Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Down Time

I've got a gap in between races right now, so there's not much to report. However, I did receive this photo from Ryan Amirault from our day at the Firecracker 50.

It reminds me that you can check out more up-to-date Golden Race stuff at their Facebook page.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Super D-licious

Today was the first of two Super D races at Winter Park. The second one is part of Crankworx in early August, and today's race already has me totally pumped for it. 

But (take a deep breath, Marty) one thing at a time. 

For starters, leave it to Winter Park to design the climb-iest Super D around. The start goes up the resort access road for just over a quarter of a mile, which, I know, I know! isn't that long, but it takes an agonizing eternity when you're going balls out. And then, just to uppercut you when you're already hanging on the ropes, the course hits you with another substantial (for Super D) climb about halfway through. Naturally I fixate on the pedally bits, since that's not my strong suit right now, but of course there was plenty of downhill goodness to be had.

At any rate, I lined up with a surprising number of other women. Apparently the word has gotten out that Super D is pretty fun, because it was a huge improvement from last year, where FIVE women, total, showed up -- of all the categories. Now there were probably 15 women in my overall category. Sweet.

So I lay the Marathon on the ground and walked away. No, not bowing out...lining up for the goofy Le Mans start. Standing on a ski hill, staring uphill at your bike, which is lying on the ground like a dead horse, is one of the stranger sensations of bike racing. But anyway, the gun went off (finally, huh?) and I started to sprint. It's funny -- sprinting is my only natural ability, but it's pretty worthless when you can't capitalize on it. So I make a great start, passing people on the run and leaping on my bike with aplomb, only to have girls cruising by me like it never happened. Sigh.

But I refused to back down, cranking as hard as I could to limit my losses. But in spite of bleeding out my eyes, I still found myself at the back of a five-woman train, all held up by one slow chick ahead. With no place to pass for some time. We were tailgating each other for all we were worth, buzzing each other's tires and grabbing the brakes hard when the slow girl got scared by anything. Finally, the two women behind her got around, but there wasn't time for number three and I to shoot the gap. Arrrgh.

After more tailgating and internal steaming, #3 and I dash past. Liberation! But as luck would have it, we reached a fire-road section and another girl behind me made a pass before I could react. And lo and behold, the second climb arrived (cue soundtrack slowing into distorted, drawn-out guttural noise) and the damn slow chick made her way by me. Nooooo!

I gamely pushed as hard as I could make my hollowed-out legs go, and was definitely on the verge of hyperventilation. I was glad I was riding alone just then, because I was literally gasping and squeaking when I breathed. But that's what you gotta do to make Super D success happen, and I knew that. 

Descending again, I charged down the remaining portion of that singletrack, desperately aware that there was only one more passing spot before the finishing section. I hit the fireroad below and forced myself to downshift, even though I already felt like I was at my limit. I cranked past two women right there -- how, I have no idea. And as I dropped into the final section, I hauled through the rubble to re-pass Slow Chick. Hooray!! I can't believe I made A Significant Move in the last few minutes of a race. Kick ass.

I hurtled down the final switchbacks and water bars, almost at the edge of control, trying to make up time. It wasn't pretty. But it felt good, and I was super stoked. 

Turned out, in spite of my terrible climbing, that I pulled out a fifth place, less than a minute off the podium. Awesome. 

After learning that Rob hauled down a bunch of people after a similarly crappy start to place 2nd, my day was complete. 

We wrapped up the afternoon by taking a run down the Crankworx course, and it should prove to be a lot more fun. Probably more hotly contested by real gravity types, but blessed by less climbing. Giggity! What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Firecracker's Last Spark

A friend sent me a couple of photos from the race.... I'm laughing through the pain because he was yelling at me so loudly that it could be heard from the bottom of the climb. Drill sergeants everywhere should take note.

Thanks, Tom! And while I'm giving credit where credit is due, I should mention that a lot of the photos taken in my recent posts are by Rob Love, who manages to squeeze them in while wrenching on my bike, wrenching on everyone else's bike, wrenching on his own bike, setting up gear, reminding me of how much time remains until my start, etc. etc. He rules.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Firecracker 50

This race rocked the free world on a day to celebrate our fine country...what could be better?

Not much, but the day was certainly enhanced by the fact that the start/finish was officially GT Central. Rob, Ryan and I set up the Dirt Coalition Compound right next to the Demo Program, and the Golden Race Series folks were right next to that, rocking some tunes and polishing the Golden Bike for four-time winner Vincent Lombardi. This resulted in a six-tent city that attracted all kinds of people.

