Wednesday, November 21, 2012


 With the surprise appearance of Bambi our ranks swelled to an (un)lucky seven. The threat of rain and the late season caused everyone to bundle. We sped out the back with Cappy in RideLeader. At the top of chin trail, the first descent of the evening, Cap chattered over rocks on a bad line and took a dive. He executed what would be a quality slide into home base, were in not over roots and rocks. Shaken, he let more aggressive downhillers go first.

After climbing back up to MET, we snuck into Fleming through Palin’s. By now everyone was sweating heavily and ready for a fashion adjustment. We had plenty of time to consider our wardrobes while Cappy changed a flat. 

Everyone was in good form, and we climbed Fleming like a team of sled dogs that had been kenneled too long. At the top of Redneck, Lars made a half-hearted attempt to RideLead via telephone.

As we discussed possible options a misunderstanding of route suggestions led to Cappy exclaim, “There will be no asphalt riding on my watch.” B and I had good fun mocking this statement, not knowing how terribly ironic it would become. With full gusto we headed for the Left Lip. Railing grippy soil I tracked Newb’s line and watched with a shudder as he rode over the log ladder. With trepidation, I hit it, and found it rebuilt with steeper and more skew angles. At the bottom of a thrilling lip descent, B, Newb, and I stood waiting. Waiting. We rode back up a ways and finally encountered Bambi. Disaster struck. Xteric went crooked on the top of the log and landed on his shoulder. Snap. He and Cappy were walking out, then rolling MET back to the Lott. The rest of us quickly made our way around the lake and back to the Knott, Bambi pausing on his side for a moment to add a third (though minor) crash for the evening.

Both parties arrived back at the Lott at the same time, and we huddled around Xteric. He was feeling sheepish, getting injured on an easy move like some graceless novice. He refused offers to assist him out of his chamois, but stoically headed in for tacos, not forgetting to grab his offering: a bottle of Jamaican Pain.

Mother Rye didn’t show a hint of pity for our wounded warrior. Too many cycling injuries had presented themselves at her bar and the novelty had worn out. Many (most?) of us have broken collar bones before, and empathized with his condition. When asked if he needed help preparing his tacos, he refused, saying,“I’d never let another man sauce my taco.” That lad is Taco Strong.

As the evening wound down, B drove with Xteric and was available for dropping him off with the team nurse or whatever else might be needed.   

The late morning report is that Xteric didn't brake his collarbone, but separated his shoulder. 

And, T1 also took a BMX screamer.

Just to round things out, according to eye-witness reports, during the late night post-ride escapades, B crashed into Hangtown Creek.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Give Thanks For Delicious Trails

It's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and we all have much to be thankful for. Thanks for good health, good bikes, great trails and most of all good friends. Tonight we gather to honor our forefathers by taking an adventure only slightly different than the hunt and gather adventures of the days of the pilgrimage.

Alas we will ride like birds of a feather all flocked together. We will turn tail and drop trails. Under the lights, we will take on the night. Xteric will go so fast he will give us all a fright. Thusly we shall gather in the name of thanks to fill our cup with PBR, delicious trails, delicious tacos and better friends. Onward. TacoStrong.

Rodeo Cross Race Report
Lars and I escaped to Folsom to participate in Rodeo Cross last Wednesday night. Due to excessive honey do's on the part of Larz there was no carpool. When I arrived he was putting in an excellent effort drilling the hills and making FT3 proud. From what I could tell however, he was not bunny hopping the barriers. He finished with a smile and I headed for the line. In this particular series, there is not a 35+ Master's category, so the field was stacked with youthful strong specimens with more time than  most to train.

Rodeo Cross is suuuuuper fun, thew lighted Sherwood forest features a heckling/cheering section, and, yes I am serious, a tuba player who was playing the Star Wars theme song. I was holding my own pretty well and when I started slowing down I accepted a PBR hand up and began drilling for the end. I made lapped a few riders and nearly caught the next up A racer, I finished 6th. I am proud to saw my last lap time was within one second of the leaders' time. And thus, I am learning the art of 'coming from behind.'

While Lars and I were wrapping up the night's events, a couple dudes had some words and it quickly escalated to 'cyclist grappling' I didn't see any real punches thrown, partly due to Larz' amazing and well trained ability to break up fights and embarrass grown men for doing something so stupid. "Are you guys serious??!!" he said in a voice that would make you cringe if you were among the grappler's.

