Monday, June 30, 2008

Floyd is history

The story on him losing his final appeal is HERE.

2008 Bradbury Mountain Enduro CANCELLED!

Just read this on the MMBA website:

Sunday - July 27, 2008Bradbury Mountain State Park - Pownal, MaineBradbury Mountain Enduro canceled. Due to many factors, it is with mixed emotions that I have decided to cancel the 2008 Bradbury Mountain Enduro, a race I started in 1998 as the Bradbury Mountain Challenge. The idea of having a race at Bradbury Mountain State Park came about after Mick Rogers, then park ranger, asked me how to get more mountain bikers to come and use the park. Over the years the race has drawn riders from all over the east coast and Canada. And in 2007 it had the highest attendance of any race in the EFTA New England Championship Series.Having the race in the park has prompted extensive trail building and maintenance by both the park staff and volunteers and has helped grow the trail system to almost 30 miles, making it the largest mountain bike trail system in the state.The race has also raised tens of thousands of dollars that has all been donated back to the park as well as other organizations like The Bicycle Coalition of Maine, The Pownal Land Trust, The Bike Shop program in Portland’s Kennedy Park and the Pownal Fire Department, just to name a few.With staff changes at the park earlier this year, most notably the departure of Mick Rogers and Brian Kalenberg, I knew that organizing and running the race again in 2008 would be a challenge.After numerous discussions with the new park staff it was clear that planned trail closures and new policies would make holding the race on the previously established course impossible. This would not only make the event more difficult to organize, but it would also change the dynamics and the allure of an event that has become a unique and epic experience for anyone who participates. These reasons as well as my business and personal commitments, and those of the staff at Gorham Bike and Ski, finalized my decision.In closing I would like to say that we accomplished the goal that we set out to do, which was to increase the number of visitors to the park by establishing mountain bike trails and promote a great event. Mick says the increase has been significant over the years solely do to the amount of mountain bikers coming through the gate. I would also like to thank all those volunteers that helped with the race each and every year. Mostly I would like to thank Mick Rogers for his dedication to the sport, he stuck to his plan to build and maintain a great trail system which is now heavily used by mountain bikers from all over.

Jamie WrightOwner, Gorham Bike and Ski

Lenox Tools 301 Race Report

No I didn't race it! I watched while sucking fumes and beers!

Cruised to Loudon, NH to watch the NASCAR race thanks to my good friends the Klucevseks who hook me up with tix each year. Went with P-Diddy and his daughter Sam along with Ray Bonnefond, a real #24 fan. Weather looked gloomy early on but the sun broke out and heated 95% of the race. It was pretty boring until the last 25 laps when a thunder storm was imminent and things got racy! Wrecks were numerous with plenty of drama to go with. Lightning was flashing all around and I thought it wise to get out of the metal stands! Watched the final wreck and caution, then the rain came and the race was called.
I got my motorhead fix for now. It's back to bikes this weekend at the Horror in NH.

This is what I think all crit races should have:

