Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of the year part 1: The races

With the season coming to a close, I'm taking the next few days to reflect on my year, hopefully I don't become too sentimental. Today is racing, tomorrow is stuff, Thursday is people. So look out for it!

So, as a little bit of background, this was my first full year racing. I did a few cross races at the tail end of last year in the C category and that planted the seed. So, when spring rolled around, I gave the whole racing this a shot.

What do you know, it was a blast.

Being able to race with so many different people and head off to places I'd normally never set foot in (Coburn, PA, anyone!?) was an experience in itself. The bike riding was just an added perk on top of that.

A few highlights:

• Mohican 100k

This was my first experience with any sort of an enduro race, and man it was awesome. Even though the 7 am start was wayyyyy too early, tearing through downtown Loudonville was awesome. I felt pretty good for not knowing jack shit about nutrition or pacing myself or any of that mumbo-jumbo. I was scarfing down granola bars having a blast. While getting lost for an hour plus may have been a huge kick in the nuts, there's always next year when I'm going to unleash some proverbial whoop-ass on that race.

• Manitoc

331 promotions really knows there stuff. A huge thanks to them for putting on this really well-organized race. The weather looked really ominous before this race. I left my place in North Royalton (20 minutes away) to a torrential downpour, but when I got to Manitoc, the trails were dry and the rain held off. Crazy stuff.

It was also one of those races where everything seemed to click. The bike was running well, I didn't crash like crazy, and I was able to power through the entire race. A 1st place plaque and a Chipolte burrito were my reward.

It's a shame the trails aren't open year round, but hopefully my good dudes in Camba have some luck with getting the Valley opened up for bikes.

• Wilderness 101

The hardest thing I've ever done on a bike. Seriously. Next year I'm putting a suspension fork on and maybe that will help me not think about dying on some of those descents. Yikes. But besting my goal time by 40-some minutes was something for me to be really happy about. Let's see if I can drop it down another 40 next year.

• West Branch OMBC

I got my start on a mountain bike at West Branch a few years ago. So it was awesome to be able to ride my home trail in a race. Once again it was one of those days were everything clicked.

• Kirtland Park CX

Fast! It was wild to be able to hang with the front group for a bit and see how insanely fast those guys were. Riding with Twining was always good too, as I've got a lot to learn from him. My best Lake Effect result of the year too.

I could probably write something about every one of these races and how much I liked them, but man this post is getting long so I'll save you the boredom.

But here is is a long and boring list of all the races I did this year... if you're into that sort of thing.

Mountain Bike

OMBC Series:

  • 1st: 3/29/09 OMBC #1 Mohican Wilderness, Loudonville

  • 5th: SATURDAY 4/18/09 OMBC #2 Vultures Knob – Wooster

  • 1st: 5/3/09 OMBC #3 Mountwood Challenge WV

  • 1st: 5/17/09 OMBC #4 The Wilds

  • 2nd: 7/12/09 OMBC #6 S&S Trails - Mt. Perry

  • 2nd: 7/26/09 OMBC #7 Alum Creek – Delaware

  • 2nd: 8/23/09 OMBC #9 Caesar Creek – Waynesville

  • 1st: 9/27/09 OMBC #11 Westbranch – Ravenna

  • 1st: 10/11/09 OMBC #12 Mohican SP – Loudonville

  • 1st: 10/25/09 OMBC #13 Mohican Wilderness – Loudonville

1st overall Sport Senior (19-30) category

Other XC races

  • 1st: 8/30/09 NEO Power Series Big Valley Race at Camp Manitoc, Sport class - Peninsula

  • 1st: 6/13/09 Vultures Knob #3: Woo-town Singlespeed Challenge - Wooster

  • 1st: 11/7/09: Iceman Cometh Challenge, Sport 19-24 - Traverse City, MI

    Endurance Races

  • 20th: 8/1/09 Wilderness 101: Singlespeed Open - Coburn, PA

  • 12th: 5/30/09 Mohican 100k: Singlespeed Open - Loudonville


  • 2nd: 9/13/09 Bike Authority CX #1: Wendy Park, B race - Cleveland

  • 1st: 9/26/09 Bike Authority CX #2: KSU Stark, B race - Canton

  • 1st: 10/3/09 Cap City Cross #1: Alum Creek, B race - Delaware, OH

  • 9th: 10/4/09 Bike Authority CX# #3: Leroy, A race - Panesville

  • 7th: 10/9/09 Darkhorse Cyclo-Stampede International Cyclocross, Cat 2/3 - Covington KY

  • 12th: 10/17/09 Bike Authority CX #4: Todd Field, A race - Willoughby

  • 10th: 10/31/09 Bike Authority CX #5: Chagrin River CX day one, A race - Bainbridge

  • 9th: 11/1/09 Bike Authority CX #6: Chagrin River CX day two, A race - Bainbridge

  • 21st: 11/14/09 Bike Authority CX #7: KSU Main, A race - Kent

  • 7th: 11/22/09 Bike Authority CX #8: Kirtland Park, A race - Cleveland

  • 5th: 12/5/09 Cap City Cross: #6: Smith Farms, A race - Columbus

  • 9th: 12/6/09 Bike Authority CX#9: Boughton Farm, A race - Copley

  • 1st: 12/19/09 Cap City Cross #7: Infirmary Mound, A race - Granville

  • 3rd: 12/20/09 Cyclocross Winter Trophy Series #1, A race - Akron

9th overall Bike Authority CX: A category

Keep an eye out tomorrow: I'll be posting about some of my favorite gadgets / gear of the year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Finishing up the season strong: Cap City #7 and Winter Trophy Series #1

After Boughton Farm I was toast. My body has been pretty well-abused since April of this year, so it was break time.

I spent two weeks without even thinking about my bike, and while it was nice, I was starting to get a little stir-crazy by the end of things.

So the first time back on my bike after my time off was the Cap City series finale at Infirmary Mound.

I woke up that morning to a solid inch of snow up in the Cleveland area, went to pick up Robert and off we went.

Two-and-a-half hours later, and a few "Hey I'm lost" phone calls to Matt Weeks, we rolled into Granville to a snowy and muddy race.

I got a warm up in and cheered on Robert, who was kicking ass in the B's on his singlespeed. He ended up in second even after a few mud-induced mistakes (*cough* sandbagger *cough*) oh my excuse me... Heh.

So the A's lined up after that. The official announced that because of the conditions the race was going to be cut short to 45 minutes. Big old bummer, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

The whistle blows and we're off. I got out in the front with Weeks, and then it became very apparent, if it hadn't been already, how much he's on the next level. I was turning myself inside-out trying to keep up with him, and he was probably going not too hard. It was wild.

The course was a half-muddy half-icy nightmare, and staying upright at times seemed an impossible challenge. Luck was on my side though and I kept it rubber-side down minus a few foot dabs here and there.

So Matt and I rode rode together most of the race, with Garth Prosser trying to bridge up most of the time. His gap may have gotten down to ten seconds or so earlier on, but by the end of the race, we had it opened up to a solid minute. Probably a few minutes behind him was the Katsu and the chase group consisting of the rest of the A racers.

I was able to nip Matt at the line, which I'll take a wild guess and say that was his Christmas present to me :-).

So there it was, my first victory in an A race. To say I'm excited about this is an understatement. I was able to nab my first win in both a B race and an A race in one season. Wooooohoooo!

Hopefully this momentum will carry over to next year. I've started working with Sean Gilbert recently, and hopefully his coaching wizardry will pay off for next season.

After the icy drive home, It was wash the jersey and go to bed time.

