Month: July 2009

Return On The Jedi

My wife Anna and I headed North after work on Friday to participate in the “Return on the Jedi Bike Festival” outside of Merlin OR. There was a short track and super D on Saturday and an XC race on Sunday. I have done this race before(06) and it turns out that Tsering and I both remember racing each other that year even though we did not know each other. The short track was fun. The course was similar to the Santa Rosa dirt crit I got spanked at earlier in the week so I was hungry for some revenge. Evan Plews (Oregon State Champion ) was there and made the pace hard from the start. I dropped to third, then fifth after leading the first lap. I thought to myself “man I really suck”, but I dug deep and clawed my way back to third midway through the race with attacks every lap at the top of the climb…MAN...I really like short track. I built a gap on the other chasers and held on for my first pro podium this season. I skipped the super D to catch up on some rest and spend some time with friends. Sundays xc race was good. I stayed with the leaders at the start then settled into my rhythm sitting in 5th. The course was 27 miles with 5600 feet of climbing with a large majority of that elevation being gained on the last single track climb back up to the Jedi trail. Anyone who has done this race knows what I am talking about…it is hard. I rode too hard too early in 06 and paid a dear price on that last climb so it was in my head all day. I caught my buddy Steve on the first climb after he slowed to recover from the pace being set by the leaders. We worked together and kept the pace high. After cresting the first climb at the top of Onion Mountain we headed down the back side of the sketchy, loose and rocky decent. Then my rear tire went soft…I think I had a P.R. on my tube change..and we were back on track after loosing only a couple of minutes. We descended back down to the base of the single track climb and grinded it out with Steve allowing me to set the pace. I still do not have the intensity I need to stay with the leaders but I could definitely feel my endurance working. Multiple 8+ hr rides this winter are to thank for that. Steve and I stayed together all the way to the top of the Jedi. I told him I was not going to sprint at the finish but that didn’t mean I was going to take it easy on the decent. I pushed the pace on the rollers and opened up a gap on the final downhill section. There was about a 200 yard paved section leading to the finish and I pushed like hell to keep my gap on Steve but that dude is STRONG! He caught me as we pulled into the finish and we both sat up to finish 4th and 5th respectively. I am taking my lumps getting back to the fitness needed to hang with the big boys, but I enjoy getting thrashed…it only makes us better right? On a more positive note…my wife Anna won here beginner woman’s race by 15 minutes!!! Sounds like its time for her to cat up. All in all we had a great weekend. Awesome training for Downieville and a couple more medals for the “Wall of Fame” here in the Huber household. Thanks to Marin for supporting my efforts. The Nail Trail gets better every time I ride it! Happy trails….Geoff.

Fairfax Invitational

Well here was an interesting race weekend. Tsering and I both found out about the race on Wednesday…so there was not a lot of preparation….and it showed. So we get a late start on Saturday (my fault…work, work, work.). The plan was to get to the trails with enough time to get a lap in before dark. Well, we did make it to Fairfax before dark…but not much before. We jumped on our bikes and headed off. Tsering was familiar with the area and we headed up the trail to the start/finish area. We got about half a lap in before calling it quits. As we headed back down to the car Tsering notices he has a front flat, but we get back before his tire is completely dead. It was definitely DARK when we finished. We headed into S.F. to hook up with Pete (big, BIG thanks to Pete for hooking us up with lodging last minute…those Marin guys and gals are sooooo helpful!) We roll in about 10:30 p.m. and jump on-line to get registered. The website says “registration closed!” WTF! NOOOOOOOOO! We can’t believe it….but wait! Pete quickly contacts Mark V and POOF! with a wave of the Marin magic wand we get the name of a contact to get us onto the race in the a.m. Tsering and I get a little sleep and then its up and out early. The race web page says the pro start time is 11:00…Mark says 10:00…aaaaahhhh, better get out early just in case. Pete throws Tsering a spare tube and he fixes his flat before we leave. We grab a cup of coffee and bolt. We pull into Fairfax and jump into our kits and start riding up to the start/finish. As we are climbing….Tsering gets another flat. I, being the experienced bike mechanic ask “Tsering, did you check your tire before putting in the new tube?” “No” is the reply….nuff said. He rides the flat to the start/finish (no time to dilly-dally) and we get registered and Tsering starts to work on getting the flat fixed. Many minutes later Tsering is still trying to get his tire to seat. After doing so he starts to warm up and then….psssssssssst, yes, another flat. At this point I come over and together we notice a small tack nail in his tire. We are then told that a disgruntled local citizen decided that bike racing should not be allowed in the park and to discourage the activity this individual dropped thousands of these little nails all over the course. The race promoters had swept the course with a magnet but there was no way to get them all. Tsering fixes yet another flat and gets about a 30 second warm up before the start of the race. The start was hard and fast with Mark Weir hammering the group. Tsering and I enter the single track about mid pack and work our way up towards the top five. I felt o.k. but as this was my first pro race in two years I could definitely feel my body revolting against the stress. I had two good laps…battling Chris Brown for the last of the top five spots, and then started going backwards on the last lap…finally finishing 8th. Not a great result but I was happy to be in the top ten. Did I mention Tsering got ANOTHER FLAT! Props to him for keeping a cool head and putting a smile on his face despite a very understandable DNF. The weather was great…the course was hard but really fun. The race promoters did a great job and all in all we had a great time considering all the mayhem. Looking forward to Downieville. P.S. Congradulations to Brian on his NorCal State Championship…that guy SHREDS!Cheers…Geoff.