Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I thought I was done with this blogging thing

I have been considering dropping out of the blog world because I have felt anti-social and borderline redundant. Not to mention the massive time gaps between entries that seem similar to an annual highlight reel. While all this is true, there are several new opportunities on the horizon for 2010 and hopefully they will help bring the key pecking magic back. Or at least give me something new to ramble about.

It has been a hard winter around my place. A few late season injuries kept me out of the racing scene and it has been all downhill from there. After returning home from Durango and the SSWC, I had one last 12hr race to hit then it was going to be a quick turn towards cyclocross season. Well at the last 12hr event, I crashed on a muddy downhill on the first lap and hyper-extended my wrist trying to save myself after the bike just shot out from under me at full speed. I hit the ground with my hip first, then on the wrist, then continued to slide down the hill in the slick, orange Georgia clay. I was totally stunned and just jumped back on the bike without thinking. I was trying to shake it off and get back into the groove but each bump and root just caused more and more pain in my wrist, not to mention that my entire left butt cheek was hanging in the wind. Finally after a couple more laps, I had to pull myself out of the race since I could no longer take any descents without out nearly coming to a stop. Oh well, we had a good time for the rest of the race and I worked on my social skills since that was all I had to offer that day.

After a few weeks of healing up, the next event took place. This one was a totally out of the blue kind of thing and those are the ones you have to watch out for. A shoelace in the chainring caused a crash that broke 2 ribs and bruised 2 more...there went cross season, It took nearly 3 weeks before I could actually take a deep enough breath to even consider getting back on the bike. I started out easy by commuting to the bike foundry and then slowly started picking up the efforts. Once I could do a push-up I felt it was time to get back to business and try to salvage some of the off season. That was just a couple of weeks ago, but at least the time off the bike has me feeling like riding all the time again. I have not taken much time off the bike over the last few seasons and sometimes a forced hand is better than you can imagine.

After a lovely Christmas at home, for the first time in 12 years, I took a little time for myself. A few fellas loaded up and went down to Dalton for a recon mission on the Snake Creek Gap course. What an adventure...that place keeps you on your toes the entire time. Totally relentless and unforgiving. You think, well it's only 34 miles, that is not bad at all. Then you try to think about all the other places that you have ridden that were harder or even longer, but somehow, it doesn't seem to help. But that is the fun in it. Then on Sunday a ton of Knoxville peeps came down to Raccoon Mountain and we had a lovely time there. I got to see a couple of people I have not seen in a while, rode with some people I never have before and we all met up for beers after. What a wonderful weekend.

Now with the first Snake Creek Gap TT on for this Saturday, I can only hope for the best and have a good time. I never have high expectations for the January installment, more of a will to compete and a reason to train this time of year. I will be on a new team for 2010 and have a few new sponsors as well, so there is much to look forward to this year. While I will be keeping the 12hr format as my primary focus, there will be a stage race and a few 100 milers in there too...just too keep things interesting. Many thanks to my new home with the Motor Mile Racing team out of Chattanooga, Lynskey Performance, Industry Nine and Maxxis. I look forward to seeing you all out there and cheers to great riding in 2010!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On the road again

Well so far the travels have been better than expected. It is pretty awesome when you just let things happen and have no real expectations. I have had a loose itinerary and a few places I wanted to stop but nothing more put together than that. I have known that Thursday starts the Durango experience that will be the SSWC09, but the rest has been open. I made it to Hayes Kansas on Monday night after about 15 hours of driving and that was an experience all in itself. I feel for the folk that live in Kansas. I am sure it can be nice, but from first impression, I will not be looking to stick around for any period of time in the future.

Tuesday morning I left for Colorado and got a call from my pals at VeloNews to see if I still wanted to swing by and have a ride and a visit. We set up an appointment for Tuesday morning and I kept driving. Well as it turned out, while I was fishing through my maps I found a few bits of info about Estes Park that I still had from 2003. So that was it, I was going to Rocky Mountain National Park for the night. The plan was to get as high up in elevation and start riding in an effort to get acclimated to the altitude. So as I was passing through Boulder around lunch time I called Kevin back and asked his recommendation for lunch. Well as luck had it, he and David met us for lunch on Pearl Street. That was a great surprise and then we were off to RMNP via Lyons. When in Lyons, we stopped and picked up some Dale's Pale Ale to help with a night of camping.