There were GT fans of all shapes and sizes:

Then Mick Hannah made his appearance. What a nice, laid back guy. I felt like he deserved just as much attention, if not more, than Vincent Lombardi, but he didn't seem to mind flying under the radar. These cross-country weenies don't know who he is, anyway.

Here, he checks out GT's new 5" travel bike, the Sensor, with Rob and Louis, the GT Demo Program go-to guy. Louis was super nice to us, helping us set up our tents, loaning us stuff, and going over my bike after the race. All I had to offer was chocolate chip cookies to go with his beer, but let's hope that was sufficient thanks.

Here's a close-up of the new rig. The suspension's been tweaked a bit; I wish I'd been able to test ride it after the race, but it was raining intermittently by then, and I was pretty cooked.

So after getting our setup dialed, Ryan and I started pressing the flesh.
The staging area at Carter Park was full of people, from runners who had just finished their race prior to our event, to families and friends of bike racers. It was great. Everyone had to scope out the Golden Bike and the Gold Digger cheerleaders, who could be spotted practicing their routines behind the tents.

But eventually, Ryan and I had to pose for one last photo before warming up for the big event. Ryan was doing the whole enchilada; Rob and I were each having a taco. Ha. :)

Rob was kind enough to give me the first lap, which means I got to start as part of Breckenridge's Fourth of July Parade. It was a madhouse down there.

Rob had intended to be my umbrella boy, but there was barely room in the crush of people to maneuver your bike, much less put up an umbrella. I found my wave, the co-ed Maverick Teams, and got in place. One last fun photo and we were off.

It was such a good time to ride through the walls of people and be part of the parade. Little kids stand out in the street in long lines, holding out their hands for high-fives. I made contact with as many little hands as I could, taking care to do so lightly. :) I even got a few tiny little dudes, hanging out in dad's arms. It was cute, and made for the mellowest race start I have ever experienced.

As I made the turn out of town, I heard a holler from a friend of mine, and it was great to begin the race with a friendly cheer. I started up the road and found that I felt pretty good. I was climbing well for me, which was a pleasant surprise. I took care to conserve some energy, though, since I knew it was going to be a long 25 miles.

Just as Rob described it, though, it was actually less taxing than last weekend's Winter Park race. Decent-sized stretches of this course went quickly, especially the descents, where I roosted off rocks and tree roots and got a grin on my face before the next climb. I also took my iPod for the first time ever in a race, which was the best idea I'd had all week. I only ran the right-side ear bud, so I could hear other racers and still enjoy the sounds of nature. But a steep descent with Tool's "Vicarious" as a soundtrack was one of the highlights of the race. Hell yeah! And by the next descent, a male racer I hadn't even been paying attention to said,"I definitely don't want to be in front of you on this downhill!" I had to take some small pleasure from that, since I knew I was climbing like a snail on quaaludes.

I pushed hard, for being recently injured and out of shape, and only stopped once. I was trying my damndest to make it in three hours, but just couldn't go any faster. I got some friendly cheers on one of the final climbs from a couple more friends, which was a welcome boost, and then finally started the twisty, switchbacked descent into Carter Park. It was a great finish to a really fun course, and I still felt reasonably human.

Rob snapped a quick pic of me crossing the finish line:

I tried to pass on some good energy to him, especially since it was starting to rain. But he looked amped and ready to go, rocking the pirate kit given to him by a buddy who used to work for GT's new relative, Cannondale. He told me to look for him in 2:30, and took off like he was shot out of a cannon. I got some lunch, washed the Marathon, put my feet up for a few minutes, and then at two hours I had a feeling. I bet Rob's feeling great, too, and will be faster than he thinks. I grabbed the Dirt Coalition umbrella, the camera, and hiked up the switchbacks. Sure enough, in about ten more minutes, Il Pirata made his appearance, rocking the pants off everyone else in the turns.

While we didn't have the world's best finish, seeing as how neither of us have been able to train effectively, we still had a fantastic time. It was great to actually feel good and work the course, rather than having it work us. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

Meanwhile, the Golden Bike has found a new engine. Vincent Lombardi suffered at altitude (plus he couldn't go to the next race anyway), so now the series lies in the hands of a Coloradoan. I'm supremely embarrassed to say I'm not entirely sure of this guy's name right now. I think it's Ryan Dorsey of Woodland Park. It's too soon for the Golden Race folks to have updated the GT site, and the Firecracker results are a maze of amateur categories that I can't wade through just now. But here he is getting the bling:

But with a graphic like this on the back of your jersey, the pressure is definitely on.

