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Friday, August 29, 2008

SSWC....part deux

Note: If you're into chronilogical order of things, check out part 1 of this story in the post below.
There's usually a "hosting bar" for SSWC. This year would be a little different. After the bowling & Ms. Pacman finished up groups of people on bikes headed in every direction like underage kids fleeing the scene at a party that was about to get busted by the cops. Red blinky lights were absorbed by the Napa city streets as everybody headed in a direction that felt right to them.

We ended up at a place up the Napa River from the bowling alley with lots of varieties on tap.

Lucky dog. Buck gets blessed with the ability to party into the night and awake feeling like an Irish Spring soap commercial with no hangovers.....guaranteed.

Buck.... keeping hygiene fun.

Race day. LeMans start. Shortish run around a horse corral. People running both directions.... keepin' it real. Took me a bit to find my bike. The first climb was DUSTY! Holly shit man. I couldn't believe it. It felt like I ate a stick of chalk by the halfway point of the first climb. Things sorted themselves out pretty good for 400+ riders on course. Having experienced racing in this same park a couple of months back I knew that there was a lot of single track and passing options existed but were difficult. I spent the next hour or so catching and passing my way through the pack until I found myself riding alone. I hate racing alone. It's both good and bad. The "good" is that your either towards the front runners.... or maybe even winning. No one is in your way to mess you up and there's no dust. The "bad" is that it starts to get lonely. You loose the feeling of enticement as you're no longer catching riders,nor do you have the pressure from being afraid that someone's gaining on you. All you can do is push on and pray you don't flat.

By the final lap I'm catching lapped traffic and spectators on course are keeping me mentally in the game. My legs however are in a slightly worse state. I've drank far too little water this day and my inner thigh muscles are paying the price. Not as bad as last time I raced here, but wouldn't ya know it's in about the exact same spot on the course! I know there's only one more short climb to go.
I made my way over to the bar (2 baby pools of iced down beer) to see who was in before me. The usual suspects. Brown, Moeschler, Weir, Wicks, LeLonde and this years winner Carl Decker. Nice work lads. See ya next year in Durango.

Meanwhile, back at camp.....
..... Buck experiences a slightly different outcome of the race. Seems as though he had a run-in with someone sending him O.T.B.
After attempting the after race party that was getting bigger with each finisher, it was clear that someting was going on with Bucks knee. I drop him off and head back to the race. Buck learned that the off course excursion would cost him his ACL! Yikes!!
Back at race HQ, I'd learn that Brian wasn't the only one that got hurt. I'd also realize that the guy that beat me wearing gold cape and speedo (Ryan Trebon) wasn't the only one that wanted to get festive with his race kit.

These two guys Indian Leg Wrestle for a custom steel fork.

We arrive back in Truckee and start the unloading process that signifies the end of all road trips. I re-load the truck with tools and misc bike fixing supplies and Buck finishes his last two days of vacation maxin' & relaxin'.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Single Speed Worlds 2008 ...part 1

Single Speed Worlds is an event the encapsulates bikes, good people, a festive atmosphere and a race to finish things off. Think of it kinda like a Tour De Fat meets Burning Man situation with the likes of Travis Brown and Marla Streb cruising the scene to see just how weird things can get.

This years event was the perfect excuse to get one of my long time riding partners out to the west coast to hang out, do some rides in Truckee and travel to the race with.
View complete picture album here.

Meet Brian. Brian (aka Buck) was one of my solid "go to guys" when it was time to get out in the woods on bikes for the day back on the east coast.

Buck. Riding a trail you wish you were on right now.

I don't know why he couldn't find the trail head. It was soooooo obvious.

After a few days of acclimation rides and stops at the Treat Box, we head west from Truckee through the Sacramento valley. My next truck WILL have air conditioning!!

We arrive in Napa two days early. Of course The Bacon Strip is there in full effect. How full of effect you ask...... ....this bag of home fries was small in comparison to the bacon these guys brought. Can you feel your arteries hardening yet??

