US Cup Fontanta, aka Fontucky

I dont know whether it was the multiple trailer parks we passed, the fact that there was a nascar race going on right down the street or the threat of rain I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was going to a mountain bike race in Fontanta, aka fontucky. The biggest thing on everyones mind on the way to the race was the rain, no one really likes to race in the rain, and no one could tell what was going to happen.

Len, Dave and I got up there with plenty of time to register, gear up, and check the weather report 10 more times. 40 minutes before the race we started our warmup and checked out some of the course, and we’re bummed to see the fact that ‘the elevator’ climb wasn’t included in the course this year, as that is all Len has been talking about for the past two weeks.

I toed the line with the 30-34 and 35-39 age groups, and while waiting around to start I realized how unmotivated I was for this race. Not really sure why, maybe it was the overcast skies, or being tired from last week but I really wasn’t feeling it, which was quite apparent in my start. The super fast 35-39 guys took off fast and I was sitting probably around 18th out of 25 or so in the group going into the singletrack, which is no bueno. The first climb is pretty narrow with basically no room for passing. It eventually opened up to a road where I noticed I was in about the third or fourth pack back. I put in a little harder effort and bridged the gap to the second pack but was still prob only around 10th overall between the two age groups.

The road eventually turned back into a single track climb and I finally started to settle in. Unlike normal races where if someone goes by me I stay on their wheel and eventually try to pass once they tire, I was more keen on letting people go by, as I knew it was only the first lap and we still had three to go.

The rest of the laps were pretty standard and I rode pretty much the same pace, managed to pick off a couple more riders and have fun on the technical course. I tried mixing some cola in my second bottle this time around and started pounding it on the last lap. I was feeling pretty good at this point, with some slight tingling in my quads as a warning sign of some possible cramping. About halfway through the last lap I ran into another guy in my category (he finished 3rd) and he thought we were right around podium potential, this kinda perked me up a little. As you have no idea who is in your category the whole time since no one got their legs marked. After I heard this I got a little fire lit under me, dropped him on the single track and caught another guy in front of me who also said he was in my age group, I asked him what about the guy in front of us? He said he was a pro and we werent racing against him. Perfect! At this point we were only about 2-3 miles from finish. I put in a good hard effort on the climb and got in front of the pro, which was good to keep the guy in my category a place behind.

I could see the another guy (1st place) not too far ahead down on the flats, and thought I had a good shot, and had about 30 seconds on the guys I just passed. I lost a little bit of concentration on a little rock drop and my front tire slid out, I was up and ready to go before the guys behind me caught back up, then I looked down and noticed my chain was off, NOOOOO! With the MRP guide I was running on my 1×9 its a bitch to squezze the cahin back through the guide and get the chain on the ring. I lost about a minute here and the three guys I just passed were now a good distance in front of me. I finally got going and managed to make up some time and hang onto forth and lost out on the podium by only about 8 seconds.

All in all it was a great day of racing and the heavier rain held off until the end. Dave S ended up with an awesome finish at 2nd place and Len G with a solid 4th which is pretty awesome considering he just had a broken tibia about a month ago. Lesson learned here, run a real geared crank and front derailleaur up front from now on!

Monkey pedals bike up hill, drifts down, hydrate, repeat!

One of those super nice days after work today. Headed over to the La Costa area and got a nice little 2 hr. mtn ride in. While cruising around I ran into good ole’ Dee Folse, and then my co-worker Mark! Didnt have much time to chat with either of them as we were both heading different ways.

Finally picked out a hill to do my workout on, ‘bomber’ which is on the backside of the dump climb. Went up and down the hill a couple times, had a hard time pushing it too hard as legs were kinda shot. Climbed up shotgun, throwing in one more hard effort then descended down switchbacks as the sun was setting. What a great workout and perfect way to end the day!

The ADD! (All Day Debacle)

There couldn’t have been a better day for the Second Annual All Day Debacle. Headed up by Kurt Gensheimer with the help of the DeKolds this ride is all about a long fun day on the mountain bike.

We rolled from the DeKolds a little after 8:30, and among the usual characters were Erik Dekold, Dave Hekel, Martin Kozicki, Dee Folse, Tony Barghini, Kurt Gensheimer, young Chris and Crazy Gary. Right as we started to roll someone had a quick ’emergency’ that needed attending to, so we waited around at the top of dump climb for him. After Dump we hit the normal trails down and out into the bridges neighborhood. As we were cruising along the D.G. through the neighborhood is was awesome seeing all the poor roadies out on their sat morning ride, looking at us crusty dusty mtn bikers with envy.

After the neighborhood we dropped down to the Jungle trail and then over to the Lusardi loop, via some crazy, half grown in, hidden Kurt trail. From there we headed over through some construction area and into ‘tunnels’ trail system and into the ball fields, where we ran into the ice cream man! Luckily some of us had cash to spot the rest so everyone could grab a nice treat on a perfect SD day.

After the ball fields I pretty much didnt know where I was for almost the rest of the ride. We crossed Black Mountain Rd and into to Ramona, on some nice shaded, pretty flat trails. We were moving along at a pretty decent pace and everything seemed good, when all of a sudden Marty said he needed to stop at the 7-11 coming up in about 5 minutes. It had only been bout 15 minutes since our ice cream stop and Marty was babbling something about needing electrolytes. Being that Marty is newer to single speeding, and we had only climbed about 1,500ft out of 7500ft so far I knew Marty was going to be in trouble!

