Monday, August 25, 2014

Winter Park Race #6 Report

   Last Saturday was the sixth and last race in the Epic Single Track series at Winter Park. This marks the end of my first series and season racing in the expert class. Good riddance! Driving up, the weather was not looking too promising:

Cloudy and about 50 degrees

   Driving over Berthoud Pass was a little unsettling. It was very cold and cloudy and I didn't bring my handlebar mounted fog horn. I parked at Winter Park, but the start was way down in Fraiser, about 8 miles away. 

At the parking lot

   The question was - what to wear to the start not knowing if it was going to clear up or I'd need a snorkel. I wore my knees and arms and an extra jersey to the start and then carried them in my pack for the race, which worked out fine. 
   Here is a map and profile of the race: 

Warmup in pink, race in red

    I rode to the start with a Pro named Jesse who took 3rd in that class, that was cool. He was super friendly and not exerting himself at all in my 'warm up'.The starting line was a pretty calm affair, with people showing up no earlier than necessary to their start times.


   The race itself was pretty fun. It started on a pretty long hill that put me back on my class a bit. I made up some ground in the middle and actually caught a guy about halfway through the race. After that it was just staying consistent and staying out of the 35-39 and 40-44 age group's way. 


Results!

   I ended up with q 11 of 12. It's amazing how your outlook can change with one little position. I was kind of negative until I passed this guy, then everything changed. Suddenly things weren't so bad, maybe I belonged in this class after all, and the next gut was probably around the next corner.

   So here is how the series shook out: 

Series standings

   I am pretty happy with a  5th overall, but would sure like to not have finished in last so many times! It was fun to finally race with this class and see the talent. Now, who is ready for some CX racing?!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Awesomeness: License Plate Edition

   Look, we all love to cycle, but how is a heart a valid character for a license plate?

I♥2CYCL

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Taking Good Biking Photos

   Nothing commemorates a good bike race like a solid picture to remember it by. The CU Short track series was a great chance to take some pics of people racing. You can use these tips to be sure your friends will never ask you to immortalize their two wheeled failures again.

    1. Focus on the rider you know:

ENHANCE

ENHANCE

Bill's Arm

   2. Adjust the focus before shooting:

Someone (?) cornering

   3. Center the rider

Matt jumping

   4. Wait for the exciting moments

Riveting!

Breathtaking!

      5. Get context shots:

???

!!!

   6. Keep lens flare down by shading the lens with your hand


   Now you're ready to shoot like a pro!



Monday, August 11, 2014

Winter park Race 5 Report - Oh, The Humility

   As I write this I'm ironically drinking out of my 'Best in Class' Winter Park pint glass I got a few years ago for finishing in the top 3 of my class.

What happened?

   Today was a stark reminder that Experts are faster than Sport riders. Results aside (preferably very far aside), the race Saturday felt good! It was more short climbs and fewer long drawn out climbs. That was nice, and I felt pretty great throughout. That didn't make up for much time though.


   I flatted about mile 10, which didn't help my time. The real hassle of that was it put me back with some slower riders and picking through them slowed things down. No flat would have put me just one place ahead I think.

Race plus ride back to car

   The race ended in Fraiser, and the 9ish mile ride back to my car was painful and slow. Here is the data from the Garmin: 23 miles and 2:17 for the race only with about 3400' of climbing.

Results.

   I think this is my second favorite race (after the Super Loop), there weren't any really drawn out climbs and the downhills were fast and fun. There was also some flat stuff, which is uncommon for a race at a ski resort. These flat sections were twisty and technical and I liked them; great chance to catch the obvious road riders. 

   Last race coming up un two weeks, and the first season in the expert class will be under my belt!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Vintage WTF

   Mountain bikes have come a long way in the last 20 years, and the Manitou System FS is no exception. Here's a bike with not one but two interesting features. First, check out this early dropper style post:

Standard position

Back position

Forward position

   What were these positions for? Climbing, I guess. The second wild feature on the System FS is the rear suspension:

Rear shot

   This was a very similar system to a fork, just mounted where the seat stays should be.  Light? probably not, but still cutting edge in 1992. Here's a shot of the bike all decked out in anodized blue parts:

Still looking great after 25 years

Monday, August 4, 2014

Race Across America

The Race Across America is an ultramarathon bicycle race, predictably across the United States. This race changes course slightly every year, but the general course starts in Southern California and end on the East coast. This race has been happening every year since 1982.
Nice use of Google Earth

   The RAAM claims to be the longest annual endurance event in the world. There are a few more considerations than a regular road race, superhuman endurance notwithstanding. For starters, there's
this amazing 54 page PDF of directions. Here's an example.

Sample PDF page

    In a race that is so long, time is still very important and these riders don't have time to pull out a 54 page map, or even a device with a digital file. Often they rely on spectators t corners or a support crew of friends and family helping them along. That's not to say there aren't days and days of long flat roads to ponder your life choices.
   This years winners were Janice Sheufelt and Christoph Strasser. Check out these numbers:

Christoph Strasser at the finish line in 2014

 Winners results? Here you go:

Womens:
Janice Sheufelt
miles: 3020.00  
Time: 11 d 18 h 2 m  
Avg MPH: 10.71

Mens:
Christoph Strasser (Austrian)
miles: 3020.00  
Time: 7 d 15 h 56 m  
Avg MPH: 16.42

   For Christoph, that's about 400 miles a day. For some reason he's smiling in this picture:

2014 winner Strasser

   This was his third time taking the victory in the RAAM 2011, 2013, 2014. I'm all about trying new types of races, but I think I'll leave this to Austrians. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pro tips: Cleaning Your Bike

   Keeping your drive train clean is the key to good performance and long component life. It is also a time consuming pain in the ass. The easiest way to do this is to blast the crap out of your bike with a power washer. This is ill advised.


Bad!

   High pressure can force the water and dirt into places that it may not belong. In the frame, in the bearings, all places that should stay dry. When I'm washing my bike, I like to use a garden hose and kitchen brush. These brushes work great, are pretty cheap, especially if you get them at IKEA like me.

50 cents each

    They're good for a many uses on the frame, or a few on the greasy drivetrain. The brissles won't scratch up your paint and are great at loosening dirt and gunk. Once they're black, they are not really removing gunk as much as moving it around, so just toss them in the trash.

The life of a brush

   So go get yourselves some cheap brushes and give your bike the cleaning it deserves!