Monday, January 30, 2006

RACE REPORT: MTB Challenge 1

Gutting out mechanicals
Well, the scouting report for this race was certainly correct on one point: it was damn muddy out there. However, the forecasted rainy weather was nowhere to be seen as the sun shined for the entire race. I dare say it was even warm.

But enough about the weather. The opening event for the NorCal MTB racing season was just what an opening evetn should be : a learning experience. TBF Racing put on a quite professional and fun race. Think not as big or high tech as a NORBA event (no RFID timing chips) but certainly moreso that the local events (food stands, clearly marked courses and finish corral). The race attracted about 150 riders of varying levels (mostly skewed to the sport level). The course was very wet from the overnight rains and the two days of constant competition. I stopped counting after 8 water crossings. And the sand was heavy. But the rest of the course was excellent, with more climbing than I expected. I would have shortened the course myself (eliminating the 2.5 miles of sand near the end), but that's really a personal choice.
Muddy Bike After MTB Challenge 1

Winners for the 10 mile race was Geoffrey Hughes (Novice) in 0:52:03, 20 mile race was Joshua Olmstead (Sport) in 1:32:38 and 30 mile race was Charles Warner (Experts) in 2:16:13. The full results for this race are posted on the TBF Racing website (overall finish and by divison).

I myself completely got my ass handed to me in the sport division. While I proved I was truly out of shape, I am officially blaming my poor showing on my choice of tires. I had swapped my WTB Velociraptors onto my dual suspension ride without realizing that they had non-existent side treads. As a result, every time I leaned into a turn, I ended up laying my bike down (4 times on downhills turns). The sand handling also left something to be desired. Back to Specialized Andrenalins for the next time.
MTB Challenge #2 (the next race in this series) is February 19th.

UPDATE (2/1/06): They have posted pictures from the race here.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


So it still looks like tomorrow's race may be a wet one. I got a chance to go pre-ride the course just after the duathlon and there is still a good deal of standing water. In fact, I counted no less than six water crossings on the course (most 4" to 6" in depth). However, the rest of the trails have seemed to hold up just fine. Some mud but 90% of it is just really nice, moist dirt.

I've tried to mock up the race course over at, but I am not sure if I have done justice to the course (the PDF maps they provide just plain suck). Anyhoo, here it is. The course is mostly singletrack through wood section, with a small amount of climbing, some technical short descents and a little bit of sand sections (especially around Beek's Blight on the PDF map). You should be fine with a hardtail on this course, but make sure and bring some semi-aggressive tires; You'll need some grip on the singletrack and some float through the sand.

I am unsure how the course will hold up over night. It's about 5 PM and it just started raining. You might want to check the regional radar maps and forecast to see what it will be like at race time tomorrow morning. Currently, they are calling for a high of 57F and overcast.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Team Big Bear Cancels Some Races

It looks like some litigation issues with the Snow Summit Resort has caused the Team Big Bear to cancel some of their races in Big Bear this year. Gone are the Women's Only Weekend, 12 Hour Race and Amateur Cup series. While this is disappointing news, it does not affect any NorCal racing.

Friday, January 27, 2006

NorCal Racing This Weekend: Jan 30-31, 2006

This weekend marks the start of the 2006 MTB racing season here in NorCal with two events:
Please remember that there is a $6.00 fee for parking in the park.

I rode the course last weekend and there was quite a bit of standing water and mud. With the cool temperatures this week and expected race in the forecast, I would expect that both of these races will be muddy affairs. Check back tomorrow for a scouting report of race conditions. I'll be racing on Sunday (no running for /k), so we'll have a full race report for those of you who can't make the drive up.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

P&R Sports Changes Schedule

Due to a conflict with the nearby Corral Hollow Downhill (CHDH) event, P&R Sports has rearranged the Sand Hill spring series calendar. I have updated the original posting (and sidebar calendar) with the new dates.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cool Hosting 24hr Race Against Cancer

Our friends in Auburn, California, the self-proclaimed "Endurance Capital of the World", are hosting a 24 Hr endurance race called the The Coolest 24 - Race Against Cancer to benefit the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund. The race will actually be held in Cool, CA (the site of the Cool Mountain Bike race in March) on May 6th - 7th, 2006. It looks to be patterned after the 24HoA races, but I'm still fuzzy on the some of the details, so I will post a follow up when I figure it all out.
Technorati Tags: , , ,

