Thursday, December 31, 2009

People Pictures

As I was glancing through Picasa today, I realized I never posted up the last bunch of photos from interbike...

The Man himself... The suit legs are knickers.

Same picture with a flash on... Reflective Stripes!

Levi Leipheimer

Stage 17 Superstar Floyd Landis

Hawley/Storck rock star Andy Hale

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blog Hiatus and Updates

My blogging seems to have fallen off a cliff lately... Just go with the usual excuse of busy or work or being tired or family or exhaustion or friends or riding. Choose your favorite.

Since my last posts, I've been up to a little bit of everything. Some racing, some spectating, fun rides, night rides, work, home improvements, animal rescuing, etc...

I ran the Ocho 8 Hour Race back on October 17th, which went really well. Not a huge turnout, but everything went smoothly and everybody seemed to have a great time. I think having beer and pizza makes everybody forget they rode for 8 hours on a wet and super windy day with a high of 45 degrees... Some new races are in store for next year, more details on that later.

I threw in some long training rides to get back in the lap race mentality before the local Haw Ridge 12 Hour race, but that ended up being a bust. We had downpours the three days before the race, and all morning before the race and as it started.


As people were looking like this after one lap [although, Phillipe doesn't seem to mind], I decided that paying money for the privilege of completely destroying every moving part on my bike and getting to buy a new drivetrain didn't sound so fun. That and riding 12 hours in that muck... No thanks.


To make up for it, Elizabeth, Ed, and I headed west to the Lock 4 6 Hour Challenge in Gallatin TN. I had heard of Lock 4, but never ridden there. I guessed that the SS with a 32x18 would be good since it was relatively flat. We couldn't have asked for better weather, as it was bone dry, and nearly 70 degrees... In the middle of November! The race went pretty well, and I started well. Having never ridden the course, a few rocky sections and dropoffs caught me off guard, but after a couple laps,I had it down. I rode decently, but was playing catchup all day. I managed to slot into 2nd with a lap or two left and held it to the end... SS was the tough class of the day, with SSers taking 3 of the top 5 overall solo spots.


The course was tons of fun, fairly flat, but with enough rocks, jumps, and techy sections to keep it interesting. It was really really twisty, requiring you to constantly accelerate. I think a 19 would have been a bit nicer gear since you had to spin it back up every 30 seconds... Overall a good fun day, 3 podiums for the car, and the longest day ever... We got up at 5:30 am, and made it home at 11:30 pm...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Interbike: Lance

EDIT: I've just realized that today is LiveStrong day, so I guess this is kind of appropriate... who knew...

Even though he wasn't at the show, there was more than enough Lance randomness to warrant an entire post.



Sram had Lance's Leadville bike on display. Pretty sweet paintjob, nice and low key with the black and white. Shiny XX of course. Elizabeth and I bought our tickets to go see the Leadville movie on October 22nd, should be fun.


Sram also had Lance's TT bike from the Tour down Under. Pretty neat up close with how the numbers fade/dissolve from the grey to black in places.


Sram has also officially released all the posters they were making for Lance's return to cycling. I snagged the Giro one a month or so ago, they are pretty nice. They are kind of on the largish size [24x36]. I've been told I can get one more of them, as the house is not a cycling shrine... I'm thinking the Leadville one is quite cool.

If you want one, all you have to do is buy a Sram road or cyclocross bike, and then go here and follow the directions... Free!


Giro had all the Lance helmets on display as well. Hard to tell in the pictures, but they were kind of scratched up like they had been wrecked/ridden.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Interbike: Sram

Some of you may know that I am a bit of a Sram fan. What can I say, it's just better... You do what you want though :)

But I did snap a few shots of some neat things they had at the show.




Colored Sram/Truvativ xo goodies. 5 Colors to match up your ride, and crank brothers even made matching eggbeater SL and candy SL pedals!


The XX is quite incredible. The front shifting feels phenomenal, and it is crazy light. The cassette is especially cool, as it is milled out of a single chunk of steel like the red cassette. The weight of the 9 cog PC-990 [xo cassette] is 300 grams for an 11-34. The XX cassette weight 200 grams, with 10 cogs in an 11-36. Pretty impressive. Overall, I want it... I don't really want to pay for it, and don't ride gears enough to justify it... But it is the real deal. Lizard not included in group price.

I also filmed the internals of a Red Doubletap shifter. Pretty slick how the rachets slide around/over/under oneanother to shift one way or the other.

video

Other cool things were road brake levers only [For singlespeed, bar end shifters, whatever] in both alloy and carbon. The r2c [return to center] tt shifters were neat as well, and also came in a Zipp flavor that had a larger, nicer shape to them. They also had a great after party. Woo, beer!

