Thursday, September 29, 2011

Out the Door

There is always a lot of discussion about “out the door” rides meaning you get up, walk out your front door and get some on the local trails. Go to any online forum and you will find “best out the door town” threads galore. Of course, “best of” anything is highly subjective, but lest I digress. You will always hear the same towns; Moab, Grand Junction, Tahoe, St George, bla, bla bla… But Harrisonburg? Where the heck is that, Pennsylvania? 2 years ago I was turned onto the Burg and it wasn’t long after that that Kyle got my attention with his own version of an out the door ride.

Meeting in front of an apartment in Court Square in historic Harrisonburg at 530am on a soggy Wednesday morning, 4 of us began our journey to ride one of the gnarliest ridges around. Sure there are only 3 real climbs, and by real climb we are talking an hour or so of climbing before getting to the ridge. The climbs are actually where the recovery more or less occurs as this isnt your scenic flat, buff ridge. The knife edged Massenutten ridge is riddled with undulations and big rock move after big rock move to test even the strongest upper bodies.

Riding farm roads from town, we climbed up the western slope of Massenutten after being reeled in by one Chris Scott who sneak attacked us with flash lit photo ops in the dark. Topping out on the ridge, the sky was just bright enough for us to extinguish our lights as we rode up to Kaylors Knob. Layers were peeled, calories consumed and we carried on. Chris Scott’s freehub on the Mumblefish began slipping as we made our way to Bird Knob and took in the view at the overlook before dropping down some sketchy chutes, cluttered with wet, green rocks. Point and shoot. Feather the brakes and let it roll. Lucky for Chris, Dan Oates was meeting us at Rt211 with some viddles which is also where Chris hopped in a caught a ride back to town. Now we were 4.

After filling up on pizza, ice cream bars and sodas, it was off to ride the east Ridge. There was discussion of climbing the road to Kennedy Peak, but opted for climb single track via Stephens Trail. The East ridge was a mix of wet and dry rocks, so you had to stay on your toes or end up on the ground. The next 8 hours seemed to were lost in a haze with the 4 of us all having our moments of triumph and weakness. We kept things moving and made it to Buzzards in time to catch the sunset over the West ridge. Back at the car, we discussed how many places have a 14 hour technical ridge ride like this out their doors. Then we realized that most people don’t even enjoy a 2 hour ride out there. Now its back to sorting out what ride is going to be next.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For some reason, I have been waking up sometime during the 4 o’clock hour for the past week or so. Last night it was 4:20 am and probably had something to do with the pigmy pachaderms and the alligator nibbling at my rear end. Thank god it was only a dream… or was it?

I milled about the apartment for a bit, working on a couple of projects before heading out to Tastee’s and then off to test out the gearing I put on the single speed. In case you are wondering, it sucks. I have made a real effort to make this micro gear thing work, but the pedal strokes always feel dead. I guess there is some physics there I don’t quite understand as the gear inches appear to be reasonable. I just keep thinking how nice it would be to have extra clearance for stuff like Caylor’s and Buzzard’s on the off chance I were to ride one or both of those sometime in the near future (hint, hint). The rocks were greasy but the colors are beginning to show themselves and mushrooms of all shapes, colors and sizes are popping up everywhere.

After finding out my gear is more or less useless, I was off to my LBS which is a nice 45 minute drive away to see if the 32 tooth White Industries chainring I spied a few months ago was still lying about. Sure enough it was so I picked it up along with some other bits and nutritional supplements to have on hand. I had the digi with me so I snagged more than a few photos; some of which are sure to turn out. I also was able to track down a car load of frames which were used many years ago as windows. Got any old windows? Holler!

