Southridge Race Report Winter Series 2009 XC Race #3

RL Policar: Up and comer SS racer David “Sho-Nuff” Sanderson does it again this weekend and is greatly improving. Read his race report and experience all the joys and pains that he went through this weekend. He did all that just so he would have something to say when his coworkers asked him what he did this weekend…”I raced” David replies (while puffing up his chest). “I raced REALLY HARD”

The sky’s been falling all over So Cal the past few days, dumping several inches of rain leading up to Saturday’s race and causing me doubts about the race conditions. Friday night it rained so hard that I thought to myself, that if it’s raining like this in the morning, I’m not racing! Fortunately I awoke to a light sprinkle, loaded up the bike and made my way to Fontana. I arrived to find RL and Jeremy already on the scene with the camp already set up, thank you guys! Eric (with a propane heater!), Moe, Priscilla, Kim and Tony soon follow.

I registered early enough to take a warm-up lap of the wet Southridge course. The soil in Southridge does well in the rain washing away the loose sandy top layer with minimal puddling. This provides excellent traction; in fact the traction was so good it felt as if I was running a harder gear ratio! This mixed with the extra cold air was sure to put what endurance I have to the test.

I arrive to the starting line to find a few unfamiliar faces with very large legs ready to race single-speed this week. Seems a few more serious cyclists are coming out of hibernation and preparing for their upcoming season. Christmas comes early as Donny informs us that were only running two laps this week (approx. 12 miles).

Donny counts down and we bolt from the starting line, I don’t know if I’m just properly warmed up, hoping to finish early or just getting faster, but I muster up a decent start. I’m too polite around the first turn and fall back several positions as I stick to the outside line. I manage to stay near the leaders through the early climbs as we make our way to the water tower climb. Here I fall back from the thunder thighs in the group and settle into my personal hell slowly grinding my way up. I manage to do a bit better than last week and can still see the leaders near the top.

I’ve pushed too hard through this climb and my legs are burning bad. I’m breathing deep and the bitter cold air is biting in my lungs as my heart pounds out a rapid beat. I snake my way though some the short single track before ascending some of the brutal short and steep climbs that take us to the course peak. I’m nearly done, using everything I got to grind out this climb and debating walking, It’s here one of my fellow racers starts cheering me on, “You can make it! Just a lil more”! What a great guy! This is a thousand times better than the “Passing on the left!” that I was expecting, and is enough to convince me to push, if for nothing more than to avoid slowing him down. I don’t know his name, but I know the bike and I’m gonna make sure to thank him before the next race.

My favorite part of the course is here with the rolling single track equipped with several little berms. I rail through these as quick as I can remind myself of my mental notes from the warm-up lap. Some of the ruts have grown in size and one corner has eroded enough to present some dangerous exposure if you were to let your front tire run the corner too wide. I reach for my now missing water bottle and freak out! S&!^, I’ve got no water! Thank goodness it’s anything but hot today and I know I’ll get another bottle on the next lap. I take advantage of some of the lines I learned the preceding weekend riding with Priscilla and RL. I now know I don’t have to brake at all as I cross the first concrete channel, I can bunny hop out of the second channel and finally take the dirt alternate route instead of riding down the last concrete channel. On one of the last sections a spectator is yelling at me for ruining her photo of her friend who is behind me. I didn’t know I was supposed to let people pass me to make their photos look better. Her boyfriend is looking at her like he is in serious debate as to if he should continue to date her and I couldn’t agree more. I round my way be to the starting straight for lap two.

RL is holding GU but no water! He might as well be holding a plate of bacon at this point because the only thing I want in this world at the moment is water. He quickly grabs a bottle and gets it to me just in time. I try to resist the urge to immediately chug the whole bottle in an effort to avoid a stomach cramp.

I’ve noticed I really have two different mindsets when I race. One that is really focused and intense. The other is really loose and relaxed thinking of anything other than the race in order to help me ignore the burning in my legs. I spend most of lap two in this state thinking about what I’m gonna eat after this weekend and debating giving 4X racing a try. I stay in this state until my favorite single track section where I always smile as I snake my way around. I discover today that this right here, is why I mountain bike, to flow around and have fun. I’m dogging it, riding at my regular trail pace when I hear the team cheering from the finish line. I muster up what I’ve got left and pick up the pace for the final few turns and a race time of 1:04:46 and yet another third place finish. The Animal, Eric Hunner has 2nd with a time of 1:00:59 and winner Rod Leveque gets in under an hour (sorry I don’t remember his time, but the results should be on the SRC website shortly).


We head back to the team camp and I proceed to eat more carne asada than anyone has a right too. It’s amazing what a race does to my appetite! Thank you RL, no one can cook on an old portable propane grill like you can!

