Just back in from the NC State weekend, I'm tired, hungry, and still pretty wired from the car ride back...
I'm pretty sure Bala is in the other room taking pictures of his wounds from the weekend...maybe they will be up here later.
Amber, Bala, Liew, and I headed on down Thursday night to Lemma's house because we had some extra time, and Amber wanted to be there for Friday evening with some of her family in town. This allowed up some extra time Friday for some fun-ride time! Lemma took us out to Crabtree park near her house for a couple hours of riding around. Much to our dismay upon our arrival, the trails were closed! No! But, we decided to just walk around for a while and check out the lake. After about 20 minutes a park official rode by and we flagged him down to ask about riding since trails seemed in pretty good condition...and to our luck he was pleased to tell us they were about to open them! Needless to say we were stoked...
Liew showing off in the skills area...
We even made a friend...
This was my first weekend of racing since getting back on my bike from my broken hand hiatus. It was quite eerie to be riding along during the XC race and pass a VT rider who, during the race, had an accident ending in the exact same break that I had.
I had a rough spell during the XC as I was dropping my chain every couple of minutes, irritating, but nothing major, just a malfunctioning singulator. I made it to the finish...Chad had some bad luck ending in some injuries keeping him form any further racing on the day, so I borrowed his ride for the ST. Thanks for the bike Chad, glad you are OK!
The ST went much better for me, as I managed one of the better starts of my career, and was able to hold a good pace, and work my way past a few guys to finish 3rd in the B field. The rain, mud, slick roots, and cheering team mates made it a really fun race for me. Short track is fun because you end up having friends all along the course to cheer you on.
Brock and Liew were a blur....
Congrats to all of my team mates on their great finishes. Before I left, I set my facebook status to "Dominate" - and that is what we did...We had a great showing, and now we look forward to a solid finish as we host Conference Champs next weekend. The run for 10 is on!
- Hopefully tomorrow, some others chime in and add to this post!
On the way home, the decision was made to stop and eat at a place called “Black Cat”. They served burritos and beer. You walked up and ordered, then sat wherever and they also used toys to denote who ordered what. They had free oval shaped stickers with their name on it. There was local art on the walls, and had local bands come in. However, they apparently cook their vegetarian food on the same grill as the meat. Appalling! So I just wonder…how many other Black [Animal] restaurants there are?
This weekend was hosted by Appalachian State University, who partnered with their neighboring school, Lees McRae to put on a dual conference with ACCC and SECCC. The weekend started out with the cross country. They ran a shortened version of the Collegiate Nationals course from the previous 2 years, and just like then, recent rain had the course muddy. Mens C and Womens B started first, and we noticed that while there was a large MC squad, it was mostly racers from VT, and not many from the SECCC. They did 2 laps. While they were racing, a few of us went to the dual slalom course with Zerbe to try and get some tips to knock off some time. The course was muddy and very slick. On Chad’s second run, he wiped out re-taco’ing his front wheel. Back at the cars Ian had a spare for him. I decided to steal Chad’s Maxxis Ignitor tire and swap out my CrossMark front, and added more Stan’s. Thanks Ian! The 2nd session of racing started with a huge field of Mens A numbering close to 50, more than half were from SECCC. The womens A field had about 20, dominated by SECCC. And starting 3rd was Mens B pretty evenly mixed. The fields started 2minutes apart. Within 10minutes of starting half of the WA field was caught by the lead MB riders lead by a very fast ASU rider with Ryan Post sitting in 2nd. The course was extremely muddy and favored WVU riders immensely. Having that Ignitor tire was crucial as I was able to control my steering, while the CrossMark rear was able to slide very well around turns, but still provided plenty of climbing traction while I sat and spun up hills that most of the SECCC riders were pushing. The course was never flat, constantly climbing or descending with many turns and dips. Roots abound, with 2 narrow wooden bridges. The cherry on top was a long rocky descent through a creek with spectators cheering you on from high on a bank every lap. I was fighting an unmarked jersey and Martin from ASU for the first 2 laps, but Martin picked up a large nail in his tire, and the unmarked jersey tired near the end of the 3rd lap. After the descent on the 3rd lap, I attemped to hop a hole, but while my head said jump, my legs said “what?”. I noticed my tire was flat as I made my turn at the bottom of the hill. A quick CO2 pop, while Ian passed me, and I saw the unmarked jersey (3rd place). I quickly passed him again and continued the last lap, passing many MA riders (especially Univ of Florida) who were walking up hills. I was also being passed by some seriously fast MA riders from the SECCC, Lees McRae and Warren Wilson most notably. Lots of riders DNF’d. I’d guess probably 1/3 of them. On the last run of the descent, I again blasted the big hole, and again flatted. Although I had another CO2, I opted to ride out the 1/2mi of gravel road to finish on a flat. I wasn’t passed but David Henry of VT came in about a minute behind me carrying his bike with his chain magically wrapped around his wheel in such a way it was pinned between spokes and was lacerating his tire. Results aren’t yet posted, but Ian was likely around 7th/50, Ryan 2nd/38, Chad top 15/38. Emily thought she resprained her ankle, but still finished.