Up the next day I started getting ready for Shawn Adams' Winter Trophy Series.

I looked at my destroyed bike from the previous day's Columbus shenanigans, and pretty much said screw this to the thought of washing it.

It was single speed time!

I got to the course, and very quickly though that I was screwed. It was pretty flat, and my singlespeed was geared at 40x17, which I thought was a bit low. Oh well.

I put the Grifo XS file tread on the front, which hooked up really well in the ice and snow at 20ish PSI, and off we went. Ernie and Matt took off pretty much immediately, as my gearing spun out a little below their speed on the start.

As we settled in, Rudy and I were pretty similar in pace, and we worked together pretty much the entire time. It's always a treat riding with Rudy, as he's been racing for probably about as long as I've been alive, so I sort of sit back and watch and learn. So after trading pulls, getting some motivational beeps of my car horn by my girlfriend who was both watching and keeping warm, we got the bell, and Rudy sent me off.

I rolled across the line in third, really happy with how I rode. I think I'm going to race the SS for the rest of the series, maybe with a bit taller gear.

Ernie and Matt put on pretty much a cross clinic on how to ride the ice, and finished in first and second, respectively.

After a few detours (sorry Srokas!) we ended up at a little get together at the Matinee / Mr. Zubs. Some good food, a brew, and some chatting with the other racers.

I would recommend everyone comes out to the rest of the series, it was a blast. Big thanks to Shawn Adams for putting it on.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Boughton Farm, Finally

I've been putting off a Boughton Farm race report, because I feel pretty non-descript about the whole affair.

The race was hard. It was muddy and required someone who could put down some power to get through some of the more muddy sections.

I also made my typical mistake of falling really early into the first lap and having to work my way back up from dead last. That's something I'm going to stick to next year, racing within my abilities and ensuring that I'm not a human yardsale the entire time.

Oh, I should use this as a formal apology to anyone I've fallen in front of this year and probably scared the shit out of you. My bad.

But yeah, race was over with me in ninth.

Even though my race was lackluster, I ended up in ninth overall for the series too, surrounded by some great company. I'm beyond thrilled about this, and I'll write an end-of-the-year recap soon talking about my ups and downs on the year.

Thats it for now. A few weeks off to relax.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Anyone want to share a ride to Cap City tomorrow?

I'm driving down to Columbus for a Cap City race tomorrow. If anyone wants to come with, I've got a spot on my bike rack for one more. Shoot me an email if you want to come with.

Here are some details on the race. I'm racing at 2 PM, so I planned on leaving at 10 AM, but if you are racing earlier, I'm down to leave whenever.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

State Cross Championships

After a whole season of anticipation, States were finally upon us. After a Thanksgiving full of stuffing my face, and an oh-so-nice day off work on Friday, I readied myself to take off Saturday morning. The Sroka's graciously offered a spot in their car and I was happy to oblige.

We ended up getting to John Bryan State Park at probably about 4 PM on Saturday, just in time to meet up with the Maruts and Jeff Craft to take a few practice laps around the course.

Riding the course, I was pretty concerned. It was extremely wide open with little to no technical stuff, and as flat as a pancake. It suited a rider that could keep it steady the entire time. That's pretty much the opposite of me. I like little short punchy surges and technical stuff as an opportunity to recover. Oh well.

So with pretty much half of Team Lake Effect together, we were able to take some practice laps and geek out about tire choices for tomorrow. After that it was off to the hotel and time for dinner. I'm not sure what the drive did to me, but I was exhausted by 7:30 PM and in bed by 9:00. This was shaping up to be the first time in history I was going to be well rested for a race.

Morning came bright and early at 7:30 AM, which actually wasn't too bad for this newfound workin' man. We got to the park by Ten and were able to watch Scott Marut turn in an impressive finish in the Cat 4 35+ field.

After witnessing numerous state championships being brought back to Cleveland (Nate Loman in 35+ Cat 3, Rudy in 45+ Elite Masters, and Robert in 15/16 Juniors) I realized it was about time for my race.

I took my warmup around the park and my legs felt like trash. Not good. Desperate times called for desperate measures and I had enough time to get on to the trainer for some high cadence action in an attempt to blow the stink out of my legs. To my delight, it actually worked.

Lining up, I got to talking with Tony and realized we were about an equal level of nervous. The whistle went off, and I was able to pull together a strong start. The nerves quickly subsided and I was on my way to racing my race.

For the first lap I was hanging with the front three. I very quickly realized this wasn't going to last much longer, but I needed to hang on as long as I could and avoid the bottlenecks and try to open a gap when they did.

Starting the second lap, an Essex Brass rider attacked, and Jon Card countered. I pretty much couldn't do anything but laugh at that since I didn't have anywhere close to the legs they did. They were off, and Tony, myself, and one other guy formed a chase group.

I was holding off blowing up spectacularly, and though I might have been able to tough it out for the rest of the race. If anything, I saw Shawn Adams and Matt Weeks were catching up mighty quickly, and I wanted to help them bridge up to the front group.

So big plans swirling in my brain, I take the sharp off-camber turn right before the finish chute.

SHITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT my tire rolls. Not again. Not today. Not now. Piss.

Since I'm very quickly becoming an expert at this, I don't panic. I roll my tire back on the rim, and head out towards the pit very gingerly. As pretty much everyone passed me en route, my big dreams vanish in a poof of tainted tubular glue.

As I got to the pit I was sort of at a loss. I didn't bring the pit bike, because we didn't have enough space. The plan was to put my pedals on Rudy's bike, but I was too busy warming up to remember. I'm on a slightly antiquated 9 speed setup, so no one had a backup wheel for me.

DNF. Fuck.

On a good note, Matt and Shawn both finished second and third in the state, respectively. Tony finished in 12th, in the money just as he expected.

The one strange thing that I noticed on the day was the lack of recognition that the Cleveland area riders were getting. Not sure if it was because the announcer was from the area and saw familiar faces he could talk about or something else.

Hopefully by next year he'll realize that Cleveland riders brought home a serious chunk of hardware from this year, and might give a bit more credit where it is due.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Bad Dude Challenge

I'm thinking about 8 am, meet in the Valley at Lock 29 parking behind the Winking Lizard. Plan on five hours give-or-take, with many options to bail out early for turkey. Anyone down, or am I doing this myself?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kirtland Park

Kirtland Park was awesome.

The weather was perfect, there were a ton of people there, the course was really fun, and super dry to boot.

At least on my end, the race went off without a hitch. The course, for the most part seemed to suit my strengths pretty well. Lots of twists and turns, some tricky off camber sections, and I was probably most pleased with the hills! I love climbing, and it's usually in short supply on cross courses. Not here; there were a few nice short steep climbs that proved nice and tough every lap.

With the conditions as nice as they were, and a big A field, I knew the racing was going to be fast.

Off the bat, it definitely was.

I was up in the lead pack going up to the stair runup/ride up. I knew that'd be a spot to get a gap, provided I could beat the bottleneck and make it up.

Luckily I did, and I was able to hang onto the front group. They then promptly worked to turn me inside out. There were some areas, namely the big open grass starting straight that played into my weakness of not having the motor needed to stay on someone's wheel.

So I'd try to stay consistent through all the climbing and other tricky stuff, and try to catch enough recovery to hang on the grass field dragstrip. It worked for maybe 3 laps, then finally I got spit off the back. It wasn't all bad, as I could keep them in my sights, and did so for the rest of the lap; with big hopes of bridging back up.

Then I dropped my chain...


