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Showing posts from 2011

Alley oop oop. Oop. Oop. Oop!

July 3, 2011 - First Annual (hopefuly) Brevard, NC Alley Cat Race.

What a blast! Thirty some odd people (i use odd loosely) including kids, adults, adults who are still kids and in-betweens. This was my first participation in an Alley Cat Race.

Typical alley cat format is basically no format at all. This race consisted of 10 or so check points, each worth a certain amount of points based upon their distance from the starting point. Also in the mix were a number of local landmarks, people and combinations of both that were each worth an additional 3 points each.

Who ever has the most points and returns to the designated finishing area by the cut-off time wins.

My buddy and official H8R, aka ZB, decided he just wanted to follow me for the race since he doesn't know Brevard all that well. Together we sped through Brevard and its outskirts, collected pictures, signed sign in sheets, danced, busted some rhymes, begged, consumed liquid refreshment, obeyed all and any traffic laws, improvis…

TSE - Day 7, the final day

TSE Day 7 – the final day

“I think we worked perty well together”, a quote straight from Cissy. Yeah. We finished. We’re bad. Oh yeah! 7 days! We made it. What an accomplishment. I feel great and I don’t want it to end. It was painful during the entire process but now I want it to continue. I want to have to wake early in the AM and hop on the bike on my sore arse and ride 40+ miles of difficult trails and spend 4 hours suffering. I want to do it again. What in my genetic make up makes me crave such suffering. Why do I enjoy punishing myself? What aspect of suffering gives me pleasure? Don’t know. Uncertain. I do know that I’m in Pennsylvania and they sell beer from the bar in 6 packs and 12 packs and I have a 12 pack of Pennsylvania brewed Yuengling sitting here beside me that probably won’t make it through the night (well at least 6 of them). I just returned from the bar (beer store) with said 12 pack which is extremely celebratory and now my wonderful woman is cooking macaroni and…

TSE Day 6

TSE Day 6

It was actually cold this morning as opposed to the 93 degree heat on Monday. The race start began about 4 miles from the race headquarters base camp. All racers left the base camp and did a slow ride to the start.
The race director said “go” and we went. Cissy and I stayed on the wheels of our only competitors for the first hour and twenty minutes then they pulled away from us on a long downhill. We saw them at the end of the race. Only one of them had taken off their helmet, so we weren’t far behind. Actually, we were only 10 minutes behind…so not too shabby!

The trails today were mostly rocks and some rocks and then a few more rocks. After the first trail of rocks, there were more rocks. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the rocks? The rocks were rideable though and it took fierce concentration to navigate the smoothest line.

We started on a gravel road and quickly entered a forest service road which evolved into double track then single track and finally hike a bike. The hi…

TSE - Day 5

TSE - Day 5

Today was four short xc style races formatted in a rolling ride. All racers rolled out of the staging area at a slow pace until we got to the start then each group raced a short race to the next finish. After all the racers finished, we rode together to the next start and did it all again. Four little races in one large rolling group. Total miles were only 28 or so. It was a very relaxed stage and most of the lead riders sorta took it easy. Since the individual races were so short, most leaders didn't have to worry about losing much time in the overall standings. It was a fun format.

Cissy and i did our best in the rocky terrain, passing a lot of people who obviously don't ride Pisgah or Pennsylvania often enough to scurry over the rocks quickly. Cissy saw a huge rattlesnake on the side of the gravel road in between two race stages. We started and finished at R. B. Winter State Park. It seemed like a nice place. Lake, beach, pavilions, camping sites etc.

Not much mo…

TSE day 4

TSE Hump Day – Day 4.

It was day 4 of 7 today so only 3 stages remaining. Once again, as predicted, we gained on our sole competitors. Our course today consisted of Tsali like trails mostly on contour following the edge of Raystown Lake. We had two twenty ish mile laps to complete. Today we gained 6500’ in 42 miles. Yesterday we gained less but it hurt more because the climbs were continuous. Today we had 42 miles of fun rolling-dip-grade, side hill bench cut, machine made trails much similar in fashion to the trails at Dupont State Forest and that worn out place known as Tsali. This course made us smile. We laughed and had a lot of fun.

The race started with a controlled start from a paved road at lakes edge. We had to pedal about ½ mile up an 8-10% grade then into the single track. Cissy and I started a little too hard and had to back up off of it for just a tad. We shortly got into a good rhythm and started to gain on who ever we saw ahead of us. There was only one aid station toda…

TSE - Day 3

TSE Day 3 – Gravel, gravel, gravel.

