Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ouchie mamma

Damn, two days since the Bradbury race and my legs and body feel like I was beaten for hours by a wiffle ball bat, not really damaged but certainly tenderized. I managed to squeeze in a 45 min recovery ride last night but my commute in this morning was still veeeeerrrrry slow. I had planned on a longer ride home tonight but I'm going to have to play it by ear, if the legs are still lead it'll be short because the last thing I need for the W101 is to have tired legs.

Speaking of the 101, I'm getting close to getting set up with a condo for Friday night in State College (just a short skip from the course) so it looks like JMo and I will be getting a decent nights sleep at least. With the expected temps hovering just below 90 during the day and high sixties during the evening it sure will be nice to sleep in climate controlled comfort instead of sweating my ass off in a tent on the hard ground with a bunch of drunken goobers wandering around. Then again, Jason will be there so it might be a toss up which is worse! I'm sure he'll be spouting lots of fat girl/humidity analogies.

All registered riders also got an e-mail update from the promoters today and it looks like we're going to have a pretty stacked field with Chris Etough, Jeremiah Bishop and many others making the trip to put the smack down. Looks like I'll be serious pack fodder.

Monday, July 30, 2007

one more down, five to go

One more race for 2007 in the books and five to go. Yesterday was the Bradbury Mountain Enduro, a 30 mile xc race with a good bit of climbing and more continuous singletrack than you can shake a saddle sore encrusted ass at. The race started off a bit differently this year than in years past heading straight up the mountain instead of across the street to the singletrack. This was good and bad, good that it got the major climbing out of the way early while you're fresh but bad because you hit some very fresh (read: soft and energy sapping) single track climbing right off the gun before you're properly warmed up.

My plan for the race was to get a good jump on the le'mans start and settle into a my rhythm and try not to get too caught up with the crazy fast pros taking off on the front. The starting run went perfectly with me to my bike in about 5th (out of what had to be 100+ expert/pro riders). Upon reaching my bike though I saw that I forgot to reset my computer so like the bonehead that I am, I spent the first five minutes trying to find 5 seconds of smooth area to get it reset and running properly instead of concentrating on holding my position which meant I lost a few spots by the end of the first climb. It was one of those things I kept telling myself to just forget about it and deal with it later but the ole fingers had a mind of their own. Oh well, I'd better just remember to reset the durn thing before the race next time! Despite the fresh, soft trails I was feeling pretty good and by the end of the first 14-ish miles (when we cross the road to get to the sweet, well worn singletrack sections) I was sitting somewhere around 10th (including pros). This is where things started to get ugly.

The first singletrack across the road is the "O" trail. I'm not completely sure why it's called that, it's certainly not orgasmic by any stretch with the way it twists and turns and has very poorly positioned roots and rocks in most of the corners. Maybe its called that because of all of the "oh, shits!" that can be heard yelled by racers eating shit on those nasty corners. I, myself, had two "oh, shits!" once banging up both knees and one ankle and the second face planting pretty nicely after a nasty endo. Who was it who says 29'ers never endo? Let me know who it was and I'll kick 'em square in the nuts. In the process of my falling (and screaming like a girl b.t.w.) I was passed by three or four other experts including Big Al and my cornering confidence took a nose dive. With only about 15 miles done and another 15 of all tight, twisty singletrack to come it looked like I was in for a long day.

For the most part, I held it together from there on in following closely on Al's heels most of the way. We'd occasionally trade spots, me going faster on the open sections and Al making me work hard to hold his wheel in the twisties. With about five miles to go, while diving through some super tight single track I hooked my handlebars on a tree and went flying for the third time of the day, this time only hitting my head on a tree so the damage was minimal (!). Somehow, in the fall, I did manage to bend my water bottle cage but nothing else. Interesting. Al was totally out of sight at this point and I had a moment of internal turmoil, should I just play it safe and cruise the rest of the way and hope not to get caught by anybody else or dig deep and try to reel Al back in. I chose option two and hammered whenever I could and rode careful when I had to and in 20 tough minutes had brought him back. From there we swapped back and forth many times and in the process picking off a couple of people ahead of us.

