This is one of those rides that will never be mastered. I had done OMG-WTF about 5 years ago, and it was that ride that made me get a compact crankset. I did OMG-WTF the last two years and in 2007 with four of us we did the ride right. In 2008 I was with some faster people, and I ended up doing the last 30 miles solo, and taking a shortcut back. For the 2009 version I had wanted to combine the Wild and Wonderful ride. I felt that the flow of the OMG-WTF ride was pretty brutal so I had come up with a route that would have 2-3 rest stops and 80 miles of riding.

For the ride I got a lot more people than I thought I would with Alex, Rudi, Jonathan, Eric, Sid, and Mike. We started off the ride a little fast, this is where the ride has its problems. You need to ride the flatter bits slower or the group is going to come unglued. We did the Hamburg climb and I was doing a pretty steady rhythm and towards the top Alex joined me. Alex would be doing this for most of the day since he was riding a 39-26 or something. We got to the top and the others came up at their own speed. On the downhill we made a wrong turn which wouldn't be the first mistake of the day. The turn is easy to miss cause you want to go down the mountain but you need take a right at the stop sign to stay on Crow Rock Rd. So we went down the wrong way and instead of then doing a left then right we had to backtrack for a good bit to get to Harp Hill. We did Harp, and I usually can ride that pretty strong cause it is not as long as Hamburg. We then took the route to the rest stop, which is now the gas station instead of the cute country store that we used to use. Mike was going off the front during this part and our group was kinda riding at a bunch of different speeds, so it was hard to keep the group together. At Bidle I was confused that the bridge would be out, and didn't want to go that way but Mike was on a mission so he went that way with some of the folks. Luckly we got back together, since I did not have my cell with me to call them.

We then made our way to the Gapland climb and I was in the front with Alex right behind me. We decided there to go to Shepardstown, and we knew it would be a long day in the saddle. Trego Mt. Road was a little more uphill than I thought, but the downhill was nice and I always like riding next to the canal. The Shepherdstown stop was great as usual, getting that food in me was all important. We started to ride better together now since people were getting tired. The Reno climb was tough like usual, with the first summit the steepest of the ride. I made it up it ok with Alex behind me. I think that Alex would have been riding the climbs even better if he had different gears. Once we were all at the top and regained our breath, we took the downhill on our way back to Frederick.

There was more climbing than I originally thought on the way to the last climb. We decided to take a last rest stop and then part of the group--Jonathan, Mike, Sid, Alex--took the shortcut back while Eric, Rudy and I did the Mother Coxy Brown. Once we got to the foot of the climb, we all bade our adieus, said good luck and rolled out. I was in the front setting a good tempo, having to get out of the saddle just to keep turning over the gear. After the first switchback, I was actually tacking back and forth so that I could stay seated and pedaling. Once on the flat middle section, I was able to spin my legs out to prepare for the squat leg press section to come. The next section is hard because of the steep pitches that are thrown in--up to 22% Eric read on his GPS. The way to ride this part of the climb is to actually go as slow as you can to be able to punch up the super short steep pitches. At this point, I was having to use an unusual climbing style since my typical seated upright with hands on the flats of the bar wasn't working anymore and standing was not much better. So I ended up actually holding onto the front of the hoods and was able to engage my full body and back into each pedal stroke. I finished the climb and ended up being several minutes ahead of Rudy and Eric. Rudy, who originally was not going to do the climb, was happy that he did because he said he had more in the tank than he thought. I was really impressed with Eric because I believe he did this climb in a 39-25 or -23 and he said that those gym workouts helped for the climbing.

We then rode the ridgeline on Gambril Road and got the sweet downhill, which has you going around 40+. Both Eric and Rudy missed the left on Shookestown Road and I ended up being in front. After the little rise on Shookestown, we got another sweet downhill, which I liked even better since it wasn't quite as steep and had some sweet carving turns on it. Then down to the school...and when I got to the parking lot I was there by myself. After several minutes, everybody showed up, even those who took the shortcut. I guess Waverly Street is not marked, so it's kinda hard unless you know to turn on it by sight. The guys who did the shortcut did some extra miles, but all made it back safely.

