Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Carrabassett XC Challenge Report 8/24

2nd Overall

I arose early and ahead of the fam to prepare for the journey to the Outdoor Center in the shadows of Sugarloaf USA. I left the decision up to them if they wanted to go with. They didn't wake up until shortly before I needed to hit the road so I left them behind, definitely for the best for them.
After a foggy, misty drive, I arrived to the race site under sunny skies. It was going to be a great day for racing. Colleague and fellow Kona-rider Matt Moore was there to make is XC racing debut. French Freye was there as well as Ryan Littlefield. But the field was alarmingly small with Racin' Rick noticeably absent among others. That meant the race was a Freye chase.
We all set off on the 1st of 3, 7-mile laps. The course is a mix of wide open Nordic ski dirt roads, fun and fast singletrack, and a long gradual climb that is steepest at the top. Still not granny-gear worthy though. I latched onto Andrew's wheel right away and we pacelined it in the big ring to the first singletrack. Here Andrew got the gap that he maintained to the finish. I just need more time to process the trail I guess. I seem to analyze too much, looking for the smoothest line. Andrew just pins it! When we began the ascent, he had about 15 seconds on me and increased it to probably 30. Near the top, you take a right for the steep section followed by a singetrack descent that brings you out at the right hand turn previously taken. Since Andrew was out of sight, I was alone and as I came to the turn there was a course marshall just sitting there. As I recall, there have been times when this part of the climb and descent were not included. Since I got no information from the marshall, I took a left and continued on my merry way figuring the course was re-routed due to erosion and was happy not to have to climb more!
I rolled through the remainder of the course and when I came to Andrew's parents I asked how far ahead he was. I was shocked to hear the yhadn't seen him yet! I immediately deduced he missed a turn and I stayed on the gas through the start/finish. Once there, I got the news it was I who missed the turn. Evidently I did indeed need to take that right and do the climb/descent. So, they told me to just do it twice during one of my remaining 2 laps. When, was the debate that occupied my mind. I was passing sport riders now and I was concerned I would be held up twice as many times. I also tried to figure out whether there would be a physical advantage or dis-advantage to doing it 2nd or last lap. I can't say I made up my mind until I exited the descent and turned uphill to do it again, back to back on my 2nd lap.
During that time, Andrew had come through and by the time I exited the descent again, he was 1-2 minutes up on me which is about what he would have been anyway. So, I rode along alone for the rest of the race. Aside from coming to a dead stop and vaulting over the handlebars into a mud pit courtesy of a hidden boulder, there was nothing worthy of comment. It was just a great day to ride a fairly fun course. I rode pretty hard, felt no ill-effects from the previous day's crit, and enjoyed the post-ride cool down in the Carrabassett River.
Andrew won of course and Matt DNF'd courtesy of a broken seatpost. However, the drama has only just begun! The competition for Master of Mud is on! French Freye is officially in the running. We'll both be competing in the 2 remaining races and battling for points. If I finish ahead of him once and within a place or two the other, I'll win. If he finishes ahead of me both races, he wins. No, those aren't tacks in my back pocket!
Next up is the Rangeley Lakes Saddleback Challenge on Labor Day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Saco Bay Criterium Race Report 8/23

