Thursday, May 24, 2012

Part Deux Addison Oaks Stage Race

In this second installment of the Addison Oaks Stage Race was the Expert/Elite Single Speed Cross Country. As we toe the start line, or in this case, front tire, my single speed race compatriots and I exchange a few pleasantries and the gun goes off. I don't like to lead out in the races as it's a good time to let someone else do the work and size up the competition. This course start allowed me to tuck in behind the leaders wheel and save a little energy. As we start the Water Tower climb I realize our pace is not as high as normal, so I am content to stick to the leaders wheel and see how is single track prowness is. Rolling through the first single track is fun and feels like a fast fun, albeit hard ride. I'm having a blast, the breathing is good despite the heat and we are rolling along nicely. We cruise through the first lap and our little single speedd peloton work horse is still out front doing all the work. We do make it through all the two track and hit the paved path on the back side of the course, as we approach the end and just before the single track our third single speeder sees the first Elite woman catching and annouces she'll probably want by real soon...not only are the wheels rolling on my Specialized S-Works Carbon Stumpy Single Speeder, they start to roll in my head as I plan my strategy. The Elite woman annouces she wants to pass and there is absolutely no safe place to pull over, so we keep our pace as is. As we reach a section with an option to go left or right, our work horse leader pulls to the right, which is the slower line, and I hit the gas. Within 30 seconds I turn around and no one is with me. I keep the gas on the entire length of the single track which spits us out near the start/finish area and I have a one minute lead on the my chasers. I continue to feel good, hit the Water Tower climb and keept the pressure on and roll through the single track with a smile on my mug. I continue to pass a few riders and I catch an old friend, annouce my presence and use him as my personal domestique. He obliges me and pulls me through all the two track and paved path to the single track where I go around him and keep putting some coal on the fire. Third lap done and I have a two minute lead...I go through the start finish and notice my competition is further back, I go through the 4th and final lap and back off a little, but still end up two and a half minutes up on 2nd place as I roll in. I take a little break and chat with my newly found single speed buddies, congratulate each other and my day is done, time to relax! First place both days, my time today would have put me third in the 50+ Expert group, good stuff! Go ride! Jay Jones

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Addison Oaks Retreat Stage Race

Two days of racing, Saturday brought us two short efforts with a Time Trial in the morning and a Short Track in the afternoon. I'm use to 6, 8 and 12 hour racing, so these two short races would call upon my cyclo-cross mojo. My weapon for the day was my 17.4 lb. Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon Fiber single speed with it's Whiskey No. 7 carbon fork. With my early registration, I started with a 10:23:30 start for my Time Trial. I lined up next to my starting partner and the gun went off and I hit the gas. The start was flat, a few tight turns, some long straights and all on grass, so a little work was required but letting the other racer pull me along helped a little. Once we hit the Water Tower climb I passed my starting partner and hit the single track at my own pace! I came upon the next racer in the single track and they were nice enough to let me by after ringing my handy bell. The gear ratio I selected for today's festivities was a 34x17, which was perfect in the single track, but not the best on the two track, so if I got lucky, I would get behind a geared bike who would instantly turn into my personal domestique. No such luck, I had to spin my brains out, but got to the next single track section virtually unscathed...but wait, there's a little surprise, the single track is blocked off and more two track, which makes the course a little longer. As I hit the final single track section I am feeling good and my timing is pretty good, the only road block is a small technical climb strewn with softball size rocks, I clean it nicely and hit the gas to finish strong with a time of 29:50! I am the only Expert/Elite Single Speed racer for the day, so my 1st place is automatic, but I always like to check my time with the Expert 50+ age group (my racing age is 52) so I was very pleased when I see that my time would have put me in first place in that age group! On to the afternoon's Short Track, the gun goes off and we have a mass start of all the Expert racers. There was some carnage within the first 100 feet and two racers tangled up like they were cage fighters, fortunately I was on the other side of the track and stayed clear of the crash. Holding your line in this tight twisty course was imperative, with that said, I was forced to run over a root and my tire burped and the tire lost some pressure. I thought I would be okay, but all the turns on a single speed requires one to stand up and deliver! But with the low pressure I was afraid of rolling the tire off the rim and I decided to slow down and finish the race as the overall points for the weekends racing were more important than a strong finish. So I limped in with a smile on my mug and looked forward to tomorrow's cross country. Go Ride!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Farmers Fat Bike Race

