Friday, October 29, 2010

Cyclocrunk 2010 #3 - Mud

Tuesday, rain fell in Memphis like it had not done in 3-4 months. That guaranteed a muddy and wet race for Tuesday night.

I ate mud hard in the first 180 turn corner when I washed my front wheel. That let a bunch of people past me that I really would have liked to stay with. After getting up, straightening my bars and putting the chain back on, I got moving again.

By the end of the race, I was getting pretty drained but I had reeled in a few people that I had hoped to.

I crossed the line dizzy from the effort and absolutely covered in mud. It was a great night!!!!

A huge thanks to Joel, Robert and Mike for putting on a great series. I look forward to this every year, and it lived up to expectations this year like the rest.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance.....

Managed to get some maintenance in today....

First up, I pulled the broken spoke from my Sugar's rear wheel (broke at the 6hrs of Herbs) and headed to Bike World. My luck, they had just the right spoke length in the right grade and it was even in black!

Back home in the shop, I pulled the cassette, weaved the spoke in and threaded up the nipple. Managed to get the wheel trued and back in good shape without even pulling the tire (its tubeless and I did not want to make a big mess.....)

Next up, I cleaned up the CX bike from the last race. I ran the wrong chain lub considering the sand that was on the course, and needed to clean the thing completely. Once clean, I decided to cut the glue globs from the rear tire. Cleaned up really nice. At least it doesn't look as bad as it did look.

While I was working on the CX bike, I put a cassette on my backup wheels in the hope that I can use them tomorrow to take my daughter for a trailer ride.

Finally came my road bike. On my last ride, the bottom bracket had started to make some noise. Its a Token Ti spindle bottom bracket... with several thousand miles on it. It was pretty difficult to remove and that worried me a bit.... When I went to reinstall it, it was extremely hard to install. Eventually, it would not turn at all. I soaked it in some thread penetrant and began pulling it out. The threads on the cup holder were stripped almost half way out...... luckily only one thread on the bike was rounded off.

I looked in my junk box and found an older FSA bb that matched and still felt like it had good bearings. Luckily it went right back in after cleaning out the threads in the bike with solvent and a brush. I reinstalled the cranks and tightened the chainrings while I was at it.

Lotsa work, but they are all in good shape again and ready to ride.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cyclocrunk 2010 #2.....

Well, I guess I just was not 'crunk' Tuesday night.

Great evening. Rained just enough during the day to drop the temp comfortably, and to knock down the dust.

The course was the same except they double the distance of the runs on the barriers, and they doubled the length of the sand pit.

I left work very late and pulled up to the race with just enough time to dress and ride a couple practice laps. Alas, it was not to be. I had some pretty good dismounts going, but I just plain could not run. Felt like I had lead in my shoes, so every dismount just knocked me flat.

After 5 laps, I pulled off the course and took my helmet off to watch. To my amazement, as I rolled up to one of the spectator areas, I was standing there with 5 other riders who had pulled out. I guess I was not the only one who DNF'ed......

Next week will be better.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

6 Hours of Herb 2010

This weekend was the 6 Hours of Herbs out at Herb Parsons Lake in Fisherville, TN. I grew up riding at Herb Parsons, and racing there from 1991 on. I love that trail, and I know it like the back of my hand.

In 2009, I missed the race because I was in Singapore. Long transit to make it to a race......

This year, I was ready. I made plans early to make sure there were no conflicts of any kind and then started practicing at Herbs. The race when finally announced was set to run clockwise around the lake. This is backwards of what most of us ride the trail, so we started practicing that way. After 2 months of clockwise riding, it was announced (the week before the race) that it would be run counter clockwise!!!! Surprise surprise!!!!

Somewhere in there, my buddy Ken mentioned he wanted a teammate. We're pretty evenly matched, and he's a great guy, so we had a team.

Race day arrived, and it was 43 degrees at the racecourse. Myself and the rest of my Journeymen Racing Team hit the site and managed to set up camp with a great pit area right by the start/finish line.

