Monday, March 25, 2013

Tuscarora Off Road Weekend


I liked the format of this past weekend's racing. Saturday was a Super D and Sunday was a four hour endurance race. That makes too diverse of racing for some, but I like it! put on the event in the remote area of the Tuscaroara State Forest. This is a hard to get area in central Pennsylvania that is filled with beautiful trout streams, mixed hardwood forests, lots of dirt roads and rugged mountain bike trails.

Most of the fun of Super D and Enduro racing is the practice, especially, if it involves shuttling. Its important to get in the practice of knowing fast lines, hitting the jumps at speed and being in the right gears for the uphills. But there in lies the rub, too. Practice often involves crashing! My M.O seems to be, I have to hit the deck hard in practice at least once. I've been very lucky not to hurt myself too bad in practice to ruin my race, but I'm not going to lie...Wrecks hurt! And they can make you question confidence at times and whether you should of practiced more or less.

Last post, I talked about how skiing has helped my biking, which was ironic because the Super D was covered in snow! And skiing may have helped my biking, but in cycling we talk constantly about specificity for training and there is a lot of logic to that. Downhill biking in the snow, would have helped me race downhill in the snow. So, I did my best to ride the one of the steepest trails I've seen on a Super D when it was covered in snow. I kept my weight on my front wheel a little bit more that usual to keep it from washing and put lots of weight on my heels, too. I was determined to figure it out.

On the race run, it was a shit show. There was carnage in front me and I added more. Once that front wheel caught the now dirty, churned snow, I slidout. It was super hard to remount on something so steep and running was comical, too. I remounted where I could and just tried to not be so gripped and tense. It was a great adrenaline rush and happy to have survived...I'm such a true black and blue mountain biker!

The next day's track was 6.6 miles and the task was to do as many as you could in 4 hours. There was no snow on the xc course, but there was mud! The first lap was frozen goodness and the rocks were dry. As the laps went the mud got thick and the rocks got painted with greasy mud. I wish we on the East Coast had as many words for mud as the Eskimos have for snow. The flavor of the race was old school, homey and gritty.

Since NUE champ Cheryl Sornson was still tired from True Grit, she didn't do the race. That would of made the race for me a lot different, more difficult. I won both the races for the weekend. There were some really cool prizes like Cash, hatchets, homemade Judy's Ice Cream, Peanuts, Toasted Head wine and nice race bags. I'm glad I got a weekend of bike riding, especially now as I look out the window, its dumping snow in Virginia again!

In the Super D, I rode my last year's Jekyll, as I'm still getting the right parts for my 2013 Jekyll 1 and the Scalpel in the XC. This was a better test for the Scalpel than the last race as there were lots more rocks! It did really well. The 29er wheels are so fast on roads and so stable on cornering, albeit I have to set up a little sooner than with 26 inch wheels. I'm still getting used to the big wheels on steep short climbs and the 2x10 race gearing. I'll play around with the Lefty air pressures too. After 4 hours on the rocks I felt the suspension needed to be a little softer and plusher. Jeremiah Bishop suggested tuning the Lefty with a different shock oil, as opposed to the grease that might come in there from the factory. And of course, on such a cold day, temperature could have affected the feel of it, too. Its exciting dialing in the bikes!

Next up is the Michaux MTB School! This is a weekend of instruction and riding in Michaux State Forest. There is an all star cast of instructions, including me and Cheryl for the women and Adam Craig, Harlan Price and Matty Miller for the men.

Photos courtesy of Fast Forward Racing Productions, Derrick Green and Sue Haywood

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