Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brenda Rocks Quantico

Once again, Simona (aka Brenda) carries Team XXL to the podium.  First place, Duo Co-Ed, at 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey in Quantico, VA.  Congratulations!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Bear 2x12, XXL Style

Getting a bit of a late start, Joel & I met up in Hagerstown around noon on Friday.  We hit the Walmart for provisions and loaded my gear into Joel's "Smellement" for the haul out to WV.  Arrived at Big Bear around 3:30pm or so, and found an awesome campsite just off the airstrip in the woods.  We quickly set up camp then our plans to pre-ride the course slowly dissolved as more and more beverage varieties emerged from our coolers.  Joel came up with the term "punctuate" to describe the action of drinking a cup of water every 3 beers or so, and, being good race-boys, we made sure to punctuate.  I don't remember how many times though.  At some point we got off our asses and took a walk to visit some other campsites.  One in particular had Christmas lights and a huge fire, so we went there like a couple of moths.  We found the race promoter there, drinking moonshine and having a good time in general.  We run in to a guy there who immediately deemed himself “3 sheets to the wind” and started chatting it up with us while alternating sips from one of those large jugs you’d get at a gas station which was full of Mtn Dew and a water bottle full of Jack Daniels, ummmmm yeeeeah.  I ask about the course, if he's racing this weekend and where it heads into the woods after the start.  He immediately responds with I'm not racing, just here to hang out and drink, pulls out a pen from his pocket and points over toward the start/finish tent and blasts it with a bright green “laser” stating it's somewhere around there.  While fumbling around to put the “laser” away, he accidentally blasts me in the left eye…”that’s gonna leave a mark”.  A little more conversation with the promoter and then we decide to call it a night and head back to camp.

Joel, captured by impaired photographer.

 Saturday:  Race day!  Knowing that the first one to finish is the first one to the beer, I volunteered for that duty.  The start was a sprint up from the bottom of the gravel entrance road, then a turn through the start/finish tent and into the woods to ride the yellow loop. We were greeted instantly by a fairly serious, but very rideable rock garden, followed by a downhill and then basically a slow climb to the piney section, which is on a plateau and very pleasant - a good place to grab a drink and some shot blocks. Then on to a gradual downhill, with some ups and downs, and then THE big downhill.  According to some regulars, they've cleared a lot of the loose rock that used to cover this section, but there was still a good bit of it if you were unlucky enough to lose your line.  A few twists and turns added to the excitement.  Anyway, it was a blast, and I couldn't help but think Joel will really enjoy this on his Jet.  There were terraced drops that invited a full susser to catch big air, but I decided it would be best to keep it down on the hard tail and concentrated on keeping it upright.  After that, there's a long, slow climb that goes on for like 5 miles, both on jeep road and single track, with the occasional steep section, and then a flat section out to the finish.  The finish involved riding over an iron pedestrian bridge, then making a quick counterclockwise circle before entering the transition point.  Very fun ride, but definitely not the easiest 12 miles.  I clocked in at about an 1:40 minutes.

Chris finishing Lap 1

Joel went off for his lap and I headed back to the campsite, restocked my water and electrolytes, and cooked up an espresso(would regret this last move soon enough)  I went back to the transition after a while, and Joel rolled in sooner than expected, somewhere around an hour and 30.  Off to lap 2.  I was buzzing along for this one, getting up to the piney section in good time, and used the smooth terrain to take in water and food.  The mile or so to the big downhill went quickly as well.  Then on the downhill things went to sh*t.  I felt a twinge in my lower back about half way down then towards the bottom a muscle spasm developed and I had to limp out of there to the water station about half a mile away.  There I took in some more water, laid down and was able to stretch and finally release the spasm.  I got back on the bike, took it easy for the rest of the lap now fighting off leg cramps and finished at 1:52. Not a great time at all, but the taps were just being turned on when I rolled in.  Joel went off and that was it.  Hot showers awaited.  The stalls were clean, and the water pressure was nice.  By the time Joel got back about 1.33 later, I was a happy camper, with clean clothes and a fresh beer from one of the 11 taps on hand.  Joel took his turn in the showers, and we hit the party. 

Sweet singletrack

Great food was being cooked up and served: Greek chicken wraps, pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, macaroni salad, and a nice fruit salad were among the offerings.  Then there were the 11 taps, and then the first band came on.  They played a little while, and then the awards were handed out.  The fastest lap was something like 62 minutes.  Holy B Jeezes.  In our age group, the winners turned in crazy good times, but I think they fell off after the top team.  We missed 3rd place by about 28 minutes, and the 5th place team was a fair bit behind us as well.  I couldn't help but think that if I hadn't cramped up, we could have been up there getting our handmade Big Bear beer steins.  Oh well, there's always next year. The party got going after that, and some time in the evening the second band, the Speakeasy Boys, came on.  They were even better than the first band!  Joel was out there dancing in place with a beer sloshing in his hand and a sh*t-eating grin on his face (see photos).  Good times.  At the end of the night, we talked with the fiddle player, who turned out to be a Carruthers - one of my clan!  Rob was a very cool guy - he played us a few tunes just for kicks while we sat around at the end of the night.  When it was all said and done, we were the last bikers standing.  The only remaining people were a few locals, who had arrived as the evening wore on in their jacked up golf carts with big off road tires and they gradually took over for all the wussy bikers who couldn't stay up and drink.  Team XXL should be proud of our representation.

Perfect weekend.  To become annual XXL event.

XXL @ The Races

A long overdue report of some XXL racing adventures...we've been too busy riding!

In April, XXL was the life of the party in Leesburg, fielding 3 three-man teams at the sixth annual Bakers Dozen. 

In May, Simona graced the podium at 9-Hours of Cranky Monkey, placing 3rd in the Solo Female category.

That same weekend, Mike P. placed an impressive 2nd at 12 Hours of Lodi Farm in the Solo Male Masters category.  Another XXL podium.  Congrats!