Friday, May 13, 2005

Dirt Crit report

It is hard to get across to someone who has never ridden around in a circle with their toungue draggin' on the ground how much fun these things are. You just gotta do it. Thankfully we had at least three people today. One isn't enough. With two it is too easy to just bag it. But with three you have enough to just go for it.

Partners in crime were Chuck Rockwell. Globetrotting in the world of corporate espionage, where his office is his suitcase. He has the opportunity to live anywhere he wants to within range of a major airport and he chose Blacksburg so he could do these crits. Chuck decided to grace us with his Free ride bike. 35-40lbs of 9" rotors, 6" of travel up front , 4-6" travel adjustable in the rear. Chuck has a message for anyone who is one the fence about doing these things because they are out of shape or are a beginner

Hey, get out here. I got lapped twice, and had to walk the climb, but I'm coming back!!

It was a blast following him on the fire road with the big holes and whoops in it because he just sit through them and his sofa of a bike would soak it all up.

The third in our crazy group was International man of mystery Chris Pohowsky. Chris arrived on his hardtail like me, with a front brake that was going out, and a noodly fork that he was pushing to the extreme. Mr. Smooth soon figured out all the lines on the course and was in continuous flow.

One of the keys to a dirt crit is figuring out how to get the most out of every piece of the course. Trying different lines to find the one that keep your speed up and trying to minimize anything that will take a bite out of your MO.

We started at the fire circle and went down hill on the fire road. I took off all jazzed up hitting these big pot holes on the fire road still pedaling with my rear wheel kicking up in the air like a bucking bronco. The first part of the fire road that you turn onto after coming off the single track was one of the hardest things for me. Because I was so fried from gaining back all the elevation on the single track, which ends with a short grunt. Coming off that and right into the roller coaster bumps on the fire road almost threw me over cause I was sitting down too fried to get my butt off the seat and hit some of these totally off balance.

The first big mud bog messed up any rhythm I had.
I started with Line C which forces you to lay on the brakes hard and then thread this needle of a piece of single track and then a hard left out of it. Then I started taking Line A which is just as bad of a needle to thread requiring a slow speed to negotiate, but the exit was better than Line A. Chris figured out Line B which allowed you to maintain a lot of MO out of the exit. But there as a small berm that if you hit it wrong your front would wash.

The second mud bog was pretty basic. RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE. I tried to manual over the first part of the mud and always ended up getting pushed over to the right on the exit

The turn off the fire road was one of my favorite parts of the course. It took several laps to figure out the right way to hit it. Done right, you could hit it without any brakes, and carry your momentum with a wide exit and could stay pedaling strong to the entry into the next turn.


Done wrong and you brake too much and have to pedal too hard up the climb, or your front wheel washes into one of those big holes. As mine did on the last lap.

The single track section is tough. Loose in the turns with some drifting, some MO eaters right in the middle of the track. One piece of slate that slid my rear wheel more than 1 foot right in the middle of turn. False flats making you decided between grinding the big or dropping to the middle, with a harsh grunt at the end. All the elevation drop from the fire road is gained over the course of the single track.

Chris was kind enough to let me lead the first lap and then passed in the second. I tried to stay with him on the single track, and we might have been working the same effort, but his efficiency in the single track gave him a foot here, a foot there and pretty soon the gap was substantial. Climbing the grunt before the exit out of the trees your peripheral vision can pick up anyone on the fire road. Several times I could see him starting his descent on the road while I was on the climb. It messes with your mind because you think that they are right there but by the time you get to that point they are LONG gone. I only had fleeting glimpses of him the rest of the crit.

Chuck was grinding along on the free ride machine and kept it up the whole time

Having others out there helps justify the pain, but in the end it's all about you going as hard as you can. No better way to get in racing shape. Cause if you never go hard, well then you'll never go hard.

My lap times were:
1- 3:31
2- 3:39
3- 3:58
4- 3:55
5- 3:50
6- 3:44
7- 3:50
8- 3:47

Total go time was around 30mins. Format was 20mins + 2 laps (wherever you are at 20mins complete that lap than go 2 more full laps) The worst thing you can do is fixate on the 20min mark thinking that it will be over then. Because after 20mins life really starts to suck cause it aint over for 2+ more laps.

CP got credit for one additional lap.

Next one will include FREE BEER* to all participants and spectators

*Limit one ice cold can of cheap domestic beer per person of drinking age.


At 1:14 PM, Blogger juancho said...

one? can? domestic? What are you people, savages?

Still hoping for a Guiness sponsorship...


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