Sunday, April 4, 2010


Before I start twinkling the keys I apologize for not getting my camera out of my car! The plan was to launch out of here early Friday morning to enjoy some sweet BMCC single track action in North Wilkesboro, N.C. ~ that didn't happen. Last minute call to cut some grass then a check call to the shop and I was heading to Hampton to help with the "rush". It's amazing that the three of us are having a hard time keeping up with the onslaught of repairs that are needed. Anywho that's how my Friday went............plan B; get up early Saturday and meet Schyler and Matt from the team and roll into Boone, N.C. for the Boone Roubaix. The Appy State collegiate race was piggybacking this and I'm glad it did because most collegiate races aren't ran that well (due to lack of experience I'm guessing). It went off smooth as silk except for a slight delay, no prob though! I lined up ready to go with over 20 riders and they sent us on our merry way. The course only had one big climb in it for us with another moderate hill that ended with a turn onto 1000 meters of gravel road that had been recently given another coat with more 1-2" gravel, yes 2" gravel. Trust me ..... it's ridiculously hard to maneuver a 23mm tire through rocks of that size for any length of road and on top of that there were dinner plate sized potholes as well, welcome to Boone Roubaix. The gravel road was taking it's toll on tires and tubes! I lost count of how many folks were pushing their bikes back. ~ Back to the race, We started and this small 140lb college kid rips off the front and I yell to let him go and the pack actually listened...............for a minute. Then another kid launched about 30 seconds later, here we go, dogs chasing rabbits! This goes on for about 2 miles until we catch the two and settle (why did we waste that much energy before we even got the first 5 miles in?) kids! Things calm down and we get to the 'big' climb (well for us it was). We go up this at a very reasonable pace, not bad. I would reference the difficulty of it to the backside of Buffalo with about 6 switchbacks in it. After we summit everyone goes balls to the wall off the backside on a very nice FAST technical DH into a very wide sweeping right turn back onto the river road. Bang, scrape, crash behind me I hear, my teeth grit feeling so sorry for the rider eating the asphalt at that speed. Whoa, wait a minute Schyler was on my wheel behind me! I look back and it was an Appy State guy getting hurled through the air with his bike 5ft above him in the air tumbling above the road. Whew! Next obstacle? Gravel road! We come upon it at about 25 miles per hour and everyone scatters looking for a smooth path through, there wasn't one, lighten your front end and go! Rocks and gravel banging off wheels and frame downtubes made the most horrific noise, I thought "this is ridiculous". 1000 meters or so and we are through. So many comments were made after we cleaned that part of the course from all the riders.We manage the first lap with no heros ripping off the front (again) and get back around to the 'big' climb and the front guys slow way down. I didn't want to loose momentum so I swing out and just roll off the front, someone mistakes this for an attack and all craziness beaks out. I wasn't able to maintain the pace, heart rate spiked to the moon then I fell off the back about 75 feet unable to get back on before summit. I did manage to waste myself on the flat getting back on just before the last small climb. I was somewhere in 10th now. After gutting it out to get back on my legs were searing and I fell back again, though this time not as far, and once again missed making the summit with the lead group. There was a VT rider just ahead of me that I couldn't reel in and when we hit the gravel for the second time the mighty gravel reached up from the dust and bit several this time. It bit three guys tires, including my teammate Schyler (slicing his Michelin race3 sidewall~my Maxxis? unscathed!), thus boosting me three positions upon where I would finish at the end. No, no blazing finishes or battles at the line today just a nice 7th place overall cruise in across the finish for the RR.
photo credit: Matt Wilkins

I load up and head over to N. Wilkesboro now to meet Greg, Mel, Andy, Abby, Chris and Aaron for some post race fun NTMBA style. These guys attended the 6 hrs of Warriors Creek which has turned out to be a huge success only in it's 2nd year. It sold out fast this year. I arrived at the campground and everyone was over at Warrior Creek finishing up so I thought I will just ride the MTB over there , it's not that far, wrong! It seemed like 5 miles on the road to the race site, then another mile back into the campground on pav'e UPHILL. Everyone has about packed up now and vacated so I think "I have never ridden this backwards" (no, not sitting backwards on my bike but the trail silly)so I do it in reverse direction! Off I go! I have to say I think I like it going in reverse other than the normal direction. I managed a lap and my legs were telling me "hey stupid don't you have a CRIT in the morning to do?" oh yea I do. I couldn't come all the way over there and not ride that sweet single track place ya know? I make it over to the lodge where they are giving out all kinds of free swag and making the announcements and handing out the awards. I manage a ride back in Chris's truck although I had to drive because it was safer that It was an evening of good friendship, exchanging stories, and just hanging out with great friends although Capt. Dingo was feeling a bit under the weather. Did I mention I stopped and got a sixer of Low Down Brown? Well I did, I can't get it here in east Tn., no one stocks it. I can find the IPA from them but not my LDB.

This morning rolls around (6:30) Chris and I pack up and get out early. I roll into Boone about 8:10, the crit starts at 9. The trainer gets laid upon the ground and I lock my race machine into its grasp. Kit up then warm up is the plan! I manage to get a very nice warm up in (unlike me) and then patrol the course. Wow potholes in the mall parking lot everywhere but they were very well marked with day-glo paint. The back side had incorporated 4 large chicanes or S-turns with a huge sweeper all the way around the front for a good sprint finish. I admit I liked the course layout. The starter gets us sent off and once again that 140lb weasel jumps but guess what? we didn't care! We rode like we had some experience and just waited for him to come to us, which he did. They offered two points preems and boy did they fight for them. I just sat back and giggled, not only were they wasting their wads but they would sit up and let themselves be consumed back into the group afterwards. Not smart, the four should have tried to gap us. Each time they sat up after the finish and became part of the collective group. Now while all this was going on I tried to use some of the little experience I do have and watched where these kids were weak. In all of the S-turns they seemed to be uncomfortable with or just didn't like flying through them at race speed, this is where I'm going to hit them I think! "I will unfoil my devious plan here!~ muwaaahhhhhh haaaaaaa" After all the preems and at the 2 laps to go signal no one breaks away, nice I think, very nice! I drop back instead of moving to the front, I want to snap as quick as I can so that they can't or won't respond in the "S"s. I set them up and go hard coming out of the first chicane sweeping all the riders going hard into the 2nd S turn. Surprise them I did! I hear "attack" and all kinds of weird responses although going into that turn I was praying that my MAXXIS tires would hold me because I went in pretty hot or a little more than I was comfortable with. They held and and I railed the last two turns achieving a good gap (40ft) heading into the open front part. My legs were on fire screaming now and I honestly did not think I would be able to hold what I was to get (hey goofy that's what you get for riding an extra 15 miles on the MTB yesterday knowing you have more racing left). Then about 20 feet before the finish that little 140lb weasel nipped me for 1st place(##$^&%&*%^&$&%^#$%^#&$). Good for him though he was the strongest. I hung in for a 2nd on the day and was very surprised that I managed that but was very happy as well. Coming up the steps at home unloading the exploder my legs told me "if you go down for one more load we quit!" I took their advice and sat down for a bit with a turkey sandwich in hand, no chips! can someone say recovery? Good racing weekend!

I think I will commute to school in the morning, tomorrow is supposed to be another amazing day the weather man says.

LAter G.......................................

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