2009 Gentleman's Ride Re-Cap: The Real Story

I'm afraid I cannot share the same sentiments that our dear Kenneth has spoken of. This was a ride of torment and bodily abuse. A ride that for the first time, I cracked mentally before physically. This was probably the hardest ride I've ever done. And masochistically, I want to do it again (but several months from now).

The ride started with an early morning wake up so already this was not off to a good start. Most of you know how excited I get to wake up early. Despite my grumbles we took off from the gnome home on what was to be a 72 mile course of pavé and dirt. Along the course there would also be several extracurricular challenges to boost points and make the ride/race interesting. All in all a fun and exciting challenge for the day. Everything started as planned......

We were all pretty chipper heading up to the first KOM, a 4 mile climb up to the parkway. We all chit-chatted, getting a nice warm up for the climb which hit us at about mile 13-14. I knew I had a slight advantage heading into this as I have done this climb before. I knew the beginning was steep, so I sat back trying to maintain my composure so that I could push it a little toward the last half of the climb. Nope. not for me today. Pretty much from the start I was gasping for air and trying not to drown in my own sweat. Again those of you who know, I sweat like a waterfall. it's disgusting, just ask any of my bikes. I finally made it to the top, dead last. needless to say, I wasn't too happy. This is something I've become accustomed to in my days of riding as I am a rather large person, but I really wanted to do better than that. Oh well, maybe next time. Mad props to Kenneth though for smoking Jimothy in the home stretch!

The ride continued up the Blue Ridge Parkway heading up toward the top of Mt. Pisgah where our second challenge would await, an individual time trial... downhill. This would have to be the best part of the ride for me. I'm not a climber, I'm a descender. as Jimothy puts it, I'm aerodynamically dense. Not sure if that's a cut or a complement, but I like it. This was a 3 mile jaunt down the parkway ending in an overlook parking lot. The course was awesome. it started with a brief uphill, and then from there it was all downhill to flat. perfect for me. Off we went in one minute intervals. I decided to go last as that way I would be able to see the finish because everyone would be standing around. The short uphill had my legs screaming from the start. Too much standing around watching everyone else take off. I crested the top and started the descent. I felt pretty good. I was really trying to push it on the flats and completely spun out on the downhills. with the group in sight, I gave it everything I had and almost caught our dear kenneth at the finish. I really felt like I had given everything I had. Too bad, still not enough, 2nd place. Jimothy had me by 10 seconds. Damnit. I'll give up though he's a fast mo-fo. Oh well.

After the time trial, we headed down 276 to meet up with our first dirt of the day. We headed up a forest service road The road was decent. A few loose rocks, but pretty well packed down and a hell of a good time, especially on the descents. I tried to best Jimothy on the downhills again through some of the tight switchbacks of the road, but he alluded me every time. I could get close, but then my tires would start slipping so I'd have to back off again. I'm going to blame this on a clincher setup as opposed to Jimothy's tubular setup. There's no way it could be me. Yea right. We eventually ended up by the Pisgah Fish Hatchery and from there booked it in one of the most beautiful pace lines ever ridden to one of our favorite post ride locales, Dolly's Ice Cream, for our next challenge.

Now normally, I would love to get Dolly's after a ride, but here's the thing, we're only half way. And on top of that, our challenge here was to eat a cone of ice cream as fast as we could. Ouch. After many minutes of grumblings we all reluctantly took the challenge. Will the G took top honors here as he completely deep throated the hell out of his ice cream cone. Kenny came in second, then Pete, Eric, Jim, Kyle and myself. You can't rush ice cream, it's just impolite. Just trying to be a gentleman.

