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i worship Mr T
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The forecast was for scattered thunderstorms in Ducktown, TN – the closest town to the Ocoee White Water Center, home of the 1996 Olympic white water kayaking venue and race #5 of the SERC mtb series.

The majority of the SourceBURN Factory Team bailed. Something about not wanting to drive 12 hours round-trip to race in the rain. Sissies. But Ed & I, heretofore to be known as Team Eternal Optimists (aka Team Dumb & Dumberer) knew the forecast had to be wrong.

I had done everything to gaurantee it wouldn’t rain: I packed all my rain gear, I didn’t clean my bike or wash my car, I brought only black cycling socks, and I tied plastic grocery bags over my saddles for the drive up. I was prepared for rain, therefore it would be beautiful and sunny. Right?

It was grey and drizzely as we made the 90 minute drive from Atlanta up to TN on Sat. to pre-ride, but it was warm and here & there blue sky could be seen. Hope springs eternal.

The course is 11 miles –either straight up or straight down.nothing particularly technical, just up or down. Our pre-ride couldn’t have been more perfect. The weather was clearing, the humidity was dropping, and aside from 2 mud holes the trail was in perfect condition. We patted ourselves on the back for being so smart as to ignore the forecast.


ok, so this isn't from this weekend but it sorta looked like this

We pre-rode, we ate, and we went to bed early. The alarm went off at 6am and we woke up to…………….A MONSOON!!


this is actually a pic from WVa, and we didn't see any cows but other than that, it looked a lot like this

When it wasn’t raining, it was pouring – coming down in sheet, raining cats & dogs, I’m sure a hurricane couldn’t have been far away.


well, maybe it wasn't quite this bad

The rain slowed as we left for the trailhead and picked up again as we parked. By the time we started at 9:45am I was soaked through. But at least it was warm and I knew dehydration wouldn’t be a problem.

Apparently a little hurricane didn’t deter the Women’s Expert/Pro field. 13 women lined up to start and every single one of us finished. Not a single DNF (which is a lot more than I can say for all the delicate flowers in the men’s expert field!!). These are some hard-core women!!

I got a great start. I was 3rd behind an expert girl and one of the pros, Lisa, as we hit the first climb. It was pouring but the trail was in decent condition. We climbed and I felt good. I was right on Lisa’s wheel as we closed the gap between us and the girl in the lead. We caught her and Lisa said ‘on your left’. We both passed and I kept going past Lisa. I wanted to make it to the top of the climb and the 1st singletrack descent with as much of a gap as possible. I knew Lisa would eventually pass me. She starts slow but once she gets going she’s gone. I thought if I could get a good gap on everyone else I could stave off the inevitable for at least a little while.

I hit the 1st singletrack descent with the lead and a small gap and promptly went down in the mud on the 1st turn. Ooops. I picked myself up and pedaled on. It was still pouring.


yeah, i borrowed this off another site but it conveys the mood

A little later I hear Lisa behind me, “Keep pushing we’ve got a gap!” I kept pushing. The leaders in the men’s Sport field caught us and passed. A little while later Lisa passed me. I hung on her wheel briefly but there’s a reason she’s a pro and I’m not!!

The rain continued. I was alone and in 2nd place. Another Sport guy passed. Then a few minutes later 1 more. Women’s Expert was only doing 2 laps (reduced from 3 because of the weather and trail conditions). I felt good and began to think, ‘hey! I might be able to pull off 2nd!!’ Note to self: chickens…before hatched…counting – yeah, bad idea. Because that’s when I hit the descent.

For someone my size I descend pretty well (or as well as 105 lbs can carry you down a hill. I’ll never win a down hill coasting contest though!). Especially on a fast, non-technical course like this one. When it’s not raining………and the trail is dry………and my brakes work………and my tires hook up………and the planets, sun, and moon are in proper alignment. I hit that descent and suddenly discovered that I had no traction, very little brake power, and no control. I mean zero! I was everywhere, all at the same time. If I got enough weight back to keep the back wheel biting in, the front tire was skidding everywhere. Conversely, if I put enough weight forward to get control over the front weel I was too far forward, the rear of the bike slid around, and I was in danger of going OTB. If I centered my weigh both tires slid in all direction simultaneously. I had to slow down.

