Monday, May 08, 2006


Stuck on Lodi....Again

Big props to everyone at Lodi. Riders volunteers, organizers etc. Some fantastic performances.

Some (painfully obvious) things I learned (again) at Lodi :

  1. If you have fluid in your ear, riding at night can be difficult
  2. In the battle of flesh vs. tree, tree will always prevail
  3. 29ers roll over everything, especially logs, easier (doh)
  4. You can't fit a quarter in a dime slot
  5. I love 2 ride

If you have fluid in your ear, riding at night can be difficult

I've had fluid in my right ear for about a week. Aside from the incessant ringing the only problem I've noticed was keeping my balance when the lights are out or my eyes are closed. I was wondering if it would effect riding at night. It did. Which leads to the next revelation :

In the battle of flesh vs. tree, tree will always prevail

The first lap wasn't a problem as someone was always in view. On the second, the course opened up and I was pushing my rather mediocre pace. Then BAM. Fall down. Get up. Ride again. BAM. Repeat maybe 10-12 times. Insert various loud 4 letter words here and there. It was like someone was pulling the earth out from under me. Nailed my kneecap with a tree, it responded by trying to grow another kneecap. The third lap I went easy and tried to stay behind people, that really helped, but I had already taken a beating. The final straw was getting stuck upside down ON a tree. Wierdest thing that has ever happened to me and almost impossible to explain. but I'll try:

Handlebar clips a tree on a downhill
I attempt an over the bar dismount
Bike settles pointed straight down with handlebar stem on the trail side of said tree, and the horn of the seat hooked around the other side of the tree.
My leg, just above the knee, is pointed almost straight up and stuck in the triangle formed by the tree, the top tube and the seatpost. I could barely touch the ground with my other foot, so I'm suspended upside down, with all my (rather considerable) weight hanging from from upper leg. Felt like my femur was about to snap. There was NOTHING I could do to free myself. It was like a UFC submission hold, I was tapping out, and there was no referee around to tell the tree to release me. Luckily one of the Arsenal riders (Trevor I think?) came by and helped me out of the leg lock. He said he'd been in the same position before. Muchas Gracias man, you saved my leg. Crazy stuff.

That was the end of my rope. I hobbled in after lap 3, "beat up from my feet up", convinced I'd had enough. My shifting lever was tweeked and the rear der wouldn't shift. By the time I limped in it was around 4 AM. I told the powers that be I was finished. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. Took some photos at the water crossing, stumbled around the pits talking to people, and working my bloody leg for all the sympathy I could get. Hung out at the scoring tent for a while and volunteered for a shift at 10AM. While there this dude slides in and wins the "Best Lap Finishing Dismount Award." --->

I changed clothes, nursed my wounds, and took a brief nap till the sun came up. Legs were very sore, (from the trees not the riding) but I still wanted to ride, if only to find out if it really was the darkness that was messing up my balance. So I did. Suited up again and hopped on my SS. Leads to next revelation :

29ers roll over everything, especially logs, easier (doh)

My technical skills are rather limited by my meager 18 months of MTB experience. Last year at Lodi I was clueless and clumsy when it came to riding over logs, and opted to dismount over many. This year, even on my 26er I was able to ride over all of 'em. The 29er made it even that much easier. I can't wait till next year. It's amazing how easy it looks when you watch someone that's really good at it. RickyD's little video really helped, no joke. Only fall I had was trying to squeeze my bars through one of the many tight spots. Even with good balance :

You can't fit a quarter in a dime slot

Well, you really can, but it requires a quick twist and shimmy that I just didn't have at that point in time. The bars on my RIG are a bit too wide for Lodi. They'll be cut down for next year.

I was pretty stoked after my 4th lap. I didn't really think about going out again, and just changed to ready myself for a 1 hour shift in the scoring tent. Went down to the creek and took more photos/video till my 10AM scoring gig. It was really a revelation sitting there. Can't even count how many riders screwed up the simple task of saying their numbers, I'm sure I've probably done it before too. As we near 11AM people are asking about the finishing procedure. The rule about having a rider on the course at 12 is announced. If you've already checked in after a lap and don't go out for another one, you'll be DNF'd. You or your team needs a lap finished (or scored) on or after 12 noon to avoid the dreaded letters. After explaining it to some folks it dawned on me that I was going to DNF. Not like it's that big of a deal, but hey, I can still do something about it. So after the scoring gig, I go back to the pit change AGAIN , and knock out another lap, just because

I Love 2 Ride

Sometimes even the worse of days are the best. This was the first time I'd ever ridden my SS in a "race", and the furthest I'd ever ridden a SS in one day. Towards the end of that last lap I was getting some cramps in areas I'd never cramped before. Can't wait to do it again.

It was great renewing some old acquaintances and making some new ones. We had a nice pit area with JM, Loretta, Fernando, Jake, as well as JoE, Jennifer and the BMan.

Also saw DT. He gets the "Most Innovative Trail Tool Award" There was a low hanging tree across the trail right before the 4 mile sign. DT tried to help everyone out by raising it.................with his head. I don't think it moved much, but the effort was appreciated. Be careful out there, hope you're not too sore today.

Seemed like City Bikes was winning everything out there. Well done.



one of my favorite races ever. Done it twice and it is pure joy. good job out there. Keep at it...

mad respect
Hi, great on you for making it there. A few of us at Wintergreen TT were actually toying with the idea of leaving after the TT, going home for mt bike gear and then making it to Lodi before the midnight start. Maybe next year, esp w/ you being there and all!
The Wintergreen TT and Lodi will both be done next year. I hope they're on the same day again. Ya'll should make it out a run a trio team. It's a blast.
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