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This past weekend I chose to skip our local 12 hour race to join the freaks in AZ for Dejay Birtch’s birthday party ride, AKA SSAZ.  This was my third and by far the best one yet.  Dejay surprised us all with a shuttle partway up Mt. Lemon so we could ride Bug Springs.  After instructions, a hundred or so riders took off up the road for a couple of miles before linking up with the trailhead.  I hung out in the top 5 or so and then we hit dirt….which went up…which meant everyone was walking…..or running in the case of some little guy with a 99% carbon full rigid rig with really narrow bars.  AZT honch Dr. Kurt Refsnider was hot on his heals and I sat back in 10th or so, waiting to warm up.  Bugs was awesome and I only dabbed in a couple of spots.  Not bad for never having been on that little beast.

After Bugs we crossed the Catalina Hwy to hit the AZT down to Prison Camp.  That section was fun and still had plenty of gnar.  When I reached the parking area at Prison Camp, I shed some clothes and tried to eat something.  Crossing the highway again we headed up to Molino Basin.  As soon as the trail got a bit techy, I saw a dropped Luna bar…nuts over chocolate…opened up but not bitten into with no dirt or ants on it.  Score!  Turns out it belonged to my buddy Mark who I eventually caught on the climb.  Thanks buddy.  It was delicious.  The decent down Molino was tougher than I remember and Mark got around me there and proceeded to school everyone in the vicinity.  After that, there was a bit of climbing mixed with techy mixed with 2-track.  I stomped a couple of climbs and found myself around 3 or 4 other riders.  I grabbed a cookie in the comfort station and headed up Bolletello Rd. to hook up with Reddington Rd.  While climbing the Bolletello, the flyweight on the 99% carbon bike came around me.  He must have gotten lost somewhere.  Eventually I made it to Reddington Rd and headed down to Chivas.  I didn’t see many tracks and doubted my route finding, but I got to Chivas without being run over or shot.

Chivas was hammered with recent rains and of course anyone with a lift kit and 4×4 thrashes the hell out of that section.  I caught flyweight again who claimed he was fixing a flat and then he passed me when I stopped for a bottle that flew out of my King Ti Cage.  The route eventually took us to the secret stash and I soon found myself looping through the woods with Robin from Grand Junction.  Headed up the sandy wash, I only saw two or three tracks in front of me.  Seriously?  Dudes must have dropped or taken wrong turns…..or stopped for bowls in the woods somewhere.

Back on the AZT, I eventually crossed Reddington again with Robin not far behind.  I was far enough ahead of him that I did solo gate duty as I didn’t see him after I got them opened.  Eventually he caught me on some descending and we rolled into the comfort station again where I made myself a nice mixer with Hornitos and 7Up.  It warmed me nicely.  I had to walk/jog about 50 yards down the wash to my bike where it had been transported by a helpful party goer.  Apparently there were only two riders ahead of us…Kurt and the flyweight.  Pleased as punch to be kind of at the front, I made my way into La Milagrosa….where my slight buzz from the tequila did not help my flow at all.  I walked more than the other two times I had been down it.  I tried to take in some of the views and not think about how tired my arms were.  At just over 4.5 hours and 42 miles, I rolled into the party/finish as the fourth finisher, signed in, and grabbed pizza.

The rest of the evening consisted of  catching up with friends, watching finishers try to find the sign in sheet, eating lots of pizza, checking out the grounds of the host’s estate, playing with the kiddo and the dog, eating more pizza, checking out some seriously amazing bikes, enviously staring at a titanium bong whose owner had a huge canister of medicinal marijuana, and trying to find something in the prize stash that would fit me.

Once again Dejay hosted an amazing ride with the raddest crew of riders around…..some who finished well after sunset.  This course had the most gnarly descending of any event I’ve ever done in the least amount of mileage.  I’d almost say it was too much gnar per mile, but then that might make me seem like a pussy….which I kind of categorized myself as since I ran a 32×21 and was kicking myself for not running at least a 21….or as the Back of the Pack Racing crew says…32xFU or 32xYM….or something like that.  I carried too much food and water and wished I had run a full sus rig like I did the last time I rode this thing.

