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  1. #1
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    Merlin's Downieville Report

    I actually slept most of the night before the race. Yesterday was my b-day, but I did not want any celebration till after the race, so I had my typical pre race meal, Chicken, veggies and brown rice pasta.
    Got up at 5:45am downed a Bagel with turkey , a cup of coffee, couple trips to the head and I was off to the race by 6:45am.
    Parked my car and came across a bunch of teammates, we registered and got ready to race. Pre race jitters were not bad today, not sure if itís because Iím older or just to tired to get nervous! Did a good warm up and headed to the start line to get a good spot. My first mistake of the day way getting a bad position in the back of the pack. It was almost a minute from the start of my group ( Expert /Proís) till I passed the start line. I passed a bunch of folks that started before me then settled in to my pace for the long climb to the top of the mountain. Iíve done this climb many times and knew exactly what to expectÖto climb for a long timeÖ.about 1 hour at race pace, mostly in the sun.





    As I mentioned in previous posts, cramping has always killed my races with the exception of last year when I used Sportlegs. This year I was not going to hold anything back on the climb with the hope that the Sporlegs would hold off the dreaded cramping again for me. I made it to the top of packer saddle about the same time as last year 1:05. After packer saddle your are not even close to being done with the climbing, there is a nice downhill, then a bunch of uphill that can kill your attitude if you do not know they are coming. I traded places with bunch of riders till we finally hit the first section of downhill, the Babyheads. Time to relax and float, look ahead, everything is rideable, just scary, I hate falling, especially on rocks! Some guy with a SRAM jersey goes by me like Iím standing still. I thought I was going pretty fast. No one else passes me and finally the moment of truth arrives, riding through Pauley creek . You ride your legs off on the climb for about an hour then pound them on a rocky downhill, then a nice cold stream crossing, the perfect recipe for cramping! After I get through the stream I feel a minor twinge in the left inner thigh. After spinning the pedals it turns in to a full cramp and it hurts! I try to keep spinning but, my legs will not cooperate. I get off the bike and run and try downing more sportlegs and some Tums. Get back on the bike and I can spin easy for a while then the right inner thigh cramps! FOCK!
    I trade of between slow spinning and running to keep going , 10-20 riders pass me. It really sucks to see someone you remember passing on the climb pass 15 minutes later when your hurting on the side of the trail. Finally the cramping stops and I proceed with caution to make sure they do not come back..



    By the time I reach the bridge that takes you to the climb to the start of 3rd divide I feel great! There is a long line of riders making the climb and I lock out the front fork , stand up and pass a bunch of them. 3rd divide has to be the fastest single track trail on the planet. You can easily hit 30-40 mph , and on race day you can see almost nothing thanks to all the dust from the riders ahead. I pass a few rides then hit the one brief section of fireroad then on to 1st divide. A couple SS riders slow me down here, finally I get by and go as hard as I can trying to make up for lost time, always telling myself that the rider in front is in my group. I hammer the rest of the trail then the pavement to the finish with a time of 2:25. My goal was 2:20 this year, and with out the dang cramping I think I could of got it, but thatís racing.
    I see my friend and teammate Chuck who informs he had the fastest time of any Expert, 2:03!!! Interesting, he was 8 minutes faster then me on the climb and 14 minutes on the downhill. This is the only race I know where you make up so much time by having excellent downhill skills.
    One of the great things about this race is what happens when your done. Swim in a nice cool river, east some pasta, and even a free beer and pint glass! Then itís off to watch the crazy folks to the river jumpÖ
    Around 5pm the results were finally up and my time was good enough to get my 3rd place in the Expert 45 + group. Itís always nice to get on the podium and even better to go home a bacon cheeseburger after a hard day racing.
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    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  2. #2
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    Great effort!!

    Great effort and result, in spite of the cramping!!

    Is that the 1st time you have cramped up since you started using Sport Legs?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainstump
    Great effort and result, in spite of the cramping!!

    Is that the 1st time you have cramped up since you started using Sport Legs?
    I have cramped up after using sportlegs before today but it's all relative, the cramping during this race and the other time was about 50% of normal cramping. where I'm off the bike for 5-10 minutes , screaming in pain!
    So the stuff works great but is not 100% effective, but much better then anything else I've tried
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  4. #4
    It's about showing up.
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    Keeping your cool.

    Congratulations on a fantastic effort.

  5. #5
    GMM
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    Congratulations, you are silly fast. BTW, is that a BLT that you were riding? I'm guessing you like it?

  6. #6
    NedwannaB
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    When you said awards......

    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    Around 5pm the results were finally up and my time was good enough to get my 3rd place in the Expert 45 + group. Itís always nice to get on the podium and even better to go home a bacon cheeseburger after a hard day racing.
    ....in the other post, I thought maybe you had tried your hand in the SD or DH , I should have known you were referring to the swag!! Long live I-O Burger!!