Saturday, January 21, 2006

P&R Sports Finalizes 2006 Sand Hill Spring Series

Following up on our previous tentative schedule report, P&R Sports has finalized the spring dates for gravity racing at the Sand Hill park. The confirmed dates are:
3/04/06 new date 2/25/06: Mountain Cross
3/11/06 new date 3/04/06: Dual Slalom
3/18/06 new date 3/11/06: Mountain Cross
3/25/06 new date 3/18/06: Dual Slalom, Series Final
All races are early morning affairs with registration and practice runs from 8-10 am and qualifying at 10:30 AM. There is not any pre-registration necessary, all sign-ups can be done on race day for $30/race plus $5/park. These are NORBA sanctioned races, so standard license policies ($5 one day licenses available). For more information, check out our early story on Sand Hill, cruise over to the website at or send an email

UPDATE (1/25/06): The dates have been moved up one week to avoid conflicting with the CHDH event.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Friday, January 20, 2006

PRODUCTS: Garmin Announces MacOS X Compatibility

While I am sure that many of you are at least a little puzzled by the strange intrusion of geek-talk into this sphere of athletic endeavor, hang in there and read this:
Beginning in spring 2006, Garmin will offer a Mac version of its popular Training Center software. Used with Garmin’s line of Forerunner and Edge series of fitness products, the Training Center software lets users plan and analyze workouts. Fitness enthusiasts can create their own workouts or use workout templates that can be downloaded into the unit for any level of personal training. The software also offers interactive analysis tools that will now allow Mac users to chart their performance information like speed, heart rate, cadence, elevation, and pace.

Also in spring 2006, Garmin will make the upload interface Mac compatible. translates GPS data into performance analysis, online mapping, and route sharing for endurance and outdoor athletes. Data collected by a Garmin GPS device is uploaded to where time, distance, speed, elevation, cadence, grade, and heart rate analysis is displayed through charts, illustrations, and reports. This activity data can also be displayed as a route and replayed on street, photo, topographic, and elevation maps as well as the popular Google Earth service.
This is great news for bikers not using Windows. I know I have been salivating about getting a new Edge 305 and using MotionBased for my training.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Team Big Bear 2006 Schedule

Team Big Bear has announced their 2006 schedule including the California State Series dates:
California State Series
Sagebrush Safari (4/2/06 in San Diego, CA)
Boneli Park (4/23/06 in San Dimas, CA)
Firestone Walker Weekend (Near Santa Barbara on 4/30/06)
Jansport 12 Hours at the Summit (Big Bear Lake, CA on 8/26/06)
Northstar at Tahoe (Truckee, CA on 9/09/06))
Michelob Ultra Fall Classic (Big Bear Lake, CA on 10/08/06)
Castaic Lake (Castaic Lake, CA on 10/22/06)
The only NorCal race on the schedule here is Northstar at Tahoe, which will feature DH, CX and SuperD racing. I haven't listed any of the NMBS, out of state or Snow Summit Amateur Cup Series races. All the Snow Summit races take place at Big Bear Lake in SoCal and you can see the details here.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, January 16, 2006

Whiskeytown Classic Moved to 9/23/06

Just a quick scheduling note from Team Bigfoot:
  • The Bigfoot Classic is confirmed for June 30th - July 2nd, 2006.
  • Whiskeytown Classic has been moved to September 23rd, 2006.
Both races will be part of the California State Championship Series. I've updated the calendar and original post to reflect the new dates.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bogg For Africa: 8 Hr XC Endurance

Bike Monkey is sponsoring an 8 Hr XC Endurance race in support of Food for the Hungry and their ongoing AIDS relief effort in Africa: "This charity event will raise funds to support medical and educational projects designed to help with the terrible pandemic that is racing across the African continent." The race will be held in Bogg State Demonstration Forest (near Cobb, CA) and feature a LeMans style mass start for both solo and 3 person team relay categories. Dinner and a T-shirt are also included with your entry fee. For a good look at the Bogg Forest trails, check out Peter Fagerlin's movie and the MTBR reviews.
Event: Bogg For Africa
Dates: March 25th, 2006
Location: Boggs State Demo Forest (Cobb, CA) [ MAP ]
Competition: Endurance (8 hour)
Cost: $45 (pledges also accepted)
License: TBD (NORBA is a sponsor, so it's a good bet you'll need their license)
This sounds like a great race for a great cause. Unfortunately, they've chosen an already crowded weekend with the CHDH, CCCX and Pre-Otter on the schedule. Tough choices.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Big Blue 2006 Adventure Series

