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Feeling a little taller
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sea Otter Classic 2005 MTB cross country beginner mens 30-35.

I've been dragging my feet about riding this race for the past few years. I've had some injuries to recover from and some training to do. I finally felt recovered enough to start training and brought my riding up to a level that I felt comfortable competing with the help of my MTBR friends, without whom I would certainly not have been motivated enough to pull this off.

In the last few months, I started taking a cycling/weight circuit class at the local college and increased my weekly riding up to at least 2 20+ mile rides/week as well as commuting to work and school by bike almost 5 days/week. Some of the riding was accomplished by riding at ridiculously early mornings and late nights at the local parks.

I rode down to Sea Otter with Jericho Josh on Wednesday with the intention of riding the course a couple of times before the race on Sunday. I wanted to become familiar with the rearranged course and check out the conditions and bike response to better my resolve. I rode the course twice before the race, once on Thursday and once on Saturday.

On Thursday, I rode with Impy (she on her Sycip blinglespeed). Always a positive and motivating person to ride with (she came in 5th in her women's singlespeed class), I gave this ride my all and ended up with some leg cramping during the long final grunt fireroad climb.

On Saturday, I missed the group that went out at 10, so I went alone. Normally I won't ride alone as I have this fear of wrecking or hitting a wall and having no support group, but this being a populated course with the race, I set off and rode the continuous loop stopping only once to return a phone call to my wife. Including the phone call, I finished the course in 1 hour and 50 minutes. The bike was working marvelously and I felt good having finished in that time considering that I hiked up all of the major hills in order to not tire myself out too badly for the race the following day.

On race day, I was in this state of euphoric bliss. I was seeing my MTBR cohorts all over, getting and giving words of praise, luck and advice. Most of the people I regularly ride with are older than I am, so (AFAIK) 8-Trak was the only other MTBR'er in my class. Zorg, Pimpbot and others were in the class starting 5 minutes behind me and a few minutes behind them were Fred-da-trog and Bigtrees.

To be continued...
 

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Paper or plastic?
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Dan'ger said:
Sea Otter Classic 2005 MTB cross country beginner mens 30-35.

On race day, I was in this state of euphoric bliss. I was seeing my MTBR cohorts all over, getting and giving words of praise, luck and advice. Most of the people I regularly ride with are older than I am, so (AFAIK) 8-Trak was the only other MTBR'er in my class. Zorg, Pimpbot and others were in the class starting 5 minutes behind me and a few minutes behind them were Fred-da-trog and Bigtrees.

To be continued...
Just you wait buddy. Soon, you'll be riding with us!!
 

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Feeling a little taller
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Continued...

Just before the race I stretched, checked my tire pressure, removed my windbreaker and got ready to hit it. My wife, inlaws and a friend of theirs had come down to SO just to see me race and they were at the starting line to see me off, taking pictures and video of the start.

My time came and we started down the Laguna Seca track. I felt good, stong, motivated. Based on the time I had made during my practice run the day before, I was happy and felt positive that I could beat that time even for having so many people to pass and be passed by. From what I had seen, it was not a technically difficult course, but fun, rolling and with a couple of leg-busting climbs for good measure.

So, I jammed out of the racetrack, passing as many people as I could heading into the singletrack and passing a few on the descent over and down to Couch Canyon. I held back a little on couch canyon, as I had practiced to lower my heartrate, and charged into Hurl Hill. There were too many people on Hurl Hill to continue at my pace, so I jumped off, slung the bike over my shoulder and made a quick walk to the top, jumped back on and flew to the fireroad descent following.

I charged past the fireroad onto the next short climb and during this climb I realized my bike was no longer shifting. I looked back and one of my Speedhub cables was dangling, broken and clanking into my frame and occasionally a spoke. I stopped and zip tied the cable housings, removing parts that might otherwise get lost. I was probably only stopped for about 3-5 minutes to fix it, but it seemed an eternity and I was now stuck in 3rd gear.

