Friday, June 29, 2007
I didn’t smile very big last night when I realized my washer was still broken. Then this morning about 4:30am I woke up to my next door neighbor beating on the wall so hard I almost dove off of the bed in the “ready position.” I figured they were doing something Hunter S. Thompson would be proud of.
My own personal moment of Zen:
So this morning I get going on my usual pre-work routine. I walk out of my door into the common area between the upstairs apartments and I notice the laundry room light is on and wonder if I left it on. As I am locking the door, I think about how much I hate my landlord and that washing machine when I heard a women’s voice. Again I was in the ready position wondering if someone had snuck in.
I looked inside the laundry room as the door was open and there was a girl sitting in there with nothing but a blanket on. I can’t imagine what she thought when she saw me but I can imagine that the surprised look on my face could only be rivaled by Yoda. Mmmmmmmmm a girl in my laundry room, she sits. So I guess that would be the “laundry room of shame?”
Thursday, June 28, 2007
One of the hardest parts of races for me is getting up early and having the stomach to eat. This is especially so for the SM-100 because you have to be up at the butt crack of dawn since the race starts at “first light.”
On my eighth lap at the Cowbell as I rounded out the last two miles of my 80 mile journey I had this thought “I am not doing in more races this year. Ahhhhhhhhh what the hell am I talking about, I am delirious right now, I can’t make any decisions now. I must wait until the morning and make a decision.”
So I did make some decisions the next morning. Number one is that the SM-100 haunts my thoughts like a dream that you can’t wake up from and even when you do wake up, you feel as though you had never gone to sleep.
Therefore, I have decided not to race the Fool’s Gold 100. In fact I am not even going to race the 50 mile version of the race. Well poop on me right? Not exactly, Kristin and I have decided to both be volunteers so we can still be a part of the festival and get our money back. You can’t really beat that deal. Plus I still plan on riding some of Georgia’s finest single track, just not in a race fashion.
I have also heard many good things about the trails at Hanna Beach in Jacksonville FL. So I will definitely be going to do the 5K trail run on Saturday July 28th and the Tri on the 29th. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? Me too!
SORBA meeting went well last night. Thanks to everyone who came out! We took away some action items and we will hopefully have our P'S and Q's lined up for the Board of Directors meeting in August.
Two meetings in July so we can make this happen. The first meeting is July 10th at 6:00 in Paris Mountain State Park.
Ride at Dupont this Sunday:
9:00 at Fawn Lake
Bring your floaties and swimmies!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Sunday evening I went out to find some good food since I figured I was still in a caloric deficit from the day before. My favorite Sushi restaurant was having a private party and I decided not to go up to the door and ask if I was invited.
I drove to my favorite local Mexican joint and was sitting there trying to enjoy my meal when all the sudden the building started shaking. I thought to myself “the god’s are angry, I should have pushed myself harder and gotten my 100 miles in.” Then I heard a group of girls cooing at the rain outside. I turned to look and it looked as though the rain was blowing up from the ground. Cars were literally shaking in their parking spots and then the power went out as the telephone poles were knocked down.
Holy smokes! When I got back in my car to drive home, I went to look in the rear view mirror and it was gone. That’s weird, then I looked down and it was lying next to my emergency break. The wind had shaken the car so hard the rear view mirror fell off!
When I was just a wee little guy, my mom sister and one of her friends were all picking strawberries in a “pick your own” field in Indiana when a tornado came. We were hustled quickly into the car and given just enough notice to start driving when trees started falling all around us. The owners of the patch motioned for my mom to drive through their corn field so we could escape around the trees. My Mom rolled down the window and said “I don’t want to destroy the corn.” Another tree fell behind us and she changed her mind and drove through the corn and us to safety.
I thought for sure it was a small tornado Sunday evening but I am told it was a “microburst.” This is a really strong thunderstorm that has high winds from the way it is formed, interesting.
Why tell you all of this? I figure I have angered the Mountain Bike god’s by not sacrificing countless tubes in the race this past weekend. They are mad that I have such a sweet tubeless set up and have taken to avenging me.
I think this will be my July event to keep me motivated to train. I have always wanted to do a dirt triathlon and this looks like a good starting point. Surely I can kill the biking portion right? That is if the open swim doesn’t kill me first.
