Monday, July 26, 2010

The Curse of Dark Hollow

After a visit to the ER to stop some leakage and get a couple photos taken of my femur which is part man, part machine, I left with that feeling of dissatiafaction and wasted time that I always have after walking out of the ER and took off work until I could see the man who implanted the metal to begin with. The Doc (that's doctor, not Department of Corrections)gave me the official thumbs up and said he was glad to see me putting his work to good use, so I took a little spin around on the bike to see if I could stretch out my quad a bit. After lunch with Gwadzilla, I began thinking about sunday. It seemed most of the gang was heading out to Michaux for 40 miles of racing in the rocks, and somewhere along the way I got talked into coming along. I havent really competed in any cycling events in over a decade, unless you count Tour de 'Burg which I would classify more as an event or extravaganza than a race.

Up at 4:30AM sunday morning, packed the car and headed to Tastee Diner for breakfast and a cup before meeting everyone at Poz's Place and making our way into Pa. Along the way, predictions were made and goals set; mine being to finish with a smile on my face. The start was Le Mans style where you run to your bike and then begin racing. DK tweaked an ankle after putting his foot in a hole and went down before even getting to his bike. I heard him grumbling about seeing if he could ride it out. A horrible way to start the day. Im a poor runner so I started way back, so the first 15 or so minutes would be passing folks on a very loose and rocky double track decent where plenty of high rollers were fixing flats. I recognized Roger Masse and Colin from the 'Burg in those stopped early on. Things began to thin out on the first climb and Colin came up on me along the way. I jumpped on his wheel and we chatted of his troubles: a thrown chain. I sat on his wheel and enjoyed the fixed gear show unfolding in front of me. We probably rode together for 45 minutes or so throughout the day and I only witnessed 2 pedal strikes. Oh, and one over bars moment. We saw a nicely folded tube on the trail with a tire lever, then a boot and wondered if we would get to witness a trail side melt down when someone flatted and realized their repair kit wasnt there. I was killing the downhills all day and rode with Churtle through the tight trees along the lake just before Aide station 1. Tony was partaking in a beverage when I pulled up. I hardly touched my water so I grabbed a cup, threw it on my face and rode off with Tony. We began to climb the gravel road and I noticed his seat bag was open. I told him so and then asked if it once contained a nicely wrapped tube and yellow Pedro's lever. That was the last I saw of Tony for a while. My guess was because of a mental meltdown.

In route to Aide station 2 I rode with several people at certain points including SSO rider Todd who was at the Shed the previous week when I got my hipper. I was feeling pretty good, but consuming a lot of fluids at this point. At Aide station 2, I hungout for a bit, and saw some slummin' faces and tried lightening the mood. I had some grub and Todd came and got me outta there before getting too comfortable, which is good seeing as I had been there 10 minute already.

I spent much of the time between Aide 2 and 3 solo, or going back and forth with a few people and found myself beginning to slum until I heard Colin's voice behind me. We pulled off and snacked for a few before heading on to the next water stop.

A storm was most def brewing while I loaded up at Aide station 4, so Colin and I decided to roll out. I started off slow and could see the ominous clouds of the fast moving storm one ridge over. By the time I got back into the woods, those charcoal masses were overhead and combine that with the thick canopy of pines overhead, I am quite sure I have done nightrides that were better lit by the moon. As the wind began to howl and the rain began falling, I thought, this is what its all about. The adventure. You could hear tree limbs falling nearby and every root and rock became more potent by the moment. I passed several riders slummin' hard and asked if they needed anything. They said no and one even looked suprised to see me riding. Although I rode the entire last section alone... alone and soaked to the bone, I was finally able to find that thing I call my grove, where you feel so comfortable on the bike and all seems to be right with the world, and it seemed such a short distance to the finish.

I checked in, grabbed my camera hoping get at least one or two worthy images from the weekend. Roger was able to come back from an early mechanical for 3rd in his group, and it was good to see DK finish the race in good spirits tho he seemed to have a nasty limp. I told the gang about my encounter with Tony and they chuckled. Tony came in and then revealed stage 2 of his meltdown. He had frozen his camelbak bladder the night before so it would be nice and cold for the ride and it wasnt thawing. Funny thing is, if he had come to the one stage at Tour de Burg he planned on coming down for, he would have learned this mistake from others who did the same.

Leakage...



The source...



Rubbin's racin'. That's me in the yellow earning my line on the first DH...



(Tomi foto)

Im diggin' this one too...




Tomi's full set

Dont worry, there is more to come....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Enchanted Forest



Some refer to my local riding spot as the enchanted forest which is much more fitting that its real name so I am going with it. Here are a few images captued on recent rides out there.





Poz picks some good lines through the rarely ridden spires...



A bail out on the exit which is a tight turn, but nail upon second attempt..











Jay attempt to keep his feet dry but to no avail...



Pat has been on top of his game this year...





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Old school freeride hit on the rigid...



a recent link to a video video from this past week...






Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Le Tour 2010

In my mind, this is the cream of the crop, the only race that matters. A race that truely captures the essence of cycling. No corperate sponsors, no helocopters radioing how far ahead the lead group is and no doping scandles. Just good old fahioned bike riding where overall winner takes all, which is nothing more than bragging rights, a yellow jersey and some great memories. I gave up racing about 10 years back because it was no longer fun for me. We used to travel and stay up late at night hanging out, but eventually that stopped as people got more serious. The Tour de 'Burg brings back those memories of comroderie I felt as a youth racing BMX. And if you think just because there is no cash purse at stake the riding and competition will be tame, you are in for a big surprise. 1oo mile road stages through gravel and rocky dirt roads mixed with brutal mountain stages riddled with extended rocky ridge riding the region is known for along with decents of breakneck speeds that are anything but buff. The support crew was top notch and after a week of being out there, it has been difficult to the world I have returned to. Thanks all for the great memories and see you next year!I had planned on doing stage by stage overview, but in the end does it really matter? Sorry, most of the pics are during party pace sections en route to the next timed section.


Thomas tucked in behind the White Whale...




Sue chasing down the peloton on the gravel...



Texas Toast. Confederate Breastworks...







Ryan, after falling apart on Reddish...




Up close and persoal with the guardrail...




Riding to the trailhead...




Freshman Dan and Rueben casually climb to begin riding to Trout Pond...




A good ridge for the viewing...




A long, lazy lunch...




Spinning out the legs enroute to the dirt...




Climbing to start Big Schloss...



Tobey warming up in hopes of shaking the DFL jersey...




It was that time of month for Pat's fork...




KOM in full effect. Top 4 plus man behind the cam rounding out the points...




Pleasure pace to Deathstar...




Pat, Dicky, and myself climbing in the heat...




Haywood on one of the hike-a-bike sections on Heartbreak...




Smiles for miles, even after wrapping it around a tree earlier...




Heartbreak on Heartbreak Ridge...




A few minutes later Pat flatted again and would walk the rest of the way...



Ladies...




Wieners...




Texas Toast gets the hose...



Since I didnt ride either of the road stages, I figured I had bike time to make up, so after everyone else had headed home the night before and were at work, Tim and I rode Short Mountain. It took me a while to get my rhythm and by the time I really began to let it hang out, we were back at the car.

Making short work of a techy little morsel...


Tim sessioning a heavy uphill section on Short Mtn...




Until next time...


h

Friday, July 9, 2010