Tuesday, March 30, 2010

round 2

the 2nd round of the SERC was this weekend in Columbia, TN. this race is on a great trail that is maintained year around...and Saturday on the pre ride that was evident! the trail was flying and was really fun! unfortunately the rain moved as predicted Saturday night and dropped plenty of moisture to destroy the chance of some fast lap times. it dropped about 2-3 inches and rained right up until the racing started. the temps we're bad at all...but the damage was brutal.
the course was horrid...just full of sticky, nasty mud and throughout the entire course...no place had missed out.
the race went well for me though...i tried to keep it steady and upright while maintain the little momentum that i was caring. when we started out it was wetness through the field but as soon as we hit the trails...bam!!!...muddy as hell...and as i said, non stop. i entered the trails 5th place behind andy johnston. the leader was gone...the other 4 of us were together for a bit. 2nd place slipped gears at one point and was gone and not much longer did the other guys fade back and outta sight. i hung on to andy's wheel like glue! i knew he is faster and was content to sit on. about mid way through lap 1, he went down in a slick turn and i went by....i didn't attack but just rode my pace...and i did create a gap but by the time we were just about to come out of the woods, he bridged up and we went through together for lap one.
as we entered the trails for lap 2, i bobbled pretty bad on a downhill section and lost contact...it seemed he put some effort down b/c i was riding the same pace but wasn't pulling him back. i did put my nose down and rode...hard as possible without sacrificing my handling skillz! it worked work b/c by the time we were came back out of the woods for the end of lap 2, i had bridged back up to him...i felt great! wasn't tired and had one lap to go!
i would enter the woods for the 3rd lap in front of andy and just rode my race. i slowly pulled away from him and before long he was out of sight. the lap seemed to fly by and as i passed racers in other classes and got closer to the last 15 minutes of racing...i rode up on a dude getting his tyre fixed...i mean right as i came up, he finished his work and come up behind me and went right around me...now, i knew that he was the leader of my cat but he didn't know what class i was...so he ask and i told him...he took off! i couldn't hold his wheel but just stayed steady and drove forward...he was quickly out of sight until the long, flat section of trail that ran along a field. I could tell i was gaining back on him...but was it fast enough? there was only a mile left...but as we entered the last little climb before the end of the single track, i bridged up to him and went right by...he was shot! i took off...and pulled off the victory!

come to find out they would DQ the 2nd place guy because he got some outside assistance for his flat...wow?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Hammer!!!

i have been riding the trails at clear springs rec area in the hommichitto national forest for years...honestly, besides the renegade trails in hattiesburg, before the ones we have now were even an option, i only rode at clear springs! i have been going there since 1997, i even remember when Richardson creek trail was being built...hand made by Shane Kelly...that dude knew how to build a trail!

the old skool hammer race went on before i had really started racing and i have been wanting to race it since...i know those trails like they were my hometown trails and was super excited to hear that it was being brought to life this year in the sercs!

the trails have been getting beat up pretty bad over the last few years because of lack of a normal trail maintenance crew, the forest service sucking ass at taking care of them, and bad weather on the 24hocs...all in all...they have sorta sucked for the last few years. but i will give the race organizers all the props and was super pumped to hear the word of how great they were riding the week leading up to the race. but as always, it rained the night before the race and a brutal cold front moved in bringing epic conditions for MS mtb racing in late March...sleat/snow mix with temps in the low 30's...coupled with some pretty muddy trails to top it off.

the race started with a steep but rather short paved climb to the trails...once we hit the trails it was fun but hard...they were riding pretty damn good but slick in some spots and really gumbo'ie in some places for 20-50 meters. scott got a gap on me thru the first section of trails so i had to work to bridge back...and i did by lap 1 half way point, but that's the best i would do...strange though...as i felt good and knew i would get to his wheel and we'd go from there...but something happened...not sure if it was lack of concentration or if i got complacent but for some reason as soon as i was within 5 meters of his wheel, i sorta relaxed and slipped back and by the end of the first lap, he had regained :30 on me. I entered the second lap with full intentions to bridge back up but i had a horrible start. i pushed hard up the first steep climb and sorta blew, then i was sloppy going thru some of the trails and just couldn't get it going...the body was working hard but not going fast. I went down once and had several bobbles...and by the time i went thru for lap 2, i had lost another minute and a half...so going into the 3rd and final lap, i was 2 min down and knew i would be catching scott...so i tried to stay steady and keep moving forward. i wasn't hurting too bad but the body was getting cold and the trails were a lil more slick in some spots...i would end up crossing the finish line 4 min back...lost another 2 min on the last lap and wasn't happy.

