Monday, July 20, 2009

Team RowMan @ Valley Falls Challenge

The RowManians had a short trip south this weekend to hit up WVMBA #8, The Valley Falls Challenge. It was a quick skip down I-79 to Fairmont for this one, Sweet! It was just Steve and I in the team sport utility Neon. J caught a ride with his lady Auvid, who was coming down to cheer on her favorite bike team.

Steve and I made the usual caffeine pit stop then buzzed down to Valley Falls. Got there early and set up camp. Jeremy and Auvid arrived right behind us and our newest team member, Tim W. right behind them. So, we did the now routine pre-game and prepared for the familiar pain to come. Oh it hurts so good!

There was a bit of delay at the start while we waited for the sport and beginner class spread themselves along the beginning climb. The challenge of the Valley Falls Challenge starts right from the gun. The expert class starts at the bottom of a steadily steep road climb before bombing back down on some twisty single track. On the line I got shuffled back to the end of the pack while the brothers got good position in the front. On the starting climb the beginning pace was pretty reasonable so I was able bridge myself up to the front third of the group right on Steve's wheel. I was hoping he wouldn't wreck me this time so I decided to pass him. I almost beat him to the trail but he pulled by me just before we turned off the road. He never would have heard the end of it if I would have got him on the climb, and you know that. Looked to me like Jeremy made it in the woods in around 4th or 5th and I could see Steve H., Gunnar, Andy G. and maybe a couple more up in front.

I was pretty geeked about my position at the top of the climb but knew I had to focus on the technical decent so I didn't biff it and blow another good start. I followed Steve's wheel down the decent and was able to keep it on the rail. I did get passed by Benji, but that guy can descend like hell. Saw a number of riders off the side of the trail though on the way down. At the bottom of the decent is a gravel access road so I was able to hit the big ring and power past a couple dudes out the road. I could still see the leaders just up the road so I knew we were in good shape. Tried to do some pulling for Stephen but he couldn't match the power of the Chappy diesel so I backed off and tried to settle into my zone and prepare myself for the big, long climbs ahead where the diesel could blow up. Steve and I stayed together for a good bit with Andy G. and no one else in sight behind us.

When we hit the climb I surprisingly held it together and kept up with Steve and Andy for much longer than normal. But eventually they put a good gap on me and I found myself all alone on the hill. I knew what I had to do so I kept up my cadence and was able to clean the first climb without anyone catching me. I made it to the last kick and could still see Steve just at the top. I couldn't clean the last kick but I saw Steve'o clear it with his 2x9. He's a power house on the steeps.

I hate that climb but man I love the downhill on the back side. I grabbed the big ring and went down as fast as I could on the swoopy decent. Had a great time on the way down letting the big wheels fly. Hit a couple more steeps before starting the second lap but I was able to spin up the first one but had to hike-a-bike the second one. When I got back to the road climb to start the 2nd lap I was passed by a rider on the way up. He was out of the saddle humping it to the top. I didn't chase cause I felt like I could bridge up on the way down. I did, and we road out the gravel road together and he was just ahead of me starting the long climb for the second time up. He must have hit the hill hard cause he dropped me good on the way up. But I was able to clean it again without getting passed. I saw Steve again in the pine section and he was still on Andy G's wheel. I think he's learning how to pace off of others now cause he was able to gap him before the end of the climb.

I finished out the rest of the second lap without loosing any positions. I could see a Night Club'er behind me on one of the climbs, I think it was Benji but I made it to the finish before he caught up. Maybe cause I turned on the afterburners or maybe cause he broke his frame in two right before the end. I came in 7th overall and in the expert class. One of my best finishes yet! Hell yeah! It's about time ol'chappy was able to put together a solid race with no flats, mechanicals or physical aliments.

The rest of the team did good. Jeremy got Gunnar by a wheel for 2nd. He broke a chain and didn't have a quick link so he had to splice it back together. Otherwise he would have taken 1st. Steve got a solid forth, real good considering he was recovering from his fall last week and a busy week of riding around town. Tim came in 12th in the sport class. Nice riding boys! Director Chappy is proud of you.

We had a team dinner at Meriel's and stopped for some recovery ice cream before heading back to Mo-town. It was a fine day.

Special thanks to our number one fan and photographer.........Auvid. Also, thanks to Jason M. and all his sponsors for putting on a great race, one of the best races of the year.