With a pic of the map, we're off to pre-ride the course.

The beauty of SSWC is that you never know the people you'll hook up with for a ride. Our pre-ride posse from left to right: Fast guy TravisBrown. The always comical & all around do-gooder Ryan Fowler . Buck, you met him earlier. Nat Pellman from Seattle. Last but certainly not least Yuri... this guy's into bikes. He's got a killer mag down in the city that will no doubt become one of the staples of cyclist bathrooms everywhere.

Later in the day it was time to get the "decider" event going to see who was hosting SSWC2009. The disciplin for the decider is different from year to year & only the current host (Curtis Inglis) knows how next years race venue will be decided. The hosting options for 09 were (from left to right) New Zealand (location undetermined), France, Durango Co, Phoenix Az. Potential hosters were given the mic to say a few words and then it was off to.....

.....Napa Bowl!! A few hundred people jumped on bikes and headed into town where the 4 people vying for hosting rights would have to show the world their "A game".

Things started normal enough. This guy (Fuzzy) is hoping a few good frames will take the race to New Zealand for 09.

Chad. (Durango) Were the first few frames beginners luck??

France starts to get rowdy.

Durango acquires a comfy points lead and starts getting loose!

Then there were two. Thanx for coming from France.... but you're out! Grab the Arizona kid while you're at it and head to the bar to drown your sorrows. You've been just been out-bowled.

I don't even know if these guys knew what they were rochambeauing for, but they were throwing rock/paper/scissors like they were going out of style! After a heated round of 5 it was off for the ultimate decider between Durango & New Zealand with a bit of.......

......keepin' it real!! What better way to decide a World Champion Bike Race venue than with a game of Ms Packman. Good, honest fun that the whole family can enjoy.

The guys from Durango were traveling in a pack and are super serious fun hogs. Every time I saw these guys they were doing something to pass the time. The bowling started a little late so they had a quick game of bike polo jsut to keep things interesting.

After all the important details were taken care of at the bowling alley, it was time to hit the town! Bike locks are replaced with some careful bike stacking and huge groups of people. If you're a bike thief cruising the Worlds for a new ride you're in the wrong spot. This is a "take no prisoner" kinda crowd.... I offer you no pity.

What happens next? Tune is soon for part two of SSWC 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Looks like I'm in the paper!! Thanx Moonshine Ink!

Monday, August 18, 2008

You're still here?!?!?

You're back? Don't you have anything better to do? Aren't you supposed to be working or something? Well, if you're looking for something to help the day go by, check out this site. Great videos, pics and stories from some aspects of life you might enjoy.

My partner in crime, Buck, arrives for SSWC in a couple of days. It'll be a "full on" kinda situation once he gets here..... always is. We've "over-done it" on more than a few occasions. Like the time I went back east for the Shennandoah 100 (100 mile mountain bike race) and we rode way too many rides that were way too long in the days leading up to the race. Then I thought if we started rides later in the day, we wouldn't over-do it because we'd run out of daylight. That bright idea lead to a really long night of hiking with our bikes from Kingsbury Grade back to the car at Spooner Summit in the dark. Yep, three hours of telling stories while intermittently yelling "NO BEARS" into the dark trail that lay ahead. We drug an unsuspecting Dave Bender on that one. Sorry Dave.
Anyhoo, while I do some more research on the road trip (directions, local attractions, doughnut shops) you should really get back to work!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Northstar Re-cap #5

With SS Worlds just over a week away, I had a plan for this weeks race at Northstar. The Northstar races are a great place to try some different strategy. You've got fast guys, cheap entry fees and it's only 15 minutes from the house.

The plan: Be in the backish part of the group on the first climb to see just how things unfold back there and then try to make my way towards the front before descending to avoid eating too much dust. This would also allow me to see if you can make up enough time on people as they got tired as the race progressed. This isn't too far off the usual outcome of the races the past few weeks.... but hey... a plan's a plan.

