Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finally! Mohican Wilderness Win!

Today was the ride I had always dreamed about, the ride where all the training miles pay off. Today was my first win. Before this race I had a season of leisurely riding and three races under my belt, a 15th at big valley (mechanical), 4th at Medina TT's and 17th at Ray's XC TT. Not the best record but you have to start somewhere. The Mohican Wilderness OMBC race had been on my radar for a while, I figured it would suit my style, having plenty of climbing involved. Climbing has always been where I've picked up time. Being lighter and all the hill climbs I do, I'm able to get up the hills fast, in fact, at the Big Valley race before my mechanical I had picked off 4 places on a single climb. With that figured in I thought I could pick up some spots going uphill.

The day of the race came and climbing became a moot point. Forty five minutes before race start a torrential downpour came and left the course slippery and muddy. Very little actual climbing could be done in these wet and very slick conditions. So my goal was to get to the head of the pack off the front and hang on as long as I could. At the start I rocketed off the front with a good 100 meter gap between the Field and I. As we got on the trail the conditions became apparent, it was going to be muddy the entire time. I kept the lead in my class for the first mile or so with another rider slowly gaining on my tail. The hill became treacherous and the almost the entire mile had to be walked because of the slickness of the trail. This is where I lost some positions as I cramped from running up the hills, so now I will add some running to my workout routines every once in a while. 

At the top of the hill, I was able to get back on my bike and start picking off people again. I was able to get past everyone and was back in the lead, but I wasn't sure if someone had gotten ahead of me. Heading onto the gravel road one rider was gaining on me again and by the time we hit the singletrack again he was right on my wheel. We traded places for the next mile or so neck and neck we eventually caught up to one of the sport class riders. Going around a tight, steep switchback the sport rider fell and I made a daring move around him. This gave me back my gap and from there on out I stayed off the front. For the rest of the 4-5 miles I sped through twisty roller coaster single track coming upon two more sport riders, the last rider told me I was the first novice to go through and that gave me the boost to pedal harder. The trail dumped me out at the beginning and I started sprinting towards the line. Halfway there I looked back and saw no riders and it was at that point I know I had finally done what I had dreamed about all winter and spent hours training, money to upgrade the bike, and practicing my skills was finally coming to fruition. I crossed the line, mud covered, wet, cold and tired but it didn't matter because this is what I love.

Thanks to Camba, Bike Authority, Crank Brothers, Rudy Project and Kenda for making this possible.

On a side note it was a good day to be my friend as Johnny P Finished first in Sport senior class and Sarah Harper finished 1st in her division in her 5k today! Congrats to you guys.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Introducing the Dirty Sanchez

I want to introduce the Dirty Sanchez, the mustache I will be sporting for tomorrow's season opening race at Mohican Wilderness. In preperation today I did a easy paced ride around the towpaths of the CNVP, with my croonies Mike and Jen Bloomhuff. It was fun to catch up on the last couples months and talk shop. Nothing major to report, did get to go up Oak Hill road again. but here are some pictures from today

Totals to date (not including indoor training):
Total Mileage:521 Miles
Total time: 37 hours, 43 minutes
Elevation: +13,597 feet of climbing
Calories burned: 134,811
Total rides: 31

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

4 rides, 4 days and 4 different bikes.

Sunday started my four days of riding. John and I went out to pre-ride the rest of Mohican Wilderness that we missed the last time we were out. It was a beautiful day once again, dry, sunny and warm. Being a week from the first ombc race and good weather there was a good amount of people out on the course. John and I had discussed chain breakage on the way up. He had pointed out that he though it was difficult to break a single speed chain, with no gears he figured the wear would be less. The first half of the trail we rode through no problem and headed off to the longest mtb hill climb in Ohio. Before we even reach to woods and about 300 feet up the hill John snaps his chain. We head back to the car and he put on a new link and off we go again. This is where karma can be a real buzzkill, John breaks his chain about half a mile up the hill. We fix the chain with tool and links we had smartly brought with us. We ascend the hill and start the downhill, at one point something happened where I had to stop, I forget way, maybe a stick got stuck in my wheel or something like that. Nonetheless, John went ahead. I fixed whatever had happened and set off. Get back to the car and John is no where to be seen. Since I was behind and didn't pass him I knew that he hadn't had a mechincal or fallen, so I assumed he had either gotten lost or gone off course and went back to try and find me. If he had gotten lost it wouldn't be a big deal because it's all one big hill so all he had to do was point his bike downhill and he would end back at the cars. So I waited around and did a little bit of cool down and waited for him to get back. When I got back his bike was sitting against the car minus a chain. That's right three chains in one ride! I can understand climbing those hills on a single speed you'll surely put a lot of torque into the pedals.

