Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jeff "Tookie" Williams' Race Report

Jeff "TOOKIE" Williams had a West Virginia State Series Race over Memorial weekend, and found out an interesting race tactic. If you DO NOT run to the port-o-let when your category starts their race, you have a much better chance of finishing well! Jeff said that the rooty, rocky, technical course in the hills of WV was fast and fun, and he managed to stay with the lead pack all the way through the entire race. Moving up from 10th to 6th on the final lap, Jeff finished well ahead of the the last race he did. That was the one where he was fondling his junk a few weeks ago, remember? His Gary Fisher 29er was gobbling up the trail, and has been very happy with KENDA 29er tires he has been racing on. Congrats to Tookie for his top ten finish! Now if I could just get Ryan Nolan to call and tell me how his DH race went.....


Weekend Rides

Friday's afternoon ride was great. For those of you not priveladged enough to either know or have electrical work done by Don, he is a hell of a nice guy and a huge fan of this team. He always asks how ya'll are doing, and reads the blog religiously.

He buys the sponsor's goods to support the team, and has been my training partner for the past few years.

We rode from his home behind Burbank High School up to Stough Canyon Nature Center, then up the fire roads to the very highest peak..the radio towers that feed KROQ, the Po-Lice, and other media outlets. It tops out around 3,400 feet, which is not a huge climb but in only about six miles, it still can hurt on a hot evening. We rolled up to the top just before sundown, and had run into Backbone Expert XC racer Fuzzy with his brother and some buddies.

They were coming down, we were headed up. Fuzz had his old GT Zaskar working again, and was climbing like an Armenian Sherpa. I was rolling my STELLAR new Manitou R7 Super fork with the handlebar-mounted lockout, and was surprised by how well the fork felt. I have yet to own a bad fork from Manitou, and the service has always been great.

Sunday was a perfect day. I awoke early to visit Beauford, then came back and went to climb from Pasadena up the hitoric old Mt. Lowe narrow-gauge rail line. This place has spectacular history, look it up so I don't have to act like your high-school history teacher and tell you abut it!

haha.. We started the ascent at about 1700 feet, and climbed to the Merrel Tunnel, then splintered off to bomb Upper and Lower Merrel trails, Sunset, and one other gnarly little trail.

The guys suffered about three hundred flats, but even with that, I still felt lucky to suck the wheels of Jay and Darter up to the excrutiating summit.

We had Heidi and Darter, King James, Jay Schippers, and a buddy of Heidi and Darter's who lives there at the base of the climb. The first couple of miles are on pavement, with something like a 34% grade. Brutal, especially with temps breaking 100 degrees in some spots.

Once we hit the old train track-road, though, speeds picked up. We spent about an hour and a half ascending this, me being the only one on a hardtail. The rest of the group rode 5" and larger trail bikes...Darter's Titus Super-Moto, Jay's Turner 5 spot, Heidi's custom built DH bike, James' BMC Superstroke, and an Intense 6.6. How these people did that climb on those bikes, at that speed, I will never know.

It was great to ride such a huge climb, since my rides have suffered greatly lately. It was even better to get to ride with a few of my favorite poeple. I am very lucky to be surrounded by peeps who support me in whatever the hell crazy crap I think up, wishing only for me to be ultimately happy. Everyone should be this fortunate.
On a side note...Vegas Bob, Roger and Vanessa all went to a party in "IngleWOOD" last night...haven't heard from them...they me be dead. Freakin' Crackers. :)


Roger's Pre Race Update for Santa Barbara


Hope to see all of you this Saturday, Vanessa and I (along with some pmbc club members) are going up Friday to enjoy Santa Barbara. I will be at the race site early Sat am, look for the KENDA ez-up. I will have a large ice chest so that you can store your drinks and food, will bring tools, bike rack and tubes,and James/Jay (?) will bring the team tires if anybody needs them?

