Monday, April 30, 2012

Race Report: 2012 La Tierra Torture

Sunday was the latest installment of the long running La Tierra Torture Mtb race in Santa Fe.  Originally I  (Lucero) had no plans to go race, having not given much though to the traditional XC format NMORS races this year, instead focusing on our 12 and 24 hour series.  However, Charlie's misfortune...

(pic of Charlie's grossly swollen ankle due to broken Fibula)

... became my good fortune, as he had registered for the race already, and was kind enough to give me his entry.  You see, I wasn't interested in paying money to go get my ass kicked, but I was more than happy to go do it for free.  Charlie had registered for Singlespeed, which works for me, as I tend to race better on a SS than with gears anyway.

Unlike some years past, the weather was perfect this year.  Slightly chilly all morning, things warmed up nicely as the race was starting, just barely warm enough to be comfortable with a normal jersey and shorts.
The turnout for the race seemed huge, I don't know how it compared to last year (and I can't be bothered to look up last years results and find out), but this must be one of the more popular races on the NMORS series.  It was fun to see so many people out, and to see dozens of friends and customers.  I guess I had kind of lost track of just how many of our customers show up to race XC.

There were 14 guys in the SS category, several of which I knew I had no hope of beating, let alone keeping in sight.  So without any hope of winning the race, I lined up free of anxiety or butterflies in my stomach, and was just happy to be out for a nice hard ride on a perfect spring day.

(a fine looking jersey on an even finer looking man)

Waiting for the start of the race, I was chatting up Mike "Chappy" Chapman (veteran shop rat, card carrying badass, and owner of The Broken Spoke bike shop in Santa Fe, dontchaknow).  He was also racing SS, and I happened to notice that the cog on his bike looked suspiciously small.  a 32 x 16 tooth gear ratio, on a 29er, to be exact.  It was clear that Chappy was either going to win, or get last place with a gear that big.   Well, big surprise, he took the SS win, apparently pedaling away from everybody at the start, never to be seen again (I say apparently because I sure as hell wasn't anywhere close enough to see it happen).

My personal race went well, I paced myself enough to keep from blowing up (something I tend to do), managed to pass a couple more singlespeeders during the race, and ended up in 5th place.  I was particularly happy to come in on the wheel of Chris Casey, somebody who has historically put pretty good time into me in Cat.1 geared races over the past couple years.  I was even in front of him for a short period of time.  I came up on him quick, and passed him, thinking that he had bonked.  But I think I just caught him zoning out, because he quickly passed me back, and then stayed in front for the last 1/4 of the race or so.


Here is a pic of me, making it look hard. Probably near the end of the race, based on how I look like I'm trying to fall off the front of my bike.  Thats the singlespeed position when you can no longer use your actual muscles to turn the pedals over, and instead just throw your bodyweight into every downstroke.  I did however, clearly just pass several people at once, just so you know. 

Actually, my only complaint was that the SS class was started 2 minutes behind all of the Cat 2 men, which was a huge number of racers.  It has been a pretty obvious trend the past several years that some of the fastest guys showing up are racing SS.  Chappy's race time was faster than any Cat 2 racer in any age group.  And my time, good for a 5th place finish, would have put me into 4th place Cat 2 in my age group.  There were 14 singlespeeders and 74 Cat 2's, most of whom I passed during the race.  Had we been put infront of the Cat 2's, worst case scenario is that a few of them had to pass a few of us.  But on the bright side, nothing like passing dozens of people to make you feel a little better about yourself.

Lastly, I know you have all been anxious to know who won in the Dr.Dave vs. Papa Lucero grudge match of the century.  Well, Dave dug deep and finished in 7th place, putting over 3 minutes into Papa Lucero who finished 11th (out of a huge field of 24 in the Cat 2 "Old Guy" class).  This should just serve to motivate Papa Lucero, and with his just being retired, he will have some serious time to get trained up for next year.

A link to an Excel file with all the results and lap times can be found here...

And now my brain has been emptied of all it's awesomeness. So I say farewell.




Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ventana Mountain Bikes USA now at Bikeworks ABQ!

Have you noticed that Ventana has been getting a lot of press lately?  They redesigned all their models, and they are looking pretty awesome.  They even got a new website (it was a long time coming).


After repeatedly drooling over the bikes, and wanting to be able to offer a made in the USA frame, we decided to get signed on with Ventana, and start selling some.

So far, we have sold just one, the El Comandante SS, a singlespeed specific aluminum 29er with swing out style dropouts, and a whole bunch of sexyness.


As you might imagine, the welds are immaculate, the frame has some awesome details, sweet geometry, and it's all together awesome.  

I'm excited to get an El Ciclon in the store, as soon as we have a few extra dollars to throw at some inventory...

140 or 150mm travel burly trail bike, lots of color choices, legendary stiffness and durability, and made in the US? Internal cable routing, sweet swoopy tubes, PF30 bb (takes any cranks you can imagine) and tapered heatube?  Sign me up!

Ventana makes their own bikes, in California, since 1988.  Original owner Sherwood is has been welding up the frames since the beginning, and if you want to talk to him, just call and ask. 
When you order your frame, it will be sitting there waiting, raw.  Pick your color (there are lots to choose from), and they will powder coat in that day or the next, and ship it out shortly.  Need custom geometry (because you have the legs of somebody 6'3", the torso of somebody 5'8", and your knuckles drag on the ground?), no problem, they will build you what you need for a surprisingly small upcharge.

Shazam! Lets buy some stuff made in our own country for a change!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Brain DJ

2 days in a row in Sedona, Charlie owned us with some REO Speedwagon brain dj action...





Just thought you might like to know.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sedona is good, Dawn 'til Dusk will be interesting...

Spent last weekend in Sedona with several of the usual suspects. It was the first time I had ridden there, and I am very impressed and can't wait to get back.
We rolled in Friday afternoon, got a good 3 hour ride or so in before finding our condo. Then Saturday we basically did 3 loops, including the well known Hangover and Highline trails, which were both fantastic. And on Sunday we rode again, less technical trails in general, which was good. I really can't tell you much about what areas or what trails we rode, as I don't really pay attention and just follow along.

I'm going to take the easy way out, and just link Charlie's Flickr page with all his pics from the trip. They are similar to my pics, but better, and have more of me in them...

Link to Charlie's Flickr page

On our biggest riding day, Saturday, we were joined by a friend of a friend of Marcs, a guy who goes by the name Zach.  Zach is a Sedona local, and was nice enough to join us for our ride and generally guide us around.  When he first pulled up to our condo, I noticed that he had brought a fully rigid singlespeed 29er.  I immediately started wondering if there had been a miscommunication, as I had been told we were riding some pretty legit stuff that day, or if Zach was just a proper badass.
Turns out, he is a proper badass.  He proceeded to take us all to school with his rigid singlespeed.  He went up the hill faster, and down the hill faster, and off the technical stuff that many of us wouldn't.  We rode all day trying to keep up with him, as he happily just cruised along, with his 2 water bottles, and no pack.
I just kept thinking "it's not the bike, it's the rider,"  and "maybe fully rigid singlespeeds aren't stupid after all."

Zach was riding a Form Cycles frame, the owners of which he is very close friends.  Form was started by a couple of guys who formerly made frames for Titus.  It was interesting to be riding with somebody so close to the company, as it is a brand that has really had our attention lately.  They make a beautiful bike.

Regardless of what the local badasses choose to ride,  I was thrilled with my new Trance X carbon 5" travel wonderbike.  For the trip I took my silly light carbon DT wheels off and rode some WTB wheelset that Marc had laying around.  I also slapped a dropper post onto the bike, and quickly became very fond of it.  That Trance X is proving to be a real versatile bike, and I'm really liking it.

It was an awesome trip, this here little blog post doesn't really do it justice, but it's late, and something is better than nothing.

Lastly, good luck to everybody at Dawn 'til Dusk this weekend.  We have a handful of guys out there flying the Bikeworks flag for us.  Thanks guys!

Thanks for reading!