May 21, 2008

SDS: Stay in School

the valley between the ridges
You just don't know, and I can't explain, and the pictures won't do it justice.
This weekend was the 5th edition of the Stokesville-Douthat-Stokesville mountain bike ride.
145 miles in two days, split into 12hr days of 75 and 70 miles. A true MountainTouring Production.
If you touch your index fingers together and then your thumbs together, imagine that where your thumbs meet are Stokesville, (where we started), and the point of the index fingers are the lodge we stayed at in Douthat State park. If you rode along the right hand, that would be the western ridges we rode out on and then coming back along the left hand would be the eastern ridges, with the huge valley in between. About 50miles across the valley. 30,000 feet of climbing total, which translates to an equal amount of descending. Despite the two flats in Michaux two weeks ago, I decided I couldn't pass final judgment on my new WTB Weirwolf tires. Their volume seemed perfect for the not to safe high speed descending we would be doing. Glad to say I had no flats, and the tires really excelled in the rocks. Some of the slow rock crawling i had to do to make passes on people who put their foot down in the gardens were some of my best moments. I give these tires credit for hardpack and wet rocks ability.
Easily the best two day ride ever. Not to many people on my list were ready for this but I wanted a partner to drive down with, so I called Pete, one of the toughest cats I know. I figured he could handle the numbers, the hike-a-bikes, the hour long pushing through overgrown trail sections. By the end of the trip, when it was announced that the last climb was "only an hour" it was actually a relief. Our perspectives were skewed. Thank you Chris Scott, Mike Carpenter, the ladies and everyone else responsible.
Day two, started misty then went wet, and thats when fires were built. According to Carp, he saw deep into our souls during the hour climb when the rain and cold were at their worst.
The cell tower on the top of Elliots Knob had a vent that blew hot air.

One of several hike-a-bikes.

End of Day one

Mathew Lee, Tour Divide record holder, the only causality.

This is not right.

Good Causes: Get on it

My friends Sam and Elk are once again teaming up with Saturday's Granouge race to raise some funds for Ovarian Cancer. Any help is good help!
Ovarian Cancer fundraiser
in conjunction with the Escape from Granouge MTB race on May 24th. Part of the fundraiser is a raffle with the grand prize being a custom IF fork. We also have a lot of other cool stuff, including some Maxxis Ignitor 29er tyres and a White Industries ENO freewheel. We are selling raffle tickets in advance via BikeReg. You do not need to be present to win. Here’s the link to Bike Reg:

May 14, 2008

Wow: Thanks! Treats.

Thanks guys for the compliments on the house. Deep down my heart craves creating things, so the house has given me the chance to make things the way I would want. It makes me feel good for people to see the fruits of my labor.
As a reward here is a silly video: It is a bit ridiculous, and I'm not a bible thumper!!!! But I do appreciate the cleverness put into this....It makes me laugh. Really I'm not trying to convert.

May 13, 2008

Dah House

Saturday Night: Sunday Levi was moving in
It's been two and a half years since my dad and I bought this house on the disputed border of East Falls in Philladelphia. I was advised not to buy it by someone I respect in the construction business and local cycling community. Considering that I would be trying to rehab a house while at the same time trying to take myself to the tops of my cycling ability, I have to admit that he was right. I never should have bought the place. It needed a complete gut and remodel. I've lived the past three winters without heat, sometimes a bathroom, sometimes hot water. Mostly no walls and a kitchen that was mostly there. None of these living conditions were supportive of trying to race bikes at a high level.

The biggest thing I've missed in this process is a couch, and the ability to invite people over. Some have come and visited, enjoyed the novelty of urban camping and left probably not realizing how the novelty of the situation had worn off for me over a year ago. I've cursed this place. Thrown fits in the morning cold resulting in embarrassingly broken things. I've hated it with all my heart. Problem was I had no where to go, so throwing in the towel and bailing on a lease wasn't a real option. I'd just be abandoning myself.

My mother said owning a home would be one of the most trying things I'd ever do. She was right and unfortunately it's not over. Fortunately I have reached a momentous event. Sunday I moved a renter (Levi) into a mostly finished front apartment. And I have to say I'm pretty proud of how the place is turning out. Levi and is a relaxed sort, so I'll be painting and finishing some carpentry behind him.

Up until this fall I've managed to concentrate mostly on training and racing, but unfortunately the time had come for rent to get paid. After the rezoning debacle and various permit snafu's the order was up and this cook had to turn on the burners. I was fortunate this year to have a coach, Jeff Herrick at Allez Training, to help take the wait of planning my own training off of my platter of duties. His input was a key in keeping me on some sort of track, no matter how many training days were ruined waiting for electricians, plumbers and dumpsters.

The point is now I'm a little more free to return to feeling like a professional bike racer. I still have my own living quarters to square up, but the hard part is done.

Some one asked me the other day if I still felt like a racer, had I kind of given up on the year? I didn't really understand the question at first because in the past month or so I had come to terms with the situation I was in and in my mind had determined that the season was a long one and I was more and more optimistic and enthusiastic about the possibilities. That idea is what got me through the last two weeks of 8-16hr days working on the house. To get the riding in I brought the Lupine light out for some great night rides to stay on the bike as much as possible.