Hundreds of dollars worth of swag are up for grabs at our 4th annual Big Bike Gear raffle! Grand prize is a full custom Independent Fabrication fork! Other prizes include a coaching package from JBV Coaching, a White Industries M16 disc hubset, and a ReLoad courier bag!
The Big Bike Gear Raffle is sponsored by Independent Fabrication, JBV Coaching, White Industries, Snappy Cap, Smart Wool, TomiCOGs and many more! 100% of the proceeds from the Big Gear Bike Raffle will be donated to HERA Foundation. You do not need to be present to win! Raffle tickets can be purchased HERE.
Event Details: A Mid-Atlantic off-road cycling classic, Andrew Mein's Excellent Adventure at Granogue is held on a private estate north of Wilmington, Delaware. Events include a Mountain Bike Tour for Joyce, Time Trial for Joyce, a Trail Run, and a full day of cross country mountain bike racing! The weekend also features the 4th Annual Big Bike Gear Raffle.
Schedule of Events:
Saturday, May 1st
9:00 AM Trail Run The weekend kicks off with a a 7 mile trail run benefiting Velo Amis (a non-profit cycling race promoter) at 9:00 AM. Registration is here.
11:30 AM Tour for Joyce Take a guided tour of the Granogue Estate mountain bike trails. This is a perfect opportunity for non-racers to ride trails normally closed to the public and for racers to preview Sunday's race course. You can pre-register here, or register on site on Saturday morning. 100% of entry fees will be donated to the HERA Foundation.
1:00 PM Time Trail for Joyce Put your racing gloves on for a 3 mile time trial featuring sections of Sunday's race course. Pre-registration is required. You can register here. 100% of entry fees will be donated to the HERA Foundation.
Sunday, May 2nd
7:00 AM - 4:00 PM Andrew Mein's Excellent Adventure at Granogue Mountain Bike Race. A full day of schedule of races throughout the day! Categories include junior, beginner, sport, expert/elite, and marathon categories. (Check BikeReg for start times for each category.) Prizes for all categories range from medals and plaques to cold hard cash. Online registration for the bike race is here. Pre-register and save yourself a few bucks. A portion of the proceeds of the bike race will benefit HERA Foundation.
Volunteer opportunities: If you are interested in volunteering at any of the weekend's events weekend, please contact Samantha Lockwood. Samantha.BurytheDragon@gmail.com.
About the HERA Foundation: HERA is a nationally recognized ovarian cancer nonprofit organization funding cutting edge research grants to leading young scientists at respected medical institutions. In so doing we expand the scientific understanding of ovarian cancer while improving the lives of those battling this disease.
HERA is committed to stopping the loss of women from ovarian cancer. One in 57 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her lifetime. With early detection 90% will survive. Currently, only 24% of ovarian cancer is caught early. HERA is an acronym for Health, Empowerment, Research and Awareness. To learn more about the HERA Foundation, go here.
April 3rdRonde van Vlaanderen Cyclosportif, Belgium April 18th Big Bear Classic XC, Hazelton, WV May 2nd Escape from Granouge Enduro, Montanchin, DE June 5th West River Drive TT, Philadelphia, PA June 13th Stoopid 50, State College, PA June 19-20th HooHa! Super D and XXC, Harrisonburg, VA July 11th Bulldog Rump XC, Andover, NJ July 24th ORAMM, Old Fort, NC July 30th Wilderness 101, Coburn, PA August 22 Hampshire 100K, Greenfield, NH September 5th Shenandoah 100, Harrisonburg, VA September 12th Terror of Teaberry, Michaux State Forest, PA September 19th Revenge of the Rattlesnake XXC, Davis, WV October 10th Iron Cross CX, Michaux State Forest, PA
***Additional races (mountain bike and cyclocross) TBD***
This may be the definitive audio document of the early years of the band:
A 1978-1980 (Keith Morris) Nervous Breakdown Fix Me I've Had It Wasted Gimme I Don't Care White Minority No Values Revenge Depression Clocked In Police Story Wasted
(Chavo Pederast) Jealous Again Revenge White Minority No Values You Bet We've Got Something Personal Against You Gimme Depression Police Story Clocked In My Rules
(Dez Cadena) Clocked Six Pack Heard it Before American Waste Machine Louie Louie Damaged I Jealous Again Police Story Damaged II Louie Louie
B 1980-1981 (Dez Cadena) No More Room 13 Depression Damaged II Padded Cell Gimme
(Henry Rollins) Rise Above Spray Paint the Walls Six Pack What I See TV Party Thirsty and Miserable Police Story Gimme Depression Room 13 Damaged II No More Padded Cell Life of Pain Damaged I TV Party (Repo Man version)
I can't exactly remember who put this together mix, but I pretty sure it was either Mike A. or Dave Decay. This cassette tape has been living in my Corolla for the past three race seasons. If you've traveled with me to a race during this time, there's a good chance you've heard it.
