And sand! And run ups! And barriers!
Running through the sand at the Georgia State Championship.
I have found a new love. Cyclocross. Now my road bike has even more reason to glare at me from its prison on the trainer. My mountain bike is crying outside in the garage. The cyclocross bike that I’m borrowing…she’s chomping at the bit to get ridden more. (Sorry Kurt, but I’ve decided your bike is a girl.)
My first two races in the Georgia Cross series were done on Frankenbike 2 after I pumped the tires a bit higher and played with the fork settings. Here’s a quick clip of me running the barriers at my second race.
I love the advice from my friend who was filming. “Don’t fall.” Yeah, right.
For the GA State Championship at Ft. Yargo, I got my hands on a true cyclocross bike. I only had five days to get used to the lack of suspension. My first ride was at night in rainy 38 degree weather. I came home with frozen toes, frozen fingers, and a huge smile frozen on my face. The day before the race I did a few laps of the local beginner mountain bike trails. I was even able to keep up with several guys on full suspension 29rs.
The race course had telephone poles, two sets of barriers, and my first sand section. I had a blast. The CX4 racers got to do four laps. I cleared the telephone poles twice and nearly crashed into them on the last lap. I wasn’t able to ride through the sand on the first two laps, so the last two I didn’t even try. The last lap I rode alone, trying to bridge about a 15 second gap to a group of four guys that I’ve been chasing at both of the other races I did this year, but it didn’t happen. Oh well…there’s always next year. Hopefully I’ll have more time dedicated to training specifically for CX on my own bike. As it is, I can say that I am the 40th ranked CX4 racer in the state of Georgia. For anyone who is interested, here is my ride on Strava (which is a great website).
The title for this post references a shirt design from an awesome design group Stomach of Anger. You should get the t-shirt.
It’s been almost a year since I last updated this blog. In that time a lot of things have happened. They are as follows, in no particular order:
My wife and I had a little girl.
I became the store manager at the shop where I work.
My car needed a repair that would have cost more than the car did originally.
I picked up a BMX bike.
I picked up some new shoes and Speedplay Zeros.
I picked up a new frame for my wife.
I stabbed my leg with an XT brake lever during a Pivot demo.
I raced the RAGNAR Miami to Key West race with my entire immediate family (and a few other people).
Team Much Dutch
I raced the RAMBO 4 Ways in a Day race again this year and placed 6th in my division…out of 6.
On the big bike.
I stopped riding my road bike in favor of my mountain bike.
I rode my mountain bike while Atlanta was shut down because of snow and ice.
I continued to switch between clipless and flats on the mountain bike.
I was featured in two online newspaper articles.
I ran my mountain bike into the roof of my garage. Twice.
I rode one of the most expensive mountain bikes I’ve ever put a leg over.
Nickel. Full SRAM XO 3x10, Easton Haven wheels, 130mm Rock Shox Revelation fork with carbon steerer tube, Rock Shox Monarch RT3 shock, Truvativ stem, bar and seatpost. Maxxis tubeless tires, ODI lock on grips
I participated in a trail day or two.
My plan is to start contribute to this blog more often. Since my leg injury healed I’ve been getting outside more and that’s a positive change.
Posted in Bike Shop, Cycling, Downhill, Mountain Biking, Racing, Road Biking, Trail Building, XC
Tagged Big Creek, Bike Shop, Crashing, Cycling, GT, Injury, Racing, RAMBO, Santa Cruz, Van Michael, XC, XT
My first mountain bike race happened two weekends ago and it was quite a race. As I’ve said before, the Big Creek 4 Ways in a Day race combines XC trails, an uphill climb, a DH run and a Slalom run. The King (and Queen) of Big Creek is the person with the lowest combined time. The shorter events are weighted so that you can’t just run away with the XC course and survive the remaining events. You have to be a well rounded rider. Some people brought two bikes to to take advantage of gravity – either going uphill or downhill.
The morning started a bit brisk around 40 degrees. The riders signed in and had a choice: hit the trails early for the first lap or wait until the last minute and hope the temperature warmed up. I chose the former since riding around the concrete Greenway was freezing my fingers. The riders were starting at 1 minute intervals when I took off and I managed to pass two riders and only get passed by one, so I felt pretty good even though it took half a lap to warm up. I didn’t have to get off my bike in either of the two sections that have been giving me problems lately. That was an accomplishment in itself. While I prefer the first direction we went, I knew from past laps that the counter clockwise direction is faster due to long, slow uphills coupled with steeper downhills. Fully warmed up, I pushed hard on the second lap, again passing two people and getting passed once, despite starting at 30 second intervals for the second lap. 1 way down, 3 to go.
With the second lap finished, it was time for the El Scorcho climb. It’s 700 linear feet with around 150 vertical feet of climbing. While this might not sound too tough, it was a newly cut trail, so the ground hadn’t packed down much and there was evidence of rear wheels spinning out after each switchback. On my 14 year-old 35lb bike, just getting up the hill is tough enough. The race officials were estimating a little under two minutes per run and I finished in 1:48 with a loud grunt and no dabbing. The eventual winner beat out two guys on cyclocross bikes with a time of 1:03.
The race was halfway through and it was time for lunch. The RAMBO folks cooked some tasty (and giant) burgers. A few shops were there offering neutral support and I got a chance to drool over some new Niner bikes.
After lunch was over, the real fun began with the DH and Slalom events. The sun had climbed higher and the weather was perfect for the competitors and the spectators. Finally, the weight of my bike was going to pay off. Being the only person running DH with V-brakes was a little intimidating, butI was totally focused by the time my countdown started. I narrowly avoided clipping a tree and a 2 foot drop on the first run and felt way more confident on my second run. Slalom was more fun, since I didn’t have to worry about any major drops and there were some massive berms to carve through. I rolled all the jumps and ended up a respectable 4th place in the Beginner division.
I returned to the starting area and watched the crowning of the King and Queen, grabbed my sweet pint glass and headed home with my first mountain bike race in the bag.
This past weekend marked the beginning of Daylight Saving Time in Georgia. While it’s now light out until almost 8pm, we’re still stuck in monsoon season. Every day I eagerly check the weather report only to find that my days off always manage to coincide with the days it rains. Needless to say, my training for the 4 Ways in a Day race has been severely limited, especially on the downhill section. I was confident with last years race line, but this year they’ve mixed up the route and made it more aggressive, even for the beginner class that I’ll be racing in. As long as the weather cooperates, that is. I already know I can’t get time off for the make-up rain date in April.