Tuesday, January 11, 2011

11

HEY! It's my yearly blog post haha. I'm stoked to have just finished another fun and challenging cyclocross season. I steadily improved as the races went along, culminating in a hard-fought second place finish at the "Campus Cross" race down at UC San Marcos. I ended up 7th overall in the SoCal Prestige Series, and since I only attended 10 out of 19 events I feel rather satisfied. Next year I will definitely make an effort to make more of them. The races have a really great vibe as well as being super-competitive.

We actually got to do one "real" cyclocross race this year, as the Pineapple Express weather system drenched Southern California like it hasn't been in years. It rained for days before the last race, as well as during the race, making for a wet, sloppy, slippery course that tested everyone's limits. Racers were chilled and clammy, traction was barely there, and drivetrains yielded to the muck. It was great fun though, giving a small taste of what three-quarters of the country assuredly deals with on a weekly basis.



I'd like to thank my sponsors for their amazing products, continued support, and always cheerful attitudes. It's incredible to have this kind of backing, it's a huge boost where small things make the difference in racing.

http://www.amino-vital.com/
http://www.sigmasport.com/
http://www.hydrapak.com/

http://www.michaeldarter.com/

http://www.kendausa.com/
http://www.xpedo.com/
http://www.tomac.com/

http://www.voler.com/
http://www.sixsixone.com/
http://www.nomad2go.com/

http://www.ryderseyewear.com/
http://www.mfactor.com/
http://www.kmcchain.us/

http://www.formulabrakeusa.com/
http://www.girlmuse.com/
http://www.spinergy.com/

Thank you Roger, whose "give until it hurts" mentality is amazing. Juggling a bunch of racers needs all the time, traveling to far away venues, helping out sponsors, throwing beer-soaked parties, you name it, he does it. You da man, Rolo.




















Thanks to Cap'n Chris, the brain-trust of this two-wheeled racing/party machine, without whose dedication, hard-work, and off-the-wall hilarity we wouldn't be here.
















Props also go to my bike shop "Buy My Bikes" for takin care of bidness with my oft-last-minute repairs and parts and letting me hang around for the last 19 years.



Hope you all had a great New Year's and I look forward to more pain and pleasure with you 2011.

VB

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Check me out ma, I'm blogging.

SNOW in Orange County? Yah, yoo betcha! And there was a boner in it. Backboner you dirty pervert.

Nice, sunny, 70 on the way up...

...but 40 at the top.

Vid! Yes, it's little jerky because I’m riding with one hand (cuz I'm holding the camera, geez freak!), but I think it still adequately conveys the fun.

video

Santiago Peak: 5,689 ft.

Luckily my Hydrapak was paked with essentials to feed me and get me through the temp differences. Yay for arm warmers! I'm really enjoying their Gel-Bot also, which allows you to put a couple gels into the top of a waterbottle with the squeeze top. No more fumbling in jersey pockets and tearing packets. I put honey in mine, with a little OJ to thin it out. Mmm, mmm, energy.

Heading back down, even more white stuff. SNOW, you miscreant.

And finally some sweet technical rock sections to finish it off (the ride, you degenerate).







Friday, July 10, 2009

Well, my new Tomac Carbide XC is on the way! She was most likely personally attended to by head honcho Joel Smith himself and sent on her way from his Nebraska headquarters/home on Tuesday.



Following intently her journey westward, she was last laser-tagged yesterday afternoon in the Lenexa, KS UPS warehouse. As everyone knows Kansas is no place for mountain bikes, but the precipices you DO find there are arguably just as tantalizing as the ones that the Carbide was exquisitely crafted to charge up and fly down.



Well, hopefully my new curvy black beauty doesn't spend too long admiring the also shapely scenery in the "Wheat State" and continues on her circuitous route to my front door. Her older sister, spending 2 years tearing it up with me on the West Coast XC endurance tour, is now graduating to the Mid-East ultra-endurance stage. Jeff "Tookie (I just tookie you out)" Williams will be forgoing the wimpy Crappalattachino-and-maybe-First-Base first date and going straight for a Grand Slam by relentlessly flogging her all day and all night at the 24 Hours of 9-Mile in Wisconsin. I'd wish her luck, but I know she doesn't need it. >:)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Santa Ynez

After being so horribly sick the week leading up to Sant Ynez, I really didn't expect much. I was just glad to be out of bed and back on the bike.


