Jackson, tired from all the cooking and TV watching found a suitable place to nap on one of the other grandkid's barbie couch.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Jackson, tired from all the cooking and TV watching found a suitable place to nap on one of the other grandkid's barbie couch.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
We started the year off right with the sale of the lemon... err I mean Pancake Shack and the purchase of the ECO. The ECO is really not much heavier than the shack was but it's definitely nicer and a whole lot less work setting up and taking down, making camping and races much more fun.
Early in the year before racing really got fired up it looked as if my race season wasn't going to amount to much, some of the races I did in the past were running on dates that conflicted with work and some just plain dropped off my radar. I picked up a few new races like the 6 Hours of Warrior's Creek & the Disc Burner which are a definite must for 2010. Also new for me this year was solo endurance racing. Although I didn't take it too seriously I had a blast and really preferred it to racing with a team. Racing solo allows for much more riding, no-one to let down but yourself and a lot less stress. I still enjoy racing with GRT, which I will continue at the HOT but I plan to repeat the solo ventures again in 2010. As much as I complained about the 12 Hours of Tsali and Gone Riding I will probably give that one another shot as long as it works out with my schedule. I will give it a better effort this year, this year I made a few mistakes that helped me make my decision to throw in the towel a bit early. It didn't help that all my friends were drinking beer and whooping it up in the pits either.
This year Melinda and I ventured to the beach, something we haven't done in 4 years or more. We had a good time but we also realized we enjoy the mountains more. A few days chilling on the beach sipping frosty drinks was great but we started getting antsy when we realized that was all there was to do. I've already begun brainstorming a new trip to the mountains, somewhere new hopefully. I hope the holiday season keeps me busy because 4 months of no camping or events sure does seem like a long time. With all the racing over with and over night trips on hold there it's time to give back a little and get to building more singletrack. What's on tap for the winter? Maintenance at Warrior's which has already begun, a new trail at Bays Mountain is on the radar, a whole slew of new trails on Buffalo Mountain and of course cold mountain bike rides followed up with a good dark beer.
It looks as if it's going to be a busy winter.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
A year has past since that ride but has been alot of smack talk in the control room about how the next time we roll they were going to ride me into the ground. I played along and stayed on them about a second trip before it got too cold for normal folks to ride bikes. After a bit of badgering and some more smack talk a date and time was finally set. The day prior to the ride I wasn't sure it was going to happen, some were unsure if the rain was going to hold off and after a few phone calls with no definite answer I finally decided to ride with or without them. At 8:30 yesterday morning I was told as long as I don't hear from them they would be there. I conned fellow rider, "The Local Cult Hero" to go with me just in case I was stood up again. We arrived at our destination point and 30 minutes later the smack talkers finally rolled in. As they stepped out of the car I learned that once again not everyone showed. I guess the idea of actually doing the ride was a bit too much for some and they decided to hide out at home where it was warm and safe.
Once everyone was ready we rolled out with a casual pace, I kept waiting for someone to pick it up and take off trying to beat me to the top but it never came. Everytime I turned around the group from work started slipping off the back. Mike and I would stop, wait and once they caught up it wouldn't be long before they got dropped again. Finally I stopped and asked if everyone was ok only to learn that some hadn't been on the bike since last years ride and were really feeling the effects. I then knew we might not make it to the finish so I dug around in my bag and fished out a Hammer Gel to see if that would help. After some more resting and refueling we finally got rolling again. The closer we got to the top the wetter the ground got and eventually we caught up to the drizzling rain. We rode for a couple of miles hoping the rain would slack off but it didn't. A lack of energy and the rain finally took it's toll on the group and a decision was made to turn around 4 miles from the top. No one wanted to admit it but I could tell they were all ready to bail, I told them I was game to finish the ride but no one took me up on the offer so we headed home. As we rode back downhill and out of the rain their spirits seems to pick up as did the pace, I think they were all ready to get back to the car and into warm clothes.
I'm anxious to see if anyone has anything to say when I go back to work, I have a feeling the smack talk will be hushed for a while. I'll try not to give them too hard of a time in hopes that I'll get them back out on their bikes again but that may be a tough one.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Endurance racers can be some of the most unusual folks, the more hard core they are the more weird they seem to be. Just hanging out at an event like this can resemble staying the night at a carnival and sitting around the fire with the carnies. It doesn't always have to be Halloween to give these folks an excuse to dress up or simply wear nothing at all. I've seen, heard and read about nudity at these events multiple times and the naked lap is something that tends to happen at many races especially after the kids go to bed or sometimes during the middle of the day depending on how much free beer is flowing. The HOT has seen a few naked laps in the past years but it usually takes a donation of $$ from the crowd to encourage some fool to do it. This year was no exception, but three guys decided not to wait for an incentive. They proceeded to do a few naked laps around camp for free instead of the race course. I failed to witness this but Melinda took advantage of the Kodak moment.
An endurance race wouldn't be complete without beer, alot of the time beers get cracked during the race, at least that's the case for my crew. It's hard not to partake when your pit crew is enjoying a dark frosty beverage when you come flying through the pits. This year free beer was being handed out courtesy of some guys in a Sweetwater Van. I'm not sure if they stole the van or if they worked for Sweetwater because there was no free Sweetwater, but they did have Fat Tire, Yuengling & Yahzoo. Everytime I walked past I grabbed 2 or 3 not to drink right then but for after the race. It's safe to say that I got enough that I didn't come home empty handed.
