2008 Year End Totals and thoughts......

I have the totals for 2008 and they are looking interesting. I have many bikes so for me I have to total up the different bikes to get an idea of what kind of biking I did. I have a total of 5346 miles for all my bikes, I believe this to be the most I have ridden mileage wise in a year. In 2008 I had less mileage, but I had more Mt. biking mileage which should be counted more since it takes longer to do and is harder. I will be happy if I can have similar mileage for 2009, I will be concentrating my efforts to be in shape for summer/fall.

Rigid SS: 47 Miles

I had gotten this bike in September right before cross season, and I have put some miles on it, and I think it will be a bike a ride quite a bit. The bike is great at Roseryville, and Cross County Trail. I hope to ride it at Schaeffer in the coming year.

The Tandem: 307 Miles

I didn't get out on the tandem as much as I would have liked to. Sara had a knee issue that came up and she didn't want to ruin her running with the Tandem riding that was hurting her knee. Hopefully in the future we will get out there again.

Dual Suspension Mt. Bike: 644 Miles

I started the year off well with my AZ trip and then doing really well at the Bakers Dozen. I then hurt my back at Greenbrier and had a terrible 24hours of Big Bear where my bike’s chainstay cracked. I then laid off the mt. biking for a bit and got in some rides when I could.

CX Bike: 878 Miles

I road this some to work, and did my CX races on it, as well as my Ohio Road rides. I like this bike, but I don’t get the chance to ride on dirt roads enough.

Fixed Gear Bike: 1062 Miles

This is my go to bike for commuting in the off season, and for riding in the city. I like riding this bike have tried to get a 27inch fork for it, but have been having a hard time.

Road bike: 2408 Miles

I have had bigger seasons on the road bike like one year I did like 4000+ but this was before I did as much Mt. biking and I did not own a cross bike then. I rode the road bike allot this year cause of back issues and I found that the road bike let me able to keep riding when the mountain biking was hurting. Next year I hope to do the Mountain Momma century since this year I was not fit enough to do it.


Celtic Soltice

Place   Name         Age          Place Age Group   Time       

357/1926    Darren Biggs    33    56/133  M 30-34   38:34.60      7:43/Mile

As part of my off season I am trying to run a bit. I don't mind running, but my body seems to. I have found that my body can usually only take running once a week. I am working to run twice a week and then once biking season starts run once a week. Some of my big motivation is running with Sara. The Celtic Solstice is a race that I have done twice before, but never for a time. This year I wanted to push myself and see what I could do. I have only run like 15 times this whole year, but have been running once a week since mid Nov. to get ready for the race. The Celtic Solstice is a great 5 mile race that is only $12 with ChampionChip Timing.
I had run the weekend before to find a time that I would shoot for at the race. I had originally thought 40 minutes would be a good goal. I timed my run at 5 miles in 48 minutes by going on the song times I'd listened to on the run, which could've been off, so I lowered my expectations to a 45 minute goal.

We got there late, and I ended up lining up towards the back. We start the race, and I went out quick. I wasted some energy and a little time getting around people. I heard the first split and realized that I was going at a pretty good clip. If the race was a 5k I would have been money. I was moving through the group and finally found people at my pace. I was having a hard time staying with this one girl and then I started to feel my foot move around...my shoelace was coming untied! So I wasted some more seconds and fixed that, and kept pushing the rest of the race. I have a good engine (lungs, heart) from biking but it is my legs that let me down. The last 2 miles of the race I was having a hard time staying with people around me. Most of these people were regular runners that get negative splits as the race goes on. So I kept up as best as I can, and then during the final downhill, I must have had like 20 people go by me, as I can only move my legs so fast. I was totally stoked, though, with my time of 38:40 or 7:42 miles. I have a couple more races this winter and I might cap it off with the Fred Events Mt. Duathalon in April.


The Off Season

This year I have made the commitment to doing an off season so there will be some off topic non biking posts. I got into volleyball last year, after wanting to do a league for a long time. Now about a year later I finally feel I am able to play volleyball. I am not that great, kind of like a mountain biker who can get around Fountain Head Park without having to stop at the top of hills for a breather. We won the Championship game in our volleyball league.
The whole team did a good job, Aaron I thought played the best I have ever seen him. Paige did great and turned the tide after faulting on her serve, then coming back and serving like 4-5 points in a row. Michelle got some balls over I was really surprised made it over, Sara got some good hits and had her reliable serve to get 4 points at the end of the third game. Jon was steady and had some strike downs from the net. Sara said about me,"...must say that Darren did great as well since he didn't mention in his recap his great serves (even a true ace!), solid setting/blocking/hitting, and wonderful green headband wearing."
I love riding my bike, but having time away from the bike is good for the soul so that when you are riding again it doesn't feel so stale. In saying that January is go time, I need to kick it in gear start work the bike and body to some form.


GamJams Reviews: Winter Training Tires - Forté GT2 Kevlar Road Tire

We have all seen them, and I bet allot of use have used them. These tires, are my tried and true commuter tires. I have them on my 1972 Atala Fixie. I used to run the 35mm performance tires, but I wanted to go faster so I went with the Forté GT2 Kevlar Road Tire. I ride the 28mm size and it really fits the bill. These are long lasting tires! I actually always replace them before they even wear out. I sometimes ride the C&O with them and they seem to work well there as well. Now you are not going to want to lean these into a high speed corner cause they don't have that rubbery grip like your race tires. The good thing about these tires for mileage folks or heavy ones like me, is the big bulbous center that packs allot of rubber. This gives the tire a smaller faster footprint. Since the center is so tall, the tire doesn't get that "flat" section that us heavier riders get on the back tire. The sides have a chevron file pattern that works well when you encounter the winter road grit that comes and stays after the first snow storm. The Forté GT2 Kevlar tires being on sale for about 10-14 for the Kevlar version, and like 7-10 for the regular I don't even rotate my tires, I just put new ones on. Now my biggest criticism of the tire is that when it does get cut it can catastrophic, once the a cut is started it fails. I have been riding these tires for 2 years(about to put on a 3rd set) and I have only had two flats!(and that is going to work on K st. to SE DC). Next time I will talk about some sexier tires, but if you want reliable these tires usually fit the bill.


Leesburg Day

I haven't ridden in over 2.5 weeks a first for like 5 years! My back issues had come to a head and decided to take some time off the bike. I wanted to race cross this year, but with my back I wasn't able to push like you need to in cross. I had been rustic cabin camping on Friday night, and then slept at my sisters on Saturday. I got up and went to the Tachino cross race, to cheer on my teammates. I also brought the bike to do a lap on the course. I saw the end of the Masters 3/4 race, and was able to cheer on Michael, and Joel who were racing. Joel did an impressive job holding off a pack of like 8 guys the whole race. He was riding with upright bars on his cross bike, I guess that works for him. I find that I like being in the drops through turns, makes cross different to mt. biking. I then watched the 3/4 race, and it was fun cheering/heckling people as they went by with my cowbell.

