Not a very exciting story, I know, but since people were wondering what happened I figured I should tell it. Some thief out there is well-dressed and ready to get into cycling!
Monday, April 25, 2011
Since some of you have asked, I figured I should talk about my stolen Noble clothes. Two weeks ago today, my car was broken into while parked in the seemingly safe Everett Group Health parking garage. Whitney's school backpack and cell phone, and my bag full of bike gear were taken. I lost all my Noble clothes, most of my winter gear, my sunglasses, my garmin computer, and some other stuff. I am very thankful for having renter's insurance(who knew it covers theft from your vehicle?).
As Whitney said, that was a whirlwind of a trip. Leaving friday afternoon, Patrick Means, Ben Rathkamp, Whitney, and I piled into Patrick's old 4-runner and began a quick road trip down to Corvallis, Oregon for the 23rd annual Mudslinger, the oldest mountain bike race in the NW. On the way down, we must have had the worst possible timing because we managed to hit Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia rush hour traffic. Eight hours later, and after a burrito stop in Portland, we finally arrived at Patrick's folk's house in Corvallis. Patrick's parents Paula and Allen were incredibly accommodating(as they have been in past years for collegiate race weekends). They even spoiled us with an amazing breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruit, and homemade scones in the morning!
The Mudslinger is a unique race, in that it is mass start and also mostly point-to-point, with only a couple of miles ridden twice. It was cool starting with 350 other people and heading straight into a long fireroad climb. The field quickly stretched out as we hammered up the climb. Going over the top, Sean Babcock (Kona/S&M) led me into the first singletrack downhill, with a couple dudes on my wheel. Coming out of the trail and onto a double track, a slick mud-hole caught me by surprise and I went down pretty hard. Dazed, I put myself back together, jumped on my bike, pulled clumps of grass and dirt off my handlebar, and started chasing Sean.
Course profile from my Garmin computer.
After a few minutes, I was back with Sean and we were hammering up another fireroad climb. The next descent was a good one. Super high speed double track with water bars and then into a singletrack trail called Panama Canal that was was fast and flowy, with a lot of greasy muddy corners where you could really let the bike drift. So much fun! I was glad to have chosen a Rocket Ron as my front tire, as it really hooked up in the grease.
Lush forest and a good time on Panama Canal. WWU kit(disguise) since my Noble clothes were stolen... (Oregon Velo Photos)
The rest of the course featured some difficult climbs, great views, and fast descents. Sean and I battled it out the whole time, but neither of us could crack the other. Eventually, we were riding on the dirt road into the finish and both knew it would come down to the final quarter mile climb to the finish line. I led into the climb, Sean attack, I got on his wheel briefly then counter-attacked and held it to the line.
To win this race means a lot to me, as it is sort of a "classic" race of the Northwest. It was a fun course with an "old-school" feel. Our whole crew killed it too! Patrick was 4th and Ben was 10th(in his first mtb race, no less!) Whitney finished strong in a huge women's field. To top the day off, the weather was sunny and nearly 70 degrees!
And so we began the long drive back to Bellingham. Patrick's 4-runner had begun blowing steam out the exhaust, indicating a possible blown head gasket. He was forced to limp the poor thing home, adding coolant and water every hour or two when it would start to overheat. It was a marathon of a drive, but at least we were able to stop for burgers and beer at the Duschutes Brewery in Portland. Damn, that was so well worth the stop. We finally made it to Bellingham at 1am and quickly passed out, exhausted.
It was a great trip with good friends and a really fun race. Well worth all the car time.
Oregon Cycling Action race report here.
My Garmin Connect file here.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
It seems that the the whole city of Bellingham(myself included) is upset about the recent news that Galbraith mountain may be closed down. The Whimps trail stewardship agreement with the land owners will end on Monday and the land may be closed down to recreational use. Very sad news for Bellingham residents who enjoy outdoor recreation (who doesn't?). Monday night a public forum was held at Bellingham High School, and I was amazed at the number of people who attended. The Galbraith trails really are a big part of the lives of so many people here. I really hope that we can find a way to keep the mountain open.
This weekend was the annual Tour of Walla Walla stage race. I always enjoy going to this race because it's often sunny and it feels like the first real road racing event of the year. Friday's stage, however was anything but sunny. We started the 60 mile stage with cloudy skies and 60 degree temps, but by the halfway point it was in the 40s and raining. Long story short, I had a serious lesson on the effects of hypothermia. The only thing that kept me racing was that I had to finish in order to race on Saturday and Sunday. After finally warming up in a pile of blankets and sleeping bags, I felt like I had been hit by a train.
