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Proud of Phil and Kelly Hatcher Racing Leadville 100

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I am so proud of our Cape Fear SORBA club members, Phil and Kelly Hatcher, for working hard to qualify for this year’s Leadville 100 (LT100).  Phil and Kelly are very active members and I have been honored to be passed by them during many rides, Time Trials, and XC races.

Phil qualified for LT100 at this year’s  Austin Rattler 100 while Kelly missed qualification by one place.  Nonetheless, not taking rejection for a second time, Kelly trained even harder to clinch a LT100 spot (along with Phil’s extra 2014 spot) at the Wilmington Whiteface 100 several months later in New York.

The Hatcher’s are the first ever representatives for Wilmington, NC at the Leadville 100.  They are visible fruit of the growing mountain biking community here in Coastal North Carolina.  These kind of accomplishments make all the hard work of Cape Fear SORBA worthwhile.

The Star News has recognized the Hatcher’s massive achievement in the athletic world and printed a great story of their Leadville 100 adventure.

I am proud to announce that Phil and Kelly had the time of their life traveling across the States to race this past weekend.  Although Kelly did not make the 60 mile cut-off, she claims it was the most fun she has had on a bike.  Phil finished in 9hrs 28mins and will be shooting for the sub 9hr belt buckle in 2014.

Under The Dome & Biking

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I am the proud papa of two daughters who were background mountain bike riders on the opening of Under the Dome last night! Pretty cool, I must say!!
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Why Should I Race in a Time Trial?

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“Why should I be part of a Time Trial Series?”

Being fairly new mountain biking myself, I asked this exact question to myself when I first heard about a previous Time Trial Series. In all honesty, I was quite embarrassed that I had to ask other riders exactly what a Time Trial was! The truth of the matter was that I had NO IDEA the fun or benefit of a Time Trial. As I started riding in my first TT series, I quickly realized several aspects of a Time Trial that aided someone in becoming a better rider.

IMG_0266One, in all reality, as you participate in an ongoing back-to-back series, you are racing more against yourself each week than other riders. As you become more familiar with the trail each week, you will see an improvement in your time over each race.

Two, since there is are staggered starts with each rider, you have a constant awareness that someone is in front of you and someone is behind you. The rider in front gives you a mental feel of chasing someone down and the rider in the rear keeps your legs churning as you feel someone breathing down your neck.

Three, there is almost a guarantee that you will see your time improve over these back-to-back series. This builds your confidence no matter how long it takes you to cross the finish line in week one.

So, if you are on the fence about whether to ride in your local Time Trial Race Series, step out and give it a crank!

Crying Like a 40 Yr Old Baby at the Fork Area Trail System

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For my 40th birthday, my wife surprised me by plotting behind my back!  She secretly organized a bike-napping where I would be forced against my will (yeah, right) to ride 40 miles at the Fork Area Trail System (FATS) in North Augusta.

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The weather forecast was a little sketchy considering a slight chance of rain, but I seem to have a fascination with riding in the light rain, so I was still stoked.

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I knew that I was back in my home state of South Carolina when I saw this “beware hunting” sign on the trail kiosk.

20130508-112827.jpgThe bike bandits that organized the kidnapping was Steve and Greg (Cape Fear SORBA president).  They ride FATS several times a year so it was great having veterans lead the way.  I never had to worry about looking at signage, but instead I was able to just kept my eye on the leader of the pack and focus on enjoying the roller coaster ride.

The guys told me the placards on benches scattered on the trails were dedicated to a rider who actually died while riding the trails.  I wasn’t sure if this was true or not, but at mile 33 I had to lay down on a bench as I started feeling queezy.

The goal was 40 miles for 40 years of living, but at mile 30 I started contemplating why I wasn’t attempting this ride at age 30.  Until this ride, my record distance was 36 miles so I knew I was entering uncharted territory.

Most likely due to dehydration, I starting bonking at mile 39.  Not only was I was out of water and an inner drive to continue riding, I was trying to call it a quits in a big way.  Greg and Steve would have no part in seeing me stop 1 mile short of my goal so they fought hard to pick me up mentally and physically.

I remember that last mile very vivid as I was coming up with every excuse not to continue riding or just simply get the guys to slow down.  I remember throwing my chain and telling them I had not tool to fix it.  In reality, I knew it wouldn’t take a tool, but I thought I could stall them for a while.  In addition, I took advantage of a snake that was laying across the trail’s path and asked them to stop with me and do some snake-gazing.

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Moving time was 4:30 mins.

FINALLY, as we crept slowing forward, I saw Steve (the only one with the bike computer) throw his index finger to the ground and mark an imaginary spot on the trail and yelled “40 miles!”

As soon as I cross that line, I dropped over (still clipped in) and just laid there with my face up in the air looking at the tree canopy.  As I pulled myself out from under my bike, I propped by elbows on my knees and looked out on the beautiful view of the rolling green vegetation.

Then20130508-112842.jpg, all of a sudden, it was like a weight of emotion dropped on me!  Immediately, as I realized I was at the 40 miles mark, I experienced this mental flash of my 40 years flash before my mind.  It was like a 40-card Rolodex flipping through my mind.