Here I am with SuperD stud Brant, and Carlos from the Pomona Mountain Bike Club demo'ing a Tomac Carbide.

After a warm up lap on Saturday that included a slightly scary but mostly hilarious staredown with a 2-ton bull protecting his herd (with 3 other riders cowering behind me, ready to offer me up as a sacrifice if they were allowed to pass unharmed) and Randy letting me slumber Saturday night in the unofficial official team trailer to escape the 30-40mph winds blowing through the valley, I was actually in a good mood.


The wind died down on Sunday and the weather was just about perfect. I tried to follow Coach Gareth's advice about consuming approximately 300 calories an hour during the race, and fell short, but I still felt good. A couple racers in other classes acted as dangling carrots to keep my ass moving at a good pace and I ended up 15th out of 21 people.

Sea Slaughter

I got super-sick: slightly sore throat on Tue-Wed went full-throttle on Thursday with a sinus headache and all-over aches. I didn't leave my bed for 4 days and even took Monday off cuz I started coughing up phlegm balls bigger than the Olsen twins.

So, uh, yeah, Sea Otter will have to wait for next year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sagebrush

Next came the long-awaited return of the Sagebrush Safari near beautiful San Diego. Still reeling from the UQ, I didn't have a great start on the punishing road climb that begins this long race. Once into the singletrack I was able to settle in and have an amazing time, but was too far behind at that point to do any damage to my field. I do love the course though, with its twists, bumps, slickrock sections, technical climbs and the swoopy "bmx" section near the finish. Thanks to King James for feed zone support and to Darter (http://www.michaeldarter.com/) for the a few of the sickest picks ever.






Ultra Fail

Well in March was the 2nd running of the Ultra Quest. The 40+ miles of singletrack and 12,000 ft of climbing (including a lot of hiking) is an all day epic for some. Finishing in 8hrs 12min last year, I felt that if I drank and ate smarter than I had last year that I would finish better. Well, my body had other plans. Leg cramps started twinging at about 2 1/2hrs in and it pretty much went south from there. At over 10hrs on a hot day I was worked and barely moving, and decided that I couldn't go on even though it was a "short" 45-60min to the finish. But since only 26 finished out of 46 who started, I was only extremely disappointed (instead of severely disappointed).
Here I am about the only time I was really having a good time, on the Carbide tripoddin' down the first sketchy dh of the day.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

My First Solvang Century

In the interest of trying to catch up to the here and now, this is my second blog this week! Karrazy schtuff.

For years I have heard many of the Backboners speaking of the delightful Solvang Century. Mostly when we attend the Firestone Walker mountain bike race (now the Santa Ynez Valley Classic) as the Century course passes right beside the race course.

This year I was finally formally invited by my road training partner and all around great gal Betsy. She sang sweet lies about enjoying my company and my winning smile or some bs like that, but when I got to the venue, I realized that the mighty munchkin bunch just needed a large object to draft behind for 100 miles!


And since Tim was smart enough not to fall for her woman trickery I was the only alternate. ;) But seriously it was an awesome group o girls and a lot o fun. Here we are pre-ride, l to r; Betsy, Jeannie, Me, Donna & Steph.

After a lazy late wakeup and breakfast of eggs and oatmeal & strawberries from Donna's 'J-Lo' trailer we were on our way, but not before all four girls donned their secret weapons, a US Post Office mail pouch inserted inside the front of their jerseys a la the newspapers Tour de France riders use. The weather was supremely cool with heavy cloud cover for most of the day and the double-layered laminated paper pouches would provide the ladies with unparalleled frontal wind protection! Who knew?

The ride went smoothly, with only Donna throwing in attacks right from the get-go. At the first aid station though, the group reformed after PB&J sammies, bananas and a pee break. We endured horrible scenery the entire ride; lush green rolling hills spotted with trees, valley after valley of gorgeous wine fields, and wildflowers of all colors.


