Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I am not an NFL safety

I learned this Friday morning. We stayed in a hotel on Thursday and I met the manager, a former semi-pro linebacker. Get this, his last name was Blocker! Great guy and in sick shape. I got antsy and football made me think of running stairs.

So I did what any other 36 year old former "athlete" would do....put in my time. I did all 7 flights in combos of single stair speed drills to the top, then back down, every other stair for power. Then I went for my final set of 3 step explosive stairs. I made it 6 of the 7 flights and was cooked. I kept at it doing a few plyometric jumps with both legs, 3 steps at a time.

I felt wobbly, but so excited to kick my own butt. The next morning is when reality stepped in and my legs refused to work. It's Tuesday and they're still sore to the touch, but I'd love to do it again. To loosen my legs up, SundayI did a quick climb up to Pinners Cove and down Merrells Cove on the road bike. Man, I wish I could find a DH trail down one of those two ridges to shuttle!!!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crack the seal on the season

Probably should have written this earlier, but I find no joy in telling the world (all 1 of you reading this) that I sucked bad at the first real DH of the season. In the past, I've always had more natural ability on burlier courses, but this time was way different.

Massanutten is all about the first straight pull. I lolly gagged off the start, then threw down the power on the gravel road that is this race's defining element. Crank it and then flow your run and you post a good time, plain and simple.

But was I in for it! I cranked it out and laid down the power, popped up the little bank and then from there on it was a nightmare. My arms were rigid like after a 30 minute moto on a KX125. Legs were fine but I could not hold a line in any of the straight forward turns or keep it tracking straight on the bumpy straight aways. I'd turn a few cranks of the pedals and then plow like a 2.5" wide bulldozer, kill my speed and use a good 2 different lines in a turn....just awful.

My body didn't loosen up until I hit the speed trap and I was able to blast the last section. It was almost anti-climatic to see Mueller. I knew it meant he'd thrown it all on the line and either blown off course bad or flatted. You just never want to see a racer put it all out there and not be able to finish strong.

I had a fun time though and met lots of riders new to the sport. My retinas got burned a few times by guys who suddenly are OK wearing full moto kits again (thank you World Cuppers for that trend). Bleach is the order of the day. I just don't get how guys can dig pedaling around in 80 degree heat and a jumpsuit. In BMX, long pants are required. In moto, they're necessary. In DH, it's just silly.

Anyway, I'm headed to the Turner demo this weekend and a date with the new DHR I've got reserved. More on that later!

God Bless!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rainy Day shuttles

After a fun filled evening of Cassidy's team whalloping the ball (4,5,6 yr old coach pitch) Friday, they headed off to grandma's house Saturday. Ryan had studying to do and I got a last minute call in to latch onto a shuttle.

And, oooooh what a shuttle it was. I've gotten to ride so many trails since I started back in '93. To be shown a new shuttle in a place I should have tried out years ago is a shame in one way and a total thrill in another. Complacency breeds boredom and new trails are more exciting than any other kind of riding there is.

We rode all morning (early start was awesome) and I rode my trail bike with XC tires. That was a little bit of a mistake since I flatted twice, but both came at the bottom of the trail, so it was all good. I should have put DH tires on, but see above note about the early start as to why I forgot. All in all, I rode with 4 guys I've never met before, saw one MASSIVE pile of bear poo, fell on my head on flat ground once and got 3-4 pounds of mother earth in my gear in a steady, jungle type drizzle on great trails.

Topped it off by showering up, taking Ryane to dinner at Stir Fry Cafe www.stirfrycafe.com and some awesome green curry Thai chicken and possible the worst movie I've seen in a long, long time Personal Effects (dramatic staring movie). Hah hah!!

Just an awesome day! God Bless!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Easy pedal up...LAME ride down!

Got to Bent Creek around 6pm last night, parked at Hardtimes and headed straight for 5 Points. I took my time, planning on really mashing and sprinting on the way back down either Greens Lick or SideHill to Wolf Branch. I debated hitting Greens Lick, but I missed dinner with my little girls the other night, so I took the short route down Side Hill.

Straight out the gate from 5 Points, I got some really good hang time in the air and kept my speed checked. It's REALLY grown up and narrow up top. At the last piece of the steep, I pulled up and cleared the last little hump to backside and transitioned all the way down the bank clean. I was so excited and stood up to sprint out of the first dip and around the curve.

PLINK!!! My pedal just snapped the spindle like it was made by Willy Wonka in the candy cane kingdom....bummer. I had to coast straight back down to the car. Had some dangerous one footed drifts on the gravel was all.

I was kinda bummed and said hello to Van Rogers of SORBA, got to hear a guy's little girl snoring like a chainsaw in her bike cart and helped re-direct a guy who's not ridden in 4 years directions up to his "favorite" ride....5 Points. Plus, the guy with the little girl pointed out that at least I didn't get hurt when it broke.

So, all in all, I lost out on my ride, but I helped a guy and got reminded of the positives of my pedal breaking at an opportune time, rather than if I'd decided to make my girls wait and hit the dozens of high speed jumps on that same pedal.