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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
High Altitude Classic, Cloudcroft NM NMORS #2<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
At 9000 ft. elevation, weather will happen!<o:p></o:p>

Looking to avenge my oil-soaked suspension, cactus, and way off-course disaster from a few weeks ago at the Coyote Classic in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:City>El Paso</st1:City>, <st1:State>TX</st1:State></st1:place>, I loaded up the trusty Jeep Cherokee for another round of racing. The NMORS (New Mexico Off-Road Series) race schedule has got us doing 3 races in April - an intense early start to a long season. All the courses I've raced on have been good, hard, technical and long - though I haven't ridden all the courses yet. The course in Cloudcroft was described to me as high alpine, moderately technical and would favor a hole shot in the beginning. Cloudcroft, sitting way up in the <st1:place>Sacramento Mountains</st1:place>, is a cool mountain village whose downtown features and old-west style commercial "strip" with false-front looking stores and a covered boardwalk. The event sponsor, the High Altitude Outdoor shop was on the corner of one of these rows and made for a perfect event "stage" right in the heart of Cloudcroft. I arrived the day before the race, picked up my registration packet, t-shirt, and a course map and description and headed out to pre-ride. While in the shop, I ran into a fellow FooMTB.com buddy, Mike from <st1:City><st1:place>Albuquerque</st1:place></st1:City>, and planned to ride the course together. As we casually got are gear together we talked about the weather - and how it may be on race day. Earlier in the week I'd seen reports of a 20% chance of light rain/clouds, and thought that'd be OK, all things considered. Mike let me know the chance of precipitation had doubled to 40% and it'd likely be SNOW! Hmmpf. Seemed like a long shot given the perfect weather we were having at that moment, so I hoped for the best. <o:p></o:p>

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Course: From downtown, right in front of the shop, we headed out from where the race would start from. 2 blocks make a left and BAM! The first climb, up another stretch of road that turned to dirt shortly thereafter; not too bad, but at a race pace it'd be a sprint around the corner and up the road and the beginning of the pain. This was the critical hole-shot area, as after 3-4 minutes we took a hard right onto singletrack, continuing a moderate climb. It was narrow, rooty, and rocky, so a strong start was essential. Not my forte, but I'm working on it. After about 15 minutes climbing total from the start, the trail eased off a bit, then dropped some. This pattern continued up and down for the first third or so of the course until we came out near a campground and turned onto a dirt road for a bit. It was smooth and fast, making for a great place to try and regroup if the start goes bad. After a mellow 10 minutes or so, things changed rapidly. We turned left onto a wide, flowy singletrack that started off going down at a mild slope, but then must have gotten a steeper as we were flying in no time! The best part was that it just kept going, and going, and going. It was clear we'd descended way below the elevation at which we started the race, and the descent continued. Going at about three quarters race pace, I still registered 32 mph; pretty fast for a XC course indeed. It just went on and on, swooping around corners, up embankments, over small whoop de do's, diving through heavily wooded areas, out into meadowy areas and so on. We finally hit the bottom at which point we were dumped out onto a dirt road turning up to the left. Up indeed, we had a lot of elevation to reclaim! Taking easy it took about 20 to 25 minutes to climb this dirt road, which wasn't the end of the climbing by any means, until the last leg of the course turned us off to the right, up more, but on fun, techy singletrack. This part of the trail was beautiful - technically demanding but easily rideable. We crested a small hill and dropped some more out into a small field, were led to bear leftish, up the hardest part of the course. This was fantastic! A hard, steep, technical climb over roots and rocks, that was relentless in the first quarter mile or so of it, then eased off a hair, then punished yet more. It sort of crested up the embankment of an old jeep road, where we turned left and rode about 200 yards down (breath, eat, drink!) then dove off the road to the right, up and into the woods again. A bit more climbing and out we popped into an open dirt ball field type area, directly across from the initial singletrack the whole race started at, after the road climb. Nice! This was a hell of a course, about 8.3 miles which had the beginners doing 1 lap, Sport 2, and Pro/Expert 3. 3 laps was gonna hurt. A lot. It's on!<o:p></o:p>

