Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mohican 100

i really need to start writing things down while there still fresh in my head... here is what i remember about the 1oo.
sticking with my plan to keep things short this year i signed up for the 100k. it took me a little while to get going, the breakfast i ate not too long ago was sitting funny and i didnt want to push it and chance puking. soon enough i felt better and started to ride hard, about 10-12 miles in my front derailleur started acting up and wouldn't shift into the big ring so i stopped and made some adjustments and got back on the bike.
just as i caught up to the guys i was in front of before my derailleur problems, i flatted...(i half expected to flat since i forgot to check my tire pressure at camp and about 2 min before the race started i gave them a little squeeze and they felt low) so i threw in a new tube and got going again. somewhere on the road i got in with three single speeders two soup can guys and gunnar shogren. me being on a geared bike i felt i should be faster on the road but they hung with me for miles, it was almost frustrating. gunnar was passing me on the descents! they stuck with me until we got on the wilderness trail.
by this time my legs were starting to feel it, they still felt good but i had to drink lots of water to keep from cramping. i stopped at the 3rd aid station and filled up on liquids while my bike was getting washed and lubed (thanks jeff) the 2nd and third aid stations are always great at this race.

just as im leaving the aid station i pass tim mould's dad and he says im in 5th, not bad considering all the time i spent fixing my bike, i'd be happy being in the top five. so i look back to make sure no one else is coming and sure enough there is a guy 50 ft behind and closing. he catches me and we ride down wally road together side by side introducing ourselves and talking about the race. we turn left and head up a monster hill that i think i walked up the first time i did this race. anyway we stayed side by side the whole climb, i felt i might have been able to drop him on the climb but there were still some tough miles to go and i didnt want to do anything just yet.
we topped out and marty started riding strong on the flats, i stayed on his wheel refusing to let him go. a few times he started to slip away but i got back on and would take my pulls when he slowed. we came up to aid station 5 and i rode past hoping he would need to stop... he didnt.

i was in front as we hit the single track with marty right on my wheel for about a quarter mile then my right leg locked up, marty passed me as i got off my bike and tried to get my leg to stop cramping, both my hamstring and quad were cramped up bad. i drank my water and rubbed my leg out.
as soon as it eased up i was riding again. i was pushing as hard as i could with sore tired legs listening for martys bike and after a few miles i heard it! then a minute later i saw him. oh snap! this is going to be close.
i caught him just after we started descending with about a mile of single track left "chip is that you?" yeah "did you cramp up back there?" yeah "nice recovery man!" ha ha thanks marty
i was faster on the descents but had no room to pass so i waited until we popped out onto the double track and made my move.
i wasn't sure exactly how the race finished but i figured it had to be close, so i got in front of him and put a little gap on him, then we started heading away from the finish and i got a little nervous, my legs were not going to last much longer and here we are riding away from the finish. i looked back and marty was right behind me...ahh this sucks! then we turn right and i see how it finishes just another 30 seconds or so. so i give it all i have and put a tiny gap on him and hold him off through the finish.
marty came over to shake my hand and we congratulate each other on the fun finish.

i finished 5th in 6 hrs a few seconds. congratulations to brad wilhelm for his first place finish.

next weekend were heading up to wisconsin to do the wors subaru cup for my second national race.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dirt Sweat and Gears

a few months ago i was sitting at the computer with my credit card in hand seconds from signing up for the pro ss solo class at DSG, when i remember jeff talking about doing some 12hr races with me as a duo. thinking this would be a fun race to do together, i call him up. amy over hears me leaving him a voice message and when i hang up she asks what date the race is on.
may 15th, i say
thats the day i graduate (from college at the age of 33 and after going to school for some 15 years)
so ended the hopes of racing there this year. good luck to everyone racing today and hopefully the trails are dry.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

greenbrier challange

this race did not have as big of a turn out as i expected but was fun just the same. my class had only five guys in it.
the man with the clip board did a count down and we were off. one of the guys took off and i jumped on his wheel for about two seconds before i decided to take the lead. i thought this was strange because i am rarely in the lead and never in the lead from the start.