It was on the really bumpy downhill right after the stair runup. I went to pedal and nothing happened. Sweet. This pretty much plagued me and I dropped it twice more in the race for a grand total of three times. I'm ponying up the cash to buy a Paul Chainkeeper to make sure this never happens again, because my Salsa guard and thirdeye aren't cutting it.

So after chain drop number one I was able to get it fixed, and get onto Steve Twining's wheel to get a tow across the grass field. We rode together for a minute, then he had his own mechanical issues (course tape in the cassette.) I was in no man's land for another lap, until he worked his butt off and bridged back up. Pretty dang impressive.

We pretty much rode together for the rest of the race.

It was awesome seeing the lines he was taking and all that good stuff. He seemed to gain speed out of turns, which is definitely something I need to work on.

When all was said and done I rolled across the line in eighth place, which I'm absolutely astounded by. I think everything in the cosmos just sort of lined up and I lucked out and rolled into my best finish of the year. Wooo!

And for the obligatory Lake Effect Shoutout. Hot damn everyone did awesome today.

Matt Weeks won (again), Robert did awesome in B's (second behind some pretty serious sandbagger), Shawn Adams, Rudy, Scott Garman on a stomach full of burrito, The Maruts, etc etc etc etc.

Good job to everyone that raced!

States are up next, then the series wraps up in Copley at Boughton Farm.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

KSU Cross

The Lake Effect race at Kent State was something I was looking forward to since it has been announced. With Kent being my former stomping grounds up to this May, I figured it'd be fun to relive some old memories and race my bike all in one marvelous day.

The plan was going well. I showed up on race day, the temperatures were great, very unlike Ohio in November. So after all the warm-up nonsense, we line up and off we go. I ended up getting a good start, and went inside on Dan Quinlan on the first turn. I then realized I was out front. Oh shit!

That didn't last too long, as the ultra fast guy train of Shawn, Ernesto, Gerry, Steevo, and others moved on by. That's cool, as it could be expected. I settled in and was hoping to keep them in sight as long as possible. When I settled into a groove, I was racing with Ross Clark for a bit. We'd go back and forth on certain spots, and it's always awesome to race with him.

So I'm feeling good, getting into the groove, and then the problems start.

First problem: bad tire choice. I thought my Grifo XS file treads would work out well for the course. It was wide open, dry, and fast. They worked in my preride, but what do you know; by the time the A's went, the course got slick in spots, and my tires pretty much felt like I was riding on ice.

Second problem: Dropped chain. After the spiral, there was a curb setup with two options on how to ride it. Option one was to take the line that avoided the curb entirely, a hard left and then a hard right. Option two was to bunnyhop them. Bunnyhop it was. During my second lap, my chain fell off. Piss! There went any gap I had, along with my sights on the top five guys.

Third problem was the one that actually screwed me pretty hard. After the steep second run-up hill, there was a nice descent, with a fast right-hander into the log bunnyhop. I figured I'd take the liberty to cut the line a little bit to the inside, as it'd set me up a little better to get over the log in a smooth and momentum saving fashion.

In cutting the line to the inside, there must have been a rock or root or something lurking in the leaves. I was getting aggro and leaning in pretty hard, so that combined with whatever I hit rolled my front tubular and sent me falling as per usual. It was weird, as I was pretty much mid air, and thinking, "Hmm, why am I falling right now, I didn't do anything wrong." When I got up and went to grab my bike, I noticed the culprit, my front tubular. So off I ran to the pits, and pretty much the entire race passed me in the process.

I got to the pit bike (which I quickly realized was wayyyyyyy undergeared) nice and tired, hopped on, and realized I'd suffer out the last 4 laps in style.

So off I went, hoping to make up some spots, and try not to get lapped as long as possible.

I got into my groove on the singlespeed, and realized how fun it was. I'd get absolutely destroyed on the open grassy sections, but once I was in the woods I was having a blast. My gearing was just right that if I gave it a little oomph, I could make it up the first hill, much to the crowd's delight. Like this:

Mid-race shredding the teetertotter was a good way to pass the time also:

I actually caught up with and passed a few people too. Woop!

When all was said and done, I was half a lap back on the leaders. I rolled in in 24th place, oh well. Good job to everyone that raced, it was pretty dang fun.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Iceman Cometh!

So after much ado and anticipation, I rolled out of Berea Friday Morning. The destination: Traverse City, Michigan and Iceman Cometh.

So after a mind-numbingly long drive with Mike, Rusty, and Todd, packets were picked up, food and libations consumed, and to sleep we went.

I woke up the next morning at the god-awful hour of 6am, and we quickly got dressed, packed up, and headed to the little town of Kalkaska for the start of the race.

Staging was like nothing I've ever seen before, mountain bikers as far as the eye could see. Pretty awesome.

Lining up, I think I had the worst case of the pre-race jitters I've ever encountered. My right leg kept shaking, and I had no idea what to do to stop it. Oh well.

Off we went. I got the holeshot. It was the most awesome feeling ever being out in the front: seeing hundreds of people cheering and taking pictures and whatnot. I traded pulls with a racer for a bit, and before you know it, we were in the woods.

The trail was a lot like people said it would be. Wide, for the most part flat, and very sandy. All was going well, and I was feeling great, until I bobbled passing a rider and we got tangled up. Sucks, but that's part of racing. I looked up to see two guys take off past me as I tried to get back up and regain my composure.

So the chase was on. The race gave my big ring a pretty solid workout. I kept the hammer down, probably passed 200 people until I finally caught the rider, Ryan Katulic, about ten miles in.

I was excited to have someone to race with, as it helped me keep my pace consistent. We talked a bit, and traded pulls to open up our gap on the rest of the field. I attacked a few times to see how he was holding up, and he countered every time. The race was going to come down to the last 6 miles, where some sandy, short, steep hills came into play.

Ryan was a strong climber, and we were evenly matched on the hills, but finally luck was on my side. I was starting to notice that he was drifting off my wheel now and then. I used this to my advantage and attacked on one of the monster sandy hills. It was a pretty cool scene with people all around cheering, music playing, etc etc. I got bogged down in some deep sand and didn't clear the hill, but I came dang close :-)

After getting of my bike about 3/4s of the way up this hill, I got back on as quick as humanly possible and took off. Big ring doing its thing.

I opened a gap and couldn't see him anymore. Yes! I rode like a man possessed not knowing if he'd catch me or not. I pushed it, but tried to remain upright and not goof up with a crash or anything like that.

I kept it together the last few miles, and was able to roll across the line at 1:50, first place Sport 19-24. Wooooo!

Now the fun starts...

I cross the line, big smile on my face. The second I get of my bike, my stomach pretty much does a backflip. I think to myself, "Man I don't feel hot," and quickly make my way to some privacy.

Boom. Projectile vomit behind a tree. Nobody saw it, which sucks because it was probably hilarious. But I grabbed a banana and some water and felt fine again.

On a non-puke related note, good job to Chip Meek, Jeff Pendlebury, teammates The Spisaks, Rusty Brown, Todd Turner, Brett Davis, Todd Davis, Mike Kline, and anyone else I forgot for ruling it out there on the trail. Everyone rode really well and showed that Ohio is a secret cycling hot bed with rad dudes.

If anyone is into data related geekery, this will suit you well enough. I forgot to start my Garmin until ten miles into the race :-( but until I find some pictures, I'll put up some data. 173 average heart rate. Ouch. Click it to make it bigger.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Remember Halloween

First and foremost, a huge thanks goes out to Brett Davis for putting on the races this weekend. It was an absolute blast.

