Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pumptrack progress and more...

It's absolutely dumping in the homeland. They've got more snow than all of South America right now. Hard to say what my life would be like if I was still there, would a deep pow day still feel the same? The photos coming out of Durango right now are killing me, but I have my own little paradise in the backyard, at least until the snow falls tomorrow night (white Christmas in Nashvegas??).

Yesterday I got a bale of hay to combat the stickiness of the mud/dirt on the pump track and after a little grading and some digging, I've got it going on out there. Complete laps, at speed, just a few modifications and I think I'll start planning the Big Loop. The vision is wider spacing and some jump-able features, like a dirt jump run within a pump track. I'm not sure Sarah knows what the yard's about to look like.

She seems fine, however, with how it looks now, so after digging and riding from 10-3 today (my back will be killing me tomorrow) I have this to show for it:

this is the first turn I built, a super tight 180* that leads down the backstretch seen below:

the view from inside of turn 1, the 180.   you can see the cross-over to the left of the second roller and all the way at the end, turn 2:

this is turn two.  I completely rebuilt it this afternoon.  I knew it was too small when I built it, but it was relatively easy to build bigger and steeper and it's made it clear that I need to do the same thing to the other turns.
this is the view from the new jump-entry point I built before I put the tools away.  You can see turn two in the upper left, the jump in the lower right, turn three on the left, covered in straw, and the new entry berm in the middle.

Here's a video:

Next on the agenda is to start building a series of table-top jumps leading into the entry jump.  I gathered a bunch of large chunks of tree my neighbor cut down, seen to the left in the third photo, to use as fill in the table-tops.  These should save me a lot of dirt moving over the next week and they probably won't rot out before I'm ready to re-build the jumps anyway.
Snooped around looking for info for the Pofahl I posted earlier this week, didn't really find much about the maker, just this video of his son riding up stairs:

I did, however, stumble on this sweet bike from Fisher:

only $1299 with adjustable dropouts and a split rear triangle so it's Single Speed or Belt ready. A Fisher is a Trek, and a Trek is not what you want, but it's nice to see Trek making something interesting and sexy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Weekend of Racing

This weekend my last two races of the "season" were contested in Southern Tennessee. The final race of the Beat The Freak series on Saturday and the only Chattanooga race of the season on Sunday. Let me mine my memories and work on the narrative.

Saturday dawned cool, much ice was scraped from the Tercel. Jeremy D showed up at 7:30 (you get to get up super early when your ride partner is a 4), we headed south and less then two hours later crawled out of the car at the Park in Fayetteville. The temps had dropped and the sun was obscured. BTF courses are flat and hard, with no rest and very little braking. Basically a roadie-master's dream. Only three of us started the Pro1/2 race; me, Dustin Greer, local mountain bike hardman and Edward Krei, a nemesis from my days in the 3's.

We started slow, no one really wanted to ride hard. I led the first lap, soft-pedaling most of the course. Dustin just got a single speed bike last week and was itching to race it in the SS race, so as soon as Edward pushed the tempo a little Dustin vanished. There was no rest on the course, absolutely none, and no opportunity to make a move. Jeremy was asking us if we were "on a date," and I think that motivated Edward to dig in a little. He got a little gap, I closed it down through the sand, but drifted off the back on the last lap. I was trying to leave something in the tank for the Single Speed race, but that proved to be a waste as I neglected to eat between races and had to drop out in the middle of the second lap. Courses with no rest are no good for me. There were no climbs, no descents and brakes were basically unnecessary. Tough day.

I came home, ate a ton of food, drank a ton of beer and dropped into bed around 12:30. I'd planned to double up on Sunday, but at bedtime realized I'd have to get up at 7:30 to make the Single Speed start so I bagged it. Midway through our drive down (mom was with me) I realized I might make it in time, so when we pulled in 15 minutes prior to the SS start, I threw my $ down, kitted up and jumped in with no warmup or pre-ride. I went right to the front and after about a lap of back and forth with Jeremy C, dropped the hammer and rode away. The prize: bag of coffee, growler of Chattanooga beer, gift certificate and bottle of lotion.

The course was on private property and was set up fully belgian-style. Most of the grass sections were soft and muddy, with some standing water, greasy corners, substantial elevation gains, a mud hole full of rocks, a brutal but short run-up and a nice set of barriers. A course better suited to my strengths I hadn't seen yet this year. The dudes down in Chattanooga put on the best races every year and I usually show up in good form. They also had a keg of Yazoo Dos Perros that kept my mother busy.

An hour after the SS race, the Pro1/2 race started. Andy Reardon was there, he's a pro, the rest of us are 2's and he showed us why by motoring away after the first technical section. I knew he was gone, but I kept the pace up until I had a 30 second gap over my pursuers. The gap grew as the race went on, I ended up getting lapped by Andy (fucker lapped the entire field) so while I technically was only 2nd, I beat everyone that I had a reasonable chance to beat, securing a moral victory, another growler of beer and enough $ to cover the two days race entry fees. Incidentally, Edward was on the scene and I lapped him, so while he barely beat me on Saturday, I destroyed him on Sunday. If we'd have been stage racing it wouldn't have been close.

Probably the last races of the season, might end up in Knoxville one day in January but it's not anything worth planning for. If the TBRA Series ended today I'd be in 2nd in the Pro1/2 and 3rd in the Single Speed Categories. There's 2 more races, I'll miss them on Ski Tour and it's impossible to speculate who'll show up at them. My form came together for the last race, just as "planned" and I'm looking forward to flogging myself daily without so much regard for "recovery" or other training terms. I'll be putting the 42x16 and slicks on the Single Speed for the winter and trying to get the Mountain Bike out at least once a week prior to leaving on Ski Tour in January.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh no... I need one of those too.

