Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Campmor H2H race series has an interesting twist: no matter how many podiums you have in the series, being the overall winner generally comes down to how well you can swing a pick mattock. You see, the race series went to bed with JORBA, the rock garden states’ mountain biking advocacy group, and the resulting offspring is called the PayDirt program. For completing 10 hours (5 hours for juniors) of trail maintenance with JORBA, each H2H racer receives an additional fifth place points in the series.
I had heard many stories of series champions being decided by PayDirt points. But I never thought I would become one of those stories. I hadn’t planned on going after the series championship last year, and I always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t make it to trail maintenance. Next thing I knew, it was late September, and I was 7 hours of trail work away from winning my age group and taking home a sweet championship jersey. I can tell you now that 7 hours of trail work over the course of a season is nothing. In fact, the entire 10 hours is easily attained. But when you’re in the running to win, and you have a 2 weeks to get in 7 hours, plus a job, and a wife, and other responsibilities…well, it can be a little stressful.
For 2012, I made a promise to myself that I would get my PayDirt done early, and even try to do a little more. And I can proudly say that I’ve done that. I’m at 13 hours as of today, and that will increase after the next Dirty Thursday work session in Ringwood State Park.
But in early January, I may have bit off a little more than I can chew. A family friend works for a local magazine, and they were doing a story on new year’s resolutions of area folks. It just so happened they needed one more, and I volunteered to contribute. One thing I learned to do well in my professional life is to be a media whore. I looked at this as an opportunity to get my sponsors name in print!
Sure enough, they ran my resolution: to do 100 hours of trail work in 2012. When my wife saw it, she said (lovingly) that I was a fool. When my team mates saw it, I tried to back pedal and explain it away as a typo. All I can say is that 100 sounded like a nice number at the time. But, it’s out there now, and I’m going for it. Do you think I can get it done?
Monday, May 21, 2012
Jungle Habitat is somewhat semi-local to most of the Camporians being only ten minutes past Ringwood. The trails there are designed by mountain bikers, built by mountain bikers and maintained by mountain bikers. Many expect the trails to be a delightful flowing mountain bike theme park heaven, but much to their surprise, this place out "rocks" their expectations, literally. Most the trails at Jungle are rugged, rocky, technical passages through strange fences and spooky pens that are entangled with vines. If you like bike handling, this place is for you, but stay on your form, because many of those vines that line the trails are poison ivy.
Race day at Jungle was a ten, with blue skies and mild temperatures. The new start times for the series seemed to work well for many and racers were stoked for the great day ahead, ...I could tell. According to the bike patrol, the Cat 2's kept them busy with spills and crashes, but luckily no serious injuries were reported. I got nothing but great vibes while out racing myself in the Cat 1/elite race. I had a sore lower back going into the race, and all those rocks just massaged out the kinks. Perhaps therapeutic healing exists in the Jungle, .. who knows?
Art's Race Report:
Sunday’s race at the Jungle marked a high point in my race season. The day brought perfect conditions, with bright blue skies and dry dirt, with temperatures in the mid 70’s.
Physically, I was feeling pretty good, considering that I was recovering from a cold earlier in the week. Mentally, I was prepared to go head to head with my teammate, Willy, who had finished ahead of me in the previous two Campmor H2H series races.
I opted to go for the “hole shot” off the start, as I wanted to stay ahead of a certain rider who nearly took me out attempting to make a pass in the last race. My position stuck, and halfway through the first lap, I realized that Willy and I were off the front, and putting distance on the rest of the field. I continued to press, and came through the start-finish area in the lead. At this point, I yielded the track to Willy, and let him lead for the entire second lap, while staying on his wheel.
When we came around again, and began our third lap, Willy was still leading, with me pacing behind him. At one point, early in the third lap, Willy miscued a turn, and I slipped by, taking the lead. We continued to press on, passing quite a few slower racers in the younger age groups, until we came to the stream crossing near the old monkey pen. This area gave everyone fits, including Willy and me. We both made it through cleanly on our first two laps, but by the time we came through for our third lap, the entire area was slick from other racers dragging water and mud all over the rocks.
I decided to try a different line than I had taken previously, and was immediately thrown off into the weeds, where I had to dismount and stumble back on course. This forced me to run past the end of the rocks and onto the pavement, before mounting “cyclocross style”, and sprinting away for the last half mile to the finish. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Willy had a similar miscue in the slippery rocks, and it was my running that kept me from losing first place. In the end, I won by three seconds.
Some of the factors in my successful performance include starting aggressively, pacing myself, and not panicking when things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Also, I had the pleasure of using some amazing products. My new Giro Code shoes are the stiffest, lightest, best fitting cycling shoe I’ve ever used- period! I also made use of Giro’s Bravo LF gloves, which are lightly padded, but not overstuffed. They give me protection without added bulk, while enhancing control.
I’d also like to mention the great Hammer Products that fueled my performance. Heed energy drink mix, and Hammer “daily essentials” supplements. I believe that these are part of a successful training regime, which can benefit any athlete.
Marianne Santangelo - 1st Pro open
Art White - 1st Cat 50+
James Wilbur - 2nd Cat 1 50+
Ellen White - 2nd Cat 1 40+
Jeremy Swift - 2nd Cat 1 SS
Henry Gozdz - 5th Cat 1 50+
Steve Wagoner - 11th Cat 1 50+
Tom Stanowski - 16th Cat 1 50+
Sheryl Senczakiewicz - 5th Cat 2
Blair Stearns - 14th Cat 2
Joe Esak - 5th Cat 3
Adrienne Blair - 2nd Cat 3
Sunday, May 13, 2012
After a a ride with Jeff Mergler, Executive Director of Jersey Off Road Bicycle Assoc.(JORBA), where Jeff had several flats, Art helped Jeff go tubleless with NoTubes. Art sharing some pointers with Jeff and showing him how to convert his wheels to tubeless. ...one more flat-free happy rider!
Monday, May 7, 2012
Marianne Santangelo - 1st Pro/open
Darlene Phillips - 2nd Pro/open
Ellen White - 1st Cat 1
Willy Wilbur - 2nd Cat 1 50+
Art White - 3rd Cat 1 50+
Jeremy Swift - 3rd Cat 1 SS
Steve Wagoner - 8th Cat 1 50+
Henry Gozdz - 10th Cat 1 50+
Tom Stanowski - 13th Cat 1 50+
Mike Zusman - 14th Cat 1 30-39
Blair Stearns - 7th Cat 2
Lance Walker - 10th Cat 2
Adrienne Blair - 1st Cat 3
Joe Esak - 10th Cat 3
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Campmor ladies rocking the one gear only race of the northeast:
Darlene Phillips wins women's elite class at SS-a-Palooza and Marianne Santangelo takes 3rd along side her on the podium.