Going to bed Friday night, I was optimistic about conditions being good for Saturday's racing. It was about 60 degrees, and while the threat of rain loomed over us in Northeast Ohio, I had my fingers crossed it was going to blow over.

I was wrong. Waking up Saturday morning and surveying the damage left me looking at some pretty saturated grass and temperatures substantially lower than the night before. Cross weather! Hup hup!

We lined up and all was well. I had a good warmup in, the course was awesome, albeit a bit muddy so I was feeling good. I got an alright start and was working my ass off to not let the really fast guys (Shawn, Ernie, Paul, Matt Weeks, Rudy, Ross, Tony etc...) out of my sight.

All was going well until wham! I overcooked a turn and ate it super bad. My right brifter turned inward about 90 degrees, and messed my brakes up. I didn't know it was fixable, so I goofed around with it for a bit, and lo-and-behold it sorted itself out.

By the time the bike was up and running again, the field was long gone, and I was probably sitting near the back of the pack. Time to do some work and make up some ground. I pretty much kept it pinned for the rest of the race, and tried to get back where I was.

That being said, I raced pretty much the dumbest I possibly could. I was a human yardsale and wiped out a few solid times. Sorry if I scared the crap out of anyone riding behind me.

The struggle was on to make up lots of lost ground. I hurt myself as much as I could to catch up. Here I am turning down a dollar handup, as my vision was getting a bit fuzzy and I couldn't quite make out much besides a blurry shape of a human. Maybe next time.

When I finally got into my groove, I worked my way up to the top ten and was battling it out with Greg Fletcher. We went back and forth for a couple of laps, and it was awesome. I thought I was going to hold him off through the singletrack and up to the finish, but all of the sudden I saw him make his move for the line, and I was too pooped to counter. He took ninth, and I ended up in tenth. Not a bad placing, but hot dang I wish I would have raced cleaner.

Everyone's favorite cyclocross up-and-commerRobert Sroka took his first win in the B's. Good job man!

So after that, I put down a couple of PBRs, shot the shit, and then went home to was the bikes and get ready for Kent's halloween. My King Diamond costume received mixed reviews, but I was pretty happy with it.

Day Two!

Waking up Sunday morning, I was in for a treat. It felt like I had been run over by a car. My 8 million falls the other day combined with a lack of sleep and a few too many heavy-metal falsetto screams the night before left my body a mangled wreck.

I put down a few cups of coffee and headed out to the race.

The course had dried out pretty well, and the reversed version eliminated the run-up by the river, which lead to some fast racing.

The start was hectic. We were into the river-side singletrack in about twenty seconds, so people were all over the place trying to get in and avoid the inevitable bottle-neck. I was able to get a good spot going, and actually was able to hang onto the super fast guys for almost a lap. Then big suprise; they left me in the freakin' dust.

After that, I pretty much focused on riding my own race. Trying not to blow up, maintain my position and most importantly, not fall all over the place. To my dismay, I was pretty successful. I was able to somehow fight off Ross Clark, and Rudy, which I thank the Great Pumpkin for such a miracle.

Lake Effect had a great weekend, with a strong presence on the podium in both the A's and B's both days. Good job to everyone that raced!

I ended up with ninth on the day. Hopefully I can take my excitement about this and use it to bust ass at Iceman this weekend.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

OMBC Season Finale

Made the wonderful trek down to Mohican Wilderness for the final race of the 2009 OMBC series.

The detour through Ashland is now cleared up, so I got there with plenty of time to spare. Thank goodness.

Looking on the OMBC site, I was only .28 points ahead of the second place rider, Trek Ohio Valley's Chris Spring. I wasn't anticipating it being that close, so the nerves were running a bit high.

We lined up, and man I got the best start of my life. I don't know what the deal was, but when we got out of the grass and onto the road, I looked back and had like a fifty yard lead. I'm feeling good and have a big smile on my face and what do you know: right before I went to turn into the singletrack, a convoy of like ten motorcyclists were coming in the opposite direction, preventing me from making my left turn.

Not much I could do about that but sort of shrug and laugh. Them's the breaks, and a mountain bike race is nice and long.

Besides that, the ride was pretty darn uneventful. Trail was in perfect shape thanks to Ryan O'Dell cleaning it up the day before.I rode my own race, tried to stay strong on the multiple steep-ass climbs, not mess up too bad on the downhill, and keep it clean through the rocks.

Stayed upright until the last lap, where I planted my front wheel right into a nice big rock. Big slow over the bars fall, hopefully nobody saw it :-)

Finished in first at 1:39, which I'm pumped about. A solid half hour less than my time at the beginning of the season mudfest.

The win set me up with the overall title for OMBC Sport Senior. I'm super grateful for the opportunity I had to race this year, and thanks to everybody who helped me out / encouraged / heckled me along the way. Expert will be a big jump next year, but I'm going to bust my ass this winter and see how it goes.

Brett's Chagrin River Cyclocross this weekend. Last year's was my first race ever, and man it is a blast. Everyone needs to come out; if not for the racing, maybe for the keg and costumes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cross My Heart

Sorry for the late write up, I'm still traumatized by the hurting I laid on my body this past Saturday.

As chronicled elsewhere in the blogosphere, Spin's annual 'Cross My Heart and Hope to Die spectacular was tough.

If it wasn't the baseball feel spiral with the consistency of cement, it was the massive hill runup that was slicker than shit.

Spin ended up calling up the top ten in points, and I was left in the back with the rest of the point-less brutes. Off we went, and quickly the usual suspects (Paul Martin, Matt Weeks, Gerry Pflug, Steevo, etc etc) were long gone. For everyone else, elbows were flying through the thick mud, and we were trying to find our respective grooves to settle in.

My tactics stayed the same pretty much the whole race. It stay consistent in the slop, attack on the pavement, and dear lord try not to blow up on the Mount Everest-esque runup. Suffering was the order of the day.

Click on this excellent picture by photographer extraordinare Robert Sroka and peep the suffering.


Ok sickness aside, I got into one hell of a battle with John Ehrlinger. He rode a great race, and we were duking it out til the last lap. He gapped me every lap in the baseball field and on the fence section outside right past the pavillion. Kudos man, you hurt me so much I had to take a nap when I got home, that's how bad it was.

I ended up in 12th place, which I'm pretty okay with. Hopefully next race I can get a better start and have the wherewithal to get my legs nice and warmed up instead of messing around in the parking lot. Lake Effect rooled oncemore, with Matt Weeks and Shawn Adams in the second and third spots, Rudy and Tony in the top ten, Robert in the top ten in the B's, and Julie second in the women's. Good job all.


And now for some non-bike related goodness.

I have sold out to the man and got rid of the old mop for a job interview tomorrow. For those of you who are concerned, the grubstache went too (sorry for subjecting you to it.)

End non-bike related goodness, you may go on with you life.


Monday, October 12, 2009

UCI Weekend Wrapup / OMBC

Arriving in Cincy Friday morning. I started the routine of getting ready, warming up, and filling my body with barely inedible stuff that resembles food.

Friday's race was at Devou Park in the lovely Covington, Kentucky.

As predicted, the area took a hard hit of rain, and was pretty dang wet. Seeing the course get progressively worse as the cat 4 field started finishing up, I knew I was in for trouble.

Staging was pretty surreal, and I realized that I had by far the worst position possible... last row. Now I know I need to register as soon as I can.

So off we were in a stacked Men's Cat 2/3 field.

After a surge up the starting road section, I may have been about half way into the 50-person field. We were abruptly dumped into some sloppy peanut butter mud.