Following this was a short climb and some more singletrack for which 3rd gear was perfect, but heading into the next downhill section, I was spinning a three times my normal cadence and couldn't keep up with the wheels. I just tucked and thew myself and the bike into the downside berms and corners to try to gain some speed wherever possible.

Sometime soonafter this, one of my cables got cought on something and pulled out of the housings that had been zip tied and it made a loop behind the seatpost and was dragging on the wheel. Again, I had to stop and zip-tie the cable loop to pull it up and out of the way.

I was miserable. My hopes of having a good finish time were dashed and I was stuck going at a relatively minimum speed. At this point, Pimpbot and a few others passed me and I knew I had lost enough time that the following class was catching up and passing me.

I gave one last inspection of the bike and debated on whether to give up. Suddenly an Obi-Wan-like voice in my head advised me not to be a wanker and go on. Either that or it was the voices of other MTBR folks passing me, or maybe it was my schitzo-friends. So, there was only one thing to do, ding-a-ding-dang-my-dang-a-long-ling-long.

So, I did. I decided that it was a race, it was on, and I was going to go full-out or burn up trying. I flew down the next singletrack, down to a fireroad, up to the hike-a-bike, down another singletrack and over to the pavement passing and being passed by Gregg several times in the process. He finally lost me in the descent into the "*****es" up which I also hiked quickly as I couldn't shift down into my lowest gears.

I continued on, mostly being passed until the final grind out. I put up an effort to grind as much as possible, standing when possible and spinning at high RPM when it wasn't really standable. Fred-da-trog caught up to me and offered words of enthusiasm and congratulations for making it that far, chanting that it's almost over. Thanks Fred, I really appreciated it.

When I got to the gravel climb, I was in the right gear for standing climb and grunted up it at a sprint, dropped down the final descending curve and onto the track. I wanted so bad to sprint the final lap on the track, but even a 3 times the cadence, all I could do was tuck again and hope to catch a draft through the corkscrew.

I sprinted as hard as I could across the finish line with a final time of 2:07:53. All things considered, a good time. I met up with my wife and inlaws, collecting hugs and congratulations.

I also ran into 8-Trak, pimpbot, jrm and others at the finish line. 8-Trak had broken a chain at about the same time I broke my cable but was still able to pull it out a few positions ahead of me and about 5 minutes faster. Pimpbot and Zorg, who had started 5 minutes after me had also finished before. Fred, who started 15 minutes after me, cought up to me on the grind out and must have finished at least that much faster.

It was a great time, regardless of breakage, and I can't be too disappointed. I feel that I did OK. I'm looking forward to the 24HOA race next month and SOC again next year where I'll be in the same age group as pimpbot, zorg and some others, unless I go SS or decide to upclass to sport. For now, my memories will warm me and I had a great time thanks to the TROGS, Uncle-MTB and the Napa crew, SoCal crew, Jericho and crew, South Bay, Briones Mafia and some new friends that I had chatted with here but never ridden with.
 

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nobody
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Dan'ger said:
It was a great time, regardless of breakage, and I can't be too disappointed.
For me racing always = breakage. Don't know why but it does. Kudos for being a man, lashing your bike back together and pressing on. Having ministry playing in you head kind of helps in those situations...

Racing is great isn't it?
 

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Feeling a little taller
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
art_vandelay said:
For me racing always = breakage. Don't know why but it does. Kudos for being a man, lashing your bike back together and pressing on. Having ministry playing in you head kind of helps in those situations...

Racing is great isn't it?
It was great. I really enjoyed it and I'll do it again, soon, and often.

As far as the cable, I only have myself to blame. I knew I had to do something about the cables as they were shifting a little stiffly but put it off for long enough to have a counter argument about cable stretch too close to race time. Oh well. Live and learn.

Perhaps the breakage occurs at race time because you're giving it 200+% at a race pace and some of the already worn components just can't take the additional strain?

Older ministry always brings out the angst!!
 