Lange Twins Race Report
Alas Lars teased me once again that he was going to go to this race, then didn't, and NoCar didn't respond to my text or previous week's callout so I was flying solo to this one. This race always seems to attract fast riders from the Bay Area, and this year was no different. With 'those guys' present among my field of opponents, I decided to make focus my mission on beating my primary rivals for third overall in the Sac series. The first lap fast as hell, and after that I crumbled a bit. I took two laps off, then around four or five into it I was being caught by 45+ racers (the leader who I had a rift with in the previous race had already passed me on lap 2 - and by the way.... we had a talk before the race, I approached him, he said thanks and we mutually decided that we were there to have fun, and he even said "I felt like an ass.") So, I felt as thought I could not "go down like this" and decided to make a huge effort to put some time on them with a big sprint over the 'flyover.' My plan worked and I kept pushing it to catch my rival for third overall. He held me off for a couple laps, but at the end of the 'three to go' lap, I caught him and we rode the 'two to go' lap together. On the last lap, I put in another huge effort over the flyover and put a nice gap on him. I was able to maintain that gap, and even saw the next contender just before the finish. This race has demonstrated to me that I have the ability to push through for a strong finish, I may need to calm down a bit at the start, and I think that is something NoHandle has been telling me for some time. The sticky mush dirt was present in its finest for sapping energy with every pedal stroke. Those of you who have done this race before know of what I speak.

That's a wrap. Happy Tuesday.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Putting the rye in rideable

As we piled into Councilman’s short B had to ask, “Is my ass getting bigger or am I sitting in a child’s seat?” The unseasonal cold from the previous weekend hadn't escaped anyone's memory, and all took extra precautions in preparing their riding costumes. Newb had picked up a new pair of gloves designed, not for bicycling, but for handling liquid nitrogen. Twenty one items completed my ensemble. (I count pairs of items as two individuals. For an explanation, ask NoHandle.)  

Finally dressed, we let Lars RideLead from the HCF and aimed for Fleming. Councilman led us there by starting out the back to the Guard Station, dropping B’s chin and up past the first dam. The soil texture of Fleming was better than a ripe peach. We dropped the first bit of Palin’s, turned left on the contour, and up the relentlessly steep climb back to Fleming. I thought I might clean the climb, but the effort threatened to burst my heart. Having completely blown up my legs, I couldn’t respond to any challenges for the rest of the ride. Unknown Local was struggling through illness and jettisoned. Like bottles of barley wine, the remaining riders were too potent to be distributed in anything but a four pack.

Fleming CCW to the long 8B descent. After ravenous snacking we threw ourselves at the steep and technical climb back up. Finally our crew was showing signs of fatigue. When we reached 8A, debate was stifled by Newb’s unhesitating turn into the descent. B seconded the motion and down we went. We churned back up from Camp Creek and after a brief interlude of discussing the wildly unrealistic possibility of sneaking in the lip, we expeditiously made our ways toward tacos. A last call was made (seriously, nothing but trouble when B and Newb are picking routes) to attack XXX. We pushed at our pedals to gather momentum, startled a couple making out in a truck parked at the base of the climb, and grit our teeth; willing the effort to finally tackle this pitch. Right at the chunky rock section that defeats most, B lost traction, fell backwards, tackled Newb, then flew into me. The second three bike pile up in as many weeks.

Rolling into the Knott, Mother Rye was just returning from the Lott, where she had been checking for our vehicles. A rumor had been floated that FT3 was not in the house. She knew C-man’s rig and was pleased to see more taco eaters than she expected. After briefly chastising us for being late, she renewed her promise to never close early and leave us hungry. However, we have to call if a no-ride occurs. And what a dark night that would be. 

We enjoyed drinking all of the beers that we would have bought for Cappy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Post VDay Shout Out!!

If a ride goes off in the forest (on VDay), can anyone hear it? I recieved an early call from Cappy, informing me he was out for the tentative Veteran's Day roll out. This famed loop would have riders traveling CCW (or was it CW) from Pville down thru Cronin's, over to EDH, and back up the RR grade. I couldn't accommodate nor facilitate due to flying solo with one sick child, and another deep in toilet training. If anyone did make that, dare I call it, "epic" ride, please let me know.

I would like to take this belated moment to, once again, thank all our Veterans for their service. Cappy, RG, and all the many men and women who donned the uniform deserve both our gratitude and free beer. While I can't offer this to all the troops, I can do so for our local contingent. That is, provided they are in attendance tonight.