Garage area for prepping bikes

Separate pit road for repairs and wheel changes

Pit boxes for each racer done up in team colors

Pace car with a little something extra under the hood

Flag stand for lap counter at start/finish line

Monday, June 23, 2008

NECS #3/MMBA #2 Clifford Park Race Report

Elite 7th/10

Babs and I watched this movie the night before the race. I should have known it was a harbinger of evil!First, let me get the excuses out of the way to justify my piss-poor performance:
1. Lapped traffic.
2. Technical, flat courses are not my strong suit.
3. Had a long, tiring week putting the ice back in at the rink including 8hrs on Saturday.
4. Didn’t pre-ride the course.
5. Shoe cleat loosened enough to force me to stop and tighten it.
6. Did I mention I suck in the technical stuff?
There, I feel totally vindicated. Wait, no. I feel empty. Dang, I’m a crybaby! Oh, who cares!
Woke up Sunday morning and checked in with the fam. Drake had a fever and Babs had a migraine on Saturday so they’re attendance at the race was tenuous. Sunday found them in a similar state of disrepair, so I made the trek south solo. With the stupidest road repair project ever underway (295S is closed from Gardiner to Brunswick for tearing up and repaving. This after they repaved ½ of it last year! Pure stupidity. I predict next year the northbound lane will be closed because its actually worse!) I did the 495 thing which went smoothly. Arrived in plenty of time to debate whether or not to enter the Elite class. It was a $50 entry fee resulting in a cash purse payout, but it also meant I would miss an opportunity to score points towards the season-long Master of Mud award. French Freye was pushing me hard to do it because it meant more $ in his pocket! My decision was made based on my desire to compete at the highest level. It didn’t make sense to sandbag a lesser category. So off I went with 9 other guys in the dash for cash!
The initial start went great as I sat 3rd wheel behind Frenchie and O’Keefe but they soon slowed. Suddenly, just before the singletrack it felt like I was swarmed by a bunch of VietCong on bikes in the jungle (as if I would know what that was like!) and the rest of the field enveloped us. Michael Patrick was customarily flying through unchartered sections through the woods like a banchee! Somehow I ended up behind him once we were single file and tried to hold on. Shortly, we came upon a huge rock where you either leap off the face for a 4’ drop or make a turn early and roll alongside it. I got to the point where he jumped and I came to a complete stop. At this point, there were only 3 guys behind me and 1 right behind me and he was trusting me to ride the right line. Big mistake! So I hopped off the ledge (bike in hand) and kept going. The next challenge was a narrow rock bridge between to more huge boulders. I made it over, but stalled a bit on the step up after the bridge forcing the poor soul behind me to come to a stop on the “bridge.” Where do you put your foot down on a bridge? Nowhere! I heard him go down and just cringed! I stumbled and bobbled my way ahead and had more offs and dabs than I ever want to have again. The guy behind me persevered and passed (he deserved it!). However, I bridged the gap on the open section towards the start/finish and he waved me past. I think he called it quits right there. I’m sure he didn’t relish the thought of riding behind me again! So I enter the 2nd lap feeling like an ass and in total no-mans land with no targets ahead to reel in and no pressure behind. I rode a bit better and remembered the obstacles this time around, minimizing my time off the bike. On the 3rd lap lapped traffic was prominent. No offense to them as they were doing their best in the rough stuff. I didn’t feel like I deserved the track more than they since I was battling for last in my class so I didn’t pressure them at all. However, I soon realized it was not safe to just sit in behind them as they were unpredictable in all terrain. 1 guy came to a dead stop in front of me forcing me to dismount, but I couldn’t unclip in time (or so I thought) and I just timbered down behind him onto the rocks, ouch! Later that lap, I wrecked unexpectedly hitting some surprisingly slippery roots in the only muddy section of the course. On the final lap I sensed a clicking in my left shoe as I would pull up on my leg and noted how far I had to twist my foot to unclip. I realized my cleat was coming loose. I fought it for 2/3 of the final lap but it was getting more and more difficult to unclip at all and knowing there were technical sections and people to come, I decided to cut my losses and stop, take off the shoe, dig out the dirt from the bolts, and tighten them up. I pressed on but soon sensed my body failing me. My quads threatened to cramp but never actually did. My left forearm, however, seized up like a bent steel pipe and I couldn’t straighten it out! It was the weirdest feeling. It finally came around, but my ease was short-lived. My chain dropped and I straddled the bike and leaned over to fix it. Just then my left hamstring locked leaving me paralyzed and groaning in pain. This was not good! It went back to elastic after about 15 seconds. and I slogged on, this time in total damage control mode and content to ride it in with the lappers.