Pre-rode the course yesterday and the ground was very hard packed with some sandy spots. There is a lot of poison oak off the trail, if you go off course be prepared to bathe in Technu. According to some other riders that were there they added a freeride style downhill section to the back of the course, technical with some drops. The climb out on the backside is rutted with soft sand in the middle, best to stay far right. The single track down hill back to the road climb up is fast and hot with burms. The driveway climb from entrance to the start? Well it just sucks, temp was low 60's most popular tire is sure to be Small Block 8's.

After the race some of us are staying to see how many bars we can make it too before our money runs out, and Vanessa is taking on all challengers for shots :)


if you need something specific or help with anything let me know

ps I reserved a room at Park Plaza Resort in Utah for the National, plenty of room

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Spare Time

So it's Wednesday night, somewhere near 7:30 p.m. I am sitting here trying to recover from a weekend in Columbus sightseeing and what not. Everyone seems to have had a great weekend at the Castaic Race, and it looks like the guys at Manitou will try to resucitate my beat-down Skareb in an attempt to get me riding at least for the weekend. James was hard at work yelling at someone on a t.v. film-crew set in the Valley, Heidi was trapped in traffic on the coast, and all seems right with the world. I get to baby-sit Beauford this weekend, since his "mom" will be on a mini-vacation. That makes me happy since I don't get to see him as much as I would like to. For the record, he is doing well since all the medical drama a few weeks ago. Everyone should own a big smelly Bassett, it builds character!
The Ohio trip was great. It was so strange to see GREEN plants, and WATER that isn't either the ocean or a reservoir in large quantities. Equally disturbing were the voices and faces in drive-through restaurant windows. Clearly spoken English by people who are in school and DON'T have gold/silver capped teeth may take some getting used to. Oh, and graffitti? There isn't any. I saw one square block of an area called "The Bottoms" where there was a startlingly insignificant amount of spray paint. White folks are the scary ones here, with a disproportionate amount of people who answer the simplest of questions with a clear stream of thickening drool and a blank stare I liken to a Thorazine milkshake chaser. Nothing says "I've never read a book in my life" like a face tattoo. What does one drink to justify a permanent ink-charicature of Yosemite Sam or Daffy-Duck on one's forehead? If Paris Hilton were from the mid-west, would she say "that's hot" from the hardly-attached screen door of her double-wide trailer?
The place was CLEAN. All of it. The watersheds, the lakes, the sides of freeway on-ramps......weird. Makes me wonder what we are doing wrong in CA. Are there not enough "waste-bin awareness" campaigns here in the Golden State? I didn't notice any over abundance of waste receptacles there, so what is making the difference? Oh well, more on that later maybe. People were certainly nice. Porches, I think, have a great deal to do with that. Homes here are too small and dumpy to have front porches anymore, so you never get to spend those balmy So Cal evenings sipping mint-julips and chatting with your neighbors and their kids. Porches stop crime, of that I am convinced. Home invasion robberies drop dramatically when the neighborhood kids grow up seeing the old mountain bike guy sitting on the porch cleaning his shotgun three times a week.
Bike paths were everywhere. There were tons of people commuting by bike. The city layout of Columbus and the surrounding areas are very bike friendly. With only two hundred feet of elevation from the high to low spots, one can cover a great deal of ground in a short period of time. Don Burke and I would OWN this place with our big-asses. The roads are beautiful and winding, rolling along the Sciota and Olentagy ("Old and Dingy") Rivers. You roll through areas like Victorian Village, Grandview, and Bexley. The average home prices here are about $140,00.00. That's for a two story home with a large basement, big yard, and a PORCH! I now understand what drove the Roff's from California.
Ahhh the midwest. No traffic, cheap housing, and clearly intelligable fast-food workers. Why did we as a country ever move West? Oh yeah.....sunlight and seafood. I forgot.

Crapstaic Cal State Race Produces Podiums!

