Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shoot-Out at Angler's Ridge - Danville, VA - 3rd place

boone bike (and appstate's thatcher's hurt) dominated the xc shootout at angler's ridge today in danville, va. beth, megan and andy (collectively known as the winner's carpool) won their events: women's pro, women's sport 30+?, singlespeed (respectively). in the men's sport category thatcher finished 2nd. joseph finished way behind thatcher in 3rd place. kim marland finished 2nd in women's sport 30+ and eric was killing it until he had some unfortunate mechanicals and a torn sidewall. the marland little guys did a great job as usual though i did not hear their placing.

thatcher and i lined up with a few other guys for our race and i managed to clip in and get off the line really well and was first around the sharp left-hand corner and first into the woods. the beginning of the 'short loop' was not very fun. it was classic city trail. cram as much mileage into a few acres type riding. the course began to flow a bit more and i could not hold my pace so some greensboro sandbagger eric jackson and thatcher both came around me and i did not see them again until the finish line. i completed the short loop and was beginning to feel better as i started my second lap. i was passed by a few 30+ sport men but each time they got near i tried to pick up the pace a bit and ride with them until i'd fade. i finally caught another sport 19-29 racer and was in 3rd place at that point. i kept the pace high and never saw that guy again. whew! i continued on the long loop and had to bunny hop a black snake. crazy! the rest of the long loop was fun and i stood on as many climbs as i could. my legs were threatening to cramp but i managed and could hear the band playing at the finish line so i hammered and switchbacked and voila! pavement. stand up, sprint, look back, cross the line. andy tells me thatcher got 3rd. i'm 4th. no. andy is wrong. i'm 3rd. podium. sweet. i tell the guy that won our category i did a 24 hour solo race a week ago. he shakes in his boots... podium pic:

in other news drew scharns continued his return to xc racing with a 3rd place finish in the men's expert 19-29 category at the bump n' grind KENDA CUP event in alabama. semi-local ryan fawley was riding a great race drafting off scharns until a a flat and an ejected seatbag ended his run.

high country racers essentially destroyed the competition at mountain bike races across the southeast. i'm sure dean lyons beat up on a men's 40+ criterium somewhere as well. congrats to all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

burn 24 hour: 6th place. 23 laps. 170 miles. jetson's rocket car feet...

so may 23-24 marked the 9th annual burn 24 hour mtb race. it was held at the dark mtn trails at the kerr scott reservoir in wilkesboro, nc. sam, megan, and i met friday morning to stake our claim to a pit area for our RV/tent city. it was quite nice. friday night darcy and i prepped food, ate pizza, and stayed at the hutchens estate to avoid driving as much saturday morning.

saturday morning flew by. we're prepping clothes, lights, batteries, food, shoes, bikes, minds, and all of a sudden its like 11:56 so i make my way over to start/finish to do the run. blah running in bike shoes with stuff in my pockets. not fun. basically the next few hours involved riding my cannondale f29'er then realizing i started out too hard again (like last year) -AND- a hardtail is not the ultimate 24 hour racing machine. so i got something like 4 laps in 3 hours, at a bit too much food, and my hands/arms hurt. so i switched early to my trek fuel ex and it was kinda odd at first, being back on circus wheels... i just kept riding my bike. trying to make quick pits and getting back out there for the next few hours and soon it was nighttime so i did a clothing change and got my helmet with lights installed on my head. ready to go.

it was quite nice to have a change from the oh-so-sweet-fake foods that we all know and love. i went with hammer sustained energy, hammer heed, and clif shot electrolyte apple drinks. i kinda slowed my intake of these and switched to plain water and small cups of chicken, along with almonds (i'd been eating these since 1pm). i got kinda beat down and began cramping a lot so instead of stopping to stretch i realized you can grit your teeth, go to the small chainring, and keep pedaling through leg cramps. thankfully i had no arm/hand cramps although they were fatigued. our local massage folks muscle works advised me to stretch my hands/arms while riding and so of course, i listened. after a few slow laps with 22-34 as my primary gear we got the coffee going so i was feeling alot better mentally and physically. my legs cramps were quickly gone. yes. coffee (espresso strength. thanks donovan) is an ergogenic aid. my wonderful wife darcy was there helping sam with feeding me and just in general trying to keep me happy. soon we got into a decent groove with nighttime food stops including chicken, coffee, and soup. i kept riding through the night, saw shaw, sarah, chelly, dan w, paul e, and others. seeing my friends from boone was quite nice and gave me a boost.