the course was flat and open for the first hundred yards then turns uphill, at the top of this hill i had a decent gap on the rest of my class and was already running into the class that started before us.
this is where i was thinking i am going to win the race. i keep looking back and listening for anyone coming up behind me... nothing. the course is pretty rocky in places and on our pre ride i knocked my rim off a rock and now thats all i can think about.

i keep a good pace but have backed off some concentrating on riding smooth and hoping like hell not to hit my rim today and flat.
four laps later i cross the line in first place.

jeff won his class too and killed it, winning by 6 min or so. had he been in the pro class he would have at least gotten 4th, the kid is so fast!

this guy is thinking - how many times is this guy on the polka dott bike going to pass me?

this is the first of three national races i can make it to and from what i understand in order to be able to upgrade and get my pro license i need to have three top three finishes. the next one is in wisconsin june 26th

Saturday, May 8, 2010

catching up

During the winter I told myself that i was going to post a few times a month on this thing so one day years from now i could look back and remember how much fun we had. so im finally getting around to it and i have some catching up to do so here is a quick break down
This was probably best winter i've had in years. it was a long snowy winter and usually i would be inside watching AFV waiting for the sun to come out or in a wear house skate boarding or climbing on artificial rocks but this winter we had deuce and kokoe and they want to play 24/7.

amy and i started out taking them for long hikes/walks which was fun but not very exciting so we dusted off the xc skis and this made our time in the snow much more exciting.

see i was laid off for about three months this past winter and with amy in school full time i had a ton of free time with the pups so we made the most of it. i would usually try to get a ride in either on the trainer or out on the fixie in the morning then take dude and kokoe-mo out for a little skijoring come home and pick amy up and go out again. it was lots of fun and good cross training for the up coming racing season.

cant for the life of me figure out how to rotate this video...anyway here are some photos i do know how to rotate

I also got in a bunch of long rides with jeff "the freak, the animal, the machine, etc" pendelburry they were always cold hard and long but fun and educational we would usually ride down by his house in amish country. he would school me on amish life and point out different plants and animals along the way.

This year im focusing on shorter races 30 miles or less and maybe throw in one or two longer races. jeff and i are going to do some of the closer national races and hopefully do well enough to upgrade from cat 1 to pro. its something like three top three finishes or five top five finishes to get the upgrade.

The first race of the season was race 1 of the V-knob series and after training all winter i was excited to see how i would do. steve twining lined up next to me and said jeff told him i was the man to beat this year i just laughed and told him no jeff is the one to look out for.

the gun went off and steve got the hole shot followed by brad, dave hall, john proppe, and myself. jeff came by me and got past john and dave i tried to stick on his wheel but couldn't get by them so i waited for my chance. once we got out of the woods i passed john and tried to get by dave in a corner but was going too fast and slid out right in front of john who somehow didnt run me over. i got back up and took off. a few min later i passed brad with his bike upside down fixing a flat or something. somewhere on the first lap i passed john and dave and was sitting in third.

john was never too far behind and i learned from cross season john is a very strong rider and wont give up or back off so i kept pushing hard. i would catch a glimpse of jeff or steve here and there and couldnt believe how far ahead of me they were. i managed to hold john off for third place 8 minutes behind jeff! i figured jeff would beat me but i was thinking 3 maybe 4 min, not 8... i have a lot of work to do.

a week later was the first ombc race at mohican wilderness i wasn't looking forward to this race i've done a hand full of 24hr races there from four man and duo and the last two were solo. in 07 i was racing solo there on my single speed and after about 15 hours had to pull out because i thought my achilles was going to explode, 32x16 was not a good gear to run. the following year i made another attempt this time i came equipped with a 32/20 and felt much better still i left that race not wanting to ride my bike ever again. so coming back to this course is nothing i look forward to.

