Sunday, June 21, 2009

Appy Classic Race Report

Team RowMan+ made the trip down to Grantsville, WV for WVMBA #5, the 13th annual Appalachian Classic. This one's kinda special for me b/c my uncle Mike is one of the founders. In fact, it's his art that is used for t-shirts and emblems. Though he doesn't race any more he represented when he did and has some good race stories.

Today it was just the Brothers Row and the Man (that's me). The other Team RowManians had other commitments and couldn't make the race. We missed you guys.

It was a beautiful day for a race. The drive down was full of blue sky and sunshine. Not the norm for this year thus far but a welcome change. So moral was high for the trip and everyone was hungry for some good ol' WVMA racing.

When we got to the Calhoun County Park we set up camp at the shelter where Team Bi-acher/Cannondale Factory Racer, Chris M.had set up camp from the night before. Ol' boy was looking a bit lonely since his fellow Bi-achers (Gunnar & Betsy) were out of state doing one of the 100 milers. So we pulled in to give him some company and share some of his shade. Chris gave us a run down of the Saturday events (TT and short track race) and the festivities through the night. Sounds like we missed some fun but Chris seem to be paying the price a lil but he's a tough dude and recovered well.

By start time there was a nice size crowed on hand. Lots of the usual suspects: WV Night Club (with Andy W. making a come back after a broken collarbone-good to see him back); Pittsburgh Pro guys; The Riddles; Ohio speedster Dave W.; Jesse S. and some more folks I just can't recall right now. There were a couple of faces I haven't seen at the races for awhile, Jacob B.; '08 Sport Champ. Ian B.

After J.R. flashed everyone and got us all fired up he sent us out on the start. The start of this race seemed especially important to get to the front before the taped off section narrowed down the line and hit some tight turns. There was quite a bit of tire rubbing and jocking for position before the first turn but all the RowManians had good position in the front third of the pack. Then it was a loop through the field, up around the pavilion and down the hill to the access road. Once on the access road I grabbed the big ring and made up some ground with Stephen on my wheel and Jeremy two guys ahead. Jeremy hit the single track in 3rd behind Dave W. and Tim C., I was 5th and Stephen 6th and the pace was smoke'n fast. By far the fastest start of the season. We held that position for a quite awhile till Steve H. put on a balls out pass around the whole group and picked up the pace even more. Of course Steve got around me on the first sizable climb but I held my own for a bit more.

Then, I heard a loud pop. It wasn't from my bike but from my body. The fast start quickly caught up with me and I started to pay the price. Got passed by a few on the paved road climb. It was fun while it lasted but for me it was just survival after that as I dropped from 5th to I don't even know where.

I wasn't the only one having a tough go. I think the heat really stuck it to a lot of guys. Jeremy had his first hiccup of the year with some bad luck loosing a contact lens, pedal issues and more. But being the class act he is, he took took on the job of team soigneur, handing out much needed water bottles. The day wasn't a total loss though. The elder Rowand, Steve put together a solid race on a course the suited him well and out ran some fast guys for a podium place.........3rd. Great work Steve!

After I bonked I was ready to call it quites after the 2nd lap cause I was sweltering hot, low on fluids and hurt'n bad. But after a good water dousing from Benji and his wife and my pure stubbornness, I was able to keep going to at least finish. And half a lap later when I was dangerously close to running out of water Jeremy was trail side with a bottle and a gel. You saved my life dude. Thanks! After that I was able to pass a few guys back so I wasn't going to be DFL. I made it. No mechanicals or flats and a finish so it was better than the last two races. Now I just need a course that fits me a little better.

It's funny how I hurt so much and wanted to give up but some how I still had a good time and wanted to keep riding after the finish. Must be the endorphins I'm addicted to.

When it was awards time I think everyone there took home something. By the end J.R. was tossing swag like a he was a bike parade. Always fun when that happens. Thanks for a great race J.R. and sponsors. I think uncle Mike will be proud.