And yes, as this all culminated I starting weeping like a 40 year toddler riding his bike for the first time with no training wheels!

My guess is that I was broken down in every way at this point and just overwhelmed that the Lord had allowed me to experience life for 40 years.  Maybe I was having a Job moment and felt the weight of his words in Job 12:10,

“In whose hand is the life of every living thing,And the breath of all mankind?”

Ironically, Greg and Steve continued to ride up the trail and missed I had stalled at mile 40.  Nonetheless, once they had figured out I was not behind them they returned to catch a glimpse of a 40 year old trying to gain his composure.

After gaining my composure, they were kind enough to let me ride out on the last .2 miles to the parking lot!

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I wish I could say that the story ends there, but honestly, all I remember after this point was asking if I could lay down in the back seat of the van for a moment and I am guessing I faded away to recovery dream land!

I awoke after an hour and realized that my kidnappers had loaded all the gear and took the initiative to start driving us home.  The 1 hr power nap did wonders and I was feeling much better and ready to eat a whopping burger at Fuddruckers in Columbia.

All in all, I guess you can say that I had a ride of a lifetime and will not forget the fun for a long time.

Actually, you know it is a sign of a good trail build when you look back over 40 miles of single-track and hardly remember one climb in the entire ride.  I have decided to coin the phrase “trail-amnesia.”  If you can build a trail with so many fast rolls that you cannot remember the climbs (trail-amnesia), you have certainly succeeded in building epic trails!

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I was attempting to convince my wife I was okay after bonking, but as you can see I failed miserably!

Balm Boyette, Alafia, and Santo Trails

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During Spring Break 2013, my family was excited to visit our best friends who recently moved south of Tampa, Florida.  I was very intentional on loading up the mountain bikes for the trip as I had heard that there area few trails in the area to ride.

First, we rode a trail called Balm Boyette which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere!  It was about a 30 minute drive but definitely the closest to my friends home.

It was neat to learn that Florida bike trails are often built on former phosphorus mines.  Building on these former mines allows the trail builders to incorporate changing elevations.  Since the trails can utilize the edges of these large mine craters, the end result are long flowy circular trail loops.

Also, as the vegetation has grown over these mines and rainwater fills the deepest part of the mine pits, many of the trails skirt along the edge of swampy water.  The end result is a beautiful scenery is several spots.

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Second, we traveled about 10 minutes past Balm Boyette to reach an excellent trail called Alafia.  Wow, these trails were excellent and it was obvious that lots of time and energy had been poured in to making these trails top notch.

Again, these trails were built around overgrown phosphorus mines, but Alafia had a large diversity of trail difficulties.  My favorite trail was the Roller Coaster which contained several high banking turns and lots of whoops to give you the roller coaster feel.

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20130508-111808.jpgWe did learn why one trail section was closed.  Being the adventurous bikers we are, we decided to ignore the “temporary closed” signs and venture through a section that was in deep need of upkeep and repair.  We paid the price for trailblazing this section and it seemed like nature kept reminding us why we needed to stay away by attaching mini sticker balls to our clothing and gloves.

Of course, you will notice from the pictures that the vegetation is very tropical and the sand is very white and powdery.  There had been some rain during the week, so this helped pack down the trail for fast riding.

I want to thank the SWAMP Mountain Bike Club for building and maintaining a great trail system.  I am even considering returning in 2014 to race a 6-Hour Duo race with my friend.

Finally, you will see from the pictures that we had a surprise pit stop at the mecca of mtbing in the Southeast better known as the Santos Trails.  I remember the IMBA Trail Crew team showing our bike club slides of the Santos Trails back in 2009 and wished to myself to visit these trails one day.20130508-112026.jpg

Unfortunately, visiting these trails was not on this trip’s agenda, but my family got stuck on I-95 and I pulled off on 301 to try and steer away from the congestion.  Low and behold, only a few miles on 301, we ran up to signage telling us turn left to get to Santos Trails.  My wife agreed to make it a potty-stop and I did not argue.

The parking lot was packed with a large diversity of riders unloading.  There was a awesome pump track at the trailhead and a skills park with large rocks to navigate.

I was able to get in a 3 mile ride just to say I had momentarily submitted to the Santos gods. This introduction only wet my appetite for more and I can’t wait for the next visit to ride this 70+ trail system!

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Are You a Bike Hoarder, Too?

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Many of us are way too familiar with hoarding old bikes and part in our garage or yard.  Let’s be like Bikefat.com and admit it, we do have a problem:-)

I have a confession to make. I’m a hoarder. But I’m not one of those senile nuts you see on an A&E television series, buried alive under bottomless piles of useless  junk. Certainly not like them, but a hoarder nonetheless. I like to think of it as just an innocent little case of bike hoardery.

Read entire article.

Sirbikesalot.com Knows How to Shoot MTB Action Shots

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If you like this action picture below from www.sirbikesalot.com, then you really need to set aside several hours…I mean days… and scan through his massive collection of mountain biking photos.  I do not know of many who can capture the moment quite like Sir Bikes.

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picture taken from recent post found here, http://sirbikesalot.com/entry.php?fid=464

 

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