The 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey at Rocky Gap

This is a new race put on by the EX2 Adventures folks at Rocky Gap State Park. Both Leland and Tom liked the course, so I thought it would be a good place to go race. I had never done a relay race with Chris, so I teamed up with him and got Jonathan to join us. We were able to sign up for a 120+ team because our ages were 45, 43 and 35.

I got to Chris's a bit late and he was a little upset, but all was good once we got on the road. We got there in a little over 2 hours, with an hour to spare before the start. Originally, I was going to go third, thinking that I would be the slowest...but Chris said I had to go second because I was late. The crafty old man played his cards well, and he ended up doing only three laps instead of the four that Jonathan and I did.

The Start

Jonathan started us off. Unfortunately, there was a little bit of a run at the beginning, which is not Jonathan's strong suit. He went out, did a good lap and came in about a minute behind Leland, who was riding on a 3-man open team. I was a little worried about racing with my finger. I thought it was sprained (found out after the race it was broken), so I put a little mini-splint on and hoped it wouldn't hurt too much while I was riding.

I started my first lap and things were going well. I was feeling very comfortable on the flowing singletrack considering that the last race I had done was very twisty (12 hrs of Lodi). I was picking off people and I think I was in the lead of our class when I spied Mike S. from the DCMTB 3-man open team in front of me. As I was starting to gain some ground on him and was excited about the prospect of passing him, I felt my pedal at an odd angle. My crank arm was coming off the spindle. I had to stop to take care of this, which took some valuable time (around 7 minutes or so) to fix. Fixing it entailed bashing my multi-tool against the crank arm since the screw thing had broken when the crank arm came off. I was feeling my finger a little bit, but I was still hopeful that the pain wouldn't get too bad. I then started doing some of the downhills on the course, which turned out to be a different issue. I was almost crying and each time ended up losing some precious momentum that would have helped me up the uphills. I finally brought it in and Chris went out for his lap.

Rest of the Race

After my lap, I believe we were down by almost 12 minutes to the first place team. I was able to ride with my pinky taped to my ring finger instead of riding with a splint. It was still painful at times, but if I gripped the handlebars really tight, I was able to deal with it.

As a team, we all rode consistent laps after my mishap, and we were able to chip away at the lead of the teams in front of us. On the last lap, which was mine, we were up by one minute. I went out pretty hard to ensure that no one would get past me. At one point, a rider caught up to me, asking what class I was in. I didn't believe it was the rider in our division, but at the same time I wanted to drop him if I could. I rode the rocky uphill section at a steady pace and was able to slowly distance myself from him. Once I got to the downhill, I took the left-hand side, which was a lot rougher but let it all hang out and bombed down. I passed seven or eight people and left him behind in the process. I ended up having the same time on my last lap as I did on my third lap--pretty crazy.

Because I held off that racer (he was part of the first-place 105+ 3-man team), we ended up getting third place overall for 3-man teams. We also won the 3-man 120+ division. It was great hanging out with the DCMTB and Family Bikes crew and watching Ian and Mike crush the competition. They ended up being first place overall at the race. The Family Bikes team did a great job getting 2nd place in the 105+ division and the other DCMTBers on the "Not the Old Guys" team got 3rd in their race. Good results for all.

So the big question is...after I have surgery on my pinky, will I be able to hold the handlebars to train for the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey. If not, I think I might start running again :) Maybe I will go to the 12-hour race just to watch and pit with Mike K, who has a broken foot. Special thanks to Sara for typing this up because I couldn't do it with my pinky in a cast.


12hours of Lodi

From May 2nd. Photos by backlight photography

This race has a special place in my heart, it was the first 12 hour race I had ever done. I did this race in 1999 or 2000 when it started at 12 mid-night and went to 12pm the next day. It was my first night ride too! We raced it in a impromptu 2 man division(our 3r rider bailed) and won. I have done the race 3-4 times over the years, with last year being the first to do it single speed.
I am not a single speed mountain bike person, but I found the single speed is fun to ride at the easier places in the area like Wakefield, Larual Hills, Roseyville, Schaffer. I usually ride those places rigid, but I had bought a front shock for Lodi. Compared to other racers I was running a really low gear a 32 x 22 29er. I love that gear at Lodi, cause with the turning and short hills it lets you have the ability to climb everything. There are only two parts of the course that are longer then 50 feet of flat/straight.
I raced 3-man SS with Jonathan, and Kevin. We were competing against the other DCMTB team of Mike, Joel, and Kent. We had our work cutout for us. I was going last since I knew I would be the slowest of the three of us. Jonathan did a great first lap, but got a little dehydrated out there which would effect him the rest of the race. Kevin did a strong first lap as well. My first lap I had a lead, but I knew that Mike was coming behind me. I was able to hold him off until the end of the lap, so it would be up to my teamates to build that cushion.
We ended up slipping father and father away from the other team, ended in 2nd place by 11 minutes or so. I was not happy with my times, but considering that this year has been slow-slow start up I was just happy to be tired on my last lap and not to have my back hurting me. I do like racing the SS at certain races. I like doing wakefield on the SS, and am thinking I might the battle at burke farm SS. Or maybe the Schaffer CM race.
I want to give a big thanks to Sara for coming to the race, and for picking up some Chipotle and driving me to my parents place at 12:30am.

Random Notes:

  • Great weather this year at Lodi, was warm but no rain
  • The course started to get slick with the temps falling in the evening.
  • First Year I have done this race without the poison ivy, used Jonathan's trick of wiping off with rubbing alcohol with baby wipes every lap.
  • Lodi is still great event even though the amount of teams has gone down, while the solo's have gone up.
  • Hope to race here next year, but be in better shape.
  • DCMTB had great crew out there with a 2nd place expert(team was co-ed) 1,2 3-man SS