July will be full of fun for Team RowMan+:

Barbour DeTour
Race to Lil' Moes
WV State Champ.
Valley Falls

Check out the new WVMBA Point Series Standings. Steve'o made a nice jump into 2nd place right behind Jeremy in 1st. The rest of the crew is scattered within the top ten. Look'n good boys. Don't let it go to your head though, still 10 more exciting races to go.

See ya at the races,

Sorry no pics. Forgot the camara. Maybe I can come up with some later on. But who wants to see more pics of us anyway? Anyone?

Friday, June 19, 2009

June Update

First thing to be updated is the road race from the Tour of Tucker Co. Josh and I were the only 2 ROWMANians to take part in this Killer event, and yes I said Killer because thats just what it was! There was a good turn out around 160+ total, and with about 50 in are Pro4/5 class. We started at the bottom of the Mountain. Right from the start the the pace was pretty fast... no one was messing around here. I tried to stay around the front to get the legs warmed up from a rest week. We made the right and headed up the first major climb. A couple of Solay3 guys were setting tempo up front so I sucked in behind there wheels, in 3rd . Well boys and girls, this is where it was over for me and a lot of other riders... about half way up the climb I just could not respond. So I let off the gas alittle bit and let them go. Josh and Robbie L. came up beside me. Joshs was looking fairly strong. I suck some wheel for a little bit, and then let them go on. I thought no reason to kill myself, lets just make this a good day for a bike ride in the great countyside. I wished them well and off they went.
So I kept spinning the wheels, and a few mins later I could see Robbie again so we started riding together and having a good time killin' the downhills. Man can that boy ride! He made me scare my self a few times as we hit 48.5 mph on one of them... kinda crazy when theres gravel and grass in the rode. Anyway, Robbie and I contiued to have a great ride as we hit the bottom of the last major climb, Sugarlands. It's stupid steep and long... Yea it's pretty dumb, but great. As we were coming to the bottom of the climb, a couple people came up behind us, and I decided the legs are feeling good. I finally opened them up a little and to see what I had. Well I was able to put over 5 minutes on the group. I was with, and pass over 20 people up. It made me feel alittle better about myself for the day. Josh pulled out like 17th, think I was 21st. All in all, a good day for a bike ride on some great WV Mountain Roads.

Next up, The 24hrs of Big Bear... well, for this year's addition it was just me. I found me a spot on the WVMBA Dream Team Roster, along side Chris M., Gunner S., and Steve H. All very fast guys, and I had some big shoes to fill to being on this team. I met Steve H. on Friday night to camp in the oh so pro suite in same spot as last year. We got there around 6pm to set up camp, and to go out for about an hour to spin the legs out. The course was fairly muddy. We just hoped it would dry out for the next day. The night club kept it interesting all night as always. The next day, noon rolls around and we somehow suckered Chris into running the first lap. He turned in a good first lap top 10, and then off rolled Gunner. He smoked a lap out and we were now setting in 2nd exp at this point. I took out on a pretty good pace, but not killer...just trying to catch the 360 team from Kansas that was leading us. As I hit the final climb before the rock garden I could see him ahead. I made the pass on the climb and got a good little gap. He closed the gap on the next down hill and we rode together to the rock garden. As soon as I got there, I wasted no time and ran the garden and got another little gap on him. I was then able to get out of his sight up the climb which puts us in 1st exp 3rd overall. When I came in on that lap, I handed off to Steve H. He got out and turned a super fast lap and put us into 1st overall. From that point we never looked back. We did get some heat in the middle of the night from the 360 and WV Night club boys, but we opened the gap back up the next morning. Gunner went out and took are last parade lap. He had a couple flats but no Heart Attacks so we were able to take the win by around 20mins. The Womens Dreamteam was able to pick up the win, and girled almost every team out there... Good Job Girls! Thanks and Congrats to JR for setting up this killer team and his team for winning the full grown man class.
Thanks to Robbie L for keepin the superfly and hifi running all night long!

photos by Theresa Svoboda

Next up for team Rowman+

Appalachian Classic

Barbour DeTour

Race to lil Moe's Place

Product Review: Raced a new pair of Bontrager Race X Lite Mtb Shoes for the 24hr race. Never got a chance to wear them before the race so was a little scared but they performed flawlessly. Put 50+ fast miles on them and the feet felt great. No hot spots, sores, or blisters.