After that Bruce, Steve(on Ryan's bike), and I did a short Leesburg dirt road ride. I had done this route like 2 years ago, and found it a good spin on some dirt in Leesburg. This was Steve's first dirt road ride and he was able to get a chance to feel the fun with riding on dirt, on cross bikes. Steve had done most of these roads on his enduro motorcycle. I had some issues 3/4 through the ride, either my seatpost had slipped or something the bike didn't feel right to me. I think I then also bonked, cause I had not eaten when I was watching the Racing. Well we made it back and had a pretty good first ride back on the bike.


RockBurn CX 08'

Well, sometimes the hand of God is talking to you, and you don't listen. I went to the race, after doing the DCCX with a placing I could live with. I wanted to do the race mostly to ride the course--it seemed that it would be a fun one to race on. Mark, and I got off to a bumpy start by going the wrong way up 270. We recovered from that error, but Mark could not race the 55+ class since he got there 23 minutes before the start, which was less then the 30 minutes they required. Mark did get his registration moved to the CAT 3/4 race, so he was able to race at least.

I prerode the course, and by the time I got back the people were all lined up. Usually I don't care if I am in the back of the pack; I can start ok. Well this was the first race, where the start was very important. JJ was there and I thought he would be a good person to race, so I was looking forward to that little private battle. I started out not as fast as I'd like; kinda felt myself not really riding on top of my gear. Well, around half way through the lap, I was catching up to JJ and Pooch and I here a PING! I know what that is...a broken spoke. A lot of times when a spoke breaks not too big of an issue, but with these wheels they seem to go really out of true! So, within a couple of pedal strokes, I hear the tire rubbing the frame. So I had to get off the bike and move the wheel in the dropout. I do that, and then I am off again. I feel like I am really at the back of the pack now. Well, the rest of the race I go around thinking I will start to catch people, but it isn't happening. I got to the point that it was embarrassing; I mean, I beat some of these guys last week and now I couldn't ride for S&%t. So as they say one more to go, I just come in and took my first DNF in a cross race. The only up side was that once I started coasting I realized that my rim was so out of true that the wheel would not move unless you put considerable force on it. So that kinda explains why I felt so slow, but maybe not.

There were some good rides out there. Still impressed with Matt Parse--he is riding really well. Ryan Bannon looked good until he cramped up. JJ rode a good race; maybe I will get to race him soon. Matty had a good result considering he was getting over a cold.

The course was great, I would only change a couple of things, like maybe making one or two turns not as curvy and the prologue go up the big hill that we come down, which would give people who can crush it a space to move up while others would get in their natural position. This was a course that I really liked even though it is not the fastest kind of course for me. Tacchino Cross I will either be there racing or taking pics and filming.

The photos from the CAT 3/4 race were done by Schiek more at http://www.flickr.com/photos/picturesoflily/


DCCX 2008

This was the big event of the year for the DCMTB team. We are a mountainbike team that races cross and road as well. I had helped with the course clean up and mowed the course to be as fast as it could be. The race is at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington DC. One of the few places where there is ample room to have a race. We pretty much doubled in size from last year. We became the biggest cyclocross race in Mabra's history of 400+ races. The nice bonus this year were the Frites cooked up by Scud, and the Keg beer. The Dutch club of DC came in as well with their treats which were great.

I had some of my friends come for the race and it was great to hear AB, Kristen, Elizabeth, Jon, Jeff, Diana, Ellen, and Sara out there cheering for me.

CAT 3/4 race.

I had a fourth row start based on my registration. I never really get that worried about my place at the start, since I am not going to win any of these races I just want to race people. I started behind Matty, and thought if things worked well I could maybe race near him for the race. The field was big with like 80 guys. The start went off well and organized, but on the first hill people were getting stacked up. By the time we got through the up and down section in the woods and on to the pavement groups had started to form. I passed Cargo Mike who was fixing a dropped chain at the brick section. I then took the next turn wide so that I rode the off camber straight on, a guy behind me was on my outside and I think wrecked going down the hill behind me. I felt bad, but if he would have followed me he would have been fine. I think on the second lap my chain fell off, I was able to put it back on quickly but that cost me a lot of spots. After this point I think Ryan from racing Union came up on me, this might have been his first CAT 3 / 4 race. It was good to see him, but I wanted him off my tail :-) I was by myself for a bit, I rode the road sections on the tip of my saddle just trying to get some speed out of the legs. There were a couple of people who I was catching up to now. Then before you know it Cargo Mike had caught up with me. We got to this little rise that was like an energy suck because it was so tacky (I bet by the time the pros rode it was hard), I had to let him go there. The rest of the race was me going hard then slowing a little so I could maintain the effort. Towards the end I saw Matty in front of me and he was a great carrot to try and catch. Matty is faster in most races, so it was good to catch him. I knew he had not slept much for the last couple of days and was rundown so I wasn't too surprised I caught him. So I went past Matty and one other guy, and just emptied the tank on the last lap. My knees did not give me too many problems and I felt my back from the effort, but it didn't get to the point where I hurt it. So I got 28th out of 78 or so starters. The rest of the day was good times with beautiful weather, and food and beer. I didn't get home until 7pm after doing all the take down and dropping stuff off at Wholefoods. Thinking I will be at the Rockburn cross race, I hope I can beat the guy with the chops who has gotten me twice now at Ed Sanders, and DCCX.
Photos done by Sara,Jon,Diana, and Bucknell


Patapsco Thru-Trail

Look at Mike's for his take he talked more about the route I will talk about my impressions.Tour de Patapsco
Darren's View:
There are times when you have epic rides cause you are in the middle of nowhere, and going over major mountains. There are other times when you have epic rides just because of everything else. Mike had wanted to do this ride for a bit and I got him early on to have it on a date I could do it. I like riding with Mike, can be challenge with his technical skills I have to really stretch myself to stay with him on the down hills. If there are some good climbs we are even steven. The new mix for me was cargo Mike, I had never actually ridden with him. We are on the same team, and I knew that Cargo Mike can throw down some serious fast times at races. The first issue on the ride was the weather, It was 83 on Wed. and when we started the ride on Sunday it was 45! The day felt like a great day in January were you get a day in the low 50's.
Mike did a good job of getting us to the trails we needed to do, we only took one or two turns wrong, but not too far off in terms of time. We saw the "fast" gang out there, with Evan, Roger, Jed, and co. Roger looked like he was getting hurt there. Our ride was slower, but not that slow especially on the way back we were really rolling in terms of not stopping. The leaves were nice, and the ride had a good flow to it. The hardest part mentally was the railroad tracks, you are thanking your lucky stars you have suspension there. As per usual something with my body failed me, this week was my knee. I am not sure if it was/is the seat height, or the cleat position, but my knee started getting a pain about the mid way point then felt like a knife was in it for the second half of the ride. Hopefully that heals for DCCX.
Random thoughts on the ride:
-Cargo Mike has some sick trials skills
-I must have had 15-20 times I wanted to just let the guys go ahead of me
-tighten new cleats hard cause they will come out on the first ride
-when thinking about crossing a stream, don't go up on a dam and down the side to the water, just go across where the blanket was
-Making your friends laugh at your expense is what being a friend is.
-The Mill Trail must have 20 trees fallen down on it, I wish I could of taken a chainsaw to at 2/3 of them.
-To keep your mountain bike skills you need to mountain bike
-I'm not sure about a November rendition of this ride that creek could be some serious issues there.


