Tuesday, August 25, 2009

School vs. Summer

It seems the summer is finally over... school starts tomorrow, and I have to say, I'm pumped. I am actually looking forward to being in class. Weird, especially considering 3 months ago I never wanted anything to do with school again. But I've got a good schedule this year, and most of my classes should be fairly interesting.

I also start racing this weekend, which is also awesome. I've been waiting for so long to get back to collegiate mountain biking, I almost can't believe it's here. It really doesn't seem like that long ago when we were standing on the podium at nationals for 4th place... not this year. I like to think that we've stepped up our game quite a bit from the last time anyone saw us. I can't wait to see what happens this season.

This summer has been pretty good though, up until the last couple of weeks. I've had fun chillin, and pretty much everything was working out for me. I got to ride a lot, and worked a lot too. Actually, that's pretty much all my summer consisted of. Other than a rough patch right at the beginning, its been smooth sailing. Unfortunately, instead of going into school completely happy though, there are a couple of things that aren't so great right now. I think that summer was just too good, and now I'm paying for using up all the goodness. I don't know how that even works, it just seems like a few things have kinda fallen apart. I guess we shall see how things progress going into school.

Anyway, other than that little aside, racing starts this weekend, as I've said. I should be keeping this updated more often, and hopefully will post something from ETSU this weekend.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fall is Coming

There comes a time every summer when, quite suddenly, I am ready for fall. This year it was a little longer coming on than usual, but all the same, I have a desire for cooler weather. This time around it was triggered by a visit to a very cool and windy parkway. Something about that was like, "hey, I need a sweatshirt. I am ready for cool." I would like to make the distinciton between "cool" and "cold." Cold is what happens after New Years. Up until then, you are either in fall (which is awesome), or early winter (which still has racing, and looking forward to Christmas, and the end of the semester). After New Years, there is nothing to look forward to except spring, meaning that you very quickly lose your interest in cool and it very quickly just becomes a miserable, bone chilling, mood-killing weather pattern.

I think that cool weather is fairly tied together with this, but I am also ready for school to start. I want to see all of my friends, and I want to learn, and most of all, I want to race. I don't know why I am looking forward so much to getting back in class, I think that I just want structure in my life. I also want the Bracken Mountain Hang Out time to start up again.

I've been going out to Adventure Village a lot here recently with Julia, working on my mad skilz. Last night we went out and saw Dan, Danny, Chaput, Herndon, and Sarah, and rode with them for a bit. I am feeling pretty good on the Slalom track, and except for Danny and Dan showing me up pretty badly, am looking forward to some racing. The only problem is, our track is very much unlike anything else we will race, so I'm not sure how prepared I'll be for normal racing. Julia has improved greatly though, and should be able to hold her own pretty well this season.

And now I have to go eat some Cinnamon Raisin Bread from Bracken Mountain. It's going to be awesome.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicken Salad?

I don't understand why people feel like celery in chicken salad is an improvement. I mean, there really isn't a flavor from it, and all that you really get is a terrible overly crunchy texture. If you already have apples in there, then honestly, how much more crunch do you need? Do people put it in there just to take up space to make it look like there is more than there is? Or just to feel better about themselves? If you want crunchy, go buy a Heath Bar. They are tastier and better for you.

On another note, if you are ever considering buying a Santa Cruz Blur, don't. Trust me, there will be a mechanic somewhere someday who thanks you. I know this because I just spent 2 hours trying to change the bearings in a siezed up bike, and I believe that it was the most frustrating repair that I have ever done. All of the trouble with the bearings was compounded by unrelated issues with the bottom bracket, a flat tire, and cable and housing, but still, the bearings go bad way too often for them to be that hard to change.

Also, I will be looking into finding a company who is looking to pay me to advertise for them with my car. I have heard that these programs exist, but that the hard part is finding a company looking for people to advertise on. So if you know of anyone, let me know.

Finally, and I'm really pumped about this one, I have decided to race gravity as well as endurance stuff this coming season. While I will still be focusing on my strengths, I also want to broaden my horizons to include some other disiplines. This means that I will be spending a good amount of time practicing my skills and honing my ninja reflexes and balance. So yeah, I'm pumped about it. Like I said. I can't wait to see what I can do at something I never thought I would be any good at.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Man, I've not raced in the mud in a long time... I've forgotten how much fun it is. Well, if you are prepared that is. I showed up to Fontana thinking that it might be muddy, and I was honestly just looking for a chance to use my spikes. After driving through the rain the entire way out there, I decided to switch out the tires before the start.

We had a 20 yard road start followed by a steep climb that everyone was saying was unridable. I even had someone tell me that it was impossible. I kinda took that as a personal challenge, and started as hard as I could to get ahead of everyone else. I cleaned the whole thing, and ended up gapping everyone by a good 30 seconds within the first mile. I rode at the front for a while until one of those damn Cycle Youth boys caught me right at the top of the climb. I started rolling down on his wheel when I cut my sidewall bad. Usually I wouldn't panic, but for some reason, it took me a solid 5 minutes to get it changed (sad, I know). By the time I got rolling again, I had been passed by my entire field, as well as the whole field behind me. Good stuff.

I killed it for the next 2.5 laps, passing almost everyone who went by while I was fixing my flat, and pulled it back for 2nd. I think I made up some time on Cory, but that was probably due to a lot more motivation on my part. The mud spikes hooked up, and I don't think I've ever ridden the mud that well. All of the downhills were completely awesome too. I love being faster on stuff like that than anyone else around me. I also seem to be coming along pretty well with my fitness. I'm looking forward to getting really fast in about a month and a half.

Oh yeah, mad props to Geoff B. for winning the SS race on a borrowed bike with the wrong size wheels. I think it was Talent's picture on the front that did it for him.

Now it's time to head out to Adventure Village to finish the trails out there for our race this fall. Should be fun. And painful. Dan is hitting the DH course for some new lines, and I think that we are going to put some new stuff in for the XC too. As long as it's not raining, it should be a good race.