Lewisburg July 2011

Day 1

Sara and I were in Lewisburg for her friend Kendra’s wedding. I had planned to make this into a mini bike camp. The first day, while Sara was doing bridesmaid stuff, I went out for a long ride. I had wanted to do a ride that was four times over the ridge near Lewisburg for a while, and I was finally able to do it. I ended up having to do some detours because of bridge work. The climb up rt. 234 is a pretty good one, reminding me of a little steeper Blue Ridge Parkway. Once you get to the top, going down the other side is pretty st
raight, so you’re able to get up to about 50 mph and moderate your speed by how much you get out of your tuck. On the way back, I decided to go off my original cue, and I ended up taking the Moots on a number of dirt roads. By the time I got back, I had done 10 miles more than I’d originally planned, with the total mileage of the day being 75-80? and having ridden 5 hours. One thing I have noticed with my rides out there is that it’s good to keep loose change with you. I actually never did a true rest stop, but instead used vending machines at a firehouse and a veterinarian place I’d seen before. It was good that I could get liquids, but I couldn’t get water, so I usually got tea. This ride was the downfall of my season. I think I just kind of hit a wall and had had enough. It changed my motivation to ride at the mini bike camp after all.

Day 2
After doing the ride on Day 1, I almost didn’t want to ride on Day 2, but it was to be a mountain bike ride, 
which always seems more fun than road biking. I just thought I’d go ahead and make it happen. I went over to Danville to ride the Tour de Tykes race course. When I got to the place, I realized that I’d forgotten to bring the map that I’d made. Luckily, there were some guys about to start a ride, so I decided to tag along with them. It was cool to ride with some people who knew the trails, and it was an added bonus that my fitness was actually pretty good despite my low motivation levels. Although I was a newcomer, I ended up riding in front a couple of times. The trails for Tour de Tykes are a cross between Schaeffer and Fountainhead, but a lot steeper. The downhills were fun, but I was noticing I had some gotcha moments with my handlebars because there are some tight spots among the pine trees. After riding for a while with me, the people I met all needed to get back to their families. I continued on my own to do the west side, which we hadn’t covered. One of the bummers was that the expert course at Tour de Tykes, which I’d planned to do, goes through a good amount of private property. It’s open on race day, but you’re not supposed to ride on it at other times. I might have gone ahead and ridden on it anyway, but I didn’t have a map to even find the trail. On the west side, there is a nice downhill that leads you into an old graveyard in the middle of the woods. They had some signage there, so I checked it out, took a break, and enjoyed myself in nature. The trail dropped me off by my car, and with the motivation not so high and no one to ride with me, I decided to just bag it and not do another lap of the trails alone. I did like the trails there, although they were not as long as I thought they would be. I would still like to do the Tour de Tykes so that I can see the whole trail system.

Day 3

After going out to Boulder last summer and getting to ride with Rob out in his domain, I had been looking forward to riding with him in Lewisburg. I don’t believe he’d ridden there previously, even though he’d visited a number of times with his wife (Sara’s friend Christie).  To make this ride happen, my friend Ian from DCMTB lent me his second road bike, which is actually pretty sweet, it being a Lightspeed bike with full Dura-Ace. It was the same size as Rob’s bike, which worked well. I decided to take Rob on a route that first went east of Lewisburg. I was interested to see how Rob would do with more East Coast climbs (shorter and steeper, compared to those he’s used to out in the Rockies—really long and very gradual). The unfortunate thing is that Rob had had reconstructive surgery on his knee, so he was not 100%. He was a trooper, though, to do the ride at all. We did the Tower Road , which is a pretty steep little climb, and then we had a nice downhill into Northumberland. We went across the river again and worked our way back to where Christie’s parents live and took supple mill over another steep little climb. Once back at the Clements’ house, we got to enjoy a nice swim in the pool. I don’t think that I would have gone for a ride that day if I wasn’t planning to ride with Rob, so it was pretty good that I rode with him. The rest of the weekend, we had fun attending the rehearsal, dinner, wedding, and farewell brunch (while also celebrating July 4th!).


12 Hours of Cranky Monkey

I did this race with Mike K and Jonathan W. Since I had been running a little bit in the spring, it was decided that I had to do the dreaded first lap with the run. The race started out fine. I can run, but I’m not a sprinter, so I didn’t actually gain anything in the run itself. Once on course, I was able to keep a steady rhythm, and I came in at a respectable time for Mike to go out for a lap. Jonathan went last and busted out a smoking lap, putting us in the lead of the three man 35+ division. We then continued to do consistent laps, finding that we actually could win the race without my going out for a final lap. As usual, Mike K would have none of it, giving me the guilt trip and saying that I had to go do another lap. So I went out and did a final lap at an easy pace, but you really can’t go that slowly, because there are hills you have to get up. In the end, we won the three man 35+ class, and our compatriots got second place in the three man 40+ division and first place in the open division.  Our team (Mature but not Old) actually got the most laps in time of the race. With my lap times of 53:21, 53:05, 53:00 , I was really happy that even though I wasn’t sometimes as fast as Jonathan on the team, I was consistently getting negative splits every lap.


