Saturday, August 29, 2009

Root 66 Race Series, Norcross Scurry, Asford, CT

Abbreviated Race Report for the Norcross Scurry, Root 66 Mtb Race Series, 8/29/2009

Weather: If you stuck your head out on Saturday (or raced), you know…full storm, just downgraded from a hurricane

Course: 6 miles of ankle deep peanut butter mud w/ rocks and roots hidden under all of that. Anything with more than a 3% grade up was unrideable due to loss of traction. Even on the flat sections it was a granny gear spin to keep your traction. Then it would be spinning like crazy to only be moving at 3 mph.

Race: start..mud in your eye….run…run…run some more, ride, back to running, running some more…ride, mud in both eyes…blind…rocks…otb…run…ride…otb again…swearing, cursing, drop of water bottle…run…fall while running, some more cursing..ride.. finished 1st. 

The picture is Nate, a team mate who was brave enough to come out and play on this day!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Root 66 Race Series: Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH

Race Report for Root 66 MTB Series: Bikes for Bovines, NH, 8/23/2009

Climb mother phucker, climb!

Course: start in a nice quaint farm; quick fire road onto short section of pavement and back another fire road that went up, and up, and up…five miles of straight unrelenting climbing. The climb started on a nice groomed fire road but then turned into a loose wet slippery rocky dirt track. 2000 feet elevation gain on that first climb. At the top of the climb, the course shot into tight twisty, off camber, rocky and rooty single track which was very wet from the massive rains NH had gotten over the past two days. Looking at your brakes the wrong way at the wrong time and down you went! Several miles in, another climb, this one shorter but w/ many sections too steep and muddy to actually ride. The last three miles were fire roads back down: flying in the big ring and aero position to gain as much speed as possible. Lap length: 13 miles. Thank dog, we only did one!

They called us up by age group and lined us up accordingly, but then announced a mass start! There were three age groups lined up in front of us and somehow we all to have to fit through the narrow start gate. The whistle blew and of course it was one giant ass cluster phuck. Riders were banging into each other. One of them banged into me, making me bang into someone else who … To add some insult, right after the gate was a giant mud puddle through which I went flying (no choice as I was stuck in a pack). I lost traction, slipping sideways, about to go down, but then slamming into the racer next to me, who went down, but helped me stay up right. Thanks! The climb was wide enough that everyone could pass. Some were racing up, while others were settling in. I tried to find a guy that seemed to have the same pace as me and grabbed his wheel. People were passing but then burning up and dropping back. Within the first ½ mile there were only 10 riders left in front, and that number quickly dropped to 6. The rest of the pack was falling back and a good gap was starting to form already. A racer behind me picked up some speed and passed me, so I grabbed his wheel. Slowly we started to pick off the rest of the riders ahead. One by one. I had no idea how long the climb was and noticed I forgot to reset my computer. DOH! So my strategy was to stick to the guy in front and try not to burn up all my matches. Several miles in, still climbing, without any type of brake what so ever, we had passed everyone. My legs were screaming and I was struggling to catch my breath, but just kept on holding on. The guy’s pace was starting to come down and I could tell he was getting tired. I eventually passed him and he grabbed my wheel. We finally (!!!) crested the top and started the tricky single track. He fell behind quickly and had soon lost him. I finished the rest of the course by myself, and beat him by two minutes.

I ended up winning not only my age group but the whole field. This was pretty sweet for me since I was on the next day, adding one more year to the pile of years I had already collected, so it was nice to beat all those younger guys!

If you like climbing, add this race to your calendar next year. This was a massive climb.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Race Report for US Cup Mountain Bike Series

This was the big one of the year.  The National circuit!

I raced this course two weeks ago for the Root 66 Series w/ a second place finish. At that time, I told myself not to do two laps the day before the race, since it was too much of a work out and it contributed to my legs crapping out on the second lap of the race. Two weeks later, the day before my biggest race of the year, there I was doing a second lap. I did try to convince myself that this was not a sign of being a dumb ass, but rather a result of not having been on the bike at all since last Sunday’s race (the Root 66 Race Series Hodges Villages - 1rst place finish btw). My knee had been really bothering me during that race; so much so I finished the last section of the last lap w/ my right leg unclipped and only pedaling w/ the left. So, I told myself, I needed a little bit of a workout to get the blood flowing again in my legs. That was the reason for the second lap. Yeah sure!

