Archives for June 2013

Dam Loop, Dirt Remedy and Feeling Sluggish

View of Austin

View of Austin

On Father’s Day, I snuck out in the wee hours of the morning and did my first ever ‘Dam Loop’, a 42 mile loop around the Lake Austin. It’s a pretty popular route for the roadies and I had been wanting to try it out, but just hadn’t taken the time. Typically when I have 3 hours to ride, I’ll go hit some good dirt somewhere, but a neighbor talked me into a road ride this morning.

We took it pretty easy, keeping effort well below threshold. I hadn’t done a road ride like this so I wasn’t sure what to expect really. So a nice and easy ride worked out well. In the end it was an enjoyable ride and one I’d do more often if I was kept off of dirt!

Tuesday rolled around and I was able to get away to head out to City Park for the Dirt Remedy races. I raced in both the C and B races. I played it conservatively in the C race and didn’t really push myself, planning to save gas for the B race. Well, along comes the B race and after the first lap, I just didn’t have any gas left. So… I saved myself and finished poorly in the C race, but then still had no gas and stunk it up in the B race… Lesson learned, pick a race and hammer that one, or try to do two and suck in both of them!

Anyway, the DR races were fun and I was glad I got to get out and race again. This will be the last DR race I’ll be able to make so I really was looking forward to getting out and enjoying a race at City Park.

One of the cool things about DR is that it really strokes my vanity to have a photographer out snapping multiple pictures of us =) I need to pick out a few to buy to support the photographer!

In trying to keep up with getting my time in the saddle, I headed out for a 2 hour road ride on Thursday. Unfortunately time was running short, so I had to shorten the ride. I went out for a 2×20 in Zone 4 and boy was it killer! I actually stopped towards the end of my second interval for a break as I was just dying! Perhaps it is the heat or humidity, but whatever it is, it sucks!

I really hope I get my legs back soon! Only 4 more weeks until ORAMM!

Oh, and I noticed this lovely piece of fortune while swapping out my rear brake pads before Dirt Remedy on Saturday:

Another chainstay bites the dust!

Another chainstay bites the dust!

Maybe if I would stop treating my lightweight race bike like a beefy all mountain bike I’d stop having to replace the chainstay every 6 months…

WTF riding Dirt Remedy at Emma Long (City Park)

Jason (?) Winkleman on the chase cam in Dirt Remedy B race on his way to a 1st place finish.

ORAMM! East Bound and Down!

UPDATE: If you ended up here looking for my 2013 ORAMM Race Report, I’m sad to say that I had to miss the race. No report here =( Click here for some of the reports I’ve found around the web.

So due to certain circumstances, I find myself heading out to the mountains of North Carolina next month. I’ll be there for roughly two weeks.

I decided to drive out this year so that I can make a return trip with things from my mother’s house and also giving me the luxury of being able to take my bike.

Given that, I started researching trails and happened upon an event that will be taking place while I am there.

ORAMM, the Off Road Assault on Mount Mitchell, an epic 63 mile mountain bike race. The kicker is that the route boasts 11,000 ft of climbing in one day. That right there is going to be the challenge.

The Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell is a 63 mile mostly off road Bicycle route with 11,000 feet of climbing. From Old Fort you climb over the Blue Ridge Parkway two times and just below Mt. Mitchell on beautiful Forest Service roads and unbelievable North Carolina single track. There are fully stocked rest stops approximately every 10 miles and you can send anything you want to the rest areas with our staff. Mt. Mitchell peaks at 6684 ft and is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi river. The start/finish in the town of Old Fort sits at around 1400 feet. Most of the climbing is on Forest Service roads while most of the single track points downhill!

Do not underestimate the extreme difficulty and danger of this event. The course is extremely demanding and travels over rugged terrain with extreme elevation changes. The forest remains in its natural habitat. It is not uncommon to see wildlife such as a wild cat or a black bear. Be ready to cope with any circumstances!! Please note that firearms are not permitted in certain areas. Aid stations will help with safety matters, but it is the competitor’s ultimate responsibility to insure his or her own safety. A few course-related facts: the 63 mile course record was set in 2012 by Pro rider Jeremiah Bishop who finished in 4:33 hours. One rider completed the course with only one month of riding under his belt, however this rider quit riding altogether after the race! Others too have retired their biking efforts after competing in this race. This is not your typical race. Regardless of how you finish, you will have competed in the most exciting mountain bike race in the entire Southeast!!!

I kick around the idea of entering and discover the race is already sold out, but (luckily?) I happen to find an individual who is selling his entry and I quickly jump on the opportunity.

ORAMM Elevation Profile

ORAMM Elevation Profile

I know I’m going to be in for a world of hurt. The biggest ride I’ve done to date was on day 2 of my Durango To Moab trip at 50 miles and 4300 ft of climbing. I’ll be riding more miles, and more than double the amount of climbing.

Add to it that I haven’t been getting in much riding lately and I hope I’m not setting myself up for a serious beat down.

I do plan on really ramping up my saddle time over the next 4 weeks, but I’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.

I have decided upon a goal of a 7 hour finish, although that may be crazy talk on my part. That would be a 9mph average over the 63 mile course. My plan is to play it pretty conservative through the first 35 miles and the first 6k ft of climbing. After that, I’ll allow myself to open it up a little more. If I can make it to that point within about 4 hours, I think I should be able to finish in under 7 hours. If I can hit my time goal, that should put me in the top 1/3 to top 1/2 of the 40-50 category.

Wish me luck!

2013 Pace Bend Mountain Biking Race – Full Lap

2013 Bicycle Sport Shop Pace Bend Race at Pace Bend Park
Men’s Cat 3 40-49
This is the 8th race [Read more…]

Photos from Dirt Remedy

Last week I made it out for the local short track series race at City Park (Emma Long). The format is a timed short lap race, with each lap being about a mile in length. The B race is as many laps as you can begin* within 45 minutes.

The race is held at the most technically challenging trail around Austin and is the location where I achieved my one and only 1st place finish at El Deguello last November.

This is a true mountain biking course and I am very excited for the local race series. I just wish I could make more of the races. Being on Tuesday nights, it makes it impossible for me to make more than a couple of the race nights.

At any rate, I entered both the C and B races. The C race was going well for me, with my pacing along with the leader until about 2/3’s of the way through the race and I got a large gash in my tire.

Fortunately, I was able to hustle over to the guys at ATX Bikes, who were able to plug the gash and allow me to ride in the B race as well.

I didn’t really know what to expect in a ‘higher’ category of racing, so I went out a little conservative. I ended up mid pack or so and in the thick of things in the bottlenecks of the trail on the first lap.

My first lap had me at about 9:30 whereas the rest of my laps were in the 8 minute range. Next time out I’ll push a bit harder on the sprint to the trail to get a bit further up in the pack and hopefully avoid more of the traffic.

In the end I finished 11th of 20 ‘true’ B racers (there were about 10 A racers who started with the B racers). A mid pack finish in my first higher cat race, and I’ll take it =)

I really enjoyed the race and am planning on getting out for the next race next week. Unfortunately that will be the only other race of the series that I’ll be able to make.

Here’s a few pics by J. A. Hicks Photography.

Dirt Remedy at Emma Long (City Park) June 4, 2013

A little over a lap of the B race. Playing around with 2 cams