Lake Fairfax

I was dropping Sara off at the airport and thought that a little Lake Fairfax riding would fit the bill nicely. I rode the New Voodoo Dambla Rigid SS(have now cut the steerer tube was finding the right height also find it best to have it be taller then you need for resale), and it was a great place to ride it. I do a little route that no one does anymore, cause it was the course route for the PVC Lake Fairfax race year's ago. I ended up riding some new trail that was nice and tight and gave a little of a diversion from the main trail. I also went out on the CCT for a bit and felt myself spinning out the SS there. I will come back here some more when I am in the area since it isn't a destination trail system but is good for a fully Rigid SS, and the CCT/colts neck/Lake Fairfax is fun to ride on the Cross bike with Big Tires on it.


Athens Ohio Riding

I did the AVC Hagertown race on Sat. then went directly to Athens Ohio, home of Ohio University. Sara was working there for a couple of days, and I came along for the trip. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and I used their breakfast bar for fillin' up in the morning and the Hot tub for the after ride cool down. I went to OU back in the Mid-nighties, and it has changed a little but still has the same good vibe that it had years ago. I had decided on doing two rides while I was there, one was a road ride, and the other was a mountain bike ride. When I was in school I had the C-Dale F400 and I would occasionally ride it at Sells and Strouds Run. The trails at these parks has been bolstered by the local mountain biking community, but I didn't get a chance to ride these trails while I was there.

The Rim of the World Ride

I took my cross bike and slapped on some road tires, and put on a 120mm stem instead of the 110mm, and made it flat instead of tilting up. I had gotten this route from the Cyclepath website and did this route with some variations, due to there being no signs that said what road was what and I also changed the start point to my Hotel so added miles to the route in the beginning, and then rerouted to come back a different way. I started the ride under dressed, so that did not help with the rest of the trip with me being halfway sick. The route had some climbs, but mostly it was these little burgs that were on the hill line that would go up and down and up and down. You would go 35 and then like 12, it took allot out of you. I ended up on some Dirt roads I would like to try and redo the ride and make it a dirt road ride, or just stick with the smooth regular roads. The country was pretty would like to ride there more actually, one of the big issues was the lack of rest stops. I would come to a town on the map and it wouldn't have anything there! I did finally find a general store and got something to drink and a warm Ham and Cheese sandwich. I was allot closer to home then I thought so another hour later I was back in Athens. I finally got done after doing like 78miles, in about 4.5+ hours ride time. I then did a 15 minute Hot Tube session followed by a nice shower.

Lake Hope State Park

I was originally not suppose to do this ride, but I was feeling better and decided to give it a go. I packed up for the trip back to DC and then made my way out to the park. I didn't get started until 11:30 or so, and I needed to pick up Sara at 3pm to leave the area to head back to DC.
I wanted a chill ride and the place delivered! I liked the bench cut trails, but in saying that some of the trail seems a little too curvy for no apparent reason other to make the trail slower for riders. With the dry conditions, the corners were a little washed out, so I was never able to really lean the bike over and drill the corners. I didn't know how my body would feel, and how much time I would have but I was able to do the loop that I wanted to do which was coming down the blue Red Oak trail, then doing the Copperhead trail, continuing on to the Sidewinder trail, then coming back the Little Sandy trail, to the WildCat trail, to the Bobcat Trail, and then back up the Read Oak trail. I ended up with about 17miles of trail fun. I think of the trails I did I liked the Bobcat trail the most, and it is the most recently made trail. I over dressed with my arm warmers, but thought it better to be sweating then to have the chills like the day before.

I think it was a worthwhile trip to OH I might even do it again next year if Sara will have me with her. It was nice to have a good dinner with her at Stephen's restaurant, and the meal on the way home on Rt. 68 Puctino's.


AVC Hagerstown Cross

I hit the Hagerstown cross race on the way to OH which worked out very well. I liked this course last year, and was looking forward to the race. I got there with a good amount of time to warm-up but only able to do 3/4 a lap on the course before lining up. I got a call up kinda, not one of the first two rows but I was called up so I was in row 4 I think. My goal again was to get into the top half of the field. So what happened in the race, was typical of my style starting of well and losing ground. This isn't always the best for moral. Sara said I was riding well, but when you pass noone after the first lap and about 7-8 people pass you while you are racing it is not a good feeling. I had two people that I dueled with a little. Steve a cool guy on a SS from AABC was on my tail for a bit, I tried to hold him off, but just didn't have the power, and didn't want to hurt my back more. The second rider was Patrick from Adventures for the Cure team. He passed me, and I could hear from his breathing that it took him some effort. It was the last lap so I decided that I would try and beat him. I got the lead on the second part of the course and got through the sand pit(Patrick ran) I had him on the U-turn and up the short steep hill. I then geared up 2 gears to sprint it out, I only needed like 3-5 more pedal strokes and my foot unclipped! So I lost that spot by a foot or so. My lower back was not that great, so to relieve that I decided to stand on the pedals more at this race. So I wasn't out of breathe the whole race, I just couldn't sit and grind it out like I normally would. Unfortunately this course you were better off sitting down. I really like the course, the only thing I would really change with it, is to get the course smoother. Now that isn't AVC doin' so it was just the park grounds were very choppy. I ran the WTB interwolf 38mm at 35 psi and it was the right call. I saw guys on tubulars flatting! The bumping was so bad I got unclipped several times. I found the best technique for doing the straights was doing a Roubuix style with riding the flats sitting back on the the bike keeping the front lite. Matty D from my team was in front of me and looked good, but got a flat and ran a lap and then got pulled so I was sorry to see that, I would have dropped out. Ryan Bannon is flying! The guy got 5th place and rode the last lap on a flat! I will go into our own race the DCCX with the same goals of the top half of the field and see what happens.



The weather held off, was just a little damp out there. I didn't ride the ride, but worked on bikes, and actually ended up fixing Diana's bike which some how had gotten goofed up since the last time I worked on it. I also did course marshall work for a bit. Mark and Vince from the team came down and we all helped out, also had some good talks with Ryan who races CX with Racing Union. One of the added bonuses was that I got the chance to ride a High wheeler! It was a little weird at first but then I started to get the hang of it. The biggest issue is getting off it, you have to get off the back.