Ride notes
  • The ride was supposed to be 79 miles and ended up being 88 because of wrong turns, but with a bonus of extra elevation (8183ft) added to the ride :)
  • Mike said I am written off for road rides (I guess he didn't like the climbing).
  • I think doing the Iron Mt. race the week before helped with this ride, but reaffirmed that I'm better at really steep climbs compared to more drawn out affairs.
  • Next time, have a smaller group or have people go up the road if they are riding faster.
  • Lastly, the best way to end a ride like this is to go home and invite a bunch of people over to watch a bunch of pros battle it out on a mountaintop finish in the Tour de France.


Iron Mountain 100k

This was the first year of this race, and boy was it a good one. Ended up being 55 miles but we are talking 8000+ ft of climbing! So it hurt, but what goes up comes down :-)
Chis Scott ran a great event, with good rest stops and great signage even better then SM100 I think.

So I went down to Damascus the day before with Jonathan "sweetone" Wheaton on my team. We left got a sub in Harrisonburg, and then got to Damascus around 6:30pm. We then actually ate again at the pizza place, I had some good beens and cornbread while I was there. Then set up camp. There were only about 10 of us sleeping in the public park in Damascus. We got up nice and early and I put down two hard boiled eggs and then had the two left over pieces of pizza from the night before. We got to the start line to hear the final directions and then we were off.

Parade Lap:
Great idea doing a parade lap behind the motorcycle but then I saw that my crank was loose, and I had a bolt missing. So I stopped tightened the one bolt and caught up with the group. Then before the first climb I stopped again to cut a ziptie that was holding a cable too tight, and Chris gave me an extra bolt off his own bike (shows his heart).

Start-Aid 1
So I start the race in dead last with the sweeper. I am thinking well there aren't too many people here so I should be able to get through people pretty well. Jonathan was in front of me, and I figured I would catch him around aid station 1. There had been rain on Friday night so wasn't sure how the trails would be. The trails turned out fine, there were some muddy spots but nothing that stopped you from climbing anything but the steepest hills. It was more an issue of what trails had mountain run off, with some being totally dry. The first climb is steep. I was prepared since Chris said it would be. I was passing the experienced, steady riders and catching up to people, but no Jonathan. I actually caught a guy on the downhill to aid station 1, but lost major ground to a guy in chucks and shorts with a double crown fork on the downhill. The downhill here was a blast like going through a green tunnel of fun. At aid station 1 they said Jonathan was about 2 minutes in front of me.
Aid 1-2
I was going really fast and caught the people who passed me at the aid station. I finally caught the guy with the chucks and shorts and freeride bike. I was making some good ground I felt on this section, then went up into the singletrack section of climbing. I was climbing ok, just sticking to a steady rythym. The next big downhill was off-camber with every root or rock pushing my bike off the trail. There was several sections where the trail had eroded from storms, so you had to be on your toes. I didn't make any ground here I was sure. I got into aid station 2 and they said that Jonathan wasn't too far in front of me, I ate a PB&J and was gone.
Aid 2-3
I had determined if I didn't catch Jonathan by the next aid station I wasn't going to catch him. This was the hardest part of the course, reminded me of the 18-mile part in the SM100 from aid station 4-5 where it is a fire road that goes on forever. My seat was not agreeing with me too much either, my seat bones were hurting from sitting on it. I was then getting out of the saddle more to help with that. I realized that the climbing wasn't steep enough for me to catch Jonathan. If he was able to turn over his gear (he was on a single speed) he would be alright on this climb. I might have slowed down a little too much then as well since I was all by myself. I finally got to the downhill to aid station 3.
Aid 3-4
So Jonathan had pulled more time on me, so I decided to not sweat getting him. I had packed some extra socks in the drop bag so I got those out, and put them on. I also got two cups of Coke, which really helped. I then went off knowing that the hardest climbing of the race was done. I rode and did a ridgeline at one point, let a guy use my pump to pump his tube, but his tube was busted and I was running 29ers. As I was doing the downhill, I was thinking about not being able to catch Jonathan, but was thinking too he is the "sweet one" and he gets that name from tech skills. I was doing fine on the downhills, I was comfortable, but these downhills where the kind that you could get some speed on, and if you had balls some real speed. I got down to aid station 4 and found out that Jonathan's lead had maybe even grown on me.
Aid 4-Fin
So the rest of the race, was playing the waiting game of when is this race going to be over. We were climbing this Jeep road that would go up and down, and I knew we had to go down eventually. On the trail was a little upset cause there were not many vistas to look at, just looking 50 yards off the trail and seeing how fast the ground was dropping. We get back to one of the uphills we had done earlier so I knew we were getting close. Then we went up again to a different downhill then the one we came up! This downhill was pretty steep, got my rotors really hot (they squeal when they get hot) and I felt like I had no suspension with all the rocks pounding me. I got the pavement and got my time.
Race time: 6:23
Ride time : 5:54
So way too much stop time!

