March 30, 2012

Tuscarora Mtb Enduro - Dylan 2nd in first MASS series event of 2012

Race: Tuscarora Mtb Enduro, March 25, 2012
Rider: Dylan Johnson
Conditions: Rain and mud

Last Sunday, Dylan placed 2nd in a close finish at the Tuscarora Mountain Bike Endurance Race, a multi-lap endurance race.  Despite the rain and muddy trail conditions, there was a solid turn-out.

Prior to the start
At the gun

Dylan at the front

Dylan completed 6 laps and finished just under 2 minutes off first place overall to finish second overall.

Trail conditions were not ideal:

Post-race face
However, the trophies were unique.

A new hatchet trophy to take home
Congratulations on a great start to the MASS endurance series season!

Full results, including lap times, are available here.

We've also been doing some road racing as of late in preparation for the mtb season that's just now getting underway.  Aaron was 3rd in a criterium in Philly and I got 3rd in a circuit race in Maryland, 5th in a road race in Virginia and 7th in a criterium in Virginia.

- Jeff

March 16, 2012

Shootout on Angler's Ridge 2012 - Race Report

Shootout on Angler's Ridge
Danville, VA
Virginia State Championship
Dylan, 2nd Cat 1 19-29
Dylan, 1st Cat 1 Junior (Virginia State Champion)
Mike, 2nd Pro
Jeff, 3rd Pro

Last weekend (March 11) Mike, Dylan and I drove the 4 hours down to Danville from the DC area early  Sunday morning to race the Shootout at Angler's Ridge.  The pro prize list was huge and drew a great field.  The organizers also had great prizes for Cat 1 and 2 field (both senior and junior categories).  The pro field was fast with Jeremiah Bishop  (showing up just before heading to South Africa for the UCI World Cup opener), Master's World Champion Scott Frederick, Rob Marion, Ryan Fawley, Kevin Carter and Ian Spivak.

Jeff and Mike waiting for the start
Danville is nearly 100% singletrack with lots of twists and turns and short, power climbs.

This year's weather was similar to last year; the first real weekend of warm spring weather.  It was so good to get outside and not have to wear arm warmers, leg warmers, undershirt, vest, etc., etc.

Mike was on his new 2012 Scale 29er. It must be 5 pounds lighter than his training bike! (Mostly because he wasn't carrying all the gear needed for long training rides and switched to the Scale carbon frame, light wheels, tires and fork.)

The pro race started fast (as expected) with everyone following JB (as expected) for the three lap race.  The pace wasn't exceptionally high, but fast enough to split the field and I found myself in a group of seven, with two Champion System guys, two American Classic guys, a roadie from the DC area (Keck Baker) and JB.   
Bishop leading the group at the end of the first lap
At the start of the second lap, JB attacked and Keck started blocking.  I  bridged across the 10 second gap, latched onto his wheel and we rode away from the rest of the field.  
At the start of the second lap
At this point, Mike was picking riders off left and right and generally riding faster than just about anyone out there.  You can read his race report here:

I held JB's wheel for the next few miles and we rode away from the rest of the field.  I could see other riders trying to bridge up to us, but they were off in the distance.

I finally fell off the pace after being gapped on a flat section leading to a steep climb.  I sat up to recover and after a minute, looked back to see Mike coming up the climb behind me, following Keck.  Awesome!  And nobody else was in sight.

I waited up for Mike and Keck, then put in a little dig through a twisty singletrack section.  Mike eventually passed Keck on a steep climb, rode up to me and went flying by.  I don't think he was even breathing hard...

Mike pulled back time on JB in the last 3 miles and got within a few switchbacks of him on a climb, but JB saw him coming and turned the gas back on.  Mike finished second, about 40 seconds back and I came in 30 seconds later for third.
Mike finishing second

Pro Men Podium - Mike Second, Jeff Third
Pro Men Results
Dylan's start saw him getting into the singletrack last of 20 riders in the 19-29 Cat 1 field after a brief mechanical issue.
Dylan at the start
He picked off people left and right and worked his way up to second in the 19-29 field, finishing behind Connor Bell, who is on form for this coming weekend's World Cup opening event in South Africa. 
Dylan - Second - Cat 1 19-29
Dylan - Second - Cat 1 19-29 Virginia State Championships
Cat 1 19-29 Results
Dylan also won the junior Cat 1 race and became the Cat 1 junior Virginia Champion.  An awesome result given his start and having to pass so many other riders. 
Dylan - Junior Cat 1 Virginia State Champion
Junior Cat 1 results
Dylan wasn't even tired at the finish and proceeded to drag us (well, mostly me - everyone else seemed to want to ride more too) out on more singletrack after the race...

A great start to the season!

Also, a big thanks to Mike, Dylan, Ian Spivak and Kevin Carter for riding with me all winter.  It's great to have a group of fast riders for 5, 6, 7, even 9 hour rides in the dead of winter.

After the event, Mike and I went out to check out the cool trailwork that had been done this past year.  Most impressive were the bridges constructed over streams. Each had the trail name cut into it. 

I talked with the bridge builder after the race and he recommended a few things to make a good mtb bridge:
  • Never have a bridge start downhill - all of his bridges were arched so riders were riding uphill as they got on the bridge.
  • Use rounded, not flat, wood to construct the bridge deck and use a chainsaw to cut "sipes" into the wood to channel water and give grip to tires
If you want to check out some great bridge work, head to Danville to ride their trails.  And, if you want to learn how to build proper bridges, contact the SVMBA (you can see photos of the bridge work on their site) who can put you in touch with their top bridgework guy.

Here's race data from Strava:

Next up for me is a bit of local road racing.

- Jeff

March 05, 2012

Prestaratchet from Prestacycle recently ran a glowing review of the Prestaratchet from Prestacycle.

This is a great tool to bring with you on your training rides or include in your kit for races.  You get just about every tool you can need in the field in a small, compact package, it weighs next to nothing, and it works.

Check it out!