It looked like a scene from a war movie, bodies flying left and right, yelling and cursing coming from all sides. I'm not too phased by riding mud, so I was able to pick my lines well enough to stay upright.

That lasted for about 2 minutes, as the mud caused the first of many falls as I washed out. I went to put my foot down to save it, and what do you know... that slid out too. I was promptly ran over by the guy behind me. Sorry dude :-)

Quickly getting up and riding with a crooked seatpost, I knew it wouldn't work out too well for the rest of the race so I had to stop and straighten it out. A few well placed whacks with the fist and I was back in business.

This was plain and simple cross suffering at its finest. My game plan consisted of working as hard as I could to bridge the gap up to the lead group who weren't bottlenecked by the shitstorm that happened in the first few laps. Slowly but surely I ended up working my way up to a respectable seventh place. I'll take it. Hopefully I can snag some pictures of the random areas of suffering and elaborate a bit more on my technique for riding them, which mostly consisted of riding as far as I could, falling then getting up and running the rest of the section.

Great job to Tony Marut teammate extraordinaire who was able to kick some ass and end up with a fourth place finish. mustache extraordinaire Scott was also able to work his way up from a lousy start and finish in the top half.

Phew okay on to Saturday.

Scott and I showed up with maybe an hour to spare in Middletown. The course was fast, excluding the back-to-back sandpits and one quick muddy section. It really suited a guy who was able to put down some power. I am not able to put down too much power, so I had to bury myself deep in the pain cave to be able to hang.

Once again the last row start was pretty terrible, but I was able to work my way up to probably the top 15 or 20 by the first turn. After that it was pretty much keeping myself at the edge of barfing for 45 minutes.

The quote of the weekend goes a little something like this, "You know Johnny wasn't having a good time because he wasn't smiling."

Generally I have a bit of a grin on my face when I ride just because, hell, riding a bike is awesome and I'm having a great time. Not this time, I had my mean face on.

So mean face intact, I busted my butt the entire race. Greg Fletcher and I settled into a groove and rode together from about lap 3 on. That is until he attacked on the uphill start area on the last lap. I saw him go and I just didn't have the juice in my legs to grab onto his wheel. Man he is strong. So after all is said and done I finished up strong a spot or two behind Greg, nice and comfy somewhere in the top ten, mayyyyyyybe close to the top five.

Here's where the fun starts...

One thing I know about racing, is that before you leave it's always a good idea to check the results, just incase things get a little wacky and a protest needs to be filed.

Lo-and-behold, I stuck around until about 5 o'clock and the 2/3 results still weren't posted.

He what do you know, the results still aren't posted online and I learn from Scott that the results got all sorts of fucked up. I was marked as a DNF, and everyone else's results were all screwed up.

I don't really care too much about finishing and placing, and I understand that mistakes happen, but man that's a rough thing to hear. I spent a shit ton of money this weekend on travel and registration, and worked like a dog to do well in my race. Somewhere down the line some wires got short circuited in the officiating and I got marked as a DNF. Bleh... I guess it happens.

On a more positive note, good job to everyone that raced this weekend. Julie, Rudy, Robert (who kicked ass in men's 2/3!), Bill, Scott x 2, Nate x 2, Matt Weeks, Brett Davis, etc etc. Everyone that raced further reiterates that Northeast Ohio is a cycling powerhouse ;-)

So after all that shitstorm occurs, I've got a mountain bike race on Sunday at Mohican State Park. Wooo!

I roll down in typical last minute fashion and get to the line about 5 minutes before the gun with no warm up and stressed because of my last-minuteness. That's something I may need to work on.

Off we went. I lucked out and was able to win the race with a time of 2:18, in spite of myself. I raced pretty stupidly dropping my bottles a couple of times, a few dumb crashes, and somehow had the mechanical problem of my wheel coming loose a few times and my piece of shit multitool (Serfas Zipper; never buy one) imploding in my bag. My legs also felt pretty much like blocks of wood the entire time, and they never really got too loose. Oh well.

Congrats to Steve Twining, who was able to beat the seemingly unbeatable Dave Walker in a sprint finish for first. Hell yes Steve!

Phew that's about it. I've got to stay busy even as the weather gets crappier to stay up with cross and get ready for Iceman.

Friday, October 9, 2009

UCI Cincy Weekend

Heading down now.

Seems to be a wet one, which is pretty much my style.

I'll be racing 2/3 Friday and Saturday. Either driving home Saturday to race the OMBC on Sunday, or staying in Cincy if the mood strikes me.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cap City and Leroy

Two cross races this weekend:

Saturday was the first Cap City Cross race of the year. It was held at the Alum Creek beach, right where they started the OMBC race earlier in the year.

I got down there with perhaps an hour to spare. After warming up, and all that good stuff, we lined up for a Lemans-style start. Mixed feelings about that, as I think that starts are one of my stronger suits, but Lemans was pretty damn fun. Fun's the name of the game so I took off like Usain Bolt.

Running isn't quite my thing, I wound my chicken legs through the labrynth of bikes, and I was off, probably in tenth place. I worked my way up for about a half a lap, and by the time we got to the off-camber grass stuff I was in first.

Pretty much immediately after the grass stuff, Rudy caught up with me, as the Masters started at the same time as us. We worked together the rest of the race and finshed first in Masters and U35 respectively. It was a treat riding with someone as good as he is, as following his lines and pacing and whatnot really was beneficial for my inexperienced self.

Lake Effect had a great precense at the race. Along with Rudy and I; Julie finished third in the Women's race, Robert rode well, and Matt Weeks won the A's.

After motoring on home. I fell asleep with my stuff all wet and my bike muddy. Crap! When I woke up at 10pm, I realized I had a ton of work to do, as I was racing the next day. Midnight bike washing time!

I rose nice and early to get my arse out to Painesville for the Chagrin River Cycling-organized Leroy race.

Got there, said hellos to everyone, prerode the course, warmed up, did the usual stuff. There was a huge turnout and thinking about it, the mix of people is really what I love about cross. From national champs to first-time racers, everyone there was crazy enough to race out in the mud instead of sitting at home watching football. Awesome.

The A race was calling my name, so I finally grew a set and signed up for it.

I wasn't paying attention to the start and was late to line up as per usual. Time management is something I need to work on.

Off we went. I ended up getting a halfway decent start, and was near the front of the pack for a little bit. Right when we got to the section before the singletrack it was sort of like everyone in the race decided to go, "Ok that was fun, time to actually go fast now." Poof, they were gone.

From then on it was pretty much me just trying to stay upright and ride my own race. The course was awesome, and I felt it was right up my alley. Singletrack is my sorta thing :-)

Staying upright for the mostpart, I found myself battling with Cameron from RGF and Ray Huang. They both rode a hell of a race, and it was cool to see how the race evolved with our respective strengths and weaknesses.

I'd gain some time in the singletrack and the muddy stuff and any power sections they would do their thing.

When all was said and done I was able to get my second (or third, or fourth...) wind during the last lap. I attacked and was able to hold Ray and Cameron off. I rode across the line having no idea where I ended up, turns out it was ninth place. Hot damn I'm happy about that. Must have been my lucky day.

Once again Lake Effect had a good showing, Matt Weeks and Shawn Adams doing what they do as per usual, Rudy turning in a fifth place finish, Robert in the B race, Julie in the Women's, our juniors, etc etc. Kudos to anyone who raced through the mud and had the tenacity to keep going.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Good Weekend

Two races for myself this weekend.

First, on Saturday we had the Stark Velo cross race. It was held at the Kent State Stark campus, and dang did the course rule. It was really wide open, long, with more fun off camber steep stuff than you can shake a stick at.

