Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another Bike?


Ya, well, apparently I'm wanted on the cross battlefield this year. So that means an upgrade is needed. The old Jake just isn't quite a race machine. It's good, but after 4 years of being ridden hard, it's about time to be retired. It's been my trusty steed through many winters of gravel grinding, all one gear of her. Who knows, I may keep her, but I am definently getting one of these frames and building up a 1x10. That or JP has his Crux for sale. His is a better deal, but damn, you can deny the beauty of this work of art. It'll match perfectly with all my other bikes too...

You can find some info on the 2012 Specialized bikes here... Not all of them, just some. Apparently Specialized is leaking it out slowly.

I do have a 60cm Surly Crosscheck for sale. It's a pretty sweet bike. Salsa cockpit, king headset, messenger crankset, SS with some Ritchey wheels all laced to the gray frame. I need to sell it. I'd let it go for $500. It's pretty. I'll post pics soon...

G

Monday, June 27, 2011

Subaru Cup Recap

So I guess I can retract my statement below that I sucked. I did fine, just again, not how I could have. It was another race filled with problems and in the end, a less than stellar result than what could have been. But damnit though, I'm learning! It's always something small that ends up costing me the results that I'm looking for, but when you're racing at the top end of the Cat 1 spectrum, small problems cost precious minutes that seperate the best of the best.

We decided to break the 10 hour drive from KC, MO to Oshkosh, WI up into two days because JP wanted to stop and pick his mom up in Burlington, IA to take her up to see some friends in Oshkosh. She was kind enough to house us on Thursday night, and we rolled the rest of the drive Friday to Oshkosh, and then eventually over to Mt. Morris where the race was being held.

Pre-ride commenced, we quickly realized that this wasn't going to be a cake walk course. The starting hill was a real hellava way to wake up the legs after driving for two days. It was the pretty intense way to start a race. After the lung and leg breaking climb, you had a short downhill into another short climb littered with rocks and roots that were slick like snot. The trail recieved a bunch of rain the days leading up to it, and so with that it lead to a pretty slick start of the loop. Luckily the trail seemed to get better the further into the loop it went.

There were some pretty cool features, with the big rock drop-in being my favorite. From the top coming in the first lap it looked like a straight drop off, so we took the sally line around it. Then I looked back and realized it was actually the A line and it could be rolled. Let me tell ya, that first time rolling it was almost a collar bone breaker. I got squirrely coming down off of it and almost got ejected but somehow managed to stay connected to the Epic for what was a pretty Epic moment. I hiked back up and hit it again, this time much cleaner. Sweet, a 5 second saver! Turns out everyone was taking this line, so there wasn't a real advantage.

The course also included some very sweeping uphill switchbacks, the Trek drop zone, and some other rock gardens that could be taken at crazy high speeds. Overall the Epic was loving the course, but there were a couple of tight tree's that challenged my bars each pass, and a tight twisty section close to the Start/Finish that wasn't condusive to the big wheels.

A nice rest Friday night, and then up and at it early to head to the course for our 11AM start. Pre-riding, I felt good. I was attacking the pedals nicely, and recovering quickly. I felt on. Fast forward to 25 minutes to race time, and I notice that a group of racers were already forming towards the Start/Finish.

Going off the Sport start, I figured they were going to stage us by age groups, and getting the the line super early wasn't going to really matter. Turns out I was wrong, but smart enough to notice the swelling crowds to jump in second line just on the outside. I wasn't used to a call up of over 100 riders, and once the cut the rope to make our way to the Start line, all hell broke loose. Luckily my long legs hobbled my way up to the start line, still maintaining my 2nd row postition. Travis wasn't so lucky, sitting 4 or so rows back, and JP Brockett was even more unlucky not showing up till the end and catching the back of the train.

The start was ridiculous. We were packed in like sardines. I had some CycleYouth kid asking me to get his bars in front of mine, to which I kindly replied no thanks, and told him that at this point, it was every man for himself. Normally I would give him the room, but at that moment there was absolutely no room to give. 5 seconds to go, and I wondering how the hell to survive this onslaught.