The night in the park was killer. We grabbed a primitive spot and I suited up for a few hours of altitude training. I know I started around 9000ft and rode up to nearly 11000ft. It hurt like hell. No matter how hard I wanted to go, I just could only creep along. There were times that I would feel good then go hard, then have to settle down again. I played this little game for about 2 hours. By the time I made it back to the camp spot, it was time for the hammock and some down time. I wound up sleeping in the hammock all night and to wake up looking at the Rockies was so sweet.

We cruised back into Boulder to meet up with the new tech editor at VeloNews. Zack was a great guy to meet and we spent about an hour talking about the Lynskey brand and the three bikes I brought along on the trip. He shot some photos and then Kevin, Nathan, David and I hit the bikes for nearly two hours ripping up some road, gravel and greenways. It was awesome. I love it that these guys are retarded for cyclocross. You could just tell they were fired up about cross season.

From there we rolled down to Golden for a quick stop at Spot Brand to see Frank. I have been working with these guys for some time and many of them I have talked to on the phone or emailed a hundred times, so it was nice to meet them all in person. We talked shop and took the nickle tour and then we had to hit the road. Time to drive down to Monument for a little R&R and staying with friends. So far that has been amazing. I got out today for a nice ride from the house and hit the lower base of the mountains and am still trying to get used to this this air. I feel like I am recovering quicker, but still not there yet. I am off to Durango in the morning to meet up with the Endless Bike Co. crew. The Run What You Brung show will b going down tomorrow night and that should be a blast. I will shoot some video and photos and try to post them no later than Friday morning. More to come soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where have you been?

It has been way too long since I spilled off on the blog and I am pretty sure that many of you have completely bailed on me. It is not like there was nothing to report on in my life, but it seems more like I have been doing the exact same thing nearly every week that it has become borderline redundant. As I sit here on the eve of departure, I thought it would be right to pick back up where I left off so many months ago...
All is well and life is good. I really mean it. Work is great, riding has been great and life has been amazing. I truly feel blessed and fortunate. I have been looking forward to this day for some time. Tomorrow I hit the road to embark on a two week adventure. Durango here we come. SSWC09 is next weekend and along the way, I plan on visiting some of the cycling industry's finest. Stories, news and videos will be posted regularly throughout the next two weeks. Tales from the road that should be too good to be true are anticipated. Next guaranteed stop will be Thursday night in Durango. Thanks to Tom @ Norse Cycles, we will be hanging out with some top custom builders and racers at the Run What You Brung, custom bike show. More info here. The plan is to drive straight to Fort Collins and start working our way South. More to come from the road.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I went to a party and there was a bike race...?

Tsali...It is hard not to bring up the name and not begin to think about all the good time that have been had there. Well in classic fashion, this trip was nothing short of a good time. I bailed the bike foundry a bit later than anticipated, but the bike world needed some extra love that day so I hung around. The biggest bitch with rolling solo to such an event is the lack of opportunity to get a decent spot let alone a spot at the campground unless you arrive a day or so early, especially on a holiday weekend. Good news for me my mate Sam did just that...arrived on Wednesday to guarantee the choice spot in the woods that weekend. Camp spot 10 is the shit and you should all know it. And yes, it was ours. I made in through the valley around 8ish and met up with the video squad of Craig and Allie who were there to shoot the race. Rumors of Bishop were abound and he and Silvey went on a B double E Run. I made quick work of tent city and worked straight into chill mode with the video crew. The boys returned soon enough and we started the weekend off right. A few Fat Tires in a can, which is the bee's knees IMO, but being in the metals fabrication business I think aluminum is the perfect vessel for coldies and that is about it. The evening rolled on for hours and there was no shortage of complete amateur comedic relief.

