Monday, October 27, 2008

Man, that water's cold...and deep too!

Everybody has heard the old joke about two guys standing at the urinals in a public bathroom. Well, I wasn't standing in a bathroom. I was standing waist deep in Melton Hill Resovoir, Clinch River, the water that comes off the bottom of Norris Lake, on the last Saturday in October, with the temperature creeping towards 50*...and it was cold as Heeellll!

I had just tumbled down the slope at Racheal's Landing. I spun out on a root going up the climb. I could't get my cleat unclipped and fell down the hill. So far, So good. It was a soft landing but it was very steep. I started sliding down the hill waiting to hit a sapling or something to slow my descent. I think I found the only smooth slope on the bank. So, off the bank into the water still clipped in. Head first! Did I mention it was cold as Heeellll? Well it was.

After I separated myself from my bike and stood up I tried to catch my breath. I was standing waist deep and there was a bank about even with the top of my head above me. No way to climb out. Fortunately Phillip Burgess came to help me get my bike out. He pulled it back up to the trail. I looked around and decided I need to move about 30' down the bank to find a shallow enough spot to climb out. It was cold as Heeellll!

I rode out but never did warm up. Slogging (and sloshing) up the HOT and E Ridge didn't even warm me up. My team, the Butt Crackers, had some curried chicken stew that along with dry clothes and a fire warmed me up.

This is before.
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This is after 3 or 4 hours of cooking.
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Team Butt Crackers.
Me, Fran, Jaques and Matt.
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A few of my favorite pictures from HOT.

Jimi, checking out the New Belgium cruiser bike we raffled off. Looks like she's having more fun than is legally possible.
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The band was awsome. I'm sure I heard their name but...somebody will have to help me out.
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Jon's truck Sunday morning.
"Now that's what a great bike weekend looks like!"
Jon Magnuson October 26, 2008
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Jaques and Fran warming up.
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Me in my Butt Cracker team kit.
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The guys from Tri Cities always seem to be in the spirit of the HOT.
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more here.
http://s164.photobucket.com/albums/u34/clipper_pics/HOT%202008/

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October Rides and Stuff

Thursday night we have been doing a road ride from the Fountain City Peddler bike shop. Last Thursday we decided to do a little different ride. We rode out from the shop and on to Market Square.

Luke and James at Preservation Pub.
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The group, Jen, Jaques, James, Luke and me.
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Saturday John Baker and I "worked" as course marshalls at the inaugrial Windrock XC race. Everyone seemed to have a good time except for a couple of missed turns.
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Getting ready to start.
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JB hard at work.
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We hauled water and beer to the top of the ridge. Nobody took any water.
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The views from the top of the ridge were fantastic.
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On Sunday I built some ladder bridges to see if we could make something that would work at Hastie.
I had a lot of help from Lulu the wonder dog.
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The bridge is 15 or 16 feet long and gradually tapers to a 4X4 I placed at the end. After a couple of runs it was easily rideable.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Black Bear Aftermath

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The 2008 Black Bear Rampage was this past Sunday and was bigger and better than last year's version. At last count there were 275 racers (unless they let some last minutes in). It was the biggest clydesdale class I raced in all year. 20 starters thundered off the line.

I got caught talking at the line and let some of the big guys get up the road. I had an idea who might be fast and it turned out correct when the big guy in orange took off. He was passing people like they were sitting still going up the road section. I tried my best to not drop back but was a little worried about starting too fast and dying at the end.

I hit the Brush Creek section and we started rolling like a train. I was into the sport class that started 2 minutes in front of me and all I could do was pick them off one by one. I found one local guy and rode his wheel as we rolled by several racers. Brush Creek is a blast, especially in a race. You can run as fast as you want with no hills and banked corners.

We hit Boyd's Gap and the downhill with the culvert of doom then onto Old Copper Road. On Old Copper we settled into a nice pace and we were still passing folks but not as many. Some guy came up behind me and ask so I pulled to the right to let him pass. I hit some rough stuff and my chain jumped as I was peddleing thru and the quick link came loose...Shit!

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Open the seat bag, find the replacement (damn, I need to start carring my reading glasses on the trail). Turn the bike upside down and fix it. My racing buddy Stanley Wills was broken down at about the same spot and he helped me get it together. Poor Stanley lost a pivot bolt from his swingarm and was out of the race. I don't know how many people passed me but it was quite a few. Get back on and start cranking.

I whizzed by the first rest stop with plenty of fluids. Up Bear Paw on the climb I could hear a grinding noise. I thought it was coming from my chain guide (I'm running 1X9). When I got the Chestnut Loop it was driving me crazy. I turned the bike upside down to discover I had mis-threaded the chain thru the derailier. Break it down again, rethread and fix then go like hell.

The rest of the race went by without incident. I passed people all day long and felt pretty good. I could feel my legs on the verge of cramping and I was able to get a gear and an effort level that let me hammer to the finish. I eventually worked my way back up to 5th place. My time 3:49:30 was about 40 minutes faster than last year. I'm pleased with my effort and the improvement but I can't help thinking what if... I finished about 12 minutes out of 3rd and 22 minutes behind the leader. I really can't complain much. Out of all the races I rode this year, that is really the first mechanical I've had all year. Like Stanley said "I you do enough races you have to expect a mechanical every once in a while."

Knoxville was well represented. Dave Holmes finished 2nd SS. SMAP was 4th SS. Racheal was the only woman on a SS and finished 2nd in sport 19-35 (but I think she got the shaft when they combined the women's classes and the had more than a lot of the other classes??? Jaques Palin finished 3rd beginner 19-35 in his first race with that kind of distance (and only a couple of rides that long!). Jeremy Chandler was 4th expert 19-35 and 8th overall. Mary Mayhew was 3rd expert woman. Caleb Ryan 9th expert 19-35. John Ryan and Johnathan Moorehead 11th and 13th SS. Men's sport 19-35 Mark Morgan 4th, Andy Bailey 9th, Jeremy Zetans 10th and Derek Jamison 16th. Other clydes included Beau Bradley at 10th and everybodies favorite shirtless rider Kevin Trent at 11th. Lee Walter was 2nd burley bear and in the sport 50+ Vick Dyer, Ed McCauley and David Jordon were 4th, 5th and 6th. If I left anyone out, I'm sorry.

This is the cool stem cap that was in the goody bag.
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Good race, well organized with a great trail. This is a good race for XC folks to try longer distances.

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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.