Jun 30, 2006

Day One! Are you there?

Click on the title to this post and it will take you to the results of the Prologue of day on of the Tour De Burg.
The competition looks to be tough.
2 miles up two miles down. I'll just leave some pictures of the day.
I am wearing the yellow jersey after the first stage. So much pressure! The hot fake wool acrylic jersey!!

First is Tim Richardson
then Martin Quinn
then time trial outfit.

Jun 26, 2006

the Plea at the top of the list

I'm trying to raise some funds. Independent Fab has been great with the equipment support this year, but since all of my other expenses have been out of pocket so far, the ole checking account has hit an all time low. Paying for Breckenridge entry ($189) and plane tickets and all of the other expenses of taking time off, training and the like has Strained my other financial support, CapitalOne. Plus I have to pay them back sometime. I've posted a plea on the ifbikes.com website.
I am the current leader of the National Ultra-Endurance MTB Series and would like to keep it that way without loosing my mind. July is a bad month with the 6day Tour De Burg Stage race coming up, then 10 days later is the Breckenridge race followed by a local race in Michaux, then the Wilderness 101 the weekend after. After July I should be able to get back to normal, but right now everything is maxed out. This is the curse of dedicating myself to a financially defunct sport. But my bike and I will go down together. Everything else can burn, just bury me with the Steel Delux.

If you feel like donating you can either send it to me at
3523 W. Alleghany Ave
Philadelphia PA, 19132

or PayPal me at takeaim@gmail.com

If you do donate be sure to include an address so I can send you something special in the mail.

Are we ready?

It's here! The Tour De Burg's 11th edition is starting Friday, and for all the legions of fans out there looking to fill their eyes with more online screen time check it out. 6 days of riding/racing through the Shenandoah Valley. This event has a long history, and started as locals commiting to 10 days of beating each others brains out over the best trails in Virginia. Shortened to 6 days to accomodate their introduction to the real world, the TDB has become a summer staple and is gathering more converts every year.
Friday is the 4 mile time trail then alternating mtn and road stages for the next 5 days adds up to 300 plus miles of riding. Check out the site for a complete rundown of the stages and mayhem.
Probably the best feature of the event is that it incorporates fun, racing, group riding, training and parades into one event. SHow up for one stage or all.
This event is one of the finest examples of what a passionate motivated community can create, while still keeping it fun and unstressful. Bring your trash talk but, macho egotrippers are not going to have a good time, we'll see to that.
Last year the peloton averaged 45-60 riders everyday with the greatest number of people to ever do the whole shebang, 28!

Check it out, show up, or create your own.

Don't forget to check out the Letters of intent and the Stage profiles at the top of the main page.

AMBC Bulldogs Rump! 3rd!

Weather.com called for 100% chance of rain for every hour till the start of the race then only 80-90%. So it rained on the field of riders which included 19 pro and semi-pro men. A solid bunch. It didn't rain the whole time and the peanut butter trails were slick. We took off and again I found myself in the front, with Brandon Dragulais on my wheel. He came around at the top of the first hill, then a Campmor rider Cicciolini and then Ray Adams. Eventually Jordan rolled up on me, which was a great surprise, he's riding strong and we rode together for a while. I was proud of him for riding so smooth, but eventually I dropped him at the start of the 4th, and when I got to the finish he was no where to be seen. A flat killed his day. Which also killed Ciccolini who I passed just before the finish to grab 3rd. Do people not bring spare tubes anymore? I don't get it.