With about a mile to go, I started to hear rider(s?) coming up from behind so in the last fast sections I got by Al one last time and hammered it the rest of the way using up what energy I had left and finished with a time of 2:58 and Al rolling in 30-ish seconds after. With such a big field it was hard to tell where we actually finished but when all was said and done I got 1st in expert senior II (I think 3rd exper overall) and Al got ended up with 2nd in vet I. Decent finishes on a pretty tough day.

My brother, in his first xc type race in three years, ended up racing in the sport race and despite having to change two flat tires, soldiered on to finish in just under 4 hours. A brutal first race back I would think but it didn't seem to deter him from doing the 12 hr race there in September. Us Nelson's aren't very bright.

Friday, July 27, 2007

its on

How's this for a race course? This is a map for this weekends Bradbury Enduro. I lap, 30 miles. At times, you spend upwards of 40 minutes straight in twisty turny single track. Should be killer.

How do I train for a race like this? Two ways, Sunday morning I rode to my parents (40 miles via road) had 1/2 hr for a shower, lunch and change then head out to the hay fields for 6 hours of hay bale chucking fun. The plan had been to then ride back home but the daylight escaped me so I was forced to drive home. It would have made for one heck of a cross training day. I did, however, get a killer farmer's tan and a nice red neck.

The view from Rancho De-Nelson

1500 bales of fun to be had. You're seeing only about half of the field, maybe less.

The second way to get ready is by heading to the group road ride on Wednesday. 4.5 hours and 85 miles later the legs were spent buy VERY happy and feeling great. Typically I wouldn't do a ride like this the week of a big race but my hours have been so slim recently that I need anything I can get. I'd never do it the day before a race but with 4 days to recover I figured it was worth it with the Wilderness 101 coming up.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

craigster and old photos

Mainer, Adam Craig kicked some arse this weekend at Mt. Snowe taking the xc, super d and second in the short track.

short blurb HERE.

Also, my mother gave me a pant load of photos over the weekend of the season's first three races. As a result, I'll be sprinkling all of my posts with various shots. Here is the first set.

The start of the Rockport race with that dude Matt Boobar (I think I've mentioned him before, not sure) right in front of me.

B working the crowd.

Me taking one of the sweet banked turns at Rockport.

Sorry, no autographs please.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

over and over

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head while riding? I think most of us have. Fortunately, most people know most of (if not all of) the words to the songs that get lodged in their brains. Me, on the other hand, will always get a song stuck in in there that I've only heard a couple of times and only kinda sorta know the main verse. It annoyes the hell out of me to know about 10 words (usually not even the right words but words that closely resemble the correct ones) of a song and have it run through my head for hours. I will always try to think of another song that I actually know to drive the unwanted song out of my head but that is when I remember, I don't know more than 10 words to ANY song.

The other night I had this happen with the worst possible song ever. I don't even know the real name of it but its from a kids show called the Wiggles and has something to do with fruit salad being yummy. I know this because the four words that ran through my head for 2 1/2 hours straight on Tuesday nights ride were "fruit salad, yummy, yummy". Thats it, four frickin words for over two hours. If I ever find those stupid australian wankers I'm going to strangle them.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

feel the burn

another quickie here

Yesterday I decided to head to the group road ride despite a day of light rain and more predicted through the ride. With the Wilderness 101 coming in a few weeks (!) I decided I'd better head out anyway and get in some suffering and suffer I did. I got a total of 76 miles over 4.5 hours (4 hours moving) including 40 miles with a solid group of eight brave souls. It rained lightly just about the whole time but at 65 degrees it was just warm enough that you didn't freeze. During the group ride the lactic acid built up so much in my quads that I thought for sure it was going to eat through the tissue and start to pour out of my thighs just above my kneecaps. Thankfully that didn't actually happen but if it had at least I would have had an excuse to call it a night.