We missed having Nate and Coach around for the race. Nate had to work and Coach is getting ready to move down south to the ATL. You'll be missed little buddy.

It's a couple weeks off for Team RowMan+ to rest and rebuild. Our next action will be the Big Bear Ultra then the ACE race.

See you at the races,

Check out the WBOY news report here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

WV State Championship Race Report

Team RowMan+ had an exciting day at the WVMBA #7, WV State Mountain Bike Championships in Davis, WV. This is a fun, rocky course with riding you can't find anywhere else around these parts. If you like to ride rough, technical, rocky trails then this race is for you. Not an extreme amount of climbing but the climbs that are on the course are rocky and technical.

The weather cooperated for the race. Saturday it sure looked like it was going to be a repeat of last year when the area got inches of rain the night before making the trails very wet with lots of standing water. The storms broke-up before making it to WV dropping little to no precipitation. So the trails were dry and fast with hardly a spot of mud to contend with. I was sweat'n it on Saturday cause I had changed my tires over to some dry treads in hopes of the ground staying dry. No worries.

On Sunday we got to Davis right on time to give us a couple of hours before the start. Stopped by Blackwater Bikes first for registration and then we headed out Camp 70 road and found a nice spot for base camp right around the start area. After some set-up, resting and hydrating it was time to gear up and get warmed up. We did a quick recognisance ride to check out the conditions and look for a place to stash some extra water in case of emergency since it was going to be a longer race (~28 miles).

Steve strut'n his stuff and base base camp

Then it was time for the start. There was quite a nice crowd on hand for the race. There was some nasty drama off the start. I was mid pack going down the the gravel road right behind Steve. We were moving up a couple of spots and then someone came over on Steve and tangled handle bars and Steve lost is front wheel and was instantly on the ground. I watched him do a power slide on his right side on the gravel right in front of my wheel. I was able to get stopped in time so not to run him over but could not avoid going down myself. Luckily, no one from behind came up on our pile up. We got up quickly and checked things out. Steve was ripped up pretty good but no serious injuries and I hardly got a scratch. Steve's bike on the other hand had a twisted stem, a bent pedal and lots of scares. After assuring he was ok I jumped on and hit the trails DFL. Steve tried to give it a go but the pedal put a end to his day. What a bummer!

I was able to pass quite a few and make up some ground but may have buried myself a little too much. Then, after I got passed Moon Rocks all the folks I had passed were right back on me. That was real demoralizing and took some wind out of my sails. Then I realized that they had taken a right turn before moon rocks following the old course where I went straight following a course change due to the logging in that area. I was pretty pissed about how the day was going so far. Then to make things better on Ho Doo Rocks a bolt fell out of my water bottle cage causing it to fall to the side. So, I had to stop and take it off, watching everyone I passed pass me back. Shit! But I took a deep breath and said oh well, "go out and ride well and have a good time". So that's what I did.

I got past a couple and caught up with Sean Z. and we road together through the rest of the 2nd lap and around the start of the 3rd lap. I was happy to see Steve trial side in one piece. He was grinning with a fresh bottle and gel. Thanks buddy!

When things were just starting to go well and we had a couple of guys in our sites, Psssssss, punchure. Double Shit! So off Sean went up the trail while I had to stop and tend to my flaccid tire. I hit with some air and gave the Stan's a chance to seal, no luck. Then when I was just about to tube it, she finally sealed and held. And I was off again. No other events for the remainder of the lap. I came it just under 3hrs. and in 10th place. I guess not too bad considering another tough day for ol'Chappy.

I got back to find out that Jeremy had blown everyone away and got the win and is now the WV State Champ. Great job Jeremy. Steve looked a little rough with some bandages covering his knee's and elbow's. He was in good spirits though, probably a lot better than I would have been. Heal fast Steve'O. It was nice to take a cool down swim in the Blackwater.

Steve's ouchies

After hang'n out for a bit, enjoying few brews and swapping stories we got over to the awards so big J could collect his loot. He also got a sweet state champ. medal too.

Jeremy pumped for the win and flashing the bling

On the way back to Motown I thought stopping by the Candyland in Oakland would be good for the bros. Jeremy could spend his winnings and Stephen could get some recovery sugar. For anyone who doesn't know the Rowands, those boys likes the candy. So, they were in heaven filling up their bags the all varities of candy. Steve got a record 6 pounds of candy. WoW!

