Friday, January 15, 2016

Mountain Bike Trailer Park Year in Review

What time is it?  Tooth-hurty.
So, let’s review.  2015 was a really special year.  It has been a year of dental work for me.  Two root canals, two crowns, and two fillings.  Yay!
I have had more hands in my mouth than a giant catfish in the muddy Mississippi. 


At this point, I’m considering replacing the whole damn operation with one of those Lil’ Wayne grills.  Or maybe a George Foreman grill.

Yo, you got parsley in your diamonds.
Not that I don’t enjoy holding my mouth open for hours at a time, or getting shots in my gums, or having instruments in my mouth.  But really, who doesn’t enjoy that?  Still, as I’m laying on my back, staring at the dentist light, I do need something to occupy my mind.  So, I often flip through my mental rolodex looking for good memories, particularly those made on my bike.

 

My bike takes me to awesome places, even if it's only a different state of mind. And 2015 was a great year for cycling adventures. 

 
My year really kicked off in March with the Gravel Rouser put on by Athens Bike. Peter and Meredith run this show and it's always a great event. 

 
I wonder whether the Rouser will be run in 2016, now that Peter has been elected to Athens City Counsel? Athens is lucky to have him and Meredith. And there are great things coming for Athens area mountain biking. How does more access and better trails in Wayne National Forest sound to you? Sounds good to me too. 

My race season began in April, with the first OMBC race at Mountwood WV. I did better than I thought I would and it seemed I might actually have a chance in the series. Can't wait to tackle that course again!


 
Also in May, I made my first pilgrimage to Pisgah in North Carolina and DuPont.  This was COMBO’s “Spring Trip,” and we had a huge turnout.





One of my companions threw his shoe in the river.  More on that here. 

Despite the rain, the trails were ridable and my thoughts often return to Brideshead Falls.  The name of which evokes an interesting mental image.
 


Then, in May came my first adventure on TOSRV. I rode with my homie Ryan. 

 

Our hotel was amazing too. Pretty sure that it is the Wikipedia entry for "fleabag."


Poor Coltin, it's hard to be third wheel.
Next up was a trip to Cleveland and back with James, where we tried to hit every brewery along the way. James tried to kill me, but I forgive him. 


 
James was a great travelling companion. Even though he hangs out with giant cocks. 

 
Then came the Mohican 100. As I have previously explained, this event broke me. Blood, sweat, and tears fell out of me, along with pretty much every body fluid that I could leak. 
 

I was not ready mentally for this race, but I will be this year. The good thing is, I will almost certainly beat my time, because it would be nearly impossible to go any slower. 

 
Then came my epic "brocation" to Colorado and Utah. Telluride to Moab. The hut to hut tour surpassed my dreams, and I often think about that trip when daily life grinds me down. Except the smell of farts and feet that seemed to follow us. I don't miss that. 

 
When we started the trip, I knew only one of my companions. Now, I am happy to call them all my friends. 








 
And I can't wait to get back to Moab for more slick rock. 


Up next was Marquette Michigan for the IMBA Great Lakes Summit and some sweet trails. Ran into my friend Gary Fisher there.





Rick and Dean were great travelling buddies. 


Then, in August it was time for my family bike tour. We took the Pittsburg to DC towpath trail. Some 340 miles in all, bookended by visits to great cities. I'm so proud of Natali and the kids for making this trip! And, other than a crash or two, it was nothing but smiles.








I also captained Team Bourbon for the 6-hour race at John Bryan in Yellowsprings, Ohio.  We were the only all-singlespeed team, and we took third!  Thanks mostly to Bryan and Eric who both had faster laps than me (I think Bryan had one of the top three fastest laps of the day).


In September, we broke ground on the pumptrack at Chestnut Ridge, making it the area’s first bike park.  I’m super stoked about this, and since, we have completed the cyclocross trail and have begun a couple of sweet downhill runs.  Well done COMBO!


Also in September, I made my first trip to State College PA to ride at Rothrock and Laurel Highlands.  Everyone’s bike broke a little, and most of us bled a little. 



On one loose downhill, I wrecked as soon as I saw that Bryan was taking pictures and I managed, somehow, to get a rotor burn on my forearm.  Stinky!


What an amazing and challenging trail system.  Can’t wait to tackle it again next fall!  This is an annual COMBO trip, but the technical nature of the trail is intimidating, and so a lot fewer people came.  Too bad for them!


Also in September, I ran in the Columbus Half Marathon with my son.  Because, what the hell, why not?



We enjoyed great cycling weather in October too, and the trip to Brown County for the Epic Weekend with the boys was a blast! 




There was even a guy there who recognized me from my blog.  I’m internet famous!

I took a picture as proof

Also in October, the OMBC race series season drew to a close and I turned out the winner of the Novice Clydesdale category.  Woo hoo! 

Now hanging in my sponsor's shop - Breakaway Cycles

I set a goal to lose enough weight to no longer qualify as a Clydesdale for 2016  I'm almost there! The bad news is that I will move up to Sport next year and will have to race speedsters like Joe and Chadd.  But whatever, at least I will have my ass kicked by my friends.

The only side of Joe I ever see on race day - his back

Fear the beard

In November, it was off to the Iceman race in Traverse City MI to meet my friend Gary Fisher.  This 30-mile race through sandy doubletrack was like a full-on time mountain bike time trial.  What a blast!

 



And, I got to hang out with some seriously fun Ohio racers like Jeff, Heidi, and Austin.  Plus, my homies Joe, Greg, and Jeremy were in on the fun too!



And in December, I brought my bike on my family vacation to Florida too (of course I did).  After chasing seagulls on the beach for a while, I rode some local single track.


Alafia State Park and Balm Boyette Scrub preserve have some awesome trails, built on old phosphor mines.  SWAMP has made the most of the left-behind mining mounds to make some really fun and unique trails. 




The boys had a ball at Alafia, particularly enjoying watching me crash.  And catching it on camera.






Perhaps the biggest reflection on the year is that I am fortunate to be surrounded by great people.

Strava tells me that my top training partners this year were Bryan and Chadd. 


But that's probably because my boys Andy and James are not on Strava. Nor are my wife and kids.


All of these people are great company, and I owe each of them for things that I can't repay. (You guys know what I'm talking about). I'm lucky to have such good people around to have adventures with. 

I just don't know why they'd willingly hang out with me. 

Thanks for the adventures! 

Be brave in 2016. 

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