I concentrated on controlling my descent and got passed as I hit the fire road part of the descent. Ok, 3rd place is fine. I like 3rd.

The descent ends on a steep gravel road with a sharp right turn, a little more dirt road, and then a long paved straightaway back through the start and feed zone to begin the next lap.

As I hit the gravel descent a handfull of die-hard specatators were cheering. I looked ahead to the sharp right and bagan to brake……….I mean, BRAKE. ACK!! No brakes! BRAKE!! Come on, BRAKE! NOW! The spectators were cheering “You’re doing great! Keep it…” Suddenly, my front brake remembered its function and, to my dismay, I promptly endo’ed. The spectators stopped cheering. “Uh……You’re 40 seconds back…” I had hit the heel of my hand hard on a rock and smacked the inside of my right leg with the frame of the bike. Ow. “Uh……Are you ok?” I scrambled to disentangle myself from the bike and with an “I’m fine.” got back on and continued.

The rain had finally stopped but the wind was picking up and the temps were dropping – just like the weatherman predicted. Go figure. I was glad we were only doing 2 laps.

I came through the feedzone to begin my 2nd and last lap in 3rd place. I still felt good and had high hopes. I climbed well but with the end of the rain and the start of the 2nd wave of racers (now ALL the competitors were out on the course) trail conditions were quickly deteriorating.

My tires hooked up well on the climbs and I spun along. And then I hit the singletrack and the 1st descent at which point I discovered that I no longer had any braking power at all. None. Zilch. Nor did I have any traction. My Pythons climbed well but failed miserably in the descents and even on the few flat sections. I was without brakes, traction, and control. The final long descent promised to be ugly.

Suffice it to say that it was as ugly as I imagined. My brake cables were so gummed up with mud that it took all 4 fingers on each hand to pull the levers (not comfortable considering the endo related bruise coming up on my righ tpalm) and pulling the levers resulted in minimal reduction in speed. I was as cautious as possible and got passed. A lot.

Coming in along the the paved straightaway I saw 2 girls ahead of me. I pushed it into the big ring and went hard, hoping to catch them before the finish. The course ends as it starts, with a sharp right turn onto and over a wooden bridge that crosses the river, and then a slightly less sharp left turn off the bridge and onto a gravel road. Only ½ the bridge is open for racers and the turn is tight.

I am within 8 feet of the girl in front of me as we approach the turn to the bridge. She slows and cuts a tight turn. I go to slow and NOTHING HAPPENS! I’m going too fast to make the tight turn and I swing wide heading directly toward a course marashall and the railing that prevents people from falling over the side onto the boulder & concrete lined bank of the river 10 feet below. WHAM! I slam full speed into the railing nearly tossing myself over, yelling obsceneties as I go.

Fortunately I do not go over the rail nor does my bike (though I briefly consider picking it up and doing a huffy-style toss). I apologize to everyone for my language and say ‘no brakes’ as an explanation as the course marshall and everyone within sight asks if I’m ok. I’m fine. I just want to get back on my bike and pedal the last 50 feet to the finish.

My 2nd lap took 10 minutes longer than my 1st and cost me 7 places. I finished 10th and joined the legions of other racers wading in the cold river water to remove at least 2 or 3 layers of mud before shivering my way into dry clothing.

Congratulations to Ed for overcoming mud blindness and finishing 5th in Senior Expert, and to Z for hammering out the 2nd half of his last lap stuck in the big ring and finishing 2nd in Expert 30+. Many thanks also to Tony for doing feed zone.

As usual many thanks to the following: SourceBURN team & Energy Drinks (www.sourcedrinks.com) – you guys were wise to stay home!; Team 180’s (www.180s.com) – that polypro came in handy once again; Outback Bikes ([email protected]) – see you guys soon for new cables, housing, and brake pads; and Hayes Brakes (www.hayesbrake.com), boy do I wish I had disk brakes on my hardtail!!

rt
 

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Ouch!

