Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Black Bear Rampage

The 2008 Black Bear Rampage down at the Ocoee whitewater center turned out to be another great time on and off the bike.  Tanasi is one of my favorite trail systems in the southeast, so its always great to get down there and race.  

I had decided to rock the singlespeed, and got a little excited at the start as I jumped away a little too hard on the road climb.  But I settled back in, and thought I hit the singletrack in first. But I had apparently been watching the wrong guy, as I found out at the end of the race that one guy had slipped by on the doubletrack and I hadn't noticed.  Where were you on that one eyes?  

But the rest of the race went without incident.  My form isn't quite what it was earlier in the spring, but I felt good and had a consistent race.  The 32x20 was close for most sections, but a 19 would probably have been better.  There are quite a few long flat/rolling sections that I was pretty much spun out on.  I finished up the race in 19th overall, and 2nd in the SS.

I think this year's BBR was a definite improvement in most aspects. Adding the road climb was a great way to start, and basing the event at the WWC is much better than the overflow lot.  And the inflatable kid's slide was more fun than it probably should have been.  My one complaint would be having to wait 3-3.5 hours for food, and that there was nothing to drink at all besides monster energy drink... Well, that and the god-awful retina burningly ugly shirt.  But overall, the BBR was definitely good times.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More Shenandoah

I managed to snag a few clicks from the Shenandoah race last weekend.  I ended up rocking the glasses in the helmet for probably 70% of the race, which is odd, as I'm normally the guy that wears them in the dark, in the rain, whatever... I never take those things off.

There were a couple of nice creek crossings...

This picture just looks funny as it was taken at just the right angle with the glasses in the helmet to make it look like I'm actually wearing them.

I'm way too excited about being done.  Sorry for the overreaction, I'll try to calm it down for next time...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nowhere Close

The Shenandoah 100 ending up being one of the roughest days I've had on the bike all season. With a tough course with tons of climbing and rocky technical descents, it was not so much a place that tolerated mediocre legs.

The race started off decently, and I was making up quite a few places on the initial rolling climb. However, I started to fade to the back of the group I was with on the first major climb. I still felt decent, and didn't do too badly on the first rocky singletrack section. However, coming down a descent 15-20 miles in, I heard a loud pop and hiss as a sharp rock punctured the rear tire. I got the wheel off and found the hole, but it was too large for the sealant to get. As I was getting a tube in, 2 or 3 other people came down and punctured in the same place.

I got rolling again, and hit a long steep singletrack climb, where you could see 50 people ahead of you walking up the mountain. The walk seemed to take forever up to the top. Another fast descent full of rock gardens and off camber roots saw me down to the aid station at mile 45. I was a bit undernourished, as I had decided to roll with 3 bottles only for the first 45 miles, not expecting it to take me well over 4 hours to get there. As the race wore on, I was getting more and more frustrated as my legs would come and go and as the rocks continued to destroy my hands. I could make time on the climbs, and then immediately lose it all trying to come back down with my fingers feeling like they were breaking apart with every bump in the trail.

The last 30 or 35 miles turned into a painful slogging up and down the course to just get it done. I can't remember the last time I did a race where I was just completely over it mentally. After tons of mashing up climbs and bouncing down the rocky descents, I ended up finishing in 10:11, and couldn't have been happier to be done with it. Not really an ideal day, but you've got to take the bad with the good. At least the race had a great atmosphere and tons of food to smooth everything over. Maybe next year...