Monday, January 26, 2009

Wipe Out

Race #2 of the Charlotte Short Track was greeted with pleasant weather and swelling numbers of racers ready to start 2009 early. The weather was cool with no chance of rain. After reevaluating my performance of last weeks race. I decided to chill out this week. By keeping the workouts low, only ran twice and zero riding. The zero riding was more procrastination than planned.

Feeling well rested from my easy week, the excitement of a strong race was filling. In my mind excitement for an event is one of the key ingredients for success in an event. The SS field was a healthy 22 strong. Playing off the excitement, I managed to hit the single track in the top 6. This was step one of the plan. Lap one down and still in contention. All is well flowing single track, following the lines of the racers ahead. Looked up to spot the trail ahead when my front wheel broke loose off the edge of the trail. Slammed to the ground. So fast I had no time to brace myself. Knee first into some roots. As the adrenalin surged and I clawed off the trail not able to stand. Managed to catch my breath and try to stand. Stretched my left leg out then my foot went numb. Unable to bear weight on the leg. Well shit this is not a good sign.

Now the entire SS group has passed then the ladies group passed. Struggling to make it out the woods. Somehow the pain eased when moving the leg in circles. I soft pedaled through the s/f area. Then back down towards the car. Weighing my options and trying to forget the swelling pain going on. Should I continue or the more intelligent thing would have been to stop. Whether pride or stupidity - one of them took over and I continued on. Managed to pick off 6 riders as I limped around the course for the remaining 30 minutes.

Shoulda coulda woulda if I had not wiped out on lap 2 of the race. Feeling better than last week momentum was on my side. Just goes to show shit happens. Did manage to finish the race in 16th of 22.

Monday, January 19, 2009

High Hopes

Sipping on my first cup of joe for the day, I begin to reflect on the 2009 season opener. Sunday was Race #1 of the Winter Short Track Series in Charlotte NC. This series has become a staple in my yearly start to a season of cycling. As usual the Renaissance Park was buzzing with pumped folks ready to rail some fresh new single track. The weather was the big ? for the day. The skies were filled with gray clouds and strong possibility of precipitation. It could come down as rain, sleet or snow.

The local trail crews have been hard at work with a new section of single track. The new section was alot of fun and really made the trail more like a XC trail. The new trail is probably a week old. So it's edges were still a little soft. Stay on the ilne or wash out off the side of the trail. (Note to self)

Goal for the series is to compete for the overall in the Single Speed class. In other words just stay out of trouble and keep the leaders close. Well the start was fast and super sketchy. First race of the season is always hairy. Everyone is amped and ready to rail. The race quickly bottlenecked going into the woods and we (Toby S., Eric & I) were stuck around 10th place. Traffic for the entire length of single track.

The laps were ticking by at a steady clip. Luckily the body was holding up well. Maybe the running has really helped. My heart never felt as if it were to explode. Nor did my lungs burn in pain. The only problem I was having was the fact that my gear was wearing me down. This 60" gear choice would have been spot on for the old trail. However this new section had some sharp turns that put a serious strain on the momentum. Peppered with lap traffic the track stands were killing me.

Gaps had formed early. From my view point I could see 1st & 2nd together killing it. Then Toby Selix, Ross D. & Noel battling for 3rd just a mere 5 seconds in front of me. I'd pull close to them recover then get gapped by lap traffic every other lap. Frustrating but it's the way this game is played out. More aggressive at the start and the gaps to the front wouldn't be as bad. Lesson #1 for the 2009 season. With a steady pace finishing in 6th place. Not bad considering I haven't really been on the bike in a while. I have high hopes of my fitness coming into riding form soon.

Also congrtas to Toby Selix on his 3rd place in the SS class. He mentioned that was the most exciting mtb race he's ever competed in. Also Eric new to the whole mtb racing thing. He won his first race in the Sport 40+ then jumped into the SS class for a top ten finish.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New SCXC Championship

Southern Classic Mountain Bike Race Series

Below is a listing of the 2009 race schedule. There will be 11 locations this year and we will be taking the best 8 or the 11 for the overall championships.

UPDATE: January 12, 2009 - Only 69 days left until the season begins.

2009 Schedule of Events

March 22 Hobby Park, Winston Salem, NC
March 29 Uwharrie, Troy, NC
April 5 Tsali, Bryson City, NC
April 18 & 19 Harbison State Forest Mountain Bike Trail Columbia, SC
April 26 Caraway Hills MTB Race, Sophia, NC
May 10 Stump Jump, Spartanburg, SC
May 31 Angler's Ridge, Danville, VA
June 7 Riverfront Classic, Charlotte, NC
July 19 Sizzler, Greensboro, NC
August 1 & 2 Fontana Village, NC
August 23 Dark Mountain, North Wilkesboro, NC

The combination of these 2 races will constitute the SC State Mountain Bike Championships

This is good news to all SC XC racers. Now the combo of two different races will be tallied for a SC State Championship title. In years past NC riders have traveled South of the border to nab the SC title. So now it will take some extra effort the NC folks to hate on the SC folks.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Road Juice 09

Yeah "The Sunday After New Years Day Lake Loop" went down in the books this past weekend. Not the most pleasant of conditions. Unless you were of Belgium descent. Everyone claimed to have had a good time. Not sure I 100% believe that. Plan was to loop Lake Murray with a low traffic route as always, and that's exactly what we did. 10 riders departed from the DMV at 10 a.m.
The route would take the group across the recently finished dam. Though the view of Lake Murray was covered in fog. As the group navigated the wet back roads of Lexington County on the way to Saluda County. A near miss from a disgruntle driver in a black SUV. Passing the group on a two lane bridge with oncoming traffic. All this 100' from our turn.

One scheduled stop at the traffic circle on Hwy 391. One sleeve of Crunch Gem Doughnuts & a Coke later the group saddles up and hit the road again. Pushing on down Hwy 391, heading into Newberry County. Another view of the lake from the West end. Hwy 391 was a bit busy at times. Mixed with rain and fog this was the perfect settings for a terrifying ride. Along 391 was the very spot were I began to self implode. My hammy decided to go on lock down. How unfortunate. Dropped on my own ride. As I watched the group head on down the road.

No worries just ride a manageable pace. Pushed on past the group waiting. To keep moving was the key to not giving up. Jamie pulls up beside me and kept my pace, as to inspire. The dirt (or mud) section was coming up soon. The excitement slowly crept into my veins. All of a sudden the pain was gone. Dodging the puddles and picking the best lines through the gravel section. It was over quickly. Probably only a 1/2 mile or so.

Soon after the pain was back. Dangling from the group once again. My own pace took back over. Luckily for me Gabe was running a Safety Sag at the rear of the group. For the entire ride Gabe just hung off the back with his hazards on. Offering up a motor paced assist. I tried several attempts to salvage the morale; but it was not happening. I motioned for Gabe to stop. I loaded up my soaking ass self and finished the remaining 10 miles in sag vehicle.

It has been a long time since I've bailed on a ride. That is what I get for not riding as of late. The best thing is this. The FIRE has been lit.

(photos courtesy of Gabe & more @ HBW blog)
(title courtesy of Nick)