Jun 22, 2006

Lumberjack 100 Finished, 2nd, Minton got 8th

LumberJack 100
A race report by
a yous guy, Harlan.

here is the cycling news article
I just drove 1,865miles on my motorcycle with my bike strapped to the back to go head to head with the crippler, Chris Eatough. People always ask about putting a bike on the motobike. Well here is a picture. It’s not so bad, but let me debunk a few myths about the motorcycle. It’s cheap on gas, but not maintenance. It’s faster and more maneuverable, but you have to stop more often to stretch the legs and fill up at least every 200 miles, so in reality it is a little slower than driving. A motto is not relaxing. Day dreaming has severe consequences.
Anyways, I took off Thursday morning with a fresh oil change, and service from the (both types of bike riding ) boys at Manayunk Triumph. Tom has a pretty good collection of bikes (bottechia, holdsworth, panasonic) that hang from the rafters in the motorcycle shop. Off at 6:30am and i beat the traffic with a freshly tuned throttle, and shot north towards 80. De Jevu hit since this was the same route I took to go to the Mohican100. As highways go, 80 is pretty scenic since it cuts straight through coal country Pennsylvania and Ohio. Bridges cut deep into the rock and shoot out through ancient valleys with morning mists rising from the trees like a sleeping dragon’s breath.
I stopped for lunch in fabulous Youngstown Ohio. The front page of the newspaper had a picture of a decrepit building and asked if Youngstown’s blight was fixable. Not exactly at the top of my must-see list for places to visit.
Getting to Ann Arbor I realized my stomach was on the revolt and demanded some food, but finding anything that wasn’t prefab chain “fine dining” was proving pretty difficult. I could have stopped and eaten a decent meal at any of the Chili’s or Bennegins, but i have this thing, that makes me hate the idea, so I pushed my stomach a little further, and was rewarded with a Mediterranean deli, with falafel's and spinach pies. Plus the owner was great, and had lived in Philadelphia for years. Because there is a large Lebanese population in Michigan, he came back for his family, but admitted he would rather be in beautiful PA.
12hrs after leaving Philly I made it to Brighton state park north of Ann Arbor Michigan. A total shot in the dark, Brighton ended up having a great little trail network, just right for spinning my legs out before curling up in my burrito sized tent. I did the 5mile long Torn Shirt trail. Tight twisty and a few loose climbs to keep you honest.
At the trailhead I ran into Peter Murphy (not of Bauhaus fame) and his friend Jerry. We chatted for a while about bikes and things of Michigan importance. Taking pity on me Peter offered to bring me home and feed me, and since that sounded better than the bag of nuts and PB&J’s I had planned, I went off to meet the extended network of the tall and tanned Murphy family. We surprised his wife, Robbie (sp?) and daughter, but they took this gypsy in stride and we had a nice dinner and conversation. I think I might have gotten Peter thinking about doing a 100miler, which I hope he does, despite his hesitation about being in his 50s, which is really no excuse for not doing one. So after eating I headed back to the campground to fold myself up and try to fall asleep while the campers next door yelled at their 2yr old to shut up and quit crying. Fortunately i was tired enough to fall asleep during a break in the terror filled screams of the kid. Quite a stark contrast to the family i had just left.
At this point I’m beginning to realize that MI is more than Detroit and Emminem, and it is actually quite beautiful, and it was only to get more beautiful as I drove north. With a three hour drive ahead of me I took the western coast route and drove through Lansing, Grand Rapids and Muskegon up highway 31. The highways were mostly straight and similar to florida but they rolled up and over ancient sand dunes that were still being swept by the lake’s winds that made the landscape look tilted to the east.
I pulled into Manistee around 1pm and found a coastal downtown with it’s eyes on the tourism dollar. The old town center has those effortless downtown sidewalks that make strolling or loitering a natural progression, after a long trip. I ate at the Tuscan grill, then headed over to the Bent Crank bike shop to get a spare tube and multi tool. Brain Buysse, the owner turned out to be a great guy and after we talked for about an hour and he learned I was up against the Trekie, he offered me the chance to get a good nights sleep in his guest bedroom. These Michiganites are super friendly, and being the obliging man I am I took him up on his offer. I agreed to meet him later after I went out to pre-ride and register.
The Race, Finally!!
Okay sorry it took so long to get to the goods for those of you only interested in this part of the story.
The race was being held out of the Big-M State Park XC ski access parking lot. As I pulled in I got my first taste of Michigan sand when my Motorcycle started to prove that it wasn’t made for the beach. I thought I could ride it out but soon dumped the motto on the left side and popped off one of my hard cases. Luckily it didn’t damage either bike, or my back when I picked it up and pulled up onto the harder packed field for camping and parking. I avoided embarrassment by playing it cool, as if it was supposed to do that.
After parking and punching myself a couple of times I noticed that (surprise) Trish Stevenson was there. We had both said we weren’t coming to this race. Liars we are!