Ken and I decided to flip for the first lap and he won. That was good news for me, because I'm not a runner, and this race had a 100 yard run to a Lemans style start!
Ken rocked the first lap, and we had a great start.

I jumped hard at the start line and took off on my first lap. In that lap, I passed approx 15 people as I pushed hard around the course. Everything went perfectly for that lap. Kens 2nd and my 2nd were also great laps as we were consistently putting up fast lap times. We were also pushing the other Journeymen 2 man team of Zach/Kurt and leading them by approx 5 mins.

Ken's third lap went well, and the handoff was fast, so I sailed into my 3rd lap with a lot of confidence........ and a full bladder. I listened behind me for any other riders and there was no one near me, so I slid to a stop, unclicked one foot and watered the trail.... Phil Ligget would call that a Natural Break I guess.

2 Miles later, everything started to come undone. I heard some tinking from my back wheel and felt the bike jump a couple times under me. I stopped immediately and thought a stick would be in my spokes. 3 or 4 people passed me that I had just passed and I felt like an idiot. Then I saw the trouble... One broken drive-side spoke. To make matters worse, the stub of that spoke jammed into the back of the cassette and made my bike a fixed gear!

I finished the 2nd half of that 9 mile lap in fixed gear mode. When I got done with the lap, we still held a 4-5 gap on the next two teams. I'm glad I did not give up. Once in the pits, I found that the rear wheel was taco'ed enough to make the rear brakes rub a lot. No wonder my legs were burnt up.

With the Sugar out of commission, I pulled the cyclocross bike from the truck and aired up the tires. I had thrown the bike in the back as an afterthought. Turned out to be a good thought!

Unfortunately, I was not paying attention and Ken came flying into the pits early. He turned a great lap and I was not ready. As he hit the finish line, I managed to get my helmet on and the bike out of the repair stand. As I ripped onto the course, I could hear someone say 'Is he riding a road bike?'. I got a good laugh out of that.

In my hurry to get on the course, I did not get on my jersey, nor did I get my gloves on. However, that was all negated by the ability to freewheel! I rode the course just like I did all last summer on the cross bike and enjoyed everyminute of it. Zach and Darren from the two other teams were right there ready to start when I left for this lap, so I kept looking over my shoulder continually to see if they'd appear out of no where.

All my shoulder looking was no use though, as I rode into the finish with a hard sprint. When I got back to the finish line, a bunch of the fast racers asked if I had ridden that thing in the race and I told them I had. I think they were a little surprised.

In the end, Ken and I did not win, but we had a good time and I think we were in the top half of the teams in the race, maybe even the top 5.

'Til next year!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cyclocrunk 2010 -1

Cyclocrunk 2010 -1 First CX Race Of The Year

Cyclocrunk is always fun. It is raw energy, it is fast, it is dark, it is dusty.......... You get the image.

For this year, I really worked on my fitness and my technique. I think I succeeded somewhat on both. At the race last night, we had approx 80 riders there. All cats were run together, and no placing was given. The only way to know how you do is to watch the other riders around you.

On the start, I made out pretty well. I was probably the 15th into the first section of barriers. Halfway through the first lap, most of the CX1 and CX2's I know had pulled past me and I settled into a group made up of friends that I know were CX3 and CX4. I continued on and rolled as hard as I could.

Through the barrier and sand sections, I made time on a lot of people. There were people that would gap me on the bike and I would pull them back on the barriers. That makes me think my skills practice was worth it late this past summer. I also did lightyears better on the bike this year than in past years. I'm not saying I'm Sven Nys or anything, but I'm definitely faster than I was in past years.
My new wheels also were the bomb! They were stiff and absolutely rocked on the off camber stuff. The Grifo and Fango gripped well, and I'm getting comfortable with the feel of the tubies through different terrain.

I know it sounds cliche, but I had a good time, and thats really what matters......

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ready to Race!!

Ok, maybe not quite ready, but it looks like its ready......

Time to get out the tubular glue....