midnight seemed to come quickly and eric marland turned out a fast lap for his birthday. i just kept on trucking and soon 3am was here. these night laps were hard and i resorted to thinking about silly things to keep a smile on my face. i thought a little about my honeymoon trip to ireland, although soon my real positive thinking turned to positive hallucinations or something. i had a thought about my feet involving small fairy like creatures that were flying along helping to push my feet in cirlces. soon this morphed into small jetson's style rocket cars existing attached to my pedals instead of feet. these rocket boosters definitely helped get me through the night. the night laps were fun and it was nice to know i'd ridden through the 3-5am hours which i slept through at last year's burn.

at some point it rained and made the trails a bit more difficult as there are lots of small roots peeking through the trail as a result of erosion and the huge numbers of riders this trail sees. i know the rain started and i thought this is nice. its cooling things off. then i hit a root section and thought twice... soon morning came and boy it was a relief to look up through the trees and see blue sky peeking through. i did another clothing change at some point in the morning, and climbed back on the bike determined to stay in my middle ring a bit more, like i did my last few night laps. it seemed easier to go faster in the middle ring even though my legs barely worked anymore. soon there were just over 2 hours left and i thought maybe i can sneak back through the start finish at like 11:58 and have time for another lap.

nope. my brain and my legs and my ischial tuberosity did not want to do any more laps. i told sam as i came through around 9:55am that 'i think i have time for two more laps.' sam and darcy both gave their approval and i could tell they were glad i was still thinking positively. after my 22nd lap it was around 11:05a i thought i have to go out for one more. i should surely can finish it before 1pm and so off i went. it was very hard to ride some of the steeps on the fish dam creek trail although somehow i made it. the climb up the entrance trail on the frontside was hard too, but i kept telling myself this is my last lap, step up. do it!! i cruised through the snake switchbacks, which i had been cleaning all day, night and day and found myself at the lowest point. i went to my granny ring and began climbing the snake trail to the checkpoint and i had to get off and walk my bike. i did this last year as well and i did not feel ashamed either time. people passing (through the night AND morning) would realize who the solo racers were and tell me great job solo -or- keep it up, last lap!!! and this stuff combined with the words of encouragement from our boone bike team and the betty project and other locals made for a very motivating last lap. after passing the teeter totter i realized the hardest part of the lap was over, then climbing out of the lake loop was tough, but i knew every pedal stroke got me closer to being finished, and seeing my wife and friends for hugs and high fives. erik nielson caught me and i quickly realized he was the winner (finishing his 29th lap), we talked for a moment, congratulated each other and made our way down the fireroad and through the DH course. coming out of the trees the last lap is something that is indescribable.

hearing cheers from BMCC tent, magic cycles, middle ring mafia, other random team tents, then from our tent city gave me the boost needed to stand up and sprint even though it was unnecessary. i tossed my bottle down to get rid of excess weight and stood up and gave it all i had through the straightaway and around the grassy twisty stuff for the last time. as i could hear the announcers they called out rider 133 another solo rider is finishing up its joseph grimes. i again heard cheers, applause, and at the same time silence. nothing at all. i zipped my boone bike jersey, crossed the line. and slowed to put my head on my handlebars. i don't really remember everything at this point except that plenty of people i knew and didn't know continued to tell me great job. i drank my recovery drink and tried to spin around easily enough to get back to the tent without completely falling over. i soon learned i got 6th place out of 38 solo riders. 63rd place overall out of ~120 teams/solos/duos. that our boone bike boys got 2nd to inland construction a team made of pro racers while successfully dethroning the middle ring mafia. i heard it came down to 40 seconds. wheew!! the betty project seemed disappointed to finish 2nd, although i was very proud of them and grateful for their positive words through the night and morning. i found a chair, sat in tent city, and drank and ate. i think i did a better job eating than last year as i weigh the same now (a few days later) as i did before. maybe the burgers and chips and ice cream was a bad idea monday... anyways.

thanks to all. having smiling faces and encouragement lap after lap through the night and morning hours kept my legs moving. shaw pointed out 'Sun May 24, 2009 1:00 pm Replacement middle rings are in stock at Boone Bike and Touring...' sam, darcy, christie, brown, mrs brown, eric, kim, fawley for push-offs, dj thatcher, matty, andy, megan, eric, beth, caroline, kathleen, melanie, chuck, dc, matt, evan, kinsay, daniel, wendy, jason, martin and anyone i may be forgetting... thanks for being there and making this year's burn great.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

burn 24 hour. training and stuff

so the burn 24 hour race is coming up this weekend. i am excited about it and will be racing again in the solo category. last year i got 21 laps and came in 12th place. this year i plan to get at least 24 laps (more laps is ok too) and finish in the top 7. top 7 is an arbitrary number i just decided top 5 was maybe a bit toooo overzealous and top 10 was not a big enough goal. so anyways... i've been studying the 2008 results and have figured out i just need to do 55 minute laps. if i can do every lap under an hour then i'll get at least 24 laps. maybe even 25 or 26. that would be excellent.