I believe this was a bye week for cross racing, but there may have been some CX action/brawling/training, and any reports would be appreciated.

Oh yeah, it's Tuesday, and there is a light dusting of white on our beloved trails. Updates on conditions from our local spotter/RL/jogger would also prove helpful.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Now with more carbon

Singlespeed night is little more than a ceremonial title; only the every-ride-is-singlespeed crowd shows up with their simple one geared bicycles. And none of the multi-geared riders make even a token attempt to resist clickety-clicking at every grade change. But, pre-BRs were still shared, that being the easier tradition to maintain.

A walloping pack of riders assembled at the Knott Lott. Cappy nominated Unknown Local for RL, NoHandle seconded, and we burst, nine strong, out the gate. Conditions were quite fine, balmy temps, moist but well drained soils -only a jogger would miss such a perfect evening.

Qualifier start, up the road to some new and brushy trails that ended up dropping back to Qualifier proper. Back up to the Sly Park Rd gate, on to Park Creek Road and over the Radio tower, down to the reservoir. B stopped to tighten the headset of his newly retuned S(not) Works, now with a rigid Niner fork. Actually, Newb tightened it since he and B had swapped steeds. The pack abandoned the three of us, disappearing into the night. We tried to follow, but the trail junctions were several, so we returned to the point of separation. Finally, our shouts were answered and we were re-united. Only to have Cappy announce a flat tire. We continued, rolling over secret trails covered in slash, out to Park Creek. Here, RL#1 ceded authority to RL#2. With Cappy at the front we headed for the Chopping Block. At the top, NoHandle shoved his way to the front like a 45+ A at a cross race, and we all enjoyed the delicious decent. At the bottom, we turned right around and climbed the Block. I think everyone cleaned except Xteric who derfed it right at the beginning. From there we bombed Wedding March; swirls of leaves entrained in the wake of our tight, fast pack. Onto 1A, and the lake back to the Lott.

And then there were tacos.

Don’t miss the Monday VD ride.     

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's My Right to Fight?

On this patriotic day for which we the people of FT3 and America get to exercise our right to take part in America's political process, I will exercise my right of free speech to provide for you a recap of the event's that occurred during Sacramento CX's Folsom Double Cross weekend. 

Day 1, Saturday, Lembi Park. Nevermind all I went through to get to this one, I will spare you those details, but just know it was a struggle. A big shout out goes to a colleague friend of mine who was present and hanging with my kids while I raced. A number of bay area racers showed for this one, which kept the pace high and made it such that I never saw the top four riders after the first half a lap. With around four laps to go, the 2 leaders from the 45+ group caught me. I was able to stay with them and eventually, we picked up another 35+ rider. As I rounded the side of the course near the road, I hear a shout from a passing car....Go Captain!! TacoStrong!!! On the next lap that individual, who turned out to be none other than Folsom's own "Squish" gave me another shout out and then got on with his day. Spot on mate. On the second to last lap I lapped a single speed racer, I thought he was a B racer warming up, so I wasn't too nice about asking for some room to pass. He yelled at me and threatened to push me off my bike. I told him I would be happy to fight him at the finish line. During the last lap, one of the 45+ riders pulled away, one dropped off, and I started battling with my 35+ opponent. I got a bit sideways in the second sand pit and he was able to put a gap on me that I was unable to close. And that was that. I finished fifth. The good news is that I beat my primary contenders for third overall in the series. And when the single speeder came to the line I said sorry and told him I thought he was a B racer warming up, we both laughed about our ridiculousness, shook hands, and went on with our day. 

Day 2, Sunday, Folsom Rodeo Grounds. 
First off, I would like to note that Cap'n Junior was able to take the top spot in the kids race, making dad very proud. I also was able to tell the single speeder who yelled at me from day one that I gave my son strict instructions to take his kids out. Again, we laughed at our ridiculousness. 

