You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  I haven’t felt very inspired to write lately.  The new job is quite challenging and I’ve kind of given up on my thesis.  I need to work something out on that and maybe change it to a project where I don’t have to deal with human subjects and I can have something to show for the time and money I spent in school.

This weekend was supposed to be the High Altitude Classic in Cloudcroft, NM.  Last year I almost had the overall win due to an untimely flat tire for NM honch Damien Calvert.  He ended up borrowing stuff from his teammates so he could finish and he caught and passed me about a mile from the finish.  I let him have the win….(though I’m not sure why).  I could have had im dq’d and he even offered to be dq’d.  I told him, “Whatever.” 

This year the promotors of the HAC were having some family/health problems and they cancelled the race.  It’s been cracklin’ dry up there too and there are all kinds of fire restrictions.  Jen is leaving Tuesday to do the Gila, so we stuck around here to take care of household chores.  It was good timing as the temps have been unseasonably cool.

Last weekend put the hurt on me as I was just getting over being sick.  I won both the XC and HC, but the HC kicked my ass.  I was doing so well until about 2/3 into the climb.  My 21t wasn’t big enough.  The 22 would have been the ticket.  I bet I would have been top 5 overall if I had run it.  Turns out I finished 11th overall.  I picked up an Ned Overend autographed Team Specialized jersey.  Kind of cool!

If I ever open a bike shop, I’ll have over 30 cool dope jerseys to hang around the place.  Jen scored lots of leader’s jerseys from her road racing days plus a few NMORS winners jerseys.  I hope to get the NMORS SS jersey this year.  I’ll have to win every race I do.

Anyway….here are a couple of pics from the Tour of Socorro in New Mexico.  The hill weather was incredible for this event with overcast skies during the XC and sunny skies for the hill climb.  The top was beautiful and not too cold.

This is the top of the climb.  I’m so glad they brought the truck with all our gear all the way to the top.  You can see the finish people in their winter clothes.

This is the observatory building that you can see in the background of the previous photo.  For some reason they had awards here.  Next time I hope they take all that back down the mountain where it’s nice and warm and there are picnic tables and shade.

The night before the XC we scored a sweet spot near the start.  At 2 am somebody went past us and ended up getting stuck.  Hey guys….next time scout it out before you take your lowrider off the main road.

My XC race was only 2 laps.  Jen’s was 3, so I waited a few minutes for here to come through and joined her on her last lap.  She was running a 19t as opposed to my 18t, but she tore it up.  I can’t believe how much she rips on her SS.  I’m going to have to get a new frame as my BB is way too high and it doesn’t handle well through turns.  I was getting caught in the twisty stuff.  I think I’ll see how much it will cost for Titus to build me up something like they had at Sea Otter.  Except I’d pass on the seat mast as it would never fit in an airline box.  I’m thinking the same geo as the Specialized 29er hardtail with Paragon sliders in the rear.  If they’ll do the BB30 and the Isogrid as well, I’ll go for it.  Am I spoiled?

So we got our one hit of crack this season at the norba national race in Scottsdale, AZ.  Our friend Dara refers to the series as being like crack or coke.  It’s not really that great, but for some reason you get easily addicted and keep going back for more.  And it tends to get quite expensive.  The NMBS series also gets references to Brokeback Mtn.  “I wish I could quit you” is heard regularly by the racing junkies in the parking lots and pits.  Enough of that crap.  The races cost 2 to 4 times as much as anything else out there and there are no prizes.  So this season, we decided to do only one nmbs race. 

Since Titus is in Tempe, it’s fun to travel there and see the craftsmen at work on the jigs as well as pick up needed parts.  It’s also fun to go up there and put the wood to the truly local Titus riders.  The smackdown came on Sunday.

But first, there was the marathon on Friday.  I saddled up on the Racer-X with a new Magura rear shock and new WTB Vulpines

My goals were:  1)  A single digit finish 2) Go out easy but be in the mix with fast riders 3) Finish without cramping.  I think I accomplished # 2 and 3.  I ended up 10th.  I was pretty cooked and about 4 hours afterwards, I had to mount up on the SS for the Super-D.  I got caught on that, but finished in 3rd.  Not that the Super-D mattered because the morons at Team Big Bear/Bluenutwolf Events failed to put together a true stage race with results for the single speeders.  I got to spend Saturday doing some recovery riding and a good gear check on the XC course.  I decided to run a 32×15.  It was the biggest gear I had and was a bit worried about what might happen near the end of the race.

Saturday I also watched Jen suck dust in the Short Track.  She hates those things and it was frustrating to watch her.  As a former short track dominator in the old guy class, I try to help her as much as possible, but you gotta have power….and a power rider she is not.

Sunday morning I lined up with about a dozen single speeders…right behind the semi-pro category.  Our race was the same length…3 laps.  From the gun those guys were killing it.  I tried to stay in touch, but I wasn’t cornering well and when I followed them up the climbs, they were going too slow for me.  I kept getting bogged down and used way too much energy to crest the climbs.  So I let the leaders go and rode my own race.  During the second lap, I rode in 3rd and made sure I wasn’t behind many people when I went into the climbs.  That helped me go quite a bit faster and maintain a good spin over the crest of the climbs. 

Going into the third lap, I started to feel really good.  I was catching sem-pros left and right.  Some gave good drafts, but they’d always pull over just before I got fully rested.  So I kept flying and about half-way into the last lap, I caught second place.  I could see the leader in a few sections.  With about 1000m to go, I saw that I was only about 6 or 7 seconds down.  Going into the finish straight with 200m to go, my leader was only about 100m from the finish.  I sprinted like mad and right as I entered the finish chute, I passed him!  That had to be my best finish ever!

For the SS, I ran the new WTB Prowlers.  They hooked up really well and were large enough to provide good rim protection in the rocks and good flotation in the sand.  And this year it was rockier and sandier than ever before. 

So my hit of crack was pretty good.  Jen’s….well…it wasn’t so good.  After rolling up into 15th place and closing the gap on about 4 more riders, her sweet carbon XO derailleur gave up the ghost.  She walked the last 3 miles or so….and still didn’t finish last.

Other good things about our one hit of crack…..

  • Having soon to be super mom Dara give me my feeds during the SS race
  • Feeding myself during the marathon and being able to make it out of the feed zone faster than they guys I was riding with.
  • Meeting a few new friends.
  • Seeing old friends like Kevin T., Dusty, Ben, James V., and many others.