Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Liberty Town Jamboree

Another incredible year for the Jamboree. The competition was stiff as always, but, we managed to squeeze in lot of fun between the leg searing stages. I was hoping to avoid a repeat of last year when a hard fall took me out of half the stages. Other than a slight mishap on the first stage, I had a relatively clean race and avoided serious injury.

Historically, this summer-time counterpart to the Outlaws Punk Bike Enduro always seems to land on the hottest, most humid day of the summer. I'm sure this may be an exaggeration, but, it sure does feel that way. Maybe it's going from 0 to 110% that makes it feel this way. Maybe it's chasing down guys like Cargo Mike and Gwads while your lungs are burning and it feels like someone just ripped your legs off and beat you over the head with the stumps. Who knows? What I do know is the Jamboree is a helluva lot o fun and I'll always keep the calendar open when Jim sets the date.

Numbers were down a little over last year and a few friends were oddly absent. Their loss is all I can say. A bunch of the usual suspects were in attendance and we had a strong turnout from the SSOFT crew. RiderX rode fixed and did extremely well against his freewheeling brethren. RickyD, always the fashion diva, busted out a football inspired ensemble that had a lot of people shaking their heads. DC had a strong contingent this year with the aforementioned Mike and Gwads (Joel). DCTony was rocking the course and his bike stayed together the entire day. Always a pleasant surprise. The WUSS boys supplied most of the representation from the Commonwealth and were looking to keep the yellow jersey on their side of the river. They just weren't looking very hard. ;)

Speaking of the yellow jersey, I got to wear it on 3 separate occasions during the day. I was pretty stoked about that and tried to give Mike a run for his money when I could. He was, and usually is, the man to follow and I had fun chasing him through the woods of Patapsco. Then there is Joel, the big man, you give him an opening and he'll punish you for the mistake. Geez, he's fast...and big. On the last stage, I lost the lead to Joel just before the split. Then he made the same mistake I made last year and went to the left. That same mistake cost me 3 spots last year and I believe that was the toll exacted on him this year. You gotta love a little previous beta for these type of races.

At the end of the day it all came down to a hand of BlackJack. Mike was in the lead with 80 points, I had 70 and I think Joel was around 48. Last year I went all-in, busted and went down in flames. This year I was "trying" to be conservative and not really knowing much about gambling focused on the wrong person. I should have hedged my bet against Joel's 48 points and instead I pulled a pussy move and only bet 1o of my points. I know, I know, what the fuck was I thinking? That bet doesn't even make sense. In the end I didn't bust, but neither did Joel or Tony who both went "all-in". That moved them up and me down into the 4th position. The DC contingent sweeps the '09 Jamboree. Oh well, maybe next year I'll play a little smarter. I just hope the legs will get me to the table again.

Huge thanks to Jim, Amy and her parents for their continued support of this event. It's always a great time and after the "adults" are done playing the kids actually get a chance to race as well. Jonathan and Jackie participated this year and Jonathan did it on two wheels. I got him steady for the start, but, after that, it was all him. It was awesome to see his face beaming as he crossed the finish line. Jackie got some assistance from Will and she was very excited as well. The kids race really is an event where everyone is a winner, parents included.

Friday, July 24, 2009

El Cracko

The Thursday after work ride was pretty good, for the most part.

We had our doubts at first that it was going to happen. There were some dark, nasty clouds over the mountain and you could tell it was dumping up there. We checked the radar at the Big Dog's and saw that it was a thin, yet severe, band rolling through and would "probably" move out quickly. So, we had some nice beer and cheese at his house and waited for the storm to pass. After 20 minutes or so, the heavy clouds were gone and the sky looked promising. As we drove up it was raining, hard at times, but Darius promised there would be sunshine, rainbows and unicorns at the top of the hill. We had to wait about 5 minutes more when we got to Sandflats and sure enough, it cleared up and we had great weather the rest of the ride.

Sure, we got wet from water on the trails and all the wet leaves, but, the trails were in good shape and there were no mud puddles. The rocks were slick as hell and that made for some interesting slides over them. You had to hit stuff square on or risk being ejected in random directions. This added a whole new challenge to trails that aren't the easiest things to begin with. When you cleaned a section it was fun, super fun. Getting denied could be painful.

At some point, I think it was on F2, Darius' bike made a sharp "clinking" sound and we looked it over for cracked tubes, loose know, the usual. We didn't see anything and pressed on. Took F2 over to Viper and went north towards Salamander. On the road Frank shot a couple rocks with his front wheel and Darius responded in kind. His bike made the same sharp "clink" again and a second inspection reveled a cracked top tube. Cracked about 3/4 the way through at this point. So, road ride out to the lot. A quick PBL and a toast to another fallen frame and we finished up with burrito's at Poblano's.

I think the Big Dog needs to look into an armor plated dirt jumper for his next bike.