Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rattlesnakes & Leaf Peepers

Saturday saw the end of the Ultra series with the revenge of the rattlesnake. The race course took advantage of the trail up on Dolly Sods. I know it sounds crazy but I really had not had a chance to check out the riding up there since moving to Davis. However that changed when I spent yesterday morning up there taking photos of the race. The weather was not the best of days to shoot because we were in the clouds but every once in a while the clouds would part just for a second to see the beauty of that area. The leaves are really starting to change up here so that means it going to be sun up to sun down taking photos for me for the next week or two. After seeing everything that the sods have I plan on spending a good bit of time up there.

After about an hour of shooting in the sods it was off to the Plantation Trail area or Davis Loop road, what ever you want to call it. It was about 28 miles into the race and people were starting to look ruff. I wish the weather would have be a little more cooperative because I could have had some great photos but the rain kept coming and going.

At the same time as the race the leaf peeper festival was going on here in Davis. It also took a little hit from all the rain but it still kept the tourist busy with beer, music and food. I was able to snap a few shoots just before the 5k...

Stay tuned I should have some fall colors photos for you all soon. Just as long as the weather holds off.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I like bike!

Just like a kid on Christmas morning I've got a new toy and I super excited. I just got done building up my new bike! The new ride is a Cannondale F29 IFG. It looks like my other 29er but this one is a 32 x 20 single speed. As you can see it comes standard with a milk crate.

It's going to see a fair share of trail riding but I also plan on using it as my townie bike. Got to keep that carbon foot print low ya know!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get out the sun dress and big hats for polo!

So tonight Jason Cyr, Sarah Deacon, Matt Marcus, Jeff Melnick, the Gusho's and I took part in the first bike polo match in Davis. It was a blast! Even Jeff who had played once before and didn't like told me afterwards that it was great and would be back. That good considering him hit the ground way more then anyone else.

So it has been a week since my last post and that because it been a crazy last few days. Saturday I was in Clarksburg, WV for the Jerry Dove 5k run. This event took place on the FBI center grounds. I had to fill out all kinds of paper before hand because I was bring photographic equipment onto the property. Once I arrived on Saturday I was told that I was only aloud to take photos in a curtain area. What the hell they doing over there? Seems like more then finger print stuff to me.

Do we really need the guns and bullet proof vests for a 5k?

Running from the FBI

Then Sunday it was off to Kesson, WV for the West Virginia State Championship Road Race. Turn out was low with only 38 riders. I am not sure what the deal has been with Thad's races this year. He puts on good events and he is a nice guy?! Well I got roped into doing the timing for the race and photos had to take a back seat.

Then on Monday I was off to Summersville, WV to take photos of "The Animal Down River Race" This was the third year in a row that I took photos of the event and every year I dread the hike down to the river. One of the only good spots to take photos on the gauly river and to get to it you must go down a 1000ft from the overlook to the river. It is a straight up and down trail and one little slip would make it a very bad day. Going down is hard but coming back up is terrible. I am in better shape now adays with all the riding I have been doing, but that trail is so steep that you have to take a break every 30ft or so.

So that was my week. Not a very interesting post but oh well!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Push at Big Bear..

The weekend started on at 4:00pm on Friday for me. That was the time registration opened for the Big Bear Ultra. The rain was pouring outside and lets just say Friday's' registration was a little lite due to the weather. However 3 guys from Virginia did come in to sign up for the race and asked me the same old question I hear everytime it rains at a race. "Is the race still on?" The three must have thought I was an asshole because of the look I gave them.

After the Virginia guys left the WV Night Club guys showed up. Chris and Andy paid their fees and then headed out the door, but before exiting Chris said, "you coming over for the keg?" I knew the best thing for me would be to go back to my camp and get some sleep for the big ride the next day, but sometimes logic doesn't always prevail. After registration closed I found myself over at WV Night Club HQ. In the last week or so the Night Club has gotten some bad press for partying a little hard. Now a days I don't tend to drink all that much and stay up late. I did plenty of that growing up in Morgantown. However on Friday evening I found myself doing 3 keg stands (stated to be Ultra race training on Cycle Dumb Training)plus drank my fair share of Jagermeister and beer. At 2am it was time for me to head back to my camp and get some rest. When I finally crashed down in bed I half expected myself to just pass out, but then I started to think about the race. I was nervous now, and it was keeping from falling a sleep. I wonder how I was ever going to ride 50 mile of trail before tonight, and now that I am only going to get 4 hours of sleep I was doubly worried.

