June 17, 2013

Stanky Creek Race Report

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 12:31 pm

After a multitude of pre-rides the week leading up to Sunday, I lined up with a pretty good idea of my strategy for the race. The course begins on a part of the trail that’s very twisty with a lot of off-camber, rooty turns. It gradually gets a little bit more open as you go, but, as I posted last time, it’s generally twisty and rooty with intermittent “open up and hammer” spots punctuated by more “tight/twisty, don’t-hit-a-tree” spots.

So, when the race started, I jumped off the line to get the holeshot, then settled in to a pace just a hair under my usual “go to plaid” cross-country pace. That allowed me to conserve some energy, stay off the brakes, ride a little smoother through the first part of trail, and increase my lead on the other women by 2-3 seconds at a time with each little twisty spot. At the top of the “drop” (a short/steep, rooty downhill) on the blue trail, I estimate I had about a 10 second gap. I rode the drop at the exact speed at which I wanted to make the sweeping right-hand turn at the bottom, then dropped the hammer for a minute, and was loooong gone.

With the exception of passing some of the Cat 1/2 50+ men that started a minute ahead of us, the remaining 2 hours and 10 minutes worth of racing would be done solo. My goal then shifted to staying focused and maintaining a hard pace (something I often have trouble with when I end up by myself). I did a pretty good job, though I did “drift off” a couple of times on the 2nd lap and had to remind myself to keep on the gas. I ended up running a time of 2:23:50, which is a little over 6 minutes faster than my course time last year.

I’m super stoked to pick up the State Championship XC jersey this year.


Also, it’s worth mentioning that I’m very happy with the XX1 group on the Jet (not to mention the Jet itself… freaking awesome bike for that sort of terrain). It has taken some getting used to- I still find myself sometimes shifting too many gears at once, simply because I’m used to the closer spacing on the 2×10 rear shifting. However, its function has been flawless so far. I was going to clean it up and post some photos, but I’ll gonna wait until I get my matching rear wheel back from I9 (should arrive a little later this week).

Following the race, I took the long way to the grocery store on the scooter, then headed to my parents’ house with Ryan to cook Father’s Day dinner. Since steakhouses are stupid expensive and full of other people taking their dads out to Father’s Day dinner, I brought the steakhouse to the kitchen… or something like that.


(Dry aged, grass-fed New York strip with gremolata, green beans, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes)

June 13, 2013

State Championship Weekend

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 6:32 am

This weekend, the Tennessee State Championship Cross country race visits the Stanky Creek trails in Memphis. The State Championship XC jersey is on my short list (along with the Criterium and Track Championships) of jerseys I need to collect. So, I’m hoping to kick some butt this weekend. My recovery is still a little weird right now, so time will tell if I can hold off any of the horsepower that comes over from the rest of Tennessee. One thing working in my favor is the course- Stank is a choppy, twisty trail that was built back in the heyday of 26 inch bikes with little to no suspension. They couldn’t roll as fast over the vast array of roots, which meant that the alternating pattern of  “on the gas & carving through trees/all over the brakes in order to make a 90 degree turn” wasn’t as big of a deal at the time.

In other words, I’m glad I’ve got a home-field advantage.

The Jet9 is rebuilt and ready to go- now with XX1 and non-squeaky derailleur housing (I was using gorgeous/creaky Nokon before). The rooty-ness of Stank makes the course very friendly to a full-suspension bike, and is actually the only trail in town where I prefer my Jet over the Air9 RDO hardtail. The only thing missing from the bike is my rear Industry 9 Trail 24 wheel, which I dented the bejeezus out of during stage 7 at TSE. In its place, I’ll be on a Hope/Crest wheel that also required a rebuild following the TSE Enduro stage. Some day I’ll learn to put some pressure in my tires and ride with a little more finesse instead of pretending that I’m piloting a monster truck.

My legs aside, one thing I’m really stoked on seeing this year leading up to the Stanky Creek XC race is the multitude of local riders who are catting up. Matt decided to make the jump from 2 to 1 after being on the fence for a hot minute (deciding factor- I reminded him that he had the skills and fitness to finish 12th overall at Syllamo and probably beat a large number of cat 1 racers in the process). Others on that train include Fullface Kenny and Carter Chappell. I’ve also seen a good amount of banter about who is racing Cat 2 this year instead of 3. It’s always fun to see people challenging themselves.