Interbike: Bikes

Interbike coverage might as well start with some pretty pictures of cool bikes. First up, there were tons of shiny pro bikes on display:


Alberto Contador's Paris Madone 6 Series

Mark Cavendish's Scott Addict

Thor Hushovds Cervelo S2
[Still using Dura-Ace 7800]


Fabian Cancellara's Specialized Tarmac

I really didn't take alot of pictures of just stock bikes from random vendors, but snapped a few pics of things that were neat/cool/different.




This was a random super lightweight mountain bike that had been rigged up with a modified version of shimano's electronic drivetrain. Crazy light, not sure if it is really rideable though... Carbon fiber rotors? Carbon fiber chainrings? Definitely different though... The same people also had a 9 lb fully functional road bike as well.

Cool name for a track bike...

And I saved the best for last. The Trek District Carbon. This guy is basically a 5 Series Madone with a singlespeed belt drive, and some slick pivoting dropouts. I was super excited to see one of these in person since I didn't go to Trek World. Looks like the sweetest singlespeed commuter ever. Although at $3360 retail, this might not replace my $500 Soho S anytime soon... That and the whole impracticality of carrying anything on it. But who cares, it's a carbon bike with a belt drive!


Interbike: Las Vegas



Elizabeth and I headed west this past week to the city of sin to take in the behemoth that is Interbike. Having never been to Interbike, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. As for Vegas itself, well, it's Vegas... We stayed in the Imperial Palace. Great location, but the rooms look like they haven't been changed since the 60s... At least we didn't spend much time there.


The show ended up being lots of fun. Really great to see people from across the country that you normally don't see. Also great to check out all the cool new bike stuff. It's kind of disappointing in a way though, as everything you see at the show was on the internet weeks ago. The USA Crit and CrossVegas made for fun spectating as well.


But rather than throw tons of random pictures at you, I'm going to do 3 or 4 Interbike posts with groups of pictures and whatsuch...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rampaging Black Bears

Two weekends ago I headed down to the Ocoee Whitewater Center for the Black Bear Rampage. I have to admit I was excited, as the trails at Tanasi are one of my favorites. I had also done this race the past two years and enjoyed it. New for this year was a lengthening of the course for Pros and Experts from 40 miles to 60 miles. With probably 58 miles of the course being singletrack, you get more singletrack here than most every NUE hundred miler.


With a less than 2 hour drive, I headed down the morning of. Nutrition for the race looked to be interesting, as there were no SAG drops. Forgetting to check my stock of gels/bloks was a bad move, as I only had a ½ pack of Clif Bloks, and one Clif Shot. Luckily I was well stocked with Infinit, and decided to carry 2 bottles of Infinit, and then carry plastic bags with servings of Infinit so I could just refill with water and dump the powder in.


I have a history of not drinking enough at this race, as the first year I did it on 2 bottles, and died during the last singletrack section. Last year, I made it comfortably on 3 bottles for the 40 miles, but also had someone to hand me the bottles.

I ended up racing the pro/open class, and they started us off with all the experts as well. [That's right, I raced with gears...{insert gasp of shock}]The 3 mile road climb was not that great, and I entered the singletrack 15 seconds or so off of the front group of 8 or so. I rode with Shane Schreihart through all of brush creek and old copper road until we got almost to the whitewater center. We turned to climb up the singletrack, and my legs immediately hated me... I had nothing.


I suffered up to the top of thunder rock, made it down, and had some more less than awesome times going up the fireroad and singletrack climbs aftewards. I stated to feel better on the rolling sections, and finally felt good as I started the second loop of the Whitewater center section. Unfortunately, it was way to late to be “racing.”


I enjoyed the rest of the ride though, and finished up in 4:4Xish, for a nice DFL in the Pro/Open... Although, I guess I can console myself that regional stud Andy Applegate was only one place ahead of me... Maybe we had the same day.

But I can't complain at all about getting to ride 60 miles of rockin singletrack on a perfect Sunday afternoon...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fool's Gold, Part 2

Go!



And with that we were off. The course looked pretty tough on paper, as it started with an 11 mile fireroad climb. Not a typo... The course then descended, and had another long singletrack climb. The rest was smaller climbs, but was still of the “up forever, down forever” variety, which doesn't leave much for recovery.

I started in the first pack, but found myself dropped by most of the geared guys on a small descent before the climb really started. I looked around, and noticed myself hanging on the coattails of a group containing 6 other singlespeeders, and no geared guys. I stayed slightly off this group until the climb steepened up and got looser about 3.5 miles in. At this point, I was working way harder than I should be at this point in a long race, and let them go. I worked my way to the top of the mountain after a short pitstop to try and fix my saddle bag [apparently velcro tends to die in the mud and not work anymore, who knew...]



