Archive for August, 2010

Top 3

New best at Snowshoe. 3rd. Bear in mind that the competition is not as good. In 2006 and 2007, the top 5 would be Geritt, Trevyn, Herndon, Jamie Ford, Tim Price, etc. Now-a-days you rarely get Herndon and Geritt at the same race and Tim has been sidelined with an injury all summer. So a 3rd at this race really would have been a 5 or 6th under normal circumstances. But that doesn’t make much difference. I still did as good as could. I’m not a top shelf pro along the lines of those guys, so what is important is that I beat those that I should and maybe a few I shouldn’t have. But most important is that I did this well on a course with a gazillion berms and not good ones at that. I feel I can ride good berms well enough, but decreasing radius berms with shallow banks are not my forte. I had a good strategy and I executed about as well I could have. No real mistakes. I got a little offline in one section and was a little loose in another, but other than that I executed perfectly for about 5 minutes and 15 seconds of a 5 minutes and 21 second run. The only way I could have improved would have been better fitness that would have allowed me to pedal the flats before the West Ridge roadgap and Ninja Bob. I choose to coast those sections to conserve energy for the rest of the track.

All in all it was a great weekend. James, Joey and I sailed the S.S. Tennessee north and had great conditions all weekend. We mostly rode the basin side and really enjoyed A to H. But D was quite challenging.

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Throttled

Met up with Devin and a few others for a loop around Duncan’s Flat. Additionally it was Mark, Brandon, and a father/son duo who ride motocross. Devin and I were the slowest of the bunch. Just the ride up the 4wheeler road to the singletrack was wild. The youngest motocrosser threw a huge whip/scrub over a water bar. I was right behind him and I don’t think he knew how close his rear tire came to an immovable rock. I had the same feeling as when I ride with Geriit. I think it looks so cool and I wish I could ride that fast. Then I remind myself that I am staying with them, so I must be going as fast. But I know I don’t look that good. Anyway, I rode way over my head and was able to battle most of the night for second or third. I was very happy with that. Of course my descending was a huge advantage, but I need to get better getting deeper in the throttle.

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Crashed

Dirty Bird 2 was this weekend. Joey and I traveled in the Excursion as usual and we found Saturday morning conditions to be kinda tacky, but mostly greasy. The new track was steep, twisty, had two new rock gardens, and a billion western North Carolina roots. Combined with the damp conditions, it was hard to carry typical race speeds on. There were just so many things to deflect you off line. I lowered the spring settings on my bike and softened the damping as much as I could and it seemed to help. However this was just another track that I could not take advantage of my biggest assets, which is carrying speed and smashing this. I still liked it and I loved my race run. The crowds along the course were awesome. I don’t know if I have ever done a race with so many spectators. The crowd in the main rock garden was so loud and raucous I could hear them from the start area. Air horns, vuvuzelas, fireworks, cowbells, banana suits. I just knew I would be fired up going in to the section that I wouldn’t slow down enough to be safe. Sure enough I lost it and went down. I thought it was actually a pretty soft crash both everyone was telling me it looked terrible. I don’t have a scratch or bruise to show for it. I was 5 seconds off the podium and I am pretty sure it was a 5 second crash. I’m okay with that small, empty victory.

Here are a few pics I have found.


Here is the rock garden that I crashed in. Doesn’t look slick at all.

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The future

So I have been doing some thinking and I think next year I will do less racing and more traveling. For the past 5 years I have been pretty dedicated to the DH race scene. I never had disillusions that I would make the WCs. However to try and qualify for a WC was on my list. Regardless I have exceeded my goals and I have had a great time. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. But, I have a list of trips backlogged that I really want to to. I want to go to Colorado with Loo and do all the resorts. I’d like to make it back to Telluride, Keystone, and make my way to Winterpark and Sol Vista. I’d like to make it to Flagstaff and ride with JP. Of course I’d like to ride Whistler. Plus with so many options for great riding around here, sometimes its hard to head off to a race. Looking forward to 2011.

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Water Logged

The past couple of weeks have been super busy with work. I have been working hard to meet my deadlines. Working for a small start up has tremendous upside, but in the short term it can be a lot of work. Anyway, Wednesday I had plans with Devin to ride at Duncan’s Loop at 6. On the radar, it looked like it had been raining up that way all day. As a result I wasn’t that worried about getting home early to load up the bike and get out there. I stayed at work until 5:30 and started home thinking the ride was canceled. Then Devin called and said Paterson told him it didn’t rain that much and to come on. I could have done without the ride, but knew I needed to get in some exercise and therapy. I figured it would be wet, but not muddy. I was glad I went. We had a great ride. We did a solid loop with one stop while it steadily rained the whole time. I stayed loose and found a flow. I led the loop, but we all rode well and had a good time.

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Can you guess what Wyatt likes doing?

He loves bikes and acting goofy.

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Boat Ride

Monday evening we loaded up on the boat and went for a ride. I guess Norris was releasing water because the water was clear and very cold. It was very refreshing.

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Suspension Characteristics

Lack of Rebound

Symptoms:

o Forks are plush, but increasing speed causes loss of control and traction

o The motorcycle wallows and tends to run wide exiting the turn causing fading traction and loss of control.

o When taking a corner a speed, you experience front-end chatter, loss of traction and control.

o Aggressive input at speed lessons control and chassis attitude suffers.

o Front end fails to recover after aggressive input over bumpy surfaces.