Also a quick thanks to the team sponsors Evomo, Hoss MTB and Ergon whose gear helps us get through our races and trail-rides.

Other updates –

I get some more good news! The better than good, rather great people at KHS have provided mtnbikeriders.com with a demo Lucky 7 that I’ll get to ride in the next Southridge DH race! This is a bike on my short list of possible upcoming purchases and now I’ll get to swing a leg over it and tell you what its like to fall in love all over again.

Shimano Winter Series # 2 David “Sho-Nuff” Sanderson

RL Policar-The Shimano Winter Series are 6 races that occurs every other week until March. So that means things happen very quickly and we never really get that much time to train, eat, write, sleep and poop. Which brings me to this next race report written by David “Sho-Nuff” Sanderson. Though David’s race was last weekend and the next race is this coming weekend, the dude is pretty reliable. If he says he’s going to do something, he’ll do it. So I better stop talking and let Sho-Nuff tell his story.

Sho-Nuff!

Southridge Winter Series Race Report 2

Almost everything is easier the second time around, racing included. For the second race of the Southridge Winter Series I was much better prepared. I arrived and prepped early enough to manage a half lap warm-up with the Animal who was kind enough to share tips with me on where and when to conserve energy during the race to ensure a successful finish. After riding about half a lap, Eric and I returned to the starting line at 9:30 sharp. Unfortunately things don’t always go as planned and due to delays, we end up waiting long enough for me to stop sweating before the start of the race.

I line up on the outside of the first row and await the call from Donny and Crew. Eric and a few others explode off the line. If The Animal is a grenade, my start is more a fire cracker but it’s still more substantial than last race. I’m running about 7th in the pack and I manage my goal of being able to see Eric as we get near the top of the water tower climb and the pack spreads as we enter the singletrack.

As I work my way through the single track I’m handed a gift as the rider in front of me moves to the side graciously lets me by, I don’t know if he’s blown-up or thinks I’m faster and I don’t ask.

I come up on two race course markers, one white and one yellow with arrows pointing in different directions. I should know which one to follow but up to now I’ve not paid attention as I never faced this situation and I chose wrong. As I descend I hear a course marshall yell that I’ve gone the wrong way. I brake hard, nearly go OTB and come to an ugly stop, followed by some remarks too ugly for this article I run up the hill and continue on my way. I’ve lost about forty-five seconds.

I’m managing my race pace much better today. Extra training (group rides with friends) at a harder pace is really paying off, until I meet the new section of the course. Donny and Crew have roto-tilled a new up-hill section complete with switchbacks in order to gain back about a mile and a half of last years course. This new section is filled with soft, moist dirt and I just can’t keep it together. I slide off the soft new line and begin to run up this section. I look back and I’m glad to see I’m not the only struggling through this mush, but I don’t know what those ahead of me were able to do. I remount and quickly remember the single track and concrete channel to come.

The new section has added a fair amount of flat trail back to the course which brings both blessed recovery between climbs and a new set of problems. My 32/18 gearing is great for climbing but not so great on the flat. I guess it doesn’t matter much anyways since I’ve only got enough gas in the tank to make the water tower climb three times with this gearing anyways. Out on the back straight I eat one of the gels in my pocket and hammer on.

I’m pleasantly surprised by the trail maintenance that has been done since the last race and the improvements in the rocky descent where I lost my bike in the last race. As I round back through the starting straight I see The Moe with his arms extended declaring touchdown with water and gel. I yell out that lap three I’ll need water as I’ve already consumed one of the two bottles I’m carrying (I make a note to only carry one bottle at a time in the future!). I sloppily toss my empty about forty feet from Moe (Sorry Moe!).

I make good progress to the water tower and as I climb I hear an unfamiliar occasional click from my bike but march on. I round through the single track and new soft section and the occasional click is now singing tenor in my ears. I look down at my now wobbly chain ring and fear the worst. Since I’m heading down hill I ease off the gas and let my momentum carry me while I hash out my plan. I pull to the side of the course find a horrifying sight! Two of my chain rings bolts have gone astray! I’ve never longed for a dollar’s worth of parts so badly in my life! I pull out my multi-tool and begin the patch job of placing my two remaining bolts across from each other, tightened as hard as I can. I’ve lost another minute! Looking down now at my significantly less wobbly chain ring, the clicking noise has subdued to occasional status. I’m riding fast but extra careful to spin and not hammer my fragile drive train.

I round the starting start and manage a decent hand off with Moe. I even toss my empty by him this time and proceed to lap three. You ever try to smoothly spin a hard climb on a single speed? It seems hard but really isn’t so bad. In fact I think it would be a great workout to add to my routine. Unfortunately, I’m racing at the moment but manage to keep it together all the way to the top. I’m confident in my drive train now as everything that follows is cake compared to this climb.