We hit the road again, now with a belly full of a seriously bad idea, and made our way back down to the horse stables road for some more dirt and a pretty serious climb up and over to Avery Creek for another KOM. Did I mention how bad of an idea the ice cream was. The start of the horse stable road was a decidedly slower pace than we had been pushing earlier in the day. Once the road turned up, the group was decimated. Everyone was slowly meandering their way to the top. The McNasty and Jimothy were the clear winners here. As I understand it, Jimothy edged out Kyle for the actual win at the top. The amount of effort must have been staggering. When asked what he saw at the top when he arrived, Sir Kenneth had this to say, "I came across the top and just saw two lifeless bodies. At first I thought they had both ridden to the death! Meow." I managed to make to the top, but not without several bouts of cussing and walking. Needless to say the climb was EPIC. We finally all made it to the top but you could see that everyone was beginning to feel the pain. At this point the few remaining challenges were off, survival was now the name of the game.

We descended down the other side, back onto pavement for a bit, and then onto the road of crushing souls, a freshly graveled road up to Yellow Gap. Damnit. I still have chills talking about this road. You would think that a road that had just been graded and had fresh gravel on it would be awesome. Wrong. It' is the loosest, must uncontrollable, bone jarring, energy sapping road you can possible imagine. At first it really wasn't' too bad. Just nice rolling elevation changes. But soon the gravel started to take it's toll. I couldn't really feel my hands anymore from the incessant chatter of the fork and handlebar. Holding a line that was relatively gravel free was impossible and we literally were all over the road trying to find some sort of smooth traction. No dice. Then to make it better, we started to climb. Now, you're not only lusting after a smooth line, you wan traction too. Not happening. I was all over the place. In fact there was one point that i almost wrecked in front of a car. I was trying to cross to the right side of the road to get out of the cars way, when my tires decided that they would rather go down the hill sideways instead of up. I fortunately corrected the bike, but the amount of energy to do so was too much. I was off the saddle again, walking. Our sag vehicle came up and asked me if I wanted to catch a ride. I seriously wanted to, but I'm pretty stubborn some times. "How much further to the fucking top!" , I asked. I was reassured that it was only a few tenths more and I would be there. Hesitantly I declined and decided that I would ride on. This was a mistake. As soon as the car pulled away, I tried like hell to figure out how I was going to waive them down to stop so I could get in. Alas, no such luck. I rode for about another tenth of a mile and then that was it. I could not ride this particular road any more. I walked to the top. As I arrived everyone else's face told the story.

We were done. We had almost ridden 60 miles of some of the greatest mountain paved and dirt roads on the east coast. It had kicked our collective ass. It was an awesome accomplishment and an awesome disappointment. Most of us piled into a dirt filled "support vehicle, " my element (Poor, Poor, Eleanor. Her life has been nothing but hell and dominations since I bought her.). The rest road down to the bottom of the climb, ending up in the North Mills River Camp Ground to await more vehicles to shuttle them back to the Gnome Home, except for one Mr. Jimothy. As a true glutton for severe bodily punishment, he successfully completed the entire course AND on top of that managed to ride back all the way to the house. Our decided winner of the event. Way to go, Jim! And, I hate you, you suck!!

So what did I think of the ride? Very mixed emotions about it right now. I loved it, it was awesome. I really enjoyed the challenge and got completely pushed to my physical and mental limit. I hated it, I'll give it a capital FU and a middle finger to boot. It kicked my ass and I don't like to give up. It was the hardest ride I've ever done and I didn't finish. Unacceptable, I'll be have to try it again. But right now, I need a drink.

I think some thanks are in order too for two of our Hoff ladies, Jess and KB. Jess drove ole Eleanor, our support vehicle, and was always at the ready with whatever we needed. KB was our photog for the event an pulled off some excellent shots. Thanks girls!! A big thanks as well to the man himself, Spank. He concocted this ride of torture and were it not for him, I wouldn't be in pain today. Thanks. A Lot!

B- sorry you missed it, you would have been pissed at the end too, but you would had had a good ass time!! Yet another reason you need to move back here.