Trish and I decided to do the first 8mile loop together to see what the course had to offer. The pre-ride proved that the race was going to be fast, and I mistakenly began to believe we might even break the 7hr mark the next day. Not a technical feature on the smooth swoopy 100% singletrack course. I started planning my wheelsucking.
After the preside, we cleaned up a little and Trish and I headed into town for a prerace meal. Dinner at Tuscan’s was as good as lunch and eventually Trish and I parted ways to get some sleep. At Brian's I did some pre-race prep, talked to him and his girlfriend Chris, and eventually went to sleep in the air conditioned room! What a luxury.
Up at 5:10 made breakfast, Brian was awake, drank coffee, got out the door by 6 made it to the start at 6:30 barely got ready, missed the riders meeting, went out on the road, and waited for 20 min.
The start was on pavement then turned onto the sandy entrance road where I had dumped my bike, so I knew that trying to avoid the sand would give me a better chance to go into the single track in good position. My plan worked and i ended up in a perfect 4th position, with a long string of a 176 riders behind. Eatough was at the front and pushed a decent pace but, nothing gut busting. Eventually he pulled over and let Russ Tiles take the lead who upped the power and proceeded to pull us along for about 10 miles. At one point there was only Chris, Russ, Me, and a Bells Brewery rider, but eventually a few people caught back up and we had a train of 6-9 riders with me riding third wheel. I never bothered to look back until about 15 miles in to see who was there. The pace was casual enough conversation was easy, and a few jokes were thrown around. Chris started talking about how it would be hard to get big time gaps on such a smooth course and I agreed but kept my eye on him.
at about the 20mile mark Chris, who had kept looking back and was just in front of me, launched an attack that felt like world cup pace. I stuck his wheel as the Bells guy stuck mine. The group was quickly shattered and Bells boy eventually asked to come around me since i was just hovering off of Chris. I knew that Chris would be stopping to get a water bottle or two at the end of the first lap so I figured I’d save a little energy and catch him, since I wouldn’t have to stop. Sure enough we came around the corner, Chris stopped, Russ was with me now and we all regrouped, but I was starting to get the feeling that this pace was a bad idea for me, and after going for a couple of miles I let Bells and Chris go and told Russ to go around. I warned Russ but he was eager to keep up and jumped after Bells Boy(mike Simonson) and Chris. I let off to recover and was soon caught by Anthony Slowinski. He passed me but I kept him in sight and eventually rolled back up on him, then we road together for the rest of lap two and part of three.
Sure enough, not long after we caught Russ and he stuck our wheel and we all rode on. Russ, being a local, and knowing Simonson predicted his demise, even though Simonson was the fastest XC racer in the area. Sure enough not long after, a blown Bells jersey came into view and we road right passed him, and I said something about getting burned by the English Muffin. Soon after we dropped Simonson, Russ faded off the back and it was just Anthony and I for a while. I could tell he was fading and we stopped for a group drink and stretch at the halfway aid station. After getting back on the bikes I soon lost Anthony and rode for the next 3 hours alone.
The course was a mind bender, especially after the 12mile aid station, when there was still a half a lap to go. For some reason that section took forever and had a few longer climbs in it that made the finish feel like some eternally receding destination. the third lap was my hardest and slowest feeling. When I finally came around to the end of lap three and the start of 4 I got a time split, Chris was 25 up and third was 3 min back. Panic kind of set in and I new I would have to battle through the last lap, hoping no one felt fresh enough to catch me. Part way into the lap I looked down while climbing and realized my seat had slipped about 1.5in. This made since, because my climbing had felt terrible all day. After a quick adjustment I took off and hammered as much as i could without going into the bonk and at the halfway mark I tried not to think of the finish, in order to avoid the frustration of wanting to be done.
When the 3/4mile sign to the parking lot eventually showed I great relief overcame me, and I finished at 7:41 just 33 min behind Chris and I managed to put time on third when Russ came in 10min later. Harvey Minton pulled out an 8th place in a stacked field.
Over all it was a brutal day with high humidity, 85 degree heat and unrelenting singletrack, which offered no rest and made eating difficult. Loosing my Endurolytes in the first lap was disconcerting, but proved to not be fatale.
Now all I had to look forward to was awards a nights sleep and 15hrs on the motorcycle.
Rick Plites put on a good awards show, where tons of good stuff was raffled off and big ax trophy’s were handed out to the winners. Good luck to those who had to get on a plane with one. Founders provided two Kegs which were quickly kicked, due to everyone's dehydration. A lot different from last year when a keg was left over. I’d say that's a sign of a successful event.
My ride home wasn’t too eventful. I stopped outside of Cleveland in Elyria, ate some Pho noodles and decided to take my mother’s offer up on a Hotel room.
The next day I put in 11 hrs on the bike, with a few naps in between. It rained about a third of the time and I managed to keep my sanity.
Overall it was a good trip. I have to thank the people I met along the way, Peter, Robbie, Brian, Chris, Trish, Chris, Garth, Madison and Star-la. You’ve made things a little easier each step of the way. Thanks!

