Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rowdy Dawg

This weekend Team Vassago (or a big chunk of Team Vassago) ascended on Blacksburg Virginia to participate in the Rowdy Dawg. This is a grassroots race that's been held the last few years in the hills around Virginia Tech. We decided to participate in what they call the Double Cross Country category.

After getting some confusing pre-race instructions on how many laps we were doing Brian Archer, Jeremy Arnold, my buddy Shannon from work and myself lined up with 5 other really strong riders in the cold October air.

Around 9:35 or so we get the signal to go. I jump out front to see if I could push the pace a little bit, hoping that I wouldn't burn myself out in the first 5 miles. The course consisted of some really steep hills, fairly technical rock gardens, screaming downhills and twisty singletrack. We get spread out a bit on the first hill and I'm really not feeling being in the lead like this so I back my pace down and get passed. That's ok, now I can just ride my race and settle in. I'm doing fairly well, the hills are working me pretty good with my 32x19 gearing but I like it on the flat stuff and gentle rollers. About half way through the 2nd lap I get passed again in a rock garden. No problem, I'm still feeling strong. Plus I tell myself, those guys are on full suspension bikes with gears vs. my fully rigid singlespeed ;)

The day drags on and I'm starting to feel the hills. I also start freak out because I can't remember how many laps we are supposed to do. Was it 3 or 4? Shit. I ask at each rest point but no one knows. I feel like I can't stay long at these water stops and I tell myself it must be 3 and decide to make the turn back to the finish line. I'm freaking out the whole way up the climb to the turn. Then I see the ROTC volunteers. In a very commanding voice he says "You're XXC, you're done only 5 miles left". Sweet, I get a burst of energy to finish strong.

Anyway, it was a hard race and I managed to hang on to finish 3rd in about 4 hours and 45 minutes. This race really surprised me. I thought it wouldn't be that hard compared to the 100 milers or even the MIchaux Series.

As always thanks to Vassago Cycles and The Bicycle Escape.

Pictures coming soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Iron Crush

I did the Ironcross today. This is a 100k endurance cyclocross race if you can believe such a thing. Basically you do a lap on a traditional 'cross course then then they cut you loose into the mountains of Pennsylvania. The route consisted of tricky singletrack, doubletrack, dirt roads and pavement. First thing I have to say is that it was a very cool race, I had tons of fun.

To make it even more interesting I decided to try this thing on my newly fixed cross bike. This was only my 2nd ride on a fixed gear but I figured what better way to get used to it. The race went well. Some monster climbs followed by some killer downhills. I think going down hurt more than going up. I was spinning at 200 rpm sometimes. When I couldn't take it I'd actually take my feet off the pedals for a bit and just let them spin. The singletrack sections were really fun. It wasn't pretty but I was able to make it through most stuff with out getting off. My technique basically consisted of powering through stuff. Made for a long day but I had a very satisfied feeling coming across the finish line. I even managed to get 6th place somehow.

It Was a Graveyard Smash

I did the Monster Mash race this Saturday at a local park. It was a charity race that benefited the DC chapter of Trips for Kids.

This race was a little bit differnet than the endurance races I've been doing. It was only 3 laps or about 50 minutes. I was hoping my muscles wouldn't rebel on me with the sudden change. There were about a dozen or so of us in the singlespeed category. The weather was a perfect 68 degrees when we got started. I was able to slip into 2nd place after the start. It was a fast pace and I was hoping I wasn't going out too hard. I managed to move into 1st place and was holding on but 2nd place was right behind me. I was thinking one slip up and I'm done. No sooner did I think that then my front tire washed out on a tricky switchback and he passed me like a shot. The hill we were on was kind of steep so I had to run up it partly and I couldn't close the gap but managed to hang on for second. Very fun race and I just saw that they raised a few thousand bucks for the cause. Double cool.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fix Me Baby One More Time

Got my ENO eccentric wheel last night for the cross bike. This thing is pretty ingenious how it works. It basically allows you to tension the chain with vertical dropouts by rotating the hub around an eccentric axle. I'll be running it fixed gear. Should be interesting this weekend at Ironcross.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Perfect Weekend

I love these weekends in the fall. Cross race in the morning. Riding mountain bikes in the afternoon. Drinking beer in the evening. Doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Now This Is Cross Racing

This Saturday I did the AVC Breast Cancer Awareness Cyclocross Race in Hagerstown Maryland. It went pretty good overall. The singlespeed setup is still working great. I find that I can get a good jump on guys on the hills. While they are fumbling for their gears, I just stand up and pedal harder. I also got into a great sprint with a guy at the end. I had a guy right on my ass the entire last lap. I couldn't shake him loose no matter what I did. We turned the corner to the finish line and we were faced with 150 yards of smooth pavement. I knew he was going to try and take me so I started to speed up. All my attention was focused on that finish line. Out of the corner of my eye I see him start to come up around me. I speed up and put everything I have into the pedals and I'm able to maintain about a half a wheel length on him as we cross the finish line. That hurt, but fun.

Next up is Ironcross up in Pa. Endurance Cyclocross?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

La Ruta Check List

La Ruta is only 37 days away. I think I have all the logistics setup.

Hotel - Done
Plane Ticket - Done
Shuttle Rides - Done

Now I just have to ride it. :)

I just read that it is sold out now. Cool.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Welcome to My Life Tattoo

Had some work done today.... First one. Is it the last?

Monday, October 1, 2007


Allow me to wax poetic for a bit...

I just watched 24 Solo. It's about Chris Eatough's run for a 7th 24 Hour solo world championship. It was great. I knew exactly what those guys were going though. I don't compete quite on that level but I still give it everything I have when I do any endurance race, be it a 24 solo, 12 solo or a 100 miler. One of the central themes of the movie that I think they tried to convey was why do it. I don't know if they really captured it. I don't know why anybody does it. I think the everyone has their own reasons. For me it's about finding a limit and pushing beyond it.

Sorry We Have No Coffee

I'm at the coffee shop and they have no coffee left. wtf?