A not so great feeling...(Ed Sanders race)

Photos by Sara

I had heard of this race, but I had not raced it. Sounded like an interesting course riding through a garden of lily pads. Sara came with me and was my support, I told her not to expect much. Usually I will say that something of the sort but do pretty good. Well I have moved up from the CAT 4's to race the CAT 3/4 race so I was wanting a top half finish, and I didn't achieve that. I got to the race, and the CAT 3/4 masters were just about to start. They went off while I was getting ready and I saw from the racers that the course was muddy. Raul looked to be riding well and so did Mark D. Well they came off the course, and Mark D said it was so muddy he had to pit and get water on his bike to get it moving again. Mark also gave me the hint to run the muddy section(which I should of done).
Ok so I try to warm up and not ever really getting a good warm up. I was not able to pre-ride the course, but was confident that my technical skills were not going to be the reasons I did well, or not so good at this race. The race starts I got mid pack to the outside, knowing I should be able to move up some spots in the beginning of the race. I usually have a good start, but then I fade as the race goes on. This year I was planning on doing a good start and then trying to find a place where I could maintain my pace. I get going and we are doing the grassy lanes near the ponds and then I rode into the "muddy" section this was that thick peanut butter farm yard mud. Well had to get off and run, and then on the remount my front wheel went into a hole and I jumped to a bike that wasn't there. In the process my bike computer fell off. I went back and picked it up, since I wasn't going to win this race no need to loose a bike computer. I lost like 10 spots there. Well we get the first lap done, and this was a long course! I mean I think we only did like 5 laps. Most cross races they fit in like 7,8 laps in 45minutes. I was riding with Jud from bike doctor, which was surprising to me cause I thought he was allot faster then me. So we are riding and he is has good speed on the straights and I was doing better then him on the back nine which was more technical. I think after riding a bit behind him, I decide to kick it up a gear, and big ringed it on the gravel sections. This is where my back issues came into play. Then Jud was off beating me pretty good. I hurt my back at the greenbrier race in April and since then it has been a curse I have had to deal with. I am trying to do some core exercise to help; hope it works so am I good for November. So after my back started to flair up, I was kinda in the dumps. One of my big goals was to have the race not hurt my back. So the next two laps I was fading and getting passed by like 2 people. At one point I was all alone kinda strange in a cross race to be by yourself. For the last lap I came up with the strategy of getting out of the saddle and sprinting where I could since it did not engage my back like sitting down and pushing the pedals does. I then was able to catch up to some people and wanted to get this one guy but couldn't at the last second, but I still sprinted to the line.
Random Notes:

  • Matt Parse got a 5th great result considering he was racing CAT 4's last year I got a 3rd behind him at a race last year.
  • Ryan Bannon looking strong like he did last year got a 7th so he should be a good person to watch in the coming weeks.
  • I really liked the back 9 of the course, all cross courses are different, but I would loved a course that was like 2/3 back nine stuff, and 1/3 flat gravel.
  • Pretty location for a race
  • Next week is Hagerstown, I got 4th there last year in the 4's, but still going with the same game plan as this week-try to get in the top half and not to have my back hurt me.


CX Clinics Ft. Reno Wednesdays in September 6pm

Photo by: Joel Gwadz
Dates: 9/3 (Women Only), 9/10, 9/17, 9/24
Time: 6pm
Location: Ft. Reno Park, Northwest Washington, DC
Cost: Free; bring your USAC license is you have one, if not we’ll cover the cost of your 1-day license

6:00 pm - 6:10 - registration
6:15 - 6:45 pm - skills instruction
6:45 - 7:30 pm (light permitting) - unstructured skills work and ride on practice loop.


Spin it out with some buds....

After doing the Giro d- Coppi race on Sat. I was to ride with some friends on Sun. The idea was a 2 hour road ride, followed by a 1 hour cross practice with some riding on the Ide Lee course in Leesburg. Well my legs were cooked from the day before, so I was not really feeling it. Also the mugginess was just taking the energy out of me. We ended up doing 40ish miles around the Leesburg area, which I usually don't ride. When I am out in Leesburg I am usually hitting my dirt road rides. I will have to remember some of the roads we went on it was some good riding. I will be racing Ryan, and Matt in cross this fall in the CAT 3/4 group. Ryan, Matt, and I all raced the CAT 4's last year and I think Matt got 2nd over-all and Ryan got a 2nd place at Capital cross. We talked about cross and the possibility of maybe going to nationals to watch and race(why not!). I figured out part of my squeaking on my bike was actually coming from my rear skewer that needed to be tightened. I decided that I was done after the road ride section, with Erik, Ryan, and Matt doing the cyclocross and confirming that it was really hot in the exposed sun of the Park. Erik then had a BBQ I was able to go to for a bit with Sara before hitting the airport. Well I will be seeing these guys next at the Ed Sanders CX Race.


It's a great feeling.......(Giro di Coppi)

It's a great feeling to plan something and execute that plan and to see it work.
I only did three road races last year(poolesville, RFK, Giro di Coppi) and this year it will be just the Giro di Coppi. As part of the DCMTB team we are a Mountain bike team that races cross and road races as well. For our Priority Calendar we only had two races RFK crit(citybikes sponsors it) and the Giro di Coppi. The Giro di Coppi is the only hilly race in the MABRA series that I know of. I did it last year and you see how that turned out here.
This year I thought about it, and I knew what I wanted to do. The issue was I had to make sure we had some DCMTB racers there to execute a plan. I raced the CAT 5 race again since I don't race enough to really move up. I knew Matt was going to be there, and there was some openings cause of some team members who couldn't do the race with the date change(was to be in July). I got Rudi who leads the Tuesday Dupont ride, to be a guest "DCMTB" member. I hope I can rope him into racing with our team, since I do allot of training with him already.
The race starts out and we are doing a pretty mellow pace and Matty went to the front for a bit, doing nothing crazy just letting legs get going. Rudi was on the front a little bit, I was trying to get him not to be at the front and to save his energy. Some how Rudi and I were at the front for the Old Baltimore Rd. Climb and we rode that pretty strong, I dug a little more then I wanted to. So we kept on riding and I made sure after that not to go to the front, and Matty and Rudi stayed in the top 1/3 of the field as well. The original Idea I had was that our whole team would attack in unison on the climb. The Idea being if it is one person they will let him die out there, but if it is 3 people from the same team you know the move is serious and that they are going to work together. I had attacked last year and no one came with me so this year I wanted for our team to make the race, and not just sit around reacting to moves. This summer I had gotten a good tip from Chris on my team, he said that you have to attack on the hill(the finishing hill) before the climb. I then started to see how this would work out Rudi would go first and launch us on the finishing hill, cause these are his bread and butter climbs that I knew he would do well. I was then then to take over on the down hill.
So we get to lap 2 of 3, and I saw that Matty was staying near my wheel, and I told Rudi to get to the outside and to launch after the 2000meter to go sign. So Rudi did a good job he was at the head of the group which wasn't ideal but it was 2-3 across so that was helpful. Rudi Jumped and I was right on him, I thought Matty was with me but I didn't have time to look behind. As we were about 2/3 ways up that, rudi started to get separation from me, so I said,"Let me come to you", giving him encouragement in saying keep it steady. So we get to the top and I take over and take the turn hard and start gunning it down the downhill. Previously when we did this people did not do the downhill at full speed. So I was flying down that around 50mph, and Matty came out of my wheel we were both just flying. I then was in front on the climb and then it got steeper so we were spread across the road. I looked to see if Rudi was able to hang on which he was. So we kept going and I think Matty saw two guys coming(Andrew Chamberlin, Brian Dietz), so once the two other riders showed up there were 5 of use doing really fast pulls. We all encouraged one another. We took the turn on Comus and when I looked back I could see people trying to chase. Once we got through the next turn we got a time gap from the Motor official that we had 35 seconds. That lead went down to 20 seconds then back up again. I was starting to loose it, and not being able to pull through and take my pulls(no acting here). Rudi has really good reserves but he needed to get his heart rate down so he was in a spot of bother at the beginning but got better once we were pace lining. On Old Baltimore Rd. I was starting to loose ground, but was only a couple of bike lengths behind. On the next road before the final turn I was still further back, but still had the lead group in sight.
Once on the finally road I was more concerned about the peleton coming behind me and going right pass me. I went into mountain bike survival mode, where I put in effort where I could. I also had a severe calf cramp that I was trying to not think about. I looked behind me a couple of times, and I still didn't see anyone coming. So I kept motoring to the finish and got myself a respectable 5th place I think like 35 seconds infront of the group. What I didn't know was that the lead group that was up the road from me had built a lead of a minute on the peleton. Rudi finished in 4th but could of maybe done better if his cassette cog didn't crack and fall off leaving him only his top cogs so he had to grind out those last couple of miles. Matty got 3rd and said that with him training for the SM100 he had no top end speed at the end so when the last hill came Brian Dietz from All American just kicked up an knotch and got some distance. With the guy from Andrew Chamberlin getting second.
Final thoughts:

  • You can still be in a CAT 5 race and use team tactics, and not just sit on waiting for the finish
  • Was great to plan a "move" and have it succeed with us off the front for the final 13 miles.
  • Found out one of the All American Teamates destroyed himself on the downhill so that Brian Dietz could make it to the break, good show of teamwork and it paid off.
  • Brian and Andrew who came across to the break were what we needed, they had the extra speed and with 5 people it is easier to do the pulls.
  • Glad that Rudi came and he was happy and seemed to have a good time.
  • Maybe next year I won't cramp :-)


Busthead-Dirtyburg -Iron Cross Prep.

I had put this ride out to the masses and had 5 people that seemed up for the ride. Come to the ride itself that went to 1. So I did this ride with Mark, which was fitting since he did the Iron Cross with me last year. Mark did not do the SM100 this year, like myself so he is motivated to do the Iron Cross as compensation. The big issue on the ride was what effect did hurricane Hanna have on the dirt roads. Well it turns out she made the roads great! I was expecting the roads to be damp and have some major puddles. The dry weather we have been having really helped the water was just soaked up, and made the dirt roads have a little better grip and no dust. This was a different experience for me in that I have never done this ride in warmer weather. Mark and I did the ride together, with me trying to hit the climbs pretty hard and regrouping after the downhills. There were two blow downs that would have stop car traffic. The one was so big we had to work our way through the branches. The down hill of Busthead is always crazy there are two steep pitches that really test your nerve. Mark got an energy boost around the 15 mile mark and was kicking it to the rest stop in Middleburg. I thought we might see Jon who was doing a PPTC ride in the area cause of the other PPTC riders at the stop. I found out later that he did the longer option so he arrived after us. The second part of the ride as to climbing sections with the first easier then the second. The climbing is totally the opposite of Busthead with climb back over Bull Run Mountain being a bunch of ridgeline climbs not just one push over the whole thing. I remembered how much I like this ride with it's little traffic, and scenery. I am thinking in the future I might have to hit this route backwards which I have never done.


Fredricksburg Quarry Trails

I was going down to the parent's house over labor day weekend and I had always wanted to try out these trails. There was not much information about the Quarry trails besides what was on the FredEvents website. These trails were illegal until only recently after the dam was blown up. The trails were interesting, I think some really good stuff could be had here if they plan, mark, consolidate the land. There is a bunch of construction coming towards this area from the Central Park shopping Monster. The trails felt like what they are, rogue trails. People have hiked/biked here for awhile without some kind of park management. There were a bunch of trails with some stuff having no flow at all. Most of the trails I rode were not 29er friendly. There were a bunch of logs down over the trail(might be on purpose) this was on the riverside trail. I had a good time just wandering around and following the trails. I went down one trail that lead me to a long tunnel that went under 95. I took that and then ended up in a townhouse community after going through a teenager drinking area(beer boxes and cans littered the trail there). On the way back I got turned around it seems and headed too far north and ended up in the new construction area where there is to be an American Slavery Museum. It was the first mountain bike ride in 2 months so it did the trick, I hope to go here before all the leaves fall on the trail. Another thing to note POISON IVY!!! I forgot that this area is notorious for it. So I got in a 2 hour mountain bike ride while Sara went shopping at Central Park.


Lewisburg- 2 for the Money

I was up in Lewisburg for a wedding with Sara, and I knew she lived out in the country so that there would be some good riding in the area. I went to the Bucknell University cycling website and that gave me a place to start from. I then made up a 40+ mile route that had two big climbs in it. On our last tandem ride I thought we had gotten Sara's fit issues taken care of, so I was thinking that this would be a smooth but hard ride with the climbs. Well we started out, and things were rolling smoothly, the roads in this area are flat east-west but hilly north-south. We went over the first climb and into the town of New Berlin. The town had a couple of streets shut down to have a big antiques flea market, was very cute. After the town we worked our way west, and that is when disaster stuck, Sara's knee was hurting a bit. We could of took the shortcut there back but Sara thought she would be alright. We kept on and going down a nice pretty road looking at the ridge line that we would climb eventually. So we start the climb, and Sara's knee was hurting again. We got up the climb the best we could and then the descent was pretty fast. I was glad that we went south to north over the ridge because the other way it would have been one stiff climb. Halfway down I stopped the Tandem for the rims to cool down. Once we got down the mountain, we went on creek road which was really pretty and saw a neat old covered bridge. We worked our way back, and made it to the house. hopefully we can get Sara's kneed figured out cause she enjoyed the ride if you took out the knee issue. As a treat when we left town I tried the "Freeze" as it is called, was good even though it was melting fast. Next time I am up there I will do the full 3 mountain ride which does three climbs in 50 miles.


Marshall To Aaron Mountain

This turned out to a Good and Bad experience. I was to go to Douthat Park to go camping and mountain biking but that didn't pan out. I had been sickish earlier in the week, but I thought I was good to go for this ride. In hindsight I should of Ridden with Craig, Jonathan who were riding a little mellower. I was riding a good deal of the day with Rudi and Chris. Rudi and co. had just done the Mt. Shasta Ride in CA that was 135 miles with 16,000 of climbing so he was in good form. We were riding a good clip and ended up with three of us off the front. I really like the route, we did some roads I had not done before. There was one dirt road section that was no problem. The trouble started with the last 11 rollers at the end of the ride. I would have rather had them as one climb then to have to go up a couple hundred feet then down then up..... Well my strength was zapping away there, and my throat was getting a little rough. Around the 60mile mark I had Rudi, and another fellow leave me behind so I could ride the last 5 miles at my own pace. Well at the end I think they got caught at a light or something, because I was able to sneak up on them and take the prize for first into the parking lot :-D The downside was that 5 hours latter I had a fever and did not go to work on Monday because of it. Will have to get the cue for this ride and do it again sometime.