With the temperature just below what I thought was perfect and a pace just below what I thought was optimal I eventually began to get antsy, though. Luckily, just before I went completely mad, about that time we were about 2/3 through the course and we started the hilly sections. Metaphorically thumbing my nose at the rest of the people who were just happy to finish a Century (except the guy riding the 3-speed 'Fat Tire Ale' beach cruiser, complete with fenders, fake gas tank, and racks) I proceeded to climb the hills at mach speed, only to flip a U-ie at the top, charge back down and do them again. It really worked out perfectly, too, as I would get to the top the second time just after the girls got up the first time, and the group would be whole again. Yay!

With only one pavement section that was torn up so much that you wanted to chew your arms off, the rest of the ride went splendidly. The girls, realizing that the end was near and they still felt great, were able to quicken their pace. Even the last climb which was rumored to be a hellish nightmare, which ran mere feet away from the dreaded dirt climb on the Firestone Walker course, was breezed over with so little effort that everyone was left wondering "Was that it?"

Seasoned century pros that we were, we even skipped the actual finish line, opting instead to head straight back to our deluxe campsite, for beers, a hot tub soak, and a great campfire cookout. Awesome stuff.

It's definitely a great ride and a great vibe.





Bonelli: Race Numero Uno!

Well, a lot late but here's a rundown.
My first race was supposed to be a "practice" Southridge Winter Series race a week previous, but since the Marzocchi on my Tomac had a blown Oh-Oh-O-ring the night before, I had to pass. I was unwilling to ride my lower back-pretzling Litespeed or the 35 lb. Kona.


So I came into Bonelli cold, which wasn't my first choice. I did pre-ride the new course on Saturday, though, so at least I would know what to expect in that regard. An interesting almost completely new course. And the only parts included from previous years were run in the opposite direction, so it might as well been brand new. Everything was either up or down, too, not much in the way of flats. And the downs were super-short :( It was still fun though, blowing past people and then jamming on the breaks at the last second before the hairpins at the bottom!

My main problem, though, was completely ignoring the readout on my Sigma HR monitor. I wear it race day for a reason. It was blinking wildly at me as I pounded out the first two laps between 190 and 200 beats a minute. Yes, even for my hummingbird heart that's too hard.
So after overenthusiatically chasing the lead group for 14 miles, 1/4 way into the 3rd lap my body had had enough. After that no amount of Amino Vital Fast Charge or caffeinated GU could speed my trudge to the finish line. :P It's definitely not fun watching riders in your class repass you and not be able to do anything about it.

But, lesson learned: Too fast + too soon = no bueno. And it was fun to start another season with a great team and great sponsors. Thanks have to go out to the man of men Roger for keeping shit organized and for hosing us down with the Nomad every lap! Ryan was kind enough to take on bottle-passing duty as well. And definitely great to have the PMBC crew out there! Great guys (and girls), awesome attitudes, and incredible FOOD. See you next time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spanish for "Whale's Vagina"



That's right, it's the second half of my ride to SAN DIEGO.

After stopping for a sandwich at Giovanni's (wayyy to long, but it was a beautiful day!) The girls geared back up and we were on our way.



Betsy dons gloves and Steph cranks up the iPod




After climbing the dreaded hill at Torrey Pines we took the fast, windy architectural tour of UCSD where I was questioned repeatedly by the girls if I knew where the hell I was going. Sadly I did. :)


After a nice stretch between the 5 fwy and some rolling grassy hillsides I was again grilled by the ladies as to whether I had any idea where we were, or how to get where we were going. The bike trail becomes a labyrinth: crossing city streets, funneling beneath a few underpasses, and winding over a trail that is barely recognizable as a trail. Again I DID actually know what I was doing and it was a short stint before we were cruizing by beautiful Mission Bay.



After passing by Old Town and being narrowly missed in merging traffic by a hard-charging city bus, we finally arrived at the downtown.


Making our way to the Amtrak station we were regretfully told that the train leaving in 10 minutes had already attained its 6 (that's right six) bicycle limit and we were out of luck. We were fortunate enough to be #4,5 & 6 on the list for the next train, though - an hour later. If anyone has ever ridden, or considered riding somewhere in connection with taking a train, you will contact Amtrak immediately to tell them they need more storage space for bicycles.

We did have a nice wait, though, as the sun descended and we enjoyed our cups of coffee (definitely NOT alcohol! ;) ). COFFEE.











And finally we enjoyed the leisurly cruise back home on the choo choo.

"Stay classy San Diego."