The second ride was a short 10 miler on my fixed gear that served two goals. First, it was meant as a recovery ride to keep my legs fresh, secondly, it was a chance to play with my new toy. The Garmin edge 205.  It doesn't have heart rate or cadence but those will be features I will get back when I can afford an edge 305 later in the summer. The amount of other data and other features is incredible and will hold me over till then. The information that can be disected is so vast. Not a bad ride overall with a 16.7 mph average.

Next ride involved my Scattante Team XRL and the Summit Freewheelers. It was rather chilly on tuesday but still was a fun ride. Both of my croonies John and Sara showed up. Sara was alte and showed up to the wrong trailhead so we sadly missed her, though she would make it up the next day, and John was running late but luckily was able to jump onto the back for a good ten miles before he pulled off. We started at Botzum and ascended up Truxell Road where I was off the front the entire way. At the top we started are rotating paceline and did a quick loop around Stow and retraced down Truxell again where I hit my new top speed of 42 mph. We followed Riverview back and I asked if anyone would contest a final sprint. No one spoke up, so i figured the last 200 meters I would go all out and see if anyone would try and catch me. Well, 300 meters out one of the other riders jumped and we were off. We quickly left behind our group and blew by the Akron Bicycle Club that was 100 meters up the road. I got from 13 mph to 32 mph in 30 seconds over 300 meters on a flat road. Not to shabby for early season and being a climber. 

The last ride invovled Sara and I and my Fuji "rain" bike. It rained early in the day but cleared off nicely this afternoon for a good go at the CVNP Big Boy route. It was a fun day with three major climbs of 2000+ feet total and 31 miles. Sara is a great rider and a fun person too. She stuck out each of the climbs and did well. She flatted out towards the end but that was an easy fix. With a avg speed of 15.9, and hour fifty nine minutes on the bike it was a perfect ride. I'm sure there will be a lot of fun rides with my two croonies this summer.

90 miles in 4 days
5 hours on the bike total plus working everyday.
Not a bad week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mohican Wilderness Pre-ride

Today was the first warm weather mountain bike ride! It was meant as a pre-ride of the Mohican Wilderness race in two weeks. John and I both had today off and the weather was as warm as it was going to get for a couple days it was the perfect day to try the trails out. The first thing I noticed was that the trail was hard to find. It's located along a dirt road right outside of Mohican Reservation. Once you get there it's not entirily clear where the trail starts, and once you get on the trail it's easy to take a wrong turn in the early season. The area is potmarked with old logging roads that crisscross the trail, some are designed into the trail others are not. There were three places where the trail left the logging roads but there was not sign to show a change in direction. So needless to say a lot of time was wasted getting lost. 

The first major climb was up a gravel covered logging road. It was a steep uphill and John and I stopped to see who could get up it the furthest. I was first to go, I hammered hard up the hill and got about halfway up. John went second and beat me by about 50 feet. Third time I tried a different approach and went slow and steady. This time I made it most of the way up before I lost traction. John tried to best me but in his overgeared signaled-speed couldn't best me. To the right is my winning run up the hill.
After the hill climb fun we found the trail to the right and followed a fun rolling rollercoaster section the bottomed out with a small rock covered section. Followed by yet another climb but less severe. Besides another wrong turn that sent us up a crazy steep logging road. We found our bearings and got back on the trail, where John endoed. From here it was clear where the trail went and we headed back to the parking lot and rode down from the top of the trail, which is in this video.
When we got to the bottom I noticed my stem had loosened at the handlebars. So we stopped back at the car for me to retighten the bolts. To my dismay the screws had stripped and the ride was over before we could get to the second half and the major hill climb. I was dissapointed but it is what it is. Even though John has the right length stem the size didn't match and we had to call it a day. We'll be back later this week now that we know the course the next time we go we can enjoy the ride and finish the entire loop. Can't wait to get back out there.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Things don't always go as planned

Today I was lucky to have this beautiful Sunday off from work. It was a perfect day for an epic ride, I hoped my  friend Johny P could come along but he had a bicycle polo game to go to which sounded fun and I can't wait to hear about it.