*****************Race Report Provided Roger Hernandez**********************

Race Results:

Vegas Bob 9th place, good start, heat got too him

James "john crier" Cross 4th place, great job race, he wants to protest something.....!

Randy "coors" Rush 13th, went hard maybe got jammed up behind somebody on start

Ryan "little hurt bert" 2nd place, easily could have won, he pre-rode too hard the day before, my fault

Vanessa Humic 2nd place, could have gone faster, but with just 2 girls in race went easy, gave up trying to beat Joy :(

Dawn Lyons 1st place,trying a lot harder, had trouble at end, but only girl in her class, nice to have her back. She has been helping Vanessa a ton!

Heidi "quadzy" Volpe 2nd place, new bike, light and very fast, she was our fastest girl on the team..!

Michael "the myth" Darter 10th place, super hard class, super sandbagger central top 5 rider in this class

Bert "the hurt" 2nd place pro single speed, 4 laps of pain the most of anybody on team

Abel came out with family and brought a bbq, cooked up a feast, and Jay had bbq at his house afterwards

lots of podiums and medals, got pixs with sponsor banners, will send later tonite

Special Notes:

James' bike worked perfect, he was so late he couldn't take anything apart

Heidi's new bike is hot, top of the line bling too, she said mutha fuc_e_ during the race

Dawn and Vanessa bonded and rode around before and after the race

Bob made it from San Jaun Capistrano to race venue in 1hr 8 min, cops still looking for him

Ara wasn't drinking enough beer for a spectator

Darter was bunny hopping his niner during the race and all smiles

Randy was pre-riding the course on one of Jay's downhill bikes, Trevor destroyed parts of his bike pre-riding

Jay's house is all pimped out

4 laps for Bert almost made him swear aloud during the race

We needed you there for rants and rude remarks

miss ya

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chalk Creek Stampede Slalom Shot Of Jimbo!

This pic was taken of Jimbalaya at the Chalk Creek Stampede race in Colorado a couple of weeks ago. This was Jim's first slalom race, and although practice went well...his race runs did not. Crashing in both heats (but still almost catching his opponent), Jim was out in the first round. He will certainly be back, though, so watch for his race updates as the Mountain States Cup progresses.

Jim and Court attended the Chalk Creek Stampede race this weekend, part of the Mountain States Cup Series. Jim was frantically building his slalom bike with parts provided by Jay, and subsequently missed his practice time for the day. Saturday was XC day, so Court was up in the morning for three seven mile laps. The course was a mixture of sand and baby-heads, but was somehow faster than expected. Court's brand new Titus Titanium Racer-X performed expertly on such a diverse course. Floating over the terrain, Court managed to maintain fairly consistent lap times. Colorado is a tough place to race, especially when you smoke all the chronic that CO has to offer, and unfortunately Court's best still kept him at the rear of the pack upon finishing. They don't call it wacky-weed for nothing!
Jim had practice early before his race. Slalom is fast and crazy, so Jim wanted to own the gate at the start. His four practice runs were smokin' fast..but that's just practice. In his qualifier heat, he was a bit over-confident and BLASTED out of the gate. Hitting the first set of doubles at about 50 mph, he WAAAAAAAY overshot the landing, crashing into the second set of doubles and flipping over. He still managed to get up and NOT be the last qualifier. For his bracket heat, Jim was hoping to recoup his losses. He tore out again...WAY too fast...hit the burm, then the double...was ok..then slipped a pedal on landing and damn near tore his bean-bag from it's fleshy connection point on the stem. Yeah....lotsa fun. Race over, Jim and Court rolled home to re-attach Jim's Scrote and drool on the Titanium Racer-X with a frosty cold brew.
Oh, and did I also fail to mention that a storm blew in during Saturday's race? Yep, it went from 80 degrees and sunny to 30 degrees and hailing in a matter of minutes. Lightening bristled all over the mountain for a couple of hours, forcing the race organizers to make EVERYONE dive for cover in the large team trailers (Giant, Shimano, etc.). Now THAT makes for a fast lap when you are the guys left out on the course! My pacemaker always gets a little funky in lightening storms, makes me feel like I just ate a plate of fried cheesecake or somethin'....or maybe I did.

