Monday, August 27, 2007

Shaping up to be a good weekend...

Got some laughs with Bill, Ant and Jarred while building up the new rig for the weekend's adventure down in Va. SM100 on a single gear is going to be a learning curve but I'll have 100 miles to figure it out.
Heading back to Stokesville Virginia for the SM100 today. Looks like the heavy hitters in the endurance series will have a guest celeb to battle with at the Shenandoah 100 this weekend. Go Harlan! A couple adjustments needed and my new bike will be ready to rip. The Stans wheels and bontrager 2.25 tires are going to be super comfy, just hope they hold air! Thanks to Christopher Igleheart for another race worthy ride. A full write up to follow on how the new 29'er single speed performs after we return.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Chased by dogs, bit by bees, and a seated flip.

The first running of the Hampshire 100k was Sunday. Theme for the race, don't underestimate this one or it'll bite - I got the teeth marks to prove it. First mistake was to run a rigid fork..I've wanted to go rigid for at least one race this year, fox blew a seal last weekend at GG24 I figured it was a no brainer. The jarring and dribble vision, not too bad, my biceps will eventually re-attach to the necessary ligaments, maybe.

My seated flip came early in the race while bombing down the right side of a railroad bed. Freakish that I was unscathed after my left pedal made solid contact to a high railroad tie and sent me soaring on a seated front flip. Happened in a flash. Duck and roll, fractured helmet and returned rubberside up...then the spill sent me careening off the ten foot embankment while my bike gathered kinetic energy with a single bounce off another railroad tie. Like a super ball it sprang up into the trees and then crashed down ten feet beside me. I jumped to my feet and looked for blood. One word. freakish. No blood. No broken bones, face intact. Helmet, well I can get another. Bike...not so lucky. Didn't notice the dent in the top tube till 5 hours later upon finishing the race.

About the landscape of southern NH, I had no idea that Greenfield NH was the sand capital of the world. I saw more sand in those 62.5 miles than any beach I've ever been to. Maybe next year they'll cut out the 30 minutes of perfectly straight sand road that was once a rail bed. Would have been more bearable if I'd had someone to work with during that time but found myself alone trying in vain to gap up to two guys 600 ft off my bow.

The second half of the race was nice. Degraded jeep roads and small rocky climbs with small road section in between. The final few miles were single track with views of southern NH. Very sweet. I was only lost once for 10 minutes near mile thirty and after surviving that seated roll I didn't really care what position I held in the race but somehow pulled of a second place in senior II expert behind my blog bud Rick.
Congrats to all that did this one. Some pictures captured from my spiffy low quality camera phone.

new meaning of "will work for beer"

La Ruta Reenie!
Pakistan Roz!

Good ride Glen


Wake up Rick, time for the podium

Brad growing sleepy

More personality for big red

Monday, August 13, 2007

24 hours of Great Glen

A cannon blast echoed through the Mount Washington valley. It was noon on Sunday and I let out a giant yee haw. The blast was the sign we were waiting to hear, the race was officially over. All racers on course finish up a final lap and get off your bikes for a while. 24 hours on a four man team and I got the gravy lap, and savored every moment.

One last time through the tunnel. Up the grassy switchback climb and up again to the newer section of single track, to be rewarded with a technical squirly decent, and onward to many miles of fast carriage road and small sections of swoopy connector trails. By now I could ride that loop with my eyes closed, and so could any of the other 426 participants... especially the 53 soloists in this year's 24 hours of Great Glen...
Memories of the weekend will play in my mind providing visions that will make me smile and laugh out loud for years to come. To the guys on my team, thanks for the memories. Sorry we didn't bring home gold but we gave the other "elite" team a run for their money.
The weekend started ugly.. The battery died in Thom's Volvo en rout to the venue, with a car load of men and gear. We truly were living up to our team name, Go Ugly Early. We quickly overcame the dilemma by extracting the battery from my Subaru in a bus station parking lot and placing it in Thom's engine compartment. With the battery swap behind us we drove three hours into the White Mountains and arrived in time to setup camp and get organized.