My first encounter with the Wall of Death was at the Bloomsburg Fair circa 1984. The Fair (or "the Fer", as it's referred to by the locals) is sprawling state fair-type set up, complete with livestock displays, carnival games, and church dinners. Growing up in the inner ring suburbs of Philadelphia, I hadn't spent much time in the country, and as a result, I was never exposed to what passes for entertainment in rural America. Walking around the Fairgrounds for the first time, I was fascinated by the old timey attractions the Fair offered. One such attraction was the Wall of Death, a thrill show that featured stunt riders on vintage Indian motorcycles navigating a three story high wooden cylinder.
In this video, the Wall of Death concept is updated as the Vortex of Terror. The first time I watched this clip, it brought me back to my first visit to the Bloomsburg Fair. Though likely filmed at a bike event, it's easy to picture this taking place at a County Fair or at some other community gathering offering a genuine slice of Americana. Take a few minutes to watch Jesse navigate the Vortex, and while you're at it, contemplate how old and new thrill seeking elements are seamlessly blended, making this stunt as timeless as funnel cakes and winning a cupie doll for your sweetheart. Enjoy!
I entered the Fool's Gold 100 as an afterthought. My original plan for the season was to compete in four NUE Series events, the Cohutta, the Mohican, the Breck 100 and the Shenandoah 100, thus qualifying for the NUE Series overall competition. But after decent results in the first two races and a 4th place single speed finish at Breckenridge, I decided it would be worthwhile to travel to the mountains of North Georgia to try to improve my position in the overall NUE standings. After figuring out the logistics of the trip, I committed to my fifth 100 miler of the year just two weeks before race day.
I knew the race would be a challenge. A week before the race, I'd be wrapping up the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer (PPRAC), a six day, 540 mile ride from Burlington, Vermont to upstate Pennsylvania. Pushing a 42x17 through the Adirondacks and Catskills would surely take its toll on my legs. And with little vacation time to spare, I'd have to fly to Charlotte on Thursday night to catch a ride to Georgia the following morning, a travel schedule that would limit my rest time in the run up to the race. But the event itself posed the greatest challenge. Racing 100 miles in the hot Georgia sun promised a long day in the saddle, as did the Fool's Gold course, which may offer the most
climbing of any of the NUE Series races.
The Fool's Gold course features two tours of a 50 mile loop with roughly 7,500' of climbing each lap. The start is a sprint across a grassy field, at which point you leave level ground for the next 49 and 3/4 miles or so. From there, the course points up a gravel road for a steady five miles. Once the climb tops out, the road briefly descends before the gravel road climbing continues, bringing you to one of the high points of the course at mile 11. The remainder of the loop is constant up down up down on a nice mix of gravel roads, dual track and trail. There are no insanely brutal sections, but there are enough challenges to keep the hurt coming mile after mile.
The trip to race venue wasn't without a few snags, starting with a three hour delay at the PHL airport on Thursday night and cumulating with a detour through the scenic north Georgia mountains on Friday afternoon. But Dicky proved to be a capable traveling partner, and we arrived at Camp W. no worse for wear. We settled into a camping spot I dubbed Camp Fish Stink (named for a mystery smell that would occasionally waft through the air), and after the typical pre-race routine of beer, bikes and bullshitting, we called it an evening.
I woke up on race day feeling good but not great. My biggest concern was a sore throat that had been lingering since day 3 of the PPRAC, most likely a symptom of the low grade cold I had been keeping at bay for the previous week an a half. But my legs felt reasonably good and I was excited about the prospect of riding some great trail through the mountains of Georgia. Perhaps I wasn't at 100%, but ninety percent will typically get you a decent result. I went with that mindset as I rolled up to the starting line.
The Fool's Gold draws a smaller field than most of the other NUE Series races, but there is no shortage competition. The single speed field consisted of many of the usual NUE Series suspects, with Gerry Pflug, Roger Masse, Gunnar, and Jason Morgan among the familiar faces at the starting line. There were plenty of other fast guys in the mix, both on single speeds and geared bikes, so it was no surprise that the race started reasonably fast despite five miles of climbing right from the gun.
At the top of the first climb, I was somewhere around twentieth overall, but could only manage to stay with the chase group of single speeders, four or five guys fighting it out for the 5th position in the single speed field. I decided I'd linger at the back of this group until the first section of singletrack, counting on my strength as a trail rider to move up in the field. But bad luck hit hard in the rollers between the first summit and the end of the climbing at the first checkpoint. One of my water bottle cages had rattled loose on one of the short, steep descents, and after I stopped to fix it, I found myself in no man's land.
I took up chase and managed to pick off two single speeders by the end of the Bull Mountain loop at checkpoint 3. I was starting to make my way back through the single speed field, but I knew I had my work cut out for me. My mind wandered back to my original reservations about the race. A compromised immune system coupled with 540 miles of single speed road
riding the previous week had the potential to make the last few hours
of the race absolutely miserable. There was still plenty of distance to cover, but there was also plenty of time for me blow to pieces. I decided on steady but conservative tempo, still holding out hope of making my way into the top five.
