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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pullin' The Trigger

The festive atmosphere at the BBQ last night helped to "get the ball rolling" on registration for the Sierra 100.... or maybe it was the fact that we'd been drinking beer in the sun at the Tour De Fat all day and just kept the momentum going at the BBQ that ran into the night. In any event, I "ponied up" to the computer, put down my beer and started the registration process ensuring me a full day of pain and suffering while Mark and Aaron watched and waited with credit cards in hand to join in the fun. With the last "click" of the mouse, the weeks of debating about registering turned to some serious shit talking as Mark tried to predict the future of the race through some seriously cloudy "beer goggles".

Plans for todays epic ride changed a bit as the smoke from the STILL O.C fires on the western slope of the Sierra has drifted back into the Truckee area and the party ran into the later hours last night. Planning epic rides the day after an all day party atmosphere just isn't a good idea. We probably knew this and inevitably will probably do the same thing again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Northstar Series Race #2

Reasonably better navigating this week. I didn't get lost once!!! More favorable course in comparison to last week.

The start of 1 hour races are usually brutal and tonight's outcome would be no different. I went from 2nd to 7th or so about 1/3rd up the first climb. I managed to get around a few guys before reaching the top & starting the descent. The course descended down Upper Mineshaft to Woods to Deerpath. I like this course. Unlike last weeks course which went straight up.... then straight down, tonight's course went straight up, a couple minutes of descending, then some nice XC style undulating single track with bits of DH trails w/ jumps thrown in for good measure. Table-tops and gap jumps are also something you don't see on your typical XC course..... unfortunately. The DH race that used part of the woods trail definitely worked the trail a bit, but overall the course didn't feel like your typical ski area race.

By lap two, I was in third. About 20 seconds back. I tried "pinning it" in a few sections, but just couldn't make any time on 2nd place. I would stay at 20 seconds back for the entire race loosing just a bit more time while stuck behind some lappers on the final bit of descending of the final lap.

I'd like to thank my sponsors....... oh yea, that's right, I don't have any. Then I guess I'll just thank who/whatever kept my under-inflated front tire from getting a flat.... especially after hearing the tell tale "thung" of the rim hitting a rock.... twice. I saw quit a few folks pushing bikes back down with no air in the tires. Don't people carry provisions for fixing a flat these days???

Friday, July 18, 2008

northstar race series #1 re-cap

My plan was to leave the house with a leisurely 1 hour/8.5 mile ride out to the race venue. I left a little later than I wanted to in trade for watching the Budds Creek National Motocross on TV. This would leave me with a "spirited" 40 minute ride to the race.

I arrived at race registration plenty warmed up with about 12 minutes to spare before race time. I would use these 12 minutes to ride the first few hundred meters of the start and end of the course, visit the men's room and have a feeble attempt at some stretching while the race promoter, Kyle, did a "run-down" of the course layout.

Lap 1: BANG! We're off. The 12 mile race would make for a fast pace more akin to cyclocross than mountain biking. After climbing at a ridiculously high heart rate we were at mid mountain and I was positioned 2nd behind Mario (fresh off a win at Downieville) with two riders trailing but fading and the rest of the pack well behind. The course continued to climb as Mario and I pushed on. As we crested the hill there were two options, straight or right. No course markings. Mario went straight, I followed. We went downhill on a fireroad. Lots of downhill on fireroad. Yep, we're lost. Mario was freaked and mad. I didn't care too much. I get lost all the time on rides, as anybody I ride with will tell you.... ain't that right Aaron. We make our way back towards the course. Mario and I split up. I jump back on course in about 5th to start lap 2.

Lap 2: I work my way up to third on the climb.... then I miss the left onto Forrest AGAIN!!!! I was bummed... and over it. After climbing waaaaay beyond the boundary of the course, I figured I was on my way towards Mt. Pluto. At this point, I decided to salvage the day and keep riding towards the single track that would put me onto the Sawtooth trails, then I'd just ride home. This plan quickly changed however as I came upon the lower half of Livewire. As I looked down the side of the mountain I saw a beautiful ribbon of freshly watered trail with table tops and doubles sandwiched between bermed turns. I hesitated for about a nano-second, then dropped in. Sweet, sweet revenge. In my mind, victory was mine!! Conveniently, Livewire drops you 2/3rds up the first climb on the xc course. "Mario!!"

Lap 3: I hop in behind Mario having no idea where he was position wise. We climb a few minutes and he drifts left. Ohhhhhhhhhh. There's the left. At this point, I'm finally completing a lap of the course. I let Mario go to gap for dust. The trail's hammered. Super dusty and in complete contrast to the trail I'd just came down. Within minutes we're at the bottom. Kyle wonders just where the hell I've been. I tell him that their doing a great job on Livewire and he just laughs. He says that 68 out of 70 people made the left turn onto Forrest, but he'd comp my race next week to make up for it.