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Camp: Mike and I headed off into the National Forest to set up camp, prep bikes, eat, chill, and sleep. As soon as it started getting dark, it got cold! The grilled steak Mike made was just the ticket, as my PB&J didn't seem all that substantial the night before a race. I fired up my propane lamp just as 3 folks walked over to our spot; a few more of the <st1:City><st1:place>Albuquerque</st1:place></st1:City> crew. A naturally gifted, sickly fast Pro, his Team Titus Expert girlfriend, and their buddy, a 40+ expert of some repute. We shoot the breeze for a while, then disperse to our respective sleeping areas to the pleasant sound of beer-fueled hoots, howls, and way too much CCR blasting on some yahoo DH'ers monster truck stereo not to far from us. The High Altitude Classic had a DH event as well, and these folks sure know how to "unwind" before a race! What is it with the downhill/snowboarder stereotype(s)? Thankfully the iPod was fully charged... <o:p></o:p>

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Finally drifted off to sleep and then at 430AM I woke to the sound of rain pelting the tent. Not hard, just that pre-dawn type stuff I've seen while camping sometimes. I throw the bike in the car just in case, and figure I may as well eat while I'm awake, as it was nearing 5AM, 4 hours prior to the start of the race, my usual "mealtime". The rain spits and stops and I don't figure it'll do much. It is WAY warmer than it was last night, which is great, my toes finally warm up! I finish breakfast and crawl back under the covers setting the alarm for 630AM. I actually get a bit more sleep and then get up for real, start leisurely breaking camp, when it starts raining again - a little more steadily this time. The leisurely pace turns into a "throw everything in the car before it gets too wet" mad dash. Ugh. I roll down into town, park right next to the boardwalk by the shop/start area and the rain has turned to a steady drizzle. The sky sort of breaks up to the southeast occasionally, as we're right on the edge of the system, but it never really starts to clear. I set up the bike on my buddies (rs3o) trainer, mix some drinks up, get dressed (like 6 layers worth!) and check in with the shop.

Here's what downtown Cloudcroft looked like 1.5 hrs. prior to the start:

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They may rain delay it, they may not. I suggest not, as it'll just get wetter, muddier, and colder; been there done that (Keystone Climax last fall, where the snow delay just gave mama nature longer to deposit more snow on the trails!). I hop back in the car with a fresh cup of coffee, and watch the sky darken, the rain intensify, the fog roll in, and the temperature drop. Gulp. Oh boy, this is going to be a brutal mess. With the start time still set at <st1:time Hour="9" Minute="0">9ish</st1:time>, I get out of the car and get on the trainer. Warming up will be critical indeed. Everyone else seems to be in denial; sipping coffee in their down parkas, while I start to get psyched up, and start spinning through my 50 minute warm up routine. A number of folks leave - not wanting to risk it, but there's still a good crowd willing to race. The rain intensifies, oh, now turning to sleety frozen hail stuff, then snow at times. Oh man... I re-strategize my gear; long sleeve thermal race jersey, awesome team jacket (wind and water proof - at least as much as can be) knee warmers, bibs, then a 2nd pair of shorts over them both, plastic bags on the toes, booties over the shoes, a lycra beanie and a plastic bag over the helmet. Style-meister! The bag trick worked miracles at 24 hrs. in The Old Pueblo, so despite looking like a complete dork (I'm used to that) I was ready! Off to the start meeting...

More rain:



(con't)</FONT></FONT>
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Cloucroft (cont.)

Race time: For ease of coordination, they do a roll call on the boardwalk, where they announce they've reduced the laps for us to two, then send whole categories off together. Pro/Expert's first, Sport second (they'll do ONE lap instead of 2), Beginner third (still have to do one lap). We get out onto main street, maybe 25 to 30 of us suckers and they count us down. The official said go - and it was on! I shot off and get the first hole shot, as we turned up the hill. I eased up and let the good fast pros come around and we formed a line into the headwind and snow, heading for the singletrack. As we turned onto to the singletrack the mud was horrendous - of the three guys ahead of me, two were able to climb in the glop. The fella in front of me lost his groove pretty quickly and couldn't get it back, never really finding the right balance of power and finess that this mud took, so when he dabbed the third or forth time I kind of waddled by him and kept the two other fellas in sight. The flow of the course was great, despite the snow accumulating on the trails, as we crested the top just in time for a little needed post-start recovery. I found descending harder than the climbing as the front wheel refused to hook up in the goo; doable, but taxing and never really able to get speed going down - which is usually a strength of mine. Deeper into the forest we went, popping out at a campground then through it, back into the forest on more excellent trail. No major climbing in the first half of the course, so it was relatively easy to power through the smaller technical areas and cruise down the descents. Eventually we hit a dirt road section that on the pre-ride seemed a shoe-in for big ring tempo riding, but now was a middle ring slug fest. It led up to the previously mentioned howling, blazing fast, fun descent. As I turned onto this descent, it became clear that there'd be little chance of any high speed antics, as the trail was snow on gooey mud - not exactly safe for screaming downhill, especially when it was hard to see anything as the snow/rain/mud mix did a great job of bonding to my glasses. I found it better to have partial visibility WITH the glasses on than getting eyes clogged with mud without them (more on that coming later).<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>