Kim's B-day This Week!

Kimmy-Mac's birthday is coming up this week, but she and her beeatch, Randy, are heading to Scottsdale/Sedona for the week. When you all see her again, please be sure and buy her a drink...or don't...Randy may need the break from her shennanigens!
Happy birthday to Kim, and hopefully we won't see her on an episode of COPS from Phoenix...

Old Man's Cave

If ever there was a fountain of youth, it would have been found here in the hills of Ohio. Lush and captivating, this gorge of sedimentary rock and water looks like a back-drop for the movie "Pan's Labyrinth" or "Jungle Book." Named after the old man that lived (and died) here, "Old Man's Cave" in Hocking Hills is a spectacular place to spend the day. Richard Rowe had left his family home after a decision was made to move closer to Columbus, (late 19th century) taking his gun and dogs on a trek up the Sciota River. He ended up following Salt Creek for days, trapping animals. He ended up stumbling upon the gem of the state in this gorge, and decided to live out the rest of his days here with his pets. Rumor has it that he accidentally shot himself here, and was buried in one of the hundreds of local caves that pocket the cliffs.

Enjoy the pics, and click on them to enlarge them!

******Lower Falls drops into a great pool, loaded with fish.******

*******This a shot of Upper Falls, where the deep cut begins**************

******This is the fall just below Devil's Tub**************************************

***********The view from the canyon rim to the gorge floor******************

********Tunnel on the walking trail in the gorge bottom********************

MBA Cover With Backbone Ad

*********Mountain Bike Action July Issue with our team ad from KENDA**************

************Look for page 75 for the ad!****************************************

Thursday, May 17, 2007

CASTAIC race this weekend..

The most hated race in Cal State history is happening this weekend at Lake Castaic. With gut wrenching, dusty climbing and seemingly NO descending to make up for it, we only do this race because we HAVE TO. Roger will thankfully be covering my keester and setting up team pit duties for the race. Randy will be staying with Jay in Valencia, and Jay will be racing Expert XC with Bob! The Fuzz will likely not attend, as he despises this event with each and every fiber of his being. Have fun everyone, I will be in Ohio doing things that can only be described as deviant.


Backbone Ads Hitting Shelves This Week!

FINALLY! It's here, and can be seen in six major cycling publications from Mountain Bike Action to Decline Magazine. I favor the Decline Magazine page becuase of it's sheer size. Congrats to you all for getting to this point, and I am sorry for anyone who did not make it on the ad. I promise you I will turn this into something good at Interbike! Have a great weekend, and send these mags to your buddies!!!


Monday, May 14, 2007

Titus FCR Available With S-Bend Stays

The Titus FCR hardtail was spotted at the Fontana NCS race last week having a sweet new rear-end. Using S-Bend seat stays and a more conventional look, the optional new rear end is much more compliant than the existing set up. This change will be great for lighter racers who are looking for a more compliant ride than they get from the previous set up. Larger riders (fat-bastards)may wish to go with MY set up, the old style, as it is much stiffer and will transfer the power to the axle much more efficiently.
I rode my 2007 FCR hardtail at the Idyllwild Spring Challenge last week, and it was perfect bike for such a TORE UP course. Thanks to E.J. and the lads at Titus for the sweet race rig! I blew out my old fork, though, so if anyone out there in bicycleland can help......


Idyllwild Spring Challenge O' Death

The Idyllwild Spring Challenge was like going in for a colon cancer screening for the first time. You think "hey, this won't be bad, I'll be in and out and home in no time!" If only you had remembered the part about the giant plastic camera getting shoved in your butt....