The morning came quicker than expected, as usual. Some light breakfast and a morning Coors got things started off in the right direction. We sat around the camp spot and finalized the last few bike details and picked right up where we left off the night before. After we staged our bikes up the long ass gravel road it became real that it was nearly go time. I want to segway into this next part by saying that I hate to run...seriously, hate it. Like, I only run when the cops are coming and when we have to do a La Mans start. Well that went just as expected, sketchy, crowded and awkward. So when I hit the bike, I went off like mad. It was part adrenaline and part get me the hell out of here...I want single track. Since I cannot remember when the last time I was at Tsali and did not pre-ride the course, I had no clue when the road stopped and the trail began. The pace was solid right from the start and I felt really good for the first few hours and started to slow down a bit due to some wicked leg cramps that came out of nowhere. I totally underestimated the humidity and heat because it felt quite nice out. I made a longer than usual stop after the 5th lap to re-group and change my kit...I noticed that my jersey was really salty thus explaining the cramps. So I sat down in the creek by our camp spot for a few minutes and changes jerseys, grabbed some food and went back out on the course. I was rolling along pretty good not having any idea where I was on the leader board and at this point did not really care. I was just out to do as many laps as I could without totally destroying myself. When one of the fella's I was racing came by me like mad and I was sure that he had lapped me while I was chilling in the creek. That just sealed the deal for me because I was not moving that fast and had no real desire to do so at that point. So I turned a couple more laps and called it a day. For some reason, I lost a lap after the results were posted, but no big deal to me, I was out of the running by that point anyway. I made my way back to the camp spot and hung out for a few more hours before calling it a night. It was a great trip and I always have a blast at Tsali. It is everything it is cracked up to be and more. Now for a few weeks off before my shortest race of the season at Raccoon Mountain. It is too close to home to not participate.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dirt Sweat & Gears Recap

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words...then this shot should sum up the entire 12 hours race then. Even with 9 seasons of mountain bike racing under my belt, I have never ridden in conditions like this. I think that my first 24 hour race at Snowshoe, WV was probably the worse mud and rain I had seen until this weekend. Half way into the 2nd lap the trails were nearly impossible to ride, even on the down hills. You could ride the field section after the start finish, then a small open area along the trail where my pit was located, then back to pushing. At one point, I would have to use a stick or my glove to scrape off as much mud as I could, then walk about 300 yards, then repeat the process again. I stopped and hung out for a while after my 2nd lap and was hoping for it to rain harder or just dry up and neither was the case, so I called it a day and socialized. I feel very fortunate to be in a position to race for money, but this weekend was one of the times that I was grateful to not need the cash that bad. When the most laps completed in 12 hour event was 5, you should get the idea. It has been the season of rain so far this year, no real complaints because we really need the rain, but it would be great to have a race where it missed us. The SSUSA event is up for debate at the moment, but the following weekend is the 12 hours of Tsali which I am already registered for...hopefully that will be a dry day, but no matter, I am sure that it cannot be worse than what we rode in at DSG. For a complete breakdow, some cool videos and photos check out Cycling Dirt...if their coverage doesn't get the message across, then you just don't get it. Thanks to Clay and Grant for putting on the event and all the racers and sponsors for making it awesome as always.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Guess Who's Back...Back Again...Jamie's Back, Tell Your Friends

It has been so long since the last post that I was thinking about abandoning this blog for good, but something just keeps me coming back. Mainly for my friends and family that I do not get to see that often, but also as a reminder of what has been going on and an exercise in communication. So with that disclaimer officially noted, here we go. Not sure where to start exactly...How about with the fun stuff first. Since my last post, there have been several bike races and a sustained internal injury. At the second Snake Creek Gap TT in February, I wound up puking about 10 miles into the race and could not hold it back. So there I was on the side of the trail just going to town and yelling at my shoes. While I was putting in a solid effort, it was not enough to cause that level of sickness. So I bailed out at the half way point very disappointed and felt defeated and confused. In bike racing, we have all gone to the point that you thought you were going to be sick, but rarely does it actually happen. So after that weekend, I made a few calls to some local bike racers/doctors that I know and told them what was going on and if they knew someone who could check me out. Of course they did...so I went straight to the GI specialist and we came to the realization that I had herniated my stomach and also had an small ulcer. So the hernia was pushing into my liver and gall bladder, which caused the gall bladder to excrete too much acid and then the heavy physical stress of mountain bike racing all added up to some torn up insides. I had to make some serious changes to my diet, eliminating all the wonderfully bad foods like coffee, milk/dairy, red meat and spicy foods and take daily medication from now on. I just went in for my follow up appointment and I am feeling much better and everything looks good. So my efforts were not in vain, but my physical duress trigger will always be there.