I manage to yell out encouragement to Kim as we cross each other on opposing single tracks. I even get to yell at Joe whose decided to enter XC along with SuperD this weekend. It’s really great to see my friends/teammates on the course and gives me just a lil’ bit more gas heading into the final portion of lap three. I see Priscilla as I near the descent in the concrete waterway to the lower level. I yell out “GO, GO, GO!” to which she smiles politely. I’m sure she said something too, but all I hear is wind noise and adrenaline at this point! The finish is near!

I finish with a race time of 1:41:45 and in third again. I don’t know where I’m going to find the ten minutes I need to lose to become really competitive in this class, but hopefully a few of them can be found in the hills of Turnbull Canyon and the XC smoothness of the Fullerton Loop because that’s where I’ve been this week. I’ll also make sure to tighten every bolt before my next race too!

-News and Equipment Blurbs

Due to the performance of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I will be racing DH in an upcoming Fontana Race! I’m not a Cardinals fan, but felt like making a bet with the Wizard, Tony Finch. Tony was rooting for Pittsburgh and agreed that if they lost, he’d enter a XC race with my corollary being a DH race.

In an effort to reduce my racing weight I purchased a Topeak saddle bag along with a couple water bottles and cages. This allowed me to race with a hydration pack which reduced my weight a couple pounds. The biggest benefit though was losing the hot spot on my back allowing my body to run just a lil cooler over the long haul. In my saddle bag I carry a tube, CO2 and a multi-tool. I’ve seen people do without the saddlebag and carry these items in their jersey pockets or duct taped to their seat posts! The point is, if you’re looking to reduce weight, don’t just look at the bike, look at the guy/gal on the bike too!

Southridge Race Report: Eric “The Animal” Hunner

As we all know, Eric Hunner has earned a nick name of being the ANIMAL because of his ferocity and his massive size of man. Plus he’s got these gigantor hands that surprises anyone that shakes them. We’re pretty lucky to have him part of the team. As in traditional fashion, Eric wrote a race report that talks about the world of Single Speed Racing.

Race Day is not just a day for me, it is an event that is weeks in the making. I think of these races as a report card to myself to see how my riding is progressing and where I stand in the pack of local riders.

In order to get good grades on my report card I had better do my homework. Southridge was the last stop in the Triple Crown for our Team. I was the only person on the team that had not ridden Southridge before. Planning for the race included making time in my busy schedule to preride the course.

Time was short, but I made it out to Southridge by 4pm two days before the race. Thankfully I left my lights on the bike from an early morning training ride. The sun was falling fast, I was lucky enough to run into some other racers that were packing up to leave, and they pointed me in the right direction of the trail head. The trail head consisted of little orange arrows spray painted on rocks to lead you on your way. Some of the arrows are are far apart so preriding this course is a bit of scavenger hunt especially when the sun is going down. When making my way back to the parking lot I ran into Griffith Vertican. I proceeded to ask Griffith questions about the course and he was nice enough to show me some of the turns I missed on my preride, we ended the tour with some high intensity sprints up the hill to the water tower.

Saturday: Race Day. I am entered in the 34 and under Single Speed. I am sitting at the start line and I hear RL Yell out Go get those skinny guys Animal. The race starts I am amped, and feeling good. All of Single speeds left 5 minutes after the pros, at least ten SS together riding in a pack all pretty even paced for the first mile. The terrain at Southridge can be tricky rocks and ruts that are not avoidable, you need to be on your “A” game.

I make it though the race almost without any problems. On the second lap after some jarring downhill sections it feels like I am pedaling with the rear brake dragging. I try my hardest to just pedal and try to keep some distance in front of Andrew a fellow competitor in my class. I later discover after the race my rear SS specific hub was letting its life slip away, another rear hub with trashed bearings.

Now my other problem surfaces; holding off Andrew with my rear hub sucking the life out me. Andrew was geared a little faster than me I think he said he had to walk the hill in the back of the course, I was able to pedal up this nasty hill running 32/18. When the two of us hit the flat straight he pulled ahead, until the last major hill climb I pushed my bike and body to the max, I took the lead and held it until 10 yards from the finish line.

Andrew tried to pass in the last turn of the finish and crashed into the racers in front of us, then tangling handle bars, pedals, and plastic fencing together with me he got out of the fencing first. The difference between 3rd and 4th place ONE second. I ended up in 4th place, Andrew apologized for the mix up at the end. I kept my cool and was glad I finished the race in one piece. I did however collect a very nice Trophy for the 2nd place overall Single Speed in the Triple Crown Series.

The www.MTNBikeRiders.com Racing Team made this enjoyable team experience possible with all of our sponsors help in supporting us.

www.HossMTB.com
, Ergon, Evomo Clothing, www.bikecommuters.com