Rain seemed to be looming overhead all day, but luckily by the start of the B race, was nowhere to be found. That lasted for all of about 1 lap, and we were soon stuck in some sort of moonsoon type thing.

I ended up getting the holeshot and the legs were feeling good. I opened a gap on the second place dude of about 20 seconds and was feeling pretty good. Lo and behold all good things must come to an end. Someone in a Stark Velo kit rolled onto the course and called out, "This is the last lap guys, we're callin it!"

Well hot damn I better speed up.

I ended up finishing in first. It was my first 'cross win, and I'm absolutely thrilled, but it sucks it had to come in a 25 minute race. A lot can happen in 20 minutes for sure. Mother nature is a fickle mistress I do suppose. Big ups to Robert for finishing 5th too, he's been on fire lately.

Today was the OMBC race at West Branch. I got my start riding at WB, so it holds a pretty fond place in my heart. Rumors were that the rain that hit us at Stark didn't really affect WB much.

So off we were. I was first into the double track and ended up fighting off second place all the way into the singletrack. Lucky for me I had the home field advantage and was able to open up a gap on the Rock Gorge trail. It was pretty much smooth sailin' from there, as I tried to keep my pace up and make sure that I didn't make any dumb mistakes...

But we are talking about me here, so dumb mistakes were made. When totally gassed on the second lap, they included: falling on a bridge, crashing probably three times on roots, taking turns to hot and sliding out, etc etc.

Nonetheless the mistakes weren't too catastrophic and I was able to take first. Hopefully I can put some MTB snaps on here when they surface on the tubes.

Not a bad way to spend a weekend off...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I saw this shirt on Richard Sachs' Flickr.It pretty much summarizes my current feelings in life.

Wendy Park was a couple o' weeks back. It was pretty awesome to see a lot of old faces from last year and a ton of new ones. I ended up getting a good start and avoided the bad bottlenecking the 70-person-deep B field seemed to suffer from. Ended up in second place. Pretty pumped about that. Kudos to Robert for kickin' ass in his first B race.

Also on the agenda was the Regan Park TT. Ended up getting shelled in the Expert class again. I've got some work to do for next year. That being said, I wanted to finish in less than 45 minutes. I had Brett starting after me, so it kept the fear in me to stay fast and not get caught.

I pushed it a bit too much, and ended up crashing in some loose stuff. That combined with a few other stupid mistakes and falls had me sit up about half way through and pretty much give up the fight when it came to riding at something that resembled race-pace. Brett went on to finish strong. Good job man!

So I ended up at 46:55. Oh well. Hopefully it worked as good training for more cross goodness and the end of the MTB season.

Besides that, I've been heading out to Tuesday 'Cross practice at Regan park. It's nice to have Shawn and Cameron kick my ass for an hour or two. Anyone who's remotely interested should come out and get some.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cross Bike

All the cool kids are doing it, so I figured I'd get in on the action. This is what I'll be racing this year. Look for a rolled tubular at the first race, as I don't have much faith in my glue job.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Cruised down to Mohican State Park with Brent to enjoy my first day off in a while. 24 miles of slightly rainy singletrack ain't bad.

Wrapping up the MTB season soon, with 12 hours of Mohican, the OMBC stuff, and maybe Iceman.

And to say I'm excited about cross is an understatement. Tire gluing commences this week. The question is... do I build up a set of tubs for my pit bike? I definitely don't need them, and I've been pissing money away at an amazing rate, but building wheels and all that nonsense is pretty fun. Though impulse buying i've got a set of Grifos for the main wheels, and a set of Tufos that don't have a home. Hmmmm.

Yup. That's it. Fun stuff. Currently putting Aus Rotten onto my 14 year-old-brother's ipod. How awesome.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Losing End of a Photo Finish

When rolling through the parking lot of Ceasar's Creek this Sunday, I asked a local how the trails were.

"Well, if you're from Cleveland, a lot of the guys from the area don't like it too much," he replied.

Well hot damn his idea of a good trail and mine were completely different. As I had a pretty dang good time. The trail was rooty at parts, but generally was pretty wide and swoopy. Some steep punchy climbs followed by short downhills rounded out the rest of the 9 mile loop.

There was nowhere to hide, and I quickly realized that my heart was going to beating through my chest for the whole two hours of the race.

I was feeling good. Was aboard the new 2010 Giant 29er I decided to pick up. Riding with a suspension fork and gears is much different. Not better, just different. Not going to lie, around the end of the second lap, I was loving the ability to sit down and spin :-)

After getting the holeshot, I quickly was able to get a gap on the field, and as per usual, got into my groove all by my lonesome. My legs felt good, I was riding clean, all was well...

Three-fourths through the last lap, I heard someone's disc brakes squealing, and lo and behold, the second place guy showed up outta nowhere. I probably had a thirty second gap on him, but he was charging hard, so I kept up the pace to make sure he didn't catch me.

So all was well, and hitting the last climb out of the singletrack onto the road section, I attacked, hoping to gap him and ride to the win all by my lonesome.

This dude had other plans. After my attack on the last climb, I got onto the road and did my best time trialist impression. Aero tuck and all. I was able to hold about a 100-yard gap on him until the finish line was in sight. Quickly the gap dwindled to 50, then 20, then holy shit this dude is on my wheel.

As we made the left hand turn, diving to the finish line, he got me by a wheel. Shit.

Good race to whoever that was, you left me deep in the pain cave.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Quick Wilderness 101 Recap

This is the abridged version. As some pictures trickle in, I'll do a more detailed write-up.

Decided after the good time at Mohican that I wanted to do a hundred-miler. Wilderness 101 it was.

Man it was hard. Rigid fork was difficult proposition for the day, and as a result, my body got a workout after some 2 mile long descents at 20 miles-an-hour.

First half of the course was fast with a lot of road climbs and double track. After about 50 miles shit hit the fan. The trail was a lot more technical than this Ohio boy was used to. It was a trip trying to ride some of this stuff being as tired as I was.

When all was said and done I ended up 20th in Singlespeed, 77th Overall, at 9 hours 26 minutes. I'll take that.

I think I'm going to do Shenandoah in a month, who's in?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Well That Was Something Else

Not much going on here in blog land.

Too much work and training for Wilderness 101.

That being said, OMBC race just outside of Zanesville at the S&S Trails this past Sunday.

I showed up with time to spare, got dressed, and started to preride the course. It was awesome, super SS friendly with a few short steep climbs, a few longer grinders, and some screaming descents.

So feeling good, I take off the Lemans style start, which was pretty fun. I head into the singletrack with two guys in front of me, but no sweat, I'll reel 'em in on the climbs.

Well shit, on a descent, I was a little too amped up and wash out on a root. So much for getting in a groove and getting my heart rate down to a normal level. I scramble back on my bike and try to catch up with the first place dude.

So after finally catching him, I attack on a climb to try to open up a gap. All is well, and damn it's hot. I should drink some water.

I reach down to put my bottle back after a little sip, and what do you know; here comes a ton of technical stuff. I hit a root and go OTB. Great timing on my part.

I get up to see my handlebar not looking too hot... Shit. Thanks to Bob Myers for the snap.

So I hopped back on my bike and figured that since I was on my first lap, I could make it back to the line, grab another bike and finish up the race, if not, DNF was in my future.

Lo and behold, I got on my bike, and I had about a hand's worth of space on the bar between the stem and the bent part. Fuck it, I was going to give it a go.