REI adventure sport partner, Seventh Wave Productions, has announced the 2006 Big Blue Adventure Series schedule. The schedule includes both adventure races and off-road triathlons throughout Northern California and Nevada. The adventure races have been described as "Teams of two people have the chance to compete in trail running, mountain biking, kayaking (“riverteering” at the Silver Sage event), and an occasional special test. Each race will include a 1-2 mile water leg, a 7-10 mile mountain bike course, and a 3-5 mile trail run. The combined distances will be approximately 10-17 miles." Each race varies in price, but average around $200 and require a USARA license.
2/11: Tahoe Winter Blue (Northstar-at-Tahoe, CA)
3/3: Snowmaster (Sugar Bowl)
4/28 - 4/29: Castaic Lake Sprint Adventure Race (Castaic Lake, SoCal)
5/27: Silver Sage (Reno, NV)
7/29: Ocean Blue Sprint (Half Moon Bay, CA)
8/19: Folsom Lake Sprint Adventure Race
9/23: Tahoe Big Blue Sprint (North Lake Tahoe, CA)
10/7: Big Blue 24 Lake Tahoe (North Lake Tahoe, CA)
The Off-road triathlon races are swim/mountain bike/trail run events in Xterra style. The distances and formats vary between races, but mostly include two laps of about 500m swimming, two 8 - 10 mile mountain bike laps and two 3 -5 mile running laps.
4/30: Big Blue Off Road Triathlon (Lake Tahoe, CA)
8/26: Lake Sonoma Off-Road Tri (Lake Sonoma)
It looks like registration is open now.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

CCCX Finalizes 2006 XC Schedule

Updating our previous posting from December 11th, Central Coast Cyclo-Cross has detailed their 2006 XC Mountain-Bike Race Series:
  • Race #1: Sunday, February 12
  • Race #2: Saturday, February 26
  • Race #3: Sunday, March 19
  • Race #4: Sunday, March 26
  • Race #5: Sunday, June 4 (new !)
  • Race #6: Sunday, June 18 (new !)
  • Race #7: Sunday, July 2 (new!)
Pricing has been set at $30/race and they will be held at Fort Ord's East Garrison in Seaside, CA (north of Monterey, CA). I am assuming that all registration will be done onsite on race day and that no license is needed. For more information, cruise over to their webpage at

These should be some good tune up races for the nearby Sea Otter Classic. If anyone has competed in these races before, please post your thoughts in the comments section.

UPDATE (2/18/06): Updated race URLs to new results pages.
UPDATE (3/20/06): CCCX #5 will be moved to a new date (not May 6th).
UPDATE (4/1/06): CCCX has added 3 new dates. See here.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Groovy Games Become Corral Hollow Downhill

RideSFO, our Pacfica-based freeriding friends (I used to live in PCFA), are taking over Team Wrongway's Groovy Games for 2006 and renaming it the Carral Hollow Downhill Race. The CHDH will be held in late March at Carnegie SVRA near Livermore, CA. The downhill course will feature "not a World Cup course. No 10' drops or huge doubles. However, it will be challenging to all skill levels, with a significant amount of singletrack, rocky sections, with some jumps, super steep 'butt puckering' sections (for some people that is), and a major G-out section that will test the finest suspension. 1,000'+/- elevation loss with NO uphill sections."
Event: Corral Hollow Downhill Race
Dates: March 25 - 26, 2006
Location: Livermore, CA
Competition: DH
Cost: $35 ($45 late registration); 260 maximum riders
Registration: (no raceday registration !)
License: none
While I don't consider myself a great gravity/freerider, I am going to have to come out and give it a try.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Team Bigfoot Announces 2006 MTB Schedule

Following on the heels of their 2006 Endurance Schedule, Team Bigfoot has posted their 2006 MTB Schedule:
The Pre-Otter (March 26, 2006 in Arcata, CA) : Season kickoff before the Sea Otter Classic: "We're lengthening the course to about 1.5 miles by adding a new singletrack descent. 6 laps for beginners, 8 for sport, 10 for experts." This is a XC race.

Bigfoot Classic (Tentatively Confirmed for June 30-July 2 in Bald Mountain, about 20 miles from Arcata,CA): Hillclimb Friday, Cross Country & Super-D Saturday, Short-Track XC & Downhill Sunday. This one is legendary! Our cross-country course is challenging, fun and has too much singletrack! Last year a visiting SoCal racer said "This is the first mountain bike race of the year...I don't know what those other things were that we've done so far, but this is the first real mountain bike race!" The same can be said for the Super-D,fast, fun and furious. The Short-track is held on a 1-mile all-single-track loop. The downhill is World Cup worthy. Make the drive, you'll be glad that you did. This is hillclimb, XC, SD, ST and DH racing.