The nocar report:
I apprehensively approached the desk with my registration form. The woman began copying my information into the system. She paused at my email, “do you really not own a car?” “My wife does,” I replied. “If I had the authority, I would comp your race fees.” Here I am, the freeloader that didn’t give Cappy any gas money, and she wants to comp my fees.
While Cappy raced, I explored the course with the blue ribbon winner of the Gen 2 event. When it was my turn to toe the line I got in the back of the pack, figuring I would just sit in for a lap to see how things worked. However, seconds after the starting gun, it was clear that some of the racers were just too damn slow, so I pushed ahead and got on the wheel of someone riding my pace. He rode aggressively, and when he passed other racers, I stuck behind him; deciding that my race goal was to beat him. He used the brakes too much on the technical sections, so I had to move ahead. I got into a rhythm, sit behind a wheel through the flat and windy straightaways, sprint past them on the short steep climb, and drop them on the technical descent. Back on the flats, I’d catch another wheel.    
But, going into the last lap, feeling like I had been chewing on a stick of chalk, my race adversary snuck past. I congratulated his tenacity. He was still no match for my power climb, and he lost a bit again on the descent, but after the last set of barriers, he was hard charging on my heels. In miserable exhaustion, I put my head down and begged my legs to spin faster. Coming into the line the crowd cheered our sprints, and I stayed in front. Still catching our breath, we shook hands and expressed our mutual pleasure in competing against each other.  

The Rodeo Grounds course was awesome, favoring good mountain bike skills and featuring bunny-hoppable barriers. Two of them were relatively low barriers and the other was a single oak log (there was also a set of three tall barriers, that were not bunny-hoppable by the average CXer. Like day one, on Day 2, I was caught by the 1st and 2nd place 45+ racers and was able to hang on to them for the last four laps. While I was very happy about being able to hang with them and proud of my efforts…. on day 2…it was a different story when they got mad at me. With about 4 laps to go I mixed it up with them a bit as we caught two 35+ riders. They made remarks like “you’re screwing up our race.” The second 35+ guy we picked off was also able to hang on so now we were four, and naturally I wanted to beat the other 35+. Approaching the last turns of the last lap things really got going and the other 35+ guy snuck in front of me, when I made my move the 45+ started yelling at me. I got pissed and laid the hammer down with adrenaline and anger and beat them all to the line. After crossing the line I flipped off the primary instigator (who's name I won't mention but he rides for Kinetic Cycles), While I am not sure he saw my finger, he responded by saying, “Dude you’re an asshole.” I didn’t take too kindly to that and made some flippant/snide remarks back. After a few minutes of cool down I approached him and he was fuming mad now and told me not to say another word to him unless I was “coming swinging.” So basically I had a 45+ year old dude call me out to fight. Nice. Of course I told him I’d be happy to fight him if he wanted to take it away from where all the people are and he didn’t take me up on it. I shouldn’t have flipped him off, that was rude, but I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong and I was fuming mad. How am I screwing up their race? Why is their 1st or 2nd more important than my 4th or 5th? I didn't know what was going on in front of me and for all I knew I could have been battling for a podium spot. Further, this is a race series …so points matter, and the 35+ rider who was with us is one of my main rivals for 3rd overall in the series. The other 45+ racer, who rides for Cal Giant Berry, was very cool about it all and we talked it over and shook hands. He held the same position about me ‘screwing up his race’ but he was willing to see my side of things and we agreed to disagree. He tried to tell me there is a ‘certain level of respect in cyclocross and asked me “when was your first race?” I laughed and told him, “2001.” I told them we need to petition to the race director to have 35’s and 45’s start together, and so I went straight over to a race director who is involved in the series and told him all about what happened. He said they should have ‘manned up and dropped me” if I was bothering them, and he said he would talk to them. He did, I saw him do so, but I am not sure what came of the discussion. I can’t imagine the two of them didn’t figure out some way to make me look like the bad guy. After all, I am an asshole.  

Super Tuesday! No fighting tonight, only proper debates. Ride fast, take chances, don't mix it up with the 45+ racer's. Back off when you see them. TacoStrong. Cap'n.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chicken Bake Report and CX Callout

While I wasn't present last Tuesday to partake in the FT3 equivalent of the 'fruit of the earth' or 'the mother of all delicacies', the coveted Chicken Bake was alive and well - and thanks to modern technology, I was well aware of it.  I think a ride went off as well, but since I wasn't present I will refrain from reporting on that.

photo of Halloween chickenbake

I will however, provide the Callout for this weekend's Sacramento CX double header to be held in Folsom.
Saturday's race is at Lembi Park, and Sunday's race will be at the Rodeo grounds. Kids race is at Noon, A's race is at 12:45 and the B's race at 1:00pm. I am doing my best to work it so I can be present on both days, with Saturday presenting some challenges that may be surmountable. Definitely going Sunday and I hope others will join me. The Rodeo Ground course was my favorite from last year, and those of you who have done Rodeo Cross will recall that it is a blast.

WHooooooooos in?