Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shenandoah Mountain 100

Another year, another '100. The Shenandoah Mountain 100 is probably the biggest (and definitely the best) endurance race in the area. Also, it's part of the NUE Series. Last year, Floyd Landis, "winner" of the 2007 Tour de France (before he was disqualified) took 2nd, but perhaps more importantly, I had a great race. I finished in 12 hours and 25 minutes. Even though this was a bit short of my goal of 12 hours even, I was super thrilled to be finishing strong and felt good all day.

This year, although my goal is still 12 hours, I have high hopes of doing great. Things I climbed last year in the little ring, I'm hammering in the middle ring now, and sometimes threatening to hit the big ring. I feel like the solid diet of XC, XXC and endurance events in the spring, plus a little rest and some big rides in the summer left me at the strongest I've ever been, without having the fatigue I've accumulated in the past. I think I'm not the only one who's feeling good this year either. I'm not sure I've ever seen Dave T. riding faster than he is now. He is consistently destroying the competition at the brownie crits, and showed exactly how good his endurance is by riding the last 2 laps of the 18 Hour Scout's Honor race at nearly the same pace as he started the race. Our team captain, Shawn, may not be in the best shape of his life due to some illnesses, but is as strong as heck. I think he'll be riding strong as a crash took him out early last year, and he's got some revenge to take out on that course. I can't wait to see how the TevenBoys do. Nolan too is riding the fastest I've ever seen him, so I hope his first '100 is a great experience. I'm not sure who else is signed up from the team (Cyrus? Jeremy?), but I'm sure we're all going to put down a killer ride, and laugh our way to great finishes yet again.

Unfortunately, the BFR will be missing our great SS riders at the '100 this year. Ted's still fighting off some back injuries, while Kevin seems to be fighting his living situation (busted pipe during the first month in his new house?!) Rest up boys, you'll get 'em next year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pitbull - 1, Intense tubeless tire - 0

I got out Saturday AM with Kev29'er and Charlie for a long gravel road grinder. I suppose 8 days before the Shen 100 really won't build any more fitness, but mentally I wanted to get back to riding a big loop through the mountains instead of many small race course loops like we do so much. That much was a success - 80 miles later, I made it home in an appropriately whooped mindset. But not before Charlie and I had a run-in with a pitbull over near Batesville.

To preface this, let's flashback to the Twisted Tire spring cup. It rained. Miles of mucky, rain drenched singletrack, a destroyed public trail system, and many broken bike parts later, Bike Factory racing emerged victorious and won!.....a tire. An itense 2bliss 2.0 to be specific. Now granted, we run pretty much all bontrager stuff, but what the hell, it's a free tire and there's got to be some luck in the thing since it was, in fact, THE twisted tire. So I superjuiced the thing up and popped it on my front race lite, and I've been racing it for much of the summer. Not a bad tire - very much in the same genre as a bontrager XDX. And no flats all summer. Until...

On pounding creek rd on saturday, a dirt gravel track connecting Miller School rd over to Dick Woods, I saw a dog run out in front of us. Now, I'm a dog lover. I've got two of my own that I adore like my children. And every now and then they get out in the road and cause some mayhem. So I'm a sympathizer more than a bottle thrower...I hit the brakes, scoot way right, and give this one the good doggie hello. Then I saw it was a pitbull, and it was seriously pissed off. She came right for us, barking, fangs barred, looking for trouble. And I was already too slow at this point to make a move, so I jumped off the bike and kept it between her and me as I tried to inch down the road. Undeterred, she layed into THE twisted tire, ripping a big hole in the sidewall. Superjuice sprays all over for a couple seconds, but it seals the hole right up. Success! I think, but this only seemed to piss her off, and she chomped down on the tire again, this time giving it one of those jack-russell-style violent shakes, and she tore the thing apart. No more twisted tire. Nowhere to go. Finally, the owner comes running from up the driveway, wrestles the dog into submission, and apologizes profusely. We shook it off, tubed the thing back up, and rolled for home with a wonky front wobble. The lady's mailing me $30 for the tire, which is halfway cool I guess.
And I guess here's my point: I ride these gravel roads all the time. I'm pretty used to the hazards: loose gravel, feral jack russell terriers, road hunters, fast guys like Charlie tearing my legs off on the way up jarmins. All that stuff I'm fine with. The risks of gravel roads are far outweighed by what happens to guys out riding pavement.
But I need a new twisted tire. And there's only one way:
Bring your floatie wings and rubber duckies - I've never actually seen poor far dry, and we're due for a whole bunch of rain.

Monday, August 18, 2008

18 hrs. of domination

This past Saturday was the 18 Hours on the Farm race for BFR. And as you can probably tell from the title, we destroyed the competition.

El capitan (shawn) successfully defended his title against some of the best riders in the region without having any clue he was leading until the wee hours of the morning and also stopping for 40 minutes to put some poor bastard's face back together. Our men's duo team of Dave and Ken placed first in their category and 2nd overall (only minutes behind a FOUR person team) with 22 laps. I think they had the fastest lap time as well with 42 minutes. Dave slowed down to a 50 minute lap at one point to cut down a rubber chicken for another pair of socks and stare at some full moon. Ok, if you're reading this and you weren't there, that sounded bad, but it's all true I promise. Kev29er got fifth in the duo category even after a seven hour "nap" and his partner leaving after two laps (hope you're feeling better, Jeremy). On the ladies side of things, our duo of D and Christy "99 bottles of beer on the wall" Tankersly was moved from their category due to lack of participants to our category (4 person team) and put our team of Esther, Michele, Kateri, and myself in second which we're calling first in the 4 person category. :)

And the weekend yielded plenty of firsts for this little mountain biker wannabe: first team mtb race, first night ride, first time eating brownies wrapped in pp&j, first time on a dual suspension (like riding a pillow cushion), first blow up doll attack, first time placing in a race, first time falling off a bridge, first time being chased by rabid dogs (I swear, they were right behind me), etc.

Thanks to our awesome pit crew of Jason, Caleb, Papa T., and John Cox. You guys were amazing. Caleb, I apologize in advance for the endless amounts of ridicule you're going to receive for the sleeping position you chose. Seriously though, how did you breathe? Huge thanks also to Denelle for doing the majority of the site clean-up afterwards and to Ted Shred and Liz for the much needed rides home. And I'm just going to go ahead and give the mini Tankersly sammies their own little shout out: who ever threw you in the trash should be shot, you are amazing.

The dust was horrible, I've got too many bug bites to count, and the bruises on my legs have people asking how my relationship with Dave is going these days... I can't wait for next year. Going mushy here so prep yourself: most of the running races I do are solo and I usually love getting things done on my own. That being said, I've been "on" this team for over a year but only toed a starting line once and have yet to feel like I've really been part of it enough to proudly wear the jersey. This weekend changed all that. Having a team like this behind you showing you how to jump a log, or fixing your bike, or cheering you on at 4am is an overwhelming thing and one that gave this particular newbie not only the idea that she could accomplish something like this, but the ability to have an absolute blast doing so. Placing second on a 4 person team isn't much to some but it's huge to me and I couldn't have done it without them. I wonder how some people do.

Congrats again BFR, you (ahem, we) ROCK!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh how true.. from one of my favorite online "webcomics",

For some reason, I can't get this image to show up inline.. so, click this link
this link below for a good laugh.