The reality: I lined up in the front of the group. Habit I guess. We start and I'm out front. I keep an eye on the heart rate monitor and I'm below what I'm normally at but still leading. I wait for someone to pass. Never happens. At the mid-point of the climb, I "give it" a bit. We're on single track and I don't want the group to get too bunched up. At the 2/3rds point of the first climb the climb eases and I get a good rhythm. A quick look over the shoulder reveals the Scott Vaughn and my evil twin, Kenny, are a little ways back. I go into the descent numero uno. Dust free. Feelin' good. Fun descent. Similar to last week w/ a new connector to keep things interesting.

Lap 2: Climb. Nothing too exciting. I'm relaxed. I've got a comfy gap to second. Descend like crazy. Feelin' good. Clear the table top w/ a bit of cross up.... just cause. "DUNG"!!!! I'm definitely flatting. Front pinch. Stop. Pull wheel. Peel tire. Throw in new tube. As I thread on the Co2, 2nd place comes by. I let the air device do its thing. Re-mount the wheel and I'm off. NASCAR... eat your heart out.

Lap 3: Scott's got about a minute on me. With this weeks race tactic blown to hell, I push... hard. At the swithcbacks just before the 2/3rds point of the climb, I can see I'm gaining on him. He sees this too and kicks things up a notch. I'd really like to catch him before the descent. Passing is pretty much impossible unless someone pulls off the side to let you by... an option that's probably not going to happen. It takes me the entire descent to catch him and I managed to JUST squeeze by as the course crosses over itself and heads into the final few bermed out switchbacks before the finish.

So, I retain my points lead in the series.... for now. I'll surely loose that as I'll be missing next weeks race. Friends in town for SSWC. Other rides to do. Traveling. Can't wait.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And now for something completely different....

We're breakin' from the norm today and instead of yet another post about bikes I'm gonna try a few jokes instead. Anybody that likes bikes most certainly likes jokes. Below are a few stories about a little kid named Johnny. I like the way little Johnny thinks.

A new teacher was trying to make use of her psychology courses. She started her class by saying, 'Everyone who thinks they're stupid, stand up!' After a few seconds, Little Johnny stood up. The teacher said, 'Do you think you're stupid, Little Johnny?' 'No, ma'am, but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself!'

Little Johnny watched, fascinated, as his mother smoothed cold cream on her face. 'Why do you do that, mommy?' he asked. 'To make myself beautiful,' said his mother, who then began removing the cream with a tissue. 'What'sthe matter,Mommy?' asked Little Johnny. 'You Giving up?'

The math teacher saw that little Johnny wasn't paying attention in class. She called on him and said, 'Johnny! What are 2 and 4 and 28 and44?' Little Johnny quickly replied, 'NBC, FOX, ESPN and the CartoonNetwork!'

Little Johnny attended a horse auction with his father. He watched as his father moved from horse to horse, running his hands up and down the horse's legs and rump, and chest. After a few minutes, Johnny asked, 'Dad, why make sure that they are healthy and in good shape before I buy.' Johnny, looking worried, said,'Dad, I think the UPS guy wants to buy Mom.'

Friday, August 8, 2008

Northstar Race Recap #4

Lap 1: Usual fast paced start. Snot flying. People suffering. Gears shifting. 4 of us reached the top of the first climb together. After last weeks dust ingestion while trailing my evil twin Kenny, I decided to go for broke, hit the big ring and crested the top out front.... hurting. I could hear somebody back there. Didn't care who. Just didn't wanna flat. After a bit of descending the clanking, shifting and heavy breathing behind me went silent. I was glad. Now the plan shifted to getting as much of a gap as possible on the remaining descent knowing that there were better climbers behind me that were sure to catch me on.......