My teammates, Thom Parsons, and Greg 'the leg' Montello and I spun a warm up lap while our fourth man, Jeff Whittingham was voted "fast guy"... Meaning he'd run around the pond to start the race. Once in a while it pays to be the slow guy ya know. Conditions on the course were superb, dry and fast. Jeff had a great first lap coming in 30 sec behind first. Montello went next and turned in his first of many blazingly fast runs on his prototype IF 26 Ti/lefty to move into the lead. Then my turn. It hurt but went fine, held my own. Thom on his SS up next...don't know how he pushes that 32x18 to the velocity he achieves. If there's anyone with movie clips of Thom P on course please share cause I'm baffled and think the world needs to witness the focus and brutality it takes to rip 40 minute laps at GG on a single gear bike.

Our team was fueled on humor, respect and experience. To say the least it was a good time with friends. Moving into the night laps Greg had a light malfunction and I recorded two slow laps (46's) to back us into second place pro men where we would battle unsuccessfully for the remainder of the race.

Harry Precourt won the mental game with the mountain bringing home gold in the solo men 19-39. The Wilderness 101 last weekend was just the warm-up you needed to pedal 195.5 miles to victory this weekend Harry, good stuff. Hope you recover well and listen to you father, stay out of that stone yard for a cpl days.. :)

Jason Achilich won the men's SS solo. Good for you man. I saw him out there rocking his way to victory on his last lap. Funny thing about this event, as Roz said it too... for such a small course (8.5 miles) I only saw a few of my friends but for a brief moment during the race. Jason once, Harry once and didn't get the chance to see Roz on course at all, Btw congrats to IBC and Roz for your win in the expert 4 person women's field. The only person I WAS aiming to buzz was Western cycle Bill but never saw him either ; )

To all that I did buzz, sorry. I tried to be respectful out there in the wee hours of the morning as the soloists were suffering silently in their self made cocoons of body fluid and chamois cream. Every one I passed I said a quick "howdy do" knowing the only real suffering I'd do would be waiting for my next lap back at camp, cold and wet and tring to decide weather or not to change from my clammy chamois or just slip my sleeping bag on and grab a quick nap.

Thanks to Christopher Igleheart and son Max for cookin up some tasty pasta at night and more importantly coffee on Sunday am. Good to have you both there for support.

Next up Hampshire 100K.

Monday, August 06, 2007

W101 report

This race recap brought to you by the letter P

Perpetually pedaling with pounding palpitations without pursuit preconceptions or the posterior pang resulting from propulsive power output, instead persisting with a plan and a pace to plug away on piles of precipice and patiently plummeting on prolonged Pennsylvania pitches.

Well, that quickly sums it up. For a more detailed account read on...

Friday morning nine of us met at Seven Cycles to caravan down to Pa in the spacious accommodations of two vans. Skip Brown, driver of Whiptastic Van #1 was accompanied by ever present W101 racers Kerry Combs, Lloyd Graves, Greg Montello and Mike Ramponi. Bunch of strong peeps, should be a good weekend... Van # 2 was provided to us and driven by Harry Precourt. Thanks HP. you da man. Rolling with Harry in the big diesel van #2 was myself, Thom Parsons and Jeff Whittingham and a large amount of camping and bike gear.

We only got lost once in rural Pa when our map failed us a little but we stopped for directions and quickly got back on course.

Camp set up was quick and comfortable and we got right down to business eating lots of pasta and going to bed super early, 9:30 pm. Jeff had loaned me his 27 year old boy scout tent to sleep in, thank you very much. Kept the dew away and was quite comfy. As I layed in the tent in the out skirts of the soft grassy field in Coburn Pa I was pretty psyched to be there, not nervous but anxious to get it on. I wasn't much of a student while in school, JUST getting by most of the time. Home work was always completed half ass directly before it was due with minimal effort applied. Laying in the tent I felt confident I had done my homework this time. An honest effort put in. But more importantly I felt thankful for being in this position, for being healthy and strong enough to take on such a task and pumped to be living this lifestyle. To do what we were about to do..something that might seem unimaginable to most people.

Rise and shine was early. Got a really good night of sleep thanks to ear plugs that softened the piercing chirp of a million chirping crickets. chirp chirp.