First Good Tandem Ride

This was a quick little spin that Sara and I did from Bowie to the Chesapeake. The ride was 40miles, but it was hot out there. This was a PPTC Tandem ride, but we were not the same speed as the other tandems so we ended up riding by ourselves most of the ride. I think with this ride we figured out Sara's fit issues with the Tandem and it was her first ride with clip less shoes. Hopefully there will be more tandem rides in the future.



This bastard of a ride I did last year with Bruce, Ryan, and Mark, came back to crush me this year. I had done an actual evite for the ride to make sure people knew about it, and put it on their calendars. The ride was a big test for me to see if I was going to do Mountain Momma, and the SM100. Well the verdict is no...... The group consisted of 3 bike lane riders, 2 DCMTB's and like 4-5 bike doctor boys. so I think around 12 people total. We started out, at a conversational pace, and then the hamburg climb came to get us. My game plan was to go at my own rhythm, and see what happened. The climbing wasn't the issue as much as the riding in between the climbs. The bike doctor guys weren't riding hard but just riding, and I think last year we cruised between climbs. Well I had one road not exist for me, so that was annoying but for the most part people seemed to enjoy themselves. Around 25miles in Jud's computer fell off and some of the guys went back and helped him look for it. Then the group I was with I waited for Bruce and Ryan at a turn and then gave them directions to shortcut back. I think rode to catch up with the group, but never saw them again. I ended up doing 30miles of the ride solo. Which was ok with me cause I could go the pace I wanted to go. I also cut out the last two climbs, but in doing my"shortcut" I went up a climb that was pretty tough and then did like a 1+ decent on a heavy gravel road that had a steep gradient where I had to go real slow with the washboards. My legs cramped, but I was able to myself together. I finally made it back to the car with 72miles for the day. I am thinking next year I will maybe do part of the ride and try to combine it with Wild and Wonderfull and make it a ride with some climbs, but more manageable.


Assateague 08' Spin Spin!

I did my yearly ritual Assateague Beach weekend. I end up doing some riding there, while I visit the beach. This year the weather was very nice compared to last year's trip. I rode up in the Element with the Tandem and 3 people and all our beach stuff. I also had two bikes on the hitch rack. I got dropped off at Hebron again and left from there to go to the beach. The route I take is not the most direct but, by going to the town of Snow Hill I know I have a place for a pitstop. Well last year my 72 miles turned into an 80+ mile journey. This year I was determined for that not to happen. The ride started off with me getting out of Hebron going to the small ferry. The ferry ride is fun not sure why they don't have a bridge. I did well until the turn right on SeaTick it wasn't there, but I knew from doing the ride last year that I was going the wrong way. Now in doing this ride, you have to imagine that I have a squeak in my bike, I now know that it is coming from my wheels. So the whole 75 miles I am hearing a noise on all the down strokes when I am pedaling. I Finally get to the rest stop, and the place where I stopped last year, has not cleaned their Port-a-John in a long time so I got out of there quick. I found a Chinese take-out place that sold sodas. I saw they had a bathroom-jackpot! So I went in used the bathroom and then filled my water bottles, and then bought a Mountain Dew from the cooler in the Chinese take out place. I then traveled on to the shore, and hit some massive headwind. I was doing a pretty good avg. speed around 19.7, but with the trolling around Snow Hill my avg. went down. After I went down by the shore I headed up to Berlin, around this point my undercarriage was not feeling great so I would stand out of the saddle to relieve the pressure. I finally got to the Verrazono bridge that goes to Assateague. The campsite was farther than I thought. I finally got to the campsite around 7pm or so.
Some things I remembered/learned on the ride:

Flat road riding has so much spinning!
You never really get a Cardio workout, unless you push it, which you can't do for 4:45 hours.

Flat road riding is really about Leg strength.

The next day I did a Tandem ride with Sara, we were lucky that we were able to leave from the campsite then have Jon(who drove my car) there to take the Tandem back to the campsite. At first Sara and I were flying we were tapping out a good rhythm. After 15 miles we were on the route that others would be doing as well. We did the route and around 30 miles, Sara's leg started hurting. I am not sure why it did, but it might be because her seat is too far back. The other issue was that my undercarriage was not liking having to bike again. So I had to stand to relieve the pain. Well we finish strong with 47miles and a 19mph avg. The issue was that we had to hangout for almost an hour and a half for people to get back. The reward though was going to Rayne's Reef diner where they have great burgers and milkshakes. Rayne's Reef is also where they filmed the Run Away Bride as Falcons. It was good ride, and I felt that we had some good power on the roads. Hopefully we can get her leg issues figured out.


Lost River Ride 90miles 8800ft

I was going to do the 12 hours of Cranky Monkey, but a broken bike and the fact I was getting over a sinus infection changed my plans. I saw this ride on the PPTC calendar, and it interested me greatly. I have ridden here some on my mountain bike, and knew there were some big climbs along the route. I found out that Jonathan and Chris would be doing the ride, so I teamed up with Chris to carpool out there. Chris and I got an early start and got to the ride start where there were more people (15+) doing the ride. We started at Columbia Furnace and then went over Wolf Gap. I rode the climb a little slower than the really fast people, so I ended up solo behind them. I had planned this ride to be a long, steady ride. The people in front were pace lining and I could have joined them, but it was going to be a long day in the saddle and I didn't want to blow up. On the way down, Chris caught up with me, and he seemed like he wanted to catch the others. So we took some pulls, and then I asked him if he wanted to catch them again, and brought up the speed and caught the lead group. We were with them for a bit, but then it started to get fast again. I let them go and Chris stayed with me. We did another climb that was on the opposite side of the mountain (WV) of the Liberty Furnace ride. The weather started turning bad, and as we climbed I enjoyed the drizzle. On the way down, I kept it slow so that I wouldn't crash on the wet roads. At the Lost River Store rest stop, we met up with the front group. Jonathan decided to ride with Chris and I, which I was happy about. After the stop, the weather was starting to clear. We rode some nice country roads that had elevation gain that wasn't one climb, but a bunch of rollers going up. Jonathan and I would climb together with Chris following, and we would ride together on the downhills and flats. I won the Mountain KOM points doing a cheeky little move on Jonathan. Chris surprised us all at the VA/WV state line sprint. We passed a rest stop, since the next bigger one was only another 10 miles. My legs were really starting to lock up before the rest stop. We pace lined to the rest stop, and refueled for a long charge to the finish. Joyce said the last part was the hardest. I did agree with her, since we basically rode the ridgeline going up and down these rollers that were mostly going up. Chris fell off the back, and I ended up going on ahead in front of Jonathan. I felt good, and found I still had some hamstring strength, but my quads were pretty dead. I ended up taking a wrong turn, adding like 700 ft. of climbing and 5 miles. After going back the right way I was totally spent—just wanting to get back. The last small steep climb, I planned to ride strong, but my leg cramped, so I limped to the finish. I ended up finishing a bit after Jonathan and Chris. Was a great ride—should help my endurance for future rides.