Speaking of free stuff, swag is always a must at these events, To pay $50+ in entry fees and not receive free swag is a cardinal sin. Listen up promoters, nothing hurts your numbers more than not giving back to the racers. I'm not talking about ads for products, we want the goods. I've received bags of advertisements many times before and all that does is fill up the trash bins in the campground faster. We want gels, bars, beer, stickers or whatever, oh yeah, skip the watered down spaghetti dinner, we all show up with food. The promoters for the HOT always do a fine job of rounding up free swag, I haven't bought a water bottle in 3 years because of this single race. I always come home with an arsenal of Heed, gels, endurolyte pills etc. This year they didn't seem to have as much of a variety but I did come home with about a years supply of Hammer products.
GRT has never really gotten into the costume scene but I always make sure we have some sort of decor mounted to our bikes, usually in the form a small jack-o-lantern. This year we went with a little more scarier attachment, mine was Frankenstein. Out on the course several times racers would turn around see Frank up front leading the charge and pull over to get out of our way.
All weekend people came and went wether on a run to restock the cooler with beer & ice or just giving up and heading home. All that traffic plus bikes and people milling about made a pretty good mess of the field between us and the road out. I could tell that Melinda was worried we might get stuck but I kept assuring her our truck was a 4x4 and we would be fine. I don't think she had faith in me after our experience on the beach in the Outer Banks. Two years ago our friend Bob got his RV stuck in this very field and had to call AAA to pull him out. By the end of the day Saturday he had pretty much decided he was going to have to do the same this year and he did. I wonder when he's gonna realize his RV doesn't have four wheel drive and quit parking in the middle of the field with a 100% chance of rain coming. Sunday morning we took our time loading up letting most of the crowd clear out so we had more options for an exit strategy. I scoped out the area found the route of least resistance and traffic, put the truck in four low and didn't stop till I hit pavement. I did sling some mud & grass but a slow and steady pace saw us through.
Had enough? I have, I need to go work on the Mamasita, she's not been touched since we got home on Sunday and I plan to ride this weekend.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
In the past any of our podium spots have only earned us swag in the form of socks, clothing or other goods donated by the local bike shops. This year was different, we had never been in 1st place and 1st prize was a check. It wasn't huge but it did cover our entry fee which was very nice. I would like to say our win was a huge battle among many teams fighting hard for the win but it wasn't. The rain scared alot of teams off making this one of the lowest turnouts in the race's history. Had it been dry we may not have fared so well but I don't doubt for a minute that we earned every bit of 1st place. This race was one of the hardest and nastiest I've ever competed in and we stuck it out for the entire 12 hours while others stayed home on the couch where it was nice and dry and the beers were not covered in mud.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Here is a little video teaser from the start of the race courtesy of Alan. Thanks dude.
There is too much to say and too many photos to share to get it all into one post so stay tuned here for a good portion of the week.
Friday was a beautiful sunny day, perfect weather for camping & racing but we knew it wouldn't last for long. Mother Nature had other plans in store for us. I think rain during the H.O.T. is becoming the norm. for us. 3 out of 5 years it has rained before or during the race and this year was no exception.
We made the most of the dry time we had Friday and set up shop quickly
We set up every EZ-UP we had in stock and constructed what looked like a small town to protect us from the rain. EZ-UP's proved their worth that weekend keeping us dry at camp.
Slowly but surely the whole team gathered Saturday morning and began pondering the outlook for the race. We had a feeling attendance was going to be lower than normal this year and a few times the topic of whether or not we would even race till the very end came up. I tried not to think about it but even I was thinking of bailing on my night laps if there wasn't a podium finish in our sights.
I think Alan either got bored or was missing Angie because he decided to dance with our purple skeleton.
Since Olga pulled a no show we resorted to Brandon's I-Phone for weather updates. Brandon looked more prepared for the weather than anyone but I don't think he ever stepped out from under the EZ-UP city except to watch the start of the race and to go home. I knew it wasn't going to be good when he backed out of the race not even starting a single lap. I really couldn't blame him though, running this race solo would have to suck. Friday night Alan had told us that he was going to be our pit crew chief/mechanic/cheerleader but before the second lap of the race started he was packing up shop and heading home as well. Before it was all said and done NTMBA only had 3 teams left racing. All of the solo riders bowed out before the race began and hit the road.
One of the best investment we ever made was our camper top on my truck. It kept the dogs dry all weekend and out of the ECO trailer.
As I was sitting here typing this post I realized that I never got around to announcing the 4th member of Granny's Rotten Teeth Racing for the 2009 H.O.T. race. He was not an unfamiliar face to GRT, in fact he is one of the original founding members dating back to 2005, our first race at the H.O.T. Friends and foes I introduce you once again to Andy (the moustache man) Mullins.
It's probably a good thing I didn't introduce him prior to the race because the paparazzi might have prevented him from arriving on time.
I wish I could sit here and tell the entire story all in one post but I've got a lot of mud to clean off my gear. My bike is a disaster, the ECO trailer and my truck are covered in mud and the pile of laundry is towering. If I don't get a huge dent in it today Melinda will shoot me. If I string you along for a couple of days to hear the rest of the story it keeps you coming back for more and my blog hit numbers going up. So stay tuned here for dirty stories and even dirtier photos.