Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Catching up...

Running through some old photos and I came across the team bikes all lined up and ready to go...  Giant hooking it up!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mens 30-39 Sport Race in Danville, VA

Sometime this winter while doing fire road rides at Pocahontas with David Reid, David mentioned that the Danville race would be his first big focus during the 2013 season.  I was riding my mountain bike relatively often in the Fall and early Winter, and thought it would be fun to try this race.   After all, it would be USAC sanctioned, would count toward an Expert upgrade, and would also be the State Championship.  As Winter wore on, I really neglected my mountain bike while focusing on road and cross riding.  So, enthusiasm for this race slowly turned to fear of doing an early season XC race with a big field of sport racers hungry for upgrade credit and a solid placing in a big race.

As race day approached, it became increasingly unsavory to think about waking up in time to arrive in Danville for a 10:30 race – which was really 9:30 if you consider the clock change that occurred the night before.  Also, I figured I would put myself and others in danger if I saw this course for the first time during a race.  So, I traveled down the day before and gave myself time to do a couple laps of the course and a few extra runs up the first mile or so of trail.  By the end of that ride, my confidence was up.  I was really having fun and enjoying the course.  Still, I thought the safest thing would be to get a lead quick and keep away – making sure I could use my motor as much as possible to make up for any technical deficiency.

So, in the half second too long it took to clip-in at the start, I missed my shot at entering the woods early.  Instead, I entered the woods in the middle of my group of 21 riders.  I was pretty frantic to pass guys since I could see the leaders getting further ahead on the switchbacks.  I passed a lot of guys within a couple miles, but knew there still had to be a few more to find.

Shortly before the gravel section at the end of the first lap, I came close to what turned out to be the remaining three guys.  I hauled it through the gravel and got right up to the last of the three.  I could tell he was hurting, so I passed him pretty easily in the first mile of lap two.  He was tired, but gained on me whenever the trail went downward or got twisty.  I kept riding hard and just as he disappeared, the two leaders were in sight.  They were from the same team and taking turns riding in front of each other.  They seemed like good riders, but were getting slower on the climbs.  I got right up on them – and figured I could hang with them and probably sit in for a top-three finish – or I could take a chance, pass them as hard as I could, and ride my butt off for the last three or four miles.  After riding slowly behind them on a generally uphill section for about half a minute, I felt recovered enough to take a solid shot at a pass.  I passed both of these guys at once, and rode away from them as convincingly as I could.  From there, I just had a blast playing keep away.  I was happy to catch Taylor Clarke, who I figured was leading the 20-29 age group that went off shortly before my 30-39 group.  He also seemed to be riding with some level of paranoia.  We knew we weren’t racing against each other, but I think we each helped keep the other moving fast.

I really wasn’t sure I won until the results were posted.  I am way psyched to get that result, and am all the more committed to focusing on improving my technical skill to better match my fitness.  I do think I need one more top five result in a USAC sanctioned race before I qualify for Expert upgrade.  Until the upgrade is final, I will be doing at least one or two rides a week on my mountain bike so I can be somewhat competitive in the Expert group rather than ending up as a log pile on the trail!

Until next time, I'll give many thanks to David Reid and Jeff Plassman for their encouragement and numerous pointers they have provided at various times over the last few months.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hilltopper 5k

Tom Haines did some volunteer work for the Hilltopper 5k taking place March 24th.  Nice little video of the course:


This is a cool event with proceeds benefitting The Robinson Theater.

Here is a link to registration: The Hilltopper 5k

Friday, March 1, 2013

North American Handmade Bike Show 2013

Hey, that looks familiar
 The NAHBS is a really more of a trade show were the best handmade bicycle builders in the country meet annually to show off their latest and greatest creations.  Richmond hosted this show several years ago and I have been drooling over the pictures from each show since.  These craftsman really make amazing bicycles! 

One of our sponsors, Stijl Cycles, was on display at this years event.  Chances are good if you have seen a DP jersey on the trail you have seen a Stijl bike. Stijl had some amazing bikes on display, including my 2013 race bike!  BikeRumor did a nice write up on Stijl and the Ironman bike pictured below specifically.

Thanks for supporting our team for one more year Stijl Cycles and Hinmaton!!