Mid-Atlantic Cup Rolls On...

After three events and Only two more events left the competition for second place is tight and the first place spot is still within reach. The scoring was modified to have all competing squads on each of the teams. So for Big Bear the scoring was any squads over-all placing, not recognizing what category they raced. The question will be who is racing these next events since only the top 4 scores are used for each team.

12 Hours of Cranky Monkey- June 28th
18 Hours of Scouts Honor- August 15-16

Series Points awarded:

Mid-Atlantic Cup Total Series Points(top 4 scores out of 5 races):


24 hours of Big Bear:
GrippedFilms\Kenda 250
DCMTB\CityBikes 225
BikeLane 205

- 12 hours of Lodi
Team DCMTB/CityBikes got full points being the only team that made this race. Showing that participation can get you places.

-24 hours of Big Bear
The Gripped Films/Kenda folks stepped and took the Top spot at this race with the DCMTB/CityBikes taking the number two spot, and the top spot for the second placing teams. Bike Lane had a solid showing with their two teams as well. Check out the Website Mid-Atlantic Cup for information about the cup.

Big Bear Break Down:

-Hightest placed squads in each team
MAEC RaceOverAll Team Laps Time
1 12 GFK Racing (M Exp) 16 (12:01:33)

2 13 DCMTB/City Bikes/Continuum Solar (M Vet) 16 (12:41:43)

3 52 Flagellomania (BikeLane) (5 Coed) 14 (14:05:42)

-2nd Hightest placed squads in each team

1b 20 DCMTB/City Bikes - Squadra Intossica (J Fun) 16 (13:19:27)

2b 67 Gripped Films / Kenda - GFK 5 (5 Coed) 13 (13:21:37)

3b 89 Dressed All Over & Zesty Mordant(BikeLane) (5 Coed) 11 (09:38:58)


24 Hours of Big Bear:

1 GFK Racing (M Exp) 500

2 DCMTB/City Bikes/Continuum Solar (M Vet) 400

3 Flagellomania (BikeLane) (5 Coed) 320

-2nd Hightest placed squads in each team

1b DCMTB/City Bikes - Squadra Intossica (J Fun) 250

2b Gripped Films / Kenda - GFK 5 (5 Coed) 200

3b Dressed All Over & Zesty(BikeLane) (5 Coed) 160


GrippedFilms\Kenda 700
DCMTB\CityBikes 650
BikeLane 480

Series Points awarded:

GrippedFilms\Kenda 250
DCMTB\CityBikes 225
BikeLane 205

Total Series Points:



Big Bear 08'

Short version: worst endurance relay race I have ever done. Long version below…

Well, I went up to Big Bear, West Virginia with Kent, Chris, and Sara. We got there around 4 or 5 pm and set up camp a bit away from the start/finish but with some shade, which we thought would be needed over the weekend. We went and did a pre-ride, and it was good to be on the trail. We started about 3 miles in and ended up doing 11 miles--more then I wanted to do, but oh well. The trail was muddy in parts, then quite rideable in others. That night, people made some good meat to eat along with some asparagus.

We had decided that Matty would do the first lap since he has been riding well and we knew he would rock it. Matty went out, and I was the second man to go. I started off charged up and passed Steve Schwartz, was rocking it, and then hit the first mud/swamp area. I had not pre-ridden this part and BAM! I went into a ditch I didn't see and did an endo over the bars. My bar hit my leg and that did the most damage. I raced the rest of the lap, and my gears were still mis-shifting a little, but I ended up coming in at 1:18. Our team then had Mike at 1:18 like me and Joe at 1:22. So going into my second lap, I was committed to riding smoother. I didn't have the wreck I had before, but I could really feel my back start to hurt the last half of the course where the mud and hills zapped your energy. I came in feeling good about the lap, but found out my time was a 1:24, so was a little upset that I didn't pull a great lap. Matty pulled a fast one at like 1:15 I think. Mike did pretty well, and Joe had some light issues and did a 1:54 or something. So I was a little bummed about our placing at that moment, but was committed to having fun at the race.

So I started my night lap, and I ran the mud bog section (it was faster) and tried standing for all the climbing in the first part of the course to save my back. I got to the down hill stuff and I was really rockin' it for me. I then got to the fast downhill, and I was actually talking to myself out loud, “Darren keep it smooth” and that kind of stuff. So I did really well on the downhill and then in this muddy switchback, I went down. Wasn't a crazy crash but added to the bruise total on the body. I was then riding the longer uphill, and then the downhill to the stream crossing to the muddy slow uphill. Well, I heard a pop, and then my rear tire started rubbing. I thought I had broken a spoke, so thought I might need to adjust my wheel in the dropout. Well, after several on the bike off the bike tries, I finally see in the dark that I have broken my rear chain stay. I was at mile 7 and knew I had 5+ miles to run/walk out. This was different from last year when I lost my derailleur. With that issue I could still ride my bike, especially on the downhills. Here every time I got on the bike, the tire would rub hard. So I was going to have to do a 5 mile run to get the lap done. I started off at a good pace around 5mph and I did that for about a mile and a half. I was then slowing down. So I kept on pushing the bike and running where I could. Funny thing was when I was going up the big climb I didn't see anyone for like 15 minutes. Also, walking up the climb I saw how steep it was and was surprised that I had ridden it the previous two times. Another issue I was having was that with my upper body being so weak, my triceps were hurting from pushing the bike. I would switch sides to lessen the pain, but it was still not the best. Well, I ran in doing a 2:15 lap, which was pretty good considering. Mike did a non-spectacular lap, and I went to bed saying I was done. I woke up to find that Mike didn't want to do another lap, and I had said I would do one if the team would do another. Well, we threw in the towel after Matt's 9 am ride.

The DCMTB Vet team kept their stuff together to do a great ride and finish 2nd Vet for the second year in a row. The team with JJ, Jonathan, Tom, and Lynne rocked the Just for Fun class, cause they were not able to race expert. Next year for Big Bear I vow will not be like this year. I will ether be totally ready to crush it, or I will ride more of a casual ride.


Big Bear Comes.....

This will be my 6th Granny Gear Race, and my 3rd Big Bear. I love the course at Big Bear, but it is not the best for me. I started racing expert last year, so this will be my first Big Bear as an expert racer. I am not in the best of shape right now, so I am hoping that consistent laps will be my salvation. We are competing against the big boys for this race, so hopefully we can not embarrass ourselves. Check us out this weekend with the real-time scoring at http://grannygear.com/Register/show_teams.php?race=bigbear&year=2008&team_name=DCMTB%2FCity+Bikes

I'll Let you know how we do..............


