April 27, 2012

Roundup from the weekend of April 21-22 - H2H Chainstretcher; Camp Hilbert Series

Over the past weekend of April 21-22, 2012, the team went several directions given the washout at the MASS series event at Fair Hill.  Aaron, John, and Ross headed to the H2H series event, the Chainstretcher, at Blue Mountain, in Peekskill, NY, Jeff headed south to the VA Mountain Bike Super Series event, at Pocohantas State Park outside Richmond, VA and Dylan headed to a hilly road race in Waynesburg, PA.  

Weather conditions over the weekend were not ideal for most of us, with temperatures in the 40s and rain.

My event at Pocohontas was far south enough on Saturday that the weather was still sunny and warm.

Just before the start - still sunny and warm in Richmond, VA
The race consisted of two laps of a 10 mile circuit through some of the most twisty singletrack imaginable.  It was hard to keep up a steady pace as every turn meant a new sprint to keep up speed.  Matt Bailey (a pro from Yorktown, VA) and I rode away from the rest of the field and stayed together for the duration.  Every turn and slight rise was a new attack.  Matt usually beats me by 2-3 minutes, so I was happy to stay with him, though he beat me by a half a wheel in the final sprint at the finish.

Jeff - podium (2nd)
Pro category results
Results are available here.  And, here's the ride data from Strava.com:

Right after the race, I put on my awesome Medilast Relax socks to promote recovery (I haven't had sore legs post-race or hard training ride since I started using these consistently after races and at work) and made the 3.5 hour drive to volunteer at my adventure racing team's event in the Shenandoah Valley area, the Rev2 Epic Adventure, a 24+ hour adventure race involving kayaking, mountain biking, trekking and tons of orienteering. 

Long drives require some attention to your legs for optimum recovery

I manned a transition area/checkpoint area near the summit of Massanutten Mountain from 8:00pm Saturday night through 9:00am on Sunday.  No sleep was not the best recovery post-race, but it was good to see so many people coming through the transition area in good spirits.  It was cold (in the low 40s), but at least the rain held off until around 7:00am.

Here's a shot of the winning team in the transition area around 4:00am (my team, the Rev3-Mountain Khakis team):

My adventure racing team at 4:00am - they'd been racing since 7:30am the prior day...
Aaron, John and Ross were in Peekskill, NY for the opening race in the H2H series.  The rain held off at the start of the event, but started to come down during the race making the course slick and covered with mud that had a peanut butter consistency.

The start
John - before the rain started pouring down
Aaron crushed the competition, winning by nearly 5 minutes over second in the pro category.  Ross and John finished mid-field in their opening race of the season, finishing 11th and 12th.

Results are available here.

Dylan raced the 72 mile Category 3/4 men's event at the Green County Road Race in rainy and cold conditions.  Due to the small fields, his race was combined with the Pro/1/2 event.  The race was very selective, with only  a few riders making it to the finish.  

Climbing in the rain
Dylan finished third in the final field sprint and was so cold he skipped warming down to head to the car to get on warm clothes before hopping on the podium.

Dylan in third
Next on tap for the team this coming weekend is the Greenbrier Challenge, the opening race in the Mid Atlantic Regional Championship series, in Maryland, Michaux Maximus, a rocky and tough 40 mile event in Pennsylvania, and the Cohutta 100, the opening event in the National Ultra Endurance series, in Tennessee.  Lots of races!

- Jeff

April 18, 2012

Post Race Cleanup with Stuffits

After the long race last weekend, I needed to get the stink out of my helmet and dry out my shoes from lots of sweat.

I've been using my Stuffits helmet, shoe and glove portable drying solutions this year to control any bad smells and to keep things dry.

The helmet drying pad fits perfectly into a helmet and the shoe dryers are an easy fit as well.

They imbue your cycling clothing with a nice cedar scent. The next time I put on my Limar helmet, I know its going to smell great.  Plus, as an added side benefit, my bike room smells great!

Highly recommended for summertime use.

- Jeff

Greenbrier Trail Work Day

On April 15, the day after this past weekend's 13 hour Baker's Dozen race, Mike and I headed to Greenbrier State Park to do some trail work with the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE) to get things ready for the upcoming Greenbrier Challenge on April 29.