During the whole ride I only had two bottles of HEED and one of Perpetuem because I had forgotten to bring any money to buy goodies before the trek home. By the time I got back to the car I was so hungry that I immediately launched into my banana and goldfish I had stashed and then upon arriving home quickly polished off three tuna melts and a plum. I felt a little guilty eating that much right before bed but damn was I hungry!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

still no time

still no frickin time to do a decent race report so here's the abridged but slightly better version.

1. Race start, I've been working a bit on this and I'm getting much better as I entered the woods third wheel.
2. By the end of the first climb I briefly moved up to second place before being passed by pro Andrew Frye.
3. On the looooooooong very tech downhill Andrew moved over and let me pass so I could open up with the big wheels and managed by the end of the lap to open an itty bitty gap to Andrew and Wheels.
4. On the second climb both Andrew and Wheels passed me. I dug in to hold their wheels during the 20 minute ascent. At the top of the climb Andrew had bike problems so it was just me and Wheels to try to catch the first place guy.
5. At the begining of the descent Wheels let me pass knowing I was faster on the downhill. I graciously accepted and quickly tried to put some time between myself and him knowing full well that he'd blow my doors off on the next climb.
6. I was pulling away when I noticed my front end get very noddly.
7. Pull over to find a 1 inch cut in my sidewall. Not clean through but enough that the stans was having a hard time sealing up. Spend a couple of minutes trying to get it sealed. Wheels rolls by and asks if I need help. Good guy.
8. Finally get tire sealed and haven't lost any more places.
9. Continue to start/finish to find the tire going down again.
10. Stop at the car (parked next to the tape) and spend a couple more minutes. Get passed by 5 or so experts in the process.
11. Dig deep to catch Big Al and Andrew (back in the race after a flat tire) on the 3rd climb and move back into 4th overall/2nd expert II.
12. Get passed by Brad Perley. Damn guy played it smart and kept a solid pace the whole race.
13. Fly down descent seeing no other experts but pass lots of sport/beginners.
14. Suffer mightily on final climb walking some sections I should still be able to ride. Definitely suffering from trying to bridge back from the flat tire.
15. Feel cramps start to build.
16. Triceps in extreme agony during descent.
17. Left leg cramps from low calf to groin. Worry seriously about being able to finish.
18. Cramp goes away enough to suffer through to finish. 5th overall, 2nd expert II
19. Drop bike.
20. Crawl into hole.

Daddy time pre-race.

Lapping through sometime during the suffering.
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Monday, July 16, 2007


A race report will be coming soon but here's the skinny.Started strong and was holding second overall over halfway in the second of 4 laps but cut the sidewall of my front tire on a sharp rock. After close to a total of 5 minutes of fixing (on two occasions) I had dropped to 7th (the first three of us had a big gap to the rest of the field). I chased back on the final major climb of the day and picked of two guys but I'd suffer mightily for the effort and go into damage control for the rest of the lap finishing a somewhat disappointing 5th overall/2nd in my age group.

Here is a photo to sum up the suffering for the day. Its of a friend of our's, Leslie, who competed in the sport race. She had three laps to do. She came into the finish area with close to four hours under her belt and her saddle hanging from the seat bag. Damn, that must have been a tough last lap!
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Friday, July 13, 2007

test for mapmyride.com

Thursday, July 12, 2007

give a little

Marcy sent me a link to a good (but short) article about the trails at Bradbury Mountain State Park and how the mountain bike community has really turned things around there. For those of you who don't know, the park was pretty much a forgotten wasteland with very few visitors before mountain bikes were allowed. Since bikes have been accepted they've not only seen the usage go up but volunteering and donations have skyrocketed as well. The same can be said at the Camden Snow Bowl, without mountain bikers using, maintaining and building the trails there would be nothing there for the public to use in the non-winter months. Keep it up mountain bikers!