Solution: Insufficient rebound. Increase rebound “gradually” until control and traction are optimized and chatter is gone.

Too Much Rebound

Symptoms:

o Front end feels locked up resulting in harsh ride.

o Suspension tucks in and fails to return, giving a harsh ride. Typically after the first bump, the bike will skip over subsequent bumps and want to tuck the front.

o With acceleration, the front end will tank slap or shake violently due to lack of front wheel tire contact.

Solution: Too much rebound. Decrease rebound “gradually” until control and traction are optimized.

Lack of Compression

Symptoms:

o Front-end dives severely, sometimes bottoming out over heavy bumps or during aggressive breaking.

o Front feels soft or vague similar to lack of rebound.

o When bottoming, a clunk is heard. This is due to reaching the bottom of fork travel.

Solution: Insufficient compression. Increase “gradually” until control and traction are optimized.

Too Much Compression

Symptom:

o Front end rides high through the corners, causing the bike to steer wide. It should maintain the pre-determined sag, which will allow the steering geometry to remain constant.

Solution: Decrease compression “gradually” until bike neither bottoms nor rides high.

Symptom:

o Front end chatters or shakes entering turns. This is due to incorrect oil height and/or too much low speed compression damping.

Solution: First, verify that oil height is correct. If correct, then decrease compression “gradually” until chattering and shaking ceases.

Symptom:

o Bumps and ripples are felt directly in the triple clamps and through the chassis. This causes the front wheel to bounce over bumps.

Solution: Decrease compression “gradually” until control is regained.

Symptom:

o Ride is generally hard, and gets even harder when braking or entering turns.

Solution: Decrease compression “gradually” until control is regained.

Adjustment Locations: Rear Shock

Rebound adjustment (if applicable) is located at the bottom of the shock. Compression adjustment (if applicable) is located on the reservoir. Spring prelude is located at the top of the shock.

Shock: Lack of Rebound

Symptoms:

o The ride will feel soft or vague and as speed increases, the rear end will want to wallow and/or weave over bumpy surfaces and traction suffers.

o Loss of traction will cause rear end to pogo or chatter due to shock returning too fast on exiting a corner.

Solution: Insufficient rebound – Increase rebound until wallowing and weaving disappears and control and traction are optimized.

Shock: Too Much Rebound

Symptoms:

o Ride is harsh, suspension control is limited and traction is lost.

o Rear end will pack in, forcing the bike wide in corners, due to rear squat. It will slow steering because front end is riding high.

o When rear end packs in, tires generally will overheat and will skip over bumps.

o When chopping throttle, rear end will tend to skip or hop on entries.

Solution: Too much rebound. Decrease rebound “gradually” until harsh ride is gone and traction is regained. Decrease rebound to keep rear end from packing.

Shock: Lack of Compression

Symptoms:

o The bike will not turn in entering a turn.

o With bottoming, control and traction are lost.

o With excessive rear end squat, when accelerating out of corners, the bike will tend to steer wide.

Solution: Insufficient compression. Increase compression “gradually until traction and control is optimized and/or excessive rear end squat is gone.

Shock: Too Much Compression

Symptoms:

o Ride is harsh, but not as bad as too much rebound. As speed increases, so does harshness.

o There is very little rear end squat. This will cause loss of traction/sliding. Tire will overheat.

o Rear end will want to kick when going over medium to large bumps.

Solution: Decrease compression until harshness is gone. Decrease compression until sliding stops and traction is regained.

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Why?

What causes people to take up two parking spots by straddling the line and to park in handicap spots when they are not handicap? It’s sad to think most people think we live a quality life.

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Another full day

So Saturday was supposed to be another Beech race. Going into the end of the week, I just wasn’t feeling the race. Its kind of odd, but with so many races available to the SE now the scene is kind of diluting its self. Its about a 2.5 hr drive for me and I had procrastinated heading over until Saturday morning. I was having a great evening with Wyatt and Meghann and I just wasn’t that into going. Then I got word that the track didn’t look to great and I waffled even more. But late in the night I decided to go. I love racing DH and it was just another day trip. Then around 4am I got a text from my mother that my dad was in the hospital with an elevated potassium level. So it seemed all signed pointed to not going. Later in the afternoon I did a 95 mile ride from the house on the 530xc-w. See post below. Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t go to the race. Plus I can’t keep going to every race for the rest of my life. It was good to miss one.

So then on Sunday I convinced myself to go a hare scramble down near the Ocoee. Late in the evening I went over to Mark’s house to help him fix his front brake which had turned into quite a mystery. We worked on that thing for hours, bought new tools, and coated the floor in DOT 3 brake fluid until about 9pm. Just when all hope was lost, we go it bled. It seemed so hopeless that I declared if we could get it fixed, I would stay local and ride with Mark, Ben and Jay. So again I skipped a race and stayed close to ride our awesome terrain with good friends. It was another good choice. Mark has some footage posted at Ride Made.

Later in the afternoon I headed over to Windrock to grab a few shuttles with Joey and Buddy. It was hot, but we kept a pretty quick pace on turning around. I seem to be a worse rider in training, but I keep having some of my best results to date. There are a lot of things going into that equation. Part of it is I don’t think the competition is as deep as it was a couple of years ago. Part of it is I think I am getting to another plateau. I think I can go faster but I can’t keep together at that pace until I race and slow it down a bit. I always go harder in practice/training that race runs. Anyway, I did a couple runs, saved a pretty good potential crash, and had fun. Looking forward to Saturday’s big crew.

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