Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Scotsman's Travels

I went on a cycling tear around the natural state for a few weeks recently so maybe a rundown is in order. First off was the Tour Da Delta starting in Helena and for my 3rd year in a row to tour I went all out with the retro theme. 40 year old bike,check, 60's jersey, shoes, crochet gloves,check, and metal water bottle with a cork, check. And in the spirit of the vintage Italian ride, L'Eroica, I rode the 14 miles of the Delta Heritage rail trail (crushed limestone) as part of the century ride. And it worked out great, even smoother than most of the state Highway. I informed the organizers that it should be added as an alternative route.
Next up was the assent of the fabled Mt. Nebo.
Starting on the Arkansas river in Dardenelle, its
just 6 miles until you begin the climb. The picture of the mountain from a distance doesn't forecast the pain
that will soon be upon me.

Switchback Hell! I lost count of how many switches in a row there are but I know its a lot.
And steep too! I honestly thought I may have to get off and push, mountain bike gearing needed on this climb.

The Mt. Nebo sign is a dirty trick because you are not at the top, just a short flat and then comes "The Wall" where a switchback would have been welcomed. The 3 mile climb took 22 minutes for an average of 8.5 mph, not exactly TDFrance speed. But at least I made it and so has Martin but do I recommend the BBC do this as a group ride? NO WAY!!

As they often say, the view was worth the climb.
When I made it to the Boston Mtns I traded the Schwinn for the Gary Fisher and it was a much needed swap because the trail in Devils Den is quite rocky but a lot of fun if you like technical tricky mountain biking. I had to get off and push
only once and my only compliant is that its only
5 miles of trail which about half of what our own
village creek has.
Last up was the Fayetteville Frisco city bike path and is a nice addition to everyones home away from home. I measured 5.8 miles total length and it really is a useful pathway that connects the downtown, UA, residential areas and the mall. There is even a bike shop that has a back entrance on the pathway. Well that's all the travel stories for now and the next one needs to be from the BBC ASAP.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

cyclocross crazy

Outdoors Inc. cyclocross was a fun course and I did better in the second cross race of my short career. I warmed up properly and was ready to go right from the start which is important because in the cross world it's all about getting to the first corner first! A sprint from the gun.

After the 1st lap it's all about maintaining your position and maybe a few more passes but it gets spread out pretty quick and stays that way for the most part. I am proud to say that I passed 3 riders on the penultimate lap so I finished strong in my mind and 2nd place in my age group.
Several classes are run at the same time and the
cx4 riders ran off and left me but at least I wasn't
lapped! FYI for the ladies of the BBC, these CX gals are FAST. I guess there are 6 girls between
Little Rock and Germantown racing cross and 4 of them passed me and left me for dead if that gives you any indication of their speed. The CX crowd is a small group of dedicated die-hard training FREAKS, and is not for the faint of heart. Did I mention that the race is 42 minutes long and you will not catch your breath until it is over or you quit, which ever comes first. And finishing is very satisfying. Cross anyone?

Cyclocross technique 101

right foot off pedal
swing leg behind seat to
left, place on ground
and hope left foot will
unclip. Carry bike over
obstacle and then hop up
on seat, then clip in feet.
Easier said than done but
I'm getting the hang of it.

Gearhead Cyclocross Nov. 6th

These are the fast guys, I'm not even in the picture and won't be for another minute. It was fast and tough, sand traps, log crossings, very tight turns, short steep climbs, and I was hanging on the edge in short order.