Saturday, May 26, 2007


Wow, I just checked my last blog and it was like three weeks old. Sorry dudes. The last two weeks have been sooo busy, trying to get everything finished before finals, taking finals, trying to fit in training, hanging out with my friends, and making sure we don't run out of peanut butter.

I guess I'll start with the 12 Hours of Tsali. I had never done a 12 hr race before so I didn't really know what to expect. Simple enough, I was on a team of four and one person would go out and do a lap, come back and the next person in rotation would do a lap, etc. It wasn't too hard because you could go as hard as you could because you had almost 3 hours to recover. Each lap would be FSA but Andy reminded us to be safe and not take any risks. It would be more important to finish each lap than save 2 or 3 seconds on a downhill.

My job was to run the LeMans start and get us a good gap on the first lap. I was about the 5th or 6th person on the bikes and in the first lead group. It was kind of funny because Andy is like: "There is no reason you shouldn't have a five minuet gap on the first lap." Whatever Andy, the start of the course goes up a fairly long (7 minuet) climb up the county line road and I wanted to get the front of the race whittled down as much as possible so I could open a time gap. The entire climb I was constantly attacking, trying get the bunch down to just me. By the top it was down to three riders: Me, Wess Dickson, and Victor Alber. I didn't know it was Victor until the end of the lap-more on that later. So we stayed together pretty much the whole lap. Wess dropped off on one of the last climbs so it was just Victor and me.

Pause for a sec. I used to race Victor when I was a junior x after I moved up to Senior Expert he disappeared, he did some races down in FL (where he's from) but that's about it. When he was a junior x he was freaking flying, he would win pretty much every race.

So I'm trying not to be conceited but when we hit the last climb and this dude was still with me I was a little pissed. It would have been different if it was like: Ryan Woodall or Robert Marion or somebody I knew who was fast. But I had never seen this guy before to make it even worse he DROPPED ME on the decent. Now this was sacrilege, I might not be the fastest descender around but I can usually hold my own. And this dude dropped me. I was really pissed now so I chased for about two miles or so and caught back on. Just before the last climb. I went to the front and attacked him as soon as I got there but the hill was a little longer than I remembered so I kind of blew at the top allowing Victor to grab my wheel. The last three miles was the fastest I've ever done Tsali, every incline I was on the gas and I don't think was even gaping him. We came into start/finish sooo fast I almost ran into Andy, handed off my baton and headed back to the truck.

Andy opened another two minuets on his guy and Ethan and Seth opened about a minuet a piece. So by the time I came around again it was up to about 4 minuets. We kept on going from there. It was still really close because if we had a wreck or a flat, the other teams would be back in the mix. Luckily we had no flats or mechanical or crashes and other than Ethan cramping on his third lap we had no problems.

I posted an album on facebook and you can check it out here:

This last week of high school went by sooo fast, I still don't remember what I did like Tuesday or Wednesday. It feels really strange because I'm really tired of school but I'm probably never going to see half these people again. Oh well, I guess I'll find some more people to hang out with in college but that seems forever away.

Tomorrow is the SERC in Jackson, GA. Things look pretty good because I'll probably stay here instead of going to Utah because wonderful USA Cycling changed the selection process. Now the automatic nominations go to the winner of nats and the winner of the NMBS at Sugar, at week later. So I don't have to spend money to go to Salt Lake City. And I can stay here, do the SERC at Fontana and pretty much grauntee winning the SERC series. Therefore I'll be around this summer training and racing instead of being on the road everyweek.

Ketchup, the mellowing agent.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday night in TN

Well, the ranger run was very anticlimactic. I was all ready to go at friggin 5 in the morning to the race and my friggin power goes off the night before the race. Woke up at 6:30 and by the time I got packed it was too late to get there.

Oh well, I had a nice, calm, relaxed breakfast and made a ton of coffee. I'm still running on that coffee actually. Drove up to the race, hung out with some folks and continued on my way to TN for the sista's commencement.

Got up here at about 2 o'clock-just in time for lunch with the family at a pizza place. After that I cursed around with Tash before going to Luke's party. He drove down to Chatta to get two kegs of beer. One was oatmeal porter and the other I don't know, but it was really good.

Now I'm sitting in Tasha's dorm room trying to get caught up on all the stuff I need to do. And I'm sleepy, I hope she dosen't mind my sweaty legs on her bed.


Monday, May 7, 2007

SERC Ducktown

So, I'm sitting at the house waiting to drive into town at take my AP Government Exam and I'm totally stoked about sitting in a cold, small room, with uncomfortable seats for about 4 hours. Sweet.

Let's move on to something a little more exciting, racing. I drove up to Ducktown, TN to hit the next round of the SERC series. On the drive up (Saturday) it rained the whole way, but I wasn't too worried because: one, I do pretty good in the wet and two, it's alwayysss raining here. Tasha was still going to be a while (coming from Sewanee) so I got registered and caught up with some people I hadn't seen in a while. I didn't really want to get muddy again so I rode for about 45 minuets on the road. I met Tash and Luke coming the other way. When I got back Luke and Tash went for a pre-ride and I hung out at the car.

After they came back I cleaned the bikes and packed everything while they got changed. We had to get some more food items so we drove into Ducktown to pick up some stuff. On the way to the camp site we had to drive like 6 miles on dirt roads. Rally time!

The next morning surprisingly I was the first one up, Tash and Luke were still on central time and Luke had finished his finals the day before. So I spent my time shaving, cleaning the bikes, and washing dishes. Totally.

The white wave went off at 9:30 and added on to that the sun came out so by the time we hit the trail at 11:30 it was almost completely dry. Warmed up and I felt pretty good. It was about 80 degrees but it didn't really feel hot. I was kinda disappointed because there were only 6 pro men racing. Most of the big names were in Cali for the next national race and the rest were in SC for a local race. Oh well. I had a really bad start actually, slipped a pedal and fell forward on my stem. But I got up quickly and made it back up to the front. I wanted to start really hard because I figured I could blow the race apart on the first climb and only one or two people would stay with me.

Well, I was first into the woods but I went really hard trying to get up the front so I was hurting on the climb. About half way up the first climb it switches from single track to gravel roads. I had finally recovered somewhat by then and ramped up the pace again. At first Drew was the only guy to stay me with me (which was actually kinda funny because he's from Florida and has no idea how to climb) but I think he popped on the gravel section. Felt good after that and just settled into my rhythm. On the second lap I started running into problems. Sometime on the first lap I burped air out of my rear tire. Think of a car tire, it has no tube in it but if the pressure gets down low enough it can roll off the rim and release some air. That's what happened. All I have had do to fix it was pop in a CO2 and pump it up. But I lost my cartridge sometime before. So I thought I was screwed. I soft pedaled for about 20 minuets and nobody caught me so I was like: "Well, if they're not going to catch me going this slow I might pull it off."

Everything was peachy keen until this dude grabbed my back wheel on the last decent. But he made a mistake by never attacking me, he made me pull along this really long section by the river but never attacked. Me, on the other hand was going my own pace waiting for him to pass me so that I could draft him. I lead through the feed zone the last time and he popped. I could go hard on the climbs but I had to take the downhills easy to prevent my tire from rolling off. I nursed the wheel around for that lap and took my first Pro win.

I'll try to write more this week but later for now,

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tuesday Night Ravings

Do you ever go to the grocery store and like the next day you come home and there's like not a freaking thing in the fridge?

Yeah, I'm having one of those nights. Mom and Tasha went down to Harry's this weekend to do some shopping and I don't think they came back with anything. I was looking for something to go with my spaghetti but we didn't have any accessories. So, I made my self some toast and I was going to have a nice PB&J but NOOO somebody didn't get some peanut butter.

Well I have to give them some credit, they did get some PB and some Jelly but nobody had the notion to mix up the PB!! Duh! How do you have a PB&J with out PB! WTF!!?!?

Luckily this hasn't been a base training week. Base training is a bunch of long, long miles (have you ever heard of a short mile? Whateva) usually on super cold days with gusts of 30 mph cross winds. It's designed to build a "base" to your training (think of building a house, what's the first thing you build?). THOES days it gets really weird, you develop cravings of some of the most random stuff: PB, Lay's chips, milk, and raspberries are just some of the stuff I crave during my rides.

I guess I should take this time to explain how the whole NRC thing works. In order for me to get on the national mountain bike team for the world championships I have to do one (or both) of two things. One, I can win the national champs in Vermont in July. Or two, I can be leading the National Racing Calendar (NRC) by July 30th. The NRC is a collection of races all over the country, they are all given a category ranking. So a local SERC race is a Cat 4 and a big NMBS race like the one in AZ is a Cat 1 or 2. You get more points for wining a Cat 1 than you do wining a Cat 4. The idea is to hit some of these bigger races to boost my national ranking. The race in Maryland was a Cat 2. I won that race so I got some good points toward the national team. The key to wining the NRC is to do really well at the next three Cat 1s: the NMBS in Park City UT, the national champs in VT and the NMBS at Sugar Mountain in NC.

But if I win nats then I will have made the team so the NMBS at Sugar doesn't matter.
Park City is still a ways off (June, I think) so the next weekends are filled with other local races. This week end of course is Ducktown in TN, after that is the Ranger Run in my home town, if you're in area please come by and check it out. It's a good race with a lot of potential of getting bigger. Right after that race I have to drive up to Sewanee to attend my sister's graduation. The weekend after that one is the 12 Hrs of Tsali, another good race, I've never done a 12 hour race before so it should be interesting. And....that's about as far as I can remember.

Well I should probably do something useful so I hope you had a little more to eat than I did.