The next event was Dual Slalom, and the course had dried up from the morning slip and slide. Riders were now able to launch 10’ into the air, but WVU opted to keep their wheels firmly on the ground. There isn’t much to say about DS, except that it started at 2:30, and wasn’t over before darkness fell. There were 56 A riders who did a qualifying run. None of our As qualified in the top 32. Zerbe was seriously bummed. The highlight on our team was a new C rider, Mike, who won his first bracket and took 5th, we think. David Henry, the Legend, out done only by Chuck Norris himself, qualified 4th in MB, wearing blue jeans and cowboy boots. He did roll up his right pant leg at the suggestion from a WVU rider. For sure, the highlight of the ACCC, as we all got smoked by those SECCC acrobatisists.
I can’t say, Emily and I fell asleep on the couch at like 9:30, despite Beer Pong, Football, random people (including girls), and a drum set.
I woke up, and decided to try to get some homework done while everyone else slept. Zerbe got up, asked when things started, to which I informed him , “30min ago”. He got up, grabbed Tyler, and they headed to the DH. The rest of us had pretty much given up after the slaughter on the DS course by the SECCC. After a slow packup, we headed out, only to have Zerbe call us and tell us the DH was canceled. (We were pretty happy). Headed to a café to kill 4hours before the Short Track. We got to the course and hung out under VT’s tent, chatted and talked trash on each other. (They had far more riders to back their ‘trash’ up.)
The short track was a variation of the Nationals ST course, and we hoped the mud would fare well for us again like it did on the XC. We had hoped that schools would tuck tail and head home after the DH was canceled, but sadly…there were like 40 on the Mens A starting line. The start was ridiculously fast, lead by a bunch of SECCC. Ian was mid pack, and the fastest VT rider, who may be the fastest in the conference, near the very end as the course narrowed. Ian managed to move up into the top 10. The Woman’s A field had about 20 racers, and was actually kind of exciting for the first lap before I had to get ready for my race. The Mens B field was about 25 strong with 20 or so from the ACCC. We considered running the “Fun train” but after yesterday, all bets were off. I managed to quickly take the lead, taking advantage of my lockout, but forgetting about it as I tried to jump across the road at nearly 25mph, put me nose diving into the other back with 1 foot unclipped. The crowd cheered as I barely kept the bike up, but I lost momentum and dropped back to around 6th. While I was able to make up some ground on people who couldn’t ride mud, Chuck Norris’s illegitimate son, David Henry, lit a fire in the mud and burned us all. I got 4th. Mike pulled a 2nd in the MC field.
It was so nice that LMC had hoses and showers for us to use. Even though there were girls in the guys locker room. And remember kids, reset those Lefty needle bearings. And grease them too!
Justin, Elliott, and I headed out Saturday to do something EPIC. After doing Break Iron, Justin split to go be a good Med school student...while Elliott and I headed towards Aaron's Creek. At this point, with only 25 miles or so clocked, we were not nearly satisfied...so we decided to head to the PA state line and do a little exploring. It's at times like this you realize WV is a beautiful state. You just have to take the time to enjoy it.