Here is the course description:
SWIM - 1/2 mile ocean swim, parallel with the beach, with the current,50-100 yards off the beach. Wetsuits allowed according to USAT regulations based upon water temp.
BIKE - 13 miles, 3 loops of the south bike trails, entering "Tightwad" and finishing on "Grunt". A combination of fast, tight twisty single-track and and a little open fire road. All the trails are easy to intermediate, but become more difficult with speed. As with all Xterra races the Bike course is marked with BLUE arrows.
RUN - 3.2 miles/1 loop of the south hiking trails that run parallel to the bike trails. This is more twisty single track with a fun dune trail, and a sprint down the beach to finish.As with all XTERRA races, the RUN course will be marked with RED arrows.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Everybody who is in the Greenville area should come to Barley's downtown 6:30 for our SORBA meeting this Wednesday. See you all there.
I will also be leading an Urban Assault on Wednesday at 5:30 leaving from Cleveland park around the tennis courts.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Friday before the race, I spent the day in Charleston SC. I had the entire day to myself so I hung out at the beach for a couple hours when I realized that I had soaked up enough sun before my 12 hour battle with it’s rays on Saturday, so I drove downtown for lunch and to check out the memorial for the 9 fallen firefighters.
Being the great guy Dennis is, he had a pop-up tent awaiting my arrival Saturday morning. As soon as I pulled into the venue, I started seeing all the faces of my nut ball friends. That is truly sincere. My tent was set up about 20 feet from the timing tent, so I went to work setting up my barrage of supplies for the race. I wanted everything to be laid out nicely so I wouldn’t have to think during the race.
Then I started seeing all the blogosphere faces:
Jeremy, Namrita, Eddie, Wes riding with D-Kuntz, Allan, Alreigh, Palmetto Solo. . .
Some other friends were there riding on teams such as Team “Fat, The Other White Meat” which consisted of Rick, Jeff and Sarah. They kicked ass too by the way. I saw that Mike Brown and Ian were riding in the two man division along with Dennis and Wes. Lots of competition running around in every category, in total there were close to 200 racers.
I found out that we were not doing a Le Mans start, instead it would be a parade lap. This set me back as I was banking on the start being a run and a steep climb like last year. Now it was going to be a flat spinning hell. In all actuallity though, the start this year was much smoother than last year.
Right after the pre-race meeting I saw Namrita and we talked ratios for a sec. Namrita was running 32X20 and I was surprised and wondered if my choice of 32X22 was good. Namrita said “The course is fast and rolling.” Hmmmm, I hadn’t pre-rode the course and my memories from last year were steep and hot.
Race Time, Bow Chikky wow wowwwwwwwww
I stood with my boy’s that were wearing the Harrell’s colors and awaited the start. My normal pre-race jitters turned my humor on full blast. I was kidding with Toby earlier in the day about running a 32X15 and that is exactly what the cat in front of me had on his bike. He said “I just hope the pistons don’t stop firing.” HOLY LORD MAN, I guess so.
Next thing I knew, I was choking on dust, spinning like a drunk on Saturday night watching everybody pass me during the prologue lap. When we first entered the single-track it was twisty with some quick steep ups so I had to talk some smack to keep things moving at a strong enough clip to keep on the bike.
"Singlespeeder, go go go, move up that hill. . . " Not that it mattered in the end but it sure was fun.
Not before long, I settled into the 12 hour pace. Around a ¼ lap into the race, I thanked myself for sticking with my gear choice. The course was fun, super fun, the kind of course that makes you smile, grimace, gap doubles, launch kickers and suffer, suffer, suffer.
On the first lap, I felt my rear tire mash pretty good a couple times and I wondered if I had lost pressure in my tubeless system. Time would tell me that this is just how the tires feel running tubeless. The wheel/tire combo stuck to the course like glue and I never even thought about a mechanical after the first lap. Thanks Joe!!
I stopped briefly by my pit after lap one, shot some hammer gel which I was carrying on me and took some electrolytes. Then I grabbed two bottles and took off for my second lap.
Here is how the course flowed:
Down around a fast gravel single track corner and then you are doing about 17-20 mph. This momentum shoots you up a hill into the single track. Then you swoop and swerve through the trees and make some quick uphill grunts. The next thing I remember is a ridge ride that was great fun and fast. You could keep your momentum flowing right up the next incline and ride the ridge up to a quick double track section. I took some water and reached for my gel flask. It wasn’t in my jersey, CRAP, that meant over an hour and all I had was water.