I made a trip down to Athens Ga with Mike V for the first of the Dirty Spokes events at Heritage Park. This was the first time that I raced in Athens and at a Dirty Spokes event. This was the first in a 4 race series that started with a 6 hour race. It was rainy and a chilly 38 degrees when we rolled out and it never got much better. I cranked out 5 laps and came in 5th, which was not as well as I hoped. I ran into a bunch of people that I had not seen a while and even hung out with the Terrapin Brewing Team for some post race support. We loaded up the car and made the trip home just in time for dinner.

I spent the next few weeks hitting up our Tuesday night and Thursday night rides and added one long day each weekend just to keep it fresh. It has been great since Tuesday has become the game of finding the hardest road route possible and then racing each other up and down the mountain. Great fun but hard on the system. On Saturdays I have been riding to Raccoon Mountain from my house which is a decent 50 miles depending on which way you go over Lookout Mountain. Even then it has been hard to get the distance that I feel I need. So I made a decision to use the month of May as my trial by fire into better endurance shape for the rest of the season.

It started last weekend at the 2nd Dirty Spokes 12 hour event at Ft. Yargo SP in Winder, GA. I have never been here before either, but I heard that it was a fun, fast course. Once again, Mike V and I hit the road. Similar to our last trip to GA, the weather was terrible and it rained like crazy all the way down. We woke up to some decent sunshine, but that lasted long enough to start the race and get a few laps in. Then the sky opened up and it poured, big time. So for the next few laps it was a mess and only got worse. I hated to call it a day after the 7 hour mark, but I really felt like we were destroying the course and I was tired of being muddy. You could not wear glasses because they would fog up from the humidity, so you had to take your chances and try to limit the amount of fine sand that you got into your eyes. I am still digging out sand from my eyes days later. All in all it was a good time and it was too bad that the sun did not remain because the few early laps were awesome and fast, but that was very short lived. Once again, it was nice to see all the folks that showed up at the race. We packed up and hit the road.

This weekend is the Dirt, Sweat & Gears 12 hour event which I hope will have better trail conditions, but it is not looking good so far. I will have a full race report next week. Following the DSG will be the SSUSA event and then the 12 hours of Tsali on the 23rd. This is going to be the make it or break it month for me, so either I will get this 12 hour thing or I will keep trying until I do. I really like the format and have been enjoying the new trails, but it seems like the only way to "train" yourself for a 12 hour race is to just suit up and go around as many times as you possibly can. See you Fayetteville this weekend!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gratitude...It's like that ya'll

Today is Gratitude Wednesday and I would like to start by thanking Jason at Edge Composites for all the killer stuff this year. First off, the 38mm carbon clinchers are just awesome, plain and simple. I have been riding these wheels for a few months now and I am still impressed each time I ride them. From daily riding, to serious training to actual commuting, I have not taken them off my Helix since they arrived. Totally sick...and well worth the money. Skip the silliness of having a "training" wheelset and a "race-day" set, the Edge stuff is solid and built to be ridden all the time. So thanks again. It is amazing the fun you can have with your fellow Industry peers especially at an authentic Bavarian restaurant after a few liters of beer and some ass paddling by a random chick followed up by a ride in the back of a pick-up truck down the Las Vegas Strip. Enough about that, but you should have been there.

