Monday, April 28, 2008

Burgers and a Beer

Were my reward after an impromptu 1903 ride with The Outlaw. We had to scrub the original plans for a "Tour de Patspsco" due to significant rainfall the night before. Terms like "peanut butter mud" were enough to dissuade the group from attempting the tour. With a dirt ride out of the question, a nice gravel road ride is always a good substitute. The graph tells the story of how our ride began, with a climb. There would be no "easing" into this ride. After the initial climb, we had rolling hills with a few steep climbs to keep us honest. Spinning fixed for 50.4 miles along some of the most scenic roads Frederick county has to offer. RiderX pegged it when he said "beats riding the couch". Amen to that! Thanks for the ride and your hospitality.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Oh, What A Night"

It started like any other ride. We fought the north bound 270 traffic, got our hydration packs on one CamelBack at a time, check the air in our tires. Where did we go wrong?? What lapse in our "pre-ride" tradition could have caused such dire consequences. Maybe it was our caviler attitudes towards supplemental lighting? Maybe it was riding that Nevegal with the duct taped sidewalls "one more time"? Who knows? What I do know is the deity of watershed dirt had a plan and it was to test the mettle our little foursome. I think we passed, though just barely.

I'm not sure when I saw/heard the first "sign". There were a few moments before we began where if the ride had a sound track, you would have heard a dramatic "dun_da_da" music score. "Sink hole on 355 north", dun_da_da. "We don't need to bring lights, we won't be out past dark", dun_da_da. You get the idea. Within the first mile I get not one, but two pinch flats. Going down the blue trail, north of Hamburg. First one was at the first pond, second one was at, you guessed it, the second pond. I tell the guys to "leave me", like some melo-dramatic war movie. "I've had a shitty day and this is just the beginning" I tell me compadres. They won't hear it and persuade me to press on. My ride actually got pretty good. I was riding strong, cleaned some tough climbs and was having a great night. SweetCheeks jammed his finger on Rock Candy and was in a bit of pain. He also wasn't quite over the effects of the Bakers Dozen. But, that stuff aside, he was having a great ride as well. Riding strong.....for a candy ass ;-) Seriously, we were having a good night. Then, half way around Salamander, **** NOTICE ***** Content deleted to protect the guilty ******END OF NOTICE ******* There is this jig-saw section of rocks leading to a big rock-over you can roll the back side. One by one we go over that sucker, smile at our accomplishment and comment on it's placement. Then DKEG rolls over, clean, and then POW, POW.....Hisssssssss. Double Flats. Not just double flats, but, double side-wall slashes that both went un-noticed at first. More to come.......

Monday, April 21, 2008

Leesburg Bakers Dozen

The "Dozen" lived up to expectations and even exceeded a few. Rob and the crew at Plum Grove Cyclery really did an excellent job with this race. The Champion Chip timing was great, no need to carry a stupid baton or scan a card at the timers table. Just transition at your pit, which was right on the course, and the timing tent keeps track of your progress as you ride past it. Think "Easy Pass" for bike racing. Brilliant!

The race began with a mass start where riders were to "self-select" their speed/ability. I put myself somewhere in the middle of the pack and really need to stop doing that to myself. Not to boast, but, I believe I'm a little faster than where I placed myself. This hurt me when the pack got bunched up in the single track. Of course, I kept telling myself that this was just going to be a fun race and I wanted to keep things casual. Problem is when I hear that starting gun, I forget all that other stuff and get caught up in the moment. Sure enough, as soon as we entered the single track things got dicey. The course is tight and there were few good passing opportunities for long stretches. Even SweetCheeks got hung up as the traffic slowed and some impatient racers clipped his wheel on the first ladder bridge. I was several people behind and had to give him a little crap. That's what friends do....right? I slowly work my way through a packed field and get done with lap one. DKEG and I decide to pull two lap shifts until the kids race and then re-work as needed. Lap two was much better than the first and I could get those big 29er wheels rolling the way they were intended. The Donk did me right and I was happy with the gear I chose. The second lap was fairly uneventful in that I was turning a nice lap and nothing was breaking or hurting. That would soon change. David rolls out for his laps and we decide that the next round will be a single, this should put him in perfect position to watch Jake do the kids race at 3pm. Knowing a single lap was ahead, I decided I'd push it a little a see how things shook out. Well, it gave me a very satisfying 31:30 and my fastest lap for the race. It all went down hill from there. My forth lap started and ended fine, I pulled it back a bit because we were back to doing doubles, this gave me a 33:32 and plenty in the tank for lap two. One mile into this lap I flat, not sure on what, but I did and had to take care of business fast. Old tube out, new one in, CO2 filled, good pressure and I was off again. Now I have to make up time and start to hammer outside my comfort zone for this type of race. I'm clipping along, looking forward to the double lap rest I know awaits and a mile from the end I feel the rear end get all sloppy again. FLAT....FUCK??!!! I already used my spare and don't carry a patch kit during short lap races. I'm hosed. One guy asks if I need anything and tosses me a tube when I tell him the story. Cory from Henry's Bikes, I owe you a beer, thanks. Fortunately I have a second CO2 canister, that I happen to find on the course earlier. I get to work and have the new 26" tube sitting nicely in my big hoops. As I insert the nozzle onto the valve I notice how curiously short the valve is and wonder why all my precious gas seems to be going everywhere except where it the tube. I adjust things, pull the valve out to it's maximum and try again. Same result. Pressurized gas is creating holes in the ozone and my tire is still flat. Now I'm starting to panic. Riders are passing, asking if I'm alright, if I need something yada, yada. All the while I'm sure they are wondering why this kook can't fill his tire with a 20 pound propane cylinder. I would have used my pump, but, I decided to go all "Joe Pro" racer and was racing without my trusty C-Back....which had a pump and another tube and a damn Nascar pit crew worth of tools. Outlaw Jay comes rolling up and hands me his pump....I owe you a beer as well. The pump had the same problem as the CO2 and couldn't get a good seal on the valve. Well let me tell blood pressure was through the roof at this point and I'm sure the entire pit area heard all the various expletives coming from my mouth. I get the tire to about 20 psi and say fuck it, I'm riding. I go easy for that last mile and have 90% of my weight on the front wheel. A third flat would have caused me to go postal. I roll back to the pit, yarf up some grape skins and grab a nice Imperial Stout from The Outlaws. I was due! That 52 minute lap haunted me the rest of the did those damn grapes I ate.

