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My race weekend report...MTB
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My race weekend report...MTB - June 8, 2009, 12:22 PM

Hopefully I'll get some pics soon. Amazingly, there's no vulgarity in this report, since it went out to alot of people. Nothing get's a point across like the word "fuck." Alas, hope this will do.


(Warning: I talk alot, and type even more)

With a name like Hoo Ha! and weekend free from the office, this was a race weekend I simply couldn't pass up.

A little backround for the folks out there who may have just tuned in: I just started riding back in January in an effort to get into some shape other than "round." A month later I for some unknown reason decided to race the Snotcycle event in Leesburg, VA. I was hooked. And now, here we are!

Over the past few months I've been forced to watch race registrations come and go. Sitting on my couch the night before, laptop at the ready, staring at the site and saying, "If I didn't have to work, I'd race this class...". Recently I've noticed that many of the beginner races are, in my mind, incredibly short. Mind you, I'm completely a beginner, at best, but the thought of driving 4 hours to race 7 miles simply doesn't seem logical. And then, I found it. Albiet a bit embarrasing, I have found my home. Clydesdales! Never did I expect to find such happiness in being heavy, or husky as I prefer to be called.

Typically the Clydes run the same course as the Sport and Singlespeed guys (and gals, sorry). In my mind, a perfect scenario. I can run the course of the next-fastest guys without actually having to race them. So, Clydes it is!

My expectations for the weekend were initially high. I feel as though the gains I've recently made would at least make me competetive with someone. Maybe a Top 5 was in the cards, I hoped. My hope faded a little when I finally got my bike back on Friday, after a month of riding something completely different, and approx 8lbs lighter. I was determined nonetheless. Picked it up from the shop for a quick shakedown at Rocky Gap to make sure things were in order. They weren't. Dropped it back off.

Saturday morning my wife and I loaded up the Jeep, picked the bike up from the shop, again, and headed down the road. The announcement of free camping Saturday night just sweetened the deal. 3 hours later we arrived, and 15 minutes later had our campsite setup. (Amazingly fast)

This was the 21st running of the Hoo Ha, which is pretty impressive. Not only was this a WVMBA Ultra race, but the weekend also contained the GT Golden Cup, and US Cup. On Saturday there was a Super D race as well. I was excited to see what the culture was like at an event of this magnitude, but first I needed to get in a preride. This is where things got interesting.

I rode up to what looked like a registration tent, only to have the young lady look at me like I was crazy. Still don't know why. There seemed to be quite a bit of confusion, all-around, about almost everything. At the SVBC tent I did find some help. Some. They had trailmaps printed up, but nobody there could really tell me about it. Where were we, which way did it go, which course am I supposed to ride? Nobody knew, so I decided to head out. But first I asked, "Am I going to interfere with the Super D race?" To which I received a strange look and then an "ohh....yeah."

The guys tried to show me where the Super D course mixed with the XC course, but they weren't overly sure. I was actually told, "If someone comes up behind you really fast, move." Hey great, thanks! Still didn't know exactly where I was going, but figured following the arrows couldn't lead me too far off course. I was right, and the course was actually very well marked.

The following are a few words to describe what I encountered on the course: Ouch. Creek. Mud. Ouch. Longest. Climb. Ever. Ouch. Mud. Rocks. Rocks. Climb. Rocks. Down. Down. Down. Steep. Up. Up. Creek. Creek. Mud. Rocks. Ouch.

Stripped down, cleaned up myself and the bike, and pondered what I had gotten myself into. Most discouraging was the fact that I couldn't even granny spin the entire course. I had to walk on the pre-ride, alot. Not what I expected. Oh well, this is mountain biking, not Chinese Checkers, right?

Sunday morning was even more beautiful than the day before. Chilly morning quickly turned into a fairly hot 11:00AM grid. After being corraled into numerous starting locations by the race director, I met up with all the other Clydes and we then took turns making fun of ourselves. You know, fat person jokes. It's ok to make fat person joke when you're fat. Nice guys all around, really nice. Most hadn't ridden the course, so I did my best to fill them in. I had actually seen Tim from Gripped Racing/Dogfishead at Snotcycle, and had a few laughs about that event.

Start time! In waves, everybody went. We were in the back of the Sport class, behind the women. The women went and we went. Then, we didn't. "Clydes?" "Yes!" "Stop!" Wait, what? So we slow from a sprint to figure out what's going on, only to have the announcer guy berate us over the PA, "GO CLYDES GO! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING ON!" So, we're going again!

The initial part of the course I hadn't ridden on Saturday. During warmup I rode a little bit of it, but not enough to know what really lay ahead. It was a gravel road with a slight incline...and then more, and then more. It just kept going. Easy to get yourself in trouble here. Trying to work our way around the ladies in front of us used up quite a bit of energy. I tried to stay on Tim's wheel until we hit the singletrack, but he got a few people between us. Hitting the singletrack, things started sucking. Fast swoopy singletrack is kind of my thing. I love it, and tend to go pretty well. Unfortunately not everybody does. When those that don't are right in front of you, small problems quickly compound. A mix of "i'm passing NOW" and "on your left!" was interrupted by "ah crap!" and "move!". Had to make some pretty hairy passes, but I felt it was too early to let Tim get away. Too late though, he was gone, and I was already gasping for air. Excellent start!

Now we were on the stuff I had already ridden. My goal was to just save as much as I could for the next 45 minutes or so, allowing plenty for the second half of the race. I knew that no matter how hard I pushed, going fast just wasn't going to be an option. The next 30 minutes turned out to be exponentially more difficult than on Saturday. All the racers that had already passed through really took a toll, and the mud was nasty. I got off-line a few times and couldn't get going again, allowing numerous riders to pass. During this time 4 of my Clydes went by too. So I was dying in 6th.

About halfway through the climb I managed to find a rhythm. Not a good, strong rhythm, but a ride-walk-ride-walk rhythm. The group I latched onto pulled ahead when I stopped to drink some water. I really don't know how anybody drank without stopping, there was no break. Caught back up, and then my course knowledge allowed me to ride out the last couple hundred yards to the summit and I pulled away.

At this point I got pretty confident. I felt like crap, but had the next few miles of downhill to recover, a bit. Nasty, rocky ridge was the first part. Didn't ride it as well as yesterday, but I was more tired this time. Then...the most awesome downhill I can imagine. Berms and more berms and then more berms. Mixed with plenty of rocks and rollers. Sheer bliss. On this downhill section I managed to pass about 10 riders, including one of the clydes.

I knew there was one really hard effort left, and tried to plan accordingly. Got off and walked when I thought it was right around the corner. Except...it wasn't right around the corner. Frustrated, I got to the climb a couple minutes later. At this point, I'm spent. I had gotten a gel in the swag bag, and decided it was time for some chocolate goo assistance. Yummy, tastes like chocolate pudding! 30 seconds later, I vomited all over myself. Awesome, I know. As I'm puking my guts out, one of XXC guys laps me...in a flat-out sprint! How is that possible?? Truly impressive. Mind blowing, really.

At the bottom of that climb I encountered a rider that had fallen and hit his head a few minutes before. He looked at me with that glazed-over stare and I knew something was wrong. He said he was fine but had a migrane, and I offered to help, which he declined. Walking up the climb, he comes spinning past me and I told him I'd give him 10 bucks if he rode it all the way out. He got almost to the top and fell over, and just layed there. Bummer, but he was sorta ok.

The last few miles were pretty uneventful. I put in a hard effort and attacked a group of 6 in front of me, trying my best to stay on the wheel of the one and only Jeremiah Bishop (big time pro). That attempt lasted about 30 seconds, but it did put me in touch with the 6 guys, and I was able to carry it through to pass 5 of them. Through the last creek crossing I ran into the back of the 6th guy, which really pissed me off. (I was spent, sorry.) Followed him for a couple minutes and realized we were almost done. At the top of a short steep climb, someone yelled "90 seconds left!" The fight was on! I almost sprinted past him, but thought it smart to sit on his wheel for the next hundred yards and pinch him off into the last singletrack. This worked for about 75 yards, until I got so dizzy I almost fell over.

Alas, he was gone. I came ripping down the last hill into the finish, and he had me by about 5 seconds.

I was absolutely delighted to see not only my beautiful wife at the finish, but also my dad. He came all the way down from Hagerstown to see me finish. Very nice. And he bought me a full Kenda team kit, even nicer!

In the end, I came across 5th in class, which I'm only sort of pleased with. I believe there were 13 guys that started, and only 8 that finished. However, I am very happy that I didn't leave anything out there. I had absolutely nothing left, unlike the first race I did.

Tim finished first, and the other friend I made finished second. Tim's a complete stud, and the other guy lives just down the street and rides there everyday. Didn't mind losing to those two! The other two...well...I'll get them next time.

Big thanks to the Western Md Wheelmen and all of their sponsors for helping to make this kind of activity possible. Without the help of Thomas Automotive, Kenney Signs, Life Fitness Management, Cycles and Things, Yoder/Hershberger, and Dr. Williams, this weekend may not have been possible for me. Your support is truly appreciated.

If you've read this far...you're crazy!

Until next time,
Lee


Right up the 1 hole.
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June 8, 2009, 12:45 PM

Congratulations on the first race! You did great.

A good friend of mine said to me before my first race, "You've already beaten everyone without the balls to sign up." Made me feel a little more confident and certainly helped to think about on the course. Keep it up and you won't be racing with the Clydes much longer.
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June 8, 2009, 12:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody View Post
If you've read this far...you're crazy!

Until next time,
Lee
I guess I'm crazy! Nice write up man...I may have to give this a shot. How does one get started? (plus I'm round )


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June 8, 2009, 12:57 PM

2nd race


BC - Um...I don't know, really. Ride alot? MTBR is a great forum for info.

I really don't know enough to say, I'm brand new myself.


Right up the 1 hole.
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June 8, 2009, 01:01 PM

Wonder if my brother was there. He races Mtn bikes as a hobby. He is a nutcase. Prefers pedaling to my wrist twisting.
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June 8, 2009, 01:09 PM

Good stuff Woody!


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June 8, 2009, 02:13 PM

Word. I'm ready for the next one!


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June 8, 2009, 08:27 PM

Awesome. No way in hell could I do that.
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June 8, 2009, 09:56 PM

man respect the noobs hahah i read that whole thing thinkin it was motorcycles and shiz, had the screw face on cuz it wasn't makin sense now I know why

good stuff nonetheless...agreed with badguygs...couldn't mess with that. Riding up to the wrong tent hahah awesome.
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June 9, 2009, 05:52 AM

Congrats woody...homo...


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June 9, 2009, 06:31 AM

Ha, nice write up dude! I really need to get a new MTB and get out there again....I miss it. Congrats on a good race!




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June 9, 2009, 09:16 AM

Here's a little highlight video from the awesome dudes at cyclingdirt.com

I'm not in it, obviously. It's the professionales. Complete and total machines, man.

Enjoy.

http://www.cyclingdirt.org/videos/co...ace-highlights

EDIT: The stuff Bishop is riding at like 1:57 was rediculous. They made it look soooooooooo easy.


Right up the 1 hole.

Last edited by Cloaca; June 9, 2009 at 09:32 AM..
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June 9, 2009, 09:58 AM

my GOD i'm ugly.

http://www.itmexposures.com/gallery/...8_HcAev#P-1-16

Pics 96, 97, 99, 348, 438


Yuck.

http://iplayoutside.smugmug.com/gall...57920096_UFEWv

411


Right up the 1 hole.

Last edited by Cloaca; June 9, 2009 at 10:09 AM..
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June 11, 2009, 05:50 AM

That's awesome, congratulations on going through with it! I ride several days a week but mostly on the street and wish like hell i could bring myself to enter a dirt race. However I know not only would my body not hold up but neither would my old ass bike! The story and pics are very encouraging!
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June 11, 2009, 07:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawsoncu View Post
That's awesome, congratulations on going through with it! I ride several days a week but mostly on the street and wish like hell i could bring myself to enter a dirt race. However I know not only would my body not hold up but neither would my old ass bike! The story and pics are very encouraging!
I ran a mountain bike race at Ski Round Top back when I raced road bikes as a junior. I won my first race however...I couldn't close my hands for a day, broke my frame, and rear derailleur Pretty brutal!


Chris
2008 MARRC AM Racer of the Year
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