Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chickasaw Trace Classic AMBC

Mike Reports in on his 1st race of 2007:

Well… thank god the first MTB race of the year is over with. Not quite the result I was looking for, but it wasn’t quite the temperature I was looking for either. We left the house and it was around 40 degree’s. I think the thermometer topped out at above 90 degrees in Columbia TN, so that was a huge shock to the system! A total of 18 Pro and Semi-pro’s lined up for the start. My start was OK. I had trouble clipping in, but easily overtook everyone for the whole shot once I got my footing. We swung a hard left onto the pavement and I took a good hard dig. I looked back and had a gap so I kept pushing the pace most of the first lap until my handlebars starting slipping back and forth. DOH! Eventually I had to stop near the end of the first lap and tighten them. I probably lost a good minute doing this. The rest of the race I spent alone trying to bridge back up to the leaders. Every time I tried to give a good push, the heat overtook me and it felt like was in a sauna! So I backed it down and coasted in for a 4th place finish. After the race, Joberon, Erin, and my wife Mitch all went and hung out in downtown Nashville. Although we didn’t find any Oberon down there, I highly recommend a visit for anyone looking for a good time. I was a bit nervous about the performance of the new Scandium Quiring bike, but that’s all put to rest now. The frame feels just as stiff and reliable as my Ti frame I rode on last year. It held the lines great and wasn’t too rigid feeling. Believe me, it went through one helluva test down there on all those rocks. Lot’s of people were checking it out and admiring the sweet paint job. Thanks Scott! I also rocked the Stans No Tubes wheels with the Crow tires. I used the Crows last year on my American classic wheels, but I have to say they feel much better on the actual Stans hoops. I believe this is a much more reliable set-up as they are designed to work together. A thanks goes to Mike at No Tubes for building a superlight durable wheel! All in all, it wasn’t a bad way to start the racing year. I think my form was there, but the heat just kind of took it out of me after the first lap. Hopefully we see some more mild temps at the Sea Otter in three weeks.
JOBERON checked in as well:
This past weekend I found myself, Erin and Mr. and Mrs. Simonster at the Chickasaw Trace Classic MTB Race in Columbia TN. It was the second race of theAMBC series. We arrived to find steaming hot and dusty conditions. I was a bitskeptical about my first real trail ride of year being a race. That along with90 degree temps and dust filled air left me a little anxious for my first eventof 2007. The start of the race was 12:30pm. Just in time for some peak heat. ThePro/Semi-Pro wave went off first with my Expert group scheduled to launch acouple minutes later. After seeing Mike propel his Quiring 29er off the front ofthe Pro/Semi-Pro group with a 20ft gap into the first bit of single track, I was inspired. I went for it and managed to have a little air between me and 2nd place. Coming into the first rocky climb a handful of guys were with me so I tried to keep the tempo high. By the end of the first 9+ mile lap there were 2left. I let one of the riders come around and work for a bit. We hit a flatsection of trail at the 2mile mark and I attacked. I was alone until the lastfew miles of the lap when one of the riders was able to bridge. He was setting acomfortable tempo for the 3rd lap and I chose to stay put and recover a bit. I was hoping to jump late and take the win. Unfortunately I waited too long as weran into traffic. I wasn't able to get by and came off the bike creating enoughof a gap to lose the leaders wheel. I ended up rolling in for second place. It ended up being a great weekend and worth the trip. Nashville is just down theroad from the venue and made for a great post party. I'm sure I'll make the tripagain next year. Thanks to all of our great sponsors. It's going to be a great season thanks to your help. And a special thanks to Michelle Simonson for all the water bottlefeeds!
Let's get ready to rumble!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

JOBERON goes to Spain

Joberon spotted sipping Sangria! Last week I headed over to the cycling mecca of Spain. The island ofMallorca to be exact. I suppose you could compare it to Tucson orSouthern Cal. It's loaded with cyclists from all over Europe escaping the cold wet weather for some warm sunny training conditions. I have been reading and hearing about Mallorca for years. I knew it had to be good as many pro and amateur teams visit the island during the offseason. Let's just say I was not disappointed. The trip was better than I had imagined actually. Mallorca, for most, is known as a huge party location. Similar to Cancun. This time of year, however, the island, it's hotels, restaurants and...motorists seem to cater to the cyclist. The hotel had a massive breakfast spread every morning. Everything from fresh breads, yogurts, granola, eggs, a variety of meats and loads of fresh fruit and fruit juices. Lots of coffee too. Post ride they had a pasta feed waiting forthe riders. It was fantastic. After a shower and nap, dinner was served.Fresh fish was always on the menu. Paella was served one evening and I nearly had to be airlifted out of the hotel restaurant. Needless to say, finding food was not an issue. As much as I rode, I think I actually gained weight on the trip. The riding was top notch. Directly from the door of the hotel you could hop on a beautifully built bike path that wound its way along the shoreline of the Med. If you felt like some flatter riding you couldstay closer to town. Otherwise, make a turn anywhere along the way and head for the mountains. The roads were heavenly. I swear the locals swept and washed the roads each morning. It was incredible. Passing motorists? Drivers are very friendly and courteous. And the further you are away from town the quieter it gets. I met my bike crazy friends Sven and Roberto on Mallorca. Also preparing for their upcoming season, let's just say they were highly motivated and on form. I was calling them climbing specialists all week as they wereripping my legs off. The climbs on Mallorca are world class. Of Eurostage race caliber. 5 to 10+ kilometer climbs (and descents) were everywhere once in the mountains. If I wasn't breathing out of myeyeballs I was enjoying one of the many amazing vistas. If you have the opportunity I highly recommend Mallorca. There's certainly something for everyone there. As much as I love mountainbiking, road cycling in such places really gives you a huge appreciationfor that discipline of the sport. If you've only ever ridden your roadbike in Southeastern Michigan it's no wonder you aren't a fan. I'm quitecertain I'd be more of a "roadie" if we had such terrain and conditionsin this area. Until then...see ya on the trails.I'd like to thank both Sven and Roberto for pushing me all week andmaking cry "mommy" on those climbs. I'm looking forward to next yearstrip. By the way, I did have a Sangria. Ok, maybe two. Sven made me doit! Good luck to everyone this season. Be safe and have fun.
---El Joberon