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Registered
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Dan, that was definitely a fun first race... I might even do it again ;) I'm glad caught up with you before and after the race (and a couple times during). Way to push on with just the singlespeed. I was a little bummed that my chain broke, but I was pretty happy I was able to fix it and move on fairly quickly.

Of course I have only myself to blame. I had never fixed a broken chain before, let alone in a race. The one time in the past I broke a chain was on a group ride and someone else fixed it. Thankfully, I paid attention and now carry a chain tool. I did have part of a chain sitting in my toolbox that I was going to use for chain repair practice. Somehow I never got around to trying, which pretty much sealed the deal that my chain would break during the race.

I'm pretty happy with my time and now it gives me a target for next year (assuming the course doesn't change too much).

- Dave
 

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29 inches and Pissed Off!
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Dan'ger said:
Sorry I missed you at Demo. Glad to see that you are still alive after the alleycat!
I bailed out of the Alley Cat. My right big toe is swollen up to the size of a big plum after the Demo ride. Ran a gate into last monday in my flaps. Finally going to the docter today.
Dan C.
 

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Feeling a little taller
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
8Trak said:
Dan, that was definitely a fun first race... I might even do it again ;) I'm glad caught up with you before and after the race (and a couple times during). Way to push on with just the singlespeed. I was a little bummed that my chain broke, but I was pretty happy I was able to fix it and move on fairly quickly.

Of course I have only myself to blame. I had never fixed a broken chain before, let alone in a race. The one time in the past I broke a chain was on a group ride and someone else fixed it. Thankfully, I paid attention and now carry a chain tool. I did have part of a chain sitting in my toolbox that I was going to use for chain repair practice. Somehow I never got around to trying, which pretty much sealed the deal that my chain would break during the race.

I'm pretty happy with my time and now it gives me a target for next year (assuming the course doesn't change too much).

- Dave
I hope to see you there again next year and around the bay area on rides in the meanwhile.
 

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Trip the Bike Fantastic
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congratulations, Dan and everyone

Thanks for the great writeup of the event, Dan. You made me feel like I was there, instead of at home with a brace on my knee. Of course you wouldn't suck.

I'm really sorry about your cable break - always happens at the worst times. And I know a thing about bike problems! Way to stick it to the machine and finish up. And it made for a much better story, right?
 

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Feeling a little taller
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Cycledelic said:
Thanks for the great writeup of the event, Dan. You made me feel like I was there, instead of at home with a brace on my knee. Of course you wouldn't suck.

I'm really sorry about your cable break - always happens at the worst times. And I know a thing about bike problems! Way to stick it to the machine and finish up. And it made for a much better story, right?
Wow! Is the brace on your knee a result of the 'rancho wreck? Are you bouncing a mountainbiker cub on your other knee?
 

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ol'guy who says hi &waves
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Dan'ger said:
I just found out that Fred-da-Trog got 4th in his class - way to go, Fred! Congratulations!
Thanks, my first podium, ever. Extra special because of above the norm usual family strife this last year. Dan, I'm glad you stuck out the race through the end. Your times a very respectful time if you didn't have mechanicals. Way to go! See you on the next "best ride ever."-fdt
 

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Trip the Bike Fantastic
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Dan'ger said:
Wow! Is the brace on your knee a result of the 'rancho wreck? Are you bouncing a mountainbiker cub on your other knee?
yep. it's come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. PT starts on Friday.

The wife gets induced today, so we'll have a little mtbr'er joining the rides soon. Hopefully her father will keep up!

Congrats to you and all my racing riding pals - I was there in spirit.
 

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Feeling a little taller
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
fred-da-trog said:
Thanks, my first podium, ever. Extra special because of above the norm usual family strife this last year. Dan, I'm glad you stuck out the race through the end. Your times a very respectful time if you didn't have mechanicals. Way to go! See you on the next "best ride ever."-fdt
24HOA?
 

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Perpetually single track
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Most certianly...give me a heads up when your coming out this way. Don't forget we also have the gathering in August (see link above right) if you can do that instead or both! :)

Come mid-june we'll start doing riding higher up in the Rockys...good times...
 
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