Sorry for no pics.  If you want to see pics, go to Facebook.  I didn’t take any and I don’t feel like stealing pics and trying to credit the correct folks.

If you are wondering why I chose this over the 12 Hours of Old El Paso, I have several reasons.  1.  I’ve won the overall solo (on a SS) twice and took 2nd the first time I did it when Adam Hoppe beat me on a geared bike.  2.  The 12 Hour was never officially announced until several months after Dejay announced SSAZ.  3.  I just couldn’t bring myself to ride laps around Lazy Cow and Mad Cow when I knew a record 13 or 14 laps on that stuff wouldn’t come close to providing the amount of gnar the SSAZ course dished out in less than 45 miles.  4.  It’s SSAZ.  I got another patch and a few lessons on how to ride the gnar! ….and there were stacks of really good pizza.

Back in 2008 I thought I was going to attempt Tour Divide.  I figured I’d kit up the Racer X and hit it, but I had never done any bikepacking and I was still ripping fast in XC races, so I put that idea behind me and never really thought about it again until a couple of years ago when I did the AZT 300 and CTR.  I thought, “No way in hell would I do TD…..too much road.  Yuck.”  Then I started Nuke Sunrise and I started thinking about things I’ve accomplished….and haven’t.  TD was back on top of the list.

At the start of last summer, I made the decision that 2014 would be my year for TD…..northbound as it would be stupid to fly my ass up to O’Canada just to ride back home to a place I prefer to escape every summer.  Soon after making the commitment, I contemplated a new ride.  I really wanted to do it on a Fargo style rig since JP’s last attempt was done on one and he mentioned that he had no hand issues during or after…..something I’ve been battling for a couple years.  So I looked up some of my favorite frame builders….and saw that Walt Wehner of Walt Works had moved to Salt Lake City where I was visiting at the time.  I made arrangements to meet up with him and I gave him a deposit….a whopping $200.  Just before my Christmas break, he started building my frame….a severely upsized Fargo.

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orange frameSo all these build shots made their way into email and I was really hoping to have this beast ready to roll by the time I left for South Carolina, but that didn’t happen.  It  didn’t show up until a couple weeks ago.  I got it built that night (despite over an hour spent rummaging for all the parts I needed) and rode it the next day to Mundy’s Gap….a burly rock fest of  a climb.  I cleaned everything up and down and was thoroughly impressed with the short stays and general fit.   The ride down was a hoot on running a Knard 3.0 up front on the fat bike fork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ditched the Knard after one commute.  Those things are tanks and I really am thinking speed.  I think I can achieve plenty of comfort with a carbon fork and maybe 2.3’s front and rear.  I think I may even ditch the Moxey post…..mainly so I can more easily run a seatbag.  This bike is so comfy that I really don’t think I’m going to need it.  I’ve got a Thomson on the way.  I’ll put some miles on it to make sure.  The Selle Anatomica is pretty sweet.

Eventually I got this thing made.  What a freakin’ puzzle.  Now I need to start working on the tanks that will bolt on to the top tube….and ride more.

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I also bought this bad boy.

dyno wheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s a Shutter Precision thru-axle dynamo hub.  I had it laced up in less than an hour to a Velocity Blunt SL (420 grams).  This will be the first blunt I’ve ever rolled…..seriously.  I’ll be charging batteries with this bad boy so the only batteries I’ll have to purchase will be AAA Energizer Lithiums to power my Spot….which I don’t plan on using 24/7 like other racers.

So here’s a run down of the build:

Walt Works frame

Salsa Enabler Fork (will upgrade to Niner RDO carbon TA fork)

Chris King headseat

DT Swiss 240 S rear hub w/ Stan’s ZTR355 rim

WTB SS rear hub w/ Stan’s 355 rim on the fat bike fork (will upgrade to SP Dynamo TA on Blunt SL rim)

Shimano Ultegra front shifter/brake lever

Shimano 105 10 speed rear shifter/brake lever

TRP Spyre cable discs w/ Yokazuma cables

Shimano XT 9 speed rear derailleur (new 10 speed dynasys won’t work with 10 speed road shifters)