Great job hanging in there *rt*, despite what sounded like tough conditions and a complete lack of braking capacity. (where are the disk brakes???) I cringed at the description of the last "slam" there...... I also got some good chuckles from the borrowed and stand-in imagery! I don't know why, but I kept on guffawing for a few minutes there. Maybe it's the sunny & 70's weather just outside the office here, making me insane. I dunno.

Once again, your resiliency impresses. I have grown very used to DRY riding, and when it rains here, I'm a super wimp.... You're way tougher! I did ride up to the ski basin here (16 miles up, roughly 3000' climbing) in a sleet/snow storm two weeks ago (can you say COLD descent???)! But I hate taking out the mtbike when there is the slightest chance for muck, moisture or goop. You know, my Blur is so sensitive, just like me!

What's next on the race calendar?
 

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Yuk, that sounded miserable...

...reminds me of the GAP race in Helen, Ga. last year, but worse. Well, look on the bright side, you didn't lose a water bottle this time out... ;) Better luck next time!
 

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Doesn't that first picture come standard with MS Windows Millenium?

j/k

As always, great writeup. Didn't you post something a while back about removing your Hayes and putting on the Vee's?
*Sigh* puny humans think so small....
 

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*rt* said:
I had done everything to gaurantee it wouldn’t rain: I packed all my rain gear, I didn’t clean my bike or wash my car, I brought only black cycling socks, and I tied plastic grocery bags over my saddles for the drive up. I was prepared for rain, therefore it would be beautiful and sunny. Right? rt
I suspect sobotage. I mean, nobody in his or her right mind would deliberately use Pythons in the rain, right? I mean, not twice, anyway. I think you should find whoever did that and kick his or her ass.
 

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Remember *rt* 10th is really

1st with a badly placed zero at the end. Great race, great write up! Jim
 

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Wasn't that first pic one of Looking Glass Rock?
Great write-up.
 

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I was thinking the same thing! :-D

TrailBurner said:
Doesn't that first picture come standard with MS Windows Millenium?
But either way... congrats on finishing *rt*! Man, that race sounded absolutely brutal. Your narrative and wit are as entertaining as always. Great stuff... ;)

... so when does the Dean come back in service?
 

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i worship Mr T
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Discussion Starter #10
thanks glen!

glenzx said:
Great job hanging in there *rt*, despite what sounded like tough conditions and a complete lack of braking capacity. (where are the disk brakes???) I cringed at the description of the last "slam" there...... I also got some good chuckles from the borrowed and stand-in imagery! I don't know why, but I kept on guffawing for a few minutes there. Maybe it's the sunny & 70's weather just outside the office here, making me insane. I dunno.

Once again, your resiliency impresses. I have grown very used to DRY riding, and when it rains here, I'm a super wimp.... You're way tougher! I did ride up to the ski basin here (16 miles up, roughly 3000' climbing) in a sleet/snow storm two weeks ago (can you say COLD descent???)! But I hate taking out the mtbike when there is the slightest chance for muck, moisture or goop. You know, my Blur is so sensitive, just like me!

What's next on the race calendar?
the conditions were brutal and i'm pretty glad i survived! ;) the disk brakes were on my Dean (the FS) but the Dean is currently sitting in a heap on the floor waiting to have most of its parts stripped off so it can go back to Dean for some re-working.

heheh. the stand in imagery was the best i could do. it was raining too hard to take any pics and i was too unenthused about racing in such lousy weather that pics would only have shown me looking like a pissed off & dejected drown kitten!

i would have killed for dry anything. my bikes currently despise me. :rolleyes:

next race is in 2 weeks. last year the conditions for the race matched the conditions from this past weekend. hopefully this year will not be a repeat.......and even if it is there are no really long descents on the course. on the other hand, there is a whole lot of snot-slippery when wet carolina clay.

rt - doing a good weather dance for the next 2 weeks!
 