I wasn't very coherent during the trail work, mostly because I was running on 4 hours of sleep and a major calorie deficit.  Luckily, the trail work organizers brought tons of sugary doughnuts - I ate a lot...
Yum, doughnuts!
We headed out into the woods to trim back huge brier patches that were threatening to engulf the trails, build some waterbars and create better run off for streams.  It was about 4 hours of work, just enough for me for the day.

The trail crew
Mike hacking away at briers

Building some new waterbars to divert rainflow on a steep section of trail
I was surprised how good my legs felt especially given the long race the day before.  I want to attribute it to the Medilast Recovery Socks I was wearing.  My legs felt as if I hadn't raced at all the day before (my head and lungs were a different matter - if I'd gotten on a bike, I might have fallen asleep while riding).
Jeff sleepwalking
It was good to work on the trails and I hope everyone enjoys the rocks, roots, streams and lots of climbing the race will bring!

- Jeff

Baker's Dozen 13 Hour Relay Race - 2012 Race Report

I headed to Leesburg, Virginia this past weekend for the 6th Annual Leesburg Baker's Dozen 13 hour race on April 14.  I've done each edition of this event and for the past 5 years, raced with my friend Terri Spanogle in the co-ed duo event.  We've had good results, finishing in the top 3 a few times.

Two years ago, I took a light fall that resulted in some traumatic knee damage and me not being able to walk for about a month:

Left knee and leg were about 4 times normal size
Our main competition has been Kris Auer and Amy Breyla of the C3 team.  They beat us soundly last year and we were hoping to return the favor this year.

2012's course was run in a clockwise direction and it was fast, dry and dusty.  Perfect!  About 500 racers attended the event which made for a lot of dust on the 8-9 mile loop trail.

My goal was to get out in front on the first lap and do two fast laps right away before handing the baton off to Terri.  We would then do one on, one off laps for a few hours before doing double laps each to give the other some rest time.  This plan worked out great.

I ended up going into the woods second (and we had a bit of a gap just 5 seconds into the event):

I rode in a group of three for the first lap, along with this past winter's training companion Kevin Carter (who was racing solo) and we had a good gap over fourth place when we rolled back in to the start/finish area.

Kevin and I continued on to do a second lap and we really opened up the gas after we'd gotten warmed up on the first lap.  We rode together to the finish on that second lap and Kevin recorded the fastest lap of the day (Kevin went on to ride incredibly fast all day, turning in an amazing 21 laps, or nearly 200 miles).

Terri headed out for her first lap and I got a bit of rest.  We were camped with the Spokes Etc. and Wicked Wash folks, which turned out to be an awesome place to be.  We were right at the start and I got my bike washed by the Wicked Wash guys (the stuff works great, by the way - I'd highly recommend checking it out - it cleans your bike with little or no effort on your part) after the dust grew heavy on my bike.

My friends on the Juggernaut team pulled out one of the funniest things I've ever seen at a mountain bike race.  They hired a mime to come to the event and wear one of the tshirts and sent him to heckle (can a mime heckle?) other teams.  I'm still laughing about it days afterward.  The kids at the race seemed to enjoy the mime, but I think other teams were non-plussed...

Terri and I continued swapping laps for a few hours, according to plan.

I was getting the precursor to some leg cramps because there wasn't enough space on the course to drink properly.  I always drink nuun when mountain bike or road racing to ward off cramping (I've stopped having issues since switching to nuun), but I wasn't getting enough during my laps.  I drank bottles of it during the day and eventually I got enough and the cramps went away entirely and I was able to keep standing and sprinting up each of the small power climbs.

Just before dark began to fall, Terri and I switched back to one on, one off laps again to keep up some speed in the last 3.5 hours of the race.

We thought we were about 10 minutes in the lead, but the promoters had been having some glitches with their timing system (due to people coming too close to the timing recording system when going to check out results), so we weren't 100% sure.

I figured Terri had 2 laps to go at this point and I had about 3.  On the last lap before dark, I caught up with Ian Spivak (another super fast guy who I trained with this past winter).  The two of us pushed each other to ride a fast lap in search of Kevin.  We eventually found him as he was fixing a flat.  Once he was done with his repair, we drilled it to finish of the lap.  It was good to be riding with people I know and it kept the speed high.

Night hit and I waited for my first night lap.