Shimano XTR front derailleur

Truvativ X9 180mm cranks (28/42 rings)

Crank Bro’s Candy SL pedals

Sram 1050 10 speed cassette

105mm generic stem (upgrading to Syntace 100mm stem)

Salsa Woodchipper bars

Lizard Skins 2.5mm thick bar tape on with one layer of fake cork foam tape under the “tops”

KMC chain

Moxey Pro seat post

Selle Anatomica X seat

As for tires….right now I’m using some old WTB semi-slicks.  For TD, I’ll use something like the 2.35 Kenda Slant 6 or the 2.3 Maxxis Ikon.  Those are a bit bigger than what most guys run, but I do want some comfort on all that washboard.

Currently, my during the week training consists of riding it like this.

loaded with racksSome days it’s well over 50 lbs.  This pic was taken when I was at a text book fair.  I took home a crapload of books ($$$) and I could really feel it back there.  Good training for sure.

I’ll post more after I get the new fork.  I ordered an orange one, but when I pulled it out of the box, I saw it wasn’t even close to matching and Jen thought it was pretty lucky.  So I’m sending it back for a black one.  It will drop some weight for sure.  I’m more curious as to how it will feel.  I’ve never ridden a carbon mountain fork and my road bike fork is 14 years old so I really have no idea how it’s going to feel.

 

 

It’s been tough to blog lately. This past summer I made little effort to get to internet access. I spent most of the summer NOT riding due to an issue in my back/neck/shoulder/arm. I’m better now and after pretty much taking a full year off from doing anything hardcore on the bike, I’m prepping for a next summer starting today.

I spent 2 hours this evening cleaning out my toolbox. This was initiated by an oil spill of some sort in the top compartment. I ended up dumping half my tools into the wash bucket with lots of soap, water, and orange cleaner. I thought all the handles on my Park cone wrenches were black. Turns out they’re blue. I ended up resorting all my tools, picking out all the duplicates and tools I don’t use for bike repair, and removing all the non-tool items like cable housing and zip ties. I completely emptied the box and scrubbed it with a sponge and the hot, soapy water. After rearranging everything, I’m much happier. I placed all the tools I use a bunch like those large T-handled Park allen wrenches, the tape measure, the shock pump, and my torque wrench set in the top of the box instead of in a difficult to open drawer. I put all the chain lube, anti-sieze, and rarely used tools in the bottom drawer. Genius! Should have done that years ago.

Now I’ve got to sort out all the parts I pulled out along with the tubs of parts on my work bench. Once I get that done, I’ll be ready to do actual bike maintenance. And boy do my bikes need some love. So do Jen’s bikes. Her’s more than mine.

I’ll be ripping off the parts from her strange fitting 659’r that was supposed to be a 29’r two time national SS winning Titus to put on her On One Inbred which is currently draped with junk parts, commuter wheels, and a rack. She said she didn’t want to have a heavy SS, but why ride a light one with a strange geometry and a weird sized rear wheel that barely fits and handle like a Corvair convertible?

Did you hear about Jen’s attempt at a 3rd national SS title? I thought it was a valiant effort and I’m very proud of her….and myself. Why am I proud of myself? While I was hanging out with Connor and Jen was pre-riding the shitty national course in Idaho, I saw Rebecca Rusch on a hard-tail that was converted to a SS. I kept my mouth shut all week knowing that if I said anything Jen probably wouldn’t even start the race. Jen was WAY under geared for what turned out to be a running festival and Rusch plowed through the waves of geared riders that started ahead. Luckily Jen has been doing a bit of running herself and moved into 2nd place at the hike-a-bike short cut that was near the top of the course. Rusch put down the fastest women’s amateur course time of the day. Jen finished in 2nd more than 9 minutes down. I was proud of her because I knew she was under geared and she only did 4 mountain bike races previous since the end of Summer 2009 when I knocked her up with Connor. Of course, she was pretty disappointed, but it was Rusch’s home turf. And honestly, nobody really cares. She also beat last year’s champion by 3 minutes. Not bad for someone riding a wierd fitting/handling bike that’s 5 years old.

After I get her bikes all dialed (the Titus will become the Chariot dragging device), I’m going to do some major stuff with my bikes. More to come….I promise. Maybe I’ll even have some pictures.