Jeremy with some bag envy

Next weekend we'll be down at the Valley Falls Challenge that is put on by our friend Jason M. This is a well put on, challenging race. So, come out suffer and love it with Team RowMan+ and the rest of the WVMBA racers.

See ya at the races,

Pictures on the way soon. For now check out the our slide show and these.
Who is that fast looking guy if the first picture.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Independance Weekend Race'n

The RowManians celebrated our countries Independence Day weekend by exercising our freedom to ride. What better way to experience the freedom we enjoy then by jumping on your bike and hurling yourself down the road/trail.

First up was the Barbour DeTour, the 4th and final race in the WV Road Race Series. It was a nice day for a bike race with low humidity and sunny sky's. It was a purty early start with the flag dropping at 10am. Steve and I didn't get to Philippi till after 9am so that didn't leave much time to screw around. Nate got there a bit earlier but not by much. After filling out some paper work and gearing up there was only about 15-20min left for a warm-up. Not optimal but oh well the first climb out of town would be a good warm-up as long as we didn't get dropped.

Steve rolled out with the 1/2/3's right at 10am. I was coming the other way as they rolled out and noticed Steve was already in the front doing work as always..........That boy will never learn. I got back to the start line within seconds of the roll out. For those that haven't road the DeTour before, it is a rollie, ~30miler (~50mi for 1/2/3) with the largest climb starting 1mi after the start. The pace was moderate going up the first hill but not enough to cause much of a split in the group. I stayed around 5th wheel right behind Nate in case there was anybody who thought they would try and get away. No one did. The course got rollie after that with a few guys trying put in some attacks. I went out on a couple with no hope of getting way. Just wanted to stretch the legs and push it a little since it was such a short race. Not much happened till the group made the turn back towards Philippi. Then you could feel the group starting to get twitchy for the run in to the finish. I put in a hard effort after one of the rollers hoping to get a small break. I got a good gap but then I realized I was nowhere near as close to the finish as I thought. So, I shut it down and went back to the group. BoneHead!

Not long after, it was time for the exciting finish which goes down the same starting hill into town and then takes a 90 degree right off of Main then a 90 degree left onto a side street then about 50 meter sprint to the line. It was a fast decent into town with lots of riders jockeying for good position for the turns. I got onto Robbie and Nate's wheel on the inside cause I knew these guys had the finish dialed in. Robbie launched a lot further than I expected and I lost their wheels by a bit but was still 3rd going into the turns. First turn went well, still in 3rd, second turn I got a little wide and had to back off a bit and lost some momentum. Robbie and Nate got away and I lost two more spots as I tried to get back up to speed. I definitely need more work on my sprinting technique. I still came across the line 5th although the results say 6th (no camera, just pen and paper). Nate got 1st (2nd year in a row) and Robbie got 2nd. Nice job boys. Thanks for the ride in. Wish I could have kept it going.

Then it was time to wait for the 1/2/3's to come through after their second lap. About an hour later the first guys came through. A Cat guy got the win with Adam A. right behind him getting 2nd. A couple minutes back was Steve's group. Steve came around the turn right behind Gunnar but lost one spot in the sprint. Still a 5th is damn good in the big boy race. Good work Steve.

The RowManians also collected some swag and bling for placing in the overall road series (Steve 3rd in 1/2/3, Nate 2nd 4/5, Josh 3rd 4/5). Very cool. Thanks J.R. for putting on an excellent series, I had a great time. Only wish there were a few more races to go. Maybe next year?

After the race we retreated back to Motown for a cookout at the Chappy homestead where we had some recovery burgers and beers and were treated to a fireworks show by Sean Z.

On Sunday the brothers Row headed back down to Philippi without the Man for WVMBA #5, Race to lil Moe's. So I don't have much to report yet just some solid results. Hopefully Steve will fill in the blanks. Jeremy got a 2nd behind Gunnar and Steve got a 3rd. Steve was look'n to take ol' Gunny so he could collect on the overall weekend price but alas the old man was just too wiley. Great work dudes. Still 1,2 in the series.

I can't wait to get back on the mountain bike the next 2 weekends at the WV State Championship in Davis and then Valley Falls in Fairmont. Both challenging races. I think the Davis race just could be my favorite. It's got it all and plenty of it for everyone.
See ya at the races,