Team Campmor

Team Campmor

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ellen's Moto-lite Report

I love my Titus Racer-X and decided to look into getting more of a trail bike as a second bike to broaden my riding experience with all the rocks we have around here in northern New Jersey. A big thanks goes out to my sponsors Campmor, Titus, and Easton, in helping me make this happen. Luckily I had some extra parts stashed, waiting for this special day. My new Moto-lite is spec’d with a Fox Talas fork, and a combination of XTR, Sram, and Easton parts. It weighs in at an impressive 25.8 pounds with beefy tires. Being a wimpy 120 pound chick, I hope it is the right combination of lightness and durability, as it is highly unlikely that I will ever be "hucking meat".

This past week, I put the Moto-lite through the virgin test ride and all I can say is … WOW! I rode some of the most technical trails up at Skyline, Ringwood and Blue Mountain and the bike handled the trails perfectly, being nimble, plush and forgiving. Even with a 110mm stem, I was able to split my tires around rocks in tight turns, and nail it every time. The bike feels like it could climb up a wall if I had the gas. The rear did rob some power in comparison to the racer-x, but it was not as noticeable on short climbs. The ride feel instilled confidence in both climbing and descending and did not demand too much finesse, creating a relaxing ride. At one point I clipped a tree at speed, and very calmly rode out the deflection.

I rode the fork in the 120mm position but still need to try the 140. I may also need to firm up the rear suspension a bit for my liking, and still need to play with the pro- pedal, but overall my impressions were positive. If I wasn't laughing, I was smiling the whole time while riding. I am looking forward to some more riding on this bike. I may even try the Super-D at National Championships at Mt Snow. The bike certainly seems worthy of super-D, probably more than I, and after one week of riding, I think it might be fun to try and chase some others down the mountain.

Tis the season ... get out and ride!!!
- Ellen

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Campmor H2H #4 Darkhorse Gallop

Saved by the rain gods, Stewart somehow did not get as much rain on Saturday night as in most places in New jersey. Needless to say, the course was ripping fast. Congratulations to Laura Winberry, Darlene Phillips and Ben Williams for first place finishes in the expert class.
- Ellen

Team Race Results:
Joe Azze - 14th pro
Art White - 18th pro
Ben Williams - 1st exp40
Darlene Phillips - 1st exp35
Laura Winberry - 1st exp
Tom Stanowski - 4th exp50
Joe Baldacci - 10th exp ss
Jeff Coneys - 19th exp40
Tyler Conlon - 4th sport jr
Matt Watters - 13th sport 19
Kyle Paolucci - 23rd sport 19

Joe Azze's race report and video can be found here:

Laura's race report:

Stew the Rat

Darkhorse sponsored events would not be the same without Mike, the Hawaiian-shirted man counting down each and every start alongside his stopwatch-sidekick. His presence is peaceful, good-humored, and somewhat iconic in nature; and so, seeing the familiar orange shirt with white Hibiscus pattern flapping in the afternoon’s slight breeze, I felt a sense of familiarity mixed with the usual pre-race stomach rumblings. Soon enough though, the orange and white blur into a peripheral past and dusty legs pedal for first entrance into the prologue, a shaded section of single track that screams momentum. Gripping tires ride the sidewalls of hard-packed berms, while a tunnel-like vision of thick spring brush, root, and branch fold behind one’s push for speed.

Within twenty minutes of leaving Hawaii-Five-O in a wake of stirring dust, Campmor teammate, Dar, and I are elbow to elbow up the gravel climb—both in contention for the cash preem dangling from a lady’s fingers. Pushing two more strokes at the last second I reach over to snatch the Benjamin (it was actually a Jackson, but the former just sounds better), which I instantly feel bad about and so proceed for the entire next lap to inform Dar of how she deserves half of it. At her suggestion, we finally decide to donate it to Art and Ellen White’s shuttle service, in honor of their ever-present generosity.

Dar and I remain in the same flow of twisting, turning, pumping energy for the first lap, until at last I can no longer keep her pace as well as keep the skin-prickle of heat-chills at bay. By this time I have run out of pack water and the bottle is down to half, and so fortunately when Ellen decides to accompany us going into the second lap, I ask her to grab me another bottle for the third—have I ever mentioned how my Campmor family is a blessing in more ways than one?