Mountains of Misery 2011

This year I decided to do Mountains of Misery instead of the IMBA Mountain Bike Festival, which I’ve done for the last five or six years over Memorial Day Weekend. A bunch of my PPTC friends do Mountains of Misery annually as one of their challenge rides. Mountains of Misery is not a race, but it is a timed event, so you get a chip and an official time. This year, they decided to do waves, so you didn’t know who you were going to end up riding with at the beginning of the event. Because this is a road event, to actually get a good time, you would need to be with a good group of people that you can draft with. Since this was my first time doing the event, I had no pressure on myself, so I could just enjoy it.

So we were the third wave of riders to go off, and I was in a huge line of drafting with Chris, Jonathan, and Rudy. There were some fools taking huge pulls for no apparent reasons, but I was like fine…if they’re willing to do that, I will just stay behind them. I didn’t waste much energy until finally we got to the big downhill. The downhill was a little sketchy because I had never done it, and I was with a pretty big group of people who weren’t always taking the best lines. Rudy had charged off to the front for what I thought was no apparent reason, but he knew the hill was coming so he got to the front so he could choose his lines and get down the mountain pretty quickly. After the downhill, there was a rest stop, which we passed, and at that point we got a good group of people I could see myself riding with for a lot of the day. We started doing some smaller country roads that had kind of stepped hills, which is more my kind of terrain, and I was gapping the group I was with.  I decided to pull back, though, and save my energy for the end.  

Rudy got a flat, so I said I’d wait for him since I had no time to beat from previous years. He fixed his tire, and the sag came by, which was great because I was able to refill my water bottles. Rudy was pretty pissed off since this took off about four to five minutes, which would be hard to make up. Once we got going again, we hooked up with three other guys and we were going along at a pretty good pace. Rudy was falling off the pace a little bit and waived us on. We started going downhill toward one of the big climbs of the ride. I decided to push it a little bit with the guys, staying with them until the base of the climb and then assuming everyone would do their own pace up it.

 John's Creek Mountain is actually a pretty good one for me, since it’s around three miles and varies in pitch. I pushed it up the climb and took a pit stop. I think this was crucial in my overall time, because since I had gotten the water from the sag wagon and brought my own food, I had not stopped at a rest stop and had an official break. The rest stop girl thought I was a little crazy because I was one of the only person to eat the pickles, but I have found that pickles do me right on this kind of event. I continued to then ride the next forty miles by myself. I think what helped me was having done the SM100 and other long-distance mountain bike races. Through them I learned to ride at a high pace even by myself.

The Hardest Climb I’ve Ever Done-Mountain Lake

Since I had my Garmin, I was could see I was doing consistent riding at pitches of 14 to 15 percent. The climb started off ok, although the heat was starting to get bad at around 90. It then just turned into a grudge match of me against my pedals. I kept thinking I was going to have to get off the bike and either push the bike or take a breather. There is a reason that this climb was in the old Tour DuPont—it really is pro-level. The people cheering from the roadside was great but also frustrating because I was going around 3 mph. I did love the wet towels on the neck—great relief. I finally got to the finish line happy to be done. The food afterwards was great, but I couldn’t eat too much having put out so much effort and just nibbled at a hamburger and had a Coke.

Final Note
I’m actually really proud of that ride considering my body weight(in the 190s) and how big the climb at the end was.

Ride Time: 6:07:46
2nd, Age35-39
17th Male
18th Overall


J. Bishop Grand Fondo

This was a beast of a ride, I have done rides with more Climbing, but this thing had 3 really hard climbs. The First was Rt. 33 VA to WV, not my kind of climb consistent 6-8% pitch that keep going up and up. The Downhill was super fun though. The second dirt climb I was totally at my limit, and going up 14 and even 16% pitches. I was better here since I could use more of my power, and the grade was not constant. The 3rd climb was not that bad, but Reddish was a tough one. Alot of people had issues cause the climb was a dirt rough road climb. My issue was that it was just so long, my body has a hard time climbing for more then 2mile sections(I was going 3.0mph at one point). Nice ride Got to do it with Matt Donahue, and Jonathan Wheaton. At the end of the ride I did the last 15 miles with Jonathan and Chris my PPTC friends. Thinking I might do it next year as well.