Two weeks ago, the course had been a draining mud fest that was as challenging going up as it was down, w/ no traction in either direction. It had since dried up significantly, making for a much faster course, especially on the downhill. I would almost say it was maybe kind of almost a fun course. The climbs were still stupid steep, w/ sections only the pros could ride, but the techy stuff was now much more manageable w/ good clear lines. The downhill singletrack actually allowed for good momentum w/ out the fear of death, and to occasionally catch some air. Here is a video of the women pros ridding the same course: (

The day of the race, my brother and I were warming up about an hour before the race and surprise, surprise…my legs were of course sore and feeling tired (as were his). In addition, the guy who beat me by over two minutes here two weeks ago, was warming up, looking very fresh and way too relaxed. Also, since this was a national circuit race, we had to do 3 laps instead of the two. Right there I thought I could see the writing on the wall!!

Since the turnout was absolutely dismal (18 in my age group, maybe 50 for the whole category), “they” decided it was going to be a mass start for all the age groups. Always good to find out of these things 15 seconds before the race starts. I was able to find /fought my way to the second starting row. I needed to make sure not get bogged down by slower riders. I had one thing working for me, which was that in the past two weeks, I had ridden this course seven times. So I knew the lines, and knew that momentum was key in getting through the techy sections. It was really important not to get stuck behind someone who would hesitate, slow you down, or crash.

We went off, and w/in a 100 ft hit the first climb. My legs were feeling really slow and mushy and I was starting to lose some ground. My brother passed me and I tried unsuccessfully to keep to his wheel. At the top of the first climb I was hurting big time already and was not a happy camper. I could no longer see my brother and I knew I had lost track of who was ahead of me. During the decent, I picked up speed and passed quite a few riders struggling w/ the rocks and roots, and regained some ground. Looping back through the spectator area, I was able to spot my brother starting the climb on the other side of the mountain. I told myself that if I was not going to win my age group, I could at least try to have my younger brother not kick my ass. As we climbed, I was slowly gaining ground on him and by the top of the climb had grabbed his wheel. My legs were actually starting to feel better and though I had just put in a big effort, I was feeling better! At the start of the techy decent, he dabbed over a rock garden, and I was able to pass him. I felt good too during the decent, being able to pick my lines cleanly, flowing over the rocks and roots and keeping some pretty high speed. By the end of the first lap I had passed a few more riders. At the end of the first climb on the second lap, I was starting to put some distance on my bro and had again passed a few more riders. By the start of the third lap, there was no one behind me, and I had not seen a rider in front for a while. I had no idea where I was in the standings but thought I was doing alright. My knee felt pretty good and I kept the pace as high as I could. My calf was starting to cramp but I kept pushing through. The last downhill section was all about not cramping up and making sure I did not do anything stupid to end up w/ a mechanical.

I ended up winning my age group by over 5 minutes, and (obviously) beating the guy who beat me two weeks ago, and who came in second this time.

I am going to give my bike some props here. Usually Mt Snow will beat up riders due to the high technical demands of the course, and the steep climbing. Riders have to choose between a hartail for climbing or a full suspension for the downhills. Well, this bike was really having both. It handled the ups like a super stiff and efficient hard tail, and went down like a super plush full suspension bike. That brain concept really works, and a course like mt snow makes that apparent. It was just flawless! (btw, many of the pros were also ridding the Spech Epic)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Root 66 Race Series: Annual Hodges Dam, MA

Annual Hodges Dam, MA, 8/2/2009

Seems I never wrote a race report for this race!? Or at least I can't find it. There seems to be some vague memory of writing one...but what ever.... It 's a great fun race. Not a lot of climbing and lots of twisty fun stuff. That race was after some serious rain fall and some sections of the race course required you to wade through waste deep water for several hundred yards! Finished first!