Friday, April 24, 2009

A look back at Fair Hill

The Short Story

I finished in 15th position at the Bike Line Fair Hill race. I did poorly and was utterly disappointed in my finishing position. The End.

The Long Story

I finished in 15th position at the Bike Line Fair Hill race. On the day of the race, I felt that I did poorly and was utterly disappointed in my finishing position. At the start, I put out a cyclocross type effort and made it to the top of the starting incline in first positon. There was a large crash directly behind me, where two riders tangled bars. I heard that one of the rider’s bikes flew up in the air, like a wheel was at head height. To me, it sounded like the entire field went down, so I took it up a couple more notches, hoping I could get a little further down the trail before the affected riders could get back on their bikes. Dan Conrad told me he the crash was directly behind me and he was surprised I did not go down as well. So I dug deeper, crossing the bridge and into the downhill portion of the course fully taxed from my efforts by the time I hit the flat section. Then I got passed. Again and Again. Breathing was labored. I went too hard for the start. AGAIN. And I would spend the next mile unsure about when I would be recovered from that effort. I felt weak and was unable to attack the other riders as I planned, because I was stupid and went too hard at the start. About ½ way into the first lap, I was able to push myself again and started to pass people. I also wasted some time here and there by not passing people in the singletrack when I came up to their wheels, instead I waited for an opening. The trails at Fair Hill are tight and twisty and I should have been more aggressive.

I was also confused at the results trailer, because I was able to determine where I finished up and I knew where I was overall in Sport (61st), but had no idea where my peers finished. On Tuesday, results by age class were posted and I found that the winner of my race was 4 minutes and 30 seconds up the trail. Compared to previous races, that was not too bad. I also found that 90 less seconds would have earned me a single digit finish, which is my goal for all of the XC races I do this year. I am pretty sure I lost 90 seconds between the start effort and not being super aggressive in the singletrack with my passing. I did pass a lot of other riders, some in my class and some in other age classes. So seeing the actual results put a positive spin on this race for me. Conditions were faster this year, but I cut 10 minutes off my 2008 time - - which is a pretty large chunk of time. I have a lot more work to do before I will be back up on the podium, but I am working hard on it and will be standing up there soon.

Major props to my Allied Milk teammates. Team Captain Dan Conrad won the 19 – 34 Expert race by about a minute or so – considering the course and the competition, that is a pretty sweet finish. Joel upgraded to Elite Open and finished in the money for the day, while the rest of my teammates finished Top Ten in the Expert rankings. Fellow Sport racer Seth had a good race and it was great to see him there, rocking the fully rigid single speed!

Bike Changes

While waiting to see the race results, I noticed a small crack in my frame. It is on the way back to the manufacturer for warranty replacement and in the meantime, I will be training and racing on my singlespeed, in the Singlespeed Sport class. I was really having a hard time deciding if I would race Age Cat or SS Sport this year and instead of having to decide for myself, my frame just made the decision for me. I am not disappointed and based on previous seasons and my love of singlespeeds, I know I will do just fine on my singlespeed. The one good thing about racing a singlespeed is the gearing provides me with a rev limiter at the start of the race. I am able to push a respectable gear (34-19 on a 29er, sometimes 34/18). Last year, my results in Age Cat Sport were about the same regardless of gears versus SS, so the biggest difference will be different racers in the SS class. I will have a teammate in the class with Seth and hopefully he does not knock me over when he passes me!

So my next race is Granogue. Here is registration and do not forget the HERA raffle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

XXC is out!

Check it out on the web - - - > Jason Mahokey (AKA Jason Dean) did a great job pulling together the first edition. Get it now - - > it is free and packed full of good stuff.
Anyone else tired of the cold rain we have been getting? I know I am.
Five days until Fair Hill. Register here -->

Monday, April 13, 2009

PSA for Sam

Get your Big Bike Gear Raffle Tickets NOW!Up for grabs is a chance to help HERA find a cure for ovarian cancer and a super cool custom 26” mountain bike fork. Donated by Independent Fabrication, a custom bike frame builder, this and many other prizes are being raffled off to support HERA Women's Cancer Foundation. Win gear from companies like White Industries, Shebeest, Timbuk2, Shenandoah Mountain Touring, Snappy Caps, Tomicogs, Mountain Khakis, Gripped Films, EWR and many more. Winners will be selected on May 3 and raffle tickets are available online. 100% of raffle proceeds are donated the HERA Foundation.

Get your tickets on bikereg:

Way cool products, way cool time, and helping Sam spread the word about cancer awareness and help find a cure.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Numbers are behind everything. Sometimes higher is better: HR during training, time spent in zone 5, length of intervals before total exhaustion. Sometimes lower is better: Resting heatrate, recovery time, h/r reaction to specific efforts, weight. Lap times. Obesssion with numbers sets in. Thoughts go into making some higher, some lower, and keeping some the same. Sometimes it all comes together at once and magic things happen.

The first individual MASS race is nine days away. It takes 24 minutes to ride there from here. Hopefully some magic will happen there.

Until then . . . .