Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday, the day after

Well, I did not need a pill for this one. It was great to be able to relax for the first time in a long time, it is about time, the bike stayed in the car. It was pay back time to my French buddy, that was a bad draw… of course over here, if your anyone, there is a following and you are takin’ care of. No matter, he was not to upset when I fell asleep after he was lapped on the third lap, and they pulled him. Cedric, super guy!
The races continued all day, not finishing till almost 6pm. Believe it, the average times were all pretty close. Boy, they love their sport here in Europe. There were not a lot of Americans here, a Mike Patrick finished 9th in the 35s race at noon. Contrary to what so many think, no one hates ‘you’. This was a great Championship event, and “I’ll be back”.
So after all the fun and games, the place deserted, and here I am with a gratis cabin for the week, but there are too many places to go. to stay cooped on this hill side. Won’t be riding many of those famous col’s on a mt bike, but will drive them and take in some sites, Looks like this is probably the only real down time I might manage before Anthony flicks the switch on cross season…. Let’s see,…. that starts, for those hard core e mailers, in about two weeks, give me four, so I can rest up and work on my start.

Thanks for all the support, and remember,…. sandpaper all the carbon metal contact points and special grease for that carbon on carbon slippage, because a mechanical is worse than a fall (if you don’t mind the site of blood).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Its done, use a scram derailleur

Saturday – World’s

Had some trouble sleeping last night, but when the call came at 7am, I was dead to the world. No rolling over, 3 hours to race start. Mixed a fruit muesli bowl and was actually hungry. Packed and headed out. Stopped at the cafeteria for a java and the gal offered me a roll. Jumped into the car and headed to the mountain…. Figured to stop below the hill and warm up on the flats for 20-30minutes and finish up on the mountain. Found a good parking place, not my usual,… looks like those Italians got the last spot, but found an even better one.
A neighbor had a pump that his wife was happy to lone, but he was a bit upset, and quickly grabbed it away—yes, took a few pound out. Ran into Cedric and he said he would hand up a bottle… so my worries were gone… the warm up went well and I felt ready. Had a front row start (guess I won’t get that back next year). Then managed to easily roll off the front at the start, the Italian stallion began to gallop away, and no one was very close behind as we hit the descending road to the single track. Figured hordes would be roaring by, but that did not happen. I felt pretty good. Went into the single track 2nd with Silvano just ahead and felt pretty good about my skills on this patch.
In the middle of the woods section, is a short road section and this is when two fellows came up to me, but they seemed to be pushing the climbs a bit to hard so early, so they went around wheel to wheel, and kept them in site. Did not want to overcook it on all these tough climbs right away. Having them in site Rob Anderson, last years champ, came up and he was working very hard and he pushed by me and I followed. We hit some more single track and as much as I respect Rob, he struggles on the descents and being behind him at this stage was slowing, even when we hit the run up, he was slow to get on his bike and I even gave him a push as was trying to get going again on a much to steep section. I waited a few more steps, for a flatter spot and mounted, …here was a very steep switch back section to a short steep climb. We crested on a narrow trail with a drain ditch on one side and a 2 foot berm on the other, this lead to a nasty whoop-de-doo, across the road, with a tricky entry onto a steep gravel road. This where Rob slowed, so I went around him, but he jumped me just before another series of switchbacks, so gave him some room as these were steep and sharp (which ones weren’t on this course). After came the feed/tech zone, which next lap because my stop. This wide flat, 20 meters leads to the last switchback climb. we could still see the other 2, but Silvano was gone. Turns out he cramped, was caught and must of dropped out. The descent off this last climb, gave me an opportunity to pass Rob, as he had the drag shoot out for these high speed sweepers, the first two on gravel and last on grass, but they were easy to make fast., the last, 180ed back up the grassy hill and rose then dropped towards the finish. Was able to put a good gap into Rob,.. but this is when my problems began. I could not get into the very very valuable and necessary little ring. After the finish, the wide track in front of the lodges snaked up and around till it doubled back through some trees and down a flight of stairs…look out for the steel fencing, s turns into a sharp drop and a hanging single track, only for a moment and then 180 onto the descending fire road of mixed large gravel, roots boulder and trenches. This is where my front derailleur took over.. not being able to get in my big ring, I could not keep my speed up to stay clear of Rob, who I did not want to follow into the long single track section, where I knew I could pick up some time. Spinning as hard as I could, I thought I had it, but he jumped by me at last minute, I scolded him, that he would be faster to follow me. Not completely sure, I gave him some extra room and he took advantage and he opened it up. Now I began to sink, realizing my front drailleur was not working at all. Pick a ring, that is what you get. Things were alright till we hit the up and down and the run up, where I got off early and reached down to put it in the small ring. Thinking this was it, race over, I carried on because of all the fans yelling!!! Can’t stop now….rode on to the feed zone, asking for mechanical help, they said that was just up the way…Cedric ran with me and tried to help figure out what had happened.. a young Belgium helped too. I knew it by his colors he was champion. I began to give up hope and said so… he said, NO!, you must finish…I knew he was right. They figured out that the derailleur had slipped down and was blocked by the chain stay and was now jammed. (this is an issued to be worked out)… They said you must go and off I went… many people had passed me and I quickly went by 5 or 6 guys. I was still stuck spinning the tiny ring the whole rest of the race, but figured this was better than jumping off and on the bike, ... managed to pass several more riders.
On the final lap, a bunch of different people yelled I was in 5th, turns out the guy in front of me was. I closed to him but didn’t quite catch before the line.
I was exhausted after the race and I had made many friends. Happy with what turned out, as this is what can happen. Rob finished 3rd, an Italian 2nd and a Swiss won. I managed 6th, but content in knowing I had a real chance to win. You bet “I’ll be back”.