Jun 14, 2006

LumberJack 100

Riding the Triumph to Michigan. I'll be the one on the highway with a bicycle strapped to the back of my Moto.
Watching out for the MAN!

Jun 8, 2006

Photos of IF Factory, links

Thank you to my sponsor Independent Fabrication. My Steel Deluxe felt great for the 100 miles. I was skeptical, since I've raced nothing but Duallies for the past three years. But I came out with no back pains, just shoulder and arms were really tired. TIme for more push-ups.
here are some links to website race info.

Jun 7, 2006

good dad!

This is my Dad and I.
He's a good man, but look out for his hands. I took some portraits of him and my step mother a couple of months ago. Both wonderful people. Visiting family can be a little decieving. Sometimes you don't really get a chance to see them, because of activities that keep you busy and occupied. When I got back and saw the photos I had taken, I was kind of blown away, and felt I was just getting a chance to see them for the first time in years. Old wrinkles that were always there, have started to deepen, and I see these adults as no longer being ageless. The photos made me feel closer to them than I had in years. Not that I felt distant or isolated in any way but a new awareness grew out of those photos.
If you want, I would gladly come and take photos of your parents. Let me know. Maybe I could do it in exchange for some racing expenses. Or what ever you have to barter. Or whatever. I hate money. But need it.

Also if you are ever in North Florida, my dad (Dennis) has an Environmental tour business.
Florida isn't all beaches. North Central Florida has these prehistoric atmospheres, where the water is slow and dark, and spanish moss dips its fingers into the river at a slow southernly pace. You'll understand why drinking and driving should be about cruising not crashing. He'll take you canoeing or hiking, and there are even 50miles of trails from his home in White Springs. Check out the suwannee bicycle association.

Jun 5, 2006

random pic.