Masters 35+

I did a double this weekend and in the event the fam didn't want to go to both, I asked them if they wanted to go to a road race or mountain bike race. Throw in the opportunity to hit up Aquaboggin and it was a no brainer! So we loaded up the family truckster and headed south for a 10:25 criterium, 11:45 kids race and 1:00 wave pool.
I was mentally a bit off heading into the race because my emphasis was on the next day's XC event @ Sugarloaf. Last year I led a 2 then 4-man breakaway eventually finishing 4th and 1st for Mainers. As much as I wanted to have a good showing and possibly repeat that performance, I did not want to totally exhaust the legs. So I tried to just enjoy the ride. Unbelievably, this was only my 2nd road event of the year, a stark contrast to last season. It also marked only my 3rd group ride! I wanted to be sure to ride safely.
The pace was pretty moderate throughout. The McCormack brothers were there so the potential for some fast laps were prevalent. I spent most of the time near the front, leading a couple of times, joining a 5-man break that lasted 1/2 a lap, and trying a 2-man break with 3 to go that also failed. I burned a couple of candles, but never went into oxygen debt or anything. On the penultimate lap I drifted all the way to the rear, caught my breath, then rode to the top 20 as we entered the technical S-turn. The field made a long dash to the finish after the last turn and I went semi-hard, but didn't push it to gain maybe a couple more spots. I'm pretty sure I counted about 15 ahead of me. The finish line camera must have malfunctioned because they just listed the rest of the field without any times or official places after the top 5.
So, the race was semi-fun and I survived it intact. The boys then had their event. Fenix spun out his gear to the max and finished 3rd. Drake got out to an early lead but faded towards the end and got nipped at the line by 1/2 a wheel for 2nd. Babs got to watch!
Next is the MMBA event @ Sugarloaf.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Just created a site for the Maine High School Mountain Bike Series. Hopefully it will serve as a place to host series info., results, and pics. Check it out when you're bored!

Hola Pedro, gracias!

Pedro's has stepped up support of the Maine High School Mountain Bike Series, big time! I just received shipment of a Master Tool Kit, Portable Repair Stand, and Work Bench. I will be bringing this portable bike shop to all the high school races and setting up a neutral support station for all individuals and teams to utilize. Hopefully it will help keep everyone rolling on race day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

MMBA #4 ME Sport Runoff Report

2nd Overall

Sunday dawned a fantastic day to race after days and days of rain. I loaded up the family truckster and the fam and I headed to Camden, where the mountains meet the ocean. The entire drive was shrouded in a fog until we reached the outskirts of Camden and the blue sky emerged. I intially was thinking it was going to be in the 60's and overcast, but the sun proved warm and the air was pretty pleasant.
I warmed up a bit on the trainer then took up the opportunity to pace the kids' race. Fenix's heat was first and he finished a solid 2nd. Drake ran away from his group for a solo win.

"Let's beat dad!"

Course conditions were a concern based on the tropical rainforest weather pattern Maine has been in for the last 2 months. The Snowbowl is a challenge in dry conditions both going up and coming down. Racin' Rick did a short loop pre-ride and reported mud was actually at a minimum, but rocks and roots were a bit greasy. Of course I opted for mud tires, but opted out of applying Pam to the drivetrain. New news was the laps were altered from the standard: climb, descend, repeat, repeat. Today we were going to climb, descend, climb, descend, climb halfway, descend, climb halfway, descend. In other words, 2 long loops to the top, 2 short loops halfway up. I was not excited to hear this as the climbs are traditionally my strength versus the singletrack. But, I was intrigued by the change and curious to see how it would play out.
The starting group was small, but had the usual strong suspects in Rick, French Freye, Cat. 3 roadie Chris LaFlamme, and Ryan Littlefield whom I didn't realize until the finish was on a 29" singlespeed. The start was pretty mellow with no one eager to jump out front so by default I ended up leading the climb.

Rick and I in our standard side-by-side start
It sounded like everyone was pretty much intact behind me. About 1/3 of the way up Freye made his move to the front and I figured this would be the last I would see of him until the finish. Chris was then on my tail and after I bobbled a bit, he passed and I was now just ahead of Ryan. Rick was trying to defibrillate his legs after a Saturday comprised of lobster rolls, clams, and culvert rolling instead of riding! You'll have to check his entry here to believe it! Suddenly, Freye was on the dirt and I heard a quick hiss from his tire. We passed as he set about pumping in some air for the first time on the day. Chris had a bobble later on and I slipped by and we summited in that order. The descent is a tricky one and I was overly cautious this first time down not knowing what the conditions were and more interested in staying upright, feeling out the course no matter how slowly I rode. Being in front allowed me to take control of the pace. The short loop section was in great shape. Much of the trail was new, so it had plenty of terra firma on it and the roots were generally pointing in the right direction making it all very rideable. There was one tough section that started with a couple of big roots that required a step-up. If you didn't make it, your momentum was killed and not worth fighting so I ended up running it each lap, this would hurt later on! Early on, Freye had his wheels rolling again and passed like I was standing still! That's what World Cup racing in Canada will get you! Unfortunately for him, his aggressive style would nip him in the tire again and I passed him once more. Fortunately for me, this would be the last I saw of him as he suffered through 2 more flats for a total of 4 on the day!