  • I was happy with my ride time, I think I can do the same time or better and do like 10 minutes in stops for a 6:04 or better. But Jonathan would have still beat me with his 6:01.
  • I didn't feel as bad about Jonathan's time considering he did a great ride and got 9th over-all so he had a great ride out there.
  • To race this I think my 70 oz camel back and a bottle that I refill once or twice. Maybe only stop at Aid 2 and maybe 3.
  • Make this into a vacation and stay for 4 days or something too far to drive for one ride/race
  • Their course was awesome, like a more technical SM100. With the climbing less steep (but more of it) and the descents less steep as well.
There should be more pics will post them when I find them.


Lost River Riding

Over the July 4th weekend, we went tubing on the 3rd and then spent 2 days at the Lost River State Park in WV. The Park is really nice with cabins, a pool, a rec room with Ping Pong. The park also has trails for hiking, riding and horses.

The ride started off a little chilly, but one I started climbing I was doing just fine. This ride has some pretty roads from Patrick Hallow a back country road to Old Route 50 which had a great surface and banking with almost no traffic. I didn't know that there would be such steep stuff on old route 50, and was kinda funny when I did a wrong turn and ended up doing part of the route over again. This ride was a hard one, had allot of climbing and some bombing descents. I was able to test the Moots on some downhill action. The main course of the ride was the Lost River Road climb. Going from 940ft to 2800 ft. I had heard of this climb from a blog on the GamJams news role. The NCVC rider talked about people having to walk, I was like what? So I wanted to see it for myself. This is a closeup of the hardest part of the climb.It was one of the hardest climbs I have done right up there with Reddish Knob near Harrisonburg. I was riding a 36-26 and I was still going like 50rpms in some places, so I could see someone with a 39-23 or 25 dieing on it. Once I got to the Top it was some nice mountain top riding then a fun descent back to the park, only issue was that it felt like a mountain top finish with me having to climb the last bit back to the cabin.