Mohican 100

My Mohican Weekend
A race report
By Harlan Price
20th grade

I was 13 the last time I went to the Buckeye State, and for the past 17 years I’ve been unable to erase from memory the hell that Ohio is. Unbearable August heat, slurp it with a straw humidity, horse flies, sister’s bare chested, mullett wearing, G’N’R cranking boyfriend driving at 90mph on back roads in a ford 250. My mother was competing in a 100mile endurance horse race, and the heavy smell of manure was filling every article of clothing I owned. I haven’t had many good things to say about Ohio since then.
After this weekend and a 100+miles of my own endurance race I can’t say my opinion has shifted that much. June heat was a little more mild, but the same sensation of riding through a steaming jungle of horse manure was still there. The 7hrs of rain on the drive there was only made bearable by my travel mates Tim and Dave. About an hour before arriving we decided a cabin would be much more appealing than setting up in the rain and eating cold raw eggs in the morning.
One of the great things about this 100mile endurance series is the chance to compete against new people and get a gauge on who’s out there. The pre-reg list for this race lacked most of the familiar names so everything was up in the air. At the start line I leaned over to my friend Trish, pointed out a rather fit looking jockey and said he looks strong. I’ll tell you now, he (Brad Cole) ended up 2nd after we rode together practically the whole race, and I didn’t drop him till the last 11 miles of single track. My sister said I should start picking horses at the track.
The race started with a couple miles of road climbing before turning left into the single track. I ended up first in the single track only to have Brad come around me and turn up the pace. Pretty quickly Brad and I, along with two other 100K riders seperated ourselves from the pack on the slick, rain soaked trails. I felt like a toddler trying to draw a straight line, and could barely control my front tire through the corners. After going down once we all started to yo-yo with each through the single-track that lasted almost the entire first 25 miles before aid station 1, which we missed....
And so began a day of second guessing, backtracking, cursing and general chaos. Just before Aid Station 1, which had a mandatory check in, Brad and I came to an intersection with no arrows. We had dropped the 100Kers and were now wondering WTF. I knew where an aid station was because we had come out right at our cabin and I had an idea about where we were. A mile down the road we came to Aid station 4, who had no Idea where we were or how to get back on track. With a sense of doom creeping in, we turned to back track and started meeting up with riders who came out at the same place. Fortuntatly one of them knew how to get around to AID1 and the 8 of us rode the road for a couple of miles. We ran into Ryan Odell the promoter who put us back on track and said he would check the problem. Brad and I weren’t so happy about loosing a 10 min lead on most of the top guys, but fortunatly we didn’t have to bring up the subject as we left the Station, since most of the riders were gentlemen and waited for Brad and I to get up the road a little. I was surprised to see a fully ridged SS had left with us, but I felt sorry for him and didn’t feel a need to say anything.
By the time we got out of the single track at Aid Sta 1 a long gravel and paved road section was welcome relief. Brad and I sort of worked together and chatted a lot not really attacking but just keeping it steady. The constant short steep hills and long rollers made it a tough course, and Brad was proving to be a steady diesel. Though we felt very alone I was worried about late comers like Skip Brown or Garth Proser, rolling up on us and eventually the two 100ker’s krept up on us. Anthony Slowinski (eventual winner) said his buddy just decided to pull all the way up to us. That was sort of a surprise and a little ominous so we all decided to get a little more organized and the four of us did some steady pulling together.
I questioned in my head the ethical delima of working with racers who weren’t actually in our race, but decided that everyone has the opportunity to do the same, so the playing field was a little more level. a few miles before Aid Sta 2 we hit a long single track section, with some really fun downhiller features and a few good technical sections. I once again ended up first in. Without really meaning to I started to gap the other three riders and by the time we popped out to Station 2 I had a minute on them. With a quick stop involving some lube from Garth’s (who had dropped out) pocket I took off into another long section of single track. I figured i’d let it roll and let Brad feel a little pressure. I rode the next 45min alone and could have stayed that way for a while if it hadn’t been for a missed turn on a long gravel section that I had to turn around and ride back up. So once again Brad and I ended up riding together, not killing it but making steady. Just before station 3 a long rails trail that took about an hour to ride had to be one of the most mental karate chops the riders recieved all day. The long straight slog was a big bully to my fading brain. The Groups of Amish girls walknig barefoot were the only distractions.
Though I went through my obligatory hour 7 bonk I kept the secret agent face in full effect looking ahead while assessing the situation with my peripherals. With about twenty to go I started to feel like a win was possible, since the last 11 miles, after station 4, would be mostly trail. Brad let me lead in to the trail there and even proposed that we role in together and since I had waited for him earlier in the day he would give me the win. I half agreed and rolled on, but as soon as I heard him say he was blowing I never looked back. What can I say, points are based on time off leader’s. I started to feel my own bonk coming on with about 2miles to go when i came out to the bottom of a resevior dam. I couldn’t tell where to go unitl I looked up the fortress like wall of the dam and saw ribbon lining the steps that started half way up. The steps were necessary since it was so steep any walking would have resulted in a slide back down. The other stab in the back was the false finish, where you come to the resort and a just when a sense of relief starts to settle in then they tell you to take a left up and through the woods to a field where I used my granny gear for the last 100 feet to the finish, 4 minutes ahead of Brad.
Overall the course was great but the poor marking was rampant and really took away a lot of the flow that could have made the race much more enjoyable.