while searching 2008 burn results/pictures/etc darcy found this awesome photo from last year:

so hopefully this year i'll get some good pictures and have a good write-up in one week. wish me luck. i'll need it

Monday, May 04, 2009

serc #5/Kenda Cup East ducktown, tn 6th place. yawn

so we got a late start driving from boone since i hadn't really packed or anything before work. thankfully the car ride to maryville, TN was pleasant and i was wearing my goofy SWIFTWICK socks so circulation in my legs/feet was like never before. after decorating for my mother-in-laws 50th birthday i got to bed early at 1am. told me there was a 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms. darcy and her folks decided to hang out in maryville instead of attending the ocoee white water center/tanasi trail venue and cheering for me. they did however ring the cowbell at random at home all morning. i rolled in, got signed in, got my number, paid parking fee, changed, talked with drew and fennell, and finally started warming up at 9:20am. what time does our race start?!? 9:30!! at least i'm a slow sport xc-2 racer so i had 5 groups start before me. schweet. 9:50am start. after an excellent lukewarm-up i made my way to the start line.

we had a neutral rollout across the narrow bridge and up the gravel/sidewalk then the moto pulled out of the way and i was sitting 2nd. nobody seemed to want to come around so i mosied my way into the singletrack. at this point three guys decided my pace was too slow and my legs agreed so i dropped to 5th, then a couple other guys came by and i'm sitting like 8th or so. climbing the singletrack to the first fireroad is quite fun even with rivers of water gushing through. i tried to follow jeff welch's advice and ride through the middle of the trail to keep my tires clean. it worked. i used a conti 2.2 mtn king front and conti 2.2 race king rear and they worked (almost) flawlessly. if only their wet/mossy/deadly bridge traction was a bit better...

so more singletrack climbing and a bit more singletrack climbing interspersed with fireroad rollers and i'm turning onto the super fun downhill to the river, then its highway sidewalk to the start/finish. i did my best donovan carroll impression and timetrialed up to some guys in my category. we rode together through the previously neutral (still was in their minds, did they get the memo?) and i began looking for our domestique john fennell for my feed. even with slowing down and taking big gulps i entered the singletrack climb, looked back, and nobody was there. they probably flatted, because i know i didn't drop them.

so its mucky gushy singletrack climbing, fireroad climb, singletrack super mud tech (i cleared it both times) and i passed some other xc-2 guys and managed to hang onto nick waite's wheel for a bit on downhill gravel. i think my extra mass helped... after he took off i entered the superfun last downhill trail, passed two women expert xc-1 folks, then cautiously crossed the first bridge... my momentum briefly equalled zero and with my weight shifting left, my right pedal unclipped i ejected myself down an embankment to a creek below. after remembering wasting precious seconds i scrambled back up only to see the two women look at each other and question why they let me pass... i hopped back on the bike, caught a singlespeeder with no brakes (his method of dragging his right foot sent lots of projectiles into the middle of the trail. at least afterwards he apologized-something about trying to let me pass, but not being able to stop), passed him on the gravel, and went back into DC impression timetrialing. if only i had my aerobars.

so i worked pretty damn hard, passed some people (other categories i think), drafted a pro guys wheel, nearly caught another rider....oops..... its an expert woman (or the 5th place guy??) so i sat up and coasted across the line. one hour twenty minutes. two laps. ~18 miles. covered in mud. super fun time. i find domestique fennell and he tells me drew was in 2nd or 3rd at worst. he was trying to tell me this during the race but our race radios didn't work. something about too much mud/rain...

so i'm spinning around, sipping recovery drink, and drew comes by, zips up his jersey, puts his hands to the air and holds up two fingers signifying his finish. okay, maybe he just coasted across the line, jersey unzipped, not knowing what place he was in. fennell asked me how i thought i did and i said either 4th or 8th. something like that. turns out i guessed right. after two hours of waiting, taking a dip in the ocoee, changing, getting rained on, drinking PBR, results confirmed i was as mediocre as i expected. at least i think... yep RESULTS HERE i know i wasn't top 5 and 6th looked like my number (names weren't on the results sheet) so i handed mr. 2nd place my boone bike jacket for his trip to the podium, and headed to my car. aahhh. cross country racing.