Monday, April 21, 2008

White Lightning

Kevin Trent and I just got back from the White Lightning race at Land Between the Lakes near Benton, KY. I have been trying to do all the TBRA races this year with the hope of getting one of those cool circle and stars state champions jersey in the clydesdale class. Don't ask me why TBRA has a race in KY other than the Wood and Wave guys are big supporters of the series.

We had a great time despite the drive, 656 miles from Kevin's driveway to the race and back. Sat. was rainy and cold. Fortunately there was only a 2.3 mile time trial. If you are familiar with the Canal loop trail, we we counterclockwise from Scenic Dr(?) out to the "B" connector and back up the old road to Scenic. My time of 11:55 was good enough to win by only 3 seconds. The picture on the podium looks funny because the generator died that was blowing air into the Redbull balloon. I had to bend over standing on the step.

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Sunday turned out beautiful. It was cool in the morning and warmed up to about 70* when we finished. I rode my new Salsa set up as a SS. I finished building it literally and hour before the TT on Sat. It did great and I was pleased with the ride.

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I had some trouble with mud flying in my eyes Saturday so I made a mud flap.

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I got an OK start in 3rd and soon passed the two guys in front. Another guy came with me and he passed me about a third of the way into the first lap. He soon disappeared. I thought that if I just rode my race I could catch him. I rode mostly alone except for straggling sport rides I passed. Eventually I got into the beginners and passing all those peaple seemed to energize me. I starting attacking the hills. That is the only way I could get up them on my SS. At the top of the last big hill on the first half of the course I spotted the leader about 30 or so seconds ahead of me. I tried to steadily decrease the gap and was making progress until we came to a switchback and he spotted me and then he put down the hammer. If I had gears I might have made a run on this fast part of the trail but I don't think I would have been as fast on the hills. Oh well. I finished 30 or 45 seconds behind him and was glad to have someone to race against. Check out the podium shot. I'm not sure this guy makes 200 lbs. He might have been cherry picking.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Windrock and Not Windrock

Saturday Keith Williams and I decided to go ride the new/old Cumberland Trail section of Coal Creek/Windrock. I knew Bhann and Jeff were just up there so I called Bhann and found out there was only about 1 1/2 miles cleared so far. So, we went on to Windrock and got in a push...er.. ride.

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We rode out trail #1. It was a little muddy but not too bad. Mostly rideable with a fair amount of 4 wheeler traffic.

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This fool went up this slope which had to be about 45 or 50*. He couldn't even walk down it.

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So far so good. We hit trail #2 and turned up the mountain. #2 was in good shape as far as mud is concerned. It was a jeep road grind but still kind of cool. After a while we turned right onto #16. Big mistake! 16 is tough when it is dry. Saturday it was not dry.

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I'm not sure how long we were on #16 but it seemed like a couple of hours. I sure was glad to see the gravel of G1 at the top. We rode along G1 to where the paved road comes up the mountain. After looking at the map, we decided to go a little way down the pavement and turn right onto #21 with the plan of ending up on #22 which is a nice downhill. Somehow we made a wrong turn and ended up on Little Rattletrap (I think). It goes about a 1/2 mile down to the bottom of Rattletrap and then climbs straight up the mountain in some 5' deep ruts and rocks the size of wheelbarrows. We finally came out on the gravel (G1) again and this time we rode down the pavement. I surprised Keith with a sorta cold Dale's Pale Ale at the top. Yes, I hauled it up in my camelback!

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The views from the top are pretty spectacular.

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Downhill Doug and about 20 others were doing shuttle runs. Maybe one day I will try that. For now, I think I'll keep my wheels on the ground.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

I get around

Another busy week.

Ginger and I spent the weekend in Atlanta. We did a little sight seeing and a little shopping and a lot of hanging out. I found a good deal on a nice room at the Crown Plaza. It was nice to get away and have some one on one time. We hit Ikea on Sat. and several bike shops on Sunday. We took the long way home up I575 to Elijay and back thru Copperhill and Ocoee. We stopped to picnic next to the river and then came back up 411.

Most of you know that I put in a lot of miles in my job. Monday I drove from Fountain City to Andersonville to White Pine to Mount Juliet. About 300 miles. Monday evening I took off to ride at Hamilton Creek in Nashville. This place makes Pinhoti look like a paved trail. It was very technical but also a lot of fun. I think I rode everything that was there but I was without a computer so I don't have a good idea of the milage.

Tuesday was more of the same. Mount Juliet to LaFayette, TN to Hodginville, KY to Murray, KY. with a stop at Land Between the Lakes to ride the Canal Loop. About 375 miles. If you have never ridden the Canal Loop, it is worth a trip. It is an 11 mile loop and you can connect to the North South trail to get another 25 or so. There is a TBRA race at Canal Loop April 19th and 20th. Time trial Sat. and XC on Sun. Western Ky received a lot of rain last week. The trail was in great shape except for the parts that were under about 3' of water. While I was bushwhacking around the lake overflow I caught my shorts on a bush and ripped the whole ass out of a $100 pair of shorts.

Wednesday went from Murray to Benton, KY to back home. As soon as I got home I turned around and went to Haw Ridge for the weinnie ride. We had a good ride with Brian N and Matt setting a pretty good pace up and down the ridge. It was the first time I've ridden Roller Coaster on my SS. I think we had 9 or 10 29ers with no 26" wheels and only one deraillier equipped bike in the bunch. Riders included PeterPanic, Keith W, Stumpy, Beau, MudGobbler and None (sorry if I left anyone out). Good group and a good ride. My legs were ready for some rest after 3 hard days on the trail.

Thursday was only home to Andersonville to home to Tazewell where I played some customer golf. 79 thank you very much in only my 2nd round of the year.

I think I'm ready to rest now!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Clipper on a Bicycle

It looked like I was the only one left without a blog so I thought I would get in on the act.

It has been a hectic week. Sunday was the first real mountain bike race. Chickasaw Trace in Columbia, TN hosted the first TBRA race of the season. We had some rain in Knoxville Friday and Saturday but no where near the 2 1/2" Columbia received. The course was a muddy mess. I think it was the muddiest ride I have done in years. I left the house just after 5:30 AM Sunday to pick up Kevin Trent to go to the race and I pulled in at home just before 10:00PM. Long day.

I placed 3rd clydesdale in the race and Kevin got 6th. I tried to jump off the front at the start and trailed only 2 or 3 of the grand masters who started with us. The single tract was very sloppy and I was glad I was out front. Too much pushing did me in. Slick roots and rocks made the climbs hit or miss. Oh well. All in all I guess it was OK. However, if I am going to reach my goal of state champion clydesdale I think I will need to do a little better.

Wednesday I did a big leg workout in the gym. I have been limping around on sore hamstrings and quads the rest of the week. BHann talked me into a ride Wed afternoon and I should never have gone.

Work problems have kept me running all week long. I am a salesman and I had two different vendors with quality issues that required my attention.

On the plus side, we have been building a new trail at Hastie Natural Area in Knoxville. BHann and I rode it for the first time Wednesday. I have to say it was pretty cool. two and a half months ago there was just an idea in my and Brian's heads about a trail. It still needs a few tweaks but overall it is pretty cool.

Followers

Grand Master Clydesdale

Riding my bike makes me feel like I'm 10 years old again. I'm 54 years old and a clydesdale. I'm happily married to Ginger and I've got a son and two daughters, Zach, Hannah and Molly.