Rock on Nate

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Creek to Peak to Podium

Well guys and girls super J was able to pull out another victory last Sunday at WVMBA #4, the Creek to Peak in Eleanor, WV.

The brothers and I headed down Sat. after work and set up base camp at Ma and Pa Chappy's place which is only about 30 minutes from the race. We were treated to a great nutritious breakfast by mama Chappy, got to play with the puppies and kitties, then got on the road. Made the short drive over the hill and arrived around 10 am with plenty of prep time.

It was clear it was going to be another slogger with lots of mud and wetness. The area got some heavy t-storms the night before so, there was plenty of standing water around the venue. But the sun was shining and temps were warm and yes it was race day........Game on.

The whole team was able to make it down for this one. Ryan and Nate ran the short track race on Sat. evening with Nate getting 3rd behind Nick Waite and Ben Ortt. Ryan had some bad luck and flatted out.

XC race.......There was a bit of funny stuff off the start caused by some of the course markings from the short track still being up. After the start the whole expert class ended up back at the start minutes after we left. The sporters had started by that time and after a quick restart we were off for real. There was a nice pull along a paved road and then a left onto the trails. This was about the time we caught up with the sport group. This made for some interesting congestion as experts riders were trying to get around the sport guys. Some were willing to give way and other were determined to race the expert class. Just tried to be patient and pass when I could. I was around Steve and Ryan so I was in good company.

The trails were wet and muddy and the twisty single track made things interesting. There was a nice long climb to start things out. I was able to keep Ryan and Steve in sight for most of it but by the time I got to the top a slow leak in my rear tire made my rear tire unridable. Time for a some more air, but to my surprise the Big Air strapped to my seat post decided to jump ship. Shit! I had no back up pump so I was out of luck with no means to inflate a tire.

So I started walking.........more like stomping the course. Had to walk for about 45 min till I got to a point where I could cut down the hill. I ran into Theresa Svoboda taking pics for iplay and a couple of spectators who had a pump. As I was standing beside the trail slowly changing my tire Jeremy came flying around the corner. I let out a loud "hell yeah" cause I knew he was riding in first. I didn't see the 2nd expert (Nick Waite) till a few minutes later. Looked like Jeremy was going in for the win as long as nothing tragic happened.

I got the tire ridable again and just at that time Steve came around the turn, seconds behind 4th place Steve Hill. So, I jumped on his wheel and tried to motivate Steve to pull himself up a place. He put on a hard chase but was unable to catch Hill. Good effort dude.

After stopping to give Jeremy a big man hug for the win I went the finish to finalize my DNF. But I wasn't the only one that had a tough day. Ryan had some mechanical issues but was able to finish. Nate took a nasty spill and knocked a leg and shoulder out a whack and had to DNF as well.

Even with all the misfortune, the trip was still worth while since Jermey got win #3 of the year beating some fast competition. He sits atop the point series standings and with Steve and Ryan getting solid finishes they both grabbed a chunk of series points. Great job Team RowManians.

"Jeremy collecting his loot and enjoying a winners shot"

Next up for the team:
Tour of Tucker County
Ryan doing XXC at Massanutten
Nate doing 24hrs of Big Bear on this years version of the WVMBA Dream Team
Then Appy Classic WVMBA #5

See ya at the races,

Gear point of the week:
Jeremy says the Bontrager Mud X performed like a champ in the wet muddy conditions and is definitely a good choice for the sloppy trails.