As for me, I will be making my next race appearance at the Winter Park Super D this coming weekend. I will be rested and ready to sprint up that damn hill for the holeshot!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Winter Park Series is a Go!

I skipped the hill climb two weeks ago in favor of training, so I began my yearly Winter Park campaign with the first mountain circuit. Here I am rocking the old-school t-shirt from my early days with GT:

You can see from the mud all over the bike that it was a good race. I always enjoy a race that has technical challenges, and that includes adverse conditions. It's my only hope against women that are faster than me but more tentative. :)

But first, we had to overcome a tent setup problem. When DC rider Ryan Amirault contacted the Winter Park people, an underling told him he couldn't set up in the start/finish because the tent would "compete with the current sponsors." Considering that we're a race team, not expo workers, we were frustrated by this. Yes, we're promoting GT, but we're doing that in the course of trying to race and being athletes. Being barred from the start/finish when every other race team was setting up there was definitely not cool.

So when we arrived, my man Rob and I went to seek out the race organizer, Jon, who has always been a very nice person and a patient, enthusiastic promoter. We explained that the tents are for a race team, and he said it was no problem for us to set up with the other teams. We just couldn't be next to the sponsor tents, which was fine.

On to the tent on the left, Ryan putting up his on the far end.

After talking to people and handing out a bunch of our blue Sport Beans (always makes the tent a popular spot!) we had to settle down to racing.

The course was a long-feeling 18 miles, with plenty of rocky, muddy, rooty singletrack. You had to push for every pedal stroke, for sure. In spite of that, the downhills were a blast, as always, and the Marathon felt like a million bucks. I made some girls that were younger than me nervous (finally I broke down and told them that I wasn't in competition with them) but that's about all I can brag about. My lack of fitness is still apparent, and Colorado is a tough place to be not-quite-in-shape. :)

But I had a great time, and got to talk to some more people about the bike afterward, so I consider the race a success.

I spent the next day doing lift-assisted downhill runs, working on my speed and skills for the upcoming Super D race in two weeks. FUN!! I hope to make a decent showing there, but since the Winter Park people can't resist starting their Super D up a steep access road, that puts me at a bit of a disadvantage.

Heck, maybe I should just switch to downhill racing. Especially with this beauty available:

Now I have a week to pull myself together for the Firecracker 50. It's going to be a crazy scene, with the GT Golden Bike Series there as well as the Demo Program. Sweet!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Buffalo Creek Radness

There's nothing quite like it for swoopy, pump-track goodness. I was definitely braaap-ing the flow state out there. Everyone in Colorado should go there at least once, if not constantly. :)

And thank god, a tiny hint of fitness was gotten by chasing some friends that had started a half-hour earlier. Not that my competitors should start shaking in their Sidis or anything, but it's a start.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lyons Fat Tire Festival

After hearing about how cool it is for a couple of years now, I finally made it to the Lyons Fat Tire Festival. It helped that the organizer, Redstone Cyclery, is my local GT dealer, so I was able to set up the tent there and turn some people on to the GT Comeback.

It was a record turnout for this little festival, which started nine years ago as a housewarming party for Redstone's owner, Dave Chase. This year, 90 people showed up to ride, party and hang out. I was able to meet a bunch of them, not only at the tent, but on the ride I did, which had 27 people in attendance. Nice!

Like many rides in Colorado, it started up a steep-ass forest service road, that led to yet more steep-ass forest service road.

But like pretty much every ride in Colorado, some sweet, sweet singletrack awaited.

It eventually turns steeply downhill, following a little creek, and gets fabulously rocky and technical. I love that stuff! Naturally, I was having too much fun to stop and shoot any photos during that section, but I got in one last one before the little climb back to the car.

The great thing about representing GT at a little festival like this one is that people are chill and there to have a good time. They're ready to chat and get to know each other and talk shop. They're not all bound up about their preparation and performance like they are at races. I think a number of people had a good impression of the bike and the brand, and that's what I'm here to do. Success!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Battle the Bear

Well, the first race for GT went without a hitch, I am happy to report. The tent went up without any problem and we got in right next to Dan Porter from Fort Collins.

The rad blue artificial turf for our cosy floor looks great, but I'm a bit chafed that the guy put in charge of getting the GT logo on it completely dropped the ball, even though he had almost a month to pull it together. I have to start all over in finding someone to make me a stencil so I can get the logo on there.

The carbon Marathon, dubbed Leonidas (I can't help naming my bikes) got quite a bit of attention. People came by the tent to scope it out, and people talked to me about it while I was warming up. It's a great bike; I'm very pleased with it.