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning I finally fell asleep and awoke to the alarm at 5:45am. I would have loved to have hit the snooze bar and went back to sleep but registration opened in 15 minutes and I had to get down there and get ready. The folks over at Team Bi-atch gave me some advice on how to prepare for the race, one was eating a big breakfast. Well I really didn't have any food to eat for breakfast because of bad planning on my part. Thank goodness I was able to find a blueberry muffin and a bottle of Gatorade. It is not the breakfast that I was hoping for but it was least something. Registration was once again lite and sadly only 39 folks showed up for the race. I wasn't to surprised though do to the down pour of rain the day before.

After a few last minute people signed up for the race I had to get everything moved from inside the community building over to the finish line area and setup for the race. At most of the races this is a major pain in that ass because I don't get to warm up and I am a little stress about getting it done in time for the race. However this time is was a blessing because I didn't have anytime to think about the race and get nervous before the start. When I made it over to the starting line I got to hear a little of Mark's racer meeting then we were off.

Suck in that gut!

I watched as the others tore off down the trail and I was amazed. They started off much the same speed they would at a regular cross country event. I wasn't even think about going hard at all, if anything I rode the first 15 miles way to easy. My plan was to just go slow and finish. The first 8 miles to check point #1 I rode with a guy named Jim. He was not a technical rider and actually crashed in front of me a few times, but I always stopped and waited for him because he had rode in a few 100 mile events and kinda knew what he was doing. At the first check point I stopped to fill up my water bottles but Jim just kept going. I didn't need to stop but I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to top everything off. It only took me a 1/2 a mile to catch back up with Jim and once again found myself slowing my pace. It was another 8 miles to the next check point with a few miles being on new trail. I have to say I really hated the new trail. Not the kinda riding Big Bear is famous for. One mile from cp#2 Jim got a flat. I asked him if he needed anything but he said he was good. I was not going to wait for him any longer. I rolled in CP#2 felling good but I knew it was 16 miles to CP#3 some I put on my camelpack even though I can't stand wearing them. I usually drink 2 bottles of water every 8 miles so there was no way bottles would work for me. I also tried to eat a little at CP#2 but it wasn't so easy. After stuffing a few bites of trail mix in my mouth I was off.

Look at me sweating out the beer at mile 4

Things were going pretty well I didn't fell tired, my legs didn't hurt and the big thing for me was that my ass didn't hurt. At about mile 28 I started realize that I didn't remember much of the last 2 or 3 miles. That's weird I thought. The 16 miles from cp#2 to cp#3 was a long haul. I saw no one the entire time and a few times I had wished I would have slowed up for Jim. When I hit mile 30 I couldn't stop thinking about what I wanted to eat at cp#3. I can't remember if it was Gunnar, Betsy or Chris but one of them told me to pack pringles. OOOOO! Once that popped in my mind I was so excited. PRINGLES!!! Once I arrived at cp#3 I had been on the bike for 32 miles. At that point I was on the longest trail ride I have EVER been on. I have been on my road bike for 82 miles and even rode my mountain bike for 45 miles on a rail grade but this was all single track. As I sat down for a moment with my pringles in hand, I smile that I had made it so far. I was starting to get tired now but I was only had 18 miles left to go and I figured I could do it. On a side note, the aid station workers told me that a few people had mention how good my pringles looked when they hit the cp. I WOULD HAVE BEAT YOU WITH THE EMPTY CAN IF YOU WOULD HAVE EATEN THEM! LOL!