Fat is in! Yup, you heard it here first, fat is in! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, it's 3.8 inches of fat tire fun! The fatter the tire, the bigger the smile.
My first race of 2012 was on a set of fat tires, along with 75 others on fat tires at the Farmers Fat Tire Race in Grand Rapids. The weather has been pretty mild for this time of year. Barely any measurable snow and mild temps. But the preceeding 36 hours of the race the snow came down and we had a good 6-8 inches of fresh powder to make this a true winter race.
The Duo team riders got to go first when the gun went off, a couple of minutes later, all us solo riders were allowed to hit the course. With this being only my second ride on the Pugsley and the first in snow, I had no idea what to expect. The start was uneventful as everyone found their place in line. Most of the course had one solid lane thru the snow and if you felt adventureous you could go onto the lane that wasn't proven and go for a pass. As some of the slower duo-team racing traffic was caught, this was an option you had to exercise or stay in the conga line and take a little rest, which wasn't a bad idea either.
As the race went on and the traffic spread out, you could pretty much run your own race. There was one run up that some folks managed to ride, but every time I hit it, there was traffic, so I never did get a chance to try it. About the 9th lap I was pretty happy that I hadn't wiped out yet, but that would soon change and what's funny, I didn't see it coming and I was on the floor before I knew what happened, good thing there was a lot of freash snow to soften the landing!
I managed to keep the pace going, but when I stopped to get my third and final bottle at around 2:20 (race being over at 3:00) I heard some of the race "officials" shout out it was the last lap. Which didn't really register until I came in the next time around and all the racers were being ushered off the course. So at the 2:37 mark of the race, it was over. I managed 11 laps and 9th place. With the race ending a 1/2 hour sooner than I anticapted, my strategy didn't help my placing but in the end, I had a blast! I got to see some of my "Fat" friends and race in the snow!

Go ride!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

8 Hours of Bloomer

I've come to the realization that you have good days and bad days...but two bad races in a row is telling me something different. Both of these races were in the 90's, so the heat may have played a factor.

The temps were comfortable at the 10:00 start and I started out comfortably. With the heavy rains we had the prior week leading up to the race the course was re-routed in a couple places so it was a crap shoot for my gear selection. I can't remember what gear I had last year, but with this course design there is no gear that works well for the entire course. We had a long section of rails to trails so a bigger gear would be ideal, but once you get off that, you have a long section of two track and single track where it seemed all you did was a steady climb except for two portions of switchbacks, so it was a decision that had to be made carefully.

With that said, I used a 34x18 on my Specialized S-Works Carbon Single Speed rocket ship...well, maybe for the first 3 hours it was a rocket ship, but I'm getting ahead of myself. About the third lap I started to do some evaluation of my gear selection. I would keep track of where I would need my tall gear and I realized the only spot would be on the rails to trails. With the new single track replacing some two track, I need the gear even less, so I decided to change gears. Actually, I asked Bryan Kreger to change my gear while I rode my back up bike...this is where my demise started showing its ugly face.

I swap bikes and I'm off again...and the difference in the bikes if felt immediately, not a bad difference, but a difference nonetheless. The back up bike is totally rigid so the big set of switchbacks is a little rougher, but on the smooth part of the trails, it's like "butta". But one major issue was the gear selection on the back up bike was EVEN harder than what I had on the other bike so the next lap would involve some walking.

I completed the lap on the back up bike and upon my arrival into the pit, Bryan has some not-so-good news for me, I need a spacer on the cassette body for the new cog to work and neither of us have any spacers in our tool boxes, so I stop and Bryan figures out a plan that works for the both of us and I agree and I head out to do another lap on my back up bike.

