Monday, February 22, 2010

This Post is Brought to you by the letter W.

W for win or for weak? A little of both. I was more than a little worried headed to Florida Friday morning. The painful chest and cough I had developed on Wed. was getting more persisitant and I had taken Wed. off from riding due to crummy feeling legs. However, I was signed up and everybody was fired up to go. So I went. Robert, Joel, and I left around 6AM on Fri. morning so we could get a good spot to set up camp on the course. We got down to Bellview around 12:30 and got set up in the same spot as last year. Worked fine then so why change anything right? We got 2 1/2 hrs. in on the course and called it a day. Same course as last year. I ran a 34 X 17T last year and although it felt a little tough, decided to run it again this year. The legs were OK pre-riding, I took one lap easy, then did a hot lap to open up the legs. After this, the legs were good but the lungs were crap, with a painful cough and headache. I was worried.
We got dinner at the same Mexican Joint as always, then groceries ( with lots of TheraFlu and Vitamin C) and headed back to camp. After a steaming cup of TheraFlu I headed off to sleep. Or so I thought. There were of course some Idiots raising Hell all night keeping everyone awake. I think one of my competitors must have stayed in a motel and had his buddies stay up all night to keep people awake. After much yelling from other people, the jerks finally quieted down and I got some much needed sleep.
I awoke to my teammates Bill and Jeremy hollering at me about 8AM to get up and bring the pain. I had the pain alright- just all over myself. I felt terrible. So I went and hollered some things at the guys that were loud last night. They looked at me and quickly turned away as everyone in our area now hated them. I planned on putting ants in their sleeping bags on Sat. night. After a breakfast of more TheraFlu and oatmeal I started to feel better. I slowly got ready and before I knew it it was time to drop off my bike in the transition area and head to the start line. I was lacking the energy to stand at the start so I sat on a rock wanting to sleep until the stat line got busy. I lined up and we were off.
I had a decent run, got into the trail in around 15th. Moving up past the prerequisite guys that run really fast then blow up 5 min. in, I found myself in the top 10, in 1st solo. I stayed here for a few hours, then started feeling really bad. The sickness was catching up- my lungs were killing me, my headache made me think my eyes were going to fall out, and I couldn't focus very well with my eyes. I started making dumb mistakes. The 34 X 17 was feeling way taller than last year. I pulled into the pit after the 5th lap and decided that I was doing more damage to myself than it was worth. However, I was still in 1st by a large margin. After hacking up some quarter sized phlegm, I grabbed a coke and rolled out for one more easy lap. It was a fast one. As were the next 5 laps. I had begun to feel a little better. With a steady diet of Perpetum and TheraFlu, I lapped 2nd place halfway through. I have a theory as to why I "felt better". It's all about balance of pain. In the beginning my head and lungs were hurting from being sick while my legs felt fine. Unbalanced pain. So I noticed the pain and dwelled on it. Toward the middle, the rest of my body caught up with the lungs and head and then everything hurt. Balanced pain. I could then concentrate on riding. Everything was fine. I was now 1 1/2 laps up on 2nd Singlespeed and 5th overall. I could have stopped early but decided to put the exclamation point on it ( and I wanted to go over 120 miles) so I rolled out for a last lap. With that done, it was over. Team Cafe:ine (formerly known as Team Terrapin) had won SS Solo 12 Hr (me), 2 man Team 12 Hr (Bill and Jeremy), and Sport Solo 12Hr.(Andrew). Congrats to Joel as well for pulling out a 5th in his first ever solo 12 hr!Not bad for the first race of the year. Now- to get well then get some much needed training in. After collapsing by the fire for awhile, I got changed, we all got our awards, and we rolled out to find a hotel.
Although I had a sub standard ride, a win is a win and I'll take it. Next up- Rouge Roubaix on March 7th. That one should be epic and I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Niner Air 9 Carbon Review

I have a couple hundred miles on the bike now and it's clear that some precautions need to be made. The Air 9 is so stiff and light that my reaction time can't keep up. Any input on the pedals results in instantaneous highway speed acceleration. It's like the powerband on a YZ250 kicking in. Fortunately, the handling is razor sharp so any control issues at high speed are handled with ease. Nevertheless I have decided that more protection is needed if I have an altercation at top speed. Therefore, I'll only be riding this baby with my motorcross gear on from now on.
All jokes aside- this bike is really impressing me. The faster I go, the faster the bike wants to be pushed. I'll have a long distance review to post after this weekend's 12 hr. I should be very aquainted with it by then!