On the second part of my gratitude list is my friend Paolo from Prologo saddles. Once again, another great person and someone who is way more passionate about something I have given little thought to over the years. While I always understood the benefits of a quality saddle, I usually went with something tried and true and just repeated. For years I ran the Flight and now I wish I had met Paolo years ago. They really think through all the details and design features when coming up with a new saddle. I have a Scratch on my road bike and a Vertigo Ti on the mountain bike...I am all about them too. Each has it's own unique feel, but at their suggestion I went with this setup. I have switched and will never look back. And don't just take my word for it, check out their elite pro list on their site and tell me you have not heard of any of those guys.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drama Free Friday

All is well on the bicycle fabrication front. In all honesty, considering the current economy, we have been jamming. The shop is booked up for months, we have new component prototypes coming out every couple of days as well as a few new frame models in the works. It has been a steady stream of yanking the first prototype whatever out of the shop, shooting product photos, writing product info and sending that shit to anyone and everyone that may be interested. My current mentality has been send something to anyone and repeat until they respond or ask me to stop sending them stuff. Either way my mission is complete. One of the coolest products we are rolling out is this bad boy here. Geared or Single, 29 or 26 and either one will be under $1400 for the frame. We are also working on some new titanium handlebars that some of you have seen...still not too sure where we stand with those so I will save that for another day.

The weather has been really cold in the mornings and a little warmer in the afternoons, but it is still winter in the South. Not as bad as many other places, but to me weather is all relative to where you are. 10 degrees may be horribly cold to some and not that bad to others so I try not to complain and just put on more clothes. The commutes have been very refreshing to say the least. I hope that the daily grinds/intervals to and from the office have some reward come early March. I have been trying to do my homework for Snake Creek but with it being a one shot deal for me this time, I am trying not to feel too much self created pressure. If I can have a good day on the bike in March and beat my fastest time, from last year then I will be cool with that. You always want to podium, but it is going to be a long year for me so there is no reason to beat myself up this early in the season. Looks like the new Krystal kits are in, need to go and pick mine up next week. Speaking of kits, I have been on the kit designing warpath lately. I just rocked out two designs a couple of weeks ago and just got the word that another one will be coming my way. The one for the Pisgah Brew Crew is bad ass...they were kind enough to provide some design direction and I just made sure that everything worked and fit correctly. I think Jut sent everything off for production so in a few weeks, the green and white brew crew will be in full effect. Give them a shout if you want to order one...I am sure they will have extra's for sale. Well that is all for me today...I need to get back to my Drama Free Friday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WTF? Snake Creek Nearly Killed Me

The past two weeks have been something of a blur but I will run a quick highlight reel in verbal form. After some debate and borderline harassment, I decided not to go to the Icycle at Fontana Dam. As usual, everyone said it was a blast and that I missed a killer time and so on. However, I did wind up spending the weekend in Chatty and to sweeten the pot for missing the race, Ivory and Cynthia came down for an over-nighter. They rolled in around 2 and Ivory and I went out for a little ride around the neighborhood via Stringers then over to Lookout. We returned to the house to find what appeared to be lost sisters...the ladies hit it off like champs. We grabbed a quick shower and went out for some food then it was off to see the Pine Box Boys. This is where everything gets shaky. First off, we drove over to the venue that none of us had ever been to...which also happened to be attached to the liquor store. Now I have driven and ridden by this place countess times, just never thought to actually stop in. We walked in to the bar and were immediately engulfed with smoke...I think we may have been the only 3 people in there that were not chain smoking. After we glanced around trying to figure out where the band would play, someone from near the bar yelled, "if you are here to see the band, come over and see me first". So we did...payed the man the 6 dollar cover and received a nice wristband as proof of purchase, then shown to the door behind the back of the bar...yep that's right folks, Chatty has it's own little speakeasy with live entertainment. After only a few short minutes in the back room some visual observation pointed out that you can go next door to the liquor store, pick up your favorite spirits and return with it in its nice packaged brown sack and proceed to stroll around the bar and take rips as needed. It really made it all the more disappointing that I forgot my camera. The band was awesome and to be honest, it was one on the latest nights that I have had in a really long time. Thanks Pine Box Boys for showing me that you can mix all of your favorite death metal influences and roll them into one wild ass bluegrass band with some serious attitude.

The following morning, the Boro crew packed up and headed North so I proceeded to suit up for another ride to Raccoon Mountain from North Chatt. This time Micah and I made the initial jaunt and by the time we made it to the top of Raccoon Mtn. Jason had driven up and met us at the East Overlook. So the 3 of us began our lap and eventually ran into all kinds of people we knew which caused everyone to pick up the pace significantly. We tore through all of the single track on Raccoon, said farewell to those who drove and made our way back down the mountain towards home. It is always nice to start from the house and pick out where you are going visually and then look back towards home as you return.