While I was waiting, I Amy Breyla pass by and Terri finished her lap 3 minutes later saying that Amy had passed her.  We were in second place!  I charged out to chase down Kris Auer.  It took me three or four miles to catch and pass him.

Riding that hard so late in the day (we'd been racing for more than 11 hours at this point) was hard, but I like chasing people...  I put a few more minutes on him before finishing my lap and Terri headed out for her last lap at 9:00 pm.  We had to start our last lap of the day by 10:00pm

Amy caught and passed Terri and we were back in second.  I had 2-3 minutes to catch up on the last lap of the night. I had hoped we would not have to sprint out the last lap of the day, but I was ready for it.

My legs were feeling better as the day went on (possibly from drinking so much nuun and wearing my Medilast Recovery Socks between laps - those socks are incredible).  It took me a half lap to catch Kris and we ended up winning by about 2 minutes. (Kris' light apparently fell off after I passed him.)

I was happy to have won this event after a number of tries.  Conditions were awesome, the people at the race were awesome and this is a very fun event that I'd recommend to anyone, beginner to expert.  If you want to get someone interested in mountain biking, have them come to the race to just hang around the team pits.  They'll want a mountain bike...

Here's the ride data:

- Jeff

April 17, 2012

Dylan Wins the April 15, 2012 Michaux Trail Cup

Dylan traveled to the rocky Michaux state forest last weekend and won the 50 mile Micheaux Trail Cup event (a MASS series endurance race).

He and Chris Beck (Team CF) drilled it at the start, but Beck flatted about 10 miles into the race and Dylan was alone from there to the finish.

Dylan finished more than 16 minutes up on second place and 19 minutes up on Beck (who was third).

At the start

Photo Courtesy of Tori Sulewski of Winglessdog Photography

Photo Courtesy of Tori Sulewski of Winglessdog Photography

Photo Courtesy of Tori Sulewski of Winglessdog Photography
Post race
Solid winner's trophy!
Here's an interview following his win:

Results are available here.

Next up is the Camp Hilbert event outside Richmond and Bike Line's Fair Hill event in Maryland.

- Jeff

April 06, 2012

Dylan 2nd at SERC Race #2

Race: SERC #2
Location: Bryson City, NC
Date: April 1
Rider: Dylan Johnson
Place: 2nd - Cat 1

While taking a week to go college hunting in the southeast, Dylan hit up the 2012 US Cup East / South Eastern Regional Championship Series (SERC) / AMBC #2 - Knobscorcher on the Tsali Trails in Bryson City , NC and placed second in the Cat 1 19+ age group (he was racing up a category as he's 17 years old).

Dylan going for the holeshot at the start

Flying on the singletrack

Second place podium
Results are available here.

- Jeff

April 02, 2012

Giving Back - Trail Work

This past Saturday (March 31, 2012), Mike and I headed to Montgomery County, MD to put in a few hours of work on the construction of the new Seneca Bluffs trail through the Seneca Creek watershed.

If you've ever ridden the IMBA Epic in Montgomery County, the MoCo Epic loop, you'll know that the last few miles between the C&O Canal and the trailhead at Schaeffer Farms are on road.  We had a great winter riding the trails that are maintained by MORE and others, and we figured we'd give a little back in return.

The trail that we were helping to construct will mostly eliminate that road section.  We started from the Darnstown road side of the trail and headed south -  others had already constructed a large portion of the trail heading north in the opposite direction.  Our job was to work to connect the two trails.

We were working with 10-15 other people from the Seneca Creek State Park, MORE, and local equestrian clubs.  It was a good mix of folks interested in building the trail.

Post work scones - yum!
It turned out to be a perfect day for working in the woods; not too hot and low humidity.  Given my desk job, I immediately got some bad blisters while hacking out large rocks from the trail route.

While digging up rocks, we ran across a number of large black and yellow-spotted salamanders.  Mike removed them from the trail site.

The trail, once finished, will run next to a waterfall and near a lot of rock outcrops.

After 4 hours of work, Mike and I headed off for a few miles on the recently constructed Seneca Ridge trail.

It was just constructed last year and it looks like it's been there for years.  It's now packed down and very fast.  Five an a half hours of work was probably not the best for me as I was headed to the Jefferson Cup road race the next day, but it was still a lot of fun.

Next up is to help Mike pick up trash on a section of road the Frederick Bicycle Coalition has adopted.

- Jeff