Sunday, April 26, 2009

God's Country MTB Race...

Saturday the God's Country Duathlon and MTB Race was held at the Lawrence River Trails in Lawrence, Kansas. Rain was called for but did not show it's face until after the event...whew. I showed up early (7:15 a.m.) to help get the registration tents set-up, help folks register and pick-up packets and then to work the time/scoring tent. This was a great experience for me as I had not been on the other side of an event like this before. It was a good lesson on how much effort the promoters and volunteers put forth so the rest of us can have a fun race. Things went rather well and the Duathlon was a success. I will leave it at that. Now it's time for the MTB race and I am I had to run and get ready...
1:00 and we are off racing. It was a group start on the Levee with about 1/2 mile worth of "pass or be passed" on the gravel before we hit the single track. We were to do two laps around the river trails. Riding a single speed I was at a disadvantage coming off the start and trying to get into a good position into the woods took all of my juice. I felt pretty good as we hit the single track, like maybe I was in the top ten at this point. I know the river trails are fast and I had planned to change out the gearing on my single speed to match the trail, however I could not for the life of me get my freewheel removed and had to run what I had, which was slightly under-geared for this event (meaning I was spinning my arse-off just trying to keep a good pace, I was overcoming my bike). In a nut shell, both laps were a plain out sprint. I remember feeling like I was in the front of the pack for the first lap, with a train of folks in the not-so-distant line behind me. I just kept peddling. The trails were in perfect condition and everyone had the hammer down. There was no break, no time to change water bottles and no time to look back. I remember passing a few riders and also being passed by a few others. I felt like I had a great race however I did not place in the top. I'm actually unsure where I placed, so I will update that info as I know. I am guessing around 8th +/-. ( Just got the results and i came in 6th, a little better than I thought but not as good as I'd hoped being that I was 2nd going into the last lap, dang! )
Dave Wilson made a come back from our last race (Bone Bender) and he whooped us all coming in 1st on his SS Niner. I guess if you have your wife and new daughter at the race watching, you'd better put on your race-face...and he did! Nice riding Dave!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Go Away Mud...

After the mud-fest at the Bone Bender race I was hoping for some dry trail this week. Since the trail steward for SMP is out of town, I volunteered to check the trails in his absence and keep them closed or open them if possible. Today I spent a good hour out there trying to de-berm some areas and do some other work to get the water off the trail. The more I walked the more water and mud I ran across. It was overwhelming. I had hopes to get her open for the Specialized Demo Day tomorrow. That's just not going to happen. Here are a few photos to prove my case...what a mess!
On a good note I did get in a few good laps at a local DRY trail, SWOPE. Man, that place is an arse-whooper! If you ride out there a few times a week, you will be STRONG!!! Tomorrow is the Gods Country Duathlon and MTB race at the Lawrence River Trail. They are calling for rain, so lets keep our fingers crossed that it misses us and that we get to race!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Bone Bender Photos...

Squirrel - 1st place - Singlespeed 6 hour, Overall, fastest first lap and fastest overall lap! Yes, you earned that BEER!
Dave Wilson - 4th place - Singlespeed 6 hour. Way to go bro!
This is me proud and HUNGRY, showing off that pimp little custom trophy!
Dirty Bike & Clean back-up bike
Mason & Brett - 4th place - 6 hour duo
Tattoo Camouflage...
The Rock Lobster post race

Bone Bender...3rd Place, 6 HR SS Solo

The Bone Bender MTB Race was ON! All who wanted to race in this event were sad to see it postponed the first time around and the make-up date was looking perfect...all until the last few hours before the race!
Friday the trails were dry and fast. The event staff had set-up the course and things were ready to rock. All were psyched and praying that the fore casted rain would hold off just long enough...but to our dismay it came a few hours early. It was dumping rain as I made the hour drive to Smithville Lake. With the Help of Dave Wilson, we set-up our pit area in a key spot just off the pavement, right next to the race course for easy on-off's. The rain was pounding. At this point the psyche overwhelmed the reality that we were in for some pain today. I entered in the 6 hour single speed solo event.
125 +/- Racers lined up at the starting line. We had to run about 150 yards to our bikes and then start cranking out onto the trail. I was in the top ten as we hit the single track, which was good for me since I'm no runner. It was obvious in the first 1/4 mile of single track that we were all going to, for six solid hours. The trails were a mud pit. Thick clay type mud mixed with slicker-than-snot soupy mud. You'd either get zero traction or just plain come to a stop due to the accumulation of mud between your frame and tires. In some areas, I would have to stop clean out the mud every 50-100 yards. In others I'd carry my bike for the same distance until the added wight overwhelmed me and I had to push. It was just miserable. This was the hardest race I have ever done and seemed to be both a mental and psyical challenge. I have to attribute some of my ability to push-on from my past experiences rock climbing and mountaineering, where you just have no choice but to keep going...or die.
I found myself pulling into my second lap in fourth position, about 14 minutes behind Dave Wilson, who is a strong and seasoned rider. He and I have been pals for years and we had a good time racing today. It was on the third and final lap that I passed Dave. He was torched. I too was torched but you could see in his eyes that he was done, this time. I pressed on thinking that there was a possibility that he was playing with me and that he'd be on my tire, pushing me all the way to the finish. I kept telling myself, as advised by Cameron during our last excursion, that once you pass someone to 'make a gap'. Every time my pace would slow as my legs were just worked, I would think that Dave would be coming up on me and I have to 'make a gap, make a gap, push push push!'
I arrived at the finish/start line with 4 minutes remaining in the race. I could have gone out for another lap, but I was in third place already and thought that I would save myself for another day and call it at 5 hours and 56 minutes. What a great day for me. I was very happy to have placed in the top three (3rd place in class, 6th place overall) and to receive one of the awesome custom made trophies! Squirrel took 1st in more ways than I can count on one hand. Way to show us all how to kick some ass!
Dave ended up rolling in right at the 6:00 mark, putting him in 4th place. Nice work bro! Mason and Brett got 4th in the 6 hour duo and those cats were running a crazy-hard gearing on that 29er! Awesome finish guys!
I learned at least four or five lessons about racing in the mud, and am psyched to race again next weekend, hopefully on some dry dirt, at the Gods Country MTB race at the Lawrence River Trail.
Happy Trails!!!
Special thanks goes out to my sponsors - Dungan Design Group, Advantage Employment Advocates, All Weather Control, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Info-Data Services and of course my race team and team mates at Cow Town. Top Results have been posted HERE. ALL results have been posted HERE.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Usual Suspects...Mini Trail Video!!!

