Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Trail Builder than Roadie

Last Saturday was the High Point Hill Climb TT. I am not, never was, nor do I plan to become a road racer any time soon, yet I made a last minute decision to enter this road race again this year. Each year, I find it harder to motivate myself to “train” and usually just ride my bike for enjoyment. In the winter and spring I need to find ways to motivate myself enough to get the riding in to cover my training needs. Training races are one option, and that was my thinking for why I signed up to race my road bike 5 miles uphill. To the average person, the thought of riding your bike up hill for 5 miles must sound like torture. I will not deny that I suffered some during the 28 minutes it took me to get to the top, but the race itself gave me the motivation to push harder than I normally would push while out riding.

It was a beautiful day and much warmer than last year. I felt good in the morning on my warm up and I had high hopes of improving my time from last year. Although my start and finish felt better than last year, I still hit a wall in the middle, where I felt like crap. I was disappointed to be a few seconds slower than last year. However, I did not let that ruin my day. It was a great training run, and the sun was shining with awesome trails all around me waiting to be ridden. As soon as results were posted, Art and I headed over to Wawayanda with our mountain bikes to pre-ride a lap on next weekend’s H2H new race loop.

The promoter of the race, Black Bear Cycling has built some new single-track and it will be used in next weekends race. This is just another reminder of the kind of progress that the PayDirt program has made for mountain bikers. It encourages racers, race promoters and mountain bikers to get involved in the future of mountain biking. The end result: new and improved trails for mountain bikers to ride and race on. Thanks to all the racers that have supported this program and to those involved in building the new trails at Wawayanda. Riding this new single track on Saturday was the highlight of my day.

My Sunday was spent building a new trail at Ringwood, which will also be used in an upcoming Eduro race. I can honestly say that I got more satisfaction from the trail work on Sunday than from racing my bike up hill for 5 miles. Would you expect any different from any real mountain biker?

Monday, April 22, 2013

2013 Racing Kick Off!

Pre race snapshot: a race day is still a day in the woods.

"Roots as big as the Crown" Photo by Art White

Campmor H2H Chain Stretcher:
Sunday was the first race in the 2013 Campmor H2H Series: “The Chainstretcher” at Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill NY. If you have not ridden at Blue Mt, you need to do so as it has some of the best flowing technical trails in the tri-state area. You can bet that the promoters, WMBA made sure that this race challenged many racers and put a smile on many faces.

This year’s course was one of the best courses at Blue that I can remember. It was similar to last year, but they changed the opening single-track and replaced a nasty eroded road descent with a fun single-track that included a rock garden and several optional rollers, which I took every lap to increase the fun factor. One thing that I love about mountain bike racing is that it not just about finishing first, but it’s about rising to your best level of riding skills and being one with the course. Being fast may seem like the only goal, but there is always additional room for personal challenges and bonus style points.

I’ll admit that the trails at Blue are tough for an early season race with the many hills, logs and rock lines. My legs were talking back to me the whole race and not really giving me what I had hoped for. However, the “fun factor” experienced while riding these trails seemed to over-ride any negative thoughts that I may have had about my fitness or lack off fitness. I was really glad to have the technical trail entertainment to get me through this first race of the season and remind me once again that I am a mountain bike racer.