Archive for September, 2010

MABRA 1 – Ed Sander

Posted in Cross on September 28, 2010 by rogeremasse

29er CrewIt’s now officially cross season. With last week’s somewhat unofficial end of mountain bike season with the 40 mile Revenge of the Rattlesnake and this week’s MABRA cyclocross opener lasting just over 40 minutes, the transition has begun. To be honest, prior to the actual cross race, I was still dreaming about rocky terrain, huge epic one-lap courses and my awesome pair of Superfly mountain bikes. Now that I’ve put my body through the torture that is cross racing, I’m starting to remember what I like about it. It’s also painfully clear that it will probably take about 6 weeks to get my cross legs.  That is, convert my current ultra-endurance oriented fitness into cross racing intensity fitness.
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Revenge of the Rattlesnake

Posted in Must do Races on September 23, 2010 by rogeremasse

29er CrewPerhaps the longest running race in the history of mountain bike racing, the Revenge of the Rattlesnake starting and ending in Davis, West Virginia is the latest in my series of must do races. ROTR, as it’s called, first began in 1983 and became part of the Canaan Mountain Series back in 1984. I did this race when it was called the Canaan 40K a couple of times in the mid-ninties. By the late-ninties, as the mileage and duration were creeping into ultra endurance territory, the Canaan 50K’s name was changed to Revenge of the Rattlesnake.

The story is that Eric Cvechko, a racer in the 1998 edition, was struck in the foot by an angry rattlesnake as he rode past. After dragging the snake a short ways as it was clamped onto his shoe, the snake, aparently run over by the rear tire, fell dead to the ground. Eric dropped out of the race, carrying the dead reptile in his fanny pack back to the start. The name stuck and the mystique of this race has grown ever since.

Eric Cvechko and the Rattlesnake in 1998 photo Don Parks

ROTR recent editions, promoted by Blackwater Bikes, are now up to 40 miles or more and normally have a different course every year. This year’s route, identical to the 2009 edition apart from the starting rollout, encompassed trails in Blackwater Falls State Park, National Forest- Canaan Mountain, Canaan Valley Institute property and Vandelia Heritage Foundation property. 40 miles of tough course consisting mainly of  technical, gnarly single track.

I think it’s safe to compare the technical component of Canaan Valley West Virginia riding with anything on the east coast in terms of difficulty. With an elevation of 3,200 feet, the small town of Davis is the highest incorporated town in the state of West Virginia. This provides the 600 resident Tucker Country retreat with a cool climate year-round. The trails for ROTR climb up to 4000 feet, leading to some Occasionally Often extreme weather. Last year’s ROTR was conducted during a heavy rain with temps in the 40’s! This past weekend I joined good friends Pete Johnson Mike Gallagher, Christophe Cataisson and Jeff Haggquist for the 2010 edition. We were given a perfect indian summer day with sunny skies and temps in the mid 70’s. Continue reading

Terror of Teaberry

Posted in Must do Races on September 13, 2010 by rogeremasse

The Terror of Teaberry the final race in the Michaux Endurance Series may be the shortest mileage-wise, but it’s also the most technically difficult. To make matters worse, overnight rains that continued through till about 1pm made the dirt into mud and the abundant rock formations slick. With average speeds that are in the 8-9 MPH range, skillz are the word of the day. If you can ride slippery rocks, you’ll do well.

Bang!  A Lemans style start brings us back to our bikes with heart rates soaring. The run wakes me up. I feel good. I’m easily in the top-15 just behind Jay Dodge, another Masters rider, as we head into single track. One mile later we’re on a gradual primitive fire road climb with a preferred line but good passing room. I’m pedaling hard, I’m on my geared Superfly and we’re on one of the few fast sections of the course. I start catching and passing single speeders including Nate big air Shearer and Cupcake factory rider Travis Coldsmith, They seem a bit under geared for this section. As I pass Jay Dodge he gets on my wheel.  Finally I settle down on the wheel of fellow 29er Crew rider Kyle Lawrence. I’m probably in 7th or 8th place! What am I doing up here? I just passed a bunch of guys that are going to eat my lunch once we hit the rocks. I made a mental note to myself to try to not to hold anyone up.
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Shenandoah Mountain 100

Posted in Must do Races on September 10, 2010 by rogeremasse

The Shenandoah Mountain 100 the final race of the U.S. National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series is my favorite… at least of the 6 out of 9 that I’ve done. The SM100, as it’s called, combines all of the best aspects of mountain bike racing into one fantastic grueling event and one great weekend of camaraderie. It’s the time to test your fitness one last time against your rivals and afterwards a time to sit down and count your rivals as your friends as your share war stories over a beer.

SM100 is a celebration of mountain bike racing. There’s no hiding. There’s no sitting in and being fortunate enough to be in the right break. With over 12,000 feet of climbing combined with tricky rocky descents, it always ends up being a grueling day. I’ve done this race 3 times now and I have yet to have what I would consider a good race… but I always come away feeling good about the racing experience and the people I meet along the way.
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