Lots of great flow though the woods and some killer rutted out downhills that my suspension ate up, that being the two inches from the bottom of my tire to the rim. After the halfway point, we went into the “pressure cooker.” It was hot and humid as all get out on that section and it took all of my will power to make it up the climbs. There were some wicked roots and a sinkhole of death (really it was only 6 feet deep.) After this, you came out to a field climb, where last year’s race started, then it was all cruising to the timing tent. The very end of the course was great as you flew down a powerline over a section of rocks and then rocketed up the next hill to the timing tent.
After lap two I stopped by the pit and there was my gel flask sitting on the table. I opened up a peanut butter and jelly, took one bite and it was everything I had not to give it right back to the ground. It was not going to be a good day for solids considering it was a sultry 95 degrees all day. I did my best ingesting what I could and took off for lap three.
The number of racers on the course was perfect. Before the six hour race ended, I was constantly pacing with others, being passed and passing a few. There was great sportsmanship all the way around. Wes would come up behind me say “Hey Jonathon ya need anything?” I would respond with “new legs” and then he was off like the road runner down the trail. He and Dennis would eventually go on to get second in the two man class.
During the third lap Jeremy passed me right before a little downhill fun section and I watched as he booted of the same jump that I had the lap before. The only problem is the jump shoots you toward a tree and you have to make sure your mojo is flowing or you will end up hurt. I took the no-air route every lap after two.
Lap four was a slow one, the mid race sloth that I always feel was coming on strong. I did everything I could to purge the bad thoughts from my head. Kristin was ever encouraging with her smack talk. The help this brought is amazing to say the least. All the words of encouragement at that point are awesome. Somehow you figure they are lying though. As I would come crawling up the hill (I swore I saw somebody’s grandma pass me on a beach cruiser but maybe I was flashing back to Friday) spectators would say “Your looking great.” If great meant, dehydrated, constipated, exasperated and generally lacking good nutrition, then I would agree.
Laps five and six went off pretty good. I was climbing hard and feeling swell. Then came lap seven. I got some pretty mean inner thigh cramps, walked a bunch and thought about eating something. I came slowly rolling up to the halfway point where there was water and a small support crew. There was some really slow island music playing. I asked the fellow standing there if I was in heaven or hell. He said “I figure some good Fiji Island music would take your minds off the pain.”
As I rolled through the pressure cooker on lap seven, I wondered if it would be my last lap. Everything seemed ultra-dark and slow. I was sure that this lap was going to take me over 3 hours and I would be done with the race. That was until I came out of the woods and saw that there was plenty of daylight. The woods were playing tricks on me.
I asked Mr. Fiji what time it was and he said “7:02.” That’s when I made my decision of one more lap and I would once again fall 20 miles short of my goal of a hundred miles.
I am not quite sure how my father captured this moment so accurately but it explains exactly how I felt:
Lap Eight went off like lap seven and I rolled across the line right after 9:00. I was glad to be done and I felt as though I had left it all out there. I would guess I gave it 105%.
I can’t say enough to Taylor (organizer), the volunteers, racers, spectators, medics (thank god I didn’t need them) and especially my Father and Kristin. They were out in the heat all day taking pictures and giving encouragement. Without them all, I would have done one lap and gone rafting.
Ultimately I was 13th out of 44 racers in the Open Men’s class. However I am going off other's words. I never looked at the results.
KILL CANCER, SUPPORT THE CAUSE.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Just on cue, my washing machine stopped working last night. It dumped water in and out but the motor for spinning was completely shot. I had to resort to some alternative drying solutions as the clothes came out of the washer completely saturated.
I made the last of my modifications to the Drunken Monkey last night. First of all, I can tell Pearl Izumi and Ergon to eat their heart’s out.
Here is my version of Ergon grips:
I tried this for the first time in the PMBAR. I have grip tape wrapped around my lock on grips for extra comfort. I have large hands and the grips feel awesome this way. If the grip tape starts to slip, I just rip it off and keep moving with my lock-ons.
As you can see in this next picture, I got some new gloves. These are the mechanic gloves you can buy at any hardware store, I found them for $19.00 at Lowes. The have an awesome cush and I cut the tops of the fingers off as I am a sweaty beast. I tried them last night on an urban ride and I must say they rock! They even have pads for the bones on the top of your hands. That way I can throw a backhand at anyone trying to pass in the Cowbell, just kidding.