This was pretty much the end of any real time on the bike for the next week...which turned out to be a major mistake...the weather got really cold and bitter with mix precip here and there. It totally sucked all the life out of me and no matter how much I wanted to ride, I just could not make it happen. We had the 2nd Snake Creek coming up at the end of the week and it just did not seem to phase me. The Pisgah Brew Crew cruised in late Friday night and we just chilled out and caught up for a spell before we hit the sack for some much needed rest. Saturday came early and with a quick breakfast and coffee we hit the road for the drive to Dalton. After registration, I quickly suited up and barely made it on the last van to the start of the 34. To my great surprise, Diamond Dave Kennedy pokes his head in and asks if this van was going to the start...I yelled, Diamond Dave and we had a Nashville reunion all the way to the race start. I found the trailed that transported my ride, rolled up to the start and jumped in on one of the early waves. This is where things start to go wrong. I promised myself not to get too into the race until the half way point. Well for some reason, I just could not get the bike moving as fast as I wanted to and it seemed much more difficult to do so than usual. So my first thought was I need to put more into my pedal stroke to try and wake my legs up so I could warm up faster. I wound up having to stop to strip off some extra layers and then back on the bike I went...giving it hell the entire time still waiting for my legs to come around. Towards the end of the first technical climb, I pulled over and began puking my guts out...what the hell was going on? I regrouped and got back on the bike, feeling much better than before....but I still could not get the bike to faster. At the end of the last climb before the half way point, I was totally cooked...I was sweating like crazy and I knew that it would be a death march to the finish. The 2nd half of this race is basically all climbing and it is some tough, technical climbing at that. So I chose to call it a day. I never like to pull myself out of a race, but this was only going to get worse for me. I sat around and waited for the rest of the Yazoo and Pisgah Crews to come through the half way point and then bummed a ride back to the start. It was a sad day for me, but the beauty of bike racing is there is always another race. And there is one more shot at Snake Creek in early March. After the rest of the gang came though the finish, we went out for some dinner and then had the first low key night I have ever had with the Brew Crew. It was uncanny. So all that means is March is going to be full on for sure. Sunday started off with some breakfast at the local neighborhood spot, Aretha's. As usual, it took forever, but the food was great. A quick stop by my house and then on to Raccoon Mtn. I was the acting tour guide since everyone except Jut had never been there before. I made sure that we hit all the stuff that is off the perimeter trail to give them the full effect. I cannot say how much I love this trail ad I think that everyone else would agree. It was an awesome weekend and in a few short weeks, we will be doing it all over again. I cannot wait.

While digging around on the internet, I came across this little gem. While I have no love for Hutchinson tires, I did really like the way they shot this...enjoy.

It's Your Ride from Cinecycle on Vimeo.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekly Re-cap

The work week is nearly over and it has been balls to the wall all week long. I have been meaning to sit down and bang out some banter, but all I have been able to do is start a collection of draft files that start out similar, but all trail off into nowhere within a few sentences. Well today I am going to commit and regardless of how poorly this comes out, I am going to finish this post. To start it all off, last Saturday, Sharpie came into town like a bat out of hell. He dropped the wife and kid off on the mountain, grabbed a longtime friend of his and hauled ass to my place. We hung out for a spell and then made our way to Raccoon Mountain for a ride...insert photos here...oh yeah, I cannot figure out where I put them. We rode all the inner and outer loops at Raccoon since Sharpie had never been there and Britt was only familiar with the perimeter loop and some of the inner stuff. We were snowed on most of the time and the trail was frozen solid...it was surreal but so sweet. After our ride we hit a new local Mexican joint and spent the evening laughing so hard that I cried at least three times. Sharpie just does that to me...every time.

Sunday morning, I woke up and tried to gorge myself on as much food as I could with out getting sick. Knocked back a couple of cups of coffee and then rode down to St. Elmo to pick up Mike V. for our ride to Raccoon Mountain. We left his place and worked our way up and through Lookout Mountain before making our way over to Raccoon. It started out really cold and cloudy and about the time we made it to the visitor center the sun came out and offered a nice change to the latter few hours. Strangely enough I felt really warm the rest of the day despite the deceivingly cold temps. We rolled back towards the house after meeting back at the east overlook and just kicked around on our way back. We split ways with plans to meet up for some serious post ride chow at the local pizza joint. After 5 hours on the single speed, all I can say is hell yes...that was the answer...fresh pie rocks!.