The Terror of Teaberry was this weekend and I scared myself out of racing. I was tempted to go and volunteer/ take photos/ heckle, but knew that if I went I wouldnt be able to resist the urge to race and am saving the legs for a rather large undertaking this week. And speaking of large undertakings, there was a scrambled voicemail from Chris Scott on my phone which I deduced had something to do with me tagging along on his 2 week voyage along the Virginia Mountain Trail. Wish I could take the time to do it, but work is just beginning to get busy. I will have to look at the itinerary and see if I can make it out for a day or two.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A few more...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Killer weather and full moon got me out to do some late night hiking and piture taking. Was hoping for some late night riding but the change in the weather is reminding me of injuries gone by. Hopefully my body will adjust in the next week or 2 and I will get out before things go the way of wintery. Sunday was another day out in the Frederick watershed and the first of the year out there with Tony and Andy. Tony was crushing it for being off the bike all summer with a broken ankle from a slopestyle wagon accident. Here are a few that turned out and I hope to have some more in my hands this afternoon.

Multiple exposure freight...

Full moon in the hood...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A little video action courtesy of Don. Jim Potts leads out on Vandal while I follow and Don films...

Lincoln blacked out...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Follow

These words uttered by Jim Potts sometime during Sunday's ride. I had no intention of riding with anyone at The Shed, as I woke up before dawn, snuck in a hike and breakfast at Tastee's before heading out to Frederck as the sun began to rise. I started from the bottom of Vandal and felt good on the new bike. Things have come together nicely. Cleaned Skink before heading toward Sandflats where I heard some voices in the woods. as they approached, I decided it could only be Don and sure enough he and Potts came right at me. All of us sat for minute trying to decide which way to ride and finally made our way to Iceburg where I had a PR of 3 solid dabs and one stab dab. Doesnt sound like much but, 2 of those dabs where just due to a greasy rock and losing the front tire. I cleaned all of those bits that usually give me fits. Now its just a matter of stringing all of those sections together. no big deal right? Anyway, it was good to ride with Don and Jim. I just saw Jim a couple weeks back at the North Fork, but I dont think Don and I have ridden together all year. Its always good to stay somewhat fluid and let things happen as they will. We rode down Vandal for the first time which is even better than the climb. There may or may not be pictures to follow.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Next Time...

The Terror at Teaberry was supposed to be this weekend, but it is being postponed due to rain. Really? It has rained everytime I have raced at Michaux. Pat suspects the Cupcakes are getting soft, but I smell a conspiracy brewing. One that has to do with one Harlan Price being out with a partially separated shoulder (whatever that means)and a series win. Anywho, this will make Teaberry much less terrifying for me as I wont be still hobling about after "racing" 100 miles on a bike that was getting the bugs worked out while testing some new state of the art head gear. Perhaps I can go out and try riding the Ring or do the entire Massanutten ridge from town just before hand so I can properly slum at Teaberry.

So back to this hundred miler of last weekend. I was supposed to go out and ride on monday with Tim, Sue, Andrea and some others, but the rain had other plans. I drove home and slept 18 hours. Under normals circumstances, I might brave the elements for a trip along the North Fork, but I was in rough shape after the hundy and didnt want to risk breaking an ankle in the wet rocks because I was too tired to push through the roughness. And speaking of the North Fork, I was able to get up with Metro this weekend and chat about overnighting out there when the first "moderate" snow of the year comes down. Hopefully, it will be a bit less moderate than the Woodstock/ Waonazee Peak ride we did a couple years back.

After the hundred, I got a righteous massage before passing out and waking up wet due to the rain. I could have used some compression socks but was ill- prepared and only had my depression socks, made of gold velour, which gave me blisters before the first water stop...

Another problem I had was the ventilator on my helmet seemed to blocked by something and I overheated on the first climb. Next year I will make sure double check for proper air flow...

The microdrive seemed like a good idea on paper. The gear inches looked fine, but I didnt account for something called leverage. Pedal strokes felt dead and seemed to take me nowhere. On the bright side, I didnt touch my chainring once during the race.