Kenny's Gentleman's Race Re-Cap

Saturday's race went off without a hitch! The weather was beautiful and stayed cool and temperate through out the day. Spirits were high and stayed high as we climbed Mt Pisgah to the Parkway then had a leisurely descent. A slow paced ride over to Dolly's for a delicious ice cream cone eaten slowly so as to savor the deliciousness followed by a leisurely climb up Avery Creek. Everybody was fresh at the top so we decided to keep going. So much laughter, it was almost contagious! Josh was especially talkative. Will was having so much fun he donned a wool sweater and cap! The gravel and dirt roads were in great shape, like riding on pavement at times. Thanks to my cross tires, loss of traction was never an issue! The temps stayed cool, even in the sun so whatever climbing there was never that strenuous. Around mile 60, I had to pull the plug as I had a wedding in Spartanburg to attend. Too bad really as my legs were feeling great. Could've gone another 60 miles on those wonderful gravel roads. Everybody looked fresh at that point. Especially Josh who was all smiles and sunshine. This ride was almost too easy but it was well worth it! I can't wait for the next one!

Gentlemen's Race

The first annual Hoffenchard Gentlemen's Race is a combination ride/race from Asheville to Brevard on road, returning on gravel or dirt with a finish in Bent Creek. This is a multi-stage event including KOMs, time trials, sprints, food/liquor challenges, hipster trickster contests, and a mandatory saddle-less section. It's not for the faint of heart, or legs. With that said, there will be 2 support vehicles to transport your hydration and nutrition throughout the entire course. A points system will determine the winners of the amazing prizes (which will probably include Eric's Busch Light in my fridge). Be at the Smith/Baisley residence at 7:30 am and bring your A game, bitches!

$10 includes Dolly's ice cream challenge and dinner that night.

Contact Eric or KB if you are interested. Pros welcome (I know you read our blog, Jeremiah) as well as wannabe pros (Rich).

B - wish you could be here for this one. Promises to be epic!

d d d downieville

you may or may not hear a lot about downieville these days, but i remember many a tale in bike rags when i was just a junior.  i've always wanted to check out the trails and see the area - and two weeks ago i finally got that chance.

yes, i said two weeks ago.  this should have been up sooner but things get in the way.  i can recall one free night i had (while the B2 was away last week) when the thought of this post was interrupted by a 'conference call' of sorts from 2 teammates in a bar in Raleigh, NC.  the post had to be cut short due to a few important matters, and i quote:
"i bet i can grab that girls ass without getting smacked"
"well, thats just the way it was back then downtown at Mythos" - the infamous charlotte nightclub.
and least we not forget, "i'm telling you, belly dancing on FitTV is way better than the strip club.  save your f'ing money."

anywhos, you understand the importance of the meeting now.  so downieville is pretty rad.  the trails are as well.  we should get a posse together next year for the downieville classic.

it rained a bit on saturday eve (as B2 and i were shooting a wedding) so the trails were perfect the next day.  MUCH to my chagrin we shuttled up - after i pleaded with B2 and finally caved - and rode the upper part of the classic XC course then dropping back to Dville.  high exposed ridges, dense green forest and rivers rushing all around you.  steep gorges, tall redwoods and buffed singletrack (in places).  pretty sick.  i think it lives up to the hype.

not the greatest photos:

downieville.  where the dville and yuba rivers meet.  its a tiny place.

eastern sierra double report

this is a little overdue but still worth reporting on, so here goes.

our would-be group of 10 dwindled to 5 just a few days before the ride.  they were calling for cold weather, and rain and snow promised.  so we lost 4 other guys and one female.  the weather forecast proved too much for our race promoters as well and they changed the course last minute to avoid major risk to riders.  instead of the bishop to tom's to mammoth to june lake to lee vining to benton to bishop loop, we headed south of bishop to big pine heading up into the Inyo Mtns then dropping towards Death Valley, spinning around to climb the pass again, heading back to bishop, up to benton then out to some pass, spinning around and heading back to the finish in bishop.  still a lot of climbing, still 200 miles and still getting rain and snow as we'd find out.