Bradbury story HERE.

Speaking of mountain bikers giving back, myself and five others did just that yesterday at the Camden Snow Bowl. I changed my riding plans when I found out there would be a trail work session there yesterday afternoon. Instead of doing a couple of laps and then heading to the group road ride, I instead did my laps, changed and then did trail work for 1.5 hours. In the end I was only able to work on one very small section of trail but its one that will make a huge improvement once its completed and will finally make a beginner loop possible in a place that is notoriously beginner un-friendly.

As far as the pre-ride went all I can say is "what a difference a week can make." Last weekend, when I was there, I was able to ride 100% of the trail with little difficulty because everything was dry. Yesterday was a totally different story. I found myself struggling in almost every section of trail, especially the climb, because of the rain we've received over the last several days. The trail really wasn't muddy but those rocks and roots were super slick and tough to negotiate. If the weather stays this way for the weekend it'll make for an interesting and longer race. I heard from Wheels this morning (who rode there yesterday afternoon as well) and he said that he kept falling on the UPHILL section of the trail! We'll see what happens this weekend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Still not much to say today. I do have a couple laps on this weekend's race course followed by the group road ride planned for tonight. Coming off of the illness and with the race this weekend I figured it wouldn't be wise to try to pull off a 4+ hour ride today so this 3-3.5 hour jaunt will hopefully be more suitable.

On Friday, Marcy, myself and my two brothers are heading down to Portland to see Tool in concert. If they're anything like Disturbed was live than it'll be a kick ass time. The White Stripes are also coming to town and I'm considering getting tickets for them as well but that would make three concerts in less than 8 months which is totally out of character for me. We'll see.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I've got nothin

I haven't ridden much recently with the illness and other things so I'm reaching back into my bag of tricks of some photos I took a few weeks ago on a mountain bike commute. On that day I saw two porcupines, one in the Schmid Preserve and one in the Zak Preserve, and multiple Lady Slippers (a nutsack look-alike endangered flower) and it made me realize how nice it can be to commute to work by bike. You simply don't see things like that while whipping along in a car at 60 mph, if you're lucky you get to see (and smell) some roadkill. Its not quite the same in my book.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Kicked it...almost. This dang cold or whatever it is that has felt like somebody is taking a welding torch to the back of my throat finally seems to be weakening its bony grip on me. On Thursday last week I began to feel like crap and after sleeping until 10am on Friday (a good 5 1/2 hrs later than usual) I decided to take the day off and try to kick the pig. It didn't really work since the sore throat was still with me through Sunday and now it feels more like a head cold that is finally draining. It did ease up enough to go for a spin with a couple of Bikeman teammates on Saturday. I met up with team manager (and totally married to a woman) Big Gay Al on his spanky Mamasita and Buzz on his single speed. The cool thing about single speeds is that there is almost nothing to go wrong mechanically with the bike but the un-cool thing is that when something does go wrong it often means the end of your day and that was Buzz's luck in the first 5 minutes of the ride with his rear hub totally self destructing throwing skewer and tugnut pieces everywhere and leaving him with a very unsatisfying walk back to the parking lot. Buzz will need to try a 29'er now because I'm sure that never would have happened on a 9'er. :)

Anyway, Al and I were left to tear up the trails alone and that we did hitting probably 90% of the trails in the upcoming Bradbury Enduro. Al, it seems, is totally on form right now despite not training specifically for mountain bike racing since he prefers cross. He was nailing every section on his totally riding Mama, often leaving me on the fast, rough descents. Damn him and his skills. We ended up with a solid 2:30 on some of Maine's finest single track. Good times.