So about one today I left my house and start riding towards the Valley. I went my usual route which was petty normal until I hit the MUP and climb the short hill by WaterWorks Park. Normally an easy no problem climb, and I attacked like I always do, out of the saddle and powering up the hill. Today my chain decided to give. To get it out the way, yes it was properly installed and lubed, and I wasn't shifting. It hasn't the first time, this has happened 3 times before, all in the same situation, powering up a hill with a clean chain. Maybe I'm just more powerful on the climbs that I know. This derailed (pun intended) my day as I couldn't put the chain together without having it bind up. So for the first and hopefully last time i called up my out and got picked up and driven home. Pulled out my good chain tool and got everything put back together. 

So know it's 3:30 and I know I can't make it to the valley and back by the time goes down, so I decide to drive up. I pulled into the parking lot of Lock 29 and spot Sarah who I saw a couple weeks ago at the Akron Bicycle Club ride. We talk and decide to head to another parking lot where there are more parking spots and head off. We follow most of the Big Boy Valley loop and I'm feeling good. I'm flying up all the hills and feeling good. We hit Sand Run Parkway Hill and Revere Road hill. Sarah is a strong rider and holds her own the entire time and I hope we have many more miles of riding this summer. Turning onto Wheatly Road we see a rider up ahead, so I ask if she's up to sprinting up to him and getting a third in our group. This is where things got interesting.

I shift up into the big ring and start putting the power to the pedals. Get up to about 28 mph and my pedal disengages, my foot flys away from the pedal and smacks something cutting my leg. I stayed on the bike, how I'm not sure give myself and my pedals a look over clip back in and start the sprint again. Sarah saw it from behind and was surprised I stayed on. To the right is a picture of the damage. We catch up and descend down Wheatly topping out at 40 MPH. At the bottom we are all tired and finish out ride. 

Because of the things that went wrong and putting in two seperate rides the data for this ride is somewhat misleading. Riding to get picked up dropped my average speed and cadence down below to what it actually was. But overall, with all that happened I enjoyed my day greatly.

Avg. Speed-15.6
Distance- 29.03
Avg Cadence-79 rpm
Elevation- +1008

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All Things Considered

Today's ride wasn't bad. It wasn't great but with the luck I have been having with the weather I was just happy to get out on the bike. I had the day off Sunday and was excited to ride. I woke up to rain and cold temps,so I waited it out to no avail and spent the day indoors. Monday I pulled a double so I could have all of Tuesday off. Well once again I woke up to cold and rain,  so I decided to call up the City Manager of Kent and discuss a possible Mountain Bike trail Opportunity in Kent. It was a productive call and I can really see something happening soon. After that, it was still raining so I installed a 2x4 in the garage and installed some hooks and brought up my bikes from the basement into the garage. 

Finally, it cleared up so I put my bike on my car and started towards the Valley. A quick stop at the LBS and picked up a frame pump, where I ran into Dr. Ducharme, one of the smartest, kindest men I have met, and one of my professors and also an avid rider. We talked for a bit and then made plans for later and I headed up to the Valley. I started to get my things together and just as I start riding it starts to sprinkle. I can handle sprinkles, but 3 miles down the road the skies open up and I'm forced to turn around.

So today, the sun in shining and the roads are dry. So I head out again to the Valley to get a ride in. This ride turns out better, except for the headwinds. On the bright side, headwinds don't force me to turn around for my saftey. I followed my regular route up through Sand Run Parkway. Instead of going straight on Yellow Creek Road I turn right onto Revere Road. Slight uphill turns into a killer 8% grade up W. Bath Road. Which is followed be a steep, fast descent down towards Yellow Creek Road again. I stop at the red light at Riverview Road and I'm swarmed from four members of the Solon Bicyle team. I'll tell you what, these guys are fast. All four were on mountain bikes and keeping pace at 18 mph! We pacelined for a while until I decided to get spry, got into the big ring and see if anyone would react to my break. I jumped off the front and got a good 100 meter break looked back and saw no one was going to chase me down so I sat up and took a pull at the front. I was pleased that I could still pull off the front. 