Suddenly I heard my name from behind and my fear of getting caught by the Experts was realized! Racin' Rick was battling with a solid Cat. 3 dude and were setting up for a fast finish. The last section of the course was essentially fast double track with 1 final challenging rocky section (which I walked on the 1st lap!). I was not going to go down without a fight so I called upon my last reserves and powered through everything to stay ahead and maintain the miniscule dignity that comes from finishing ahead of the Experts even though they started minutes after I did!
I sheepishly rolled to the car, assessed my bleeding body, chatted it up with other finishers and hit the road for some solitude and a flat, non-technical recovery road ride. I came back an hour later and they still hadn't hashed out the finish order. I had nothing to wait for so I headed home.
I lived to race another day, and am fueled for the next event, which is the NASCAR race @ Loudon, NH! Rubbin' is racin'!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Had a very involved weekend, racing not included. Friday had to skip a workout to keep up the tradition of putting a foursome together for the Jeff Parola Memorial Golf Tournament. I used to think I would snocross race in the winter and golf in the summer for fun. Then I woke from my mid-life crisis and decided I would get back into bike racing full swing and compete at the highest level. Wait, I must still be in a crisis state!

My dad drove up from the Cape and later that day the whole family attended Fenix's graduation from Montessori Pre-School. My dad, Babs and I then attended a formal KHS party. Attendees were required to wear a "Canadien Tuxedo." Check out the pics and see if you can tell what the clothing requirement was!

Saturday I sheepishly rode away from the fam to get a 3 hour road ride in while everyone attended Fenix's last t-ball game and Drake's last baseball game. After my ride, my dad and I played 9 holes at Belgrade Lakes GC. Then, we put him to work as Babs and I went to a dinner party until LATE night!

Sunday wrapped up a killer weekend with a relaxed morning, seeing my dad off, than the fam dropping me off at French Freye's 497 house from where he and I rode to Bradbury. We spent 2+ hours riding the favorites backwards, creating a new trail sensation. The rain left things slick, but not damaging. It was refreshing to ride the wet roots and rocks after the silly dry early season. Of course I finally took off my mud tires, only to need them today, but it was great to work on the skills. We ended the day on the "O" trail. Today's sentiment was: Man "O" man, this trail ain't any easier backwards. It is damn humbling!

The fam returned from their Freeport excursion, French Freye rode home, and I reluctantly took Babs, Drake and Fenix across the rode and did a loop for the first official family mtb ride ever! Natch, we got back to the p-lot and were in a hurry to warm up and dry out and a pic to makr the momentous occasion was scrapped. Hopefully, there will be many more rides to come.
Prepping this week to bring the ice back in the Alfond and race @ Clifford on Sunday.

Friday, June 13, 2008

When to Road Ride

Now that Kents Hill School kids are on summer vacation, my schedule is now more like a normal persons' 8am-3pm give or take. This means, days of my riding mid-morning before lunch are over and I'm heading out after work before dinner. I realize how good I had it when I could ride around with minimal traffic. Now, I'm sharing space with teenagers out of school showing off how fast their Oldsmobuick can accelerate past me while texting and talking with their 4 friends in the car; aged folks with handicap parking passes dangling from their rearview mirror who have no sense of speed and think their deft handling of the vehicle is quicker than my closing speed when they are turning; and soccer moms picking their kids up from school while slurping the Big Gulp version of DD iced coffee and the family German Shephard/Poodle hanging its head out the passenger window who barks really loudly right as its passing "Hello, if I weren't such a sucker for 1 helping of Alpo served to me daily by these people, I'd be running free and chasing then mauling you!"
This is clearly when NOT to ride. I sympathize with all those bikers who must contend with the mental driving midgets on a daily basis, especially commuters. On the plus side, it does help develop a knack for avoiding incidents which should help with the mayhem that is cyclocross starts.
Keep the rubber side down y'all!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Save a pump

No racing this weekend, just major training. Saturday was my first ever 4+ hour ride. So here's something random and unimportant if you're checking in.
I used up the seal on this Trek floor pump I won a couple of years ago. Every 1psi I pumped, I lost .5psi! Frustrating to say the least! I expected I would have to chuck it. But I took it in to Kennbec Bike & Ski and got hooked me up with an easy solution. Topeak has a replacement kit for their pumps complete with hose and everything. Stephen was kind enough to break up the kit for me and give me just the section I needed. The bonus is the head works for both types of valves which is an upgrade from my original doublehead.
Now I'm pumping efficiently again, which is nice! Thanks Steve!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Root 66 #6 @ Pats Peak Report


Another race, another 9th. Ho, hum.
Just kiddin'!

