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.