I waited until 9:00 to go for a short spin last night so I could test out the HID helmet mount that Joe is letting me borrow. I have no idea how I only used a bar mount before. Being able to look around and project a huge beam of light anywhere is quite the power trip. I rode some of the single track to make sure everything was latched tight enough and to give the new wheel setup another test. As I cruised back up Main street, there were hordes of people out. I made a right turn on Mcbee Avenue and I was cruising right behind a fellow in a convertible with a “share the road” license plate. I was doing a track stand behind him at a red light and he had his right turn blinker on. As the light turned green, he looked in his rearview mirror and saw me. He turned his head in the car, looked at me as though I were a possessed beast from a Wes Craven movie and then looked forward and moved the car about a foot. Then he turned again and looked, in a generally friendly voice I said “What’s up.” He didn’t say anything and finally turned. I wanted to say “Yes, I am a mountain biker with a really bright ass light on the top of my head, if you can’t tell I am standing still and I would like to pedal toward my house now.”
I touched on why the Cowbell is important to me a couple weeks back but I want to really relish in these thoughts leading up to the race. More than anything, this is to remind me to give it my all, 110% so to speak.
Earlier in the year, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to do the Cowbell 2007. Last year, it was my first and only 12 hour race I have ever competed in. This year I really wanted to give Tsali a go but then circumstances changed.
I was asked to be a pall bearer in my Grandfather’s funeral. I was honored to have this duty along with some of my relatives. My grandfather was in World War II and served in the Navy. I did not hear many war stories from him but the ones that were relayed to me, stuck. Therefore, my Grandfather received recognition from some of his fellow comrades during his funeral. There was a rifle salute followed by TAPS.
Each of the Pall Bearer’s received a bullet casing from the guns fired. As I touched the shell the rest of the day and as I drove home from Indiana, I decided the Cowbell was where my “war” would be this year. Not my ultimate war, but my June War.
I have decided that I might need to be reminded of this during the race. So I am mounting the casing to my bike.
Here is the result:
When you see me turning the cranks at the race, you will know that physically I turn them with my body but mentally I turn them with my heart. I expect the spectators to be out in full sprits this year.
So a silent “cheers” goes out to everyone who is fighting their own “wars”, no matter what it is. You will be in my thoughts this weekend.
No post tomorrrow.
Just like last week’s two adventures, we were able to miss the rain and get a nice dirt loop in. We rode Mountain Creek to the top, took the FireTower Loop and then came back down Mountain Creek. It was a great test of the new tubeless set up and they were flawless.
It is turning into one of those weeks. Yesterday I got up at 5:30 and made the drive from Columbia to Greenville, worked and then went on a ride. Today I have to pack everything I need for a wedding in Charleston on Friday and the Cowbell on Saturday. Tomorrow I will drive from Greenville to Columbia where I will meet up with Kristin so we can drive to Charleston and get ready for the wedding.
Hopefully on Friday I can lie on the beach while getting fat and just focus on beach things and not race things. Friday night we will be driving back to Columbia so that we are only an hour and a half from the race venue. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew, luckily we are staying in downtown Charlotte after the race because I am going to be beat.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I am really looking forward to having those gut bomb butterflies on Saturday morning. The camaraderie of a race such as the Cowbell is one of the many reasons I enjoy these events. Back in the days of childhood, one of everyone’s (I say everyone loosely here because I considered myself everyone when I was little) favorite things to do was to get a bunch of like-minded friends together and see what hair brained ideas we could come up with. How do you think flashlight tag was invented anyway?
Banking off this concept is why I love having 200 of my closest friends to ride dirt laps with all day. Racer 1 “Hey what are you going to do today?” Racer 2 “I am going to ride my bike around this 10 mile loop as many times as I can and then drink a beer.” Racer 1 “That is freaking awesome, mind if I join you?” That is how I envision the beginnings of lap racing anyway but I am a little nonsensical.
I started readying the Drunken Monkey last night. Her new tubeless wheel set is holding pressure nicely so far and if it doesn’t rain, I will hopefully give them a dirt test tonight. I am anxious to see how they feel on the dirt.
Other Cowbell preparations will be revealed as I get them ready. Only three more days of anticipation!