So, after scoring no points at the first race of the series, I have my work cut out for me. Next week I'm frickin' driving to the race and riding the course in its entirety BEFORE the race. See you there.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Misc. Ramblings

Haven't posted in a while. I've kinda been waiting on this idea with a sequence of pictures of all the smoke from the 100's of fires currently burning in California. The idea was to have some shots taken from the same spot showing one w/ a clear view, one slightly smokey and another one that's really socked in. I've got plenty of slightly smokey & really socked in pics.... but the clear skies have been rare and when they come up I'm quick to hop on a bike and take full advantage and get some exercise when the chance comes up.

After a super hectic first half of the week filled with bike work and some drafting, Thursday was supposed to be a day of relaxing in the early part of the day then riding out to Northstar for the first race of the series. Unfortunately, mother nature would throw a wrench into my plan and make the winds come directly from the west and would make the decision to stay at home a drink a nice cold beer (or two) an easy one. Just when I thought Thursday night was the worst smoke I'd seen from these fires, I got up Friday morning and realized that the "bar had been risen" once again.

If you live in Truckee and ride on the road... look out! I saw a guy get pulled over on his bike for running a red light. We (as cyclists) really shouldn't do this! My opinion is this: As cyclists, we need to be constantly "showing our best" by doing what we're supposed to be doing. We are supposed to have rights equivalent w/ cars and therefore need to follow the rules as such. I know that some times it sucks, but it is what it is. As a cyclist, I'm trying to show my best, especially when in town riding in traffic with the knowledge that very few people realize when your doing some thing right, but almost everybody knows (and will talk about) when you're doing something wrong. Like yesterday.... none of the drivers at the intersection of Donner Pass Rd & Hwy 89 will be talking about me as I sat at the red light on my bike, but there's going to be some stories at the dinner table,bar and party about the guy that drifted past me and ran the light... not seeing the Nevada County Sheriff sitting across the intersection. (What the hell was that guy thinking anyway?!) Let's just hope that the rider wasn't your typical (but I'm only on a bike) jack-ass and realized that the guy that pulled him over didn't make the law, wasn't singling out cyclists and was just doing his job. I know that people won't agree with this... and I'm okay with that. Everybody has the right to do whatever they want, it's realizing the potential outcome that we all have to keep in mind. Who cares about the outcome of "did he get a ticket". The outcome I'm talking about is the one of having a busy Sat afternoon intersection full of people seeing a guy on a bike not doing the right thing.

Well, I'm sure you've heard enogh of my rant and you're doing the "Ok, whatever.... DAD". Next post, I promise not to scold anybody.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Northstar Thursdays

If you're into a daily dose of suffering, check out the Thursday evening race series at Northstar. I've done a few of these in the past and their always a good time with good people. With the Village now in "full effect", apre's race options abound.

Race info here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

One-two-three-shoot!

YOU, Ryan Fowler!

Let it be know that Ryan Fowler is now Of·ficial·ly in the
SSWC of 2008!


I headed down the Skyline park this past weekend to do a little racin' with the bay area crowd. Single speeders were in FULL EFFECT with 6 of the top 10 everall positions being held by gearless folks! Click here for results. I thought my placing would be good enough to grab one of the 6 lucky tickets up for grabs for entry into the worlds. (read about golden tickets in previous post) Once we hit the podium though, it was learned that the two fastest men and THE fastest woman would garnish three of the lucky golden tickets. And with that, I was out. It didn't bother me too much as I was one of the lucky 350 riders to get in earlier this year.

Then, Curtis Inglis (race promoter) anounced that he would be doing a ro-sham-bo for the final three tickets. Before I knew it, I was paired up... threw "paper"..... which beats rock...... every single time. You're welcome Ryan.

The course: Well, I don't know if the worlds course will be the same route as we raced this past weekend, but if it is, it's gonna be pretty damn fun. It's a "salt & peppering" of Auburn, Santa Cruz and Downieville trails that all happen in a 8.5 mi loop with 1,600ft of climbing per lap. I'd guess that about 2/3rds of the climbing happens on the first climb which is a fire road, fairly exposed (hot) with some nice headwalls to keep you honest. It's plenty of time to get things sorted out on the first lap. The first climb finishes with a nice 50 meter hike a bike. After that, things are you're typical xc ride with meandering single track. Up. Down. A couple more hike a bikes. Nothing too technical.

Gearing: I ran a 39x12. Just kidding. I ran a 34x18 which is what I'm used to. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing.

The area: It's pretty cool. The campground has water. People were nice. I didn't get a chance to check out any wineries but I will next time.... ain't that right Buck.