Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My favorite race series

Charlotte Sports Cycling, which is the local XC race series here in Charlotte has set their schedule for 2012. This series is one of my favorites and is better known locally as the "summer series". You get to know a lot of the local mountain bikers and it's friendly, yet really competitive racing. Neal Boyd, the owner of Charlotte Sports Cycling does a great job putting on this series and lots of other events in the area. We are lucky to have him and all that he does for the sport here in Charlotte. Thanks Neal! You can check out his events here: http://www.charlottemtnbike.com/
This year the series is changing it's format. Anne Springs, which is probably my favorite trail in the area is being added to the schedule. This is great news for me as I live 5 minutes away and know every single root, rock, and line at that place. It's got a lot of technical sections, which I love. I've been riding it about 100 days a year for 7 years now, so I 'd say I know how to go fast there if the "motor" is cooperating that day. Knowing and doing as it turns out can be two different things completely.

Don't let the name fool you, this is no greenway. I really like this trail mostly because it has a little bit of everything trailwise. There are plenty of roots and rooty sections to pick lines thru, some rocks, creek crossings, tons of twisty tight singletrack, flowy parts, some fun short down hills, tunnels that take you under the road, and even suspension bridges that move side to side and up and down as you go over them.

This bridge has dumped lots of riders in the creek and if your bars are not super narrow your gonna scrap those posts on the way in. For Charlotte area Anne Springs has decent climbing as well. Per lap the place has 805 ft of climbing and is roughly 9 miles long. Like I said, lots to like. This picture makes the tunnel look spooky, but I assure you it's only about 50 feet long and not a big deal - it's great to be able to go back and forth under the road.

Obviously I'm really excited about the addition of Anne Springs to the race schedule. April 18th will be the first race of the series and it'll be at Anne Springs so come out to race or to cheer on the all of us who choose to suffer. I'm hoping to do well, but there are some monsters in my class and I have no idea what sort of shape I'll be in come April? Here is the rest of the schedule for the summer.

Anne Springs Close Greenway
April 18
May 30
July 11
Fisher Farm Park
May 9
June 20
August 1
North Meck Park
April 25
June 6
July 18
Reniassance Park
May 2
June 13
July 25
May 16
June 27
August 8

As you can see the summer series rotates between five different trail systems that are located in and around Charlotte. You already know how I feel about Anne Springs, but I also really like USNWC which is better known as the US National Whitewater Center. Check it out  - HERE. While you are there you can do some  whitewater kayaking. Here's a shot of me last summer tearing up M-Wave:

I use one of my friends lines here - It's bigger then it looks in the picture. That's actually a good sized class III rapid. At any rate, back to mountain biking - I'll talk a little more about whitewater this summer when it's warmer. The trails at USNWC are really fun. There is some climbing out there that separates the men from the boys. You also get to watch the rafting disasters

Tune in later this week and I'll dive deeper into the summer series schedule to include a breakdown on the other 3 courses.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hoping to Survive

That's gonna sum up my race plans for the first race of the season. Just gotta survive it. After all it's 6 hours of riding a 13 mile loop over and over. Unfortunately for me, being on the injured reserve list so much the last 9 months has resulted in a huge loss of fitness. I'm not going to let it stop me from racing, but it will lower my expectations some in an endurance race. The course for this race is super fun. It's 13 miles, has a shit ton of berms, and a few big leg crushing climbs. There is a section that is like a giant pump track that seems to go on forever, it's miles long - super flowy. I'm going to enjoy riding it multiple times. There are not many technical features to the course so he who has the most fitness wins. I suspect that the light guys will be on the podium considering the climbs. It is definitively a big field:

On top of not being in shape, I signed up to race in the SS class. There are some studs in this class. Podium for me. Pffff, yeah right. Here are the results from 2011:

PosNo.NameLapsTotal timeDiffBest timeIn lapBest speed

Class Singlespeed Male
115Tim Finkel55:31:58.0211:06:28.030510.652
2217Luke Sagur55:39:33.6437:35.6221:06:53.956210.583
38Tim Anderson55:41:43.7999:45.7781:07:52.679210.430
413Rich Dillen55:44:24.48712:26.4661:06:51.738210.589
526Kelly Klett56:02:05.74830:07.7271:12:13.09439.804
625Noel Kirila56:04:27.65932:29.6381:08:25.029210.348
719Eric Hagerty56:11:55.84139:57.8201:14:09.60129.547
833Mark Sackett56:14:22.00642:23.9851:12:06.15359.819
914Ross Dowswell56:22:01.85750:03.8361:15:34.46039.368
1034Eric Sauer56:41:56.3921:09:58.3711:15:47.33529.342
1131Joe Pelton56:42:59.8581:11:01.8371:17:19.68929.156
127Mike Albert56:47:18.3821:15:20.3611:18:01.94829.073
1324Rich Kidd45:16:53.5731 Lap1:16:30.22849.254
1416Scott George45:34:29.97717:36.4041:13:05.21829.687
15244TJ Thomas45:44:41.87427:48.3011:17:02.17239.190
1623Matt Kicklighter45:56:06.56939:12.9961:23:16.51528.502
1728Daniel Lenis45:57:36.53640:42.9631:25:09.56028.314
1843Zeke Lilly46:08:11.27151:17.6981:25:46.88228.254
1941Joel Watson46:18:39.2661:01:45.6931:31:02.83627.776
2017Tony Greiner46:41:10.4181:24:16.8451:37:25.79627.267
2118Togie Gwyn46:45:57.3881:29:03.8151:43:15.99446.856
22247Chad McKenzie46:58:30.1281:41:36.5551:44:49.61226.754
2332James Pennington34:31:32.0882 Laps1:29:06.53227.945
2421Frank Hodel34:31:55.86923.7811:28:56.15127.961
2529Jay Lundi34:33:59.5082:27.4201:25:02.10228.326
2635Corey Scheip34:58:09.78126:37.6931:37:13.77127.282
2737Zachary Slaybaugh35:13:14.37041:42.2821:43:09.04826.864
2822Craig Hoyt36:17:21.4121:45:49.3242:06:56.15225.578
2912Fred Cothren36:38:04.7872:06:32.6991:59:35.04025.921
3010Jon Carmack23:00:30.1673 Laps1:29:50.43827.881
3111Matt Carroll23:44:31.26344:01.0961:54:58.22326.158
3227Scott Lee24:14:30.0581:13:59.8912:35:01.69924.567
339Jeff Blaser11:48:06.7924 Laps--:--:--.---1-
3430Mark Mitchell0--:--:--.-----:--:--.---0-
3536Lance Shelley0--:--:--.-----:--:--.---0-
3638Guy Spiher0--:--:--.-----:--:--.---0-
3739Mike Stanley0--:--:--.-----:--:--.---0-
3842Darrell Watts0--:--:--.-----:--:--.---0-

I suspect the fast guys will do 5 or maybe 6 laps this year - last year it was super muddy so the laps were a little slower then dry lap times. That's 65-78 miles in less then 6 hours. Not me, I'm thinking I'll shoot for 4 laps at 52 miles. That would be a win for me, and maybe put me in the top 15 or so - we'll see if I can keep the leg cramps away. There are a couple climbs that are gonna hurt on lap 2, 3, and especially lap 4. There are three good length climbs and one big one called "K2". The route looks like the pic below, just without the snow.

Maybe it's not that bad, but I bet on lap 4 it's gonna feel like it though! This is where the whole power to weight ratio comes into play. On the hills it makes such a big difference. I won't give away my weight - rather have the guys I race against regularly be surprised this spring. I will tell you that I've lost 15 pounds since Thanksgiving and I'm already below my lowest weight from last season. I'm on a role and I'm gonna keep it going. By June this year I'll be flying!

These long races are all about two things. 1.) pacing yourself and 2.) keep eating. The first is harder then it sounds. It's a race so in the start it's tough to go out slow on purpose. Your instincts tell you to hunt and chase people. There are other racers doing this race as part of a team so they will be taking turns and pinning it. You don't want to try and keep up with them if your riding solo or your gonna pay for it later, maybe not finish.  As for the eating, you need to also learn how many calories and in what form those calories come in during your training rides as well. Get either of these wrong and your in trouble. Of course, I may be tempted at the end of lap 3 to get an early start on the beer. One of these is gonna sound really good after 39 miles:

Of course I could just take a really casual view of the whole race and start drinking from the beginning. This system should allow me to stay hydrated during the race.

Reminds me of a joke I heard, something along the lines of "you know your a redneck when". In the meantime I'll keep trying to log some long rides in on the SS bike.