Here are some things I’d like to sell off before the little one comes.

Spot Belt Drive Kit – great condition w/ about 100 off-road miles.  39×24.  Newest setup with guides on both sides of the rear pulley.  $150.

Magura Hugin Rear Shock.  “Short shock” 6.5×1.5 . http://www.magura.com/en/products/older-products/rearshocks-2008/prod/hugin.html  Used on Titus Racer-X 29er for 3 rides.  $150

WTB Rocket-V Race – Ti Rail – White.  Used twice.  $50.

Shimano XT clipless pedals – brand new in box – $75.

Niner SS Cog – 22 t – Brand new. $30

Will possibly trade for the following:  Crank Brother’s Egg Beater SL pedals, WTB Silverado Saddle.

As a 200 pounder, I am classified as a “seated climber”.  In other words, it is much more effecient for me to remain seated when climbing than it is to lug my giant arse out of the saddle to grunt my way up the hill…thus the need for some sort of rear suspension.  

Ever since I started single speeding, I’ve been using some sort of rear suspension.  My first SS foray was on a K2 Razorback, but I couldn’t get the tensioner/cog combo to work for me.  I gave it up quickly after a banged knee and a shot to the nuts from the top tube.

On my current hardtail SS, I use the Moxey Suspension Seatpost.  Since these posts don’t exist anymore and parts are unavailable, I don’t like to spend lots of time on it…..especially since the Cane Creek sucks crack. 

So I’ve begun my second foray into full suspension singledom.  With the generosity of Renny at YESS Labs, I now have a full suspension specific chain tensioner.  My second ride with it was the Horny Toad NMORS XC race which I crushed on a 32×17.  I had some skipping, but I’m pretty sure it was related to the slightly worn aluminum cog with a new chain.  I put on a steel 21 t for the weekend and rode over 6 hours with it.  I got no skipping or popping!  I also don’t have a front chain guide or tensioner other than the cateye chain watcher….which I probably don’t need as I’ve yet to throw the chain on it.  I did drop it during a night ride when rolling a 20 t after the Horny Toad, but I think my chain alignment was off as I was popping excessively in the rear.

Setup is tedious with this device as there are 5 points of adjustment.  The use of almost every allen size on your multi-tool is required.  Once set up correctly, it works really well.  I really like the fact that it works!  I never had luck with the rear deraileur as a tensioner and the stupid little “singulators” don’t work with the lower swingarm being in the way.  I have to use those as a push down tensioner which does not allow for any chain wrap on the cog.

The YESS ETR-D has a fixed upper bushing/roller/pulley/thingy that allows for maximum chain wrap.  The lower pulley is a standard pulley that is spring loaded with a cantilever brake spring.  I found that running the spring with max tension and as little chain as possible provides the best performance.  There is a bunch of leeway for adjustment in pulley position and spring tension, so set up may take a bit of time.

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You’ve already heard me complain about set up a couple of times.  There are some other things that may bug you that kind of bug me.   I don’t think this device was originally designed for epic SS rides.  I think it was designed for dirt jumpers or park riders who want to forgo gears on their FS bikes.  I say this because the thing is noisy.  The upper pulley/bushing/roller/thingy is quite loud on the chain.  I don’t think it really adds that much friction to the system, but it is definitely more than a sram XO with ceramic bushings.  Not being able to remove the wheel hasn’t been a big issue as I’ve yet to flat while using it.  But if I were to flat at hour 5 of an 8 hour adventure, it may cause some problems if I space off and lose a skewer spring or nut.  I also have only done wheel changes on the work stand, so doing it off the stand may pose some additional challenges.  These are the only gripes I have.  I think that Renny has something pretty good here and if demand dictates it, some minor changes may help create a product that would work even better for us long haul SS’ers. 

This thing will get a ton of use this fall and winter and I’ll be keeping Renny updated.  If you are using one for SS XC use, let me and Renny know how it is treating you.  Maybe we can help develop one that is quiet and allows for easier wheel changes.