I'm less pleased with my fitness. But I can't help the fact that I have not been training as much as I'd like. My back injury is just not resolving in the manner I had hoped. Seven months in, and I'm still having pain pretty much every day. It's a buzzkill, for sure.
I haven't ridden my mountain bike for 30 miles yet this year, much less raced for that long, so I didn't really expect to do well. Sure enough, I was 4th out of four.

I don't really understand what's going wrong with the women's fields in Colorado lately; it's strange that there's only a handful of women racing in a state where everyone rides a lot.

But regardless of that, I got through my three ten-mile laps with minimal pain and totally dug the course. The bike performed beautifully and I was very happy to be out there.

I hope that by my next race on June 13th that I will have some resolution to my injury.

On a side note, I wish you could see an actual bear at this race. It would certainly make everyone ride faster.
I did, however, see a snake. It was sunning itself on the trail, and since I have a strange attraction to snakes and frogs, I had to stop for a quick second to check it out and shoo it off the trail. It was huge; I think it had no idea its tail end was still hanging out there in the line of fire.
I could have bunny-hopped it, but I'd have felt really bad if I missed.
Just because I was getting slaughtered myself didn't mean I needed to take out another innocent creature. :)

However, I must say that I'm in an insanely fast category right now. The 40+ women were the fastest ones out there. I got some work to do!

Monday, May 04, 2009

At Last!

I apologize for the internet silence here, but Mother Nature has been perversely uncooperative with my need to ride my new bike.

I still can't believe that some people have won races on their bikes and I've just barely now ridden mine. But that's what spring in Colorado is like.

And to be fully honest, I was also waiting on these rad frickin' wheels. It's a match made in heaven!

And then it was time to hit the trail. 

The bike feels good, but I'm considering taking it to Push Industries to have the suspension customized. Seeing as I'm only 120 pounds, those components were not set up with me in mind. The ride's a little harsh right now, but I know with the right tweaking it can be perfection.

The first race of the season is in Denver this weekend. I'm stoked to get GT Central set up with fellow Dirt Coalition riders Joe (Durango) and Dan (Fort Collins). I'm just training through this race, since my back injury is still causing problems, and the fitness I'd hoped to have at this point has yet to materialize. But an MRI later this week will hopefully provide some answers. 

In the meantime, come by the GT tent to scope out the bikes, chat us up, and grab some free Sport Beans!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Golden Bike Race Series

It starts tomorrow at Sea Otter...keep your eyes peeled here for the results of this first hardcore smackdown involving all things gold.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Finally, The Tent

I'm probably the last of the DC riders to get my tent up and running, but mine was damaged in shipping, so I had to wait for a replacement. It goes up quick and looks good! I'm already busy planning my race setup...wait until you see my "floor!" (Details to come...)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

One More Addition

Anything to keep me interested while I'm stuck doing this:

(Homer Simpson voice: "Bor-rriiiingg!!")

But it's certainly better than nothing, I'll tell you that. And we'll have some warm, dry weather back here soon. 

And for anyone who's interested, the name stickers can be had by contacting Victory Circle Graphics in Golden, Colorado.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

New Bling

The latest addition to my sweet ride. If this doesn't shame me into riding faster, I don't know what will.

I've got five weeks until my first race, and Jim Thomas of Texas already has a podium under his belt. Those folks at sea level have got it made for early season racing. Congrats, Jim!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Go-Fast Machine Has Arrived

Damn. This thing is RAD. Can't wait to rumble in the jungle with this beast. Thanks, GT!

It figures that a foot of snow arrived at the same time as the bike, so I can't even ride around the block, much less on the trails. Sigh.

Well, it gives me ample time to swap out the tires. I'm sold on Maxxis Ignitor 2.1 for Colorado riding.I love the Maxxis website description of these:

"The Ignitor tread pattern was designed for the most discerning professional racers and already has laid claim to multiple World Cup victories."

Well, ALL RIGHT. Giggity!

I'm one of those racers who knows I'm light-years away from any World Cup victories. I just prefer the whole racing experience to be fun. No matter where I end up in the results, I want to savor every piece of trail. I want to pump every roller, manual off every root and ledge, rail every loose corner, and get the proverbial bugs stuck in my teeth at the bottom of every descent. And for that reason, I choose to race the longest-travel bike I can manage, and run big fat (by cross-country standards) juicy tires. I do my best to get enough fitness to offset the weight difference, but if that fails, so be it. You will never find me getting jackhammered around on a hardtail with skinny tires out here in the Rockies. Not that there's anything wrong with running a hardtail here, but it just doesn't trip my personal trigger.

