Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Beginning & the End

This past weekend the ETSU crew drove over to Brevard, NC for what would be our last race of the collegiate mtb season. With all the A riders getting qualified early it has relieved the stress on our budget and will free up some funds for cyclocross later this fall since we'll need not to travel to Florida again. After arriving Friday we attempted to get a pre-ride in but due to the course being on commercial property that didn't happen. So we wandered into town to find some food. We stopped at a small cafe very similar to the ones in the Andy Griffith Show that had a throwback to the 50's and 60's era. Red and white checkered flare everywhere. Dinner wasn't much more than a deli style sammich but the more we sat there looking at the sundays and ice cream floats I knew it was only a matter of time until one of us ordered one... and we did, all of us!

What did we do after going to the cafe'? Well, we strolled through downtown Brevard and found O.P. Taylors Toy Store. A small country type store with wooden floors that made you feel like you were back in Mayberry, NC. All we needed now was Barney Fife! We wandered throughout the store ogling the toys and then made it down to the lower section where all the cool electronic stuff was. Radio controlled contraptions everywhere, modeling supplies, air soft machine guns and then.... the slot car track! We hung out "acting" like we weren't interested since we were the older guys in that section but when the owner made the young kids give the big kids a turn we jumped at the chance like we were kindergartners again. It only took a few minutes to get the hang of it and keep our cars on the course instead of going so fast they flew off the track in every turn. Schyler was the "bully" racer. He would knock you off the track if he got within striking distance of your car. After a 15 minute race the owner, who was soooooooo cool by the way, gave me his personal slot car to race with. That thing was such so much better than what we were playing with and I easily sprinted away from the other cars anytime I wanted to. Then he leaves for a second and returns with $250 worth of new, lemans style, off the shelf slot cars. Within 3 minutes we had every plastic part broken off of those new slot cars. Somehow Schyler got the fast one and went back to being the slot car track bully again. After another 30 minutes or so we gave our thanks to the owner and went strolling through Brevard again before we returned to the hotel.

Below; James talks to a Brevard local about his race strategy for the upcoming race Saturday... I think the back of the shirt said "SHEEDY BEAR".

I wanted to get a good warm-up before XC started on Sat morning so I could finish strong for the season. I also wanted to see some of the course before we raced so James and I rode about 1.5 miles of the really short 3mi XC course before we were to start at 9am. I'm glad I got a taste of what was to come - 5ft drops, gnar narrow single track, skinny off-camber straights and many, many hard switchbacks to go along with climbing galore. This course was tight and vertical. Over 500ft of climbing per lap with half of it FS roads which gave plenty of opportunities to pass easily, not that I needed it. Well over 20 riders started and the climbing took it's toll early with several guys dropping out early. I just kept chugging along cursing Coach Sheedy (just kidding Sheedz) for the layout of the trail he had prepared for us. I did make a swipe at him on the first lap for the pain we were experiencing each lap. Schyler managed to break his easton ec90 carbon seatpost on his first lap leaving Stefan to fend off the riders by himself for all of his 7 laps. Lucky! #99, no that's not Carl Edwards.
The A field was HUGE... over 40 riders. It's nice to see so many young men stepping up and not sandbagging in the lower classes this year. Here Stefan is getting ready to enter the pain cave. He asked about the course earlier and I told him it was 70% climbing and 30% down. He gave me a dazed look. After the race he agreed..... listen to coach boy! After the race we load up and head home, why? MSG starts the next day. Well, it started Saturday but we had to attend the Brevard race...

Sunday I get up with much anticipation of doing well in my first race of the local MSG series. It had poured the rain the day before and made a mess of the track. After getting there and pre-riding I made a semi-dumb decision to ride the MTB for masters. Semi-dumb you ask? If I had put the cross bike in the pits for a backup I would have switched bikes after the second lap because it tacked up so fast after the Masters started. The cross bikes killed me on the flat dry sections and sidewalk parts of the course but the Niner drove through the mud like a champ and with ease. I've never been great at cross but I love it. I can handle all the tech parts with ease but I just don't have the "braaaaapppp power" to go fast. Another variable was the 45 minutes that I would be doing now instead of the 30 minutes. I'm way faster, I use this term loosely, than I was last year, thanks to Coach Casey, but I'm still a work in progress. Below I tried a behind the back CX ninja move on Connor who was heckling me and I almost got the weasel. (photo credit Autumn Lewis)

Schyler showed up for 2 good training rides before collegiate MTB Nationals in New Mexico and finished a solid 9th out of 40 something in the picture below. (photo credit Dwight Wyatt)

Check out the MSG website for more details and their schedule.

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

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