My take? Look ahead at your goals. If you know that, at some point, you definitely want to race in a certain category, then, when your fitness/skill/training make your current category the slightest bit questionable, then you should get moving to the next rung of the ladder. Intimidation and fear of failure is normal. Don’t let it get to you, though.

If you’re regional and reading this, I’d also like to bring up that this year’s race will be an equal payout race between women’s and men’s categories. Tell all your friends- especially the ones in Arkansas whose weekend XC race inside the state lines includes a women’s cat 1 race that is only billed at 2 laps while the cat 1 men race 3 laps.

June 11, 2013

Buy this stuff:

Filed under: Around the shop — Andrea @ 9:30 am

I vowed at TSE to purchase a scooter with my prize money. In keeping with my promise, my plan is to take a check to Kenny today. I also bought a fullface helmet, goggles, and gloves to wear while riding said scooter, AND made a little drivetrain upgrade to the Jet9 during its rebuild. All of the associated expense is totally coverable through the sales of the stuff listed below- I just need to get it out to a broader audience…

I’m selling my X.0 2×10 drivetrain since I’m upgrading the Jet9 to XX1. Check it here:

Also, sadly, I can’t afford to build a downhill bike to go with the badass fork that I won at Trans-Sylvania. So, it’s up for grabs as well:


If you’re interested in an off-Ebay transaction, I might be willing to go for that, but don’t count on it if I don’t have a clue who you are. Here’s a pic of the scooter. It’s freakin’ sweet.



June 10, 2013

Recovery Week

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding,Trails — Andrea @ 7:41 am

The thing about a recovery week is that there’s not always a lot to blog about. Unlike Dicky, I made audio race reports while I was out at TSE, so I didn’t have to remember the fine details of each stage so that I might blog about them once I was home. I did have a few nice recovery rides which allowed me to get cool photos like this:


I’ve also been gathering the necessary parts needed to re-assemble the Jet9 with some nice upgrades. I know I’ve said in the past that I wouldn’t get XX1 until the cassette options improved, but I realized at TSE that if I’m only going to ride it on the trail (vs. doing some road & trail training like I do on the Air9 RDO), the current offering should suit my needs. So, all I lack now is the XX1 driver for my wheelsets. Re-assembly starts today…


Over the weekend, I made an impromptu trip to the Syllamo Trails for a last bit of relaxation before getting back into my normal training schedule. I wasn’t sure how the trails would be since they tend to get grown over this time of year, so I stuck to the orange and blue since they tend to be the shadiest parts of the system. Matt came along. He went Strava-poaching on the road while I was in the woods. It just so happened that I caught up to him on my way back to the cabin:

Before that, I realized something really cool while I was on the blue trail-
A couple of years ago, a group of people (I have no idea who- all I know is that it was some sort of large, organized effort) went through one of the most notoriously technical and hike-a-bikey sections of the blue trail (the couple of miles on the “other” side of highway 5, for those of you familiar with the area), and made a bunch of smooth, easier re-routes to large sections of the trail, as well as removing all rocks and obstacles from the path. The trail resembled a nerf football in the coming winter (not that didn’t remain a very difficult ride- there’s a b*tch of a steep climb out there, and lots of super steep stuff that’s barely rideable even to someone who is very good at riding super loose/steep stuff).
Despite someone’s best laid plans to make the trail more accessible to more people, through the process of wind, weather, and mischievous Indian ghosts, the Proterozoic mountain is growing out from under the dirt, and the trail is once again becoming a rocky limestone beast. The trail still seems to be growing and changing all over, which makes it a slightly different challenge every time I make the trip out.


After riding and dinner, I decided on a spontaneous fishing trip down to the boat ramp on the White River. I didn’t catch anything, but the water felt nice.


Sunday, in lieu of riding, we went out to explore the southern end of the Sylamore Creek hiking trail. It’s closed to bikes, and, in the words of one of the older MTB guys here in town when someone was talking about poaching it… “Good luck with that”








Yes, Poolboy Matt was wearing short jorts, which he rolled up to “daisy duke” length at some point while fording the creek to get to the trail.