We rode a lot of gravel if you didn’t infer that by the title of today’s review. Our plan was to start slow and maintain a good pace then go faster if we could. Again, I was the weak link, but not as bad as yesterday. The heat is beating me down. I poured every third bottle of water on my head and neck to try and keep my temperature down. It helped a bunch. Bla.

What we saw today came straight out of an issue of National Geographic. Green everywhere. Solitude in the forest is what we witnessed as we climbed for a total of 5300’ in 49 miles. It was hard to imagine how some of the climbs kept going. We’d round a turn and think we were at the top but the next turn revealed more up. It seemed to never stop. Most of the climbs were along mountain streams. We also had quite a bit of shade (thank God). Some of the streams were misting upwards towards the road bed and you would occasionally get a cool treat from the water. The route took us through Coburn, PA…

Trans Sylvania Epic - Day 2

TSE Day 2 - Welcome to PA’s finest.

Today hurt. 43 miles, aw shucks - that’s not so far! Well heck, I can ride that far at the drop of a hat... but not on rocky Pennsylvania single track. For those familiar with the rock garden near bottom of Pilot Rock Trail, Pisgah National Forest N.C., – take that and spread it out on 15-20 miles of single track. The rocks weren’t as big and loose as on Pilot, but they seemed constant. Most all of the trail was rideable but throw in the 90 degree heat, steep gravel climbs and 15 extra pounds around the midsection and you have a prime candidate for the sag wagon. Oh yeah, I’m teamed up with Cynthia T. Fowler. I didn’t realize that the “T” stands for tenacious and there was no pity party for me on the trail today. I wanted to stop several times but I was provoked by a cheerful voice that kept reminding me of earlier days, when I was actually in shape and actually prepared for a ride like this. She never let me stop. I am thankful for that. I went thr…

Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic -day 1.

Pre prologue. Tired. Heavy legs. Nervous. Why? Don’t know. What you scared of? Don’t know. Actually not much unless I’m nervous. Belly full of nerves. Here for fun. This isn’t fun. This is nerve racking. Soaking up all my energy. Instead of into the pedals it’s into my head. Want to be here until I’m here. Then it’s easy to be somewhere else in my mind, but not physically. I need to be here now. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. For me. For Cissy. It’s dangerous not to be here. I’ve checked out. Gotta check back in by 2:30, when the race starts. Then we have 1:30 minutes before Cissy and I start our prologue. I’m racing against nobody but my head. Basket case. I’ve raced 100’s of times. Nothing on the line. This is supposed to be relaxed and easy. I’m so nervous I almost wish I was working. Gotta break through this nervous energy before it consumes all my good calories and mental energy for the prologue. This is what we do. Why? I guess it’s what we know. I’ve raced in this area twic…

Snake Creek Gap Time Trial #3_March_2011

Snake Creek Gap #3
33.18 miles/Max speed 43/3.55 time/8.5 avg
Race review

*Big props to Austin Parsons for keeping my mountain bike in top notch shape! Not one occasion of chain suck in 34 miles of sticky, all encompassing, North Georgia chocolate. Thanks Austin!

My hopes and dreams of Pinhoti trail in pristine form washed away thanks to 12 hours of pre-race rain. Muddy was the trail but not soggy as one month prior. In February’s race the snow and ice melt had settled into the first few inches of soil creating a spongy type surface…much like wet sand. In yesterday’s race there was only an inch of slop atop a solid base of Northwest GA soil. The conditions, although undesirable, were not quite as miserable as a month ago.

My goal for this race was to knock 30 minutes off my previous time. That may seem like a lofty goal but considering my lack of training for the first race it was obtainable. With four semi-dedicated weeks between races, there was enough time to shed a few pounds of…

Snake Creek Gap time trial #2

Snake Gap Creek time trial – race 2, Feb. 5, 2011
First race of the season, and I hurt. It’s been a long comfortatble winter……on the sofa. “On the sofa” can be used like “between the sheets” in fortune cookie lingo but it’s not a good phrase to describe your fitness.
This race made me feel as if I were “just off the sofa”. At least I’m headed in the right direction.
Snake Gap Creek is run on the PInhoti trail in Northwest Georgia. Being from GA I’ve ridden most of the trails, but not the Pinhoti. It opened up after I fled for WNC (Western North Carolina) in 2004.
The route was a 34 mile point to point race with about 4,000 feet of climbing, per some unknown rider on the bus who seemed to know what he was talking about with exception of the rocky section of trail near races end.
As a self designated “seasoned racer” I leave my mind open to all trail suggestions, hints, pointers, etc. however, I put those pointers in the back of my head until I get to the spot referenced then I make my …