and settled in for a bit to catch my breath.

So in other words, it was my usual start. Better than last week's almost reverse holeshot start, but still not good.

So a few minutes in I was in 5th behind Arnold when he lost traction and went down in a rooty turn.  I heard his rear tire let out a burp.  With a roaring pace going, I figured he might have trouble airing up and then catching back on.  I guess a later wrong turn really did him in, though he still finished top half. 

So in 4th and a few minutes later I started feeling like I could go a bit faster than the pace so I went by Matt and Curtis Lavoie, but then Curtis stuck like a fruit strip wrapper (parent simile).  And it didn’t seem like the pace was taxing him much.  AHH!  Then we hit the traffic of two pro women and I got lucky with a wide uphill pass, but then it turned twisty again and Curtis couldn't easily get by.  So he ended up a few seconds back and I pushed for a bit to try to unstick him and it worked.

So firmly in 2nd, I started hunting and eventually saw leader Ryan through the woods.  As we went on, I would slowly gain on him in the singletrack, but he had an acceleration on the fire roads that would instantly put me a few more seconds down.  

On both laps I got my closest to him on the one hard climb at mile 6.  First lap I got on his rear wheel by the top, but then he dropped me on the flats leading to the start/finish.  I saw him in front of me for most of lap 2, and pushed really hard to reel him in. 

I figured if I had any hope of beating him, it would be to pass him before or at the mile 6 hill and then bury myself through the finish to try to hold on.  And I did close the gap going into the hill (thanks partly to drafting pro winner Crystal Anthony), but then I muffed the hill.  I had to get off and push, he didn’t, game over.

I raced the best I could I think, just lost to a stronger guy.  Ryan is super nice and I think he enjoyed getting pushed as much as I enjoyed his being the carrot.
Always a bridesmaid (my fourth 2nd place finish in a row).
So, in conclusion, Weeping Willow was awesome.  My time was 1:21.25, which isn’t a very long time for a mt bike race, BUT, if you spend the whole time redlined it is really hard.  My Sea Sports teammate Tim did awesome too with a 7th (of 16) in his first Expert field finish. 

I’m not that great with big crowds and was kind of dreading what I knew would be a sell-out event.  But it certainly didn’t seem like there was a ton of people there.  Parking was easy, vendors spread out, enough porta-potties.  Even though there were a lot of racers on the course at the same time, besides the guys in my field, I think I only passed the pro women and one guy.  So it seems like the way they staggered us was pretty perfect. 

Onto the Glocester Grind!  Thanks for reading. 

(Ok, I can't go a blog post without sharing a pic of my kids)

Children of the children of the 70's. At Ice Cream Smuggler, Dennis MA.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

EFTA Battle at Burlingame Race Report 2013

Yo.  Congrats if you’re reading this as you clearly have LOTS of free time.

Us frickin Cape Codders live in paradise, and as a result, we have little reason to ever want to go over yonder bridges.  And when we do venture into the real world, the navigational results can be laughable. 

What's over themthar bridges?  (photo Mike Whalen: whale24 on flickr)

So when Sea Sports teammates Tim “not that one” Johnson and Gabe “the illustrated man” Agaman piled into my wife's milfwagon, we relied on Siri to get us to Burlingame. Bad idea. We ended up going the long way AND getting lost, leaving us little time for a warmup. 

Gabe and I were in the open single speed class and we thought our class would be starting behind the expert classes.  Wrong again -- pros, then us. So he and I ended up where I often did in elementary school - the back of the class. 

Off we went and I called “reverse holeshot!” but someone beat me to it, darnit!  So having blown that distinction, I decided to actually race.  I pushed hard for a bit to try to get near the front and when I passed a couple guys in the race sponsor kits of NBX, one of the guys reminded me that it was a long race (5 laps at 5.5 miles per). Oh yeah, 27.5 frickin miles long! What are we, pro? Not only that, but it's the first race (for me) of the season.

So, ya, I started pacing myself a bit better at that point. And in retrospect, the race distance was probably proper -- 4 laps would have put many of us well under 2 hours.  Better too long than not long enough (TWSS).

I eventually made my way up to 3rd and the guy in 2nd seemed to be having some bike issues.  So into 2nd I went.  I then pushed for a while to see if I could catch 1st (Shawn Mottram), but then decided he must be long gone (and boy was I right as he beat me by 7 – that’s SEVEN American – minutes).

I settled in and started racing backwards - basically looking over my shoulder to try to hold off anyone in my class but noone came...luckily, as I was fading as the race went on.  I did get to ride with teammate/Sea Sports owner Jeff Craddock for a while, which was cool.  And I rode with pro winner Justine Lindine for a while too, gave him some pointers, some training advice, stuff like that.  (Ok, what really happened is he came up behind me so quickly I crapped humble pie into my chamois and fell over in his passing wind wake).

Me and Taylor Clark...winner Shawn Mottram was chasing his kid around somewhere.
(Matt from NBX on left) 

Thanks to NBX and TRIMOM for putting together a great race.  Great organization = less rider stress = more fun for everyone.  This race was a very fun time all around.  
Thanks to my team and LBS Sea Sports for their always awesome support.
And thanks to Kristy for letting me indulge my ego, keeping the kiddies entertained for the day, and letting the team use the milfwagon.

Onto Willowdale! (I didn't set out to do all EFTA races this year, it's just that these first few are closer to me.  I'm looking forward to mixing it up with my fellow Root 66 singlespeed screwballs at some point).

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Working trail debris into trail features

Cape Cod's Willow St trails are diagonally across the street from my work.  Like most of the trails in #NEMTB territory, there's too much snow to ride, and the trails are in need of serious post-Nemo maintenance.

So today's lunch was spent starting the trail cleaning process.  I grabbed my handsaw and went out on the Niner One 9.

Single Speed and hand saw...trail clearing necessities
There were areas of bare ground, but the trails were mostly covered in 3-4 inches of slushy snow -- too much to ride through, so there was more sawing than riding.

Trailhead greeting previewed things to come.
After a bit of sawing, riding, and hiking, I came upon this big one.  

Too thick for a handsaw and in a spot where hopping it wasn't realistic for a big guy with limited skills such as meself.  So I decided to use the branches that fell down around it to make it a rideable ramp.  As you can see in the vid, it was hard to get any speed into it because of the snow, but I think it'll be a cool feature eventually...

I only got about a mile of work done, if that.  There's about 12 miles total in there, so lots more to come. 

Thanks for reading...