BYOE. bring your own endurolytes. The aids stations were all out by the time I got to them. At least this one had some salty pretzels and Coke and someone had stashed some E-lytes to make the raging cramps just a quiver in the legs...

Kurt prepares for pass out while Dan gets rowdy...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Hundred

I will start off by saying, I improved my time by 3 hours and 48 minutes over last year. By this I mean I was able to spend almost 4 hours longer on the bike than last year. I know a lot of folks who can do an 8 hour ride but much fewer can do a 13 hour and 42 minute ride. Let us rewind a bit here so I can give you a few pointers for next years hundy so that you too might be able spend a very long and interesting day in the woods along the way.

I worked until 2pm on saturday and then hightailed it down to Harrisonburg in time to pick up the bike I was planning to ride, which I had never ridden before. The Navigator was going to need more than just a little love and with me rolling into the shop 15 minutes before close it wasnt going to happen. I had my new single speed with me that I had planned to joy ride on monday with Andrea but it was a new build and needed some gearing changes. Done.

Back at the campground folks were steady rolling in and I socialized with people I dont see on the weekly monthy or even yearly. It was good. In the morning, I got suited up and lined up with the big boys and girls. I felt good on the road, but for some reason, I seemed to be over heating quickly. Perhaps there was the ram air attatched to my LAS helmet was amlfunctioning. I was talking heavy trash in the heavy traffic and probably pissed off more than one rider, but it was all in fun. I made some sketchy passes, took some local lines and irritated some more people. Climbing Lynn, I noticed a very loose headset. It would seem everything had finally setted in on the new bike and wouldnt you know it, I was out of spacers. Still talking trash on the side of the trail trying to not ruin my brand new couple thousand in fresh steel, riders now laughed and mocked me for turning wrenches so early in the day. This is the same place I began losing chainring bolts last year. Kurt and Ryan passed me on the tandem, at which point I knew I was dropping way back in the field. Nothing left but to try and enjoy the ride.

At the top of Dowells I laid an eyeball on the man only known as Foghorn Leghorn hanging out so I pulled up a bit sod and joined him. Folks would come by and chat and then roll on, including some cutie who asked if we were "just kickin' it" and kicked it with us for a bit. I rolled out not long after she did after realizing I could get stuck there and got my headset properly sorted by the mechanics at the bottom. Said cutie came passed on the road and was kind enough to let me jump in (she had gears, I did not) and pulled me to Ramsey's Draft. Things got blurry and weird after that. Breaks became more frequent thinking I might get out of no-mans-land and a familiar face would come along to ride with but it never did. Most of those I knew were way ahead of me by now, including the two clowns dressed in pink on the tandem.

Weirdness in the woods...

(photo by Toshun)

It wasnt until check point 5 where I saw Carpenter and crew hanging out that I lost real time. The tandems were last seen here, every rider who rode by had the same look on their face and every interaction the same. "How much longer?" they would ask. At check point 5 I must have lost 30+ minutes and began to enjoy(?) riding alone. Not much to say after that. It was just weird. A long weird day on a bike. At check point 6, I witnessed a guy puking his brains out. Perhaps too many beers at 5? There were also rumors floating of dudes shitting their shammies. Perhaps it was food poisoning. Also one rider got medivaced out after his chainring cut his throat open after going OTB. Here's to a speedy recovery.

"Mainforce patrol. We're out of the game; unable to continue pursuit. Better send a meat truck. Charie's been hurt bad in the throat."

I mention these things because my ride was less than noteworthy. It would be like describing a long hike in the woods. This is supposed to be a race report and not a description of the sights I have seen numerous times riding out there. It was good and I am once again glad its over. Back at the camp, I overheard some trash talk about the Ring, how I wouldnt make it. I considered how far "the source" made it and then let it ride. Not sure if he was trying to be a prick or was just completely oblivious I was sitting directly next to him; actually touching him! Also, just recieved word, some chick here got a call from someone in the Burg looking for me. The weirdness continues...