March 22, 2013

A Weekend of Road Racing

Last weekend, (March 16-17) a few of the team hit up some road races as prep for the upcoming mountain bike season.

Jeff headed south to Virginia Beach to do two crits in what turned out to be very nice weather.  Day 1 was in the mid-70s and day 2 was cold, but dry.  Results were good too, finishing second and third in the P/1/2/3 field.

Day 1 - Shamrock Crit P/1/2/3 Results 
Shamrock P/1/2/3 podium - the dog wins!
Post-day 1 cleanup
Stuffitts in the helmet, gloves and shoes to get the sweat dried out from the 70 degree temperatures and removing any stink for day two of racing
Day 2 Results - Sleepyhole Smackdown P/1/2/3 Crit Results
 Nick was in the much, much colder north to a road race and crit.  He won the crit on Sunday!

Nick wins well off the front of the field
- Jeff

March 15, 2013

Shootout at Anglers Ridge 2013 - Race Report

Shootout on Angler's Ridge
Danville, VA
Virginia State Championship
Jeff: 6th Pro
Dylan: 9th Pro

Last weekend (March 11) 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.   While the registration process was a difficult one (USA Cycling's registration is difficult to use and not using, which is the default registration process for the Mid-Atlantic area, probably led to lower turnout overall), the open/pro field was fairly large and also included a number of Cat 1 riders.  Fast guys Jeremiah Bishop  (showing up just after picking up second in the US Pro XCT event),  Rob Marion, Connor Bell (top 10 result in a UCI World Cup junior event last year), Keck Baker and others came out for great weather and a dry course.

Loading up the car at 5am (it felt like 4am due to the time change)

The organizers ran the course in the opposition direction from years past, which had the unfortunate effect of eliminating a prologue which could shake out the field before hitting the first singletrack.  We were left with a narrow chute and only a small stretch of pavement before hitting singletrack with limited or no passing opportunities for the first mile or so.

Prior to the start (new Conti X-King tires on my bike)
Dylan and I lined up early, but were swarmed as the starting gun went off.  Dylan hit the singletrack around 12th and I was back in 18th.  Connor Bell got the hole-shot and proceeded use the clear air at the front to ride away from the field (behind him, Bishop had a slew of chain problems).

After working my way around lots of other riders, I eventually got up to Dylan's wheel.  We were both suffering a bit in the hot weather (relatively hot - we've been training in 30 degree temperatures, and it was over 70 at the race start).  I kept going on a course that suited my riding style (short, punchy climbs) and passed eventual second place finisher, Rob Marion.  After some more work, I could see the lead group of 5

Just as I was going to make contact with the leaders, I caught my handlebar on a tree.  Dropped me on the ground, a bit stunned, and my bike ended up off the trail in a ravine.  By the time I got back up and riding, Marion had passed me and the leaders were 25 seconds up the trail.  I never got that 25 seconds back and was left to ride basically on my own for the next hour and forty-five minutes...

We did 4 laps of the course and I caught one of the lead group in the third lap and was catching another at the end of the third lap, when the heat really started to get to me; that and hitting another tree.  Ouch.

Eventually, I ended up 6th, 1 minute down on 5th.  Dylan passed a bunch of riders in the last lap to finish 9th.  Results are available here.  That was a hard day for my first mtb race of the year.

Here's my ride data:

March 14, 2013

A Big Thank You to fi'zi:k!

Thank you to fi'zi:k for helping out our team this year with some great saddles!  We'll be riding the Gobi XM and Tundra 2 this year.  

If you see one of the team, ask them how great these saddles are and how comfortable they can be for all types of riding.

- Jeff

A Rainy and Wet First Weekend Of Racing - Thanks to Stuffits For Keeping Me Dry!

Date: February 23 &; 24
Events: William &; Mary Road Race / MonsterCross
Location: Williamsburg, VA / Chesterfield, VA
Riders: Jeff (road race & MonsterCross), Dylan (MonsterCross), Zack (MonsterCross)
Result: Jeff - Road Race - 5th (Pro/1/2), MonsterCross - 7th (Pro); Dylan 9th (Pro) MonsterCross; Zack - 12th (Pro) MonsterCross

I headed to Williamsburg, VA for my season opener on February 23 at the William & Mary University Tidewater Classic Road Race.  The 3 hour drive south from Arlington wasn't confidence inspiring as the temperature never got much above 41 degrees Fahrenheit and it was pouring rain.  I lined up for the start of the Pro/1/2 road race with 37 other poor souls, all shivering in the cold and wet.

