Showing posts from August, 2007

The Kingdom

You know what I love about mountain biking? It's so much fun, you train by accident.

Like this weekend, I was up at Kingdom Trails drinking beers and riding 10 hours in 2 days. I thought I was just hanging out with friends and railing some sweet flow, as the kids say, but it turns out I was actually training for the Vermont 50. Sweeeeeeet.
Getting some stealth training while everyone else sits on a bench

Any good mountain biking trip has its share of shenanigans. For us, these happen on Saturday night. After 5 hours of sweating out pounds of liquid in 85 degree, 85% humidity, the weather broke with a line of thunderstorms for the ages. For 45 minutes East Burke was battered by driving rain and lightning bolt after lightning bolt that measured less than a mile away. We observed all this from the safety of a restaurant window, and just as our food came out the power went out. Score!

But then Bryan casually mentioned that he might've only staked one corner of his tent. We ass…

Carrabassett Challenge Debacle Report

This weekend I was faced with a difficult choice -- Hampshire 100k, Holiday Farm marathon, or something else.

Well, the Hampshire 100k was $100 and only 5% singletrack, whereas Holiday Farm was $50 and 95% singletrack. Ok, so that makes that decision easy. But do I really want to race for six hours? Uh, maybe.

I decided I didn't, so I ended up heading north to stay with Linnea and her family and go race a little event up at Sugarloaf called the Carabassett Cycle Challenge. Apparently it was the only mountain bike race in New England that was less than 6 hours this weekend. Anyway, after nearly a month on the sidelines I wanted to get back to it.

The big problem was that my bike is still broken. How is this possible, you ask? Well, an exciting combination of incompetence from all parties. So first I broke it, and I called the nearest Jamis dealer (Cambridge bikes) to order a new one the next day. So 9 days later I figure it's time for my part to show up, so I call the gu…

What the Roadie?

So I was out riding tonight around dusk, because that's when it's safest. And I see this dude gingerly walking across a gravel parking lot to his car. He's walking a little funny because he's carrying a road bike and wearing road shoes.

This perplexed me. Are his tires and tubes made of paper mache? Or does he only think they are? Or am I actually an idiot for not knowing that modern road tires are punctured by the simple of act of riding on gravel?

I've logged several hundred gravel road miles on road tires in my life so I'm hoping it's not the latter.

Anyway, this kind of foo-foo bike coddling forced me to take action. So I veered off into road into the dirt shoulder, and yet somehow did not dual-flat my ride. So then turned around and rode up the curb, smacking the back wheel against the it, and yet my bike persisted in functioning. I tried bunny-hopping onto a glass bottle but that didn't flat it either. So I was like, maybe this thing isn'…

24 Hour of Great Glen Pit Crew Report

Random: Jess Ingram (I think) being chased by a shark during the Le Mans start

I had to pull the plug on Great Glen. Linnea's brother Nils is a sick athlete and wanted to take my place, so there was just no good reason to try to ride 12 hours with seven fresh stitches in my knee. I was relegated to pit crew. As I rode and ran around during the race my knee throbbed a lot, so I think it would have been a bad one had I tried to race.

Anyway, here's a collection of memorable things from the weekend.

1) This year there were two "Pro" teams throwing down intense laps the entire race. For the last 12 hours of the race they were about 10 minutes apart. They beat the next team by 3 laps. One of these teams featured Thom P rocking the singlespeed to some 40-minute laps. I was pulling for them, not so much because I "know" Thom through the internets as much as because their team name was about 100x cooler than their opponents. "Go Ugly Early," it soun…

This is why we can't have nice things, part II

Night ride last night in the Fells. One last shakedown before Great Glen. I'm riding down this rock face, with a turn in it, not really paying too much attention since it's pretty rideable during the day.

But, I kind of get stuck, so I decide I need to dismount. Unfortunately I'm running handlebar lights so I can't see anything to the right side of my bike. Ordinarily I would jump the bar, but I can't see the landing, so I kind of just lay down.

On the way down I bash my knee on a rock. It hurts. A lot. I start swearing, loudly. Alex asks me if I'm ok. I say I'm ok, I'm ok, I've definitely felt pain like this before. I think it's subsiding.

Then I look at my knee.

Did you know that your kneecap is white, far whiter than your skin? Yep. Kind of remarkable, although I wish I could get that image out of my head.

I would have been in much bigger trouble if Alex wasn't there. I call Justin, mainly because involving other people seems like…

City Drafting

This post by "Gwadzilla" reminded me of something that I let slip through the cracks during my previous bike commuting post -- people who draft in the city!

Alright, so let's think about this for a second. We've already established that riding around the city is dangerous. You need all the help you can get to control the risks you will inevitably encounter, so the last thing you should be doing is adding a new risk -- like, say, another object directly in front of you, that could stop or turn without warning you.

And yet, so many riders do this. Some of them are roadies who think that the proper location to ride is 4 inches off someone's wheel regardless of conditions -- after all, no one panic-stops on a group ride in the country, right? Some of them are overly competitive commuters, who think that sitting right on your ass in the draft is proving something about their biking abilities, and some of them are lazy commuters that want a free ride.

So, one question…

Stoked for 24 hours

So I finally had a weekend without racing or riding, which is why I have nothing to blog about. I was actually in Vegas, for the curious, paying several hundred dollars a day to inhale secondhand smoke.

But I'm still totally pumped, even if I haven't been on the bike in 5 days, because it's almost time for the 24 hours of Great Glen. That's right, this weekend from noon Saturday to noon Sunday it's going to be a non-stop adventure in the pain cave. This was my first race last year after moving from Florida so it also serves as my 1-year anniversary of coming back to bike racing.

I've done this race twice before so I've got some solid experience racing all day and all night. In 2004 I was on a 2-man team with my dad called "Somewhere Over the Handlebars" that clocked 23 laps on the way to 4th out of 12 in the men's pairs class. In 2006 I was on a 4-person men's beginner team called "Dirt Waffles" that rode 21 laps (of a longe…