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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race

An epic four day mountain bike stage race in the mountains of Western North Carolina A short time trial followed by 3 stages that cover 125 miles in 3 days. (Thursday October 15th, 2009 to Sundays the 18th).

Staged in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pisgah National Forest, this part of the country is quite beautiful, think finishing scenes of the Last of the Mohicans, the movie was shot not far from there. This one has got me checking how much vacation time I have remaining for the year. Starting on Thursday October 15th the Tornado time trial seeds racers but does not count towards your stage placing followed by three straight days of Epic mountain biking.

Day 1: Tornado Time Trial: 6 mile time trial with 800' of climbing
Day 2: White Squirrel Loop: 37 miles. 9,000' of elevation gain
Day 3: Land of Waterfalls Loop: 41 miles. 9,500' of elevation gain
Day 4: Transylvania Loop: 47 miles. 12,000' of elevation gain

All the info: Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race

Monday, September 28, 2009

Month of Mud #2: Raccoon Township Cyclo-Cross

Great course at Raccoon Township Community Park. A week full of rainy days and morning precipitation prepped the course perfectly for the race. This is what cyclo-cross and the month of mud is all about.

Sharp turns and mud gave those with bike handling skills a distinct advantage and very few riders managed to navigate the race without at least one good slide out. Each lap wore the grass down in the tight turns and what had been previously navigable at speed the lap before was now slick mud. The sharp turns lured riders in and muddier and slicker than the previous lap it sent them skidding across the lawn.

Certainly the race reseeding fee will be put to good use.

Click here for an excellent race report and photo on Knobby Meats blog.

An hour of riding just didn't seem like enough for one day especially for my riding buddy who flatted out without even laying down a single lap.

We headed over to Bavington for a somewhat casual 11 mile loop of single track. The casual pace was perfect because the one hour cycl0-cross hammer fest had put much more of a hurting on me than I had realized. This loop was recorded by his Garmin 605 GPS/Cyclometer. This thing is fantastic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Surfing, Trail Rash, Bug Spray and Shark Attacks (continued)

Henry Clay 30K WVMBA Series Championship

So we loaded up the van Friday night and headed for Morgantown Saturday morning leaving Corolla and the sharks behind. The next day would be the Henry Clay series championship in Coopers Rock State Forest. In the series standings I was still 3 points away from the leader, so unless he finished 5th place or lower, which was only going to happen if there was a major mechanical, I wasn't going to win the series. Still my goal was to finish 1st in the championship race and beat all the point leaders.

Sport Starting Line (Calvin front center, Dave Brown far left, myself rear center)

The first half of the race was a break neck pace with point leader Dave Brown, vet Danny Welsch and two or three of the top sport open riders pushing the pace. Several times I looked down at my heart rate monitor and witnessed it near red lining at 99%, remarkably I was able to continue the pace with my heart rate at 95% plus. Several times Dave Brown, myself and Danny Welsch traded spots, pushed out ahead and fell behind but rarely lost site of each other.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Surfing, Trail Rash, Bug Spray and Shark Attacks

Corolla September 2009

This last weekend I returned from our family beach vacation in Corolla, North Carolina and arrived in Morgantown Saturday evening for the WVMBA Series Championship Race (West Virginia Mountain Bike Association) but more about that later.

I have to say I have absolute respect for the individual that can go out and ride the surf. For me flailing around in crashing waves for two hours is way more tiring than a couple hours of hard trail riding, though I think a surfer might could say the opposite, surfing is way tough. Two hours of that and I am spent.

So here the jist of riding a wave. An approaching wave travels at about 7 - 9 MPH. You somehow have to lay flat on your stomach and paddle your ass off (ie upper body, all arms, no legs here) and get yourself going fast enough to catch the speeding wave. You have to be in precisely the right place when the wave starts to break and then at the right time just pop up on the board and stand. Each wave is a little different and may break further or closer than the other. Usually the wave lifts you up and then just washes underneath you. You were probably in the right spot just not paddling fast enough. You think you're catching the next wave but now you are too far out in front. It picks your tail up and power drives you and your board down into the sand bar or maybe it just crashes down on top of you. Now all that is the easy part because at that point you've paddled out past the break. The hard part is piloting (or dragging) a 9 foot surf board 100 yards out through crashing surf past all the breaks to the edge of the sandbar. If the wave doesn't crash on you dragging you back towards the beach, it pushes you back those few precious feet you paddled your heart out to gain. But hey, I like this sort of thing; I'm a mountain biker racer and somehow I've adopted the notion that completely beating the shit out of myself is fun. And yes that is a picture of me about to be completely obliterated by that oncoming wave, taken my wonderful girlfriend. I think she enjoyed watching me getting hammered out in the surf.

Shark Attacks

So I'm not completely comfortable with the water. Floating out in the ocean, the water is often well above where you can stand, it still gives me the hebe jebes and unfortunately it's not without merit. The day we arrived a gentleman from Ross township (an avid cyclist I hear) was in a condo a few houses down from us. He was taking his family and first grandchild on a beach vacation. After he arrived later in the evening Saturday he decided to go for a swim a little after dark and never returned. Searches ensued daily comprising of helicopeters, air planes and beach patrol trucks but they turned up nothing. Five days later he was found washed up on shore about 20 miles away. A shark had bitten him in the neck and he suffered several bites to his torso. The autopsy determined he had died from these injuries. Finding out of the man's fate a few days later, it's a little disconcerting. I'm much more comfortable taking my chances with the trail... or just building sand castles.

Ok That's a plenty for one post more about the race tomorrow. Surfing Trail Rash, Bug Spray and Shark Attacks continued....

Sweet Sandcastle No?

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