Lap 2: There they are, not too far behind. Seth Wealing, winner from round two. Behind him, Kurt Shoemig, winner from round three! Super! No time for reflection on stats now. Just keep pushing on. 2/3rds to the top. Switchbacks. Seth's gaining on me. Fortunately he's not close enough to hear me breathing. If he were, he'd know I'm in trouble. I hold him off and hop into the woods in the lead position once again having clear, dust free descent. This time I'm relaxed. Railing corners. Riding good lines. "DING" Shit! That was my front rim hitting a rock. I'm waiting for the flat. Waiting. Waiting. Still rolling. Waiting. Still has air. Amazing. I try to really get myself relaxed toward the bottom before starting the third and final climb still in disbelief that I've still got air in my front tire.

Lap 3: For the first time in the series, I feel relatively good starting the climb of the final lap. A look back confirms that I've put some time on the bunch on the last descent. I have a good go of it and am able to relax at the top, stretch out the back and get ready for the descent to the finish.

Interesting notes from the race:

Mario got lost... again. Funny thing is, this is the same course that we did for round one where he got off course taking me with him.

Jason Moeschler was M.I.A. No doubt doing something more insane than we were doing.

The cookie selection was top notch making it hard to not stop mid race.

Aaron decided to sit this race out claiming that he's waiting for a rigid fork for his bike to make things more challenging. Sikko.

For those that care, results here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Attack Of The Butterflies

After signing up for the Sierra 100, I remembered the fact that I haven't done a ride over 4 hours since some time in April. Soooooooo, yesterday I pedaled away from the house at 7:15 and embarked on a mission.

Took the new connector from my house to Tahoe Donner. Got a little lost.... trail's not done yet. Up through TD to the xc center, continue up to the Drifter hut. Descend TD Rim Trail. New connector to Summit Lake. Summit Lake to Hole in the Ground. Hole in the Ground to the Deli on Old hwy 40. We've been at it for 5 1/2 hours at this point. Eat lots of food. Probably too much. I like Moon Pies. Continue west on Old hwy 40, climb Mt Judah. Descend Emigrant Trail. Get slightly confused towards the bottom. Turn around and find train tracks. Tracks to JP Trail. JP's to town. Climb Northwoods. Nature Trail to rec center. Climb to water tank. Try the new connector again that takes me back to the house.... much better navigation this time around. Arrived at the house, it's 4:45.

George searches for his butterfly tazer only to realize that he's left it at home.

Mark asks me if he's seen his can of Whoop Ass that he promised to give me earlier in the day.

View from the cockpit

After 4 hours and 4,000ft of climbing, Mark starts to get his in his groove.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Northstar Series Race #3 Recap


Anybody that races bikes has asked themselves this question, usually while on a long climb in the midst of some serious suffering. Last night would be one of those times for me as I attempted to bridge the gap to the leader (Jason Moeschler, Santa Cruz/WTB) while being chased down by "my evil twin" (Kenny Burt, Jamis Bikes) who had hit the ground on a descsent earlier in the race.

"Why".... you ask yourself as your legs hurt, your lower back's tight and regardless of how hard you try, you just can NOT get a deep breath. You look at your heart rate monitor and wonder if there's something wrong with it. The numbers displayed have been WAY too high for WAY too long.... like maybe it's stuck or something. It clicks up a notch and you know that it's not defective, it's the reality of the situation at hand.

Then, you make the final descent on the final lap. You get closer to the finish. People appear along the course shouting words of encouragement. You ride with reckless abandon regardless of the fact that you'll never make up the needed 45 seconds in the last two minutes of the race. But still, you "pin it" 'till the end..... just 'cause.

Camaraderie at bike races (and rides for that matter) is incredible. The guy that just spent the last hour trying to make you hurt & suffer will be there to greet you with a smile on his face and you'll inevitably do the same for the rider who comes in behind you. As breathing becomes more manageable and your legs regain the ability to feel somewhat normal, the finish group grows and the camaraderie addictively spreads throughout the area.

Why? Why not?

Results here.