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Finish the descent, turn onto the jeep road main climb and regroup a little. It felt like my legs had now turned to stone as the icy wet cold soaked right through the multiple layers casting my blood like concrete. I eased into the climb, drank some sport drink, ate some goo, cleaned my glasses off and finally felt as though my legs were coming back. I expected people to start flying by me at any second now, and could still see one of the two guys ahead - but the other had hit the hill and vanished. He's infamous in these parts as something of a super-human biker, so I couldn't sweat it. The other guy was keeping about the same pace as I was. Well, 15 minutes later I'm at the top of this hell-climb, and turn onto more singletrack. I still see #2 ahead and feel good approaching the next steep techy climb in the mud. Clear it, crest the top and press on. It's all sort of a blur from here, but I remember wheeling through the finish area leading out for lap two after about 60 minutes of racing, feeling vaguely human. Hit the first bit of singletrack when I hear behind me one guy. It's one of the other hammer/pro's and he scoots by eventually, putting some distance in after a while. I go to pull my glasses back out of my pocket on the first descent - and they're gone! Ack - this'll really suck soon, no doubt. Anytime I pick up a little speed, mud flicks into my eyes. A little here, a little there, not to bad at first, but by the time I hit that long descent I'm crippled by almost complete lack of vision. The stinging icy rain/snow blasted by the wind, and the flying muck are filling my eyes and eyelids with so much crap I nearly stop a few times to blink the crunchy mix out of my eyes; ouch! Finally after reaching the bottom, I break down and squirt some drink into my eyes. It stings but helps as it flushes and makes my eyes water a bit more. As I get into the climb, my legs actually feel OK given that I descended at approximately a walking pace, so I settle into a groove and plug away. Crest the top again, hit the trails back towards the finish area and can feel the end approaching. The marshals on the course are a friendly site, cheering the few of us stragglers on, and as I pass the last one and can just hear the hubbub at the finish area. Hooray! Finish across the line and it's done, at last; the guy took my number and said I was #2 in the 30-39 Pro/Expert group, placing first among the few surviving 30-39 experts. Whew! It's still cold and windy but the rain is tapering off, and what's that to the east? Blue sky! I rinse myself and the bike off, strip out of the heinous gear I was wearing, and get some dry clothes on; just in time for the sun to come out!<o:p></o:p>

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I hang out with the folks I was with/knew, grab some food and coffee and wait for the official results & awards "ceremony". Turns out second place in the group earned $60 and a cool baseball cap embroidered with the event and placing. Also got a t-shirt in the deal ~ not bad for $25 entry fee! The promoters did a great job given the cruddy circumstances - thanks!<o:p></o:p>

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The drive home was totally uneventful, warm, and sunny of course. Overall I feel like I cranked out at about 75% of my maximum race effort, as surviving the elements was most of the battle.

Neat old store in a virtual ghost town:


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Next stop: NMORS #3 Cerrillos de Coyote, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:City>Socorro</st1:City>, <st1:State>NM</st1:State></st1:place><o:p></o:p>
 

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Hey thats TWO cool embroidered hats in 4 days!!

glenzx said:
the guy took my number and said I was #2 in the 30-39 Pro/Expert group, placing first among the few surviving 30-39 experts.

Turns out second place in the group earned $60 and a cool baseball cap embroidered with the event and placing. Also got a t-shirt in the deal ~ not bad for $25 entry fee!<o:p></o:p>
Cool news Glen, err make that cold and wet news....but AWESOME job on the placing! Glad to see you got to hook up with Mike too...real cool guy and dedicated racer, no? From your report it sounds like Rich was there too? How did he do? We'll have to hook up next month for a ride or two when you all get free time.