Mountain(trails I rode in pink)
The next day I got up and went Mt. biking from the cabin on park trails. I wasn't sure how long I would ride since we were leaving that day, and there weren't too many trails to ride in the park. I get out of the cabin and go to the end of the street and bamn! I am in my 22-34 with the steepness of the climbing(I ride a 29er) I got up and on the east ridge trail which was the (mt. biking friendly trail) well some parts were big enough for a ATV to ride, but when it started going downhill you needed to be on a dual suspension, disc brake bike or have some skills. My brakes started squelling and at the bottom I put my glove on the rotor and it burned the leather! I then went up the fireroad to Big Mountain. This climb was harder then the previos day's climb but I was on a Mt. bike and had the low gears to get up it. After about 45minutes I made it to the top. There is a ridgeline trail that add some good mileage to the ride. I did an out and back on that with out ever getting to Millers Rock, it was starting to rain and I thought it would be good to get back. I took the Big Ridge Trail back down the mountain, and it was a horse trail, but did not say bikers couldn't use it. I wasn't worried about horses cause of the rain and crappy morning weather. Horses can really churn up a trail, this tail was sandy, and every rock unless it was a boulder was not in the ground firmly. I had some big rock kick up and hit me and my bike. The scary moment was when I came to a ravine, and the raing had made the rocks and roots slick. I slipped on a rock and then slipped on a root where I crashed and had my thigh pinched between the root and my bike. Was scary for a second, but luckly I have some big legs so a bruise not a broken bone. I then went back to the cabin via the howards lick trail and the lollipop trail. By the time I got back it was fully rainning, making me happy I got a ride in when the trails were dry. I did about 2 hours and only rode 12miles so that kinda tells how steep this place is. Would be really cool to have a Mt bike race here and have everyone campout and cabin at the race site.


12 hours of Cranky Monkey 2009

This was one of the big races I wanted to do well at this year. I was not able to race it last year, cause of my back, so this year I wanted to do well. The team I had come up with was Mike K.(who I seem to keep racing with) and Alex who I raced with at Lodi. We made the age cut-off and raced the Open Men's division. I wanted us to do well, and I had hopes for us to battle against DCMTB's Vet squad of Marc, Raul, and Chris.
I started us off and after much debate we agreed to do single laps(which was the best call) I did the run and got to pretty good position with Matty right around me. I then kicked it on the gravel doubletrack, and was off. I was sitting in like 5th place or so then we hit the powerline climb and I had some chainsuck. I lost 3 spots there, and would then be babing my drivetrain for the rest of the race. I ended up riding with Raul for like 2 miles at the end and was a great way to end the lap meaning we were tied with the Vet team. Mike, and Alex put in some really fast laps which then gave us the lead over the Vet team and the Co-Ed team of Matty, Tom, Lynne) For my 2nd lap I was fearful of Matty catching me, and after a couple of miles I heard someone gainning on me, and I said hey Matty that you? YEP So I rode with Matty for a bit, but at one point he took a hairy turn and sped up again I knew I had to let him go and go my own pace. I finished the lap a couple of minutes down on them. After that I don't think we ever saw the front again. My 3rd lap was ok, but yet again I saw the lead go away and this was that I lost 1st place in the 3 man open division when I saw the Luv team go in front of me. I wanted to stay with him which I did for a bit, but I knew that I was going too much into the red. So I stayed my own tempo. I was starting to get some cramps. Alex and Mike did some fast laps again, meanwhile the 1st place 3-man open team was losing gas and we had taken the lead from them. With my last lap coming I knew I needed to keep on the gas and not get caught by the Luv team. I was going my hardest out on the course, I had a fast SS playing cat and mouse with me. he would catch up and then fall away then catch up again. He never went in front of me, but we rode like that for about 4 miles until around mile 8 I left him. I was also determined to leave it on the trail compared to Big Bear where I still had energy in the tank, that meant riding through several bouts of cramps that wanted to take hold but I fended them off. I came back with a 2 minute faster lap time then any of my other laps. Alex went next since he needed to get home, and Mike K. finished us off with a wicked fast lap. We won the open 3-man Division and ended up 2nd place over-all. Another thanks for Sara coming out and she also helped out and did scoring at the end of the even. Check out the pics if you can't see the slide show http://picasaweb.google.com/lovedabikes/12HoursOfCrankyMonkey2009#
The whole DCMTB team really shined out there with:

1st over-all 1st co-ed(by 2 laps) 3 -person
Matty, Tom, Lynn

2nd over-all 1st 3-man open
Darren, Alex, Mike

5th over-all 2nd 3-man vet
Raul, Marc, Chris

3rd 3-man open
Vince, Leland, Kevin

3rd Co-Ed Du0 (with PVC)
Samantha and Chris

6th Co-Ed 3-person
Mike S., Jonathan, Tris