Friday, August 17, 2007

count down to blast off


Well, almost got kicked out of my Pen’sion, as the tour bus arrived, that just about stole my room, after a rapid am departure from sleeping past wake-up. Made it to Preloup for an easy roll around and one lap on the course. There is no way keeping it under AR on this parcourse with the steep climbs and nasty switchbacks.
Ran into the current World Champ, Rob Anderson, and he had lots of details on the competition and tomorrows start.
When I flicked on the tv, there was coverage of the race,.. no wonder these guys keep asking me if I’m a pro, …even the frighten Italians did not know what to think, as I tried to befriend them in four languages, sorry Italian isn’t one of them. Anthony’s design team really makes a difference
Spent a long while speaking with the Frenchman Cedric Emery, he was beautifully representing Specialized in their factory kit and Sworks machine …looks like he needs a new carbon one. The Irish had a great interest in the carbon marathon frame, wondering if it was as good as the Sworks, I guaranteed them, Nic had a secret formula into making it the best.
Funny thing, the downhillers are more detailed about their bikes ,..lots of suds and boxes of different spray lube, looks like they are getting all the tv time too.
Spent the remainder of the afternoon driving to the top of the Col d’Allos,… I think they just widened the goat trail to accommodate cars, the trip was well worth it, with a view and unbelievable world opening.

Tomorrow is race day, 10am… lord knows what will happen. My only worries are tire pressure and enough water,… yah right!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Set your clocks

What a drive to Barcelonnette and the ski site of Parloup where the event is being held. The roads whine like snakes and are as narrow as the waists of the pretty French girls. The cool thing is there are none of those obnoxious Bot dots. One corner was so tight to the overhanging cliff I thought I was spelunking. The short 70k drive from Gap on this labyrinth, took 90 minutes. All fun, nothing flat, up and down, with views to paint.

The little town of Barcelonnette is right out of Mexico with hip-wide streets and humming with folks, so I elected that was not the place to stay and went back towards Gap 25k, to a place I spotted on the way. This is the Ubaye river gorge, and a summer hangout for families and rafting this section of river. Kids are running around everywhere, loud disco music, foosball, a swimming pool and a cool summer breeze…. Oh, not to mention me, sitting alone tapping away, nerd like. The rooms are euro standard small, but not here for the accommodations.

No dude, you’re here to race your mtb bike, so whats’ up with the track at Praloup for the worlds? Well I was worried going into this that it would be nasty technical like last year in Canada, so trained to up those skills…. The start list alone for my wheezer group is over a page.. the Canok , said his 35+ group has 120 starters, ouch . But these Frenchies couldn’t even get us on the ski hill for this event, guess those wired DHers really rate. The track is really cool and very hard and tricky, but it reminds me more of riding Skegg’s. there are some nasty switchbacks, both climbing and dropping. Tons of fast single track through the forest.
Technically, natz were harder, but the climbing is steeper with one section that is too tricky to ride, but that only lasts 10 meters
Gosh, glad I got here a couple days early, cause the moved the race day up. That may leave time for that side trip.

Did some good laps today, a couple extra, to see where the tired takes effect, tomorrow with have to be easy for Saturday race. Should get the front line with last years third. Don’t know if the ruler of the class is here, the Ity, but last years winner and a lot of other talent, you can bet, is here for the fun.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Well, made it to France and into the Alpes. The last bit of the drive was at night to Gap. The Alpes are layers of mountains, not a place for ocean people. Booked this hotel, but not so sure I’ll last ,…though the receptionist is exceptional and speaks perfect English.