I'd like to ride the Coyote with you guys next weekend, but I have some dirt calling for me up your way. However, I might do the Ride the Lightning the following weekend (Forkboy?) as that one sound spretty fun.

Again great job and excellent perseverance.

M
 

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the cool nerd
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Excellent job Glen

I want to apologize again, I can't express how sorry I am, but I'm stoked to read that you did so well!!

scott
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Timo said:
Cool news Glen, err make that cold and wet news....but AWESOME job on the placing! Glad to see you got to hook up with Mike too...real cool guy and dedicated racer, no? From your report it sounds like Rich was there too? How did he do? We'll have to hook up next month for a ride or two when you all get free time.

I'd like to ride the Coyote with you guys next weekend, but I have some dirt calling for me up your way. However, I might do the Ride the Lightning the following weekend (Forkboy?) as that one sound spretty fun.

Again great job and excellent perseverance.

M
Thanks bud! You responded before I could fix all the funky formatting - nice job braving through all the typos! I'll be cutting trees this week, Chamisa first...

Mike was cool as heck - and sure makes car camping seem more delux than a motel. Great guy to boot. Rich wasn't - he was flogging himself up in Durnago, pre-riding the hard part of Iron Horse and skiing his butt off...

RTL sounds fun indeed....
 

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Woohoo!

First Place in Expert Category! Yes! Congratulations! Thanks for finally writing about WINNING a race!

More please!

PS - Dude, you really need to stop doing all of those rain dances. The drought is over already! Do NOT do your rain dance before Nathrop!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
sportsman said:
Excellent job Glen

I want to apologize again, I can't express how sorry I am, but I'm stoked to read that you did so well!!

scott
No worries Scott - though you may have won the event had you shown up! The descent was rendered totally slow, so SS'ers would have not lost any time, and most of the climbs were moderate - the big one would have favored your "stand up" gear!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Holy fast replies!

rapwithtom said:
First Place in Expert Category! Yes! Congratulations! Thanks for finally writing about WINNING a race!

More please!

PS - Dude, you really need to stop doing all of those rain dances. The drought is over already! Do NOT do your rain dance before Nathrop!
Tom! Thanks man - will do on the rain dances.... Nathrop would be bloody h3ll in the rain!

As for more - how 'bout this: If I were a pro - I could claim 4th place! LOL, that'll be the day.... Nathrop will be an interesting comparison to see how I fair against them lightening fast Colorado experts - I will try my damndest for a hole shot there - even if it means popping before the first lap is over! :rolleyes:

Man, I can't even get the thread all gussied up before I see responses! You guys are nuts to read them with all the whacked out formatting and all. Hope they appear OK now.
 

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the cool nerd
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we've been waiting with abated breath....
 

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Linoleum Knife
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Timo said:
Cool news Glen, err make that cold and wet news....but AWESOME job on the placing! Glad to see you got to hook up with Mike too...real cool guy and dedicated racer, no? From your report it sounds like Rich was there too? How did he do? We'll have to hook up next month for a ride or two when you all get free time.

I'd like to ride the Coyote with you guys next weekend, but I have some dirt calling for me up your way. However, I might do the Ride the Lightning the following weekend (Forkboy?) as that one sound spretty fun.

Again great job and excellent perseverance.

M
Great write up Glen! Sorry I missed that race... {{cough}} {{cough}} :p

Timo - I won't be at Ride the Lightning - got a wedding in Arizona to go to. Say Hi to Shonny Vanlandingham for me - tell her I still love her. ;)

We should all get together for dinner or something during the Iron Horse weekend.
 

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Timo said:
From your report it sounds like Rich was there too? How did he do? We'll have to hook up next month for a ride or two when you all get free time.
Bike racing? In the middle of the spring ski season? That's crazy talk! My participation was limited to lending Glen the trainer, but I do expect a small kickback from the race winnings. ;) As Glen mentioned, I was up in Durango scouting the Iron Horse course and doing some skiing. I heard you and Jeni were going to do the IH. You should come up to SF to do the century two weeks before as a warm-up. Hopefully the trails up here will dry out soon before then and we can get some riding in with you guys.
 

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forkboy said:
Great write up Glen! Sorry I missed that race... {{cough}} {{cough}} :p

Timo - I won't be at Ride the Lightning - got a wedding in Arizona to go to. Say Hi to Shonny Vanlandingham for me - tell her I still love her. ;)

We should all get together for dinner or something during the Iron Horse weekend.
Sounds cool. I'm 50-50 on the RTL as my better half is in KC that weekend riding with some old friends and visiting her folks. So I've got a tentative plan to ride somewhere and that is one option. Depends really on the weather.

