Big Bear 2x12 – the best tag team ever
Venue: Big Bear Lake at Hazelton, WV
Format: Duo, 6 laps total, 3 laps each
Mileage Per Lap: 11.3 according to my Garmin Edge 500
Team Members: Ernesto Marenchin (Speedgoat.com) and Brandon Draugelis (Cannondale.com)
Course and Weather conditions: Low 70’s with chance of showers later in the day. Course was mostly dry with some wet/slick spots in various spots, but overall riding very fast for the course.
Game Plan: With $1,000 for the win and it only paying one deep, we opted for the quick start and started Brandon so that we would be ahead of the field and would not have to fight through traffic later on in the day.
LAP 1 – Brandon
Brandon starts off for us under cloudy skies at 10am. Starting on the bike on the entrance road leading into the venue was less chaotic then the Le Mans style start and Brandon would be lead into the first section of single track by one of the riders of the eventual single speed class win.
Brandon rips off a super fast start and comes back to the start/finish with the single speed rider hot on his tail. Now it’s my turn.
LAP 2 – Ernesto
I take off with us in the lead. I am pushing the pace, but as soon as I near my limits, I back it off just a little.
Towards the end of the lap, going up the climb, Gerry catches me and soon after, Nick Waite. We are now sitting in second spot – about 45 seconds down by the end of the lap.
LAP 3 – Brandon
Brandon takes off and regains the lead. His pace puts us in the lead again by minutes.
LAP 4 – Ernesto
It’s tight, so I have to push it. At the top of every little climb or whenever my speed slows down, I stand up to pick up the pace – and I’m now pushing the limits of my heart rate. I’m bumping up to my max, but staying under it.
At the top of the last climb, I can’t see Nick and push on – I have about a minute lead on him as Brandon heads out.
LAP 5 – Brandon
Brandon takes off under darkening skies and somehow misses most of the rain and worsening conditions. He puts more time into the team headed up by Nick, but the finish is going to be tight.
LAP 6 – Ernesto
Mud has now engulfed the entire course, but I have ridden on these muddy trails many a time. I had to slow down in several spots, but kept my speed up overall.
Up the last muddy slow climb, I take a peek back – Nick is nowhere in sight. I push on and we take the win with about a 2 minute gap at the end.
stop 3 on the NUE series was the lumberjack 100, a venue i have been dying to get to for awhile now and it is always scheduled the week after big bear. the last time i was there, i raced the 24 hour event and then the lumberjack back to back. not good. i was until about 75 miles in and then my heart rate shot sky high.
so, i was back to conquer my demons, but it was not to be.
dry conditions made for a fast course and just as i was dropping down the backside of the first climb, my front wheel hit something under some leaves and some me flipping over a couple of times and whacking my knee that i busted up last year. instant swelling and pain in that knee made it an easy decision to yank the plug for the day. if it were 7 miles to go, that's one thing, with 70 miles. my heart told me to keep going, but my head was telling me i may be doing some serious damage.
so, i headed back and iced, iced, iced - and drank a pint, pint, pint, pint and maybe a few more. two days later, i would be riding again, feeling rested and calmer since the swelling all went away.
getting there was a fiasco.
not really knowing where i was going, i headed down to marietta ohio only to realize when i got there that the location that was listed on the one website i pulled the address for was the ranger station 18'ish miles down the road.
at 10:22, i am debating to drive back home or to try to make it to the start. having just been ticketed for speeding a few days before, i was not in the mood to be on the recieving end of another one - but, i headed north and attempted to get there.
i got to the venue with literally 1 minute to spare before they shut down registration - and it was a good thing i had prepped all my fueling the night before. i was putting on my helmet just as everybody was ligning up.
field was smaller, but packed with about 10 guys who could take the win.
soon we were out of the parking lot, and soon after that, we were heading up the first demon of the day, a hellishly long road climb.
the temps were screaming and so was the pace, by the first right hand turn i had popped off the back of the lead group and was in a group of 4 - and there was not a soul in sight behind us.
i backed off, thinking the pace was too high with these temps (average for the day was 89!) and i am the early call that they would pay for their efforts.