Oats with banana and a cpl swigs of coffee and I and over two hundred racers, geared up ready to ride all day. We stood on the start line listening to Chris Scott on the mic with race directions.
Endurance events typically have a nice rolling start and this was the most civilized rolling start that I've ever experienced. For more than twenty miles we rolled together as a peleton on hilly wilderness fire roads. Kicking up a huge dust cloud on the first long decent it paid to be way up on the field. Things quickly broke up after aid #1 and the pros put a gap on a few chase groups.
I was with Greg "the leg" and my boy JW trying not to burn early. Having never met Montello, or ridden with him, I was pretty impressed with his climbing strength as he gapped me on most ascents. I grabbed the lead on a grassy downhill and opened it up and thankfully kept the bicycle upright and puncture free.
Jeff was having an especially strong day in the saddle, making it look like child's play. Strong enough to sprint out of sight but experienced enough to know better. Pretty stoked that I was there with these dudes, and pretty sure they felt the same. A reoccurring thought was that Thom Parsons and Harvey Minton were going to come up and join us at any moment. I knew they were back there, wanting it, fighting like hell, only a minute or two behind. When would the cloak of invisibility be shed and one or both of them appear? Another day, another race. I am sure of that.

Some quick tech sections and mostly gravel roads for the first 60 miles. Greg and Jeff had gone ahead ten minutes leading up to the Sassafras climb, the first real climb of the day. Jeff had suffered a fall at a high rate of speed on the gravel but picked himself up to come back strong. It was an unfortunate mishap and bad timing on my part, for that I'm sorry bro. I was passing on the left to give my good friend a much deserved pull precisely as the road dove down and to the left subsequently leaving JW skating right on an unfavorable line strewn with ball bearing rocks atop a slippery off chamber line of death and dirty road rash. Later cold beer numbed his wounds as he told the tale of how his good friend buried his dick in the dirt to anyone who'd listen...that was pretty much every one. Sorry again.

This tale reminds me of a couple twenty year olds in rural Maine in '97 on an epic ride, one guy loses a crank bolt and can only crank with one leg...One guy (me) aids the disabled rider (Daren)to the top of the hill by pushing on the middle of his back. As we crest the apex and I deliver a final shove, my handle bar gets crossed up with his shorts and I instantly go down to eat pavement.

Oh well, back to the race... So I'm alone now chasing about 15 riders in front, including JW and Greg, but I don't look at it that way. I am simply eating huge amounts of food and drinking gallons of whatever liquid I have aboard. It's 90 degrees in the shade, and my only thought is to stave off Mr bonk for another 40 miles and get done.

Now on some fun trails, fast gnarly single track with twists and turns, small trees and slightly banked turns. I rip around another turn and to my astonishment there they both are. Greg had suffered a flat that slowed his progress and JW had snapped his seat post that had ended his incredible day of racing the 101. We spoke briefly.."anything I can do?" He had tried to fix the snapped aluminum post but the broken section was frozen in the steel frame. I felt for him, but nothing I could do. He had a shot at top ten, instead the sag wagon awaited him at aid 4.
Another aid station, more enduralight pills, some vitamin I and yet another cliff bar. Another climb and a few more fast descents and I gapped up to Benji and Les leach. Fortuitous timing as I showed up, we quickly had a trail side safety meeting where we shared a friendly moment. Five or six miles later I am again joined with Benji and Matt F as we start climbing the final 1000 ft hill. Legs feeling heavy, I am spinning without real power mostly just wanting it over. I had hoped that I'd be able to attack at this moment but could only going through the motions, spinning away up the climb as Benji attacks Matt and leaves us all in the dust. Pretty impressive show of fortitude and strength this late in the game. Wish I had kick left in the sticks, got passed one more time on the long descent off that nasty last hill..oh well. I limped on to finish in 19th.

No flats, no broken bike, no bonk. My idea of good time. :)

Rick came all the way from vacation land
I think they should call Maine Lobster land

top SS'er

Buck is a miracle worker

wet melba toast

Skip was fresh as daisies post race and decided to spin home to Massachusetts on his 36x17