Luckily I manage to get out of the gates ok, and besides being pushed into the fence, managed to clip in and get going. I couldn't go for shit at the start. Not sure what the deal was, the whole start climb was a blurr. I just didn't have the gas to make it up to the leaders, and before I knew it I was coming into the single track 15th or so, in the line of guys who quickly had to dismount the wet rocks and roots to make it through. Luckily we made it back on our saddles fairly quickly, and the race was on. Apparently the group behind me wasn't so lucky, as the other 90+ riders all bunched up at the entrance of the singletrack, making a rather large group of pissed off Cat 1 racers wait for up to 3-4 minutes to get going. Travis was in the group, along with JP. Apparently some guy wrecked in front of Travis at the start, leaving him to resort to the back of the pack also. Bummer.

So anyways the first lap was going stellar for me. I had a game plan to start picking guys off one by one, and by time we hit the open road by the wake board lake, I had already passed 5 guys. By the end of the lap I had worked my way into top 10 and was feeling great.

That's when my lucky changed.

Coming into the wet rooty rocky section of the start of lap 2, I fell over, and in the process, dislodged my left shoes cleat bolts. I noticed it pretty much right away, and it almost felt like I had broke my pedal, but yet I noticed I was still clipped in.

Shit. Now what.

I could still pedal, and I was still attached so I quickly grabbed my composure and told it to calm down and ride smart. I would just be easy on it. Unfortunatly that meant no pulling up with my left foot, as I didn't want to pull the bolts out completely leaving me unable to be clipped in at all. So basically I lost 25% of my power, on a course with a ton of climbing, and I was only 25% through the race.

It was pretty much downhill from there. Take it easy on the cleat, and try not to fall over.

I maintained position for the most part through lap 4. But then luck would leave me again. Coming off the three stair drop, I got squirrely on a rock and somehow tipped over, landing left side hard on a rock and twisting the bars over my top tube. This time it was the left brake, so now I have identical scratches on the top tube of my pretty flowyellow Epic. One from Mellow Johnny's, one from Subaru Cup. These ProXCT races haven't been nice to my frame.

I pick myself back up, but immediatly think I broke a rib. I'm still nursing a rib injury from Bump and Grind, and I landed on the exact same spot. The wind was nocked out of me, but I scurried to get back going. In the process I lost 4 or 5 more spots. I then procedded to jam the front end of my bike into a tree, causing a major tangle up of bike and wood, and again, lost another spot. I somehow brought myself back to center and finished off the race somewhat cleanly.

What was left of it anyway.

Some guy did pass me on the last hill, and even though I reattached myself to him, I couldn't get the inside line at the finish to sprint him. I tried hard though, and I'm confident I've never thrown my Epic that fast or hard into a 90 degree left hand grassy turn. I had that thing sideways and skidding like crazy. The guy was smart though, and without getting the inside line, finishing in front of him was impossible.

So that was my race.

K-Rocket blew the doors off and took 1st overall in the Cat 1 women. That was huge and she was glowing with excitement. I was wondering what the guy on the top of the hill was talking about when he told me my teamate was winning. I thought he meant Travis, and maybe I missed Travis getting in front of me at the start. Turns out it was our little gal K.

Travis came in 4 minutes behind me, and then JP about another 5 behind that. Oh, well, at least one of us won. That's two overall Cat 1 wins at a ProXCT this year for Ethos. That's pretty huge.

Also in the confusion that was yet another screwed up timing issue, our gal Sara W got pulled coming into the finish because they thought she was going out for her last lap. Turns out she was finishing, and even though she did finally finish, she lost quite a few minutes in the confusion. Apparently the other gals in her race were honest though, and she took 2nd in her Cat 1 age group.

At the end of the day I somehow ended up 3rd in the 24-34 age group, which made no sense at all. According the the results I was 19th overall out of 100+ experts, but not 3rd in the 24-34. I figured they were going to do awards for the Midwest Regional Championships though, which is the age group of 19-24. I was 2nd overall in that age group. So it was a surprise when they announced the 24-34 age group and I was 3rd.

They had the womens results all screwed up, with a ton of gals that were last in the race up in the top 10, and so I guess they also screwed up the mens. Who knows, but I'll take my 3rd. Still not sure if the overall changed though, although it must have, because I was 6th from my counting in the 24-34 group. Again, just screwed up results overall, which surprisingly doesn't change even at the top level events. Bump and Grind was about the same. Texas was however pretty smooth.