During the ride I was really wishing I had some Ergon grips on the Dos. After talking to Jeff K. from Ergon I have found out I can cut down the P1's I currently have on the El Mariachi to work with my twistie shifters but I just can't bring myself to do it for a couple of reasons. Reason 1: what would I do for grips on the El? I definitely can't put the old grips back on, my hands won't stand for it. Reason 2: when the GX grips become available in the fall they'll go straight on the Dos and I'd be left with the cut down P1's and no place to use them which is very sad. So, for the time being I'm leaving things as is.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Witness to brilliance

July 5, four straight days of good rides and now I'm coming down with a freakin cold. Sweet. Everybody in this joint has been getting sick so I guess it was just a matter of time but I sure did hope to dodge the bullet. No dice. Thankfully, its going to be rainy and nasty for the next couple of days so a little r&r won't seem so bad.

Tuesday, on my ride home from work, ominous clounds began to form ahead and it became clear that I would most likely be caught in a quick summer rain storm. Having my Ipod and cell phone in my back pocket made me a bit nervous about them getting drenched so I did some quick thinking got all MacGyver and fashioned waterproof-ish housings for both from some very large leaves I found next to the road. Thankfully I only ended up getting sprinkled on but I bet it would have worked quite well for a quick storm.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Clifford Park matty d style

Matty D (he who never blogs) did a pretty good write up from the Clifford Park race. I mostly like it because he mentions me several times though I supposed it would still be good reading even without yours truly gracing its pages.

Check it HERE!

Also, here are some pics from the Camden race course for next weekend courtesy of the Garmin Edge 305.

The map. Thankfully the climbing is 90% in the woods and you only cross the ski trails. Nothing like Mt. Snow.

Climbing from the gun. Only about 800' per lap but its all in the first 20 mins. Also in the works today, I found out from Big Gay "Fully Rigid" Al that he should have my rear Hope P2 hub working smoothly again by Friday. As you may remember I totally destroyed a bearing in it recently so I decided to replace them all while I (he) have the hub apart. I had the option of going with standard bearings at $3 a pop or ceramics at $15 per. The ceramics are slightly lighter and will last much longer but with five sets per hub I couldn't stomach the cost for my training wheel set. Al is going to spruce them up by pulling the bearings apart and putting in some better, waterproof grease to keep them rolling smoother longer. It'll sure be nice to get that wheel back and rolling smoothly again.

Last, but not least, I found out my failed Sidi's are being warrantied and a new set is on its way to me. What to do, what to do. Do I trade them in for some narrows and see how they fit me and then use them as a race only shoe or do I trade them for some of last years Lake 430's (carbon goodness) to use as race only kicks or trade them in for some other stuff I need. Ponder, ponder.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Cross training

Last week Marcy and I became the proud new parents of a tandem kayak from Old Town. Its a pretty sweet (beginner) rig that will allow us to do more active stuff as a family and give us something nice to do on the seriously stanky summer days to come. There is nothing better than heading out on the water when the mercury climbs. Over the weekend we got out for two paddles. Both short so we could get B used to the idea of sitting still for an extended period but still great fun. As a bonus, it gives me a chance to work my upper body muscles for a change and get some cardio work while resting the legs plus maybe I'll be able to even out the massive farmers tan I've been fighting all spring with spf 50. Good times.

On Sunday I also got out to the Camden Snow Bowl for a couple of pre-ride laps on the course for next weekend's race. I find it tough to stick strictly to the race course since there is so much sweet stuff there but I know that to do well I'll need to have the course dialed so that is what I do. After the first lap I had officially lost the pooch since the heat and his flabby ass just couldn't keep up but I set out for my second lap assuming he'd be there waiting for me when I was done. While near the top of the mountain I began to hear lots of dogs barking down near the parking and swimming area and got a bit worried that he would get into it with another dog. When I got back to the bottom I saw no less than 10 dogs, 5 at the base of the mountain and 5 in the water playing but Chance, being the good boy that he is, was waiting at the car within 200' of all 10 dogs. Thats a good pooch.