Freye had more tubes than water in the Camelback!

I cruised through the start-finish in the lead spurred on by Babs and the boys. I'm not sure where Chris and Rick were, but I suspected close so I set my mind to climb strongly and hope to create a gap. All was well on the bottom half, but the top was giving me trouble as the switchbacks were just greasy enough to give me trouble maintaining momentum. I ended up running a bunch at the top, forgetting when the actual summit was, once again, this running would hurt later on. But I got to the descent, didn't hear anyone close, and rode down a bit more aggressively feeling good about traction and the course. It seemed like I had a pretty good lead going into my 3rd lap so I rode tempo up the climb and prepared for the short loop. About mid-way through, Chris came up fast! Then he passed. For some reason, I just didn't have the killer instinct in me today. I probably could have used a caffeine fix at the start-finish. I just didn't have the fire in me to stay with him. Soon though, it looked like my consistent pace was the right plan of attack as Chris rode the fine line of fast and crashing. He was battling his bike and half his pedal wouldn't clip in. I passed him again and we were together until the last tech section before the start-finish when I heard him wreck behind me again. I hit the last climb hard, but not all out and I didn't hear from him for a bit. Suddenly, he came charging up again about 1/3 into the singletrack. I bobbled and as I went to dab, my left calf seized. All the running finally took its toll. My foot was cock-eyed such that I couldn't clip back in and had to stop and straighted it out on the ground. Chris went by and that was the last I saw of him. I rode on in damage control-mode and he must have crashed a bit less and went on to victory. Rick followed shortly after and Freye just edged out Ryan.

Now a tradition, post-race hug for Mike Hartley who put on a great show

A terrific day for racing. I just didn't have my "A" game, but enjoyed the ride and am grateful for my 2nd place.

Fenix did a post-race spin on the trainer before we boys headed shirtless to the lake

Next up is the Saco Crit and Sugarloaf, another favorite course of mine in a couple of weeks.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Kona Bikes MTB Adventure Series @ Bradbury


This rain is drowning all opportunities for fun this weekend!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Popham Beach Day

Skipped out of work today for what looks like the best weather in weeks and hit the beach with the fam. Also got a little road ride in on Rt. 209. Definitely too narrow for comfort, but the scenery and ocean air couldn't be beat.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Good, The Bad, The OK

Good: Planned a ride @ Bradbury with Racin' Rick
Bad: Rick couldn't make it due to real world responsibilities
Good: Wasn't raining & the Bbury website didn't say trails were closed
Bad: Upon arrival @ Bbury, ranger said all singletrack was closed
OK: Still got some riding in on doubletrack for over an hour
Bad: Babs calls from Freeport reports vehicle is smoking from engine
OK: Still got saddle time in by riding from Bbury to Freeport to meet towtruck
Good(for the boys!): Whole family got a ride in towtruck to Portland service station
Bad: Radiator hose had a hole in it thanks to poor installation after a $960 tune-up 2 weeks ago
OK: We have AAA, towing was free and repair took an hour and was only $119
Good: Got to go shopping and eat lunch @ Whole Foods and play wallball with boys
Good: Day spent with family battling adversity and making the most of it and having fun
Good wins!

Friday, August 01, 2008