30 August 2009

Devil's Backbone Mountain Cross Report Filed


I cowboy up to ride the first Devil's Backbone Mountain Cross which was a USA Cycling sanctioned non competitive event, but for some it was a race and for others like myself it was a task just to finish. My ride report is from my point of view which was from the back of the pack. My goal was to finish and three different times I think I had an outer body experience on the course.

This event started off at the Devil's Backbone Brewery which is just down from the Wintergreen Resort located in Nelson County VA. This was a nice place to start and finish a race/ride death march. There where four sag vehicles with radio communication that patrolled the route. There was also a rest stop that was stocked with anything you wanted to refuel yourself and refill your water bottles with.

Now for some of you folks in blog land that do not know the area,we covered three different counties in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We followed the Tye River which in some places look like a creek. Past by the lower parking area for The Priest located in The Priest Wilderness. The elevation to the summit is 4063ft which is reached by following the Appalachian Trail.

The course was made up of 50% road and 50% gravel/hard pack road. This was and open road course which means there was traffic on the road. Upon leaving the brewery we hit our first hill which was on Cub Creek Road. This is a very steep climb with grades of 15-20%. I had to walk some of this. After reaching the summit the road surface changes to gravel and plunges down for the next 4-6 miles. It had started to rain just before the down hill section and I guest it would not be cross without rain. Either way I notice on my way down that some people did not make some of the turns and their bikes where on the ground by the road.

Somewhere on Carter Hill Road I met up with Mountainspider and we took turns pulling for the next 4.5 miles on Crabtree Falls Highway. Then we started a 9 mile ascent of the Tye River Canyon. This is where Mountainspider was able to get ahead of me and the next place I saw him was at the rest stop where he had arrived about 5 minutes ahead of me. Over that 9 miles of gravel hard pack road we gain 2000ft of elevation.This was the second outer body experience.

After leaving the rest stop I hit Irish Creek Road and descend for the next 7 miles topping out at 44mph. Then I started my climb back up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 8.5 miles of the parkway where a mix of Hills and flat sections. At one point my left hamstring cramped up before I could get off the bike. This took me back to the rest stop where I took about a five minute break.

The next leg of the route is where the fun begins, as you descend for the next 13 miles. Oh, there must be someone looking out for me! 13 miles down hill? Remember this is an open course! But I am going to ride it like I stole it. This section re-traces the same roads as the first section of the course and there will be long gravel descent. You can get some crazy fast speed coming down this section of the route. Only thing that slows you down are the blind turns and one switchback. There where points on this section that I topped out at 40+mph.

All good things must come to a end! I forgot that the first descent I took on the gravel section of Cub Creek Road was there to greet me on my way back to the Brewery. A 20% climb that looks like it reaches into the sky is whats stopping me from having a beer! This section of the course killed me. I could not climb it. I just did not have it in me. So I dismounted and took one step at a time. I was never so glad to see the summit of Cub Creek Road. Another downhill section and a flat section to go and it is all over. I started down the hill like a mad man and topped out at 48mph. Finished time was 5:55.

This was a brutal event for me. I think it is the hardest physical one day event that I have ever done. What did I take away from this Mountain Cross event? I suck at going up hills! Since I had to use my Bontrager mountain bike for this course I was please with the set-up. I used a set of Bontrager Connection tires and they proved to be the right pick for me.Clif Shot Electrolyte works and Gatorade does not work for me. If they have this event next year I will do it but I think the weapon of choice is going to be a cross bike. An the last thing is that I did meet my goal of finishing!

28 August 2009

Lucky Me !

"Come down to Carytown Bicycle Company for a presentation by Susan Hefler of Hefler Performance Coaching. Susan’s results as a coach speak for themselves. She played a key role in the development of several notable local road racers and triathletes.
Susan will be taking time to talk about her approach to coaching and how it can helps you become a better rider regardless if your goal is to make it to Cat 1 or just go faster on that weekend group ride. Ever wonder what guys mean when they say “training with power?” Topics just like that as well as training with heart rate and the value in VO2 testing will be discussed."

I went to the presentation and had a beer during the presentation. Afterward they had a drawing for a FREE VO2 MAX Test. Yours truly won the drawing! Couldn't ask for a better night hanging out in the bike shop drinking a beer and coming away with a VO2 Test that cost $150. I think the next thing I will look at is a bike fit.