The rest of the race was a torturous experience. Long gone was the leverage for climbing, so I found some sort of groove for some weird seated one armed climbing. The descents sucked, as I just had my rear brake and not as much control.

That being said, sure beats work :-)

Ended up still riding reasonably strong and ended up in Second Place Sport Senior. On to training for Wilderness, August 1st, and hopefully some cool snaps of some of the cool gravel roads I've been happening across.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wayne Ultra Warm Up

The Wayne Ultra is this upcoming Sunday the 28th, and I haven't been really on the ball when it comes to training lately. So me and Camba all stars Mike, Rusty, and Brian decided to hit some hills in the Valley today.

When all was said and done, finished at around 3 hours with an 18 mph hour average. Goofing around playing King of the Mountain and sprinting for city limits signs was pretty awesome. Mike Fletcher is seriously some sort of freak-of-nature he-man in the hills. I couldn't even keep up with him at any point throughout the ride. Watch out all Vet Pros!

Good ride, has me pumped for the trip down to Marietta.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vultures Knob Pukefest

Raced at the Knob this past weekend. Super fun as usual, course was in good shape, but some drizzle during the race led to some slick rocks that claimed my hip right by the over-under bridge.

I was picking through the tricky stuff right before the turn onto the bridge. Rody from Groovy Cycleworks and some other onlookers were yelling at me to stay loose, and loose I got. Front wheel slid out, hip check right on a rock. I think I've got a hematoma or something gross and purple going on. Nonetheless, lucked out on the day and ended up first in Sport Senior at somewhere around 1:26.

Legs felt great, my stupid mistakes were kept to a minimum, and the new 32x18 gear ratio was feelin' oh-so-good. Turned in some hot laps with Roger The scary part is that my lap times would have still put me in dead last in expert. I've still got a ton of work to put in. Yikes!

Good job to the dynamic duo ofRobert and Julie. Three podiums back to North Royalton ain't half bad.

So here comes the puke part.

This race was the first annual Wootown Singlespeed somethin-or-other Race.

The race had us doing three laps around the kiddie course and doing various nasty things throughout. Lap two entailed a cup of pepperocinis and monster energy drink. I ended up having burning hiccups for the next three hours. On that note, I'm outta here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mohican 100K Sorta


Welp, the big day came sooner than expected, and before I knew it, I was scrambling out of work on Friday night to get down to Mohican asap.

I took off with my support crew / photographer / girlfriend, and she and I pulled into the Mohican State Park resort about an hour and a half later. Damn it was awesome there. Really beautiful scenery and bonus points for the building kind of reminding me of the Shining. I got to bed early while the special lady watched The Onion Movie.

In what seemed like no time at all, the phone was ringing. Five AM wake up call. Yuck.

So we rolled out of the hotel and I stressed my self out about getting lost en route to the race. Eventually I found where I was going with time (fifteen minutes) to spare...

Getting to the line was an amazing site, a few hundred people on bikes sitting in Loudonville town square. I was able to catch up with a few buddies of mine and bullshit for a minute, and before we knew it, we were off.

After bombing through downtown Loudonville, we started climbing up a hill to get us to the singletrack. There I learned the complexity of riding in that big of a group of people. A lot of people were keeping there legs fresh and spinning a low gear up the hill. I had to thread the needle about a million times weaving in and out of people. So after that we got into the singletrack, and it all was good from there.

The race was awesome. Conditions were perfect, the course was challenging but fun, my bike and body seemed to be holding up well. I stuck to the strategy of busting ass on climbs to gain time, keeping steady on flats, and trying not to kill myself in the downhills.

Everything was going great until...

A group of people I was with, and myself took a wrong turn right before the Gas Line hike-a-bike.

Granted we did not realize this until we covered an additional 10 miles GOING THE WRONG WAY. FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK.

So after coming to the realization we were ass-backwards lost. We eventually put our thinking caps on and found where we turned off. Piss. We finally hit aid station two, which was supposed to be at 24 miles. My computer was reading 34. Hmm.

The second half of the course was awesome as well. It seems like they ran out of singletrack and decided to say, "All right since you don't have any more off road stuff to ride, we're going to make you climb every steep ass hill we can find in the area." And climb we did.

When all was said and done, I ended up with 72 miles in 6 hours and 53 minutes. Thirteenth place 100K SS. I still broke my goal of sub-seven hours, but I think I could have knocked almost an hour off of my time if I wouldn't have taken the ten mile detour and que sheet read-a-thon. Oh well.

Besides that bummer, this ride was one of the most fun things I've ever done. I am totally jazzed on the whole idea of this kind of stuff, and next in my sights is a 100 miler. I'm thinking Wilderness in August and Shenandoah in September.

Good job to everyone who raced: Brian, Paul, Brett, Ernesto, Brent, etc etc etc.

Monday, May 25, 2009

DFL at the Knob!

I've been doing pretty well in sport this year, so I figured I'd give an expert race a shot just to see what that was all about. Fuck!

(thanks to Robert for the photo)

Things you shouldn't do in an expert race (for those considering it):

1) Fall 50 seconds into the race. My front wheel went into a bit of a rut and my nerves got the best of me and I went down. Sorry to all the soupcan guys who probably were scared shitless of my sketchy ass. I got up and back rolling on my bike, and everyone was gone.

2) Get clotheslined by a tree. I cut a line a little too tight on a switchback up by the pine trees, ducked under a tree... it picked me off my bike by my camelback and left me in a heap on the ground. What are the odds of that?

This race really gave me even more respect for how fast the experts are, those dudes are on some next level shit. I've got a lot of work to do before I can get out of the DFL position.

On the bright side: it was awesome catching up with Brett, seeing how well the Northeast Ohio contingent (Robert, Julie, Solon guys, and Darren) did, and getting my ass in gear for Mohican this weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Run to the Hills

The Mohican 100k is in a week, and I've been so damn busy with work and moving that I haven't been working on climbing enough. I'm screwed. Here's to hoping for a sub-seven hour time.

What do you know; I'm still busy. As a last ditch effort I tried to sneak in a quick hour of hills today around the house on my fixed gear. 850ish feet in 15 miles = shittiest hour of my life due to the vegan tacos still fresh in my stomach. Ew.

First on bat was the marvelous Cady Rd. which I hit twice.

First half:
Bike Stuff 009
Still going:
Bike Stuff 008

Less steep and bumpy Edgerton:
Bike Stuff 010

Here's a map if anyone's got an hour of their life they never want back.

Off to Camba group ride at Regan park with my two favorite bloggers, Robert and Andrew.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Raced at the Wilds on Sunday, and about mid-race, I had an epiphany. I wasn't having too much fun. Not to say that it wasn't great seeing my friends, or that the race wasn't organized extremely well. It was just one of those rides where you aren't feeling it.

The course was extremely fast and rooty, this combined with a good deal of mud, led to a not very singlespeed or rigid friendly course. I would have enjoyed it if I was taking my time and picking through the roots, but blasting through them at race pace led to my body being beat to hell.

That being said, the legs felt good, despite the rest of my body taking a beating. The sport race was fast. I got the holeshot and was out in front for maybe 3 miles then another singlespeed rider from Pittsburgh shoots past me on a climb. Woah!

It was pretty sweet to see another dude on a singlespeed getting wild in my class. So the chase was on. We rode together for it a bit and shot the shit. I attacked on an uphill and held on for the rest of the race. Good riding though, kept me on my toes the whole time.

I ended up with a time of 1:21 and first in Sport Senior. Woop. I think I'm sort of sandbagging hard, so I've got to figure out if I'm going to finish my season out in sport, or give up all my points and go up to the Singlespeed class or Expert. Soon to come post discussing my options and encouraging anonymous shit talk.