learning, learning, learning!!!!!

hopefully the 2nd round of the SERC will go better for me and i can improve on my 5th place from 2 weeks ago.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

is facebook killing blogs and fourms?

this same question was asked on our local forum msmtb.org...and im wondering if the same could be asked for my blog. before i was on facebook, i was updating this at least once a week but since starting my FB account, i've only been here a few times total...i guess im a slacker and need to just step up with doing my duties...
well.......the season has started! i cant even express how stoked i get during this time. i mean when you work your ass off in the off season lifting, running, xtraining, then riding, riding, riding...in cold weather, late or early, and sometimes inside(yuk)...by the time the season starts it just feels good to throw down! i love racing. i still get the jitters before races...10 years later!..i love it, not sure there's anything else in the world that do that to me.
race 1 and 2 are in the bags already....1st ever xc race in Hattiesburg was first on tap, Tuffburg! the course is fast...not much climbing but tight and twisty. The overall turnout was great but the cat 1 class was small, with only 10 total races and only 3 in my age group. We all started together and geez...i slipped a pedal, had drive train issues and almost fell over off the start. Nice. once i got up right, i had already had lost 50 meters on kuppersmith, who was my main compo on the day...so i had to gun it! we went into the single track 1-2 but I never really caught back onto his wheel...within 20 meters the entire time until he snapped his chain 3/4's threw lap one. I felt his pain but could do nothing for him...i just kept going. At about half way threw the 2nd lap, i saw him back on the chase...i gunned it to maintain the lead...i would never see kuppersmith again. (i later learned he snapped another chain) i finished lap 2 feeling good. the 3rd lap seemed to fly by! I knew i had a sizable lead on 2nd place so i slowly shut the engine down on the 4th and final lap...i would say the effort went back about 30%...the effort would have dropped regardless b/c your boy was getting tired...but overall felt good.

race 2 was the first SERC race and always a good way to test early season fitness levels. i had come off a fairly ez week of training so i was ready to race. I felt good on the pre ride laps on Saturday and was excited to race...the course was fast...several short punchy climbs with some tecky sections and fast flats! Race day greeted us with perfect weather and a dry trail. after a 30 min warm up i headed to the line to size up the compo...it was think. I saw Andy the sandbagger johnston, andy mills, a few cannonade kits, several extremely tan racers from south FL who have just come off the FL state champ series and the coconut cup in deep south FL, the field size was a lil smaller than i thought it would be. only 18ish toed the line in the cat 1 master's with me...once the gun went off, it was on! i entered the trail about 7th place. the top 3 dudes were about 10 meters off the front immediately! about a 4 man chase group with me in 3rd position were just behind the leaders. andy mills was just in front of me and dropped his chain and fell off. the 3 of us kept on together. as we came out on the flats at the end of lap 1 dude behind me went around, i should have followed, but stayed put not wanting to blow on lap 1 of 5...but by the time we came through the 1st lap, the cannonade rider i was pacing was fading so i went by going into lap two. My power was good so i tried to be aggressive and ride fast, not having my HR monitor or clock working i had no idea where i was with numbers so i just rode...thru laps 2 n 3 i could tell i was slowly pulling riders closer to me...but i just wasn't doing it fast enough...then just as i was going into the last lap, i caught 4th place, the guys who passed me late in lap 1, so i tried to up the pace and drop him...well, he jumped on my wheel...i rode steady and and as smooth as i could...but he stayed with me. then on the back of the course, there was a climb that was easier to run, so i thought i would try and attack there...run up, hammer through the bottom, and take it home free...well, i attacked and got the gap i wanted...about 10 bike lengths through the woods...but my HR was red lined and i was out for a sec...as we climbed the last climb before the he rode right back up to my wheel...i knew i was in trouble! as we came out to the open flats, he went i around...i grabbed his wheel...i stayed there until we got into a small section where the winds were a lil strong and he attacked again. i tried to go but couldn't...i stayed about 5 seconds behind him...until the line. i was bummed that i could close the gap down. I will say that i rode a faster lap on my 5th vs. my 3rd and 4th...so that's good. my power was steady and i felt good overall...just don't have the high end speed yet.
more to come...below are a few pics...
my crappy start at tuffburg
tight lil bridge/mud crossing in tuffburg
going thru for my laps at the SERC