Monday, February 22, 2010

Bedford MTX #1

   Finally, the 2010 race season has begun. Even though the Bedford MountainCross series is more of an early season training gauge, there's still plenty of intensity. MountainCross is a blend of pure XC and cyclocross racing. The race is technically one hour long and start times are based on a handicap system, where less experienced riders go first and the more experienced have less time to make as many laps as possible.
   The course for the first race was about one mile long, but the conditions made it feel like 5! Other than the paved loop around the park center, the trail was a narrow track of snow, slush, and mud. Lot's of mud! By the end of the race, nothing but mud, the consistancy of wet concrete. There were no barriers to hop over this time, but there was a steep run-up, about 6 feet tall and the final slippery climb cause a lot of walking.
   I was in the Veterans Expert Class, along with my Dire Wolf teammate, Quinn. A quarter way through the course was a nasty double track downhill, littered with rocks and roots. Mud was slinging off my tires all over me. About halfway down on the first lap, a big chunk of mud flew up under my glasses and derictly into my right eye. With riders in front and behind me, and nowhere to pull off, I had to try to blink as much of it out as I could. there was no way to let go of the handlebars with one hand to wipe it out and not crash. Once I got to the bottom, I felt that I had gotten enough out to keep going.
   I ended up following Quinn throuhout the race. He pulled away a little on lap three, but I managed to pull him back on the next lap. We passed other riders here and there, and of course we were passed by Gordon about halfway through. On the last lap, I got a little caught up behind another rider. There were very few places to pass clean. Quinn was gone. He ended up about half a minute ahead of me. I saw my friend Warren up ahead on the last climb. I tried my best to catch him, but could not do it. He finished about 10 seconds ahead. Nine of us ended up with 6 laps. I was in 8th place. Covered from head to toe in mud.
    Everyone had a great time. These races are always fun and the weather was perfect. It was great to see all my cycling friends. Next week will be a night race. Hopefully the trails will dry out some before then.


Monday, February 15, 2010


   T-Minus 6 days and counting...  until the first race of the year. The first race of three in as many weeks at the Bedford MountainCross will be held on Sunday. The conditions are not looking good. All the recent snow and cold temps have kept all the local trails covered. But these are "postal" races, they are run no matter what the conditions are. I hope it does not deter too many racers. I doubt there will be much singletrack in the first race, I know Kenny Palmer does not want to totally destroy a great trail system. To help get ready, I am riding to and from work all week, and hopefully a lot more from now on.
   It's going to be a fun race and series, no matter what!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

   It's been a busy week. Monday was my furlough day from work, so I decided to get some riding in. I left my house at 8:15am, temps in the low 20's, on my singlespeed mountain bike. I rode to Candler's mtn. I rode around the house on the snow before I left and found that I could ride on top without breaking through. When I got on the trails, I found the snow and ice a bit softer. There was no way to ride this snow. The front wheel would immediately break through and dead stop. The first trail had been beaten down by hikers, so it was ridable. But if I strayed by a few inches, an endo was likely. I did this once alond a steep bank and ended up sliding down a 30 foot hill on my back.
    Most of the trails ended up being hike-a-bikes. I was glad to finally get back to the roads and head home via downtown.

   Tuesday brought more snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Just a dusting during the day. But enough of a coating overnight to make Lynchburg side streets very slick.

   Thursday was Jess's 35th birthday. We were able to get Tyler an extra day and went to her parent's house for dinner. My parents were also there. Jennifer always cooks awesome food. We had country fried steak in gravy, creamed potatoes, mixed veggies, and cheesecake for dessert. I had to turn off the nutrition plan for a day, but it was worth it! Everyone had a great time.

   Friday was fairly uneventful. We did finally watch Inglourious Basterds. Good movie, a bit cheesy at times, but classic Tarentino.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow Ride 2.0

   Well I did get to ride in the snow yesterday. Davy from Blackwater Creek Bikeshop got some  riders together to explore the streets in Boonboro. Davy, Allen, Scott, Quinn, Phil, Brent, and I met at the Kroger on Rivermont. All the streets seemed to be clear and just wet. We all had single speed mountain bikes, except one with gears and one single speed cross bike. Once we were a couple block off the main roads, we found the snow. To ride in it, you had to stay in the tire tracks. Getting into the untouched, heavy snow would strip all momentum away. We eventually made our way downtown, with a rolling snowball fight down Rivermont! The fight was continued in a bank parking lot for about 20 minutes. By this time, everyone was getting cold and wet. It was getting late so we made our way back to Kroger. Scott put it best, that it was like being a group of hooligan kids again, roaming the neighborhood. Good times!
   In a stroke of incredible luck, my friend Chris and his son Cashion were coming out of Kroger while Allen and I were loading up the bikes onto the back of the Jeep. We talked for a minute, then he mentioned that he had a huge plate of fresh baked, made from scratch, brownies that his wife, Morgan, had made. They tasted so good and were still warm! Perfect after two hours in the cold and wet.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow 2/5/10

   Compared to last weeks powdery 12 inch snow, this round brought 4-5 inches of wet, heavy snow mixed with sleet and rain. The temperature this time has been hovering around the freezing mark, last week it was in the teens. All this combined with tons of chemicals have mostly kept the snow off the roads. What's left is a wet, slushy mess. There will be be no snow ride this time. The mercury is supposed to dip lower tonight, so the plan now is to try riding on Candler's mountain in the morning. I was there Thursday night with Quinn and Scott S. It was very difficult to ride. Some hikers had been on the trails, but no other bikes. It was pretty soft and slushy and cut our normal speed in half with double the effort. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow. Looks like a trainer day today. :(