Friday, May 30, 2008

Bike polo. 8 hour bike races.

Even though bikesnob makes fun of it. Even though it is as hip as riding a fixed gear with tight shorts and no helmet without brakes. Even though it could be a pre 80's night leg warm up, it is FUN. The kids play at the hockey rink under the Bloomfield bridge Thursdays at 6pm. I thought it was going to be all dudes in girls pants riding brakeless fixed gears, but I was totally wrong. Games are like 10 - 15 minutes each, and require tons of skill and are actually kind of tiring. I will go back.

Mohican 100 is less than 24 hours away. 6 hours of driving for 8 hours of racing. That is a good ratio. I have unobtainable goals: to not flat. I just want the chance to see how I can do if I dont have bad luck, that is simple enough right? I am also curious as to what a 100 dollar entry fee is good for. I guess a buck a mile is standard for a bike race, but I still dont have a course map or elevation profile. I asked Wes the conquerer if he was doing it and he responded with "Oh man, I think that course was very poorly marked last year." Awesome, cause I get lost on courses that ARE marked. We shall see, we shall see. Amy still has the voice mail from after the Wilderness 101 where I sound like a zombie and just kept saying "that was so hard... that was so hard..."
I could always SACK OUT like Gunnar and do the 100k. I guess that is wrong of me, because the 100 mile would be a 100 k for him with the shortcuts he would find. Lord only knows what a 100k will end up being for him.(never letting it go)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Its like a new sport.

Four of us piled into the Mayhew's wagon for the WVMBA lost creek race on Saturday. The race has 3 names from what I can tell: WVMBA #6, Lost Creek, and the White Oak Challenge. When a race had 3 different names, that is serious. It was going to be close to a 3 hour race. On the road, I know exactly what I need to carry for 3 hours, how much I need to eat, how much I need to drink, etc. Mountain biking... uh....ummm

I thought back to my last WVMBA race. I drank one half of a bottle over 2 hours. That means one bottle should be good for 3 hours right? Oh wait, its like 90 degrees. The burner was following the fast dudes and watching them pick bottles up off of picnic tables as they went past. Each lap I would see where people stashed bottles on slower sections of the trail so they could grab them. Learn the hard way.

The most surreal part of the race was on the last half of the last lap. Im slowly climbing. Im in like 3rd place, waiting for the fast dudes to blow by me, totally blown up. I look ahead (we were passing lapped sport riders) and I see somebody JOGGING on the trail wearing full bike stuff. I am totally blown and cant really comprehend what I am seeing. My thought process was like this "A duathlete training?... The harder I go now, the sooner I get water... Why is that person jogging on the course? How can those fast dudes only have a 2x9 setup... I am in my 22x34 I think....." Then I realize that the person jogging is the STOKER FROM THE TANDEM. I guess she jogs the hills and he rides them? They enter the Clydesdale class and are competitive from what I can tell. Totally nuts considering that there was a hike a bike that I could barely push my bike up.

Mountain biking is cool at the end. Everybody was blown and pretty friendly when you came up on them. One dude was like "go ahead bro..." as he dropped from 2nd to 4th in a matter of minutes.

Can I got a post about this race without mentioning that Gunnar cut the course all 3 laps and then out sprinted me in the last 100 yards? Its like the scene in 3 amigos where the guy finds out that all the quick draws were camera tricks and fake, he is totally devastated. Apparently the guy who got 2nd also did that, but he would have beaten me anyway. The extra 20 dollars Gunnar got is not going to be worth me NEVER letting this go.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Unselfish bike racer stuff.

Bike racers are the worst. Colin had a post a long time ago about how they are like infants and just baby themselves constantly. Not only that, but they are pretty hedonistic ("training" 15 hours a week is a lot different than doing push ups or something for 15 hours)...

Anyway. Three cool things that I have come upon (I am sure there are a million more, these are kind of local) that cyclists are doing in no particular order are:

- Miles 4 melanoma is a bike ride from Ohio to Argentina. That is long. They are trying to raise money for cancer research.

Elves and more race team is a team in Ohio/PA that are raising awareness for their title charity. The charity distributes thousands of bikes to underprivileged kids for the holidays. Pretty rad.