Bikes and Blood

Back from Fontana CA, and its my first day back on the bike. Weather is Perfect and I decide to join the Tuesday night A ride around the drives. I leave work and head for the river path. As I'm coming down the ramp to the river I see a basket ball in the middle of the path at the landing and think to myself to say somehthing about getting the ball out of the way to the three kids who I assume are owners of it. But as I get to the bottom I see that one kid is sitin gon the bench with his head in his hands and blood dripping off his forehead on the the ground. THen the other kids ask me if I have a phone to call 911. Turns out their 17yr old friend went to jump the bench and hit the iron beam above it. He was sent flying backwards and proceeded to bleed a scarlet tide. Through my sunglasses the blood looked floudrecent as it dripped on the ground. I could tell from the converstation he had with 911 that they wouldn't have an easy time finding the place, so I waited around till I saw the ambulance pass us by. I chased him down where they were parked getting ready to call for better directions. Then a strange thing happened as I was trying to talk to the Medic...This guy rides up on his bike and starts acusing them of joyriding with the lights on. At least thats what I think he was talking about, but it was such an unexpected confrontation that we were stunned for a second before we could finally say "we have an emergency, go Away!" As soon as I saw the boys meet with the Ambulance i took off to catch my ride.
So I make it to the drive and after a while I see the pack of riders coming. I sit on the side of the road thinking I would just let them pass and then catch up...That was a little unrealistic. After about 10min of 30-32mph I realized I would have to short cut them to the other side of the river to try a different method of catching on. I managed to beat them to the stop lights in front of the Museum and joined the group. They didn't waste much time crnking it back up to 30mph and keeping a steady train pushing it. I was impressed and definatly working my tired legs off. We completed one lap and as we headed around for the second one something happened. Apparently there was a sprint line, because the speed suddenly jumped to 34+mph. as I'm sitting behind the chaos that a bunch sprint is I see bodies start to lean, and then hear a loud pop, followed by bodies flying in the air. A huge pile-up ensues and as I'm hard on my brakes a rider zipps by me and hits the football tackle at speed and does a front flip. everything happened so fast, but I still see it in slow motion. Like a stick of dynamite the group just exploded, the the bodies were scattered in the right hand lane. Flesh was taken down tto the bone on knees, knuckles, foreheads, lips, backs and butts. One person was left in the middle of the lane unable to move or be moved due to excrutiating pain. Everyone who was not seriously hurt was instantly at the sides of the wounded and taking assesment of the situation. The blood was rich and dark, and poured down faces slower than the boy I had seen earlier. The difference was significant. Injured riders had the stunned look that was a cross of disbelief and pain. Like getting into a bath that is to hot and not wanting to move to much. I admit my reaction was less than sympathetic, and I was almost pissed at the whole situation. It seemed like a waste to me to be out on a ride and be put at risk of serious injury. I know all the riders involved are experienced and in no way novices, but that only highlights the uncontrollable and eminant threat of danger involved in this sport. I rode home thankfull to have myself in one piece.