A wet start - traveling to Williamsburg with both road and mountain bikes

Luckily for us, the rain stopped as soon as we got moving and the pace remained high; high enough that I stripped down to just a jersey, armwarmers and kneewarmers.  Off the bat, two riders rode away from the field.  I was content to let them go (as one of them was a friend).  On the third of four laps, I got a bit bored with the pace and started attacking a bit to keep the tempo high and to bring back a few riders who had gotten a bit of a gap on the field and were starting to chase down the breakaway.

I did just enough to keep the field strung out and chasing, but not enough to catch my friend in the break. But, just before the finishing few miles, a group of four got up the road.  In the final, chaotic sprint, I caught one of the break and was just reeling in others when I ran out of time.  I finished 5th.  Here are results.

A very wet race.

I immediately went back to my car and put my Stuffitts glove, shoe and helmet drying pads in to get them ready for the next day of racing.  These are great things to keep cycling items dry and smelling great (like cedar):

Drying everything out with helmet, glove and shoe pads.  Everything was perfect to wear for the next day's event after leaving them in overnight

Here's the data for the race:

I hoped that I left enough in the tank for the MonsterCross the next day.

Sunday morning was nice and sunny - a perfect day for a race.  The racecourse was mostly dirt fire-road, so it wasn't terribly muddy.  The worst mud of the day was in the start finish area.

At the start  - photo courtesy of Courtney Cotton
More than 500 people registered for the 50 mile long MonsterCross - it's one of the bigger events in the area - and it combines a course that suits either a mountain bike or a cross bike.  The mountain bike corners better, but the cross bike is better in the straight-aways and paved sections.

This was Zack's first race after a two broken collar bones kept him off the bike late last year.

The race was to have started with a neutral start for the 35+ strong Pro field, but some hadn't gotten the message (and the guy who was to lead us out's motorcycle was broken), so we had a blistering start through the parking lot to the course.  Dylan got a great start and was one of the first onto the trail.

Dylan right on Jeremiah Bishop's wheel  - photo courtesy of Courtney Cotton
Both Zack and I were caught off guard by the start and had to work our way through the field.  I latched onto the lead group of 8 (6 guys on cross bikes and two on mountain bikes) and we started to put time on the rest of the pack.  Dylan had some chain-drop issues (since solved after moving to SRAM's XX1 setup) and fell off the lead.

Despite stopping quickly to remove a stick from my rear derailleur, I couldn't regain the lead group and they rode away.  I fell back a bit to the chase group that contained Dylan and 6 others.

Dylan had some continued chain issues and our group eventually whittled down to just three: me, Gripped Racing's Kevin Carter and the US Military Cycling Team's David Flaten.  We three proceeded to try and chase down the leaders with renewed strength.  Flaten bonked going into the second 25 mile loop.

Jeff - 20 miles in and heading out for lap #2  - photo courtesy of Courtney Cotton
Dylan - heading out for lap #2  - photo courtesy of Courtney Cotton
Zack - heading out for lap #2 - photo courtesy of Courtney Cotton
Heading out into lap #2
Kevin and I worked well together - taking turns pulling at the front at a lactate threshold pace - eventually chasing down one of the leaders and closing in on others before hitting the finish.

Jeff leading Kevin
We sprinted for the line and I had just a bit more snap left in my legs to take 7th.

A very fun day.

Results can be found here.

Eventual winner of the MonsterCross, Jeremiah Bishop, went on to take second place the next weekend at the opening US Pro XCT event in Texas, so I don't feel too badly about placing well behind him!

And, here's my ride data from Strava:

- Jeff

Pisgah Gods

Check out Sam's article in this month's Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine:

March 04, 2013

Day of trailwork in pictures

Jeff and Mike helping to construct some new trails around Schaeffer Farms in Germantown, MD

Hiking in to the new whoop-de-doo section of trails
Laying down pavers to prevent erosion
Testing the lines
We worked with Dave McGill on construction
Adding a new section to Schaeffer Farms' Red trail
We found a downed pilot
Looks like he ejected straight out of the canopy of the remote controlled plane
A little fun riding some underpasses after a day of digging

A well deserved ride on Seneca Ridge

Taking a picture of a picture

We saw a few of these Hooded Merganser ducks at Clopper Lake - first time seeing them  - very cool looking heads
Ride data from Strava: