Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ride the Ridge Results

I had a few folks check in here at BRC Blog Headquarters with the same question:
"Hey, do you know where the results are from Ride the Ridge?"

I think it's the rainy day. Bike people who can't ride, for whatever reason, tend to probe the depths of the internet in search of bike stuff. And after you get done watching Jeremiah Bishop crush it on his Cannondale a few times, you tend to get ambitious for a brief moment and wonder just how you might compare if you lined up next to him, had a better bike, trained a little more, etc.

So yeah, about the results. While no, I don't actually know where they are, I do know that they exist. Standings on the VORS page are alive and current. So it's likely that someone at BRS compiled them, attached them to a homing pigeon's bony foot, and turned them loose in the general direction of VORS headquarters in Richmond where the Pigeon likely did the math and compiled the results himself. Past that, it's hard to be sure. I certainly don't know where you can find your lap times. I will assure you, however, that they were not nearly as fast as you think they were. Something about a 6.5 mile course that takes damn near an hour to hump around doesn't look good on paper. I would recommend not digging around too much to try to find them, lest you wind up in front of the mirror again, naked, wondering if that's hip muscle or a muffintop. Go with what works. Turn back on the Jeremiah Bishop video, crack a cold one, clean up your godforsaken drivetrain, and listen to the rain.

It was fun. That's what matters.

Onward...this weekend looks stellar. Something about the way spring rain washes the air.
There is action afoot.

The 6 hours of Warrior creek will go down just across our southern border on Saturday, and BRC will be sending some talent down thattaway to represent on that glorious, bermed flowfest. I am not on that list of talent, choosing instead to hang back, develop the flu, and hack all over the shop on Saturday while I'm there "helping out" Danny from noon to 5.

Sunday, the Hoo Ha. Don't panic, it's just a drill, not the real Hoo Ha. But Chris and/or Scott Coleman (I have yet to figure out if this is one dude or two) will host a pre-race test rally of the course at 11 ish on Sunday by permission of the powers that be, whoever that is. Which I might attend. Or, if I feel like taking around $45 and discarding it in the woods along with my dignity, I might race the mighty Dragon's Tale. And by race, I mean flail about on some steep rocky stuff that I can't ride, bash my shins, cry, swear to quit bike racing entirely, coast down to the finish on the road, have a beer and some fries, then resume banter about how bikes are terrific and I love riding the gnarly stuff.

Have some patience. Spring is coming.

Up, up, up.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roubaix? Roubaixes? Roubu?

You see, here's the thing. That pain in your knee isn't going away on it's own. I suppose it might if you'd quit jamming it up climbs like the Powerline at Ohill and Cabin Lake at BRS. But it's race season, and let's face it, you can't help yourself.

So maybe Doctor Geoff can.
He had a mighty fine time at Blue Ridge School himself. 2nd in Sport, behind only the manchild Dewitt DeZirkle in a tight fight. Kev29er, quite typically, took the SS win despite getting a little Christopher Columbus with the navigation. And other accolades? Still waiting to be revealed as the results aren't out and about just yet. But I'm told that everyone made it out alive, and that's a big collective victory at a race like the Ridge on a snow day like Sunday.

What now? Well, if you're a hard man for the Spring Classics, you and your 28c road tires are in luck. Back-to-back Roubaix (roubaixes? Roubaixeses? Roubu? )
braking with your face. not just for amateurs anymore.

First, the Harris-Roubaix, perhaps the most famous of the local Roubaix, and dare I say mainstream when it comes to the underground dirt gravel disorga-races of today, will seek to mimick the pain of the real Paris-Roubaix on April 10th. Details can be found here. As a certified DNF last year, I can assure you that it's sort of thing you'd be into if filling your chamois with gravel and mashing some steep stuff all day is your thing. And I can also recommend a full suspension mountain bike. Enjoy yourself.

Slightly less well known, but with better prose and EastnotWest, the Ferry-Roubaix seems to somehow be in its 3rd annum already without most folks having every really noticed the first two. April 17th, and hosted by FOTP The Rooster hisself, you can find all of the details (along with fashion tips and obscure Star Wars references) on his blog. But to really do it justice, I'll quote the Rooster here:

"All I can tell you is when the going gets tough, and the road gets rough, you are out on course alone and don't know if you are 10 minutes up or 20 minutes back, and no matter how many times you wipe it off there is perpetually a droplet of low-viscosity snot hanging from your nose, and every sip of air is like inhaling sulfuric acid, and you don't know when the last time was you actually saw one of those ?????-colored arrows - are you gonna reach down and grab that bidon full of courage, take a big-ass gulp and stand up on the pedals, or are you gonna stop, unwrap your pasty power bar of shame, and wait on the roadside to pile up in the broom truck? Your call, young Skywalker, your call..."

I'm not sure what all of that really adds up to, but The Route does, indeed, appear to be 125 miles long. That's a lot of Star Wars references and fashion tips. And you see what I mean about the prose.

Sign me up. And by that I mean rumor my attendance, see what the mighty Ken Tank and Big John have in store for that day, and hastily change the subject and move on if it all doesn't fall into place.

A little education in the ways of the Roubaix, if you're diggin' it.

And some action, jackson.

Or you could sit on the couch at home and watch the real deal on Versus on April 10th. Or you could just race Hilbert. Not as exciting now that we're 3 races in the bag already now is it. But still a good time and worth doing.

Happy trails, and a happy two-fer, by the way. If you like the new rock work on the dam loop at Walnut, that was me.

officially now the worst best handsaw of all time.

If you don't, it was someone else.

It all leads, where else, up, up, up.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ride the Ridge

As of 7:40 AM this morning, I still hadn't signed up for Ride the Ridge.
But I woke up and saw this in the daily weather prophesy:
Sunday: Snow and or rain, or snow-rain mix, highs 37-43.

And technically, that's an UPGRADE from the Sunday forecast from yesterday which called for:
Sunday: Period of rain and sleet, highs in the low 40s.

So apparently "Sunday" is going to be a bit of a misnomer this week.
And I am officially IN. A Snow-Race a BRS? Wouldn't miss it for the end of the world. Registration Confirmation

Name - David Tevendale
Event Name - Ride the Ridge MTN Bike Race
-- Event Date - 3/27/2011
---- Category - Expert/Pro Men
Conf # - 78U99317E5879262B

And let's haphazardly recycle this image, just because I think it's sweet.

Hiking shoes not required, but certainly not frowned upon either. Kev29er, if you try to ride the cabin lake trail in 34X19, you're going to be looking at a lot of this.

Until it drops you and leaves you behind in the blizzard, like a Jack London story.

Those of you who haven't practiced changing a flat rear tire with numb fingers in a sleet storm recently, maybe find yourself a walk-in freezer on Saturday evening and do some proper training. Or SOT2.0 can sell you a tire lever on the course when he laps you on Sunday for the low-low price of $115.95.

See you there.
Up, up, up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Gear Crowd

Place Name Lap 1 Lap 2
1st Kevin Murray 37:22 1:13:59
2nd Chris’Toph Royer 42:39 1:27:54
3rd Ted Gayle 43:44 1:29:14
4th Jon Thornburg 1:03:15 1:50:24
5th Neil Higgins 55:02 1:51:14

2011 Meltdown Beginner Women Results

Place Name Lap 1
1st Emily Croft 58:49
2nd Ellen Ramsey 1:07:05

Beginner Men Results Meltdown 2011

Place Name Lap 1
1st Joseph Joskins 48:21
2nd Hank Wells 49:34
3rd Tim House 49:44
4th Rich Morrison 50:22
5th Jeff McBride 51:29
6th Curtis Shaver 55:04
7th Dave Hardisky 56:02
8th Robert Dent 58:43
9th Yu Jin Kim 1:00:58
10th Dave Villaflor 1:03:54
11th Dick Fontaine 1:20:34
DNS Mike Desisto

Junior HS Beginner

Place Name Lap 1
1st Cameron Richard 48:31
2nd Dillon Long 49:12
3rd Mason Schmitt 49:40
4th Hayden Castle 50:38
5th Daniel Nelson 55:10
6th Quin Girardi 58:37
7th Conor Burns 1:00:10
8th Spencer Graves 1:03:23
9th Breton Nicholas 1:04:38
10th Aurel Keller 1:06:44
11th Marco Gianturco 1:14:11
12th Henry Guerra 1:15:40
13th Mason Hopkins 1:15:52
14th Thomas Dupris 1:16:38
15th Jack Furk 1:33:55
DNF Michael Khalitch none

HS Sport Results

Place Name Lap 1 Lap 2
1st Justin Plymale 41:33 1:24:50
2nd Byron Gonzalez 1:01:20 2:05:58

2011 Sport Women Results Meltdown

Place Name Lap 1 Lap 2
1st Bev Richardson 1:03:35 2:14:59

Sport Men Ohill Meltdown

Place Name Lap 1 Lap 2
1st Whit Zirkle 37:25 1:12:40
2nd John Petrylak 39:03 1:18:40
3rd Geoff Keenan 39:29 1:18:48
4th Eyran Yebez 40:42 1:21:52
5th Mark McLewee 41:28 1:22:27
6th Jim Fisher 41:22 1:24:10
7th Tom Haines 43:14 1:26:58
8th James Spurk 42:54 1:29:10
9th John Scott 44:53 1:30:30
10th Jamie Clarkson 45:06 1:31:32
11th Bridge Cox 44:03 1:33:16
12th Jim Stevens 46:54 1:34:35
13th Adam Croft 46:10 1:35:37
14th Peter Girardi 47:48 1:36:28
15th Thomas Flynn 47:53 1:38:32
16th Jim Seguin 49:26 1:40:03
17th Christopher Scott Coleman 49:21 1:40:41
18th Luther Barden 48:28 1:42:13
19th Derek Tobler 51:34 1:43:00
20th John Lewis 48:49 1:44:55
21st Kevin Dillard 50:28 1:46:42
22nd Toshun Campbell 51:15 1:47:43
DNF Patrick Norton 41:43 None
DNF Andrew Moore None None
DNF Wick Smith None None
DNS Brad Turner

Expert Women Results

Place Name Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3
1st Sheila Scott 43:14 1:32:30 2:23:50
2nd Jennifer Belt 46:03 1:36:49 2:26:27
3rd Jennifer Whedbee 48:52 1:42:40 2:43:17

Expert Men Results

Place Name Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3
1st Jeremiah Bishop 32:10 1:04:13 1:35:37
2nd Ryan Fawley 32:05 1:04:23 1:37:04
3rd Matthew Bailey 32:15 1:05:30 1:38:54
4th Andy Guptill 32:57 1:07:32 1:41:42
5th Eric Jensen 33:37 1:09:21 1:45:38
6th Greg Wittwer 35:07 1:11:22 1:46:43
7th Connor Bell 34:52 1:10:51 1:47:08
8th Bruce Jones 35:14 1:11:22 1:46:43
9th Dave Tevendale 35:04 1:11:30 1:54:18
10th Kyle Rodland 36:38 1:15:03 1:54:54
11th Michael Hosang 36:32 1:16:18 1:56:40
12th Brian Marsh 36:29 1:16:19 1:57:07
13th Daniel Ortiz 37:51 1:19:05 2:01:51
14th Chris Keeling 39:24 1:20:55 2:01:57
15th Bob Anderson 39:12 1:21:11 2:03:00
16th Chris Shelley 39:08 1:21:13 2:03:34
17th Jon Ciambotti 41:14 1:25:09 2:07:49
18th Keith Jackson 41:36 1:25:11 2:10:11
19th Joseph O’brien Applegate 42:25 1:26:36 2:10:35
20th Scott Ramsey 40:54 1:25:17 2:18:30
21st John Brodie 44:02 1:31:44 2:20:34
DNF Peter Hufnagel 39:15 1:23:05 None
DNF Ethan Lindbloom 40:09 1:24:30 None
DNF Adam Harris 45:00 None None
DNF Justin Manville None None None

Monday, March 21, 2011

Three-Fer Muddy

Three-fer-Thursday around these parts, and let me tell you something - sloppy happens. Three days of intermittent showers has made goo out of the goods. But the showers have moved East, the sun is shining, and the trails are on the mend, and by Sunday we might just have ourselves a race barring snow.

Then again, it's the ridge we're talking about here, and senior rock trail really doesn't even get good until there's an inch of fresh laying about. One way or the other, cross your fingers - because if past races are any indication, we're racing regardless of weather-based peril.

Other events worth mentioning:
This weekend, in a fit of trail stewardship, CAMBC is running not one, not two, but THREE trailwork events, a ride, a competition of sorts for the highest attendance, and a post-trailwork-bender bender.

No Bender, not you.

Trailwork details from Alex:
Walnut Creek, Saturday, 9am - 12pm: We'll be working on the dam loop to assess current drainage issues (those muddy sections that NEVER seem to dry up), with the goal of building up the trail grade to allow for proper water runoff, and dry tires!
Whetstone Ridge, Sunday, 8am - 2pm: Redux from last weekends brushing project. We'll continue to brush the last 1/3 of the ridge (pulling bob carts & tools behind bikes). We can evaluate shorter options for those folks on a time crunch.
Preddy Creek, Sunday, 2pm - 5pm: Will Stanford and crew will continue working on the advanced trail, including some benching and bridge building.

And details about the competition and the party from the Shade Pig:

Attend (and participate in) as many of these trailwork events as you can. On the table right now there are 12 full hours of trailwork, assuming you can teleport from location to location. Further, I'm leading (okay, following) a post-trailwork ride at Walnut on Saturday, so bring your bike. The person with the most total hours at the end of the weekend wins. (You can count the Saturday ride hours if you did the trailwork.) First prize is a gift certificate from Blue Ridge Cyclery, still working out the details on that. Second prize, I buy all your beer for the night at the awards ceremony (Yes, I'm aware this could easily be first prize). Consolation prize, anyone with over 8 hours total trailwork for the weekend, I buy your first beer at the awards ceremony. Must be present to win, because otherwise I'm drinking your beer.

And he means that, he will both buy and drink your beer. So show up, do your part, and then consider helping him carry the drinks back from the bar if you want all of yours.

Additionally, BRCR might as well get a van. Cause we're road trippin'. From SRAMsey:

Weekend of April 2-3, BRC has been invited to ride the Massanutten trails to get in a pre-ride of the Hoo-Ha course for the upcoming June 4-5 race weekend ( Scott Coleman has graciously stepped up to get our team at least one, possibly two, pre-rides at Massanutten. Scott will have BRC Hoo-Ha race headquarters at his Massanutten condo for post-race fun. Think pool, hanging out, and grilling whatcha brought. Many thanks to Scott for working with the land manager at Massanutten and getting special permission for our team to do a pre-ride.

Weekend of April 30-May 1, Ellen and I have reserved a cabin at Douthat as the unofficial BRC headquarters for Middle Mountain Momma ( on May 1. You’re welcome to hang out at our cabin before and after the race, and grill anything you care to bring. Options here include pre-rides on Saturday April 30 and pre/post-race activities at Douthat State Park on Sunday May 1. Please note that Douthat is a state park and alcohol is not allowed in public areas, so bring your brews and burgers to put in our fridge for the afterparty at our cabin.

You had me at Van. Even though you didn't actually say the word Van. It's a frame of mind, you see. And I call shotgun to that frame of mind.

Last but certainly not least, The Virginia High School Mountain Bike Series has kicked off. I believe the 1-2-3 I saw was:
Connor Bell
Chris Keeling
Our boy DeWitt DeZirkle

But skinny kids moving that fast are pretty difficult to see, and it's possible something got mixed up there. Radical. Local pros Andy Guptill, Pete Hufnagel, and Jeremiah Bishop all showed up and helped pump the scene up pre and post race. Again, radical.

The sort of young ladies I wasn't cool enough to hang out with in high school. And the sort of pros I'm not cool enough to hang out with now.

Race #2 next week heads to Rocktown. Thursday, 5:30 PM at Hillandale. Which reminds me I've got some berms to build this weekend, because the week after next the delinquency arrives here at the Rancho Relaxo. Delinquency not technically required to attend.

Anyway, it's a ThreeFer, and I've got stuff to do. Like figure out a way to build some berms and rally three times while working a full day.

Don't get left hanging off the back.


Friday, March 18, 2011

O Hill and Pivot

So, yeah, here we are. The day after the OHill Meltdown.
Hurts, doesn't it.
That's why we have a doctor around. Geoff Keenanstrong, 3rd place in sport at OHill, is your guy if you suspect that climbing the powerline 3 times at race pace might have caused some permanent damage.

Dr. Geoff Keenanstrong (technically, The Albemarle Center for Health and Rehabilitation)

So yeah, OHill. Not much to report really. Kev29er dominated. I cramped up and rolled around in the leaves for a while. SSRamsey did some braking with his face. Business as usual.

I asked Scott this morning how his grill was, and he replied with this picture. good times.

"My face is a bit swollen, but I'm alright. I have a couple small abrasions on my nose and upper lip, and the upper lip is swollen but it's receding. Those types of crashes are good for the shock factor of spectators, timekeepers, etc. looking at you and saying, "Oooh, wow, that looks bad."

Shock factor, eh? Call it what you will, I'm just saying that the repeated occurrence is making it start to seem like less of a crash and more of a technique.

Other notable finishes, SOT2.0 got around that thing in 2nd for SS, dropping the remarkable re-emergence of The Original Ted Shred as a racer to a not-so-distant 3rd in SS. So I guess that's a podium sweep on home turf as well as a rivalry in the making. Whedbee? 2nd in expert. De-Witt? #1 in Sport. And on that note, let the blog-based, ugly, sandbagging accusations that discourage kids from participating in our sport commence.

Poignantly, I was reminded, mid-race, why I bought a Pivot. And it wasn't what you'd think - although I was surprised multiple times by the kind of gnar this bike has the ability to stick to at speed. More so, I was reminded that I bought the bike because of the people. Shawn has put together a great bike shop, connected with the right people to form a bike culture that fits our scene, and now he's putting on badass local races that draw national-level talent to our 'hood. Even if he weren't my brother, buying a bike from Blue Ridge Cyclery was a natural fit for me.

And, on a more national scale, I've been to Arizona twice in the last 3 years. Both times, Chris Cocalis, founder and owner of the once great Titus Cycles, and new founder and owner of Pivot Cycles, has procured a sweet Pivot demo bike for me free of charge and taken me on a guided ride on the lesser-known of the local goods on South Mountain. I'm a nobody (although I've had the good fortune to travel in AZ as part of an entourage with connections.) In the bike industry, Chris is most certainly SOMEBODY. But he's got this down-to-Earth way about him, and like you or me, he's constantly looking for an excuse to skip work and rally. And he brings demo bikes with him.

So I bought one. In the grand scheme of life, buying the things you want from the people you like means something.

And let me tell you, it rallies. Not many bikes will push Bender's tongue out of his mouth in exhaustion quite this far, especially on a powder day. And apparently, I'm not the only one that thinks so. Bender and Bailey aside, I think the local Pivot owners club is up to about 10, plus Stephanie from the RIC (who I'm told could use a higher quality roof rack) and Hiser (who eschews the club because he was Pivot before Pivot was cool.)

Anyway, I'll descend my Pivot soapbox, but only because I've got stuff to do.
Like train for BRS Ride the Ridge. Demon Voice *Sunday, Sunday, Sunday*.

Up, Up, Up.
And Up, yet again, to really get in the spirit of the thing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Virginia: The Un-vegas

7 days out West in places like Kansas City and Las Vegas are good for perspective - that perspective being how great life is in Virginia. I've got a few stories and insights: how my phone was stolen for example, or details from the cab ride where my taxi driver almost wrecked us in his emotional fervor while professing his belief that we should build a great wall along the Western border of Nevada to keep the Californians out.

But none of that is really relevant, and for the most part I'm just happy to be home.

I did, however, get stuck in Kansas for an extra day that I spent rallying around Lawrence on their local goods. And their goods, despite what you might think, are quite good. Clinton Lake, in particular, is rooty, rocky, narrow, beautiful, steep, and outright difficult at times. I'll get some pictures up here for your perusal as soon as my phone resurfaces. Which is to say, never. You're going to have to use your imagination.

or I can just steal this one for your frame of reference.

Anyway, home sweet home. Now I can finally get back to doing what I do best - building and riding the bejesus out of the local goods. So let's dig into that directly.

Item number one on the agenda - O-Hill. On Sunday, lit up by the springtime sun like Jesus in holy light, we will rock that shit. If you're not racing, your assistance volunteering would be most appreciated. And if you're not volunteering, there's no sense not racing. Details, including pre-ride info, are up on facebook, the VORS page, bikereg, etc. Educate yourself, and think about maybe drinking some gatorade with your bourbon for a change on Saturday night.

perhaps not the best time in the history of nuclear power to call a race a meltdown. but ok.

Item number two on the agenda - VAHS MTB series. If you don't think that's cool, you wouldn't know cool if it lapped you on your first lap and looked about 14 years old. Wearing shades. Looks like I'll be doing a little trailwork at the rancho relaxo in early April. So if you dig, come help me dig.

And on to the mailbag, because rad happens, and then people tell me about it afterwards. For example:

From: Kev29er
RE: Up
BRS w/ CHAM, up Wyatt to Observatory, down Broken Back, up Simmons, back down Wyatt to BRS. ~21 miles. 34x19. No dab, no walking. It was a good day.

Two years ago, when Kev29er was the strongest singlespeeder I'd ever ridden with, he couldn't get up HALF of that cleanly. Now he can stomp the whole thing. In a bigger gear. Likely chewing sunflower seeds.
The man is going to get paid on Sunday. And if CHam kept him anywhere in sight on Monday, he'll probably be getting paid too.

From: ELF
To: the world at large
RE: TU/TH Worlds
Ride leaves at 6 PM, Reas Ford Road and Earlysville Road intersection (post 
office side). Rain normally cancels. Note- this isn't a race. So stop signs,
the yellow lines, cars and everything else need to be respected. Tuesday "A"
group is competitively paced. Neutral roll out through Earlysville Forest.

Technically, due to one last attempt by winter to ruin the party, Tue Worlds didn't go down on Tuesday unless you count ELF rocking the trainer by himself as "Worlds". So Thursday should be a hoot - as long as you qualify sustained, brain-busting hypoxia hootish. The road to hell is paved. Rally down it anyway.

From: VORS
To: the world at large

A Big Shout Out to Virginia's own .... Jeremiah Bishop, Bonelli Park, and Susan Haywood, the Shootout on Anglers Ridge....

This just in: pro bike racers from Harrisonburg can freaking ride. Nick Waite, if I'm not mistaken, won down at Angler's ridge also. And JB sticking it to the top U.S. pros out in CA is surprising, but not THAT surprising. Rocktown makes Bonelli (and most other places for that matter) look like a road ride.
Not to be completely outdone though, our boys De-whit and Erico got their quads up on the podium and flexed a little bit too. Those two have the hunger right now, and I don't just mean a hankering for Chipotle.

And I'll leave you with this one, I reckon. An old buddy from college checked in while browsing the bowels of youtube for some memories, and he found a good one and thought of me. Could be from when he used to play The Chemical Brothers in his car at a decibel level that hurt my brain. Could be the bikes. Anyway.

Make the world you're living in better.
It's good to be home. I might just have myself a three-fer.
Up, up, up.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Saw Shootout

In the past few years, I've cut a lot of trees. Shan and I have heated our house every winter with a wood stove, and we also kept up the trails around the farm in the mighty winter of 2009/2010. So I think I know a thing or two now about wood. And cutting it - not just with a chainsaw, but with some of the raddest handsaws around. Keeping a rideable loop of singletrack on the East Coast is tough work, and a big saw goes a long way. So I thought I'd post up a review here of some of the handsaws I've used over the past year, sort of like the way MTBAction or whatever magazine you subscribe to writes an "All-Mountain Bike SHOOTOUT!" or whatever they call it. Think of this one as a sawout if you will, if you shall, if you must. Anyway, let's dig right in from the top.

Silky Big Boy 2000

If you've been reading this blog for long, you are probably familiar with the trials and triumphs I've had with the mighty Silky Big Boy 2000. We've had our ups and downs, and yes, I'm on my 2nd warranty replacement blade. But in terms of sharpness, capability, and outstanding customer service, it's hard to top the Big Boy for a really high end folding saw. Also workable as a sword in a tight spot, but only for a few good swings.
One of the problems with the Big Boy is the sheer size of it. At almost 18" folded, it can just barely squeeze into a Camelback Blowfish or HAWG, sort of the way that Danny O or Catlett have to fold their tall, lanky selves into a small car. And on the trail in action, that 3-foot saw can cut through some massive deadfall that you might think only a chainsaw can handle - but the length of the saw and the diameter of what it will cut can actually work against you when the saw gets pinched and binds. This is a high-performance machine, the Ferrari of gigantic handsaws, and one hard stroke the wrong way can actually break the blade. But I guess that's what you risk when you use a 3-foot handsaw to cut an 80-foot oak tree.
Buy this one (mail order, likely) if you simply must have the best. You probably know who you are. After-market Ferrari decals sold separately.

SOG Folding Camp Saw

Possibly the best folding saw of all time, provided you don't actually have anything to cut. Seriously, a nice, tight 8.25" blade, jet black, and with it's own carrying case included, this thing LOOKS sharp. Then you try to cut something and things get complicated. I won't go into details, but apparently cutting isn't really what this saw is designed to do.

My first experience with the SOG brand, I saw they had a badass adventure racing team. And I thought, oh hell yes, this must be a good brand for a folding saw. Well it turns out these folks must be using the SOG battle axe (worth a click) or the Entrenching Tool (also worth a click) for most of their cutting when they're sleep deprived and slogging through a pit of mud for 48 hours, because the SOG folding camp saw isn't cutting shit for me. I also watched a futile attempt by C-Ham and Danny O to use the sexy SOG to cut some handlebar height vines that were hanging about...and the vines won. But for just $23.59, this thing can at least make you look good, son.
Buy this one if you dig looking the part of the conscientious trail volunteer out on a ride but you don't like actually stopping to do any work. Don't buy it if you need to cut anything tougher than a jelly donut. Which is entirely possible.

The Mighty Red Corona

Last, but certainly not least, the mighty Red Corona. Available at Lowes for a 20 spot, but online for as little as $15. It's hard to imagine a better value for a folding saw. Plenty sharp, good blade life, tough as nails, and just the right size for storage in most packs. In fact, you can store a Corona in a jersey pocket provided you also put a 16 ounce water bottle in the same pocket - the two push in there nice and tight and you can stay hydrated while you chop fallen pines from your favorite local haunts.
The best thing about the Corona? Availability. You can stop by Lowes, Walmart, The Home Depot, most anywhere on the way to your ride, pick one up, and make your world a better place. The good folks at Corona recognize the trail-pimping needs of the everyman, and they're bringing it to the people.
Buy this one if you love your trail, and you're tired of steeple-chasing your way over limbs and the growing piles of mangled derailleurs on the floor of your garage. Also, buy this one for Christmas for your duo racing partner whom you've been stringing along about Lodi for 5+ months, and then forget to give it to him repeatedly. Finally see him in the Spring (maybe at Lodi, maybe not) and stick it in his pack for a little extra weight on a big ride. Try not to use it in the meantime.

It is my humble opinion that a mountain biker should have at least as many handsaws as they have bikes. While that might not be reasonable for those of us who have 4 or 5 bikes, it's the effort that matters - you should have at least one.

Do you part this spring.
Tread lightly, and carry a big saw.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BRS Ride the Ridge

Blue Ridge School is an interesting microcosm. From a distance, it's a prep school in Dyke, VA - although they claim to exist in a place called St. George, whatever that is. Up close, though, it's 10 miles of steep, twisty, rocky singletrack surrounded by about 50 miles of downright nasty dirt roads that might as well be trails. With a dining hall that serves waffles until 11 AM on the weekends. A rad place, if you catch my drift.

As you might expect, it produces some mighty fine bike riders.
C-Ham, for example, has ridden the mountains above BRS so much in the past few years, he's like an honorary Shifflett. And interestingly, you might not know this, but many spellcheck technologies try to auto-correct the name"Shifflett" to the adjective "Shiftless" which brings me to the most recent check in from C-Ham.

From the Virginia Science Museum in Richmond:

"Apparently Kev29er's gear choice is only suited for downhill."

Another gent from the BRS riding hall of fame, Nolanpalooza, conveniently just checked in after an overnight bikepacking trip through Pisgah.

luxurious accommodations

"Squirrel for dinner, horse for breakfast."

I'll have an extra helping of horse if you don't mind. Yeah, they make 'em tough out there at BRS.

Perhaps none tougher, however, than Captain America himself. Markley finished 2nd at the Hurrican 300, throwing down a fast 31 hours of non-stop pedaling with no sleep. Ouch. You can read about that here: Captain America.

Anyway, here's my point: the race at BRS will test your toughness. In terms of sheer trail difficulty, it's likely the most punishing course in the whole VORS series. That's the beauty of it. DNF rates aside, everyone who finishes this beast has a sense of accomplishment that tends to carry them forward to bigger and better all night rallies in Pisgah or a podium finish at a 300 mile race.

Test your testicles.
Let your wild side show.
Ride the Ridge.

Spring forward. Or just ride for an extra hour and show up late.

Two-fer Tuesday at the rancho relaxo, and Kev29er is getting it done, son. After showing up here at 6:00 AM for a dawn patrol rally (which rocked), he is going to return here in an hour to chop wood and get his full, mountain man, cross-training two-fer on. Because it's Tuesday and that's what you DO.

So there I was cleaning out my desk last week in an attempt at Spring cleaning that I was hoping would prompt Spring to finally spring, and I came upon two objects of interest:

1) Item # 1 - The Battle of Los Angeles. Not the new action flick about fighting aliens in California. I'm talking about Rage Against The Machine's heaviest and angriest effort before they splintered and moved on.

now my soundtrack for every ride I go on that requires driving. rare, but significant inspiration.

Item # 2 found in my desk on cleaning day: The key to my Van.
Because I used to have a Van...

not actually a picture of my van, but similar. Mine was 9 years older than this one, and the door flares had been ripped off. far creepier than what you see here.

In the coming days while I'm traveling and without the means to really rally, I plan to hearken back and relive on this blog the details of my experience buying, owning, and losing my van. Because it really was a special time in my life and a great experience. Lately, I've been starting to lose track of some of the details as the memory has faded a little, so I want to make sure I get it all down on virtual paper before the whole thing is just a fuzzy snapshot accompanied by that lingering sense of loss I always get when thinking about the years flying by.

So yeah, get excited about that.

Other things to get excited about:
1) Night ride Wednesdays, back in action. From Shawn at the shop:
After a hiatus the WNR's are back!!
Each week we will meet up at the Blue Ridge Cyclery at 7pm and caravan/carpool to the ride venue or ride our bikes to the venue if it is Ohill. We will announce ahead of time where the ride will be and an approximate arrival time at the location as well so that people who live closer to the ride location can just meet us there.
So for this week: The ride will be at the TevenTrails. We will roll from the BRC at 7pm and hope to be at the farm and ready to ride by 7:45. The TevenTrails are private property, so please make sure that you get a waiver signed on arrival if you have not done so already.
If you are interested in trying night mountain bike riding but need a bike or lights, just let me know, I have extra equipment that we can get you set up with for the evening
thanks gang!!
See you tomorrow night.

2) The Banff Mountain Film Festival is back in town this weekend, showing Saturday and Sunday at The Paramount. Show up and learn something. Like how to spell "Banff" for example.

bummed to be missing this one. but since I can ride like that anyway, no big deal.

3) Daylight savings time starts on Saturday night. Most people tend to set their clocks forward one hour and roll with it, soak up the extra sunshine on their rides after work and what not. A select few other people claim the extra sunshine but leave their clocks where they are until about Tuesday and use the "forgot to set my watch forward" excuse for being 1 hour late to everything in an effort to really capitalize on said sunshine. It's like a hall pass to rally for an extra hour, and it only comes around once a year. Use it.

4) Lastly, find your race face case. Open 'er up and make sure it's still in there. Ohill will be done 12 days from right now. And if you're like me, you'll likely be wondering what the hell just happened. Rumored talent attending: our local superstar Mr. JB himself. Those of you who raced the Hoo-Ha! last year probably remember JB as the nice guy on the front of the race who wasn't bitching at you incessantly like the "PRO RIDERS!" behind him who tried to run you off the trail as they came around you on their second lap. Still a good guy after all that success.

Anyway, OHill. Place your bets.
Up, up, up.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Three Day Bender

Well, shooooot. Coming up this Thursday morning, I take off on a 7-day trip of sedentary meetings and travel in the coach cabin in the name of takin'-what-they're-givin'-cause-I'm-workin'-for-a-livin'. You never realize just how good you've got it until work takes you away for a bit. So in an effort to make the most of Monday - Wednesday, I'm going on a three-day bender.

did someone say my name?

Not that Bender, technically. Although he will most certainly be involved. I'm talking about a riding bender - three days stuffed with as much rally as possible. And time with my beautiful wife.

conveniently, the two are not mutually exclusive.

In the great history of the world, if you were to pick a single day NOT to have raced at Camp Hilbert, you might have picked today. And you would have made a good call. 2+ inches of rain, high winds, biting cold, and general awfulness. Sometimes, the first one is the right one to sit out.
So, technically, the "first one" is by default now The Shootout somewhere down Danville way, and then on deck and in the hole we have the local goods - Ohill followed by Blue Ridge School. Rad.

Interestingly, I went to the Virginia Off Road Series website to verify that schedule, and it turns out that, despite the fact that not a single pedal stroke has been raced yet, I'm winning the 2011 XCAT by 25 points. That's right - due to the 50 trailwork points that I've racked up building the new loop at Preddy Creek - I've established a massive lead. Turns out I can really get to the front when the race consists of piddling around in the dirt like an anteater.

Sadly, when the pedaling actually commences, staying at the front might require that I do some training and cut some things out of my diet. For example:

Let's move on. I wanted to recap the brownie crit on Friday eve. Not the whole brownie crit, mind you - only the part where Erico Moortani passed SS Ramsey on the inside of a rocky turn, and SSRamsey pushed him over and stepped on his testicles. That's right, from the perpetrator's mouth:
"He was gaining on me on the climb, made a clean pass, and next thing we knew we bumped handlebars and tangled up into each other...Eric's fine and after that 2-minute delay he was off and riding. I didn't contest it after that because it would be kinda bad form to chase someone whom I had just stepped on his nuts."

That's a good lesson in racing etiquette for all of us, I feel. Cycling can be such a mysterious sport when it comes to right and wrong. But yeah, stepping on a fella's fella' stuff and then dropping him on the next climb would qualify as bad form.
Anyway, all is well that ends well, and I do think this represents what is just and perfect about free racing on a Friday. More of that to come. But next time you think about snaking Scotty on the inside, consider that image and tuck yourself back in.

Keep on crashing in the free world.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sunrays on a Friday


It turns out that posting anything of substance on a three fer Thursday is becoming increasingly tough as daylight hours keep increasing and I've been riding when I might otherwise be scribbling.
So, it's Friday already. Let's get into it real deep-like.

First things first - the Man (the junkerMAN, specifically) pulled the plug on Hilbert 1. Read 'em and weep:
FROM: Camp Hilbert Race Series ------------------------------------------------- Due to the rain on it's way Saturday night and all day Sunday we have moved CHRS #1 to April 10th. All registered riders for race #1 are entered into the new date. We hate to delay the start of this season, but they're calling for 3/4 of an inch or more rain on Sunday.
Say what you want about canceling a race 3 days before it might happen on the suspicion of bad weather, but I dig it. Now you are free to go out and hammer your fancypants off on Saturday instead of dieting and binge-hydrating to prepare for Hilbert the next day, only to see that thing rained out after all. Think of it as a win. You may resume your losing ways at Hilbert on April 10th. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Whetstone Ridge. Everyone's favorite Wilderness bisector ridgeline with half a dozen barely rideable chutes and terrific iPhone reception. She's a big, shaggy monster these days. Winter is always tough on the old girl, but also some apathy last summer when it came to a real trail clearing event didn't help much either. So she's in need of a serious trim. To that end:
Whetstone trailwork, Saturday 3/12. Well, that's not completely accurate. There is also a contingent of the roughest sort of roughnecks heading out on the ridge Friday night for an early start and some shenanigans with loose plans to meet the Saturday crew sometime the next day. Real details can be obtained from CAMBC all around good-samaritan, Alex Kurland. I just work here. alexanderdotkurland@gmaildotcom.

And about Whetstone. As far as I know, only one race has ever been foolhardy (with gigantic sack) enough to rally a stage down Whetstone, and they do it every year. That's right the Giro De Ville knows how it's run and how it's done, and it's happening again this year on Memorial Day weekend. So having a nice, clean set of chutes to huck oneself off makes it easier to sweep up the bodies and move on in a timely manner come the merry month of May.

And anyway, now there is another. The UROC.
I feel like it's pretty common that I link to something from this blog and then have to re-affirm that, in fact, there is no typo in what I've just linked you to. And I'll do that again here. 100k trail race, on foot, with the last dozen miles or so sending some of the toughest runner mettle in the world down Whetstone Ridge in a furious, sunset dash for a $10,000 purse.
There will be blood.
Find yourself a helmet, Scott Jurek.
So yeah, let's get that ridgeline all pimped and primped in time for a season of action, jackson.

Annnnnnnnnd, we're racing. Crit tonight, Ohill, 5:30 PM. I had a few questions on the subject that I thought I'd post a public response for in light of their usefulness.
1) What's a brownie crit?
Answer: it's a disorganized attempt at post-work, weekday, mountain bike racing. But it's not really a race. Nor is it just a ride. And the format is a little tough to explain, and it's always changing. But it's an awful lot of fun. Like most things in life - show up and act like you know, and people usually fall into place.
2) Will I need lights?
Answer: good question. No. At least, I hope not. We will, however, need to get a prompt 5:30 PM start. We'll rock a little warm up loop on whatever obscure corner of Ohill seems appropriately unused at the time, and then we'll have at it for 20 minutes or so. Done by 6:15 in time for a sunset spin back to your respective shires.

Bringing lights anyway for a bonus ride after the crit?
Craving BOTH barely lit singletrack and post ride libations?
You would not be alone in the dark. A few good men and women will loop back to BRC after the crit, bust Shawn out of that constantly hanging out at the bike job thing he does which he passes off as work, rally in the darkness, and stop for a pop somewhere on the return.

So yeah, happy Friday. It's spring, at least until Sunday. Put your race face back in the case for one more weekend, relax, and enjoy yourself.

Up, up, up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pantani Ride Pictures and Other Such Action

And POW! Just like that, my beautiful bride comes through.. The Pantani ride happened, and the evidence is below. So here we go...

dangerous pirate-jersey leadout

and a less dangerous, pirate jersey finish. aero bars next year.

Shawn flatted here, approximately 50 yards into the ride.

said pirate jersey, back home where it belongs. in a semi-permanent, 50% bleach solution.

Not his most photogenic bonk ever...

that would be this one.

pantani-ride induced scoliosis. ouch.

contemplating actually following the course next year.

Again, more pictures from the terrible, awful steepness can be found over on the Rooster's web log of triumphs and failures (mostly triumphs.) That would be here.
So, from my crew to yours, thanks for coming out and making the ride worth racing and the race worth riding.

Moving on, it's almost three-fer Thursday and there's action afoot.

Let's start with the new team kit, because Bender makes this look good, son.

turns out Bender is a medium.

Want to see the new action in action, jackson? Be at Camp Hilbert for a wild one this Sunday. Notable rumored attendees: Kev29er, Jaybird, The RamseyClan, The Tanks, SOT2.0, Shawn, Danny Flow, Dewitt Dezirkle, Dreama, Big John in the RIC, Whedbee, Carl, the list goes on and on. One thing about Hilbert numero uno, you can pretty much count on the gang all being there. The 2010 episode, for example, had a 35 person Enduro field, and about 500 fellas racing sport.
A potential snag in this plan, however:

yeah, that could get interesting.

I hope it works out. SOT2.0, in particular, will be lining up for his first mass start with the raucous one-gear-only class, and the level of irreverence and enjoyment there should be enough to hook him permanently. Not likely to blend in there, however: Kev29er, whose $45,000 blinglespeed and sub 28 minute lap times will likely stand out a bit.

Yes, I just called this man to ride sub 28's. Believe me, I've been training with him. Don't let the mullet fool you.

Anyway, yeah. RunRideRace puts on a great event, and provided the course isn't soaked, it's happening on Sunday.

Before all that goes down, however - show up at the gate at Ohill at 5:30 PM on Friday to make sure you've got your act together.

See what I mean? Fast-lookin'. He can tuck the mullet in, you know.

We'll rally a crit on some little used Ohill gravel and skinnytrack, panic about your lack of fitness and inability to keep air in your tires, eat some brownies, then roll back to the shop before closing time for you to stock up on whatever you need to fix your wagon.

Fitness not for sale, unfortunately.
But speed - now that's something you can invest in.

Up, up, and away.