We raced, we hurt and we packed it up a little early to enjoy the rest of a spectacular day. 18 laps total and we just missed the as many spots. I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but, I would like to leave you with something Jim from the PedalShop said at last summers Jamboree. Something that had a lasting effect on me. To paraphrase: "It's really great when this many people, who all represent different shops, can get together, race each other and have a good friends".

Several photos by Gary
One from Yours Truly
TT guy stolen from internet

Friday, April 18, 2008


I've been getting very excited about the Leesburg Bakers Dozen. A great local race that is now in its sophomore year. The race was so well received last year that for this go-round the promoter had to cap the registration at 375.......which it filled several weeks ago. True to form, I procrastinated until it was almost to late. We were lucky number 332 out of the 375 cap. Not quite a nail biter, but, I'm glad I didn't wait another day. Could have been S.O.L. That would have sucked because just about everyone we know (in the biking community) is going to be there.

The Keg Meister and I will be representing G-Town....or is it Avalon. I guess with the recent sale of G-Town, the Elkridge shop will have to be the new clubhouse. Anyway, our little commune will house the trio of George, Hall (George) and Troxell and a couple friends riding the race solo. Liz and Carlo will be turning cranks along the Potomac for a cool 13 hours each......hence the name, Bakers Dozen. I bet you already knew that, didn't you. Our next door neighbor's include a strong showing of the Outlaws. They have several teams with a total of ten inmates rolling this Saturday. Directly across from us, Jim and the PedalShop crew have a sweet pit that even includes the carpet from their former location. How's that for comfort! Next to those guys, Larry (MOBL) has a large chunk of real-estate set aside for the Bike Lane team. The list goes on, but you get the idea. It's going to be a party...I mean race with lots of good friends.

Updates and pics will follow after the party.....I mean race. Dang.

Wrench Out!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mean people suck

Don't be a hater.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Slacking off

It's not like I fell into an abyss or suddenly fell ill, I'm just a slacker. 5 whole posts and I've already started to

Quick recap of the last couple weeks. 2 weekends ago was the Schaeffer Farms Spring trailwork day. Dave Magill had a long list of chores as the winter wind and ice storms wreaked havoc with my local trail. This provided sawmeister DKEG with plenty of work and a couple surprises. Did I mention David's unhealthy addiction to trailwork?? Anyway, I thought I'd get a little sawing action in as well, but alas, it was not to be. I played the roll of swamper in our little comedy and Harry was along for the ride as well. The three of us rolled around to the pre-determined points and cleared the winter blow downs. At the same time we had to block off and camouflage all the ride-arounds that developed over the winter.....when the trails were closed. We made good time, had some fun and gave a little something back to the trails. One thing that is particularly annoying and that we discussed as we were hauling rocks is.......people. The parking lot was full of cars, not an uncommon sight at Schaeffer, and yet the number of people who show up for these work days is such a small percentage of the user base. Sure, they are polite enough as they ride past you and say "thanks", but rarely will they stop and ask if they can be of assistance. Apparently our trails are built and maintained in the wee hours of the morning by woodland ferries and gnomes. Okay....phew......rant over. I feel much better now. If you're still out there, thanks for listening.

After we wrapped up the trail work, DKEG, Liz and myself headed off to Leesburg VA to pre-ride the Bakers Dozen course. Of course, a little post-work/ pre-ride refueling was in order and 5 Guys was on the short list. Nothing quite like filling your belly with big ass burgers and fresh cut fries before a ride. Mmmm tasty! Stomaches full we headed through Poolesville and over to White's Ferry. Quick boat ride to the Common Wealth and David was feeling at home. The race course is just on the other side of the river and you can actually see the ferry from a couple places while riding. The course itself cuts through and around a dairy farm and is 7 miles of sweet single track with minimal changes in elevation. 325 feet over the 7 miles.......that's pretty freaking flat. There are several distinct sections to the course and the variety is quite pleasant. The builder, Rob, has even added a couple TTF's to keep it fun and add a little challenge while racing. There is this great little video that was shot at last years inaugural race. I think it is really well done and captures the true "grass roots" feeling of the race. This year things may be a little different as the promoter had to cap and close down registration. 375 racers will be in attendance, almost double from last years race. Everyone who did it last year raves about the race and the course is even better this year. More single track and fast. I can't wait.