At about mile 30, it happened. Elliott and I were cruising on the rail trail...having a good ol' time. Then, almost in sync with Elliott yelling, "On your left", a runner, who was using an ipod, cut in front of the both of us. CRASH. Actually, it was the wimpiest crash I've ever experienced. Elliott bounced off the runner and landed in a tree/some bushes. I bounced off Elliott and fell over. Everyone was ok. No scratches or scrapes, except maybe a few slight ones to our pride and bicycles. Oh, and both Elliott and I had our front wheels knocked out of true. Daaanngit. Thankfully we were only about a mile from pathfinder, where Andy and his crew saved the day.
After getting everything fixed at P, Elliott and I went home. Mostly we went home to eat because we were starving, but also to cuddle up close with our bicycles and ask for forgiveness for crashing them. Unfortunately, the epic ride turned out to be not so epic. Fun though, nonetheless.
We headed to W&M, 14 strong. VT had about 20, with VT upgrading a bunch of riders to A, ouch. W&M had some confusion with USAC about officials, but we were able to work it out for the weekend. The courses were VERY twisty, with lots of roots and tight gaps between trees. We took 1st through 4th and 6th in the TT in Mens A. Sunday’s XC was won by a VT rider who had been sandbagging in B all season. 2nd through 5th of the MA places were taken by WVU riders. In typical fashion, I exploded off the start taking the lead into the single track, with a WM rider right on my wheel, and a few VT riders in tow. I suck at twisty trail, but no one challenged me, thus began a 1.5lap “fun train” while I lead around 5 guys until I let David Henry pass me when he was able to ride a 2’ log. The fun train apparently derailed after that, but I wasn’t fast enough to see it. Liew ended up 4th and I got 5th in Mens B.
For the trip to VT, since Robbie was going, we were able to use the van from the awesomest bike shop in town, Pathfinder. We noticed some vibration on the way down, figuring it was a low pressure tire. After putting air in it in Flatwoods, that didn’t solve the issue. We then thought it might be an unbalanced tire. Not much we could do there. On the way back, after stopping at a mexican buffet, Robbie noted the vibration was very cyclical, and decided to drive around the parking lot while people looked for a cause. Chad at first thought it was a loose tie rod, but that didn’t make sense. A little further he noticed the front left tire was buldging. The tread had separated. We decided it would be better if we changed the tire in the safety of a parking lot than possibly on the side of the interstate. Robbie located the tools, and someone manned the jack while the lugs were loosened. We had some trouble figuring out how to get to the spare tire, but with a quick look into the owners manual we found out we needed a torx driver to get a safty plate out. Lucky for us, the Cannondale headtool has one, normally used for brake rotor bolts that fit perfectly! Within 15min, we had the tire changed and were loaded up and looking around for air. Ever try and pump a large tire to 70psi with a floor pump? Ask Bala what might happen.
Holaa..... School session rolled into week number 2. On Monday and for the next following Mondayssss, our club organized a group exercise called pylometric?pyrometric?or ploughmetric....Anyway, this pylo activity drew some attention to some club members including Bala, Jake, Duncan, Zerbe, Adam, Emily, Larry, and last but not least COACH AMBER. Coach Amber found a sweet spot for us behind Rec center near the pond but kinda in the "woods". We performed some warm up and then real pylo kicked in after that. Meanwhile, our potential women A rider, Emily, was too "into" this activity and had herself out of control and sprained her ankle pretty bad. One down, but pylo continue.... As you can see pictures below, it describes: Our rookie, Duncan is doing hardwork. Broken hand Jake: one handed to show off his awesomeness. Coach Amber the sexy "taken" lady. See that orange shirt guy on the backside of the grass? That's Balaji, cheating among groups Working Hard....Where is Larry Chet-Mun Elvis Liew?? .
Reminder, Party at bikeplex(2867-3 University ave), 9pm, 9/3, woot woot...