They turned left on Ira Road and I continued back towards Peninsula. Pretty ineventful road back into town except for the deer standing next to the side of the road that startled me. And now the ride details.

Mileage- 23.69
avg speed-16 mph
avg cadence- 86 rpm
elevation- +755 feet
time- 1:29:15

Friday, March 6, 2009

Unexpected Ride

Today ride was kinda unexpected. I had planned to meet Johny P after we both got off work around 3. I got home ate a quick lunch and got ready. Called Johny but it went to voicemail, I waited around thinking he got stuck at work and finally sent him a text message. He had gotten off work and had already set off and was already in CNVP. So I sent him a text I would be at Century Cycles in half an hour if he was nearby meet me there and we'll do a little ride together. Pulled into the parking lot got my things together and he showed up just as I was about to leave. Showed him the propsed map and off we went. 

We started off on Akron Peninsula road, John conceeded that he had already down close to 40 miles today and that I might have to do the brunt of the pulling in our two man paceline. I was more than happy to do that, as I figured it would be a slower paced ride because of John's already been on the road and my lunch shift. I quickly found this to be wrong. The pace immediatly went up, even against strong headwinds. I pulled hard and John stayed glue to my back wheel. Everyonce in a while I would move to the back to take a short break and before long I craved the front again. We turned right onto Sand Run Parkway and the pace picked up again. We climbed up Sand Run Parkway which turn out to be a pleasant little hill, not to steep to kill you but long enough to make you work for it. 

We turned right onto Revere Road and finished the climb and started descending towards Yellowcreek road. Which proved to be a steep climb. In the gearing of 39x27 I was still standing on the pedals trudging up the hill. After the hill was a short 13% descent. We missed our turn at Revere Road and continued down Yellowcreek until we hit Brecksville road. Another right onto Bath and the pace picked up once again, now we were cruising at a pretty steady 25 mph. Bath road ended with a nice descent where I hit a top speed of 38 mph. We finished by following Riverview road, a steady slight downhill and a tailwind meant the pace kept up and even included a sprint, which I easily won, OK so he was on a fixed so he didn't have the big ring like I did but I still think I can take him in a sprint. We'll see when he get's his Waterford out. The ride ended with motopacing a car around the corners back to the parking lot (kids don't try this at home).  Overall, it was a ride which I didn't think my body would do, but I was surprised at the output I could do. Hopefully, the rain holds off on Sunday and John and I can do a repeat of this ride. Here's the stats!

Mileage- 27.36
Avg speed-17.1
Avg Cadence- 84
Elavation- +761 feet
Time- 1:36:32

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's that?!

So, I had the day off from work and the temp was up so I decided to go out for an epic ride. I had planned to get up early and do a metric century. The plan was to start at my house ride to the valley via the MUP and then do a lap around the Valley and ride back home, it would have been around a metric. When I woke up I checked my e-mail and saw that my Shimano 105 shifters where coming in. I decided to wait it out and do a quick install, I figured I could be out the door by 1 or 2. Boy was I wrong. The first problem came when I cut the new cable housing, not realizing that I had left the cable in the housing. So I had to make a side trip down to Peformance Bikes to pick up new cables. Came back put everything back together and started to tune my new drivetrain, this is something I know how to do, but for some reason today I couldn't get the darn thing to work. I was working towards perfection, but with time slowly slipping away, I had to go out without my drivetrain 100% perfect, it worked but it skipped a gear or two every once in a while. 

With it now 4:30 and sunset coming fast I had to put my epic ride on the backburner. Instead of riding to the valley I decided to drive. I pulled into the parking lot around 5 pm and got out on the road. I followed Akron Peninsula Road all the way up to Merriman Road, fighting a nasty headwind the entire way. Atleast I knew the ride back I would get a nice tailwind. I turned right onto Sand Run Parkway. Followed that up the short uphill section and than made another right onto San Run Road. Sand Run Parkway starts off with a decent climb right off the start, made even harder by the fact there is no flat section to get up to speed. Once up I was treated to a nice long downhill. A right turn on Bath for a short section then a left back onto Akron Peninsula road, and back to the parking lot behind Century Cycles, where I ran into the Akron Cycling Club and Crow from CAMBA. Had a nice chat with them and then I was off to home. Here's the details.

Distance: 20.89 miles
Avg Speed: 16.7
Avg Cadence: 81
Time: 1:15:03
Elevation: 513 feet