DirtyBurg Extended

Great race Prep for Iron CX, 65 miles with only 7-8 miles of road.  Right now after the big rains we have hadm the Gravel is not as it was in the spring.


Rattlin 50 a tale of two races.....

Short story
Pretty solid ride for the first 40miles...UNTIL my rear derailleur broke.  Until the end Single Speed with a max speed of 7.5mph.   Fine for the trails but too slow for the fireroads towards the end.

More detailed view:
The race is a pretty good one.  It is also very different compared to other endurance races I have done.  There is not as much climbing, but there was plenty of points in the race where you needed your power to get through the rocks.
The race starts out with a 2.5 mile climb, but after that you never climb anything else that is more then 8%.  The race includes some really Technical Shed/Gambril like trails, and with some fun super tight single track with mountain shrubs(maybe mt. laural?) giving you only 2 ft of trail up to your top tube.  I was happy to just "ride" steady at this race.  I had some issues where I couldn't actually go full out, cause I had to make sure I could get through the many rock gardens.  The Rocks for the most part are actually setup pretty well so you can ride them.  There were about 5-6 times I got off my bike, cause I dabbed and just walked through that rock section.  Since the race was not the usual Fire road up and then Single track downhill, you had to be on the gas when you could, but this meant being on the gas through real singletrack.  So you had a good amount of spinning.  There were some Dirt roads, and grass tracks as well.  I actually didn't find those that annoying since you spent some upperbody/core energy on the single track.  So the Fire roads and grass double tracks were good to regroup on.   I had some good back and forth with some folks, but once my derailleur busted that part of the race was done.
Broken Derailleur
What makes this annoying was that I had a derailleur hanger, but these new XT mechs have a piece that is suppose to break off, and I guess you are to have the replacement for that too.  After I made my bike a SS I could only go 7.5 miles an hour.  I was just trying to get the ride done at this point.  If I could have set it up with a little bigger gear that would of helped.  Taking what I had done, I kept the same avg. speed to the finish I think I would have done a 5:15 hour time.  Well here are the stats:


9 hours of Cranky Monkey

3-Man 105+ Results:

9 Hours of Cranky Monkey
I really enjoyed this race in 2010, so I signed up early to do it again in 2011. DCMTB had a big presence with 5 teams. I was a little unsure of my form, considering I had just been in Europe for 10 days and only did one major 50-mile ride in Berlin, so I asked to go last in the rotation. The weather looked really unpromising, with a forecast of rain and dark and cloudy skies at the start. By some crazy act of God, the race area never got rained on--although we know that some locations 5 miles away got drenched.
Mike started us off, having to do the run. We found out that Mike is not a very fast runner. He was able to pass some people on the singletrack, and Joel went out next. My first lap I felt pretty good, but wasn't quite hitting some of the lines that I wanted to. To my surprise when I came back, I saw I'd actually gotten the fastest time on our team.
Rest of the Race
I was pretty stoked to have negative splits on my next 2 laps. The course seemed to suit me well, with the fast flowy sections and then the big climb in the middle where I could get into a rhythm. We ended up having a race on our hands, against the aptly named Two Wookies and an Ewok (the 2 dudes were like 6'5", while the last was about 5'4"). Since I was pulling pretty fast laps, I was actually bringing us back into the lead on my laps...then their fastest guy (the Ewok) would end up passing Mike on the climb.
So the race came down to the final lap. We were both going to be able to put out a third man on the course before the time cutoff. I was hoping that we would get the lead and then I could just maintain it for the win. Joel did a solid lap, but we still ended up down over a minute and a half from the other team. Mike gave one of his motivational speeches (aka yelling at me to go fast), and I went out full steam. I ended up catching up to Bill early in the course (I found out later he had wrecked because he pushed it too hard knowing that our team was right behind him). So once I was ahead, I knew I had to just keep it going and we could pull out the victory. Going down the big downhill, I ended up getting a slow-leaking flat. I jumped off the bike and used a CO2 to hopefully get enough air in there and get the damn tire home. It held, but just barely, and I kept my weight off the rear end of the bike. It was a pretty cool feeling coming into the finish having the whole DCMTB crew cheering me on.


DCMTB-Mature not OldDarren Biggs, Mike Klasmeier, Joel Wilson
Two Wookiees and an Ewok Daniel Tille, Chris Mayhew, Bill Schieken


Biking in Berlin

From May 2nd
I saw the famous Bar Bike, but did not get a ride on it.