Headed south, picked up former apprentice, now kick-my-asstice French Freye, headed south some more, then west, then north, then west to Pat's Peak in Henniker, NH for another Root 66 event. I had this on the calendar as a back-up Natz qualifier in the event something went wrong at last weekend's Coyote Hill event. Despite the fact that I should be qualified, I kept the race on the to-do list and I'm glad I did! I have to thank Babs and the boys for letting me go because it was an 11 hour day away and Babs represented the family at Harold Alfond's Celebration of a Wonderful Life at Colby College that day. Plus she took the boys to hockey, I know she loves getting them boys dressed in a nasty locker room.
Anywho, this course was well worth the trip. Mike Joos had evidently raced here before and likened it to a mini Mt. Snow. He was so right! It even had a short loop around a retention pond! There was 850' feet of climbing per lap interspersed with some hair raising-how out of control fast over water bars down ski slopes descents, short singletrack slope crossings, off-camber coasting, and 1 helluva long singletrack descent complete with bermed turns that made all that climbing worth it! That was a PROPER course and I will keep this event on the sked annually.

At the start line I gave props to Thom P, hoping I could maybe, possibly keep him in sight today given all the climbing. After all, he has only 1 gear! Could it possibly be right for the whole course?! Indeed, he did. I also got to chat up Steve Humphreys, a seasoned veteran whom I used to chase in the Expert class. He took the semi-pro plunge last year so it was interesting tracking his success and helping me to decide whether to do it as well.

The gun went off and we charged up the hill. I opted out of the narrow chute over a water bar and gained a few spots by doing a wheelie instead. Is that wrong?! Hard to say who was ahead, but suffice it to say it was the likes of Freye, Parsons, and like 7 other dudes! We were in a long line in and out of the first singletrack and down the fast descent. This place was super dusty, perhaps the only drawback. They didn't get the rain we did in ME. Then the course really started to go up. I quickly lost contact with the group. Matt O'Keefe led out, but then I saw Freye kick it up a notch and drag a couple guys with him, then there were another 3 together, then a couple stragglers then me. I was already in no-man's land. I was also in pain-land. Similar to last week, the pace was torrid at the start and I could not maintain it. I again was thinking DNF and was writing my blog in my head when I finally snapped out of it, right about the time I reached the peak of the climb and began the descent, funny how that happens! The first run downhill was wild as I had no idea what to expect around every turn, so I felt like I went down very slowly. Nonethless, I made it with no incidents (other than losing a bottle AGAIN!), lost no positions, and soon came upon O'Keefe of all people who stopped to do some bike repair. I set off for lap 2 in a better frame of mind and focused on my pace. Matt soon bridged up to me and I opted to ride with him for the next 2 laps. It was a treat riding behind someone for once. He was smooth and I followed his line. But it was soon apparent Matt did not have his "A" game and we had lost time on the places ahead of us. I was concerned we would get caught so I felt rested from the tempo we were riding and pushed the last steep on the 4th lap and all of the 5th lap. I never got caught and made up lost time on the spots ahead as they were again in sight.
Could I have gotten 8th? Perhaps. But I don't care. I learned more about my competition and about myself and come away with confidence as my prize.
Freye was solid and was 2nd, outclassed closely by another pro.
It's a couple of weeks off for KHS graduation and Father's Day weekends.

Next race is the MMBA/EFTA event at Clifford Park 6/22.