Whiskeytown Classic (Tentatively Changed to September 23, 2006 in Whiskeytown Lake, CA): This classic Cross-Country is held on some of the most fun singletrack trails you've ever seen. There's plenty of camping available just minutes from the start/finish line, and for post-race refreshment you've got an entire lake just waiting for you! This is a XC race.

Lagrange Fall Classic (October 20-22 in Weaverville, CA): Super-D Friday, Cross Country Saturday, Downhill Sunday. Held in the Weaver Basin Trail System. Friday's Super-D starts way up Weaver Bolly Mountain and then joins on to the some of the best parts of the XC. The Cross-country is mostly singletrack, experts and sports get to enjoy the challenge of the Lagrange Ditch trail. New trails are being worked on this season and we hope to have a new beginner course that'll also be mostly singletrack. The Downhill starts way up Weaver Bolly mountain and drops over 2500 feet in a 4-mile plunge to the singletrack finish near East Weaver Campground. This is SD, XC and DH races.
I will post more details (like pricing and licenses) when they become available.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Racing Tactics

With the racing pre-season just about upon us, it time to wash away the thoughts of the off-season torture training and to start concentrating on racing. Sweet, sweet racing.

Our friends at The Biking Hub have just the article to get you started: Pacing yourself during cross country races. Of course, if you are just now recovering from your holiday sweets-induced coma, you might be better off checking out this series of articles: Off Season Training.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Team Bigfoot Announces Endurance Series

Team Bigfoot has announced their series of Endurance MTB races for 2006:
May 29 (tentative) 12 Hours of Weaverville: It's tough but fun! The 8.9 mile course starts with a 3-mile fireroad climb that pays off with a singletrack descent back to the start/finish. The venue is a high school complete with paved parking, real bathrooms, hot showers, food service and in-town convenience are just minutes away.

July 15 (confirmed) 12 Hours of Humboldt: Come race under the giant redwoods of the Arcata Community Forest at the 5th Annual 12 Hours of Humboldt. Tinker Juarez already calls the course "one of the best I've ridden," and it's gonna get better with some new trails scheduled to be completed before the race. For those of you inlanders wanting to escape the heat, July temps in Arcata are usually high 60's to low 70's...nice!

October 7 (confirmed) Whiskeytown Nine to Five: Our series finale has a great course that's about 70% singletrack and a fantastic venue at the Whiskeytown Lake NEED Camp. Teams can keep expenses down by renting a cabin that sleeps 8 for just $45 a night! Solos who don't mind bunking with new friends can get a bed for just $8 per night.
They are also hosting an Oregon race in August. There should be more information and registration links up on the Team Bigfoot site next week.

UPDATE (07/09/06): More details on 12 Hours of Humboldt posted.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, January 06, 2006

Single Speed World Championship (SSWC) 2006

Although many people would argue this has nothing to do with mountain bikes (which would be false), Northern California (which would be true) or racing (which is still up in the air), the Single Speed World Championship has chosen Stockholm, Sweden for this year's world hootenany race. Stockholm follows last year's State College, PA selection.

More information available over on the Surly Bikes Blog.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

NORBA Changes Schedule (Again)

NORBA announced another set of schedule changes yesterday, ADDING A NORCAL RACE! Unfortunately, this appears to be the already scheduled Cougar Mountain Classic, but it still is good news. They also moved the dates and venue for the season opener back to the original May 5 - 7, 2006 weekend. Now the opener will be held in Fontana, west of Los Angles, instead of San Dimas (which was closer to San Diego). The new schedule (with competition types) is as follows:
NMBS#1 May 5-7: Southridge Park - Fontana, Calif. (XC, ST, DH, MX, SD)
NMBS#2 June 10-11: Sugar Mountain Resort - Banner Elk, N.C. (XC, ST, DH, DS, SD)
NMBS#3 June 17-18: Mount Snow Resort - West Dover, Vt. (XC, ST, DH, DS, MX, SD)
NMBS#4 July 8-9: Deer Valley Resort - Park City, Utah (MA, XC, ST, DH, DS, SD)
NMBS#5 July 15-16: Infineon Raceway – Sonoma, Calif. (XC, DH, MX)
NMBS#6 August 5-6: Brian Head Resort - Brian Head, Utah (MA, XC, ST, DH, DS, SD)
NMBS#7 August 12-13: Snowmass Resort - Aspen, Colo. (XC, ST, DH, DS, SD)
NORBA uses the following event key: XC (Cross Country), ST (Short Track), DH (Downhill), MX (usually MTNX for Mountain Cross), DS (Dual Slalom), SD (Super D), MA (Marathon).