    Good job Rick!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM
    Congratulations, you are silly fast. BTW, is that a BLT that you were riding? I'm guessing you like it?
    "silly fast" thats the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me
    The bike is a BLUR XC. It's been my main bike for almost 2 years now and I love it.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  8. #8
    2012 Race: April 28th!
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    Great race and nice writeup Merlin! Sounds like you'd have been a step or two higher up on the podium if not for the cramps, great effort!
    www.shastalemurian.com!!

  9. #9
    weekend worrier
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    Congrats! 2:25 is smokin'!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LemurianGuy
    Great race and nice writeup Merlin! Sounds like you'd have been a step or two higher up on the podium if not for the cramps, great effort!
    Thanks Ron, yes I could have easily moved up a spot or 2, but maybe they cramped also?
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  11. #11
    Lusus Naturae
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    What is the setup on that Blur XC?

    What kind of gearing do you use for the climb? I spent some of it in 2/1 but had to cave into granny gear pretty early. Did you ride the whole section after the first water/aid stop? I found that to be basically impossible to ride and walked until the flat section. Made it to Packer Saddle in 2:05

    By the way, Nevada City is excellent. They have an amazing choice of restaurants and downtown is actually kinda cool. If we had more time, I'd have checked out the local wineries a bit.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoBalance
    What is the setup on that Blur XC?

    What kind of gearing do you use for the climb? I spent some of it in 2/1 but had to cave into granny gear pretty early. Did you ride the whole section after the first water/aid stop? I found that to be basically impossible to ride and walked until the flat section. Made it to Packer Saddle in 2:05

    By the way, Nevada City is excellent. They have an amazing choice of restaurants and downtown is actually kinda cool. If we had more time, I'd have checked out the local wineries a bit.
    I have the Blur set up light but no stupid light parts. It's 24-25 pounds depending on what tires I run.
    Reba Team
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    I rode everything on the climb...but I'm better going uphill then downhill
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  13. #13
    Crushin' Grapes
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    Cramps suck

    That cramping stuff sucks. I still have pain in my inner thigh/groin area because I forced my way through the cramps. My cramps started before I even got to Baby Heads. I sat up and took it easy for a minute, just to give myself a little break before the real beating. Mine usually start once my muscles have been completely exausted, then get a break, and then are forced to work again. I don't think my 800 gram tires help matters much either. But they saved my ass on the downhill!

    Good job Rick. Are you going to hit any of the Northstar twilight races?

  14. #14
    Butcher
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    Quote Originally Posted by racinjasonmoe
    That cramping stuff sucks. I still have pain in my inner thigh/groin area because I forced my way through the cramps. My cramps started before I even got to Baby Heads. I sat up and took it easy for a minute, just to give myself a little break before the real beating. Mine usually start once my muscles have been completely exausted, then get a break, and then are forced to work again. I don't think my 800 gram tires help matters much either. But they saved my ass on the downhill!

    Good job Rick. Are you going to hit any of the Northstar twilight races?
    You kicked some major asss at D'ville. Congrats on your win!

    Correction: Win(s)

  15. #15
    Crushin' Grapes
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    Thanks Dude,

    How I have made it three years in a row without some kind of mechanical or physical failure, I don't know....But I'll take it!

  16. #16
    Butcher
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    We were hanging out at a turn on the course about 1/2 mile up from the pavement during the XC race... drinkin' beer... waiting to take pix and root you guys on... you came flyin' through there so damn fast I barely got you on the camera:


    Terrible photo quality, but figured I'd throw it up there for you anyway.

    My bro-in-law (who hasn't ridden in 7 years) was absolutely blown away by how fast you guys are. He rode the downhill on Friday (on a rented Nomad) and is now hooked again.

    Lookin' forward to next year's race.

  17. #17
    Crushin' Grapes
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    Nice. Thanks for the Pic. Hope I provided some entertainment!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by racinjasonmoe
    That cramping stuff sucks. I still have pain in my inner thigh/groin area because I forced my way through the cramps. My cramps started before I even got to Baby Heads. I sat up and took it easy for a minute, just to give myself a little break before the real beating. Mine usually start once my muscles have been completely exausted, then get a break, and then are forced to work again.
    Gee..... thanks a lot Jason, the guy that sets the course record admits to cramping also? Your killing all my excuses Well I am old enough to be your father
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  19. #19
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    Nice job Rick!

    As a fellow old guy who used to cramp a lot I can feel you pain. I seemed to have broken that cycle, but unfortunately I think it is because I have been endurance racing for the better part of five years. In a 12 or 24 hour event the cramps will come and you have to fight through it, sometimes it can be really painful but I have come to find they will go away given enough time, not a luxury you have in a CC race

    So it looks like your only solution is to come 24 hour solo racing with Roger and I

    Once again Congrats!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Allan

    So it looks like your only solution is to come 24 hour solo racing with Roger and I

    Once again Congrats!
    The odd's of me doing a 24 solo race are about the same as me beating you in a Cross Country race .....zero!
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

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