Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stoopid ain't so stupid no more.

State College mountain bikers are a-buzzing this week. The first of the two summer endurance events(the Stoopid 50 and Wilderness 101) that have shown outsiders our extensive network of trails, is this weekend. But its not the same. Nowhere near the same. I never raced the original Stoopid 50 course, but I know stupid, and the 09 course ain't that bad. In fact, once I saw the map, I realized that I've left my front door and rode out to Rothrock to do a very similar ride last fall. It hurt, but was actually quite a reasonable ride.

Here are a few definitions for the word stupid:

stu⋅pid [stoo-pid] –adjective

1. lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
2. characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.
3. tediously dull, esp. due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.
4. annoying or irritating; troublesome: Turn off that stupid radio.
5. in a state of stupor; stupefied: stupid from fatigue.
6. Slang. excellent; terrific.

Since there seems to be mostly fire roads used for this years course, number 1 and 3 might make sense. Haven ridden most everything included in the course, I think we can eliminate #6. Hopefully, since I'm racing it, #4 won't be a reality. I think #2 is the most common use of the word and probably what the name is referring to. In years past, the course included such senseless, seemingly foolish features as a 15 minute walk up a mountain with your bike. You know, something that makes you go "Man, this is stupid!". This year there's none of that. Hell, all the hills this year even a single-speeder can ride up! (Thickhead Mtn Rd would require some grunting though).

Now, don't get me wrong. This will likely turn out to be an enjoyable day on the saddle. I just don't think it's all that stupid anymore.

Hm. Maybe I have a problem then...

Check out the Bikereg page here for more info and a map.

NYCMTB All City Classic - Race report

So yes, I got third, but here's a more substantial race report:

All weekend I was stressing about driving into the city. I've never driven into NYC before and generally get nervous driving in urban areas. Much to my surprise, it was quite easy; especially at 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. We got there with plenty of time to spare. I wasn't able to pre-ride the course, but I got a decent warm up in.

The course (pictured below) began with a long paved hill that failed to stretch the single-speeders out much at all. I got the hole-shot at the top when the course turned to single-track. I lost my first place position all of ten feet into the trail section when my super-reliable(up to this point) tubeless front-tire flatted. All 8 other single-speeders passed right by. I just burped all the air out on a rocky section I was not expecting. The course was hard! I was not expecting it to be so technical. After I fumbled around with my front wheel, wasted my CO2 canister, borrowed a pump from some kid with a broken derailleur hanger, and started riding again, I figured I was well out of contention. I chose to keep riding, enjoy the day, and get my money's worth.

If you look at the map below, all the tight twisty stuff on the right are the trails. The long straight stretches on the left, under the logos, are either sidewalk or dirt roads. We did three and a half laps. By the time I did a full lap and got back to the trail sections, I began wondering if I could catch up. I started passing people. The last two laps I passed 4 people, but thought I passed three, and didn't account for 2 people dropping out. So we left soon after I finished, not thinking that I actually got third. I was a little over a minute from second place.

Oh well, at least they listed my name for the Cat 2 SS podium in the NYCMTB race report.

Downsides to the race:
-tons of broken glass
-even more poison ivy
-mud you don't want to get in your mouth

-challenging trails with some neat features
-friendly, cheering marshals
-scenic stretch next to river
-absolutely unique experience

Definitely going back next year.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Take that!

No one can call me a sandbagger now! I am now a Cat 1 mountain biker. Yesterday in NYC, in my seventh ever mountain bike race, I took 3rd (after I spent a while fixing a flat). That result, and a third place finish in the fall, allowed me to upgrade. Essentially, all this means is that I'll be riding longer distances when I race. It also means that I can race at the highest level for collegiate mountain biking AND, just maybe, I'll go to Collegiate Mtn Nationals out in California this fall...maybe.