Ethos did fairly well though given our circumstances. 3 out of 5 podiums on the Cat 1 field for our crew.

I had a blast overall, and learned yet another valuable lesson. Check your cleat bolts! I think I had a very good chance at top 10, and maybe even that top 5. In the end it was the 17-18 year old juniors that took all the top spots, killing it with their youngness. I was back 6 minutes, which is alot, but not really considering how my race went. My climbing really suffered on the last 3/4th of the race due to the cleat issue. The cleat was moving freely from front to back and side to side, and I don't know how it even stayed on.

But I finished damnit. And I got my medal.

I'm happy. Last year I would have been more than stoked for the same result. I just happen to have higher expectations this year. Although until this year I had never raced a major race like this, and now I have 3 under my belt. I could have of top 5'd the last two, but little mistakes make a world of difference when you're competing with the best.

I'm there. I just have to race clean.

Learning.

It's a never ending process...

No pics yet, but here's the Trek Drop Zone as the lead pack of Pro's came through. Sorry for the nothingness at the start. I was really drunk by this point, and I wasn't focused too well. The after race beer never tasted so good.
video
Go to Subaru Cup next year... It's a blast. Huge crowds, a great course, and some awesome cheese curds!
G

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Best Beginner Bikes and the New Jet 9

Bikeradar.com had a pretty decent article on the best mountain bikes for under a $1000 bucks. You can find it here...

I remember my first real mountain bike. The GT Outpost. Ahh, the good ol' days. Before that I had Wal-Mart Mongoose that I would destroy in what seemed like just a handful of real mountain bike rides out at Binder in Jeff City. The Outpost was legit though, the only problem looking back was that it was way to small for me. It was an 18 inch frame trying to accomodate my 6'2 body. But the shop I bought it from back then wasn't a real high end place. J&D Bikes just south of Downtown. I forgot the old mans name, but I always enjoyed stopping in. It's funny, because I was home the other day for my lil sisses bday party and I happened to notice an article in the paper on J&D. There he was, the old man, still at it. What I truely found amusing was he's comments on how the bike industry has changed over the years and back then there where no specific types of bikes with different sizes and such. Now mind you I bought this GT in the early 2000's, and I'm pretty sure they had sizes then. I'm sure my GT was on sale and he probably said the 18 would be fine. I didn't know what I didn't know.

Bikes have got expensive nowdays. But then again so has everything else. For anyone wanting to really get into this sport, a $1000 bike may seem outragous. Until they go buy the Wal-Mart cheapo and soon realize how inadaquate it is. Of course Wal-Mart has stepped up their game a bit, and even sell a 29er, but in the grand scheme, they're still junk. This is a rough sport on equipment, and having the right equipment can be all the difference in having an enjoyable ride, or a ride riddled with foul shifting, broken bits, and long walks out.

Trust me, I've been there...

I for one have no problem dropping large wads of money on a bicycle. In fact, my tastes are usually so high, that it takes me months and months to pay off a new bike. I have no problem with credit. Give me 0% and I'll stretch paying that bad boy out for as long as possible. That way I can afford other bike crap along the way!

This bike is truely sexy in my eyes. It seems that people are either highly for, or strongly against the new style of the carbon Jet 9. While I couldn't imagine giving up the Epic for one, it still looks mighty sweet. Looks like the frame only will set you back about $2700. You can buy a Epic 29 Comp for that price complete.


This is one of Niner's employees, and I must say, black is almost a pretty as floyellow!

Legs are coming around this week. Weird feeling, but after 15 minutes or so warming up, they open up nicely. Trails are drying up nicely and it sounds like a trip south might be in the plans soon to hit up some of that trail Shoff has been working on. Might even try to make it to the Courtois Challenge.

One last notable today, and that's the new announcement of the COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP CLIFF BAR! Oh boy, oh boy... I love coconut, and I really love chocolate chips. This is going to be so sweet! They also have a Blueberry Crisp flavor coming to their Crunch line, which is the equivalent of the Nature Valley bars only much much better in my opionion. Seems Cliff Bar is dabeling in wine now too... Do what you do.