into the single track, i stay steady and within my limits. i pick a few riders off that i was with and then start heading towards the next main group.
by mile 11'ish or so, i catch the group with gerry and notice 2 riders are not with them. most of these guys are riding rigid's and my pivot eats up the rocks as i inch closer and eventually past them. i now search out the leaders.
i ride by myself the remainder of the race, only stopping once to grab a mountain dew and some water from an aid station.
overall tough course, but well laid out and flowed awesome. can't wait to go back next year.
next up - tuesday night worlds at westlake.
full story tomorrow as i sort out all my goodies from the 'goat and i wash up the bikes and sort out things for next weeks adventure - the lumberjack 100. can't wait to get back out to this venue and it's awesome i can hit up the 100 miler without having a 24 hour in my legs from the weekend before.
saturday - epic battle for the cash saw me averaging a 170 heart rate for all three hours of my riding time and burning up over 2100 calories. we grabbed the lead on the third lap and held it to the end. hats off to brandon for ripping it up.
full length write up tomorrow - check out my flickr account link for 100+ pics.
mud was the dish to be served yesterday in Loudonville Ohio, rain soaked pretty much all of the course and left them pretty slick in spots.
gun went off and the field went flying up the first climb for the $200 prime to the top. i stayed with the back end of the first main group and was feeling decent.
around mile 25'ish, was sort of going through a mental funk where the mud was starting to get to me, but after my first feed at station 2, i started coming around.
i was just catching on to gerry when i somehow dropped my chain in between the cassette and wheel - luckily i could pull it out, but i snapped two spokes when i dropped the chain. i bent the spokes so my legs would not get whacked by them and i went on, loosing about 5 minutes and hoping that the wheel would somewhat hold up.
i would ride mostly alone for the day, but did end up waiting for two other riders to get me through the long hike and bike sections that are flat, long and full of nice gritty stuff that likes to get in your eyes.
at drop 4, i was able to get out before them, but not before dunking my head in water and getting a cold can of coke.
the second time through drop three, disaster hits again - i get a flat, and decide to pump it up and hope it holds rather then fix it right at the stop. bad mistake.
i make it another 4 miles or so and i am just catching back up to andy applegate whom i caught in the last section of single track - and my tire is going flat.
get my first tube in, hit it with the co2 and it somehow pops my tube instantly. my inflater, full of mud, jams and releases all the c02.
i get my second tube out and repeat, this time my pump is full of mud and not working.
a random rider stops, hands me his pump, i inflate and take off. conservatively, i most of lost at least 10-15 minutes and was just about to go into 11th spot.
i get rolling, ride great over the remaining sections, but lost too much time to make up my lost spots.
when it rains, it pours i guess and that's mountain biking. think i finished up about 14th'ish or so.
epic day with the rain and mud, lets hope i get to race sometime when the sun is actually out.
oh - and got the full ride on my garmin edge 500 - worked beautifully, but for some reason only registered about 90 miles. working on getting my ride info up later this week.
ah, mohican is coming up and what better way to distract your mind from 100 miles then with a new a toy that will save every second of your journey.
the Garmin Edge 500 is the newest accessory to my lineup of bike stash, purchased with the intent to give me a way to analyze my ride data and to get me another method of recording/saving my ride data other then with a calendar and a piece of paper.
first ride with it and i think i am hooked. we'll see how it goes recording my mohican race - should be pretty cool to look at after.
staying with my old posse members gerry and angry andy - and meeting up with about 500 other friends to try to beat the crap out of each other tomorrow. should be good times.
with that - must roll. keep the rubber side down.
100 miler next up on the race schedule, and this one is close to home which is always good.
work and riding has been hectic, not much free time at all these days to fit in extra stuff like cutting the grass and minor bike repair - but my home theater system is nearing completion and i am making a drastic upgrade to a garmin 505 power/heart rate monitor thingy so i am going to be on overload here pretty quick.
in local yocal races, i have also hit up the westlake worlds and plan to do so a bunch more times this year - somehow had a good race up there last weekend without ever doing a sprint for the past 6 months.
that's it, better roll - maybe another post before race day, we'll see - if not, see you at the finish line with a cold Great Lakes.