The descent off the first climb was kind of shady, as it was steep enough to go 35 mph, but very rutted out, covered in loose gravel and fist sized rocks, and had traffic coming up the other side. I survived, and entered some sweet swoopy singletrack to make it the second aid station. The next section was a long and steep singletrack climb, covered with roots and rocks. The 32x20 was a good choice, but I was still standing up on most of it since all the roots made it tough to stay seated. After topping out, another long descent took me to a slightly downhill fireroad and back to Aid Station 2/3.

From here, the course went out more fireroad before hitting a doubletrack climb that was nice and smooth. The top turned off onto singletrack for another short climb, and then a descent back down to the fireroad and aid station 4/5. More fireroad took me to another singletrack, which was extremely rutted out. Climbing this section seemed to take forever, and you were rewarded only with getting to go down forever on similar rutted trails.



From here it was practically over for the lap, with only 2 short singletrack sections left, and a bit of uphill fireroad. I finished the first lap feeling great, and started up the behemoth climb again. I was rocking it until the hill steepened again, but then died, and rode like a little girl the rest of the way up. I had dropped a rider at the base like he was standing still, and he returned the favor a few minutes later.

I got caught by the women's leader at the top, and she passed me as a I stopped to pour water on my head. I caught her soon after the descent, and rode decently the rest of the day. Nothing else really exciting happened the second lap. It was actually kind of dead, as I went about 25 miles without seeing anyone else at one point.



I rolled into the finish in 9:50 and 9th place in a strong SS field, where I was handed a bar of soap and pointed to the showers. Real showers at a race are kind of a nice rarity. I got my gear loaded and hung out a bit before heading back to Knoxville to sleep in my own bed. Overall Fool's Gold was a really tough race with all the climbing, roots, rocks and ruts. Not as technical or miserable as Shenandoah, but just a darn tough day in the woods.

Fool's Gold, Part 1

After a bit of construction work in the kitchen in the morning, I packed my things, and headed off towards Dahlonega, GA for the Fool's Gold 100. This was to be my final NUE race of the season, as I had already done the Cohutta 100, the Mohican 100, and the Lumberjack 100.



My drive over started out nicely enough, with me smoothly cruising west on I-40 while I watched traffic stretch for miles in the other direction. I passed the Ocoee whitewater center, and was greeted with some light rain, sunny skies, and even a rainbow.



I could almost say it was Rainbows, Kittens, and Sunshine, but I guess 2 out of 3 isn't bad. My luck changed 5 miles later, when the light rain turned into a torrential downpour. You have to love it when you're going 35 mph in a 60, and with your wipers on the highest possible speed you're still driving completely blind...

I finally cleared the downpour and made it to Dahlonega to pick up my packet. I really wasn't too happy to drive an extra 20 miles round trip to get said packet. I'm sure it was worth the gas to collect the typical swag bag of race number, 2 sizes too large t-shirt, energy gel, and company propaganda. I arrived at the race start as it got dark, and settled in for a surprisingly comfortable snooze in my car.


5:30 am came way too soon, and I got my drop bags together and sent them on their way out onto the course. I did my typical nutrition plan of 8 bottles of Infinit, supplemented with Clif Bloks every so often. From then, it was a matter of gathering the race belongings and waiting for the start. Ready, Set,

… To Be Continued

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pursuit!

A friend of ours found a little north knoxville gem last week at Whittle Springs middle school: A nicely paved and clean 1/8 mile track!


Road bikes and lycra were in full force for some great pursuit racing. We started on opposite sides, and raced until a catch was made, or we hit 10 min. We never quite got to 10 min, but did have a few 6 or 8 min races. It was a great interval workout for sure.


The track is so short that it is hard to consistently pedal. Since it is not banked, the corner sections were faster to coast through, as pedaling generally led to clipping a pedal on the inside. The best technique seemed to be to hammer as hard as possible on the straight and carry it through the corner.


We did several solo races, and then a team race. I think we'll have to switch directions next time though, as I doubt that 15 miles of left turns is good for my tires. hmm...

[It looks slow, but we were going through the corners at 23-24 mph.]

Friday, July 31, 2009

Walking


I had forgotten I had this nice shot of me walking the sand hill at the lumberjack 100...
It was not so much good times on a SS. Steep and sandy at the bottom, then inches deep of sand the rest of the way made trying to get back on a futile pursuit. Fun Fun...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thursday Centuries

I'm still trying to roll through all the road routes in the Knoxville book, and decided they would get done quicker if I did two at a time. This was especially true for the ones that started at Coulter's Bridge, as it is about a 35 min drive to get there. A few weeks ago, I did three of the routes at once for 100 miles, which was definitely painful. I was hurting on the first 30 mile flat route for some reason, then Butterfly Gap racheted up the pain screws, and I limped around for the last 30 miles to finish up in 6:04.