They changed the start time to a day earlier….. and we jump on our starting grids. GEEE

Great competitors can always adapt, maybe it will screw up everyone else.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Take Off

Finally!!! getting on the plane to the Alps (via frankfurt/geneva)

By Thursday, ridin' some hard ass Euro Mtb tracks, looking forward to see what they have on the menu..... could not be more ready for this one, just hopin' for a good ride and some smiles.

love ya all.................................

Monday, August 13, 2007

Post toasty

Just not a lot of juice to write much of anything with the wife and daughter, that job thing and two wheeling around to stay ready,... be ready. Wife cleaned up this weekend at the MCC horse show on someone elses fancy steed, champion - 2 wins, 2 seconds,... hard to keep up,... Kate was making her first fortunes dabbling in entrepreneurialship by selling any kind of good or service. she even dressed up and faked a British accent to get some more free product to turnaround and sell. I say, look out, she is only nine, course she had a 10 year old partner.
Tuesday pm flight to Frankfurt.....
Packing is never easy, so I figured gettin' it out of the way.... keep it light, 35lbs bag (love those wheels, thanks Specialized) and 50lbs bike bag.... that is just one nasty fast Specialized marathon that my man Nic made right!!
did a final tune up at Demo, amd that place rocks! and some roots, but lots of trees,.. and like the fellow said, "to bad that down hill can't go on for ever".... well, it is the best vertical around, not all this Skegg's crisscrossing bunk,... don't get me wrong, Skegg's is number uno, especially at 20 minutes away. it is kinda like goin' powder skiing in the middle of a weekday afternoon.

my best to everyone, and congrats to all the Strawberry success!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

off to France

Call me crazy, and they have for years. Figured the least I could do to challenge myself this summer is to journey to France and face the toughest MTB riders in Praloup, France at the mst world championships. After winning the Nationals 2 years running on two distinctly different courses in a dominating fashion, and then slashing my way last year to a bronze at mtb worlds, it only came naturally to elect to go duke-it-out with the Euro-trash.
You can bet I am scared. God himself may descend from the clouds to line up at the start, but I have always figured I was racing myself and not the others who have lashed me with insults over the years. So, as always, if it is a good ride, it will be a happy day and if there is a podium, it will be a glorious day.
I wish all those competing good luck!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007



California Giant Berry Farms of Watsonville California and Specialized of Morgan Hill California are teaming up for the 2007-08 U.S. Cyclocross season, and expanding their highly successful program from last year. In 2007-2008 Three Elite Men including Worlds U23 team member Chance Noble, 2 time 30+ National Champion Justin Robinson, and Specialized Product Manager Andy Jacques-Maynes. Three Elite Women’s riders featuring 2-time Collegiate National Champion Melodie Metzger, 2005 U.S. National 30+ silver medalist Josie Beggs and nationally ranked road racer Shelley Olds.
All Six Elite athletes will be riding the super light Specialized S-Works Carbon Tricross Bicycles powered by SRAM Force.
In addition to the Six Elite athletes, three masters will be rounding out the squad. They include 2006 World Masters Silver Medalist, 2 time U.S. Silver Medalist Henry Kramer, 2-time National Champion and 2006 Bronze Medalist Todd Hoefer, ,and top 10 National Championship finisher Gannon Myall.
In addition the sponsorship provided by California Giant Berry Farms and Specialized the team welcomes returning sponsors; Weyerhaeuser Paper Company, SRAM, Crank Brothers pedals, Squadra Team wear, TRP/Techtro and Clif Bar. Several other agricultural industry sponsors will also be featured and recognized as the season begins in the fall.
Beginning in October, the team will tackle a full Northern California schedule of races, the six Crank Brothers U.S Grand Prix races, CrossVegas as well as the National Cyclocross Championships in Kansas City, KS.
Watch for exciting results from the California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized Cyclocross team as the racing season begins. For more information on team activities or individual rider profiles, please contact Anthony Gallino or log onto
California Giant Berry Farms, one of the nation’s largest grower-shippers of fresh strawberries, has sponsored a cycling team for over six years and is proud to contribute to the health of American consumers by providing an abundant, healthy & delicious product. The company is committed to supporting cycling and other organizations that send positive messages about the importance of combining diet and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
2007-08 Roster
Andy Jacques-Maynes Capitola, CA
Chance Noble Camarillo, CA
Justin Robinson Santa Cruz, CA
Josie Beggs Capitola, CA
Melodie Metzger Berkeley, CA
Shelley Olds Saratoga, CA
Gannon Myall Lafayette, CA
Henry Kramer Menlo Park, CA
Todd Hoefer Watsonville, CA