VA IMBA Mountain Bike Festival

This is my 3rd year of doing the IMBA VA mountain bike festival. I have always liked riding these epic rides in the GW forest. When I came three years ago, it was the first time I did downhills long enough for my legs to hurt. This year a lot of the usual folks I ride with did not come, so I went down not knowing who I was going to ride with. I also took down Sara with me—she had not gone camping in a long time, and the weather looked good for the weekend. We got there in the dark on Friday night, set up our tent and then talked with folks and I saw Evan who used to ride with DCMTB there, and talked about riding with him. I know Evan is fast, but he said that he was not going to be going all out on Sat.
We get up Sat, and Sara knew I would be gone for a bit, but she had decided to do a long run to train for her half marathon the following weekend. So Evan and I start out and were trying to meet Joe and JJ at Brailey's pond. Well Hankey is longer than I thought. Evan was going at a real good clip, but I went my own pace and finally caught up to him when he stopped. Towards the top of the climb we were with the group ride that went out that day. On the descent at Dowell's I was not able to let it hang out and had three guys pass me, who I then passed on the uphill. I am still have issues with off-camber stuff. I was kinda annoyed at myself, but tried to ride better. Got down to the bottom and Evan and I turned to Brailey's to meet Joe and JJ. Well we were way late, and Evan's bike was kinda messed up, so we worked on that for like a half hour, and then did Brailey's pond backwards. The group we passed was now coming down the trail, but it was interesting going up the trail instead of down it. It is a totally doable climb, whereas coming from the other way you usually dab somewhere. We get to the top and then go down the stuff you usually come up. I was leading on the climb riding a pretty hard tempo for me, and I told Evan to come around and he was like,"no the pace is good." Going up the climb that way took some fire out of me. Going down the other side is shorter, but more rocky, so more technical in nature. We then pacelined on the road to the store to refill before going up Dowell's draft. The store was closed, so that was almost a ride killer. Luckily for us the weather was so nice in the 70's that I wasn't sweating as much as years gone by and riding with just Evan we were really cruisin'. I saw that I had enough to get back to the campsite, but just enough. On Dowell's we had a hard time finding the trail back up, but we backtracked and found it. Once on the climb I told Evan to go ahead, and I was then able to ride my own tempo, which was pretty good, but then towards the top started failing me. Once we got to the top at one of the summits we met up with Joe and JJ, and then kept on to the campsite. We hooked up with this fast younger guy from Haymarket Cycles and he and Evan rode together. I would catch up to them from time to time, when they stopped, then I would pass them cause I was cooked and needed to keep moving. I did end up wrecking going down Hankey. I don't think it was because I was tired, but I hit some mud that sent me into two trees and I scraped my face on one of them. I got back completely spent. I cleaned up in the stream, and ended up getting a huge calf cramp that didn't go away until I moved my foot with my hand (my foot wouldn't move when my brain told it to). That night was the Potluck and Sara and I made some steaks I brought. The meat turned out pretty good, and I went around and served it to people like a hot dog vender, and the people who were able to get it really liked it.
40 Miles
4:30 ride time
9 mph avg
Elevation? not sure but 3 climbs that took 45 minutes or so each.

Since I had done a big ride the day before, I was going to do a shorter ride and hang out with Sara. Well I went out with the Foley brothers to do the first 25-30 miles of the SM100 course. One thing that was interesting was how much longer Narrowback seems doing it on a normal ride. For me in the SM100 race, Narrowback was the only part I was really racing. It was fun to ride the Cookie trail, without people being in your way so you could ride it all which I think I would have if I wasn't in the wrong gear! Well things were going well, but then at the bottom of the downhill my pedal seized up. So it was ride over for me. I then rode back to the campsite one legged (luckily the way back on Tillman is mostly downhill). I saw Sara on the road running so asked if she would like to do a short tandem ride. She thought that would be fun, so she ran back with me pedaling one-legged. We get the tandem set up, and were going to do like a 15-20 mile ride, since we were to ride the next day anyway. We start going down this road, and we get to an intersection that has rt. 731 going 3 different ways. Well we got back on track, and then the road turns to gravel, the tandem had 28mm tires, which are small for gravel, but I have done it before without problems. So we go down a hill and then blowout! It is always scary when a front tire especially blows out on a tandem, but I was able to keep it under control and then started to change the tube. Well I look at the tire and it is a side wall cut, and a big one.... So I used a sticker from the bike rim to boot it, but it was still slightly bulging. So Sara suggested we walk the bike out of the gravel road (good idea) and then we gingerly rode back to the campsite, which ended up being closer then we thought. We rode the climb into the park pretty good, so we should be prepared for tomorrow's Tandem ride. People were drinking it up that night Sara and I served burritos which was good way to help out. Also we played Bocce ball with Mike, Tris, Jessica, and gang. Jessica, who I think is joining our team, seemed to have a good time riding some epic singletrak.


Sara and I had gotten most of our stuff together the night before, and then in the morning packed the car, which Sara mostly did (great job) while I was putting on bigger semi-slicks on the tandem which I should have had on there all along. I had gotten some maps and had figured a route for us to do and figured it was around 35-40 miles, but we could shortcut it a bunch of places if we were tired. The bike now had 40mm tires and the bike had a lot softer ride to it. We got out and rode what we did the other day passing where we got a flat. The tires were perfect because with the route we took we would do paved road, then hit dirt, then paved again. The route I picked riding along the stream was a good road. Once we got on the way back that is when things got screwy. The map we had was wrong after looking at Google Maps when we got back. We ran into some women cyclists who knew the area but not the roads per se. We went back the way we came and then took what I thought to be the route we wanted to be on, and then we saw the 2 miles to the Stokesville Observatory, so we knew we were close, and somehow we were on 731—the road that seems to teleport you to places out there. We got back and really pushed it up the climb into the park, and ended up with a 2.5 hour ride time, and Sara really enjoyed her first real tandem ride. We packed up and left, and then saw the women cyclists on the road, on our way to Bridgewater. So another great weekend, hopefully that 40 mile ride will help out the training for Big Bear.


Another one bites the dust

Sat. May 17th

I had wanted to do a mountain bike ride, but ended doing a road ride because of the rain that week. I did the The Good, The Bad, and the Hilly. A good route that does alot of smaller climbs with the Sugarloaf mountain climb in there to get a sustained effort. Bruce, and Ryan had gotten back after a week of doing mountain biking in Colorado, so they were riding strong in the second half of the ride. It was cool to do ride at the beginning of the day, of Ryan's bachelor party day. The first part of the ride I was riding well, my back has been off since the Greenbrier race, and I have not been putting the miles in needed to ride well. So by the time we get to Sugarloaf I had decided to ride my own pace and not to fight it out with Ryan and Bruce. The second half of the ride, I wasn't feeling it, so I had Ryan and Bruce go ahead on one climb and then on the second to last climb I was able to ride past Bruce, but I am convinced it was because I was running a compact and he had a regular crankset. On the last climb, the boys went up the road, and I just kept my own rythum. The ride was nice with the weather and good company, but I wish I could have been more in the game as it were. The night time action was fun, liked doing the Go-Carts out in Dullas, playing pool was fun as well mostly because of the people I was with. I will say I was sucking at pool, but had one shinning moment when I jumped the cue ball over the other's teams ball and hit my ball in the pocket. I hope to some more rides with the Bike Lane boys, it will have to be later in the season since they are not doing the IMBA VA Festival, or Big Bear this year. Hopefully my back issues will get worked out before Big Bear.