Besides, I will always be a better descender than a climber, and it makes sense to capitalize on my strengths. The race wins I've had so far have been in Super D, so I gotta stick with what works. :)
Anyway, besides trying to carpe-diem the heck out of local races, I'm doing this to make the world recognize the radness of GT. Word.

As soon as the snow melts, I will get this rig out there and actually Ride More, Talk Less. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Lance's Bike, Now This

(From Bike Radar...written by my pal James:)

Stealing this bike seems like a waste of time. I mean, seriously. Steal something you could actually ride or sell. This thing is more noticeable than Rush Limbaugh at a gay pride parade. 

And of course, it's just a crappy thing to do. Come on, punk...give it back so a hardworking amateur racer can earn it the real way. 

Saturday, March 21, 2009


While Boulder is known for its Naked Bike Ride, you will not see me on it. Sorry. The chafing really detracts from the experience. And anyway, I have rad clothes to wear now:

Unfortunately, I got sent guy-size/style T-shirts (my name probably threw them off, just like it does with the folks at Playboy Magazine - stop bugging me! I'm not subscribing!), so I won't show off the casual wear until my girl-style shirts show up. 

To add to the delays, my rad tent was damaged in shipping, so I have to wait for parts to arrive before I can get it going. The tent folks were super cool to deal with, though, so no worries. 

At least my umbrella's here. This thing is pro! Hey, where's my half-dressed, Euro-trash umbrella boy

Oh. You have to pay extra (a LOT extra) for that perk. Plus you end up with spray tan and cologne all over your umbrella. Well, I guess I'll just sucker some nice American racer dude to hold this over me at the Super D start lines.   :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

FedEx on Overdrive

Well, the GT Dirt Coalition team has been finalized. Huge congrats to everyone. To see the whole list of racers, visit the DC blog.

I'm stoked to see that there's a good group of us from Colorado, and I hope to meet the others at some events. Come to the Firecracker 50! The Golden Bike Race Series will be there at the same time, so this could be GT Central.

And I just got an email saying that the bike, tent and welcome kit are on their way. When I think about all this stuff going out to all these riders, I am kind of blown away by the effort GT is making to bring themselves back. It's a mission I'm proud to be part of, since I spent several years racing and logging the epic miles on an old-school I-Drive Pro that I loved.

I tried to tell everyone what a great bike it was, and I was always surprised at how fickle people were. They were often down on the bikes just because GT was owned by a company they didn't like. Or maybe they "heard" that the I-Drive suspension was full of problems and you could never get parts, yada yada yada. Granted, GT definitely was underground at the time, and I was forced to buy a bike on the internet because the closest dealer was in Vail. But I never had a single problem with my bike in three years of hard riding and racing.

And now, I get to fly the GT flag again, this time on a carbon Marathon. Sweet! I gotta say, I was hard-pressed to not choose the carbon Force. Six inches of travel at 26 pounds??

Hell yeah! But I restrained myself. The suspension's so plush that even the 4" Marathon will feel great for Super D racing.

I race a mix of cross-country and Super D, and I'm really excited about the growing trend in longer, more enduro-style Super D racing that's emerging. Ashland's got a popular one, and of course there's Downieville. As for Colorado, Keystone's old Super D was like that, but since they've done away with it, I hope some other promoters get on the bandwagon. We'll see. Maybe by next year, if I can convince GT to take me on again, that Force will have a place in the garage.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fun Vids

If you need some worktime diversion: Just don't cackle so loud that you get busted by your boss.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In Other GT News

The GT-sponsored Jelly Belly team is getting busy at the Tour of California. I am there shooting photos for Mavic, but I took the time to scope out the GT guys during the Prologue.

Candy and bikes. Not a bad combo at all, in my book. We'll see how it all shakes out when this race is over on the 22nd.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Back!

Sorry for the internet silence; I've been busy maintaining a community mountain bike blog for the Daily Camera here.

But now it's time to resume here too, because I am now officially a part of the GT Dirt Coalition, and that means something seriously cool to blog about. Sweet!
I get to race a carbon Marathon, set up a GT tent at events, and scheme up cool ways to show people that GT has still got it going on. I'll be blogging about my experiences, and since I'm doing some new races this year in addition to my old haunts, it should be rockin'.

Here's some starting fodder:

My ride:

And last but not least, GT's Golden Bike promotion is pretty rad. I'll be seeing that drama unfold right in my own backyard, at the Firecracker 50. Giggity!