Monday, June 18, 2007
While we were getting ready to ride out, a family showed up and the father wanted to know what trails he could take his family out on. Joe was polite enough to show him a few routes that might be suitable on the map and as we were rolling out of the lot, I noticed that there were a lot of bikes and no helmets. Maybe there is a reason a father doesn’t give his family helmets. . .
I didn’t have my best of days. My legs felt sluggish from this past week’s rides and it was hot and muggy. It reminded me of what the Cowbell was going to feel like in only 7 days.
We rode K3 and Hardcore, that was enough for my legs as I was in the need for a long rest. We did a small loop after that but not much more. Here is a picture of a stunt that someone built out there on Hardcore. It is a weird one as there is no exit at all, we figured that it must be set up for a 360 at the top because there is no other way to get down.
I recently bought some Bontrager Race Light 29’er wheels for the Monkey. I have never tried running tubeless before so after a long discussion with Joe, I decided it would be best if I banked off of his superior knowledge.
Sunday I took advantage of Joe’s offer and went over to his house to see if we could get things set up. I had everything I needed for the conversion except for some Stans stems. Joe let me have a set of his as he showed me the seal they create is much better than the tiny rubber o-ring that Bontrager supplies.
We put the Bontrager specific tubeless rim strips in and then went to work. I was getting the Small Block Eight mounted on the rim when I noticed a tear in the sidewall. So I opted for one of my Exi-Wolfs to go on the back instead.
We mounted the tire all the way around except for the last bit and hung the wheel and tire up in the garage. Then the Stans was poured into the tire and the tire sealed all the way around. Joe would shoot some compressed air into the tire and then the barrage of pumping began. I would pump while Joe made sure the Stans was sealing. At 50 PSI the bead still had not set all the way around, 60 PSI and there were two spots still not set. At 63 PSI, PAAAAAANNGGGGGG, there you have it, the wire bead on the Exi popped into place and we quickly let some pressure out. That scares me like you wouldn’t believe. I envision my vision ruined by a rubber-Stans combo flying at 400 mph around my face.
Next up was the front wheel and the Nevegal. This time the bead set at 50 PSI and I was surprised at how easily both the tires were set up. It is good to have experience on your side. Thanks Joe!
Friday, June 15, 2007
Joe, BrouSSard, Valerie, Paul, David George, Dave M7, Jack
The second one is Joe rolling the big log at the bottom of the Airstrip trail. Someday I am going to figure out a good angle for these shots.
Enjoy a nice day in the woods this weekend!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
LATE EDIT: DieRiden already stepped up and offered to let me borrow some lights. Thanks for the quick responses! You guys rock.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Last night was supposed to be a hard effort. Less than two weeks till race time means nice short strong efforts. If I don’t have my miles in by now, it is too late.
Driving home I could see the thunder heads building and I wondered how I was going to get this crucial ride in. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, big drops were smacking the windshield, one about every four seconds.
I walked upstairs and started changing my back tire and tube. I had a mess of mysterious flats this last Saturday. Then the sky opened up for the first time this year. All of our surrounding area is around 10” short on rainfall for the year. I was multi-tasking between the computer, staring at the radar and working on the bike. It was 5:30 by the time I finished with the bike and still raining. I figured I would give it until 6:30 before I had to find an alternate medium for my workout.
Then I heard ting, ting on my roof. It was hailing. Eventually it stopped raining and the sky’s looked like they were opening up in the direction I wanted to head, toward Paris Mountain. I geared up and off out the door. I figured I could ride the pavement out to Paris and if the trails were too muddy I would just ride back. If I put in a hard enough effort, it would be plenty for the day.
I love cool weather and my legs always seem to be on par with that. I was strong out to Paris, pushing a strong clip over the top of the steep road pitches instead of struggling to the top like I had in prior weeks.
I stopped at the gas station at the base of Paris Mountain and Altamont road for a red bull. As I was walking by the beer cooler a PBR tall boy called out to me “Jonathon, I am tall and tasty.” it said. With such a desperate tone of voice, I had to buy her. I walked up to the counter with my PBR and my red bull. The guy at the register responded with “I have never seen a biker buy a beer before.” Since I know this is the spot for a lot of roadies climbing Paris I said “Well, you haven’t been dealing with the right kind of bikers.”