darkness with the boys.  reve, pete, myself.

the morning start time was 5 am.  thats early.  we started 10 minutes behind everyone as it was early and we were lagging a bit on the readiness.   so instead of a nice warm up, chatty roll out my morning consisted of a 3 man pace line to catch the group.  our average speed for the first hour of the ride was 25+ mph until we caught most of the pack and settled in to first climb of the day.

i might be crying because its early and we were working hard

the first climb was long.  i have no idea how long in terms of mileage, but long will suffice.  the sun came up, the clouds formed shortly after, and we got wet.  descending the back side we got hailed on.  that shit hurts at 40+ mph.  i was dressed for a bit of weather but nothing too major since they changed the course - base layer, jersey, arm warmers, vest and wind proof gloves (thank heavens) up top and bibs, knee warmers and toe covers down below.  needless to say at elevation and wet from rain i was cold.  the descent towards Death Valley was bone shaking cold.  the up side was when we reached the check point we found ourselves in the top 10.  sweet.

check point in Death Valley area.  cold. wet.

the climb back out was long also but i was stoked to warm up again.  it was still raining and we had the entertaining sights and sounds of folks descending in all kinds of clothing configurations, some with the shakes and shivers, some with teeth chattering and by the time we were within 5 miles of the top we started seeing some sag vans scraping up those who were throwing in the towel.

climbing in the rain with bruce, reve and dave.

on the climb back out of the valley we met some other guys pushing hard and started shooting the shit.  i met some characters on this ride, like bruce and dave, who are on another planet.  these ultra endurance racers are insane.  this 200 mile ride/race was just a warm up for them.  they do things like race across oregon (700 miles), furnace creek 508 (508 miles) and others ranging from 300-1600 miles.  insane.

dave on a Cervelo with custom made rack.
training to be mostly self supported on a 400 mile race in alaska next month.  WTF?

while climbing we lost our buddy pete so we had to let dave and bruce go.  reve and i waited in the rain for 20 minutes while pete caught up.  come to find out pete was have doubts . . .

pete:  shattered.  mile 70.

the top of the pass brought snow.  yippie!  so the descent was really cold.  frozen hands and feet.  it was sunny back in the valley but it took a while to warm up.  we pace lined back to bishop where we bid adios to pete who was calling it a day around mile 110.

sun on the other side.  sierra storms on the ridgeline.

leaving bishop it was just reve and i.  so we shared the work (for what seemed like eternity) up to Benton, a mile up front, a mile off.  we did this for who knows how long into a headwind that drove me crazy until we picked up a 3rd.  don't know his name, but he was tall and a good body to draft so i was stoked.  i get a draft off of reve up to about my belly button, either because he is too small or i'm to tall, or a combo of both.

reve spinning his new storck.  its weighs 11 pounds.  seriously.

once in benton much to my relief we turned out of the headwinds we had fought for over 30 miles.   but we still had climbing left to do, about 7 miles of it.  it rained a bit more just for good measure as we on the pass.  once that was over we spun around and headed for home - about 40 miles away.  somewhere along the way we had managed to get ahead of bruce and he caught up.  we had a 3 man train rocketing towards bishop, ready to be done.  miles rolled by, minutes, then an hour, then i could tell we were getting close.

bruce sporting a furnace creek 508 jersey.  which he raced solo.
33 hours and change was his time last year.  WTF?

on the final miles

we rolled into town just under 12 hours - 11:55 total time i think, 11:08 wheels rolling - the three of us tying for 3rd.  damn.  i finished my first 200 mile ride, and not only finished but held it together with some strong guys.  i was stoked.  and tired.

the next day we rode around lake tahoe on 'america's most beautiful bike ride' at a pretty spirited pace with some other folks.  total mileage for the weekend was 275.  pretty solid.

In Stock

Looky Looky what's now available here in the Palmetto State. PBR is good but so is change. Enjoy.

