Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Say goodbye, say hello

It's not the only change in team members we've had recently (and we'll be updating our reader(s) on our new teammates as cross season approaches), but a couple notes.

The mighty Sam Bell, last year's Best New Rider, has oddly decided to put her education above amateur bike racing and has absconded to Adelaide, Australia to take cute pictures get a degree in underwater Archaeology.

We'll certainly miss her, of course, but wish her the best with her new furry friends...

All is not lost, however, with our recruitment of Angel Gabarino (who was Krishna's partner at So No Mas). Angel is an accomplished adventure racer, and her race reports make mine look like tweets (although, of course, her races last 72 hours, so there's a lot to write about).

Welcome Angel!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some pictures from Downieville



Chris (who got 4th in Beginner 35-44 Men)



Monday, July 13, 2009

Downieville Classic

Short version: Mediocre, but no crashes. 58/89 in sport XC 35-44 at approximately 3:06

Long version: After blowing up spectacularly preriding two weeks before, I was hesitant. Fortunately, it was not 95 degrees out this time. As we took off, I realized that when I'd had a flat the last time I rode this bike, I'd just pumped it up enough to limp back to the car. Because I am a moron, I'd not checked the pressure before I started. I bottomed out my back tire a half-dozen times on the climb. Fortunately, I never pinch-flatted. The plus side of that was that I had awesome traction all the way up. I paced myself (perhaps too much) up the climb, but made the top in pretty good shape. Our team-only aid station at the top ran with NASCAR-like efficiency. I got my tire pumped up, a new bottle, and a lube job and was on my way in less than a minute.

As I headed down the first stretch of single track on Sunrise, I heard "hey, did you ride Napa a couple weeks ago?" When I agreed that I had, I heard "I was the guy you were duelling with the entire time." It was Dan, whom I'd beaten by 3 seconds at Skyline. Once we hit the next stretch of fire road, I left him behind.

Most of the way down was uneventful. My too-small bike started to cause my back to crunch up pretty much by the start of the extended downhill section, and the combination of that with riding a hardtail made most of the descent pretty painful. The thing about Downieville, though, is that if you're gonna do it, you've got to commit. So I rode plenty of stuff that without the mental momentum would have had me walking on many rides. I wasn't going that fast, though, being underbiked, and I ended up pulling over a half dozen times to let people go by. I did start to suffer a little cramping here, but oddly enough, it was in my arms, from wrestling with the bars trying to coax my hardtail down the rocks. I also stopped halfway down to drop off a CO2 cartridge to someone who needed one.

I was feeling pretty bad by this point

As I entered the very last section of singletrack, I heard "hey, it's my friend from Napa" behind me. Now, given where we were in the overall scheme of things it wasn't a huge deal, but I think it was still a mistake for him to have said that, because I proceeded to bury myself. The singletrack ends with two shortish climbs and then a quick downhill drop. I only remembered the first climb. I hammered up the first incline, only to turn a corner and see the last uphill section. After spending that much effort getting away from my rival, I was damned if I was gonna let him catch me. I started chanting "Must. Not. Die." as I slowly turned the pedals over working to get up that last hill.

Onto the pavement, finally, and I was feeling a little confident. There were a couple little rises which almost did me in, but I was able to struggle to the finish, beating that guy Dan by a whole 7 seconds this time. I was pretty damn wrecked, though. I lay around for more than an hour, too nauseous to do anything but sip water and hope that my body finally figured out it was done.