But the Iron Horse, hell ya, we've already got our plans down for that. We are doing the Road Race for sure, and since a good group of friends will be up there we will go probably for a small mtb ride later Sat. after the race, and of course a big one sunday, and leave Monday open for those who wish to pick up the MTB race or want to do some more riding. (Quite possibly the Aztec route since it's on the way home).

I was proposing that everyone meet at a good brew establishment that Friday Evening...around 6ish. How about you pick the place and we all show up? Rich, Glen & Scott - can you make it? Jeni, myself , Jim, Jeff, Paige, Seth, and a few other tentatives...Whats your email, Forkboy? matt AT fooriders dot org should be a rippin weekend.
 

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rs3o said:
Bike racing? In the middle of the spring ski season? That's crazy talk! My participation was limited to lending Glen the trainer, but I do expect a small kickback from the race winnings. ;) As Glen mentioned, I was up in Durango scouting the Iron Horse course and doing some skiing. I heard you and Jeni were going to do the IH. You should come up to SF to do the century two weeks before as a warm-up. Hopefully the trails up here will dry out soon before then and we can get some riding in with you guys.
Might do the SFCentury, but then again I can always ride it for free from my house Any Given Sunday! But the Iron Horse, hell ya (see previous reply to forkboy). Email me and let me know your plans. Should be a good group of folks from Santa Burque, so we should all meet up. will be lots of differing abilities too so it would be nice to hook up and plan so no one gets left out. Friday evening in Durango over beers should do take care of that.

Also wet trails in SF? Nah...check out the pics we posted from last weekend at www.foomtb.com under photo album. Only snow was a few drifts on the north descent off of Atalaya (starts near the watershed signs) Ride the lower routes now while you can! I'll be there on Sat riding over every chunk of dirt that gets in my way......
 

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CONGRATULATIONS! Great job Glen. Sounds like it was really miserable. Cleaning your eyes with sports drink? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
forkboy said:
Great write up Glen! Sorry I missed that race... {{cough}} {{cough}} :p
Thanks! Miserable indeed - I'm still hacking up mud/ice induced lung biscuits....

forkboy said:
Say Hi to Shonny Vanlandingham for me - tell her I still love her. ;)
Tell her AND her husband :rolleyes: ! She is a very cool, laid back, super-biker.

forkboy said:
We should all get together for dinner or something during the Iron Horse weekend.
Might be hard to find a place that could fit the huge crew heading up! But might be worth a shot....
 

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Woo Hoo

Congrats Glen! My Sport Debut was nowhere near as spectacular. Form what Tom tells me tehcnical riding is your bag. In which case you would have loved the course in Moab. Not too mention it only rained Sunday morning before the Hill Climb! Congrats again. I look forward to finally meeting you in Nathrop.
 

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the cool nerd
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Timo said:
Might do the SFCentury, but then again I can always ride it for free from my house Any Given Sunday! .
But the century is a pretty good time, provided that you survive the mass confusion in the first 25 miles or so...Nothing like sitting in a fast group 'racing' through the larger groups of riders that had already started...
 

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the cool nerd
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Timo said:
Rich, Glen & Scott - can you make it? .
There are other scotts around, but if this refers to me, I won't be going to IH. Have fun

scott
 

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Discussion Starter #20
OdaNelli said:
Congrats Glen! My Sport Debut was nowhere near as spectacular. Form what Tom tells me tehcnical riding is your bag. In which case you would have loved the course in Moab. Not too mention it only rained Sunday morning before the Hill Climb! Congrats again. I look forward to finally meeting you in Nathrop.
Thanks Ocky! Sounds like Moab was - fun - if TT's are your thing. I found it hard to go "all out" at the NOVA TT, but if you could see the next person ahead - might be more motivational....

I was fortunate to be an old-school retired BMX/Freestyle guy so I had some tech/bike handling skills, but am on the endless quest for conditioning/fitness at this point in life.

Nathrop is two weeks away, eh? Gues I can go register then - sounds like some fun new trail has been added to the back/west side, but the sh1tty bottleneck/hill/loose trail is still near the beginning. Hole shot time! See you there.
 
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