After our 7-11 stop we came upon our first climb up Ted Williams peak. Knowing there was a few hike-a-bike sections and I had a geared bike Kurt let me lead up the climb. Dee, Kurt and myself took our time on the climb trying not to push it and have a good time. Once Marty got up to the top the first words that came out of his mouth was ‘thats it I’m done, my legs are done.’ We somehow talked him into continuing on some more, and to try and tough it out, but he only lasted a little bit longer and had to stop at the Sprouts somewhere in Ramona and make that embarrassing call to Kathy to come pick him up. Crazy Gary brought along a pacifier to give to the first person that complained or couldnt continue, here is marty sucking away at the sprouts…
We continued on pretty much unknown-to-me trails through Ramona to the ranger station at highland valley, where we refuled with some water and a couple beers Hekel had stashed away. At this point due to the time lost sending Marty on his way we decided to cut out the stop at Kurts house and just head straight home. Knowing that the next thing on our agenda was ascending ‘once is enough’ coupled with some fatigue setting in, the ride moved along at a more quite, deliberate pace.
Once is enough is always a bitch and at mile 60 it really sucks! I was suprised at how far Kurt made it on the SS, one day someone from our group is going to clean the whole thing on a single speed! We regrouped at the top, and you can tell that everyone is just about done, and we decided to take the most direct route home. At this point almost everyone is trying to shake cramps and is just thinking about the reward at the end of the ride.
We managed to make it back to Eriks house by 5:00 with a total rolling time of 6:33 minutes, 65 miles and about 7,500 feet of vertical. We fired up the grill, drank some IPA and talked shop into the night, what a great way to cap off an awesome day!
Ted Williams peak 30 miles in

US Cup Vail Lake Race

Kind of officially kicking off the Mountain bike race season here in California is the first US Cup race, Vail Lake out in Temecula. Race day provided absolutely perfect weather, if you were going to be lounging on the beach all day, but for racing it was hotter, and drier than hell. I overheard several reports that it was over 100 degrees at the top of one of the climbs.

I was super anxious for this race as it was the first one since ive been training with Trevor Glavin as my coach, I basically had no idea where I was on my fitness. To top things off I had to race against my good buddy Kurt Gensheimer, who is an absolute hammer!

I hitched a ride up there with my buddy Dave Staiton and we met up with Len Geiger, who was up there earlier pre-riding the course with some friends. Got in a good 20 minute warm-up with everyone and discussed the bottle handoff/hydrating situation. Lucky for me Len wasn’t racing and being as my bike only has 1 bottle cage he was going to hand me a bottle every lap packed with infinit nutrition”If I needed it”

Cat 1 SS started the same time as the 20year old age group, which helps on the SS if you can grab a wheel of a faster geared rider. Right out of the gate Kurt jumped into the lead and I hung on his wheel as best I could while we steadily jumped from one group of riders to the next. I sat on Kurts wheel for the first 2 or so miles, and right before the first real climb I let him know it was coming, and to try to get a good recovery in. Kurt recommended that I lead since I know the course a little better, and I just figured we would take turns pulling each other until the last lap or so. Turns out that he never caught back up to me at the top of the climb, and seeing the chance for a win I just started going for it.

The course at Vail lake, like always, is a super fast fun course that isn’t very technical and has shorter punchier climbs, all in all a great race course. I was able to hold onto some geared wheels through the rest of the first lap and coming into the water bottle exchange i noticed a weird noise coming out of my rear wheel. I stopped to check it out with Len and turns out I had a busted spoke. To Lens quick inspection he said the butt end of the spoke had fallen out and it appeared as though I only had about 3 inches sticking out of the nipple. So I thought I was set. After starting to ride again I thought it might be a better idea to try to break the rest of the spoke off, so I hopped of and started bending it back and forth to try to snap it a little close to the nipple. This didn’t work. It only created a sharp ‘J’ that looked like it would be perfect for puncturing my tire on a turn. So I straightened it back out and took off again. Then about a mile later I heard the same noise, and starting to get on my nerves so I hoped off again to solve the problem. Turns out the butt end of the spoke was still in there rattling around, and hadn’t fallen out. I somehow managed to fish out the broken spoke without wasting too many more minutes and was once again on my way.

Got a few fast wheels on the flats that really helped my time out on the second lap, and everything was going fine since the spoke incident, until I started to feel a little twinge in my right calf and quad. Then at the beginning of the third lap, and out of infinit and just on gatorade I started to feel small cramps coming on everywhere in both legs. Knew I had to try to use my body weight the rest of the race and really couldn’t push it, I thought my lead would be gone. Cramps got worse as the lap went on, including a couple full leg lock-ups where I wasn’t even able to clip into my pedals. Any second now, I thought Kurt was going to be passing me like I was standing still!

I somehow managed to get through all the climbs and cramps and finish the third lap. And was able to hang on for a win at the season opener. Including the spoke debacle my overall time was 2:01:25, finishing over second place by all most 5 minutes. Considering this was more just a training race and to see how everything has been going I am pretty stoked. Its great to see how all the hardwork and proper training can translate into results.

Next race Sea Otter!