the race started off fast, a little pile up as soon as we got in the woods slowed things down but just for a few seconds. steve and jeff were really pushing the pace and i couldn't hold on. eventually i caught and passed teddy and tried to put some distance between us but he held my wheel and dropped me on the 2nd lap. i was just trying to hold on to my currant position and get the race over with.
then i see ross clark creeping up on me. he finally passes me on the third and final lap, i hold his wheel and figure ill make my move on the last climb and try to hold him off and sprint for the finish. but im climbing faster than him on the second to last hill with maybe 2 miles to go so i figure what the heck ill make my move now so i pick up the pace and just as im passing him i get bumped out of the saddle by a log i didnt see and into ross. i apologize and let him take the lead. its flat for a few hundred feet then a long down hill.

we both pick it up and ross tears off down the hill and im right behind him we come to a downed tree that we have to dismount to get over ross gets over it clean and so do i my bike on the other hand gets hung up on the trees roots and and i have to take a second or two to get my bike free, i jump on and my chain drops into the granny gear. sh*t! i look up and ross is standing up getting smaller and smaller finally i get into the middle ring (somewhere in the race i broke my shifter and was stuck in my middle ring so getting it back into the middle ring was a little challenging) and take off hoping i can still catch ross on the last climb. i get to the bottom of the climb and ross is already just about at the top i figure he's too far ahead now but i try to catch him anyways. i pop out of the woods and ross is no where to be seen. i roll across the finish line looking for ross to talk about the last fifteen min of our race. i cant find him apparently he hasn't come through yet. he must have missed the turn out to the road for the finish and kept going on for another lap.
i finished 6th

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Summer of puppies

Here is what we've been up to lately

Friday, June 19, 2009

2 big races, two dissappointing outcomes.

A few week ago I attempted to do the Mohician 100. For some reason I decided to do it on my geared bike with a ridged fork and new ergon grips. Bad idea, and that combo was an especially bad idea. After 50 miles I decided to throw in the towel.
Earlier I was flying down one of the down hills with my headphones on and was somewhat out of control. At the bottom of the hill was a man gesturing something I took as "whoa! slow down man, your scaring me" about 3 seconds later it clicked what he was actually gesturing "slow down there is a really slippery bridge just ahead that takes a sharpish right hand turn" As soon as I went to turn both wheels slipped out from under me and I was on the ground. A sharp pain shot through my finger and I jumped up holding it and pulling on it (thinking I dislocated it). I looked at it through my glove it looked normal but bending it was very painful. So I got back on my bike and got going again. With the ridged fork every bump rattled through my hands and out my finger.
Shortly after that Jeff Pendlebury on his SS caught up to me and then Ernesto. The three of us rode together for a while dropping then catching one another until I fell off the back.
That was about it for me, my hands and upper body were taking a beating from my sweet new combo and my finger was a constant pain. All I was thinking about was how I really wanted to build a deck in the backyard and install the sliding door we just got,

and how bad my hands were going to be. So after a few more miles of the Mohican Wilderness trail I popped out on the road and headed to the finish line to tell them I wad done.
Afterwards while Zak, Brad and myself were eating our post race (post DNF for me), meal. Ernesto and Josh Tostado sat down with us and Big Bear came up. They were both going to be there. I got excited, this is a chance for me to race against some top 24hr guys.
Big Bear is put on by Granny Gear productions and are the most expensive races around $350 dollars for solo riders plus they charge you ten dollars to camp! In the grab bag you get a frisbee and a t-shirt. No free breakfast. No free meal afterwards, just a t-shirt and a frisbee... It is unclear what the winners get or how deep they pay. So I pretty much banned all granny gear races, but this one was close and I would have a chance to race some fast guys.
About 5 days before the start of the 24hrs of Big Bear I dropped the $350 and signed up.

My brother Jon was up for coming down and helping me out. We left Friday afternoon and got there around 7pm . We found a spot to camp, got all set up then found a better spot all the way in the back right along the trail, we took it. Jon got a fire going as I got ready for the race and went to bed. Woke up the next morning and kind of milled around until the race started.

The Le mans start was pretty long and rocky but was over soon enough.

I found my bike and took off. Less than a half mile in we got into some technical stuff and got the usual slow downs. I ran past a bunch of people got on the bike and passed a bunch more. The first two -three laps went ok, I got a flat on lap two and I was riding slower than normal and just mentally not in it. I couldn't stop thinking about how I just wanted to be home with Amy
and the pups.