Wow!  What an amazing weekend.  I probably should have ridden longer/harder/faster, but I got a lot of stuff done and introduced some new folks to the northeast trails.  Rudy from the UTEP bike club brought some friends out and I gave them a little tour.  We hit Mad Cow, looped back to the dam, then went back up to the “tire” to hit Stan’s and and the last bit of the Puzzler before the feedzone. 

The only reason Jen and I wore our knee warmers was because the wind picked up.

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Before we met up with these guys, the sun was blazing and the wind hadn’t picked up yet.  We saw a garter snake.  The views were amazing.  We were up on Sotol when I went for the camera and realized I’d left it on top of the car.  I rarely drive to the trails, but since we were meeting these guys, we figured we’d take the single speeds….which wastes some serious time on the roads getting to the trails.  We also had some errands to run afterwards.  We took the b-line back to the benzo and happily…my camera was just chilling on the roof. 

Good thing.  Jen was able to snap this sweet poser shot with me in my hummingbird attracter kit and not so matching yellow socks.

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The day before, Jen and I saw this fat feathered friend on a ridge line.  This is one of the fattest hawks I’ve ever seen.  I could see him pretty well, but the camera was a little lacking.  I refuse to carry a huge camera with a big ass telephoto lens.

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Thirty people have registered for the Puzzler.  That’s more than last year, and most of last year’s entrants waited until the day before the race to enter.  Hopefully that will be the same this year and we’ll hit our target of 50.

I’ve got some stuff for sale if anyone is interested.  I’ll send pics if you ask.

Hayes HFX Mag brakes with both fat aluminum levers and carbon levers – $50 for the pair

Surly Jim Brown Disc bolt on hubs, 32 hole, with freewheels 17-22.  21 and 22 are White Industries – $150

26″ Fox RLC 100mm disc only.  Will include 1st gen stan’s rim laced to DT Swiss Onyx disc hub with Revolution spokes.  Steerer about 7″. $350  BBB5 brake another $40.

Magura Hugin Rear Shock….almost brand new.  6.5×1.5.  Comes with lots of hardware to mount to any bike that uses that length shock.  Mounted to Jen’s Racer-X for about 3 rides.  Back on Fox for this season.  $125

It’s been so long since I’ve made a post, I had to actually think for a bit about my password to log on. 

It seems that even though I haven’t posted in a long while, my blog still gets major hits for people seeking info on El Paso mountain biking.  The BMBA page is starting to take over….thank goodness.  It is a personal goal of mine that the new BMBA page is what people go to for info on El Paso trail info.  I have all the maps online now thanks to Robert Newman.  Club membership is up and we are very active in making the city a better place to ride the fat tires and big wheels.

My after school at-risk youth bike program is growing too.  I have all kinds of kids involved.  I had 4 girls show up today to find out what they needed to do to join the club.  Too bad the time has changed and we won’t have time to hit the trails after school.  We’ll have to spend the winter putting in “base miles” around the ‘hood.  Here’s a little video of our last trail ride at Heinrich. 

If you want to donate stuff to the at-risk program, please let me know.  We need the following:

  • 2.1-2.2 knobby tires
  • tire sealant
  • portable workstand
  • tool set
  • frame pumps
  • seat bags

We also need money.  Your donation will go through Irvin H.S. and will be tax-deductible.  Contact me at my contact info on the left of the page and I’ll give you the scoop.  We will eventually need new bikes as our current bikes are about 5 years old and they are LOW quality.  Some of our shifters are already breaking down.  I’d really prefer to put these kids on 29r singlespeeds since most can’t figure out the shifting anyway.  If they throw a chain, they freak out.  The big wheels work way better on our rocks and sand too.

I’ve been trying to enjoy my time off from training even though I have already incorporated and increased the level of my secret fall program.  It’s making a huge difference in the way I feel.

I got a call from Mary McConneloug the other day.  Yep.  Two time Olympian!  She’s trying to figure out what she wants to do this winter and next year as well.  She may be back on the chuckwagon circle again to defend her national title.  I talked to her for an hour and a half and blew off a bunch of grading I needed to do that night.  But hell…when a two time olympian calls, you talk to her. 