Low Country Challenge Weekend

This weekend we took the trip down to Beaufort, SC for the Low Country Challenge. The activities included a Saturday morning 40K TT, a Saturday afternoon criterium and a Sunday morning 40 mile road race (plus other shenanigans inbetween). So to sum up..

Saturday mornings TT was a complete cherry poppin experience for me. I had but a slight idea of what to expect when doing time trialing. The course was out 20K, then back 20K and flat as a 12 year old school girl. I did my usual "warm up" which usually involves mainly listening to music and goofing off but i did it anyway just to get the blood pumping and the legs loosened up a bit.So after almost falling over in the start box, my race began. About 3 miles in I get passed and im thinking to myself, shit im getting passed already... damn, so I take it up a notch (granted the guy who passed me was on a fully TT loaded Cervelo, disk wheel, maybe a Zipp 1080 front i mean the works, probably a $10,000 bike). I'm approaching the turn around and i'm catching up to this kid (not the one that passed me earlier, that mo fo was gone!) when he slows down, unclips and stops to talk to the official who was standing there so I was forced to slow and just about stop too. The kid stops and says to the official, "I missed the turn around for the juniors. What do I do?" Are you fucking kidding me! There was a dude in the middle of the road with a bright orange road cone with a giant sign saying JUNIORS TURN AROUND, what an idiot! Anywho. I ended up with a time of 1:04:58 putting me in 5th place. Not to shabby i think for my first TT. I do believe that if it wasnt for that incident at the turn around I would have made the podium...

Joshie decided to join in for Saturday afternoon's crit race. So to be short and sweet, it did not go to well for me. Im not sure if it was my legs from the mornings TT efforts or what but it just wasnt there for me..I was struggling to hold wheels and unable to maintain speed through the corners because I was close to the back of the field.
So it came down to a sprint which is what was expected. So I stand up to give it a go, I get 2-5 strokes in and bam! my chain blows off the outside almost causing me to catapult over my handlebars and eat pavement. Somehow I save it. I give the cranks one revolution and my chain goes back on but by that time there is no one close and joshie is pretty much right next to me and with a bike lunge takes me at the line for 16th and I get 17th.
**********joshie wins*************

Sunday I knew I needed to put in a decent performance to even contend with any kind of omnium overall but it was one of those mornings when you would just rather lay in bed than race your bike. The thunderstorms also made it difficult to find the will power to ride. For the first lap I decided to take it easy, checking out the course and trying to find an kind of motivation I may have left. After two laps down the legs are feeling pretty good and im staying in the top ten or so, taking my pulls and mixing it up with who I think will be the potentials. Then the monsoon begins. As soon as the pelaton hit the back side of the course we could all see a wall of rain charging towards us. Freaking Great! Two seconds in and i'm soaked to the core. This is not such a big deal to me because I tend to somewhat enjoy less than perfect conditions (maybe its my love for cyclocross) but I am however worried about how the rest of the field will react. So with a lot of luck there were no incidences, may close calls but no crashes. Once again it came down to a bunch sprint. With a very very long straight it was going to be a tough one. So the first guy jumped and knowing he defenitely went to early I waited. Then I see the big boys go (big boys meaning the dude with tree trunks for legs...) so I do the same! I cross the line in 10th place which I am pretty happy with considered the days conditions and the fact that this was my first official road race.So for the overall.......
I eneded the weekend's overall standings in 5th. Which I am happy with but still a little bummed about considering the TT insident and the less than stellar crit performance which I feel cost me some vital points since I missed the podium for the overall by only a couple. But hey.... thats bike racing. I would just like to finally make a podium after being so close so many times.

Once racing commenced we high tailed it to the beach to finally do a bit of relaxing, sun bathing and Corona drinking. Man those were some of the best tasting Coronas i think i've ever had...

Once again many thanks to the Smailsley for coming along for support! You guys rock!