I finally snapped out of it and my mind and body started to click.

Shortly after that on lap five I got caught and lapped by Josh Tostado. Five laps in! in 65 short miles and about 7.5 hours! Wow! I knew I wasn't riding my best but come on. Shortly after on my sixth lap another solo rider got me (the eventual winner Brandon Draugelis)

By this time my achiles tendon was starting to bother me (two years ago I had to drop out of the Mohican 24 because my achilles felt like it was going to snap). I knew it was just a matter of time before I would have to stop and last I checked I was in 8th place so I was thinking I'll just finish this lap (lap seven) and hang out with my brother the rest of the night. Soon after I caught Rob Lichtenwainer "Are you catching me" yeah I think so, what place are you in? "I was in third, now you are" we talked for a while but he was hurting so I rode on.

I needed to know if I really was in third or if I was a lap behind Rob somehow. I got to the start/finnish and Jon was there taking pictures like he had every other lap.

I asked him to find out where I was, waved my time card over the scanner and started another lap. Two plus miles later I got to our tent and Jon confirms that I am in third. Damn! I can't stop now, I have to go for as long as I can. Maybe my achilles will hold out. I thought about changing over to my geared bike and even taping my tendon but did neither. The SS felt great and I have no clue how to tape for a sore achilles.

I felt good, my body was holding up great besides the achilles and I was having fun but I knew I had to take it easy and just try to survive. I started to favor my right leg and walking up the steeper climbs. Lap nine it started to hurt. Before it was more of a dull pain not really occupying my mind, now it was pretty much all I could think about. I knew this would be my last lap, I was pretty disappointed. I rolled into the start/finnish waved my time card for the last time and took the course back to the tent just incase I felt like doing another lap later on. I got to the tent and let Jon know I was done. He tried to get me back out there but it just wasn't worth it to me.
We sat by the fire, both of us bummed I couldn't finnish. I was In third place an hour and 20 min ahead of fourth.
Jon eventually went to bed, I stayed up encouraging everyone that went by until I decided I should probably get some sleep for the drive home.
Brandon Draugelis won with 14 laps and plenty of time to do more if he had some competition. Josh Tostado mysteriously dropped out after lap 11 in first place by twenty min. I finished eighth.
Thanks to Jon for taking the time out to come down and helping me out, you did awesome!, the Baltimore boys for keeping things lively and Brian and Eric for the good company.
I have a Dr. appointment soon to get this thing checked out so I don't continue to have this problem. For now I'm staying off the bike...sort of.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dirt Sweat & Gears

Amy, Deuce and myself loaded into the car for a week of hiking, biking and relaxing in NC, but first stop would be Fayetteville, TN for the 12hr race DSG. This was Deuce's first big road trip and he made the perfect travel buddy here he is a few hours into the trip

Safety first

A few nights before we left I started paying close attention to the weather down there. Rain, rain and more rain. Knowing what rain does to this trail from the first lap of last years race. I decided to run cross tires on my spare wheel set. Hoping if anything I would be able to at least push my bike around the course instead of dragging or carrying it. Never having done this before I was anxious to try it out. I rode around the trails for a few miles and decided I should try to run them tubeless.
The next day I woke up bummed a tubeless stem off Fuzzy and with some trouble and a friendly neighbor with an air compressor I was finally able to mount the cross tires tubeless.
The race began with a Le Mans style start. I found my bike and was off. The conditions of the first lap were ok, wet and muddy but everyone was able to ride. My rear wheel went flat three times before I decided to throw a tube in it. Then about 100 yards later I dropped my chain. I was bummed but figured there were still over 11 hours still to go.

The second lap started to get sticky everything slowed down. Lots of people walking or stopped pulling mud off their bikes. I was able to ride most of the course. At one point I came up to Dicky pushing my bike up a hill. And he said something like "how is it possible that I'm hearing a rear wheel turning". A few minutes later my front tire blew out. Then a little later everytime I went to unclip to run up a hill my left foot would get stuck and I'd fall over. "Now what" I lost a bolt to my cleat "damn" so I rode with out clipping in untill I got out of the first section of woods and asked the first person I saw if he had a spare bolt. He did! he cleaned out my shoe and put in a new bolt. Thank you who ever you are.
A few min later I came up to DJ he was pushing his bike around looking defeated. I'm sure it didn't help things for him when I rode past him. I knew he wouldn't be too far out of first place. This is the point where I started thinking I might have a shot at winning this thing.