Enjoy the reprive from the heat, it sure is nice out there.

G

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Ramblings

I've had a little bit of the dead legs going on lately. Something to do with too much training I guess. It's not a big deal in my book, just dial it back a little and let the life rebuild inside them until they're ready to explode into a fury of pedal mashing. It's not that I'm not riding strong, it that I'm not feeling as fresh as normal. Alot of it has to do with some recent added stress, and along with that a stray from my normal diet.

Food is important. I feel great when I eat great, and I feel like shit when I eat like shit. It's very easy to eat like shit in todays time. What's that? Arby's brought back the ARBYQ? Ya, just like that. Luckily I can witness my undoing and bring it back fairly quickly unlike years past. Sometimes I would drop off and go a month or more eating off the good for you grid.

My ass still hurts some from the fall at State. I figured it would take awhile, and it has. It was a pretty blunt impact.

I woke up today feeling very refreshed though. Something about being tired and run down for a given amount of time will almost make you forget what feeling good feels like. Maybe I've had an internal virus running rampant. I get those sometimes.

A breakup... That will run you down. Especially one following a span of two and a half years together. Oh well, life moves on, and sometimes it seems to pull two people apart eventually driving a wedge so deep that it cannot be ignored. It was time for me to let go and let us both go our seperate and I'm sure much better ways. But damn, it's never easy doing so. It's getting better though, and the thoughts are starting to space themselves out making it easier to forget.

Enough of the sappy shit, this week is HUGE!!! Big time racing going down. After having the Lost Luau cancelled, I'm even more raging for some racing. This weekend we'll be traveling up north for the Subaru Cup. I'm ready for some fun, and that's what I'm going up for. At this point, I'm not worried about my result, just ready to jump into a fast field and mix it up a bit. I take shit to seriously sometimes.

Locally we have some fun going down on both ends of the spectrum this weekend. Over in Kansas, Crocodile Rock is going down up at Perry Lake. Lyle puts on one hellavu good race, so I doubt this one will disappoint. Not to mention it's the Kansas State Championship, so if your a Kansan, then go get your race on! Over across the pond in the Lou, the Broemmelsiek Challenge will be gettting underway. Either way, there's some good racing action to be had this weekend.

I'm going to bust the cobwebs off the Epic tonight at Knob. Just a couple of easy laps to shake the legs up a bit.

Anybody catch the announcement of the new E-Ultregra? Pretty excited about this one. I've tested the electronic Dura-Ace, and it's pretty amazing, but now they've trickled the technology down to the Ultegra level, giving us more mortal roadies a chance at some electronic goodies. What a minute, did I just classifly myself as a roadie? Na, not me...

But a new Tarmac laced with the E-Ultregra next year sounds tempting....

Again, there's never an end to new shit to buy.

G

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Year of the Carbon

So with all the rumors, talks, and press releases as of late, it seems everyone is touting 2012 to be the year of the carbon.

Take these two for example...

A new carbon Niner Jet9.

Or the newly announced Scott Spark 29er.

Theres also talk of the Tomac Carbide SL 29er carbon coming out. Then you have the Cannondale Scapel 29er.

Yes, all this carbony goodness is bound to get your panties wet, but dont forget the master of them all, THE EPIC!


I need to put a write up together on this bad boy, but it's pretty easy to describe it as the most amazing bike I've ever ridden. Surely these newly introduced bikes above will be nice, but the Epic is so smooth, and so stiff. No one has had anything but great things to say about it.

I do have one gripe though, and that's that I was a year late on getting this bad boy.

The new Sid 29er that will come stock on the 2012 Epic S-works. Ya, might just have to see about working out a deal to get one of those race machines.

The scope of the mountain bike universe is getting quite vast now days, and I only wonder where it will go in the future. What's next past carbon? Or will it rule the roost for the unforeseable future?

I do know that with the every changing landscape of bikes and parts, one thing is for sure, you never have a lack of new shit to buy.

Here's to that...