With my yipping partner having moved into the lead—yes, we were yipping through some of the most enjoyable sections—I continue to push harder than normal gears for myself, while also making certain to stay clear of the onslaught of pros quickly passing and becoming sunbeams and dust around every tunneled corner. After my Lewis Morris single-speed experience, and after watching single-speeder Jocelyn fly up the short steeps during our pre-ride, I had decided going into this race to think like a single-speeder—once again, enter momentum. Weighting and un-weighting when the occasional stone-laden roller appears, I grow closer and closer to the two-wheeled machine temporarily fused to my body by two tiny pieces of metal. She (her name is Sula, which is Norse for “sun”) is now an extension of my body, and I am a continuation of hers.

Entering the last section of chestnut veins serpentining verdant earth, the unevenness of recently cut single track slows down the tempo, yet at the same time invigorates me to push even harder knowing these are the last turns before a gravelly inclined conclusion. With Hotwheels (Dar) finishing about a minute ahead, I am content with my effort and churn the last few pedal strokes past a pair of orange traffic cones signaling the finish. Although Frank (my soon-to-have-one-gear day-glow Klein) is missed, I am thankful to have had the company of Sula, and look forward to the experiences yet to come with her. After cleaning off beneath the saving grace of a portable shower bag, I make my way over to the area where results are posted; finding, of course, the man in the Hawaiian shirt, I shake his hand and thank him for yet another rewarding Darkhorse race.

- LW

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Campmor H2H #3 at Lewis Morris

La Matadora y El Toro

I may not have had more than one gear to grind in this past Sunday’s race at Lewis Morris; but I certainly had a real nifty bell to ring in lieu. Initial pre-race meditations were akin to those of a Spanish Matador contending the searing glare of an unyielding bull; it came down to the gear and me, alone in the ring, and I was dressed in red. Nevertheless, I had chosen to be there, to be alone with the bull, and it was all or nothing. Upon entering the first lap, though, I would come into a total body feeling—mind, soul, flesh—of connectedness and unity with the bike, the earth, and the race itself. Standing up on the first climb to muster past a few shift-happy racers, I touched the essence of a mono-geared ride—you can only go one speed. At first I felt apologetic, letting others know that I was not trying to blast them, but that I simply could not go any slower, something seldom encountered on my geared bike.

The first two laps consisted of a three-dot paceline; with myself in the rear, proceeded by Ellen White, and then Jess McGinn. White and I were running the same gearing, so I mixed her experience with my own knowledge of self in order to keep both heart rate and legs in check for the remaining two laps. When White got out of the saddle, I got out of the saddle; when she sat, I sat; when she snot-rocketed, I dodged and sent out one of my own. With McGinn setting a single-speed-esque pace, the three of us were in synch, thus allowing for a focus on the churning wheel in front and an absorption of the beauty of momentum. The bike-body unification made itself known right away, and with each off-camber turn and every exposed root, I felt the bike as an extension of my own movements. Sweeping turns, little leaps, and rhythmic ascents were the foundation in my house of rapture Before long, the bull and the fighter were looking less like enemies, and more like two individuals working hard together at their newly formed marriage.

With this two-wheeled device as an extension of my energies and my determination, when fatigue found me in the fourth lap, so it also found the bike; and although the speed was still single, it eventually grew to be one of a slightly slower cadence. By now White was neither seen nor heard, and I was intent on keeping McGinn within focus for as long as possible. With lap four, the bull and the fighter were near their end, neither looking to any longer draw blood from the other. Now they were one, at last content in their common struggle, continuing to the very end. Approaching the graveled finish line, the bull and the fighter knew they were stronger; they knew they had learned from one another, from those around them, and they were thankful. Rather than taking one another’s life, they had embraced, and at the end they were at a new beginning, ready to enjoy the moment and rebuild for the next to come.


Team Results:

Ed Cecollini - 2nd Pro
Joe Azze - 10th Pro
Art White - 13th Pro
Laura Winberry - 2nd Expert
Darlene Philips- 2nd Expert 35+
Ben Williams - 3rd Expert 40
Ellen White - 3rd Expert 35+
Tom Stanowski - 5th Expert 50
Zach Koop - 5th Expert 19
Joe Barros - 7th Expert 40
Boe Baldacci - 9th Expert SS
Tahir Thomas - 13th Expert 30
Jeremy Swift - 15th Expert 30
Jeff Coneys - 21 Expert 40