I took off from cp#3 felling pretty good but then something weird happened. I started to break down mentally. This next part my be a little hard for those of you who don't know me real well to understand so just bare with me. For the last few years I have had some major issues with anxiety and most of it has to do with my health, or thinking I am going to die. OK I know that sounds stupid but there ant much I can do about it. So I am riding along and I started thinking to myself, "am I over working my body", "maybe this will cause me to have a heart attack!". I know that sounds crazy and it is but that what was going through my head. My riding started to suffer as well. I was having trouble with every obstacle that I encountered. I also started think I was done and could not go on for another 15 miles. Considering I was in the middle of no where I had no choice but to just continue to petal. Then after another few miles the thoughts just disappeared as quickly as they entered my mind. How weird! I was once again felling like I was going to make it, and my mind which had been kinda blurry was clear.. Again how weird was that!

Rolling along at mile 30

I rolled into cp#4 with 38 miles of riding under my belt and was feeling pretty proud when I got to the cp because iPlayOutside founder Don Parks and Mark Schooley of Big Bear were both there. Mark said he was surprised at how good I looked because he said some people had looked terrible. I told him I felt good also but that I had a melt down a little was back but was ok now. Mark said well I closing the course. "What?, NO, I got to finish!" I told him. I think he was a little surprised that I wanted to continue because at that point I had been riding for 7 hours. Also when I told him I was planning on riding a few days before I could tell he didn't think I had a chance of finishing. In his defence I don't think he knew how much I been riding this summer and that I had stopped smoking. He then told me he couldn't let me go on. I was super sad. I still had to ride another 3 miles back to the finish area and that gave me a grand total of 41 miles on the day, but I was kinda torn about it. Yes I did just go out and ride for 7 1/2 hours (41 miles) but I failed to what I set out to do. Ohh well! Mark later said I needed to be 30 minutes faster and I could have finished. I pondered the rest of the night what would have happened if I wouldn't have followed Jim for the first 15 miles. Because in the last 26 miles I put over an hour on him.

Rolling into check point #4

After getting cleaned up I was walking around the parking lot just chatting with folks when Betsy spotted me. She was acting like she was up to something. Her and gunnar kept walking to their car and back to the community building, and they would tell me go here, then go there. I couldn't help wonder what they were up to. They finally decided on tell me to go back into the community build where they presented me with a large cupcake cake (6 cupcakes in a circle with ten pounds of icing on top). They said it was finishing my first Ultra (kinda "my words"), stop smoking and for some other stuff. I heart the Shogren's. It was really touched, but I think gunnar knows by now that I not big on compliments especially in public. I think he likes embarrassing me. I later found out that Betsy and Gunnar had to drive all the way back to Morgantown after they raced because they forgot the cake at home. Damn, then I really started to fill bad about not finishing.. Thanks guys that meant a lot!

So now it Sunday and I feel fine. I must say I am kind surprised. I would have thought I be pretty sore today, but I am hungry! I am writing this post in Sirianni's and eating a fat cheeseburger at the same time. I think this was the last race for my this year maybe going to do the Creek to Peak in a few weeks, but will see. However I am really starting to get addicted to competition again. It not that I want to try and beat someone, it has to do something with competing. Every time I complete an event I am filled with a big sense of accomplishment. So with that in mind I plan on putting time in on the trainer this winter and doing a fair bit of xc skiing this winter get in better shape for 2009.

Photos of the night before with the WV night club

Friday, September 12, 2008

I think I can, I think I can!

We tomorrow is the Big Bear Ultra race and I am thinking about trying it. The race is 50 miles long with 37 of it being single track and 13 dirty road. I thought I would have maybe a 25% chance of finishing the event but it would probably take me 9 - 10 hours. Well as I sit here at Sirianni's and eat my pizza I am starting to worry. The rain is coming down outside and it not really going to let up all weekend. oooo! The Team Bi-atch! as well as the WV Nightclub crew keeps telling me that I can do it but dowlt has entered my mind.. I am still going to line up at the start come tomorrow morning at 8am but who knows what will happen after that. So I just do as my favorite kids book say, I think I can, I think I can! Wish me luck!

