October 24, 2007

Birth of a trail

In the 90s, Hardrock MTB park was da bomb. It was the home course of Gone Riding and while we had to share it with motorcycles, it was the best and toughest trail in the state. I entered my first race there in '99, the 12 Hours of the Rock, on a beginner team and had a blast. In late '99 Dave Berger and the owners came to a disagreement over the management of the park. The owners wanted to give more priority to the motos and Dave wanted to give more priority to the mountain bikers. It ended in a stalemate and the loss of a great trail. A few months later, Razorback was born. It grew to be twice the trail that Hardrock ever was. History will repeat itself again.

Over in Lakeland, the Ridge Riders are going like gangbusters, making the trails at Loyce Harpe Park more sustainable while maintaining the technical difficulty that make that trail great. Raymond Wells, RRMBA head honcho, is on the advisory committee for Colt Creek State Park, where a new trail system is on the horizon. Word from Ridge Rider land is that a private trail in Fort Meade will be re-opened and there is work being done to re-open a trail in Hernando County. Gran Canyon? Hoo boy, that place was a doozy back in the day.

The project I'm most passionate about is SWAMP's work on the new Sidewinder trail at Boyette Park. Sidewinder will add about 3 miles of trail to my favorite dog-friendly local trail. I worked on the new trail the weekend before last and it's gonna be a great addition. Work crews will be assembling the next two Saturdays. Wanna help out? Be there at 8:30 AM. Send an email here to RSVP and you'll get lunch afterword. I was planning on being there for both work days, but my new plan is to ride Razorback as much as possible before it's gone.

This weekend we're gonna ride Razorback Saturday, camp at Santos with some friends and ride there Sunday. I'll probably trim up a couple of red trails that need some love to keep my trailwork mojo going.

Next weekend is the big Razorback farewell party. Normally open only on weekends, it will be open Thursday through Sunday with free camping. The party Saturday night sounds like it's gonna be a raucous funeral for a friend. I think a 3-day weekend is in order.

October 23, 2007

Death of a trail

I just read the news that Razorback is closing. Yessiree, the home of the 12 Hours of Razorback and the best trail in Florida is no more. When I read this I felt like somebody just told me my best friend died.

For the past 3 years, you could find me there almost every weekend I was in town. As my endurance racing addiction took hold I spent even more time there, because it was perfect for long training rides. It had enough hard stuff to make sure I was worked over at the end of the day, but enough easy stuff to allow for some recovery. I logged over 1000 miles there this year.

The thing that really made it great, though, was it's "family-friendly" atmosphere. I could bring Lauren and Fontana there with me and they'd ride easier loops. After they rode, Lauren would hang out and do yoga or just chill while waiting for me to finish my 5-hour ride. Fontana would make the rounds, playing with other dogs and seeing what kinds of goodies he could mooch off the other park patrons.

I have many, many fond race memories from Razorback. I got my only Sport win there in 2001. I was on my way to my only Expert win there, only to be derailed by a broken chain. I had many other podium finishes in Expert XC races there. Placing 3rd at this year's 12 Hours of Razorback was one of the highlights of my season.

Godspeed, my good friend.

October 06, 2007

Off season!

My season is over. I've had some great races and had a blast this season I could've kept going without much travel since there's a great XC series going on in Florida, but a couple of months of downtime has served me well the past few years. Every year I take a month off and rebuild my base, and every year I've gotten stronger despite being on the downhill side of middle-age.

I'll keep riding, but there will be no 5AM training rides for a few months. During the week, the only exercise I've gotten the past couple of weeks has been walking my dog. I ride on the weekends but keep it short and easy.

Last weekend we camped at Santos to celebrate a friend's birthday. The ratio of beers drank to hours ridden was about 3:1. Good times, indeed.

I'm going like gangbusters catching up on all the stuff that gets ignored when I'm riding 15+ hours a week. Which leads me to...

Cleaning out the garage

Here's a bunch of stuff I'm looking to get rid of. Before I go the eBay route I thought I'd try the direct route. If you're interested in any of this stuff click the link on your right to email me. Reasonable counter offers will be considered. Costs don't include shipping.

Aerus CXC Carbon Flat Bar, new, $50

Brand new, still in box. Oversize (31.8), 580mm wide, 6 degree sweep, 132 grams. More info at Aerus.com.

Kenda Karma tire, new, $20

26.2.20, 580 grams, kevlar bead. More info at Kendausa.com.

Shimano XTR ceramic V-brake pads, new, $10 for 2 sets

I took them out of the cardboard display pack, but the plastic packaging has never been opened. Includes mounting pins.

SRAM PC-1 single speed chain, new but cut, $10

1/2 x 1/8", 330 grams, 108 links including Snap Lock connector, nickel plated. The box says it has 114 links. I believe I cut it down to 108 for a singlespeed experiment, but didn't use it because a 3/32" chain was recommended for my cog/ring. The chain has never been ridden.

Shimano CN-HG70 chain, new, $10

New, still in box, never shortened or mounted. 116 links, includes connecting pin. Great 3/32" single speed chain.