Ever have one of those days that you would just like to start over?? Um, yea....
Meant to get up early today and get about 80 or so, and due to drowning my sorrows after the pens loss last night, I didn't get out till a little after noon. You'll have that.
Made it about halfway through a 40 mile loop, nicked a rock, and bye bye tire.
Usually, I carry 2 tubes, a patch kit, and a dollar bill for use as a tire boot. It has saved me more than once. I walked for a minute to the nearest parking lot, look at the giant hole in my sidewall, and wonder if the dollar will hold it together. Pull out the NEW tube, and pump it up a little bit. Aaannnndd it doesn't hold air. Apparently I had had it in my seat bag for a little too long, and wore a hole in the side of it.
Remember how I mentioned that I usually carry 2 tubes? Yea.. not today.
So anyways, I think to my self, "wow, good thing I grabbed those patches and the tube of glue. Fuck, this tube of glue dried up."
I sat there for a while, and looked up on the phone how far of a walk it would be to the nearest bike shop. Seven miles to ProBikes in monroeville. Um, no. Ended up calling CB for a ride home. First, and hopefully last, time that I'll have to do that.
Oh yea, I think I'm done with continental road tires too. They sure are comfy riding them, but this is the third sidewall I've destroyed this year.
This weekend I found myself headed east to French Creek State Park, to race the 6 hour endurance version of On the rocks at French Creek, part of the Mid Atlantic Super Series.
As the name of the race suggests, the majority of the trails were pretty rocky! It was a nice surprise to do a long race that wasn't on a ton of gravel and double track. With the exception of the first climb, the entire race consisted of fun, technical trails. Well, the downhills were fun at least, but after every downhill comes an uphill. Most of the climbs were just about as rocky as the downhills were! Fun stuff.
Going into the race, I had set a goal for myself to do 6 laps. Looking at the results from last year, I noticed that only 1 person managed to get the sixth lap in, and I thought that it would be fun to try and do it on my singlespeed.
Despite the 20 minutes or so of heavy rain just before the race, and the few scattered showers in the morning, the trails were holding up pretty well. At least I thought so, until I started my second lap. After about 50 people had ridden the trails, there sure were some slippery sections on some of the climbs. There also were additional races starting just about every hour, so that added another challenge to maintaining my pace.
I kept my pit stops short, just spending enough time to grab a fresh bottle every lap, and a mouthfull of food every other lap, and it seemed to work out perfectly.
In the end, I got 6 laps in about 6:50, and finished in first place in singlespeed, and second overall. There were only 3 of us that managed to get 6 laps in, and I feel really good about the outcome of this race.
Next up, I think I'm going to attempt my first 12 hour race, at the 12 Hours of Tsali, near Bryson City, NC in 2 weeks. This should be interesting.
It was time yet again to total up my mileage for the month. I slipped a little bit from my March total of 999 miles, and ended up with about 873 for the month of April. I did ride my mountain bike quite a bit more this month, and spent a hell of a lot of time driving to a few races, so that probably made up the difference.
I think that maybe it's time to start doing some of those workout things, to try to work on a few of my weaknesses. "Ride lots" might not be cutting it quite so much anymore. I sure am crushing those base miles though!
Over the weekend, I went out for my first mountain bike race of the season. I figured that I would jump right into the season by doing a little race called The Cohutta 100 in Ducktown, TN. As the name implies, this one is a hundred miler! Awesome.
By reading the course description, I was able to find out that the race was basically a singletrack sandwich, with about 35 total miles of trails, divided between the beginning and end of the race. The remainder of the race would be on gravel fire roads in between.
My only real worry for the day was the weather forecast. They were calling for an 80% chance of thunderstorms all day, some of which could be severe. We were told at the start line that they may cut the race short due to weather, and would let us know on the course. Luckily the rain had stopped just in time for the start, so we didn't have to stand around in the rain just before the race.
Time to go! The race started with a very fast pavement climb on Highway 74, and I was giving it my all on the singlespeed. I couldn't quite go fast enough to keep up with the lead group of 30 or so racers, and watched them slip away. Crest the hill, downhill for a bit, then turn into singletrack. Stuck in a line, no sense of trying to pass, there isn't anywhere to go. I kept hoping for a place to pass, but stuck for a while. No big deal, I'll be able to make it up later. Managed to not hit the turtle that was stopped in the middle of the trail. Too bad most other people hit the little guy.
Pop out onto a screaming fire road descent down to the river, along the river for a while, back to the start, long climb up the mountain, wash, rinse, repeat... For most of the race, I was riding by myself, which I am sure cost me some time. About 30 miles in, I kinda zoned out, and was taking it way too easy. I finally got caught by a couple of people, and remembered that I was supposed to be racing. Game on...
About 50 miles in, the rain started. It had been quite windy for an hour or so, and I was able to see storm clouds in the distance, but it seemed that we were riding in a little pocket in the storm keeping us dry. That was about to change.
About 50 miles into the race, after about an hour of pretty intense wind, the sky finally opened up. I had been riding with glasses on, but for the most part it was impossible to see while going about 30 mph on some of the fire road downhills, so I thought that I would try to take them off for a bit. I very quickly realized that it was much better not being able to see because of fogged up glasses, than having eyes full of mud and sand. Thankfully, there weren't too many obstacles in my way.
Rolling into checkpoint 4, with a newly clean bike, I refilled my bottles, and headed out for another long grind on some back roads. There was a hard rain for about an hour, and then it cleared up for the most part, which ended up being bad in a way, because the bike started accumulating mud. The last 10 miles or so of the race happened to be on some pretty fun and fast singletrack, that really wasn't too bad as long as I was able to keep my speed in check.
I was starting to get a bit hungry, and a little worried, as my garmin was telling me that I had 10 miles to go, when all of a sudden I popped out onto the road into the last stretch through the parking lot. I guess all of the heavy tree cover really does have an affect on it...
A great race, and I met my goal of 8 hours and 30 minutes, with a finishing time of 8:17. Looking forward to the next long race, a 6 hour enduro version of On the Rocks at French Creek.
Selma has been begging me for a ride since our first day together, the day before the snow came. It's been a month since I've ridden dirt!! Wow this is getting old. Rain all day Saturday... Maybe a trip to Ray's is in order.
Attempting a new off-season training plan: no beer for a week so far... Will I make it through St Patty's day, or go crazy first.... Time will tell.
Night road riding in the snow is kinda fun. Can't really say I'll miss it too much though...
Another week goes by, another race cancelled. Not enough money coming in?? How can you know if you don't even open registration. Fuck you. Nobody will show for your overpriced races again, if you have them.
That kind of sums up my winter. I've been a little cranky lately. Sorry.