Once again, Northeast Ohio was representing in full force. Dynamic duo of Robert and Julie both scored wins in their respective classes, and my main dude Mike Fletcher continued doing pretty damn good, winning Sport Masters again. Andrew was not so fortunate, as his legs turned to goo mid-race and then a mechanical on top of that had him carrying his bike across the finish line. Can't win 'em all, I suppose.

Regan or Westbranch on Wednesday... who's interested?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stylin' At OECR

With the Mohican 100k less than three weeks away. I realized it was time to get my ass in gear. Andrew and I planned to go to Mohican State Park today. Everything was going according to plan until...

I finish loading my stuff into Andrew's car. What am I forgetting; oh great, my shoes. They're in North Royalton at my parents' house, a mere 45 minutes away from us in Kent, and completely the wrong way from Mohican.

So, after a quick change in plans, Andrew and I were off to my parents' house and then the OECR trail in Cuyahoga Heights.

The trail was fun. Reminded me of Quail Hollow with a slightly higher chance of death. Because of the non-technical nature of the trail, what better opportunity to dick around. And dick around I did.

Check out this radditute in full-size by clicking on it:
Pretty sick eh?!

But as far as riding, the conditions led to some pretty fast laps of the 2.5 or so mile course. Andrew and I took some warm ups and decided that hitting some laps at a slightly elevated pace would be the ticket. We were off, and as our luck had it, this didn't last too long as he had a mechanical and an unfortunate run in with a tree.

I too had a bit of a losing run in with a tree. A bit less knuckle skin, a scraped shoulder, and a bruised ego later, we were back at the car.

18 miles on the day, not too bad for my day off. Click the photo to be taken to my flickr stream of the rest of the days pictures.


Monday, May 11, 2009


Finished the 12 hill thing.

Rode it with my Camba nice-guys Mike and Rusty. Ride was pretty straight forward, aside from getting lost about a billion times and a bit of a chilly start.

What was supposed to be about 85 miles turned out to be a cool 100, that's how lost we're talking. I've got a hunch we did more than the 6100 feet of climbing too. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger I do suppose.

I think I want to do it at least one more time before Mohican, both because it was fun, and man I need some work in the hills.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sunday 12 Hill Challenge

We're meeting at 9am sharp at the Lock 29 trailhead (behind Century Cycles and The Winking Lizard)

80 miles with 6100 feet of climbing. Who's in?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mount Wood Mud Extravaganza

On the agenda for the weekend was OMBC race three, at Mount Wood, right on the West Virginia / Ohio border.

Andrew and I take off bright and early, and when we get down there, it's cold and rainy. Sweet. Luckily I brought some mud tires that were a bit more aggressive than the Small Block 8's I normally run. I rushed to throw them on and get dressed. By the time all that is taken care of, oh shit it's time to race.

Let me just say that starting a race with no warm up at all is rough on the legs. With that out of the way, we were off. I absolutely loved the beginning of the course, some gravel double track that was pretty dang hilly. I ended up getting the holeshot and lo and behold, Darren and Mike from CAMBA were up there with me. After some hill action, we were all looking pretty good in the front.

I had no legs the whole race, and had to push myself to keep the tempo up, no fun. I think it was the lack of breakfast, warm up, and sleep. Let it be known, if you want to feel good in a race, do the exact opposite that I do.

The trail was awesome. Some good technical descents, really good flow at times, and more hills than this Ohio boy is used to. All was going well, until Darren trashed his rear derailleur. Bummer.

So after that, it was Mike, myself, and one other guy off the front. Maybe about half way through the race, we came up to some more double track, and a hefty climb at that. If there's any time for me to make a move, this was it. I asked Mike if he wanted to come with, and he was happy to oblige.

After killing myself up the climb with Mike, we were all by our lonesome. Then things started to get interesting.

No clue why, but my pads on my front BB7 went kaput. They were hitting the rotor, but just weren't grabbing. And after that hill came some pretty wild technical descents.

Technical descents on a full rigid with only a back brake. No bueno.

Luckily I was able to not kill myself, although I was mighty close at times. For the rest of the race Mike and I were putting ourselves through some mutual suffering. When all was said and done, I ended up first in Sport Senior, with a total time of 1:52:38, and a 3:17 gap over second place. Mike won Sport Vet, Andrew won Novice.

Northeast Ohio was looking strong. I'm looking forward to the Wilds in two weeks and then the Knob to avenge my flat tire.

There were about a zillion people with cameras and stuff, so I'm sure the pictures will show up soon and I'll toss 'em up here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Livin' the Dream

Not too much wild going on lately.

Working at Century Cycles in Medina is proving to be pretty cool, as everyone that work there rules, and what do you know, working at a bike shop is a good time.

So here's how the week schedule has been looking:

Monday- Class 9:15AM to 8:15PM, homework and design work down in Kent

Tuesday- Freebee day, try to ride some, catch up on homework / sleep / design work

Wednesday- Class 9:15AM to 8:15PM, get home from class, ride from Kent to Royalton; about 35 miles. Get in by 11PM hopefully. Fall into a Coma.

Thursday- Work 10AM-8PM. Ride to work in Medina from Royalton, 20 miles each way.

Friday- Work 10AM-8PM. Ride to and from, 20 miles each way.

Saturday and Sunday is pretty much alternating as far as racing and working. The good news is that I'm done with school and out of Kent in may. Hopefully this doesn't kill me first.

I am definately getting miles, granted they're junk miles, but better than none.

Pictures of the commute to come. Century Night ride Saturday, maybe Covered Bridge race Sunday, maybe MSP. Maybe both. Woo I'm busy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Lucky Day

OMBC Race yesterday at Vulture's Knob. It was my first time at the Knob, and man it was a cool atmosphere. The warm weather brought out a good chunk of like-minded dudes and dudettes, so the starting line was packed.


I think I need to be more competitive or mean or something, as most people pushed in front of me for position on the line, leaving me struggling to pick through people and get to the front of the pack. After busting my ass for a majority of the first lap, I worked my way to the front and was keeping the pace up trying to increase my gap.


All was well... or so I thought

Maybe a half mile before the start of my second lap I got a flat. Shit!

Trying to fix it in the field with my CO2 cartridge and tube, I ended up breaking off the valve stem on my backup tube. Double shit! It was really discouraging to see the entire field passing me, along with novice racers, the women, etc etc, pretty much everyone on the course going by.

So, super dejectedly I ended up picking up my bike and carrying it to the line, planning on telling them that I flatted out and to mark me as DNF. As I got back to the line, someone ended up running up to me and asking what was wrong. What do you know, they had a support tent. I wish I would have realized that before I blew like fifteen minutes fucking around on my back tire and leisurely walking back to the line. Once again, big big thank you to Rody of Groovy Cycleworks and whoever the dude was at the Jamis tent. Lifesavers.

They made quick work of my flat, and I was off again. Finished my first lap in like five minutes after that and was on to lap two. The rest of the race I went as hard as I could, mostly for personal satisfaction, as I figured that the rest of the race was long gone. About half way through my second lap, lo and behold, I started catching people. After picking a good chunk of people off, I ended up in fifth place.

All things considered, I'm pretty happy with it, and I think I'm going to sink some money into a Stan's tubeless conversion to prevent this from happening anymore! For the sake of comparison: my first lap with the flat was 1 hour 7 minutes, and my second was 41 minutes. Pretty nuts.

I've got a decent amount of snaps on my Flickr, so click this picture to check them out.