Can't stop snooping on bike blogs. Found this, it's a 36er:

I want one.

Near total fucked-ness

If you need further evidence that we're in a state of near total fucked-ness, here's something I found on the Bike Hugger Blog this morning.

This is almost as alarming as the amount of time I've been spending reading bicycle-related blogs as of late (see lengthy list at right).  It would seem that a bike ride would be a perfect excuse to detach the iPhone/Brain umbilical chord for a couple hours, but I know that's not an option for hipsters or "businessy types" and I'm certain they'll sell a shit-ton of these things at $65 a pop.  On a related note, I was berated by my wife for not answering my phone for at least 2 hours while she was out running errands last night, but in my defense, I forgot it was in the car and was enjoying a few hours of phone detachment.  I'm rarely berated by said wife, but for the seemingly often occurrence of iPhone detachment I choose to "practice." 

Speaking of practice, my cousin, who's like a sister I never had, sent me B.K.S. Iyengar's YOGA, The Path to Holistic Health yesterday.  I'll be practicing this afternoon.

Yesterdays HTFU ride was glorious.  No one else opted to HTFU out at Montgomery Bell so I had the place to myself.  The snow has now melted as a result of rising temperatures and rain through the night and as a result, the pump-track is still totally unrideable and unworkable.  Since I'm "peaking" for this weekends Double Header, which is more accurately described as a "Quadruple Header, as defined by me as doubling up on a Double Header, I won't be riding today or tomorrow.  Incidentally my mother arrives tonight on the 10:30 from Denver, so my world will be upside down until Tuesday at 6am.  Fortunately, she's amongst the sweetest women I know, means no harm, and usually arrives bearing gifts and a substantial liquor budget.  Conveniently, my "season" ends on Sunday.

Merry Minimalistmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Cold today, calling for freezing rain so I went for a ride. 1:30 at Montgomery Bell, there was snow on the ground and no one had ridden yet so I got first tracks. Been reading a lot of Velominati and now I'm obsessed with Hardening the Fuck Up. Like this:

Two races this weekend, doubling up both days, it'll be cold. Great opportunity to HTFU.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Rules

I don't know how I didn't discover this sooner. It would have saved me a lot of trouble.

The Rules

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oh Atlanta, I hear you callin'...

Spent the weekend in Atlanta, hanging out with my friend Burle. I'd send you to him via link but he leaves no trace online. He's surly. You'd love him.

On the way down I stopped off at Raccoon Mountain outside Chattanooga. It was cool, extremely foggy and raining periodically. I went around counter-clockwise, like the race I did a few years ago. Actually enjoyed the ride even though I was soaked, the knee ached and the fog was so thick I had trouble seeing.

Sunday I got up and headed to the final race of the Georgia Cross series in Conyers. Atlanta is huge, we drove for over an hour and were still in Atlanta (with no traffic). Course was awesome, lots of elevation, lots of room to pass, slick corners, tough singletrack, soft sections, grass... I knew it would be good when I heard the Masters complain. The old guys hate a good course. Single speed race started, I worked up to 4th and sat in until we hit a 180 and a short climb. Everyone tried to ride and I had the sense to run. When I hopped back on, I was in front so I gassed it and got a quick gap. 3 laps later we were done, I won by only 10 or 15 seconds but rode alone the entire time.

Pro 1/2 race was stacked. I was in the top 10, lost a couple spots on the long sustained climbs (in my defense I had 3 hard laps in my legs already), picked up a few when three different guys went down three different times right in front of me, rode alone for the last 3 laps until a guy in a kilt passed me. Ended up 13th of 22, not a great finish but I knew I was using a lot of gas in the Single Speed race.

Next year, gears. I've decided. That's final. I'll start building it this spring so I've got a road bike this summer. Gears, if Big Bikes can do it, so can I. Just a couple of geared pussies. I'm psyched, actually, no more excuses.

Hit Raccoon Mountain again on the way home today. Dry, cold and sunny, rode it the other direction which was different.

Incidentally, I weighed myself when I got home (after a BBQ Buffet in Sewannee) and I'm pushing 195. Ah, holidays. Time for another beer.

Friday, December 3, 2010

New(ish) Crap

Picked up a crappy 20" off of Craigs for $40 today. Got it home and realized I probably paid $20 too much, but such is life. Rode it around and around the pump track till my wife came home and pointed out that:
1. I hadn't taken my phone outside (again) and she'd been trying to call me.
2. I'd left her ATM card in the ATM when I made a deposit the day before (in my defense she was right there with me).
3. The check engine light was on in the car she's planning to drive to the east coast at 8am tomorrow.

I'm blessed to have a wife with the good sense to tell me about a check engine light and see it as a potential problem, not just an annoying, unexplained light thingy. I took it to the shop and they determined a sensor is going bad, so being the good husband that I am, I got them to turn the light off and told my wife it "should be fine." We're both blessed because someone turned her car in and it doesn't seem like they withdrew any $.

Discovered after riding the track a little that it definitely needs some tweaking. The rollers are too tall/too close together. This means I'll either plow them down or plow them over all together. I'll decide some other time. In the meantime I'm headed to my first Georgia Cross race on Sunday.

no pictures. sucker. I also discovered that the pump track takes an enormous amount of energy, especially when it's not flowing right and I'm on a crappy bike. crap.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I stumbled across this blog and now realize that if I don't learn how to shoot some decent photos, I might as well knock this whole blog business off altogether. What was I thinking?