When I get back to the pit Bryan has my bike ready and I head out again. At this point I have 11 laps in and the heat is starting to take it's toll on me. I am nauseous and pretty light headed, especially on one climb where it's all in the sun and it feels like an oven. I have to stop as I get dizzy, I take a small break and get a drink and wait until the dizziness subsides. As I wait, fellow single speed competitor Steve rolls up and both of us talk about the downward spiral of our race plans. We both head out at the same time and have a little fun riding together.

I manage two more laps with a long break before them and realize it's not in the best interest health wise to keep going, so I decide to stop and just recooperate with my friends. I don't know what's going on with the heat issue I'm experiencing this year, but hopefully we get a couple cooler races or I'm in trouble.

Go ride!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

6 Hours of Stony Creek

My intentions for this race was to use it as a tune up for the Mohican 100 in Ohio in 2 weeks. I wanted to gauge my fitness and see what I had to work on. Pre-race bantering on the MMBA Board had me wondering about gear ratio, but I stuck to my original plan and went with a 34x18 on my Specialized Stumpy fully rigid 29er.
With the weather playing a huge role in this race, I also decided to stay with a Specialized S-Works Fast Trax LK up front and Specialized S-Works Renegade in the back, this prove to be a worthy set up as I had no issues except in the greasy spots, but then again, everyone did. So the extra wheelset with more knobbier tire was not needed.
As we lined up for the gun to go off, I spot Wayne Cook, a man who I have chased in just about every race around here. He's fast and he's good. I am unable to spot any other bikes with just one gear so I focus on him...for about 3 minutes because he takes off as soon as the gun goes off and I settle into a nice little group of 7 riders.
We wind our way through the roller coaster section of the race course and we have a pretty good clip going. Michigan Endurance Queen Danielle Musto is in this group along with 16 year old Kurt Voight. As we come to an intersection of single track going across two track, the lead portion of this group stays on the single track and I know enough to turn left onto the two track, so I shout out to them and keep speeding on and they all somehow turn around. A few minutes later, they catch up as they all have gears and I pick a nice little place in the pace line and let them pull me around.

We do this for about 2.5 laps, it's a blast and the pace is higher than I expected or planned, but this is a training ride and a fact finding mission, so I don't mind. This group finally splinters and I am working with Kurt and someone else. I'm happy with where I'm at and finally settle in.

Laps 3-5 I am alone and with a few people here and there, grab a wheel when I can on the flats and then make a move just before the single track so I am not held up. Just after starting the 5th lap, I come up on a few people that I'm not really suppose to catch or much less pass...but nonetheless, it's at a most opprotune time as it's at the beginning of a long flat section. One such rider is Chris Goddard and I grab his wheel and let him know it's me. He pulls me up to the famous Wayne Cook, the man I marked at the start line. I am quite amazed at this situation and us three end up working together for a little bit. Wayne and I end up dropping Chris and then we take turns pulling and take turns checking each others weeknesses and strong points out. He's fast on the flats and I can make time on him on the climbs. We both make a quick stop in the pits, mine is about 15 seconds long, enough time to grab a fresh bottle and some Enduralytes and I'm on my way.

As pull away I look behind me and no Wayne...until about three minutes later, he pulls up behind me and sits on my wheel. We have some fun together flying through the roller coaster section and he shouts out, "Jay, slow down, I don't want to race today, I wanna ride!" We both have a good laugh. But all he was doing was setting me up for a decisive move on the flat section...I sat up a little to stretch and he hit the gas and within 10 seconds he's 100 feet in front of me on a long steady climb. My legs cannot answer so I settle back into my pace and am content to watch him slowly ride away. I decide right then that I will continue to run my race and keep plugging along, I feel pretty good and only my left quad is cramping a little, nothing that a few more Enduralytes and some Hammer Sustained Energy doesn't cure.