I finished the first lap in just under 4 hours and 30 minutes, a minute or so behind Dicky. As I started the climb out of the start/finish area, I knew the next five miles would be the make or break point of the race. If I could catch Dicky, there was the potential of working together to bridge up to the top five single speeders. But after the first half hour of climbing, it was looking more like break than make. Dicky was nowhere in sight and I just wasn't feeling it. The chase and catch game would have to wait.
By the second lap around Bull Mountian, I had picked up the pace considerably and even managed to catch another single speeder, moving into 7th place in the single speed field. But unfortunately, I didn't have the confidence that I'd be able to execute one of my usual late race accelerations. It was time to re-think my strategy, and I decided to go on defense for the last 25 miles of the race.
From checkpoint 3 to the finish, I rode alone at a slower, but steady pace. As the lonely miles ticked away, I'd started to ponder all the crazy looking mushrooms that populate the north Georgia mountains, wondering which ones would make good stir fry, which ones would make you see things, and which ones would straight up kill you. Butterflies would briefly keep me company then quickly disappear. It was nice to have the woods to myself and I was grooving on my surroundings. I resigned myself to 7th place and continued to take it all in, eventually crossing the finish line in 9 hours and 38 minutes.
It was a good day on the bike even though I had fell short of my pre-race goals. But there are also bigger picture considerations. Over the past month, I have ridden and raced in one incredibly beautiful place after another, logging hundreds of on and off-road miles with the mountains and the sea and even the good 'ol rolling hills and woods of eastern Pennsylvania as my backdrop. It's been one of my better runs in the past fifteen years of bike riding and racing. Adding Fool's Gold to this run was an accomplishment in itself. The race was gamble since I was uncertain how my body would respond after weeks of hard riding, and given my history of running myself into the ground with physical challenges, I could have very easily shattered into a million pieces out on the race course. But I crossed the finish line in reasonable good shape. Finishing was another step in the continual process of redefining my boundaries as an endurance racer.
I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Eddie and Namrita O'Dea for their efforts in putting on great event, an acknowledgment
that extends to all the race volunteers and sponsors. And Dicky also
deserves a thank you for all the logistical support he provided in
getting me to the starting line, even though he forgot the camp
chairs. Thanks man! Finally photo credit goes to Mark Duffus. You can check out his gallery of race pictures here.
My name is Mark and I am an addict. Dark roast poured from a French Press is my drug of choice, the earlier the better, preferably before the sun comes up. Black coffee and Black Flag in the early morning hours have long been a source of inspiration for me, particularly when it comes to bicycle riding and racing. But it goes beyond inspiration since addiction more appropriately describes that combination. This is one of the better tracks on Slip It In and my personal favorite from that album. Pour yourself a cup and enjoy!
By the power vested in me by absolutely no one, I officially declare today to be World Single Speed Appreciation Day. This pronunciation was made earlier today with no one there to witness, but as the chairperson and sole member of the World Single Speed Appreciation Day Steering Committee, I hold this declaration to be valid, true and absolute. If you're celebrating today for other reasons, now you have even more reason to celebrate.
Go give your one speed bike a hug. Send an e-mail to your favorite purveyor of single speed accouterments thanking them for all they do to enlighten the masses. Put aside your usual contempt and give a friendly wave to that ironic mustache messenger kid riding down your block on a Gucci track bike. It's a feel good type of day, so why not spread the love?
* * * * *
If you've been stopping by my site looking for race reports from the past two weekends, you've probably figured out I'm in slacker mode. It's unlikely I'll have anything substantive posted in the next week, so here's the Reader's Digest version of the last two weekend of racing action:
5th place, Expert 40-49, Hop Brook Dam XC:A surprisingly large turnout for the first race in the Root 66 Series. All the Pro/Expert categories had huge fields (there were 28 in my group alone) and the weather can best be described as "shitty" (40 degrees and pouring rain). But if you want to race mountain bikes in New England in mid-April, you gotta expect that Mother Nature might not cooperate. My only complaint for the day is that the promoters decided to shorten our race by one lap. Regardless, I was pretty stoked about a good showing in what turned out to be an hour an a half race.
3rd Place, 2 Person Open, Leesburg Bakers Dozen 13 Hour Race:I'm still digesting the events of the weekend...and recovering from a what turned out to be a pretty hard effort. Les and I teamed up to do battle against some really fast guys who had also entered the 2 person category. Props to Wes and Jeff Bahnson for taking the category and overall race wins with a total of 25 laps. Second place in the 2 person category went to Kris Auer and Bad Andy with 24 laps. We chased and chased but those guys were just too strong. Good on ya, C3 just isn't for cyclocross anymore. Les and I also finished with 24 laps, a total of 168 miles in just over 13 hours. Great race, good times.One to put on your calendar for next year.
When it comes to celebrating the first day of Spring, nobody beats the Biz! And the Spring equinox means that race season, the Phillies home opener, and the end of freezing temperatures are just a few weeks away...more than enough reason to celebrate. I look forward to the first day of Spring the same way a five year old looks forward to Christmas morning. But I promise not to throw a tantrum if Mother Earth doesn't deliver a picture perfect day. So get out there and get some! Before you know it, it'll be hazy hot and humid season.