Hitting the Wall

Me and Longshanks made the long drive to Ellijay over the weekend for the 7th installment of the Georgia State MTB Championship Series. The Event was held at “Falling Waters” which is a planned gated community on 2,000 acres. The place was beautiful with a lodge, giant lake and great views of the mountains in the distance. We pull in around 2:00 on Saturday for our pre-ride. The temperature was a cool 77 degrees (are you kidding me, it’s July).

We gear up and hit the course. The start takes you 1.5 miles up a paved road. Two minutes into the ride, I’m in my small chainring and small cog and my heart rate is at 90% max. This road was steep and painful. This is a pre-ride and I’m working too hard. Fifteen minutes later we made it to the top of the climb and finally hit some doubletrack. You get a chance to recover a little before hitting some little false flats. About the time you have recovered from the road climb they give you a nice little doublletrack climb. LS powers up but again I am in small/small and just about hitting max heart rate. I make it to the top, stop, and try to get my breath. Damn that little hill hurt. Finally, some downhill that you can flow. Then, suddenly, I see 3 arrows all pointing down (the sign of danger ahead). What came next was the scariest downhill I have ever ridden. This thing had washouts, ruts a few rocks and headed straight down. You dared not let go of the breaks. The few times I did let go I could not believe how fast the speed built up. LS was just ahead of me and about half way down this 2 mile or so decent when he hit the ground. I swerve as not to run over his skull. We stop and wonder what the weird smell is. We soon realize that our brakes are smoking. We get back on the bikes and finish the decent. The rest of the ride is easy. Some hiking trails and then pop out into a field that has some small climbs. 5.5 miles and 44 minutes later and were done with the pre-ride.

I knew Sunday would be tough. I am no climber and am at least 10 pounds heavier than I should be. My legs felt heavy from the previous days efforts and I’m dreading doing the road climb (twice). LS has the early race and takes off. He comes through both laps in 3rd place. The first two guys (sandbaggers) have left the rest of the field behind. LS finishes in third but he is a little disappointed in his race.

I have the second wave so I’m off around 11:40. Eleven guys in my class and we are headed up the road climb. I feel like everyone in my class has passed me going up. I catch and pass most before the singletrack. I believe I was in the woods in 4th place. Unfortunately I have a mechanical and have to get off the bike to fix it when two guys pass me. I jump back on and catch those two. I get to the doubletrack climb and end up walking half of it. Bomb the downhill and get ready for the next lap. At the start of number 2 I knew I was in 3rd place. NB checked out early but I had my eye on the 2nd place guy. He stayed in my sight all of the lap but I could never get right up on him to get a chance to sprint it out at the end. I finish 3rd about 30 second behind 2nd place guy.

Considering how I felt going up the climbs, I guess I should feel good about the 3rd place finish, but truly I do not feel that I am riding very good lately. Most of my issues appear to be more mental than physical. One more race to go in the series which is Helen in 3 weeks. I’m holding onto 2nd place overall with the 3rd place guy on my heels only 2 points behind. I’ll need to pay close attention to him in Helen.

So what did the two older guys learn while traveling alone to a MTB race? Pinot Noir goes best with cheese and crackers when served at room temperature.

GSC Race report

Well, I finally got ON the podium in expert. Not in the grass next to it, but ON it. 2nd place behind A.J., I’ll take that. Some haters may argue that there was a low turnout, but I still beat out alot of fast guys in my class, and others as well. When I compare my past finishes and times to this past race, it is clear that I have made improvements over the rest of the feild. Not sure what it was; I mean I am really confused by it. It can only be one of two things: Mona Vie, or I am well rested. Maybe it is a combo of all the hard work I put in earlier in the season, with alot of rest lately. (by rest, I mean 3 hard 1.25 hour rides a week, with an occasional group ride thrown in and 3-5 gym visits per week) I have had no time to ride on most recent weekends. Hmmm, maybe everyone is just getting slower. Whatever, I gots my medal and I made all the boys stand around and wait for me to collect my paycheck baby!

So the trip itself was cool. That area of GA has this crazy lake that looks like a morph of a lake and a river. Lake Oconee I think. There seemed to be more boats in the water than people. It was insane. All the while during our pre-ride, we kept hearing the laughs and screams from nearby boats. The smell and sound of the outboards finally broke us down and we all decided to sell our bikes and get some boats. Yes, SOME. The plan is for BW to get a ski boat, bikediet gets the pontoon boat and BJS gets a cabin boat. The Mack already has a center console boat. We are going to do our best to not be complete losers anymore. So, if this all pans out I will need a new handle for blogging and bikechain.com won’t really make sense in the boat world. boatnutrition just doesn’t sound right. But, bikechain.com could turn into boatmotor.com – its got legs…
As far as the rest of the racing crew: BW got first place in Clydes and will most likely be the GSC series champion. He mainly just has to show up at the last race and collect his riches. BJS was a little less than pleased with his performance (still in the wood) and may be looking at 2nd overall in the GSC series. I think everyone needs to quit picking on BJS cause his mental game is lowing him down. So the next time you feel like cracking a joke, just praise him instead – will work wonders. The Mack raced to a thrid place finish, HOWEVER, due to a butterfly distraction 100 yards from the finish line, two guys got around him and pushed him back to fifth. Still, a very good finish considering his sickness for the previous week.
All in all, another good trip with the boys. Good food, good times.

Somewhere over the rainbow

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the now infamous “lips on my belly” comment. Here’s how the story goes…. So we are at cuz’s little sister’s b-day party. This is the fist time London and myself had been on a date in awhile. It was also the first time we honestly realized we were getting to be a part of the older crowd. London and I got there first which in recent years in itself has become an anomaly. We go to the bar and I start working on my favorite drink. London looks great because we’ve dressed in our best, hippest, going out clothes. We’re feeling right. Then the pretty people show up. An assortment of Abecrombie and Fitch models, all pre-med, show up like they’ve just spilled out of a limo and walked the red carpet. We fight through the imaginary paparazzi to our hibachi table. London and I sit on the edge. All is going well and I’m behaving for the most part. Introductions, kikoman flipping an egg in his hat, a few drinks and everybody is feeling right. By the time dude is making an onion volcano, everybody is loose and we are starting to fit in, sort of. Then the conversation shifts to everybody going out. I think the birthday girl wants to dance. I puff my chest out proclaiming I can dance. Birthday girl laughs. Inner-redneck man appears and does his best E.F. Hutton. The table talk and laughter came to a screeching halt as I say “shit I can dance, I can do all the dances. I’ll jump up on this table and dance. I’ll do it with lips on my belly.” They all looked perplexed. Mark looked at me like he was mortified, like he was actually embarrassed. Like he was saying WTF and meant it. I wanted to explain but thought better of it as London whispered something about being embarrassed. A few seconds later, that felt like forever, Mark finally broke the deafening silence by erupting with laughter. Not because what I said was funny, but because all of their friends found out I was freak in less than a dinner.