Ps.. I forgot to mention I going for the rockstar award by racing in a regular xc race the day after! LOL!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Summer coming to an end!

Well this past weekend was the final race in the WVMBA point series and to be honest I am sad to see it come. I am coming off one of the best summer I have had in my life. The traveling, all the work and little to no pay would make most people sick of things at this point but hanging out with friends and getting to ride every weekend made it all worth it. I can't even tell you how many new friends I have made this year at the races. Many people have asked me if I plan on being Director of WVMBA in 2009 and I respond by always saying they will have to kick me out. I am sure someday I will not be as excited to jump in the car every weekend but for now I am happy do what ever I can for mountain biking in the state of WV. It late so I am off to bed but I want to leave you with some images from different 2008 WVMBA events and some randem photos of friends.

Some of the peeps from this year

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tucker County Landfill.

Since March 15 I have traveled almost every week. The porch to my house has turn into a place to dump camping gear, bikes, boxes of t-shirts, photography equipment and dirty clothes when I get back into town. The mound of stuff just continued to grow all spring and summer long to the point that it now. When I looked at it this morning I was just shocked at how bad I had let it get.

Look there is clean clothes hanging up. To bad you can't get to them.

It kinda looks like the house fell in

Even the dogs don't want to mess with it.

I bet Jimmy Hoffa is in there

What a dump right!? I started at 11am and it finish until around 6pm. The amount of stuff I can collect in six months is crazy. You all know what I am talking about. The stuff you will probably never us but it to good to throw away. What the hell you do with that stuff? Well it is clean now and I am happy!

You can see the floor!

I bet I'll be able to find stuff now

How pretty they look all hung up

Me so happy!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ride at 5! Sept. 4,2008

OK so I going to make a post about a ride again sue me! We had great weather tonight in Davis and around 28 folks showed up for the ride at five. I was actually surprised it wasn't around 35 people, it was BEAUTIFUL outside. After doing the 30 mile ride yesterday my legs were feeling less then perfect so I decided early that I was doing the B ride. I am so glad I made that choice. Gary, Sarah, Tom, Charlie, Melissa and I headed towards brown mountain with a comfortable pace. The chatter was heavy and the laughs were jolly. Once at the turn for Brown Mountain taril we headed up the hill and half way up we stopped to take a break and let everyone regroup. This was a pattern throughout the ride. Joking, laughing, ride, regroup. The point I am trying to make is that not every ride needs to be a dick swing, gear pushing, crack fest to be fun. We made our way to the Hoo-doo rock which is a pretty challenging section for about a mile or two and everyone on the ride did great. A few on the ride never do trails like that so it was nice to get them out there and cheer for them as we regrouped.

As we headed back towards town we ran into Carrie "I can crash with the best of them!" Hawkins and Mandy. I was happy to see Mandy cause she told me earlier in the week she would be off the bike for a while because of a crash a few days before. Mandy did show me the bruises on her legs. They ran from top to bottom of BOTH legs with some cuts thrown in for good messure. You look like a mountain biker Mandy!! Sweet! Carrie also was recovering from a crash that she took into the bushes a few weeks back. Well about that time it was starting to get dark so we headed back towards town. For those of you who don't ride here often there is one big rock one the way back that cause problems for most people. I myself only have about a 50% success rate on the rock. As we got to the rock Carrie was deteremined to meet her fear and get up that rock. Well right before "The Rock" she hit a different one and went over the bars hard! She just missed smashing her head on "the rock". I happened to be just behind her and it scared the shit out of me, but when I asked she said I am ok. What a tough girl. I would have layed there for a bit. Well I am happy to say we made it back to town and everyone is safe. I didn't see Carrie at dinner. Hope you ok! Here is the DPS information for the ride if you want to see it.

How about some faces to gowith the names! Sorry this is all I have for right now.
Carrie "Crash" Hawkins

Gary Bertti

Mandy Starr

Sarah "Your Momma's So..." Decon

Melissa Plus Rob