G

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recovery

Seems like plenty of people are in the same boat as me after last weekends race. Recoverying from the onslaught that was RIM. Guess I can be fortunate that I came out on pretty unscathed, unlike my buddy Stevey. Apparently he came out with a broken ankle. Oouch...

Trav put me on a pretty cool little product that I was for some reason unware of last week. After having some tight back issues, he mentioned that I should try some Tiger Balm patches. Or something along those lines. These little gems are great. Put one on before bed and wake up feeling much better. I've been patching the ass since it's fall on Sunday, and it's doing much better. The patch seems to loosen it up and allow it to heal faster than without. I've used these and similar ones on anything from my glutes to my back, and I always seem to feel better after using them.


Monday morning I was in the middle of some core workouts before work when I heard a very loud POP! Immediately I was forced into the fetal postition with what felt like a knife in my side. After my wreck at Bump and Grind, I figured I had bruised a rib, or had what's called a rib out. I'm pretty sure it was the rib out, and how it stayed out that long I'm not sure, but that loud pop was surely the rib repositioning itself, and it hurt like hell. Luckily a Tiger patch and a day later, and I was feeling much better.

I want to give a shout out to my latest and greatest sponsor also, Complete Chiropractic in Knob Noster. Doc Yates has been working on me for years, but I took the plunge in asking him for a little more help in the way of a sponsorship. He kindly agreed, and I'm sure this is the beginning of a very good thing. I've noticed my back getting tight during the last few races, which I was sure came from a direct result of not going to the chiro in over a month. He really does do wonders.

Good intervals last night, a nice rest night with some fishing tonight, and then two back to back hard days leading up to the weekend and hopefully some Lost Lua racing action.

Here's to some dry weather...

G

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Tough Go

A real lack of motivation to post lately. The motivation to ride has been steady, but a little funk has arisen.

Bump and Grind didn't go well for me. The pace was sky high to start and just about the time I got settled down sitting in the 8 man lead train, I wrecked my brains out, and lost an immediate 30 seconds. It wasn't easy catching back on but I did... Right before the 4 mile climb. Redlined and needing rest, they lurched forward on me leaving me to fend like the 9th little piggy on an 8 titted sow.

The climb blew me up. I didn't feel it at all. Very unlike me, but the early efforts were unlike any other start. I managed to peddle my way to the finish for a 5th in my age group. I was extremely excited to see that I had also finised 5th overall. But apparently they fucked up the results and I lost 5th overall by less than 15 seconds. Son of a bitch. My time would have put me 5th in the pro class and the winner of my group would have placed 2nd. Some 19 year old ex-pro. Oh well...

KC Cup blew today. At least for me. I had really high hopes as I knew some heavy hitters where going to show. They did. After slamming down a 26, and 27 minute lap on Thursday with some still in the tank I was confident. I was high on power and flossing rim. I can do dry rocks. Today they were wet. I don't do well with wet rocks. Looking back I shoul have run less psi, but I was more worrie about banging my carbons rims I guess.

Pace was conversational to start. I attacked on the grass hill, as I planned. Kent McNeil put a quick move to cut me off into the singletrack, which wasn't part of my plan. Nice move on his part though. Travis pulled a fast one, which would has been nice to know as I could have done the same and we would have been 1-2. I'm stuck behind Mcneil. I make a valient dismount pass on RIM and take the lead ready to track down Travis, and a quarter mile later hit the deck hard.

I landed right on my right ass cheek. Harder than I've ever landed on it. I picked myself up and desperatly jumped on to catch back up. I immediately realized something was wrong, as with every right peddle stroke, sharp pain shot through my right ass cheek and back. No power and my stand and sprint was immobilized.

Rode the rest of the race at half power and full of struggle. Timid on RIM and in deep dark pain the whole way. But I finished. 5th overall and 1st of 3 in my group. People wondered why I wasn't happy with that. It's because when I know I have more than what I was giving, I get pissed. I had the legs, but a stupid mistake took me out of the real race. I wasn't in the right mind to start though, and the slick rocks of rim had me a bit worried. So was the problem. I worried therefore I wrecked. My positive mojo was compromised.

Time to regroup. Bring it back to center. Get the body recovered.

I wanna race the Lou next weekend at Lost Valley. Anyone interested?

G