On the trip back, we discussed the gaping holes in my riding abilities. Namely, my inability to get a bike off the ground without the aid of clipless pedals. Matt decided I should learn on his BMX bike. So, last night, I donned the shin guards and launched off of a sweet ramp into the yard. It was pretty bad… but you gotta start somewhere.



My week of TSE reflection has drawn to a close. I promise I’ll stop talking about it, though, I have come away with one realization. I learned somewhere around stage 5 that my body was reacting to the repeated efforts with deep-seated exhaustion. However, if you were following Twitter during stage 6, you would have seen this progression:

Amanda Carey, Sue Haywood, and Andrea Wilson are wheel-to-wheel!

Women’s leader Carey is sitting on second place overall and current Bear Creek SRAM Enduro jersey wearer Wilson.

After a detour in yesterday’s stage by the entire NoTubes team Wilson is pushing the pace to try to solidify her position.

Carey and Haywood have opened a gap on Wilson

Sarah Kaufman next through. Taking time back from Wilson too.

I essentially went out kinda hard, knowing that there was about a 5% chance of success, and was eventually caught off guard by the sudden tech of the initial singletrack, resulting in my wrecking and going backwards through the field, followed closely by my body calling it quits for the week- 1.5 hours in to nearly 4 hours of riding with one more defensively hard stage looming the next day. I knew, in the first hour of “pushing the pace” that I was being a little reckless with my energy. I didn’t care. I didn’t like dying off half an hour later, but the awesome feeling of the first hour made the entire week worthwhile. The “not dying” part will come with more fitness and experience. I keep getting this movie scene in my head when I think about it…

I mean, I don’t really have any ominous messages to send, other than, “I’m not afraid to see what will happen if I burn my legs up climbing this hill.”


June 5, 2013

The week in iPhone Photos

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 3:05 pm

I figured if you’re bored with race reports, you can see what all was happening back at camp (and home).

You’ll hear from a lot of people that go to TSE that “summer camp” atmosphere makes this one of the most fun races you can go to because almost everyone stays on site. I definitely agree- I stayed at Rimmey Lodge.


Lodgemates (L to R) Sue, Brian, Jesse, and Micheal



My own little corner, which eventually spread to the bunk next to me



Brian Matter and I both wore the green Enduro jerseys for Stage 3





As the week went on, I made new friends, like Sonya (we obviously were having a lot more fun than everyone else on that climb)


and Sam (who did not, contrary to the report on Twitter, eat the puppy)



The major mishap of the week was the Jet 9 breaking on Enduro Day



Brian Matter also had food poisoning the night before the last stage, but managed to keep his 3rd place spot anyway



Then, there was stage 8.








And a long drive home the next day, followed by a garage-sized explosion of bike parts in various states of repair/disrepair





I’m now in the throes of recovery. Yesterday, despite a good breakfast, I think I bonked during yoga class. Today, I went for an easy ride, which was much more successful (albeit slow). I’ve stripped the Jet9 down so that it’s ready to go back to Niner as soon as the warranty frame arrives. The goal is to have it up & working again (with upgrades!) before the State Championship XC race on the 16th.

I’m also buying a scooter as soon as a few parts sell. Awwwwww yeahhh


June 3, 2013

TSE Recap- day 7 on

Filed under: Bike Racing,TSE13 — Andrea @ 10:42 am

Otherwise known as “the bump heard round the peloton” or, if you’re from Memphis, “Knuck if you Buck”

Stage 7 on XXCMag

June 2, 2013

TSE audio recap – day 5 & 6 on

Filed under: Bike Racing,TSE13 — Andrea @ 7:52 am

May 30, 2013

TSE audio recap – day 4 on

Filed under: Bike Racing,TSE13 — ryan @ 7:25 am

May 29, 2013

TSE audio recap – day 3 on

Filed under: Bike Racing,TSE13 — ryan @ 6:08 pm

TSE audio recap – day 2 on

Filed under: Bike Racing,TSE13 — ryan @ 5:56 pm

Day 2 recap….  Click image to jump to the XXCMag site.