When I arrived at the front gate, I noticed that the ground was still dusty. It had hardly even rained out here. Sweet, that meant I was going to tear up some dirt. Again, I felt incredible flying up Mountain Creek. Up to the top parking lot and I stopped for a quick look at the time on my phone. It was 7:40, I had a little over an hour before it got dark so I figured flying down Brissy ridge and the road back up should put me back at the top by 8:05 then I can cruise back down Mountain Creek and still have enough time to make it back home before dark.
Brissy was ripping fast and I felt great on the downhill. I had two Nevegal’s back on and they were showing the trail who’s boss. At the bottom of Brissy, I celebrated with my peanut butter and honey sandwich and my PBR.
I knew it was time to rip, so I could make it home in time. I flew up the backside and then up to the top of the techy section of Mountain Creek. I was going to skip this section due to time but I had felt so good I wanted to see how I would fair. I was ripping the trail faster than I had in a long time. Weight back, let the front bob and weave, off a ledge, off another ledge, tight switchback corner, nailing it. I hadn’t hit this trail this hard since I rode my full suspension. Then the snake jumped out of my tire, sssssssssssssssss, SHIT! The air came out so fast that I knew it was pinched.
I had one 16 gram Co2, one tube and my mini pump. I changed the flat while watching the sun set over the mountain. The Co2 filled it up decent but not enough. After a quick, chest and tricep workout, I was ready to roll.
I didn’t miss a beat, back on the bike I was still ready to carve hard. I knew I should be taking it easy but that was impossible at this moment in time.
Swooping, leaning, weight back again, manual over some roots, my smile was bigger than the State Park. At one point I felt both tires mash against the rim, I prayed.
Back out on the roads I knew it wasn’t long before the night would try to swallow me up. Luckily I was smart enough to bring my super bright blinky. Going back home was just like on the way out, I was mashing the pedals hard and my last tube never let me down.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
So this time I loaded almost every picture I had. I have some videos too but I have yet to load them.
So therefore I leave you with Saturday’s montage of Joe, BrouSSard, Paul, Valerie, David George, Dave and Jack:
Monday, June 11, 2007
Here are some quick facts though:
Eight People started, three tried the rest of the route but mutiny, flat tires and sanity took over.
Some pictures from Jack on this thread, I will add mine tonight.
Sunday's game of tether ball at Black Forest left me ultimately more sore than the ride itself.
Friday, June 08, 2007
I don't really have anything to write about besides the fact that I have the IQ of a sponge sometimes. Last night I rode to the gym and got my lift on.
The gym I work out in Greenville is quite unique. Ok, not really but I call it the "Pretty People Place." It always cracks me up to say the least. I consider going to the gym more of an experiment in social interactions more than actually getting fit.
Well I digressed, so anyway I was at the gym doing my best to work out and not involve myself in the social party when apparently I got over-zealous in my masculinity.
Late last night I woke up when certain circumstances lead me out of bed. I went to sit up and had to do the “Oh I am halfway up, better lay on my side and slither out of bed” routine. Yup, I believe I did enough sit ups.
“Oh I wasn’t quite as sick as I made out to be.” ~Doc Holiday in Tombstone
So tomorrow it is on in Dupont. I have no idea how long my optimistic route is out there but it is a guaranteed good time. So if you feel like coming out, come on and bring it.
Fawn Lake @ 8:30 ready to roll.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I can still remember the first time I ever found Dupont. I was on a rafting trip on the Chattooga River and I lived in Columbia at the time. One of my friends mentioned that I should try hitting up Dupont since it was on my way home. He gave me the general idea where it was and I was off.
I really had no clue as to where I was going and I drove and drove until I came up on a rafting store out in what felt like the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t tell you the store’s name but I walked inside and there wasn’t anyone around. All I wanted to do was ask if anyone had heard of this so called “Dupont.” Then I looked at the counter inside the Kayak place and saw a map of Dupont. I grabbed one and stood outside looking at my Atlas and my newly acquired Dupont map. I got a general location of where I needed to go and ended up at Corn Mill Shoals. Unbeknownst to me, the best spot to park at that particular time.
I took off on my old 1997 Specialized full suspension FSR and came to a trail named “Burnt Mountain.” It had a cool enough name so I started around the loop. The climb almost killed me but I took a rest at the top and then proceeded to fly downhill. Back then, I used to ride my bike for one reason, to go downhill.
I had a blast, I rode Burnt Mountain faster than I ever have to this day. I hit the two water bar drops and the rock drop at full speed due to my ignorance. Luckily Darwinian theory did not take over that day.