I decided to start the Thursday Centuries up last week, and kicked it off with the death ride. The death ride started off nicely enough, with a 56 mile rolling loop out rocky branch to Kyker's Bottoms wildlife refuge. I refueled at the car after averaging 17.3 mph. The remaining 46 miles were the pain miles, as it went straight up and over the Parkway, then up Happy Valley and Flat's road, and then a big coast back down the parkway. [~4500 ft of climbing] I died about 2 miles up the Parkway, and never really recovered. I finally got to the top, and went to the campground to dump water on myself and reevaluate my decision to keep riding. I ignored the voices in my head and plunged over the other side of the parkway. My neck and shoulder's were killing me, so I couldn't really descend in any sort of aero position.

I turned the corner at the base and started up Happy Valley. Lots of rolling, false flat type sections were ok, but once the climb pitched up, I was toasted again. I sloooowwwwly made my way up the switchbacks, and turned right onto Flat's road. For those of you that haven't heard of it, Flat's road is about the steepest climb in the knoxville area. Whoever named it, I hate you. Death was upon me at this point, and I did some serious SS style mashing to get myself up the road at 3 mph. [Sadly, not a typo...] After another dousing of water at the campground, I headed down the parkway, and got back to the car with 102 miles in around 6:18. My average had dropped to a rockin 15.9 mph...


The third century installment finally went better. I felt great all day. Started out with a ride up the Parkway, and then down flat's road and Happy Valley, and then rode 129 back to Maryville. The rest of the ride was another loop around Maryville, that was mostly rolling hills and wind. I got doused with rain for 20 minutes or so, but by that point it was mostly refreshing. Finished in 5:44.

I'm not really sure what I'll do this coming week... Maybe one day I'll be cool enough to do the death ride of all the ascents up the parkway. I'm guessing this would be about a 110-120 mile ride with god knows how much climbing... hmm... Maybe a Mt Larry double ride?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Upgrado

If you're gonna go fast, you might as well look good doing it...



Thanks to Eric at Cane Creek and Andy at Storck/Hawley, I have a shiny new look for the front end on the Madone. I think the turquoise Astana cover and the white spacers match nicely...





I've also swapped out my XT cranks on the Superfly for the new hotness of the colored Truvativ Noir. Since none of the other colors matched, I went with the red. Even though they have colored derailleurs and shifters, upgrading my current X.0 stuff just to get matching colors is pretty pointless, so this is as color-matched as it gets... I got out on it yesterday at Norris for a couple hours. Gears are fun!



I didn't leave Elizabeth out of the fun, as she got some fancy new brakes for her Paragon in the form of the Avid Elixir CRs. Nice and shiny with the white and the carbon levers...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lumberjack 100 Recap

The start was a 2 mile downhill road which, as a singlespeeder, I wasn't looking forward to. However, it didn't split up the field at all, and the first group hit the singletrack as a mass of 40 or 50 riders. I passed a few more people before hitting the unclimbable sand hill. As I was pushing up the hill, 2 singlespeeders were ahead of me, along with whoever else was ahead of me at the start.

The course is essentially two loops of singletrack, the first one at 8 miles, and the second one at 17 miles long. About a mile into the first loop, a singlespeeder caught me and went by. I didn't know it at the time, but that would be the last time I would see another singlespeeder the entire day. The course was so different from the southeast, as there was very little climbing, and lots of sand on the course. The trails were also very non-technical, as you could probably count the number of roots and rocks in the 25 miles on two hands.

Overall it was pretty fun, with lots of twisty and swoopy sections. The climbs were small, and the 32x18 was enough to climb everything the first two laps, and only had to walk 3 climbs the last two laps. [except the sand hill, that I walked every lap.] There were some bumpy sections that got old real quick where the saddle would slam into you every pedal stroke... I needed 36” wheels for that!

My laps times were kind of consistent, running 2:03,2:04,2:13,2:13. The third lap didn't feel good, and the big minute drop confirmed it. So I ended up finishing in 8:34, for 7th place in the singlespeed. The called me up for awards and I won a handshake with the race promoter...

Elizabeth and Ed did good, with Elizabeth finishing on a SS in 10:30 [10th Womens Open], and Ed finishing in 10:04 [~10th Masters]. Go Knoxville!

Not really sure what is next up for me. I might go down to chattanooga for the SERC race next sunday. Other than that, the next sure thing on my calender is the Fool's Gold 100 miler down in Georgia in August. July always seems to kill the racing in the southeast, probably due to the terrible heat...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Almost Canada

Heading out today for the Lumberjack 100, way up in Northern Michigan. Should be some good times of swoopy singletrack and sand. Hopefully the viscious mosquitos will not take all my blood, because I will probably need it for the race.


The 13 hour drive is going to be quite horrible, but the race should be fun. Ed and E are coming up to represent for Knoxville as well. Now to start packing...