Anyway….I just made my first order of Monster Cross parts.  I’m turning the tricky ti titus tooniner into a monster crosser.  I’m gonna have to get a custom fork.  I’ll be sending Walt or somebody some cash’ola here pretty soon as I’ll need a REALLY long fork to help adjust the geo on that crazy frame. 

Don’t expect too much blogging from me this fall.  Sorry.  But stay in touch.

Today we had two rattlesnake encounters today on our 5 hours SS adventure around the Franklins.  Our first one was this little western diamondback just south of Bowen’s Ranch.  Jen almost ran over it and it didn’t move until I got my camera out and went back to take pictures.  After I snapped these pics and put away my camera, we looked up and there was a very bummed out hawk flapping at us.  It’s funny how a bird like that can communicate his displeasure.  I felt bad.  Sorry I disturbed the balance.

 

   
Then…..after about another mile on the road I saw this bad boy!  And he was either pissed off or just making sure we wouldn’t get too close to him.
He was rattling hard when he headed under the bush, then he got into a great pose for me and just rattled away.  This fellow wasn’t that much longer than the first one we saw…maybe a foot longer….but what was impressive was the size of his head and his girth.  It was at least twice as big as the first snake.  Not the biggest I’ve seen but the biggest I’ve photographed.
The rest of our ride was pretty uneventful other than the stifling heat.  Jen was suffering, but rode really well.  She’s loving her 659er and can’t wait for the neo-moto tire to arrive even though the quasi-moto his holding up just fine.

Or at least a new frame.  Titus has been so good to me.  And they try very hard to do what they can to meet my strange requests.  A year and a half ago, I had them build up a 29er hardtail frame for me.  I had them put a steep head tube angle on it AND a high BB.  Not such a good decision.  I thought running 180 cranks would make the high BB work better, but combined with the steep front end….and steep seat tube angle, it made it extremely twitchy.  In the slow techy stuff it shined, excelled, kicked ass, etc.  I could pedal through any rock garden no problem.  But the handling at high speed and trying to corner on loose flat stuff was sketch.  I also was quite disappointed with the tire clearance.  With a 2.55 Weir Wolf, I had about 1 mm on each side. 

This new frame got broken in today with a 5 hour jaunt through our various riding areas here in the pass.  I climbed it, did the spin coast spin thing on the flats, and sent it down the rock scree slope on the west side of Mundy’s Gap.  Handling was much better.  Tire clearance is still a bit tight, but I ran a ragged out Nanoraptor on the rear today and that baby has plenty of room.  A neighborhood test ride showed that the Weir Wolf 2.55 fits pretty good with just enough room to spare.  It worked suprisingly well. 

I had them build this frame with similar stats as the 23″ Specialized 29er hardtail.  I’m glad I did it because the front end feels just like my Racer-X.  Of course, the rear end is a bit….um…stiffer.  Just because you are a big tall guy, doesn’t mean you should try to tighten up a bike to make it handle quicker.  Stick to the relaxed angles and it will fit better and handle better.  I’m not sure what to do with my other frame.  I think it might work really well with a 650b rear wheel.  I’ve got one on order, so we’ll see what happens.  If it handles really well, I may just keep it.

With the three water bottle cages…all King Ti of course… I’ve decided to nickname this bike Desert Destroyer.

I also had Titus use the Paragon Sliders.  These babies are beautiful.  While they take a bit longer to set up, you can use a cheesy QR rear hub and not worry about it sliding forward.  While I like the Titus interchangeables due to their light weight, I either had to crank the bujeezus out of a crossmax mavic skewer or use a bolt on rear hub.  They did a really nice job welding these puppies on.

I ended up breaking my Mr. T starter kit.  One of the pins was so loose I could almost push it through the links with my fingers.  Luckily the closest shop in town to the trails does the BMX thing and I was able to score a master link. 

It’s totally hammering rain outside now.  We got some good sprinkles on our ride this morning, but now it is really raining.  The trails were in good shape today, we’ll see what they look like tomorrow.  Hopefully this will never happen again.

Bad thing about all the rain, besides all the crazy weeds that grow, is that in a few years these suckers will be MUCH bigger.

   

We saw both of these guys on Thursday.  Luckily they were both mellow.

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.