Saturday I am off to ride in the Devil's Backbone Mountain Cross. 62 Miles and 6000 ft of climbing in the mountains of Virginia. I will post a report when I get back.

22 August 2009

The Making of a Cycling Cap Part #2

It has taken also most a month to get cap #1 on my head. This takes a little more time than the two hours most people where posting that it took them. Maybe some of us are slow learners!

Well here it is !















And another!

Here are a couple of things that we learned. The pattern that I got from the web was to big or I guest to tall. Next the material on the brim needs to be tighter. The last thing is we are still looking for the right cotton tape that goes on the inside.

I hope in the next week or two we will have cap #2 ready to show. I can't push my sweat shop mom to hard!

16 August 2009

Watching the riders

I took off this past Thursday for a little vacation time with the family. This morning when I got up I saw from the condo window that a Triathlon was getting ready to start. I figured I would go out and watch & cheer on the riders.

The event was the Tigershark Sprint Triathlon #3 held at Frank Rendon Park, Daytona Beach FL. I was able to find a great spot just outside of the parking lot on the road to watch.

Now I have raced a couple of triathlons and Du's in my day and I did a Du this past March.So I have room to talk. Just like any event you will see people on all kinds of bikes. There where Litespeeds, Cervelo, C-dale,Specialized & Softride to name a few.One of the funny things I saw, well make that two. There where two riders that had put their helmet on backwards. I don't think this was a new way to wear them but I guest they where in such a hurry to get out of the transition area, they had put them on bakwards.
One of the other things I saw was poor bike fit. Now I know you ride in a different position when you are riding aerobars, but how people where pushing gears looked painful. It didn't matter if it was a $1,100 bike or $2,500 bike. Bike fit would have done most of the riders a world of good. I did see a guy with a no name bike with downtube shifters and toe-clips kicking it. I would say he was in the top 1/3 of the field.

I wished I could have taken some pictures to share with you!I guest the important thing was that they got out there and did it and they had fun. I guest I got my bike fix into.

09 August 2009

It was Hot as Hell today!

Let me start off by saying that I misplaced the USB cable for the camera, so it took me a day to find it. Looks as if we are having a heat wave for the next couple of days. Temps today when I started riding was 95 and climbed to 97 by the end of my 2 hour plus ride.

I am lucky to live just out side of Pocahontas State Park and this is my local stomping grounds. The plan was to try an ride all the fire roads and single track trails in the park. Long story short that did not place because of the heat. It has been awhile since I have ridden on this side of the Park so the new signage is a nice addition. You can't see it in the picture, but if you follow the trail to the right that is Gill Fire Road. Gill Fire Road is named after my wife's family.

Next I headed to the Old Mill Bicycle Path, still a fire road. Twelve years ago this was the only bicycle path/trail in the park. From the bike path I started off into the Green / Box Turtle trail on, the Box Turtle trail just past the second bridge you will run into this little bit of fun.
At the end of Box Turtle it will take you into the Blue / Tall Oaks Trail This is my favorite section of the trail. My friend Dartman and myself cut this section of trail and the funny thing is we cut it from the opposite direction than you ride it. But I think we got the flow correct.

By the time I got to Swift Creek Lake Dam I had made my mind up that I was heading for the house








Trail Trash,this is just some of the stuff that I picked up while I was riding. So I guest I was doing my part.

WANTED: Old Headlamps For New

WANTED: Old Headlamps For New

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06 August 2009

Time for New Rubber

After rebuilding my road bike last year I started using a gear tracker on www.mapmyride.com I have been tracking my tires and drive train. The tracker lets you add the piece of gear that you want to track for replacing. When you add your piece of gear. You are able to pick brand/model, date of purchase, how much the item cost, and projected amount of miles that the item should be replaced.
I just replaced a set of Maxxis Detonator tires. I have been riding them for 1 1/2 years with a total of 1160 miles on them. The gear tracker also lets you know how much it cost per mile to use the tire from your purchase price. From my purchase price it cost me just 0.06 cents per mile.
You can track almost any type of gear that you want. From bike tires and drive trains to running shoes. Using the tracker helps me with pre & post ride bike checks and with planning and budgeting for that next gear purchase.