I'm sure we'll see a few more changes before the season starts, but this appears to be some progress after last season's much criticized schedule.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

PCRS Spring 2006 Schedule

The folks over at have announced their Prairie City Race Series (PCRS) schedule for Spring 2006. There will be twelve XC races in this grassroots series, with your ten best races counting towards your overall points series total. Every race has a different course design, but all of them consist of several laps (depending on skill) of three to four miles in length.

The dates for this year's Spring series are:
APRIL: 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th
MAY: 3rd, 10th, (NO RACE the 17th!) 24th, 31st
JUNE: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th
The races are held at Prairie City Off Highway Vehicle Park [ MAP ] near Folsom, CA (just east of Sacramento on Hwy 50). Prairie City OHV is a off-roads motorsports (i.e. Motocross) mecca where the annual Hang Town Motorcycle Races are held. You race over the same enduro style course, with numerous steep, short climbs and quick descents on the hardpack trail. Check out the race gallery photos for a better idea of the course conditions.
Event: Prairie City Race Series
Dates: April 5th - June 28th, 2006
Location: Folsom, CA
Competition: XC
Cost: $25 for the first time you race, $10 per race there after
Registration: (and before races)
License: none
I raced the Fall Series last year and thought these were some of the best races I did last year: Low key, fun, great course. As this is close to my house here in the Sierra foothills and I am the defending champion in my age bracket ( :> ), you'll probably see me at most of the races this spring.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

REVIEW: CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer

Since this week's storms have officially kicked off the "I can't ride outside even though I live in Northern California" part of the year, I decided that I would spend some time reviewing some of the most important off-season equipment you can have: your indoor trainer. Today, I take apart my CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer.

The Fluid2 trainer is the top of the line of the CycleOps non-electronic trainers. It shares the same stand as the lower end CycleOps units (The Wind, Mag and Magneto) but has a different resistance head. This resistance head is filled with an expanding fluid to better mimic road/trail conditions under higher power load or pedal cadence. If you look at the resistence curve, it get progressively higher as your cadence increases. With more conventional magnetic resistence, you tend to get a straight resistence curve.

The assembly of this unit should have been a breeze. Basically, there are only three parts to the unit: the base, the resistance head and the piece that holds the two together. And therein lies the problem. The piece that holds them together didn't fit into the base nor screw into the resistence unit. With a lot of elbow grease, I finally got the piece to squeeze into the base unit but it took some serious engineering to get the piece into the resistence head. In the end, I disassembed the resistence unit, wrenched the screw into a piece of the unit, and then reattaching it to the unit. What a pain in the ass. And a waste. This all could have been avoided with a two minute quality review.

Luckily the rest of my installation went very smoothly. I bought and mounted a Specialized FatBoy slick on my back rim, slipped in the new spindle (supplied with the Fluid2 trainer) and locked the back wheel into the trainer. No shim or adjustment is needed for 26" MTB tires. The wheel is held firm within the jaws of the Fluid2 and I felt very solid (and I am on the large side at 190+ lbs).

Now that I am done bitching, I must say the ride quality of this unit is great. I struggle with some lower end trainers not providing enough resistence, but this one can get very difficult at high cadence / high gearing. In fact, in the big ring/small ring back it is damn difficult to hold 85 RPM cadence. Noise is very low (especially in the lower gearing) so I can even usually hear my TV without headphones. The resistance unit does get very hot after a hour of use, but I haven't seen any ill effects from it yet. The only strange thing that I get today is a strange gurgling noise, which I attribute to the hot fluid sloshing around in the unit. While I haven't had any problems with durability yet, I am on the lookout for any leakage -- it has been mentioned as a problem in many of the discussions.

CycleOps includes the Chris Charmichael "Time Trail" DVD with this unit. While the DVD is roadie specific, it is basically a hard-ass hour of intervals training that should fit right in with your mountain bike training.

I got my Fluid2 trainer at Performance Bikes for USD$249.00 a few months ago (You might be able to find it cheaper). It has a lifetime limited warranty.
Quality: 3/5
Reliability: 4/5
Ride: 5/5
Overall Value: 4/5
URL: CycleOps Fluid2

Technorati Tags: , ,