Randy, James, Heidi, Vanessa, Roger and I rolled up to Idyllwild on Saturday night. After fighting the L.A. traffic heading east, we finally arrived around 7p.m. We registered, went to the venue and set up camp. There, the shennanigans started. Heidi laughed so hard that night, I hinestly thought the sharted he sleeping bag. Old Cougars will do that from time to time. We FINALLY fell asleep at midnight, but the cold night air at five thousand feet crept into the tent making sleep difficult. Heidi had to brave the forty degree temps to pee about
twelve times, but finally fell asleep for good.

We awoke to the sound of the hustle and bustle of a race, and we were excited to do what has been touted as the last REAL mountain bike race in California. Word to the third, my friends. They were an hour late starting the race (10 instead of 9 am), and that was BAD for me. It was creeping up to 90 degrees, and at this elevation and higher, I was going to suffer more than I have at any other cycling event I have ever done........I have done a LOT of cycling events. The gun goes off, and I start WAY at the back as usual. In the first two miles, we lost four guys. Two crashed in the first 1/4 mile, one breaking his bike and the other his wrist. The next two fatalities occured another mile or so in, where a log bridge saw both of them fly off an end up in the rocky dry creek bed below. Well, at least I won't get last!

James caught me about six miles in, and just FLEW by. Randy caught me about two miles later, but it was on a mile long hike a bike section, so we cried like babies together for a bit. Finally he went on, and after that, I was left to fend for myself. I was doing well for a guy who never rode here (and never rides), with an ingrown toenail on th right big toe. Then, the worst possible scenario happened. Three and a half miles of hike-a-bike up a sheer vertical wall of loose sand and rock. The toe began to fountain puss and blood like it were in the lake at Bellaggio. Awesome. This section of the race appeared to have no end, but just as I was about to give up.....it kept going for another hour. Nice. Randy could be heard cussing and saying things like "If I wanted to go for a Goddamn walk I'd have brought my DOGS!" This section was longer than every hike a bike I have ever done, put together and multiplied by 100. Both legs stopped working, and I had to stop several times and lie down, trying to stretch out the acid from my quivering muscles. Ninety degrees never hurt so bad.

Despite the vomit inducing length/height of the hike-a-bike, there were actually some fun spots out there. Everything but the off-bike portions were the exact polar opposite. Miles of amazing singletrack and vistas, high speed swoopy trails that led to low speed serious "pucker factor" rock drops and log rolls. I saw many a man with broken bikes, and faces, strewn about the course yesterday. I was amazed at how poorly guys on VERY expensive full suspension bikes rode them in the rough stuff. Heidi was actually complimented by men and women alike on her expert navigation of the nasty stuff, plowing her '02 Titus Racer-X through and over everything. It helped that her KENDA 2.1 Blue Grooves were burly enough to handle the job. Everyone was spanked at the end, and when I finally got in after three hours and thirteen minutes of racing, all were present and accounted for......except James. Some time after the hik a bike, James had flatted while siting in about 4th place. Three hours later, he finally limped in. Randy and I beat him, but only by default. James would probably have beaten me by at least an hour if his current pace kept up. I pushed so hard on the dh sections in an attempt to make up for the climbs, I ended up breaking my fork!
Oh, and the 19 miles this race was touted to be was WAY under estimated. My computer showed 24.2 miles...and an average heart rate of 180 bpm's. Ouch. Much like the colon cancer screening, we never had any idea how painful this race was going to be. it was amazing in some ays, and the worst in others. I rode things I probably shouldn't have, and found myself praying for a quick death by errant hunter's bullett several times. What is it that makes us continue on to that finish line? My entire body shut down, but I still managed to pass one more guy in my class before the race was over. So sore today all I can do is type....and drink beer....I have to get to work on my storage unit and prepare for the 1st..

Thanks to Roger for pitting for us again, and even though my body may never fully recover, I am happy that I have done this, and would certainly do it again.........not the colon thingy, the race. Duh.