Not much happened other than the daily grind until Thursday night when I met my friend Matt at Booker T for a few laps in the dark. It has been a long time since I have been there and it was pretty much what I expected. The trails are decent, but so short that by the time you get into a rhythm you are back where you started. I think that I have been spoiled by Raccoon Mountain.
Friday I finished up my SSWC09 entry form and mailed that baby off to Durango. I hope the Durango boys get a kick out of my project...I know I had some fun making it. Later on I met up with Sam and Micha for some pints and socializing. Looks like there are some new trails that Sam found and we are going to work those into our loop to Raccoon Mtn. on Sunday. That should extend the ride by about an hour for around a solid 6 hours on the mountain bike. We have opted for a long road ride today instead of back to back days on the mtb...works for me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Straight from the Hood

This weekend has come and gone so quickly, it hardly seems fair. As I sit in the office this morning looking out the window, we have sunshine and chilly temps which is crazy considering the cold, rainy wet weather we had all weekend. I met up with my new neighbors, the Simril's, for an early morning ride on Saturday. We planned on riding from North Chatt to Raccoon Mountain and back via downtown, Lookout Mountain and Elder Mountain. The weather looked bleak from the start. I was sitting on my front porch all bundled up putting on my shoes and it started to rain. That was really hard on the motivation factor. I rolled up the street to meet my morning accomplices and the rain just kept coming. By the time we made it through downtown, the rain had stopped and we we all shedding our jackets in preparation for the climb up Lookout. We cut off the road to pick up the Guild Trail to avoid car traffic. We hit the road again and bombed down into Tiftonia and worked our way through the backroads to get to Elder Mtn. Road. Then the nice climb up the road to the top of Raccoon Mountain.

We hit the singletrack and found the trails to be in way better shape than expected. While it was difficult to find the right amount of clothes to wear, the ride was spectacular. Slightly wet and slippery, but lots of fun because everything was hooking up really well. After a modified lap around the perimeter with some re-routing for fun factor, we made it back to the East Overlook. Then the rain came again. This time it poured as we bombed back down the montain. Totally soaked by the time we hit the base, it made me all the more focused to get up and over Lookout again to haul ass back to the house. As we were crossing the Walnut Street Bridge, we ran into Jim and he followed us back up Forrest to squeeze one more climb in before we called it a day. This new route is going to be very useful for training purposes, several long climbs, some road sections to warm up on and lots of technical singletrack to mix things up, all from the front door. Once the time changes, this route will be doable after work, so look out Tuesday night crew, this one is getting added to the list.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No Excuses for 2009

We rang in the New Year in classic college fashion starting with a short track urban race, followed by a well funded keg party (thanks SORBA) and wrapped it up with a full on dance party. I like how this is beginning already. The first Snake Creek Gap has come and gone and I missed out this time. With some work obligations and a lingering cold, there was no way I could convince myself that was a good idea, but the great thing is there are 2 more. The rain and cold temps would have crushed me for sure, or at least take the last bit that the trail did not squeeze out. I checked out the times and all I can say is damn, ya'll. Even with the weather there were some amazing times laid down, especially in January. Looks like this is going to be a hard core year...again. I look forward to giving it a go and kicking it with all of great people that somehow think that racing uphill for 34 miles in the wet and cold in early winter is a good idea. What can we say right?

My riding has been pretty sad over the last few weeks to say the least. The holidays and a wicked bad virus set me back big time. I wound up losing about 6 pounds in a couple of days...probably not a bad thing, but that was not how I wanted to go about it. I am not much for the supermodel diet of vomiting and not eating for several days at a time. But I am finally feeling good enough to start riding with intention again and that feels really good. Now if I can get the weather to work with me. Pouring rain has kept me indoors for several days. It should only take a couple of weeks to be ready to rock. I hope to see you out on the bike.