Monster Cross and Killer Deer

DISCLAIMER- No rider or deer was hurt in the making of this film, so humor is warranted.

A few miles into the Monster Cross race last Sunday at Pocahontas State Park, my teammate Jeff Plassman passed me calling out good natured encouragement.  I tried to stay on his wheel, but that didn’t last long.  I was about 20 yards back when all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I saw a golden projectile hurtling towards us from the left.  These were the thoughts that ran through my head in about a 2 second window before the impact- "that's a golden retriever running at us" "who would let their dog loose during a race?" "that's way too big for a dog" "that's way too fast for a dog".  Wham!  It had taken out Jeff.  He lay sprawled on the right side of the trail.
Here is a video of the event:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37WUuOc_zRQ&feature=youtu.be

So now Plassman’s adventure has gone viral.  As of the writing of this there have been over 1,000,000 views on YouTube, and has made YouTube’s front page.  He has been on the local news here in Richmond, and even my coworkers in NH saw him on their local news this morning.  So far he has been interviewed by VA ch 6, 8, and RightThisMinute.  He is on Yahoo News all over the world.  David Reid joked “Sorry to inform you guys, Jeff wanted me to pass along that he will no longer be on the team.  He is currently packing for his move to Hollywood later today.  Better weather and sweet single-track along with lucrative movie deals made the move a no brainer.  Just remember all us little people Jeff”.  We wouldn’t be surprised to find him on the Today show next week, or perhaps Good Morning America’s “Play of the Day”.  Some links to his fame:
Channel 8: http://www.wric.com/story/21428155/cyclists-soeaks-about-being-hit-by-deer-during-race
NBC12: http://www.nbc12.com/story/21417597/viral-cyclists-struck-by-deer-at-pochaontas-state-park
CBS 6: http://wtvr.com/2013/02/28/deer-hits-cyclist/
Web TV show:  http://www.rightthisminute.com/video/jeff-vs-mother-nature

As I came up on him I yelled out “are you ok”?  He bounced right back up and responded “yeah” so I kept rolling and yelled out “that was awesome!” Sounds like a strange reaction when someone just got run over by a deer, but, knowing he was ok it was pretty spectacular.  That, combined with race adrenaline and knowing he had a helmet cam on so our team would be viewing the video at team parties to come. 
About 21seconds into the video you see me passing with my arm outstretched to him, it must have been a subconscious guilt thing- I feel for you but I’m not stopping!  Here is my arm of compassion:

Last night I was at dinner with some people and an iPhone was being passed around to show them the video.  Two ladies at the end of the table who didn’t realize I was one of the riders near him said “Look at those mean people not stopping for him!”  Ah, so na├»ve and idealistic…in the mountain bike racing world if a person is down but gets back up you don’t have to stop, if they are lying inert and unresponsive you stop until they start yelling at you to “go on!”  “go on!”. 
So Jeff has found his 20s of fame.  The deer, on the other hand, opted to stay anonymous and refused to comment.  More on Plassmido Rapido’s blogspot

How can we top that?  But we should give a shout-out to the rest of the day’s happenings.  First, thanks to Mark Junkermann from RunRideRacefor a great race.  What an event!  I have never raced with that many riders before at a mass start, over 500 people!  Loved the chili after, and loved that they gave women actual women’s T shirts instead of the usual men’s T shirts.  That was my first long mountain bike race.  I ended up with 51.5 miles, apparently 3.5 miles over the actual race length.  (But I got a better workout, right?)

Big kudo’s to our own David Reid who placed 17th overall!  And that was with top riders like Jeremiah Bishop (David was 11th in his division).  Also representing were Tom Haines, Thom Flynn, Dave Hardisky, Joe Fish, Tom Richeson, Kate Fisher, and Erik Bleecher.  Emily Bashton and Brian Brown our friends from Endorphin Fitness were there as well.  I would like to recognize Brian for stopping and helping the man that got taken away by ambulance, whom I heard from Junkermann suffered a concussion but is otherwise OK and wants to race it again next year.  Thanks also to Jason Broussard, Jeff Farmer, and Todd Green for volunteering.  And our very own fearless leader Jason Hopkins led out the rolling start.