Thursday, April 30, 2009


It's now the eve of the eve to PMBAR. With not much time to spare.
It's now time to prepare my ride for the date with pain.

The chores were mounting.
- Clean the mold from the hydration bladder.
- Clean out creaky EBB
- Change over to a gear more suitable for the hills.
- Install front suspension, dial it in a touch.
- Work out some nutrition issues.
- Ride with a hydration pack loaded to the top.

A new trick to simulate suffering in the hills with a loaded pack.
- A full clean bladder
- All the mandatory tools on checklist
- A grocery bag with 4 pounds of rocks from the back yard.
- Load the pack and ride

It's more mental than physical - let's hope.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Grinded @ The Grind

Now on my third cup of coffee I set off to try and convey how much fun I had yesterday racing my bike. This post will be a race report of my experience at the 6 hr. Grind on the Greenway
It was my fist visit to Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill SC. Yeah I had no idea how fun these trails were going to be. Bonus only an 1:30 drive to the race venue.

Racing the Grind would be a great tune up for PMBAR, now only 3 weeks away. I figured it would be one of the only ways to fully commit to riding my bike for more than 3 hours at one time. Then throw in a training ride at race pace. Plus an overgeared SS to simulated the pain that awaits me at PMBAR. There you have it my plan, now lets see what happens.

The start was a mass start at the bottom of a grass climb. Zapper, will be my name for this dang hill. So - GO climb the Zapper to the S/F line hair pin turn with 60+ jacked riders. Down a gravel Forest road. Funnelling into a fast section of singletrack. Then down along a river trail. Then a bunch of turns. Followed by some mud, roots, rocks and some bridges. As always the first lap is nerve racking. Do you go out hard and above your threshold just for position? Or do you use patience and ride into race pace and pick your way through the blown riders? These are the million dollar questions one would ask ones self.

Caught up in the excitement and go to my LT and try the patience thing. It never fails to get caught up behind a rider who believes they can start up front then slow to a claw in the woods. Yeah every race I see it. No worries about it. It's my pre-ride after all.

Somewhere during lap 1 a rattle starts to gain my attention. Figures I just passed about 6 or so riders now I'm assessing the situation. Um looks like a broken bottle cage. No problem rip it off and keep on chugging along. At the completion of lap 1 climbing the Zapper at a snails pace. Holy crap this is going to be a long 6 hours. About 20 minutes into my 2nd lap my gear selection is really starting to drain me. Then I hear someone behind me yelling with excitement "hey man these trails rule and this On-One Inbred SS I'm riding is kicking ass" or something to that nature. That's right Joe caught me on lap 2 and dropped me like dirty wet wipe. Shnikes this is really going to be a long day. Joe I'm not taking anything away from you, but you dropped me quickly. Good job on your ride.

After another pass up the Zapper still at at snails pass. I stop for some pb&j sandwich and my hydration pack. Now out on 3rd lap the trail is looking better with every passing lap. There was no traffic. With the trail to myself I tend to zone out on occasions. Crossing this well constructed bridge. The one that was guide wires on both ends for extra support. A very tight squeeze. Too tight on this pass. As my barend snags the guide wire slinging me to the ground. Fiddle Sticks! I saw that coming sometime today. Ok now were did may bar end go. Uhh it's no longer attached to my bar.

As I start looking through the ground cover for my missing bar end, six or seven riders go cruising by. This would be the cut that really stings. Motivation has taken a nose dive for sure now. Found the missing bar end reinstalled it. Everyone who uses Ergon grips knows it takes some time to adjust the rotation on them. Well that doesn't happen on the trail with a gazillion turns and dips.

Another turn up the Zapper then to the pits. Grab another pb&j and off I go. Laps to this point have be somewhat consistent at around 57-61 minutes. By this time into lap 4 I was in survival mode. Just trying to keep it together and maintain an upright riding position. Then another craw up the Zapper I would check yet another laps off. With still 2+ hours to go till the end. The cramps were coming in waves. Mostly in my hands and neck. Struggling on every climb now, walking more than I wanted, it was just necessary to maintain forward momentum.

Completed lap 5 and I was beat. A headache had started about two laps earlier and it was all I could handle at the time. I pulled into the pits sat down and contemplated what to do. Man this camp chair sure is comfy. After about 10 minutes I decided to turn in my chip. Made it 5 hours of the 6. One lap short of my goal. Still 40+ miles of SSS (suffering single speed) bliss. All in all a good ride at a great place to ride and a top notch event.

I'll finish this post with saying thanks to Neil and the folks in Charlotte for put on another great race experience. The event had a convenient location, ample services, instant timing, great course, competition in all classes and food at all times during the day. Every cyclist should give a try.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Fully committing to this thing

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Pique the Soul

So I've tossed my hat into the fire so to speak. Yes, the endurance season is in full swing. It seems that there is an event most every weekend in the months of April & May. PMBAR is in one month. Damn that dose not seem right but it is very true.

This piqued my soul for riding and decided to hit it hard this weekend. A three day block of turning the legs over in hopes of some good fitness. So with the rain this past week I was in running mode early. Able to knock out two quality runs. Totaled 12.5 mi in 1:43, and felt good on both runs.

The rain as fully saturated Harbison for sure. So Friday was a multi surface ride. Headed down south of town, mostly Lexington and Calhoun counties. A flat route but with the wind the flats grew harder and harder. It figures, I would pick a route that headed into the wind for the first half. Then at the turn around. The wind becomes a cross wind. Guess this is the way the Midwest folks hill train. Route has potential and worth exploring later.

Saturday, I headed down to Sumter to get in some single track. This place is great after the rains. The trail drains like no other in the Midlands. Surprise to not see many people out. One loop of single track. Then the exploring starts. After heading to the Palmetto Trail section, I dropped down to the abandoned rail bed and headed North. In exploring mode. The route heads out onto a network of red clay county roads. Mostly unmaintained and frequented by the local reds. Surprised to see the elevation ripples on these roads. Headed North for an hour then turned around. Trying to make a loop instead of an out and back. Totally lost the only hope I had was a vague memory of the map and the sun needs to be on my right. Some how ended up on the topside of the Campbell Pond Loop. So there is a loop option to CP. Give er a shot sometime.

Sunday, the body was not responding to the third day of riding. Luckily Mr. had promised he would ride with me at Mudison. The trails were still soupy in places. A fairly chill ride. Back to the front lot for a meeting of Team Hoffenchard. A big group turnned out to a big surprise. Locals and not so local alike. The vice was good and still totaly chill. Unfortantly I was runnin short on time. see it was my 6th wedding anniversery and I was already an hour after my promised arrival time. Factor in Toby time I was still to be very late.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

It was the 1st day of Spring

If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?
Some sights and sounds from last weeks surveying adventure, or just another day at work. Lots of stuff going on at this site. Many busy bees buzzing about. As the Queen bees drive around to inspect progress on their hive. Speaking of bees or lets say yellow jackets.

While occupying this point on site, just on the edge of a pine grove. I began to look around the area. Noticed one lone stake stuck in the pines. Funny that looks out of place. A closer inspection would reveal "WARNING YELLOW JACKETS". Then a some Spanish jibberish.
Fiddle Sticks the first day of Spring and I may have to bust out the Epipen. Yes, I walked in close enough to snap this shot. My last anaphylaxis episode was about 400' to the South from this very point. Talk about dejavu. So I kept a close eye on the action and luckily they kept to themselves.