Speedgoat Bike raffle. This is a good thing to give money to if you are a bike racer, because you have a chance of getting something back so its not really like giving at all. Joking. For reals, 10 bucks gives you the chance to win a Niner. How many races will you enter that you have no chance of even making your entry fee back, but yet you will give 40 dollars to get shelled.

Thanks to ruggs for getting me off my ass and finally posting. I have been out of town hosting a bike trip with senior citizens.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Art I can appreciate

Ruggs summarizes this weekends bike (mis)adventures. Oh well. Live and learn.
Courtesy of the G-man who is now a new englander, this is just amazing. I guess it is the "off season" for this dude.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

racing for less than gas money.

I have kept up with the speedweek crits via the blogosphere (blogger put a red line under that word as if it isnt real?), and I must say that it is bizarre that people love crits so much. Each entry talks about crashing, nearly crashing, broken 1000 dollar wheels, road rash etc.

Turkey Hill.
People complain about the local pro team(s) showing up at the Lancaster county races and beating up on people. I must say, watching the break at Kirkwood go and the break at TH go were two different experiences. TH, the break rolled away and invited people to be in it. Kirkwood was another story, gaps formed and people were blowing up on the second lap when it went. Because I missed both of them, I guess my opinion hardly matters.

Wilkesville cycling classic.
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE Ohio. 3 years prior, I took a 180 mile bike trip downriver with a couple of awesome girls as they were leaving to ride to California. I escorted them out for what was supposed to be a day, and ended up being 2 or 3 days of riding. I had my brother come pick me up rather than pay for a bus home. The Ohio river was lined with union guys camped in front of their former employers in what was apparently years of striking. We would ride past houses with SCAB painted across the front of them. In tour de france fashion, people had painted "JOE SMITH = SCAB" on the road as you rode past. Weird. This area consists of the borders between Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. It is extremely rural and poor.

It is also REALLY hilly. Insane hills. Relentless hills. This means good bike racing courses. The wilkesville course is a clover. Riders head north, then south, then west, passing through the start finish two times before actually finishing. There is one climb, it is a mile long and about 400 feet. However there is 5700' of climbing, made up by the never ending rollers. Route mapper, Scott Thor provides the profile of the brutal course.

The smallest field ever led to the early shelling of most of it, with only 4 together for the final pass through town. Going into it, Turner and I decied that since we had no teammates, we would make sure that we were both in every move, then settle it like men on the last climb. This worked well, as it it was just us two for the final 1 mile climb. I attacked him and got away solo, thinking that it was just 2 miles downhill to the finish (please consult elevation profile). That was like the longest 5 miles of my life. At one point, a finishing female rider was cooling down, coming at us and I asked how much longer and she didnt respond. After the race, Turner said he asked her the same thing as he chased me and she just laughed. Turner is an awesome friend / cycling nemesis. We sprinted against each other after we attacked the field at Turkey Hill the day before, and 24 hours later we are trying to demoralize the other. I could see his moto less than a minute back and just tried to keep the pace as high as I could. I am really good at drafting, but not so good at soloing.

I managed to stick it for my first ever solo victory. I was stoked, but I wish that the field was bigger to make it seem more real. I did break some victory salute rules of the previous post, but there was a cop car and a moto in front of me, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Friday, May 02, 2008

To complete my Bohemian lifestyle...

Well the whole jock thing isnt really so Bohemian and I really have to maintain street credibility or I might be labeled a gentrifier or something, so occasionally I will write some thoughts down. I shot some over to Brad at Urban Velo. I could literally throw something to his house, as he is just 2 blocks over, but I am actually too lazy and just email it. Anyway, the magazine is a collaboration between himself and Jeff. Both are Pittsburgh dudes who put together a sweet magazine that revolves around what I would call the "urban cycling lifestyle." I dont really know how else to describe it. It encompasses anything from Alley Cat races, to commuter bikes with fenders and generator hubs to bike polo; just general bike love.

Bikes = awesome. People doing creative things = awesome. People doing creative things involving bikes = 2x awesome (Dr. Stubna, please check my math?)

Anyway, I summed up the last 6 years of my life in like 800 words for the May issue. As one of the cheapest people alive, I really appreciate the fact that you can download the magazine for free online.

Download it here in html or pdf

Yes, Erok, I pee my pants a bit before each race.