The third lap was worse people were comming at me trying to find a way out of this disaster. I was still able to ride a lot of the trail and what I couldn't ride I could at least push my bike through. I was passing people left and right that were either standing there in a daze, cleaning the mud off their bikes with hands and sticks, dragging their bikes through the mud or carring their bikes, some with wheels in one hand frame in the other. I went through that last year in the first lap and it was horrible this was some peoples 2nd or third lap! I don't know how the did it. A few miles in I cought up to Fuzzy (he was way ahead of any other SS rider I saw) walking next to his bike just chugging away. He looked surprised when I rode up to him,
he asked: what lap are you on?
Third, Its the cross tires not my fitness.
do you have any more that I can use?
no, I wish I did. Good luck
About a min later we saw each other again on a swich back and Fuzzy asked me to have Mike Stanley set him up with cross tires. "alright" I said and continued on. The rest of the lap I was going back and forth in my head should I say something to Mike or not... I told Fuzzy I would so I'm going to... ahh that sucks he's probably going to catch me... I decided to stop and let Mike know Fuzzy needs cross tires It was only fair. By the time I got to the tents Fuzzy was already there getting everything going. He probably figured instead of finnishing his lap walking his bike it would be faster to stop where he was come in and change tires then go back out and finish his lap on cross tires.

The fourth lap more of the same about 3 hours of thick heavy mud any time the trail pointed up I would push my bike looking back every so often hoping like hell not to see Fuzzy back there. I passed Harlen Price at one point. We talked about just calling it quits at the end of this lap. He was in 2nd place in his class Pro open and I was sitting in 1st of my class Pro SS. We both just wanted it to be over and were hoping everyone else felt the same way. I came around to the tents and asked Fuzzys wife if she thought John would be up for just calling it a day or if he would keep going. She couldnt answer that so I went over to DJ and asked him the same question. "Its hard to say" "Just quit" Dicky says. Thanks guys
So I ride up to the start finnish line and talk to Bruce Dickman for a min and he sticks the mic in my face asking me whats on my mind. I mumble something about calling it a day and look over to see my wife Amy waving me on yelling at me that I had better go out for another lap. Does she even know what its like out there?

So I head out for my fifth lap not looking forward to it but if it means winning this thing and bringing home that $15oo check then I gotta do it. I ride around the field listening closely for Bruce to announce something about Fuzzy coming through.I dont hear anything so right before I head into the woods I ask a guy standing there if he has seen Fuzzy come out of the woods yet (the trail going into and out of the woods pass right by each other and there is about 2 miles to the start/finnish from this point and I'm hoping he is at least 2miles back) "no but I can't say 100% if he has or hasn't" ok so I sit there for a few min waiting for Fuzzy to come by... nothing then a golf cart comes up asking if everything is ok. I explain to them whats going on and the driver says hold on let me find out if Fuzzy has come through yet. they come back about four min later saying fuzzy completed his 4th lap and is headed out for his 5th. "F--k"! He must have snuck past Bruce and is close behind me. So I jump on my bike and go. Running up hills not wanting to look back just go! go! go! I pass Rebecka Tomaszewski
she is in the same boat racing to the finnish with someone hot on her tail. After a while I start thinking the golf cart guys were wrong and Fuzzy never went out for his 5th lap but still not sure I keep up a good pace. Fuzzy never catches me and I finnish before the sun goes down. High fiving Amy at the finnish line (someone took a photo of this and I would love to have it but can not find it) I go straight to the hose and wash up.

Turns out Fuzzy never did go out for his fifth lap and I was the only solo rider to complete 5 laps.

Thanks to my Sponsors
Dieringer Custom Cycles
Endura Clothing

Now off to Saluda, NC for some fun.