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i worship Mr T
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Discussion Starter #11
lol!

TrailBurner said:
Doesn't that first picture come standard with MS Windows Millenium?

j/k

As always, great writeup. Didn't you post something a while back about removing your Hayes and putting on the Vee's?
*Sigh* puny humans think so small....
photo credit for the first pic goes to yankeeheel. pic was taken last june in Pisgah.

thanks!! yep. i took the disks off and put my xtr v's back on. dumb. dumb. dumb!

rt
 

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i worship Mr T
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Discussion Starter #12
thanks randy!

®andyA said:
But either way... congrats on finishing *rt*! Man, that race sounded absolutely brutal. Your narrative and wit are as entertaining as always. Great stuff... ;)

... so when does the Dean come back in service?
it was a pretty sucky race. too bad since the pre-ride was so much fun!

not sure about when the Dean will be back in service. i'm still waiting to talk to the (always timely.....NOT) folks at Dean. maybe sometime before my 40th birthday (which gives them about 3 year). :rolleyes:

thanks again!
rt
 

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i worship Mr T
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Discussion Starter #13
thanks.

DoctorJD said:
...reminds me of the GAP race in Helen, Ga. last year, but worse. Well, look on the bright side, you didn't lose a water bottle this time out... ;) Better luck next time!
yep. when i saw the weather it reminded me of the race in spartanburg, sc last summer (same weekend as Helen) and i thought, 'how could it be worse?!' well, i found out! it is worse if you're flying down hill for 5 miles/lap with no brakes. much worse! :rolleyes:

true. no water bottle loss, though given how much (muddy) water i was consuming off the trail it hardly would have mattered! ;)

rt
 

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i worship Mr T
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Discussion Starter #14
ow! stoppit! ow! stoppit!

Ichabod said:
I suspect sobotage. I mean, nobody in his or her right mind would deliberately use Pythons in the rain, right? I mean, not twice, anyway. I think you should find whoever did that and kick his or her ass.
that would be the sound of me kicking myself in the ass! i'm now fired as my equipment selector for races in the rain.

lesson learned about the pythons! holy cow did they suck :rolleyes: :D

rt
 

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i worship Mr T
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Discussion Starter #15
ah, yes. the misplaced decimal

JimC. said:
1st with a badly placed zero at the end. Great race, great write up! Jim
i hate it when that happens! :p

thanks Jim.

the house looks great, btw!!

rt
 

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Ah yes! ...

*rt* said:
not sure about when the Dean will be back in service. i'm still waiting to talk to the (always timely.....NOT) folks at Dean.
... the rapid turnaround of the folds of Dean. I have such fond (yeah.... :rolleyes: here too) memories of waiting 8mos for a geometry change on my Colonel. In hindsight, I'm glad I decided to go with another bike.

Just for sh!ts & giggles here's an old pic of her...

<img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/mtbr/passion/pictures/Dean_Colonel-2a(1).jpg">

Now hurry, forget Home Depot, and change those Vee's... no! not Dickie V! ;)

Hey, at least you had fun on the pre-ride...

Cheers!
 

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i worship Mr T
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Discussion Starter #19
8 months????!!!!

®andyA said:
... the rapid turnaround of the folds of Dean. I have such fond (yeah.... :rolleyes: here too) memories of waiting 8mos for a geometry change on my Colonel. In hindsight, I'm glad I decided to go with another bike.

Just for sh!ts & giggles here's an old pic of her...

<img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/mtbr/passion/pictures/Dean_Colonel-2a(1).jpg">

Now hurry, forget Home Depot, and change those Vee's... no! not Dickie V! ;)

Hey, at least you had fun on the pre-ride...

Cheers!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooo! that's what they're supposed to be doing for me as well: a geometry change. i don't wanna wait 8 months. ack!

did you just tell them to keep it after it took so long or did you end up selling it after they made the geometry change?

yep, the pre-ride was fun......great course in any other conditions!

rt
 
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