Monday, December 24, 2007

The other 'Cross

I did my first CX race Sunday morning! With the The Hurt & Crash, V-dog, The Hitman, The Cap'n and even former teammate White Chocolate all professing the wonders of Cyclocross, I finally had to give in and do one. Friday night's Lagwagon show and Saturday night's drinking probably weren't the ideal precursors to a race, but hey, what the hell.

30 seconds into the race is when I believe I racked up the 203 BPM on my Sigma heart rate monitor, but that was about 15 seconds after Brant and half of my category were already out in front of me! I managed not to get stuck behind any of the technically challenged riders, though, and was able to calm my HR down a notch or two and settle in. My hearty cheering section which included Rog, Ryan, and the ladies Brant had shuttled in for the occasion gave me the much-needed motivation to keep plugging away lap after lap, too. Headwinds in a couple spots and the (luckily only one) portage section were definitely power suckers.
I decided against demo'ing a cross bike and stuck with my trusty Tanasi hardtail. Rog outfitted me with his XTR wheelset sporting some Kenda Kwicker 1.8s I believe, which definitely put it closer to CX shape, but I guess I will have to try a "real" CX bike in the future.
Unfortunately, halfway thru the race I was apparently assaulted by a not-quite-fossilized avian skeleton. That's correct, I took a chicken bone to the rear tire! Even a Slime tube was no match for this osteopathic onslaught. I slowly began to depressurize, wobbling a little more and more around every turn. So slothful was its seepage that I thought I could finish the race on it, but on the third lap of leaking, I realized I would never make it to the finish. In true Backbone team style, though, Ryan sprinted out to the truck and retrieved my Spinergy rear wheel, and on the next lap I pulled in for my Nascar wheel change!
Adrenaline still rushing thru me I was not even No help, I was completely detrimental to the process. Roger ended up bleeding and 5 people passed me, but I had a quick drink of water as he tightened my QR and I was off again with two laps to go.

I was amazed at how much I was able to keep my speed constant thru the race as others were slowing, and with the fresh 60 PSI Small Block 8 rejuvenating my vigor I was able to catch and pass four of the five who had gotten by me in the pit. One guy gave me challenge as he was quicker over the obstacles than I was, but soon after we were back on the pedals I was around him again. I had the fifth in my sights as we rounded the last corners to the finish, but was too far back to catch him. I would have to settle for 12th, but all things considered I'm content. I'll be back out there in a couple weeks, though, (maybe with a CX bike) and we'll see what I can do.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Criss Cross'll make ya...

I found out how small Aliso Woods is yesterday when I tried to mountain bike for an entire 2 hrs at high speed. Entering from the Mormon church entrance on the Aliso Viejo side I got a little warm-up before hitting Mathis and climbing up it to the Top of the World (Laguna entrance). From there I bombed down the ridgeline fireroad and down Rockit, which turns out to be pretty bone-jarring the first time you've ridden it on a hardtail in months! Glancing at my new SigmaSport Onyx watch (sponsor plug) I noted that I had only burned up 40 minutes and would definitely need to rethink the remainder of my planned route!

Sooo, what's the longest closest climb I could come up with? Well, back up Rockit, of course! Five minutes later as I turned the corner to the trail's namesake battery of babyheads, I tried not to smirk as a family-type group of five and a few others making their was down looked at me in amazement: Who goes UP Rockit? Nut-jobs like me, that's who!

Back at the top I stopped for a drink of agua but had to jump back on the pedals when a 40-something couple started down the trail. NOT that I'm prejudiced, but they just didn't look like they were in the same forties that "The Hurt" is. I couldn't tell if he was trying or not, but I was already putting time on him before the singletrack. My second time down the trail right in a row difinitely gave me an advantage, and even though he had full suspension I never heard from him, even when I had to slow down for my second painful trip down Babyhead Boulevard. Trying to keep my bones from shaking loose, I was impressed to see two guys making their way up. Were these guys complete nut-jobs? I hope so, I need the company!

Back at the bottom once again, my hands and feet aching, I focused on getting back up to speed heading out Coyote Run. As I crested a little rise, a little boy (7?) riding the other direction asked his dad behind him "What do I do Daddy?" I had already pulled over so he told him to keep going. The dad was also towing his daughter in a trailer behind him. Sweeet!

Out off of Coyote and onto Wood Canyon fireroad I quickly arrived at Cholla. Left right left right...etc etc...switchback madness. Back onto the West Ridge fireroad and aaaaaaaaall the way back to the Top o the World.

A quick look at the sun about to plunge into the ocean and I shot past the picnic tables and onto the pavement on my way to Meadows. Once "The Muther Of All Climbs" when it was an almost straight line, it has now been castrated with switchback upon switchback and though it's still a good climb it's now suitable for descending as well.

Back onto the valley floor and I still have 15 minutes to kill! I speed up the canyon to the bottom of Mathis and hook a left onto the (relatively) new Dripping Cave Loop. A nice bit of singletrack with a mix of ups n downs and a lot of sandstone. The recent rains have made the foliage super moist and green, and the trail between the rocks is fantastically tacky. It's not a long enough, though, so I race back around and do it again!

Back out to the canyon fireroad I swing right and begin the cruise back to the truck. 5:00 and the sun has been down for 15 minutes and I just beat the last pinch of light as I roll onto the pavement.

Even though I almost quadrupled back on myself, it was still a fun ride. :)

For something seriously wild, check out the following site I found that has a history of the park, and a trail map and photos that are probably 10 YEARS OLD! (Before thousands of identical stucco houses and a toll road were built on two sides of the park) Wacky stuff!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Legend

As you may or may not know Evel Knievel passed away. This guy was the fucking man. His middle name was Cajones! See Jimbo's blog for a couple great vids. In addition to the crazy gyro powered chopper bike I also had this:

...that you rolled up in a ball and then tried to find the highest tree to climb or somebody's roof to throw it off of!

And the Muther Of All Electric Toothbrushes:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Words cannot express...

...the elation that washes over me. Especially since I don't have the time at the moment to sit and contemplate the right words. But the Brown Santa (yes, UPS) brought something for me:

And ohhh, baby!

My new frame is here. The sleek shiny sexy black carbon TOMAC CARBIDE XC-1. Courtesy of Joel Smith and Johnny T himself. The Hurt and I will be racing this vision of beauty and epitome of velocity next season and you better get a good look now, cuz it's gonna be flying by at high speed later and it'll be hard to see ;)