The next thing I did was to ride my bike down to Corn Mill Shoals and I came to a river crossing. At that point in time, I had never met a river I couldn’t ride across so I just pointed my bike toward the other side and pedaled. I got about ¾ of the way across the slick rock river and the next thing I knew, I was swimming 50 feet downstream with my bike next to me.
That was my introduction to Dupont and I have been completely addicted ever since.
Last night Blair, SingleTrackPig, BrouSSard and D-Kuntz all showed up for the ride.
Our route would be:
Fawn Lake Loop, Airstrip (left), Mine Mountain, Laurel Ridge, Corn Mill Shoals (cross river), Little River, Cedar Rock, Big Rock, Corn Mill Shoals, Burnt Mountain, Corn Mill Shoals (cross river), Shoals, Laurel Ridge, Corn Mill Shoals, Bridal Veil Falls Road, Barn Trail, Shelter Rock Trail, Conservation Road, Airstrip, Shelter Rock, Conservation Road, Lake Julia Road, Reasonover
All in all it was a little over 18 miles. The only thing I can say about the ride is WOW. We hammered and then we flew downhill.
There is one trail I would like to comment on, Big Rock. I let Dennis take the lead to start with but during the potted out slick rock he pulled a wickedly bad line (he did this because he had camel back water shooting on his leg and he thought it was fork oil) so I took the opportunity to pass and apparently so did Jody.
I have ridden that trail enough to know the “line” and I love the downhill. It starts off on some dirt and quickly turns to steep slick rock with corners that make you brake hard as you can hear your tire tread stuttering across the rock. Then the trail turns quickly back to dirt and you can just let loose and fly. There are some rocks and features down throughout the trail but you can pull a clean line around all of them. Jody was apparently enjoying my line as I could hear him eating up the trail a few feet behind me.
The last section of Big Rock is the best, there are some quick little drops and lots of rocks everywhere while you fly through Rhododendron tunnels on each side. When we spit out onto Corn Mill Shoals, Jody and I flew to a stop, looked at each other shaking like giddy little school children and we started laughing. The epitome of mountain biking.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Unfortunately, all that means is that I got 9th. Only the top two will be featured on the new maps. Oh well, I am honored to have received my 6 votes. Second place was my favorite:
Go here to check the contest out. Yes, they did spell my name wrong. It is a common occurrence.
Second official item of business, COWBELL CHALLENGE 2007 is on. I am officially registered in the overall category. After much debate with myself, I chose the overall category instead of single speed. To put it simply, I am not a single speeder, I ride a bike with no gears or suspension because it suits me. Therefore in my mind, I have chosen the deadliest weapon for the fight. If you don’t think so, please come to the race and taunt me, throw tomatoes, heckle, call me a wuss or just make some noise in general. Anything and everything will motivate me.
Last year, I had Kristin help me out on support. She handed me bottles, shoved salty goodies such as popcorn in my mouth, dumped water over my head and kept me in good spirits, generally speaking. This year I am approaching the race a little differently. I will hopefully set up a table with all of my necessities close to the course and self-support my efforts.
My Father will be hanging out with Kristin during the race, so I don’t want to hinder their good time with standing around for 12 hours just to hand me a bottle and say good job. I believe their efforts will be better suited if they are having a great time ringing some cowbells at me and telling me to move my slow butt.
It really honors me to have my Father come watch my efforts as I will be dedicating my race to my Grandfather who passed due to bone cancer recently. The only other race he has seen me in was last year’s Assault. So in this case, the lap race is well suited for my spectators.
For that very reason I plan on running my 32X22 in the race. I am training with the 32X20 to really beat up my legs. This is what I did for PMBAR and why I was able to climb all day long. Last year (with a geared bike) I walked many of the steep pitches. With the 22 in the back, I won’t have to worry about that.
It does seem as though everyone is against my plans to crush the Cowbell. First of all, I have a wedding in Charleston the night before the Cowbell. It’s hard to imagine that I will be going to a wedding where I can’t drink, oh well. Second of all, I now have a 4:00AM – 12:00NOON shift that I have to cover at work the week before the Cowbell too. Should be interesting to see how things pan out.
If you aren't going to the Cowbell but you would still like to contribute to the cause, go here. Tell them the Tomato sent ya!