Showing posts from June, 2009

Putney/West Hill Race Report

So I went 27 days without racing a mountain bike. I tried a fewsubstituteactivities, and while I had fun screwing around on the road, in Vermont, and downhilling, I was really looking forward to taking my shit seriously on a bike once more. Thus, I registered for the pro race, because nothing makes you stop and focus on riding fast(er) like catting up.

Despite serious-business-mode being turned on, I completely whiffed on guessing the conditions for Putney, mocking Cary for his mud tire setup and nearly switching to my semi-slicks the night before. What can I say? It seemed like some pretty well-drained double track up there, but I guess a week of showers, and rain the morning of, can grease up anything. There were no mud bogs, but a persistent layer of slime everywhere. It was as technical as Putney gets -- and when combined with 800+ feet of climbing per lap, it turned into a really friggin' hard course.

Joining me in the Honda-Fit-Performance-Testing carpool were Linnea, Ke…

Obligatory Highland Mountain Crash Story

At the last minute, I decided to take Thursday off from work to go ride Highland Mountain Bike Park with Thom and Dan. I assume my experience was the norm for most XC-racer-dorks borrowing an all-mountain bike and riding Highland for the first time:

1) Buy baggy shorts in an attempt to fit in. As the only person in a jersey and non-full-face helmet, you still do not fit in, but at least no one has to look at your butt.

2) Observe tabletop with 60-degree launch ramp and landing 10 feet down the hill. Calculate hang time required to reach landing area. Pucker.

3) Start with the easiest trail. Discover what kind of stuff you can get away with when you have six inches of travel and a slack head tube. Go faster each run.

4) End up lying in the woods, with one shoe off, 10 feet from your bike.

Like I said, typical XC dork stuff.

Well, maybe the fourth one deserves some elaboration.

So it was your typical cross-slope run, descending at 20%, then falling away to 30% into a rockin 45-degree ber…

No Racing Makes Bloggers Crazy

As you probably figured out from the lack of content yesterday (and the week before), I'm adrift in the doldrums of a non-racing June, and the only thing more strained than that metaphor is my sanity. I'm like a shark that needs to keep swimming to breathe, if swimming was racing, breathing was blogging, and sharks were nonthreatening programmers. I'd complain further, but I'm still sleeping a reasonable amount, non-crippled, and only blogging once a week, so anything I whine about pales in comparison to Thom has going on.

I came pretty close to heading down to the Darkhorse Gallop this Sunday, but ended up reuniting with my long lost friend "alcohol" instead the night before. Of course it seemed like a good idea at the time, but by 10 AM Sunday all I could think was "wow, what a wasted weekend" and "gee, my head hurts." Note to future self -- you like bike racing more than binge drinking, and you can write about bike racing without so…

Thinking about Riding

Damn, I missed the Pinnacle again! My favorite race that I never make it to! And it turned out to be an awesome and slick course with a 20-strong elite class -- this race is absolutely on my 2010 calendar, I can't wait to find out why I'll have to miss it next year!

Luckily I have the best excuse, ever -- 2 days, 7 people, 8 hours, 67 miles at the Kingdom!

I have writtenenough about how much I like the place, so we can skip the ride recap. If you've never been you should go, and if you somehow manage to not enjoy it -- you should probably sell your mountain bike.

The weekend companions were top-notch and I had very little to do with it, turns out that Linnea has made it into the elite women's clique so I had pros in various states of non-retirement (Lyne Bessette and Sara Bresnick-Zocchi) to entertain me for the weekend. Did I ever push the pace in an attempt to drop the pro women, you might ask? And did I succeed in this endeavor? Some questions are better left una…

Lake Auburn Road Race Report

At the finish line of Sunapee I was extremely annoyed by my performance and looking for redemption. The crowd told me that the road race season was nearly over, and some monstrosity called "crit season" is coming up -- but there was another road race coming up, Lake Auburn.

That sealed it, as a hyper-competitive, results-obsessive moron I had to go do Lake Auburn, lest I have to live with the knowledge that I suck really bad in road races for 12 more months.

So, into another full Cat 5 field I went. The Auburn course is simple, but nice -- unlike Sunapee it has a lot of turns and back roads, so there were no outraged drivers stuck behind us, and also unlike Sunapee it has a long enough stair-step climb to kick people off the back for good. The course is an 11 mile loop with a short wall at the 1 mile mark and the stair-step climb to a false flat at the finish line. We were doing three loops.

The race is run by the Maine Cycling Club of which my Dad is a member, so obvious…

Return of Wacky Promoter Weekly

Linnea got some prize money in the mail for winning Elite Women. It was postmarked before this post was written so I had nothing to do with it. In summary, Bear Brook Rocks, see you there next year!

Editor's Note: This is a tough one to write because it's so hard to critique the actions of any promoter without coming off as a thankless, whiny racerhead. It should be noted that I did actually promote a race once.

No one races for prizes, or at least no one admits they do. Certainly the vast majority of racers would still show up in the event there were no prizes; hell, half of them never win anything anyway, despite mountain biking's best efforts to make everyone a winner with 4 ability levels and ~6 age categories. And yet, prizes get handed out, so if we're all gonna keep doing this prize thing, let's try to get it right.

This past weekend I hit my first efta race in a while and the event was very well run; you only need to look at its dedicated web pa…