Saturday's time trial was pretty uneventful, but everyone was happy to feel some sunshine on them. Chris Ellis kindly let me borrow his aero bars so I didn't get time cut. The 9 mile course is always a nice one, with mountain views and quiet farm roads. The criterium that same evening was fun as well. Lots of corners and a long straight away. Definately one of the easier, more fun, safer(no crashes) crits I've done. Was top 15 with two laps to go, but lost my good position before the sprint.
Sunday's road race was a very challenging one. This year the race organizers switched the friday and sunday road races, so we were now doing 91 miles on the old friday stage(previously only 60 miles). Wind and hills were the theme of the day for sure. Massive tailwinds on two prominent climbs splintered the field into small groups, only for it to come partly back together on the descents. My teammate Kevin and I struggled to hang on the first lap(of 3). On the second lap, Kevin and half the field were gone and I was barely staying with the lead group. By the third lap, I was getting dropped on the climbs but somehow clawing my way back just in time for the pace to ramp up again. Ouch! I was finally relieved just to make it over the final climb and finish with the leaders(only 30 of 100 starters).
Happy to have survived that one.
Walla Walla ended up being a bit more challenging for me this year than in years past, but I know that the extra suffering will only make me stronger for future races. Next up is a mountain bike race that I have wanted to do for a long time, the Mudslinger down near Corvallis, Oregon.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Last weekend was the Beezley Burn mountain bike stage race that consisted of a short track on Saturday and an XC on sunday, both held in the town of Ephrata, WA. The short track showed a largish pro/open field of 16 riders at the start line. The pancake flat 30 minute race around Oasis Park started out hot and never let up. Not used to that kind of intensity yet this year, it was a sudden shock to the system for sure. Spencer Paxson, the Kona Factory Team Rider/US National Team member, and Russell Stevenson(CyclingNorthwest) gapped Kevin Bradford Parish(Emde Sports) and I about ten minutes into the race. Kevin and I chased but Spencer and Russ were definately not coming back. On the final lap, former Benaroya racer Troy Heithecker (visiting from Colorado) nearly caught Kevin and I before being held back by lapped traffic. Kevin had a strong kick in the final straightaway and outsprinted me for 3rd.
Spencer, Russ, Kevin, and yours truly.
In the cross country on Sunday, we faced four laps of a challenging 8 mile course featuring mostly singletrack. The trails were primarily of the fast and flowy flavor, but were often littered with rocks and loose dirt. It was no surprise that a lot of riders flatted because the course demanded a lot of precision when navigating the rocks, especially when fatigued. Check out my previous post for a video of the long downhill section of the course to get a good idea of the type of riding.
Stretching the elastic before the singletrack. (http://www.beezleyburn.com)
The cross country started out a little more relaxed than the short track, but as soon as we hit the first climb, the field strung out. As we entered the first singletrack at the top of the climb, Spencer was pulling away from Russ, Kevin, and me. Taking turns leading different sections, the three of us chased relentlessly but Spencer was just too strong. He never seemed to get more than a minute ahead, but we still failed to close the gap.
I made the front cover of the Grant County Journal!
On the 3rd lap, Russ pulled away from Kevin and me on the descent. Now a battle for 3rd, Kevin and I were both aware that whoever placed 3rd in the XC would be 3rd overall(if a tie, XC weighted higher than ST). On the final lap I was able to attack enough into the singletrack to build a lead over Kevin that I was able to hold to the finish. 3rd in the XC and 3rd overall and the season is off to a good start!
Another newspaper article: here
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Sunday was one of those rare days that really rekindles the road biking flame. Since coming back from Europe last fall, the roads here just haven't seemed very entertaining. Riding on Sunday, however, had that exciting feel of riding in a new and interesting place.
Whitney and I started the day by driving to Anacortes, where we parked the car and rode our bikes onto the San Juan Islands ferry. Our destination: Orcas Island. The Ferry ride was long and pleasant, with views of the islands and various birds and sea-creatures. Upon arrival to Orcas Island, we hopped on our bikes and began riding North, following roads through the countryside that twisted, turned, and rolled relentlessly. We found out early on that there is no such thing as easy riding on Orcas Island. Eventually, we made our way around the island to Moran State Park, where we climbed the very steep and very spectacular Mt Constitution. 2400ft and 10+ percent average.
On our return trip to the ferry, we stopped for some espresso and a panini at this hippyish little italian cafe. The ladies in there were super friendly and gave us free gelato for riding our bikes to the top of the mountain! The last segment of our ride took us onto Dolphin Bay road, which was unpaved for about 5 miles. Very steep dirt climbs were featured. Perfect for commemorating the Tour of Flanders, which took place the same day in Belgium. It was an amazing day! I really want to explore some of the other San Juan Islands now. Sorry for no pictures. Took a bunch on my phone, but the stupid thing won't let me transfer them to my computer for some reason...