As I arrive at my pit at the end of my 5th lap I'm all business and my friend Robin Scurr is waiting there with a fresh bottle (as he has been all day long). He knows exactly what to do and gives me some encouragement then sends me on my way. I am riding all alone on my 6th lap and have a nice pace going. I am surprised at my pace and still am feeling good. About half way thru the 6th lap I come around a corner just before a long climb and I see Wayne pushing his bike, as I ride past him he says, "the race is yours, good job!" So the competitor in me puts an explaination point on the climb to make sure he sees me and keep pedaling (which is hard to do, cause Wayne is a good guy). With him conceding I am rejuvenated, which is a great feeling so late in the race. I press on and continue to keep a decent pace up. I finish the 6th lap alone, stop to grab one more bottle and head out for my 7th and final lap. I ride all alone, pass a few people and have a good lap.

As I near the final huge climb, definitely the hardest climb in the race, I am determined to stay on the bike as I have made all the climbs all day long. I have about 5 revolutions per minute, but the bike is moving and I'm still on it. I push thru and come into the start/finish area and Brent Walk (race promoter) shouts out my name on the P.A. system. I am dirty, wet and tired, but I have a smile and I am very happy with today's effort.
I end up with 7 laps, 73.58 miles in 6:01 hours, avg speed 12.2 mph, max speed 29.3 mph, avg heart rate 149 bpm, max heart rate 169 bpm, climbed 6133 feet and burned 5870 calories!

I get 1st Place in Single Speed Solo and 2nd place overall in the Solo class...not to bad for a 51 year old asthmatic!

Go race!

Friday, May 6, 2011

L.O.H.S. Spring Race May 5

This is the first of the Lake Orion High School Spring Race Series. It's a week night race series designed to have some fun and get a little racing in. I use them for high efforts back slash, hard days. Even though the race is short, it's a high effort for the entire race, very similiar to a cyclo-cross race.
With that said, I take a 1/2 lap to get a good warm up in as I know the race will be face paced from the gun with the likes of who showed up. A pace line forms quickly and I am about in 9th place as we dive right down a short hill and head for the single track. My teammate Dave Moore is right in front of me, he offers me his place in line just before we hit the sweet single ribbon of dirt thru the woods...I politely decline and we are on our way.
Shortly after I am regretting my decision as the first six guys slowly pull away. There is no place to pass and I am relegated to letting the lead pack go away. No worries, this is all for fun. As we hit the first open area I make my pass and I am all alone. I see one of the guys has fallen off the pace of the lead group and I slowly count the space between him and I and it's roughly 1 minute. I do some quick deductions and it will be hard for me to make up the time in this short of a race, but I try nonetheless.
As we weave in and out of the turns, berms and valleys I get the false sense I am closer to the one in front of me, but I don't let if fool me and keep pushing the pedals. My goal is try to catch him before the finish line with a few hard efforts, I am unable to bridge the gap. As I look behind me I am making some good time on the people I started the race with. Although I don't know this for sure, but the fact that I can't see them is a pretty good sign that I am. I keep the pace to the end, just to keep my intended 'hard work out' in tact.
I end up finishing in 49:44, 2nd place in the Advanced 40+ group. Bernie Wendel and I are the only cats on single speeds in the group and it's fun to mix it up with all the gears and suspension and what not!
The next race in this series is Wednesday, May 11, another good weekday night for a race...and some fun!

Go ride.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Night Ride

I was suppose to do the Cohutta 100 tomorrow, but my son needs me to help him move out of his dorm room, so I shall be northbound, instead of southbound tomorrow.
With nothing to do on a beautiful Friday evening except ride, I decide to do just that. I don't know my route, I just start riding. Within a few miles I decide to do a big loop and work my way over to Fox Lake Road. This road has a climb that's a mile long and a little over 100 feet in elevation. You may not think that's much, but on a single speed mountain bike on an unimproved road, it's a grinder. My goal is to do this climb three times...I feel real good after my 3rd time, so I do it one more time and make my way back home.
My ride was 31 miles, 2:13 ride time, 13.0 avg speed, 26.5 max speed, avg heart rate 128 bpm, max heart rate 167 bpm, climbed 1564 feet and burned 1601 calories.

Go ride