“SERC #9” XC Race at Ft. Payne, AL

SERC 9 - 3 480

The South East Regional Cup (SERC) Series #9, the American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) #9, and the Alabama Mountain Bike Series #6, all came together this weekend at DeSoto State Park in Ft. Payne, Alabama.  Since 1982 Ft. Payne has been famous as being the home of the “June Jam” festival hosted by the country-rock band Alabama. The park downtown has bronze statues of the band members that are larger-than-life size. The Ft. Payne race course is typically 10 miles in length but was shortened to a 6.5 mile lap this year due to the excessive rain and flooding.  The Grand Masters 1 (Cat 1 50+) raced three laps so we did 19.5 miles total, making it one of the shorter races in terms of mileage.  The reason they cut the mileage short, however, is that the...

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“Bump and Grind” XC Race at Jackson, GA

Mark Perri (50) left, Mark Gilliam (51) middle, and yours truly (58) right.

This week’s race was the 2013 US Cup East / South Eastern Regional Championship series (SERC) race #6, the  American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) race #6, and the  Georgia State Championship series race #4.  The intersection of these three races, coupled with double USA Cycling ranking points made for a very well attended event with many top competitors bringing their “A-game”. I dubbed this race the “bump and grind” because the course was probably the bumpiest course I’ve ever ridden.  There were lots of roots and rocks sufficient to kill any momentum you developed and forcing you to grind along the trail under power most of the time.  In other words, there was not a lot of opportunity to rest. Just how bumpy was it?  Riding this course...

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Tsali “Knobscorcher” XC Race

tsali

The US Cup East, South East Regional Cup (or SERC) Series intersected with the Southern Classic Series and the American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) Series for what was to be a huge mountain bike race — huge in both attendance and in terms of being physically challenging. The Tsali trail system is located near Bryson City, in western North Carolina and is named for a Cherokee man who hid in this area in 1838. When the government ordered the Cherokees to move to Oklahoma (think “Trail of Tears”), Tsali and others escaped to these mountains. Later, Tsali voluntarily surrendered after receiving a promise to allow the others to remain in the area. As a result, he, his brother, and two older sons were shot and killed. Today the eastern band of...

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Why I’m a Weight Weenie

weight weenie

Okay, I’ll admit it… I’m a weight weenie, and I’m proud of it. The reason is really pretty simple: I race mountain bikes and I like to win. I don’t like losing. And winning a bicycle race depends on having the best combination of technical skills, effective power, and luck on any given day. Here is the problem. Luck is largely uncontrollable, although it is amazing how much luckier those who are best prepared tend to be. Technical skills are acquired very slowly and over years of riding and consistent practice. That leaves only one element that can be readily manipulated: effective power. All power is not equal. Think about it. A semi truck engine might produce 700 horsepower and a new sports car might produce 350 horsepower. Which one is...

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