That's right

Snowball's Chance in Hell

We got snow here Friday night. Snow at the beach- never thought I'd see that. This winter has been the worst winter I can remember. The winters were milder when I lived in Brevard! The wind hasn't dropped under 10mph for at least 3 months. We normally are over 60 degrees now and have had several days in the high 70's. We haven't been out of the 40's for the most part. Sure we've had a couple of 50's- with 30 mph wind all day! I wonder if we'll have a milder summer this year? Hope so! Yeah, yeah- I know- quit being a crybaby- there are guys that can't even ride their bikes till April. Yes, but they made a choice to live in Wisconsin, or Michigan, or wherever in the far reach of retardia they live. I live here for the mild winter and year round riding. Anyways, looking for good weather this weekend as I head down to Ocala, FL for the 12 Hrs of Santos. Always one of my favorite races and I always do well there. I'm looking to repeat last year's win. We'll see how it goes- I haven't been riding anywhere near as well as last year, but ya never know what will happen on race day. I've had some of my best days when I thought I had crummy legs and some of my worst days when the legs felt good! That's the funny thing about bike racing- you never know how you are gonna ride till you are in the race.
Anyways- I'm going to ride a ton of laps on a fun course in sunny warm weather on a new bike so I can't complain! I can't wait to see how the new Niner Air 9 Carbon rides over 12 Hrs. I have an idea- and it involves the chiropractor on Monday but we'll see. Regardless, the bike is blazing fast and will be tempting me to push it faster.
Here's some pics from the ride on Sat: Snow on my palm tree, one of the better SC drivers ( probably happened after the snow was off the roads!), and Coleman boulevard approaching Shem Creek.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More weekend pics.

Escaped Charleston for a bit.

Alex and I got away from the monotony of the Charleston winter for a bit last weekend. Plan A was to drive up to Fletcher Friday night, stay with the Watkins and go Backpacking the rest of the weekend. Yeah- we knew there would be a ton of snow left from the last 6 month's terrible weather up there and were prepared to handle it. We'd been out in the snow before and were not worried. We woke up Sat morning and headed to Brevard, then up 215 to the Parkway. The plan was to park in one of the pull offs on 215 on the Waynesville side of the ridge. We would then hike up the Mtns. to Sea trail up to Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam, and then Sam's Knob- camping somewhere in between. However, there were no pull offs. 215 was still snowy but passable. The plows had piled all the snow 2-3 feet high in the parking areas though. So...with nowhere to park we retreated back to Brevard for lunch. It was then decided that we would do a dayhike up Looking Glass Rock, go back to the Watkin's for dinner, then go to the Indoor Winter Motorcross at the WNC Ag Center.
The hike was great- tough, but good. The bottom half of the trail was shin deep powdery snow. The top half was crap. The last 1/2 miles to the top was all ice. Blowndown and broken trees were everywhere and what wasn't down was hanging down in the trail. We had to go over, around, and under so many trees and bushes that we were beginning to wonder if the hike was worth the effort. Finally we made it to the top, descended a tad to the rock face, and an incredible view. The snow made the landscape beautiful- you could see every bit of terrain, forest road, and tree. The pics. do it no justice. Long story short- we made it down in less than half the time it took to ascend-much better when you are not postholing back down!
The Motorcross was awesome as well and didn't disappoint. WNC culture was well represented in the stands. We spotted an elusive 8" Rat Tail on a kid but were not quick enough to snap some photographic evidence. After asphyxiation from the fumes occurred in a few hours we left for the house and some sleep. Alex must have been delirious and suggested the $4.99 all you can eat pancakes at IHOP. We must have all had temporary mental retardation and decided that it was a great idea. Off we go.
Bad idea. An hour and a half later and 40+ pancakes heavier we all left for the house feeling less than stellar. Surprisingly, I slept well on my basketball stomach.
After a late start and hanging around the house we decided it was time to head for Charleston. Not without eating at 5 guys burgers first though! After the tour of Restaurants in the Asheville area was done, we were off- East bound and Down. We made it home in 3 1/2 hrs and headed straight to a friend's for the SuperBowl. And more food.