Solid Entry Level, Aluminum Shimano 105 BMC  I rented.
This Column Was helpful for getting my bearings

Biking in Berlin
I had found a BMC bike online from a shop in West Berlin. It was one of the few places that actually had regular road bikes and not city bikes available to rent. So I took the subway and got off in the Zoo stop to pick it up. Once I got the bike, I had planned to do a roundabout ride back to the hotel to test her out. It was a really awesome experience biking after having been walking around and using the subway. This made me feel more like a part of the city. Even with my GPS, I ended up going around in circles, but using [insert name of victory statue thing], I was able to find my way back to Freidrichstrasse.
Biking to Potsdam and Back
This ride was only possible because of the Garmin. I didn't have much time on the S.L.O.W. computer at the hotel using Windows 95 in German, so I just used the cycle map on bike route toaster to get directions on bike preferred/bike lane roads. I got up early in the morning and to my huge dismay, it was below 40 degrees and drizzling. It had been sunny most of the trip, and all I had to wear was shorts, knee warmers, a jersey, arm warmers, and a vest. I headed on out to West Berlin until I got almost to the river and went south through [add park name]. While riding, I encountered several commuters--the few bikers I saw wearing helmets. The roads in the forest were the only ones I encountered with hills the entire day. Outside of Potsdam, I ended up going on a scenic route that goes along the river and had great views. You could imagine people going there and hanging out at the several biergartens I saw along the river bank. I had to imagine this, as there was no one around, it was gray and cloudy, and there was drizzle coming down. I went through Potsdam along some crazy route that I never would have figured out without my Garmin telling me which way to go. It included a driveway that turned into a small road along a canal and several other random paths that connected larger roads. Once back outside of Potsdam, I had tried a chancy move of going through another forest, not knowing exactly what surface I'd find on the trail. The surface ended up being dirt, so I rode a race bike for 3-4 miles on singletrack. Luckily, there were not too many rocks or roots, so I didn't get a puncture flat. Getting back into town, I was now in Berlin rush hour traffic, and lucky for me it now really started raining. The road that I was on was a "bike lane" road, but in Germany a bike lane means a lane that can either be on the road or on a sidewalk--which is quite sketchy if that sidewalk is made of cobblestones and wet. Once in Berlin, I was freezing and just wanted to get my ass back to the hotel to warm up. Lucky me again...I get a flat. I did have a spare tube, but I had no pump to blow up the tube. I speak no German. "Woe is me," I thought. What was I to do? As the tire is slowly deflating, I ended up passing a bike shop that had just opened, so I went in and was able to its pump and get myself back to the hotel. This was one of the coldest rides I've ever done because of the 40ish degree weather, rain, and lack of appropriate clothing.
Random Thoughts
  • Even though Berlin/Germany has a lot more bike lanes than we do in the U.S., I actually don't like the bike lanes there. When they were on the road, they were great, but many times they took me onto the sidewalk and it was pretty scary due to pedestrian traffic.
  • With the different road conditions, I actually think a cross bike would have been better to use. Some of the streets were pretty heavily made of cobblestones.
  • I really enjoyed being able to experience the scenery on a bike and getting to see Potsdam as well as Berlin. 


Biking in Amsterdam

From April 31st

This is a travel bike post.  I was doing a trip with Sara, and her parents.  The trans-atlantic flight came into Amsterdam, so we spent 2 days there before heading to Prague and then Berlin.  On the Second day, we rented from Yellow Bikes and guess what we rode Yellow city bikes.  We picked them up and rode them to the canal, where Sara did a Canal trip again that we did the day before.  I think had an hour to ride by myself.  I had brought my Garmin and hooked that up to the bike.  The Garmin is great to know where you are at, the scene is not big enough to use it like a map.  So I rode around on my front brake, and rear coaster brake bike.  I could only get the bike to 17 mph since the gear was pretty small on it.  I rode around and did a lap at Vondelpark which was near our hotel.  On the way back to where the Canal trips started I went through a bicycle, pedestrian only road, this was very cool(Max Euweplein).  The 3 story Bike Parking garage was a site to behold.  After the Canal ride Sara and I biked to the Maritime museum that was still closed so we went to the next best thing the Heineken Experience :-)   The paths were nice enough that Sara felt ok to bike on them, she was a little scared when we were in the city center, and you had tons of cyclists on the path, and some motor scooters.  The most interesting thing that I didn’t see was actual cyclists.  I saw tons of people riding bikes, but only like 5 cyclists on bikes doing a ride. 


Greenbrier 2011

I decided to do Greenbrier since Sara and I were coming back from her cousin’s “couple’s shower” for
her wedding. I thought at the least I could get some good training in. Good news is I got sixth place. Bad
news is there were only six people in my field. I’m still listed as a CAT 1 mountain biker, which I am not.
It was a forgettable race considering I battled for two laps with a hole in my tire. Finally, I got it fixed
with a plug from one of the junior riders so that I didn’t have to walk the bike in.