Brett and Mason stopped by yesterday and did some riding on the mini-trail. Brett was kind enough to make a small video of some of the fun we had. These two fellas have done a lot to keep me motivated to ride this little spot and they stop by at least once a week to keep me honest. HERE is a link to the video, enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

China ???

I was pleased when my wife asked if I wanted to go ride bikes on my not-so-normal night, Wednesday. Shoffner had shown interest in getting out, be it dirt, pavement or the back yard mini-trail. In the midst of he and I getting our ride lined out, we received an invite from Sean and Pete to go on a fun and longer urban ride around the city. Shoffner and I left my house at 6:30 to Meet Pete & Sean. We arrived, casually late (typical for me) and headed out for an unknown adventure. We should have known by the light kits and fully loaded camelbacks that S & P were sporting that we'd be in for a long night.
I can't tell you exactly the path in which we followed, but at times my GPS could get no signal, my non-existent headlight would have done hella good and the splash of water under my tires made for an eerie sound as we traveled ever so cautiously through the underground.
As is the norm, Shoffner took at least two good spills that night. One in water so deep he had to get all too close to naked to be safely dry, and even then had to borrow some clothes to keep hypothermia at bay. Eventually even Sean's headlight went black as we trudged on through the night.
It was around 11 p.m. when I was back in my casa, a few sighs of relief fell from my tongue as I limped towards the hot tub. 40 miles down according to the GPS, which was not 'on' for the entire ride. I have to say though, the new Rock Lobster Single Speed build was feeling very comfortable, which is a blessing since I'll be enduring six hours worth of trail on her at this weekends Bonebender race at Smithville. I am praying that the fore casted rain does not happen.Please don't happen!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Batteries not included...

So, I finally decided that If I am going to be a true athlete, I need to be better about recording training and then using that information to advance my performance. I got the hook-up from a close pal and here we go...the Garmin Edge 305 Cycling Computer. I'm not sure how to use all of the grand features of this unit, but I am sure that it has an autopilot button on there, somewhere...


Per about a million requests...I finally built a teeter-totter for the mini trail!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Full Moonty...

Wednesday - After a day of perfect weather, with myself stuck working for 99% of it, I had the crazy urge to get out and ride, but it was dark now, late. I was sitting in the hot tub with my wife enjoying the peace and quiet of the evening when it hit me, "I've got to go on a night ride, full moon style". I gathered my gear and departed from my house around 10 p.m. It was amazing how little I needed to have my light turned on, and how often I could just ride by the moonlight only. Sometimes a log or rock would sneak up on me, hidden in the shadows, but with my new suspension fork I was at ease knowing I'd just float over anything in my path. Other times I could see perfectly and would mash-it, hauling ass through the semi-darkness. I saw not a soul during my two hour endeavour in the woods nor did I hear a peep. The occasional glow of deer eye's in the distance was my only ghostly companion during this adventure. What a way to end a long work day, even when I thought I had missed my chance to go out and play. Night rides are a grand experience and highly recommended.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spin Time...

A quick note on FINALLY getting in some good riding, even though the trails are a mushy mess. Thursday did a fun pavement ride on the 'remodeled' Rock Lobster with Brett for about three hours. The bike felt great, but the temp dropped way down before I got home and I feel the need to invest in some wind briefs!
Second was a ride from my place to Waldo. Pretty long ride, windy as could be, but I finally made it to Jim's house. We then hopped in his truck, headed to Swope and did some climbing for an hour or so, then I had to catch a ride home to make it to my sisters B-day dinner. Yes, I was usual.
The next few weeks are action packed. Arkansas Climbing trip, Smithville Trails Bonebender 6 hour race and the Lawrence River Trails 'God's Country' race. YAHOO!
I also got in some good family time at the First Fridays event in the Crossroads district. For those not aware, this is a monthly art event; walk around town and see the many galleries of art, street performances and people watching. Good times!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Choosing Paint Colors...

Someone told me once "Never stress about paint can always change it later if you don't love it". Same goes for how you build your bikes. I have just converted my Rock Lobster from Fixed Gear into my new single speed race bike. Why the hell would I do such a horrible thing? Well, I wanted to do an experiment. My elbow tendinitis is kicking me pretty hard these days and so I bought one of those fancy squishy forks to keep the pain level down to tolerable and to allow me to ride longer. Since the upcoming race is a 6 hour, I figured 'what the heck, give it a can always change it back to a fixed gear after the race'. I hope all goes as planned.

Of course...I had to get a new wheel set, because the Rock Lobster is a disc only frame, and my fixed gear wheel set is rim-brake only. This also required the purchase of some disc brakes and some new rubber. Special thanks to Travis and Craig for helping me get this ride rolling.

Drum roll please...

You cannot have a new bike build laying around without hitting the dirt, it will drive you insane. I made it out today for a few laps around the backyard mini-trail. I think I'm going to like this bike!