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  1. #1
    zon
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    Napa Valley Dirt Classic race reports,, post up!!

    What an awesome race!! The organizers did a fantastic job of making it a great experience. Very "down home" atmosphere, great raffle, outstanding trail support stations, and who was that guy in the skeleton jersey?? He was a kick! Really helped to encourage the riders on the hills and it was amazing how he always was at the next big hill waiting for you!
    Now for the race. I didn’t know it was physically possible to design a loop race course that was all up hill but they some how did it at the NVDC! Right from the starting climb it never seem to end until you crested the hill after the final, long, grueling, incessant, agonizing climb up the appropriately named “Anguish Hill”. And putting that sign at the start of the climb was just plain cruel. Memo to self,, get more hill time in on practice rides. Nevertheless it was still a fun ride in a masochistic kind of way. You definitely earned the finish in this one.
    The trails were in great shape with only a few muddy sections with the exception of the swamp at the end. Is this becoming a prerequisite for race course? Saw the same thing at the Cool race. The swoopy single track through the dense forest was a lot of fun,,, when I could catch my breath long enough to enjoy it. Some of the short, rocky, downhill sections were a challenge, saw a lot of major biffs on these. Gota watch those speeds on pea sized gravel guys! Overall, an outstanding course with major climbs to be the great equalizer made for a great time.
    Well I managed to pull off another podium, 2nd place (first looser) in Sport 50+ so the streak continues,, for now. Tough field out there and I was really surprised at my finish. Wonders never cease.
    Oh,,, and thank you very much for the showers after the race. Me and my trusty bottle of Tecnu made a bee line straight for the showers lickety-split. The poison oak was in all its glory out there in full bloom waiting to greet all riders with lasting memories. It was like a Tecnu convention in the showers, everyone was applying the sauce and the fragrance of Tecnu filled d the steamy air.
    See ya next year!!

  2. #2
    aka baycat
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    good ****ing job Zon podium, now you need to start sandbagging the upper divsions
    Last edited by Ryan G.; 04-24-2006 at 09:17 AM.

  3. #3
    zon
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    Quote Originally Posted by baycat
    good ****ing job Zon, now you need to start sandbagging the upper divsions

    Jeesh,,! It's only my second race in sport. I figure I'll race sport this season and next year move up,, if I survive this year.

  4. #4
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Velocipus warned me it might be more fun to stay at home and "poke my eyes with cactus needles" than to race the NVDC on a SS.....half way through the race I would have agreed...and this morning I'm walking like an old man..

    Man what a GREAT race!! Event staff were terrific, support was terrific, course was TERRIFIC!!. I'm a "newb fred" on a SS so I am happy just to finish - Note to self....do NOT pre-register for a race after you've been drinking.

    So the SS class starts right after the Expert group - I know I'm gonna be hearing "LEFT!!" about 200 times today with all the Sports riders whizzing by me. There are 28 of us...kinda a big SS field. Off we go....everything a blur..mellow single track...mellow double track...short hills. Ok, not too bad....then it starts. I reach the first Whoopty-do. Not sure how many people are around..I need to focus on my line...OK, about a 3 story rocky drop with an equally steep and rocky climb on the other side - no brakes required I must have picked an OK line 'cause there was no crash. Now I just gotta pick my way through all the riders pushing up the hill (in my mind there were at least 50 - in reality there were probably 2)...WOOHOO - I cleared the first whoopty!! (This is very important because it sounded like around a million spectators there) Missed the climb on the 2nd but cleared the third.

    Then the blur of my race starts....real rough hills, dense forest FAST singletrack, super steepy rutted downs, and some fun creek crossings. Oh, and whoever named that D@MN climb Anguish hill hit the nail on the head - that was FREAKIN brutal!!

    I finished at an embarrassing 3:10 & DFL for my cat - but I finished (yay for me )

    Also had the pleasure of racing with Plim and WHUGMIT - Plim passed me at around the 5 mile mark and WHUGMIT got ahead of me around the 1/2 way point. At sometime during the race dscot420 railed past me...I'm pretty sure I got heckled by him too

    Velocipus was smart enough to break his rear brake so he couldn't race (NICE new bike BTW). and it was real good seing MTNBecky again.

    I'm hooked - doin' it again next year!
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  5. #5
    29 some of the time...
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    Man that course kicked my but. I too marveled at the fact that the course seemed like an awful lot more uphill than downhill. I was tired by the time I hit the hill back up and then bonked just after passing the little dh sections about 1/3 the way up. From there in it was just a test of willpower to make it back in. Bonking sucks. That hill took me almost as long as the winning pro took to complete the whole course . I think I pulled DFL in the clyde class, but did enjoy the course (with exception to the climb at the end). And I was pleased to say that I completed it without stopping for more than a few seconds here and there.

    I gotta get some more hill time and longer rides under my belt before hitting that kind of course again. It was a good wake up call for the amount of training I will need to enjoy the downieville xc later this year.

    It was nice to catch up with chum and Joe(sorry, can't remember your handle) before and during the race. Mad props to chum for hitting that course on the singlespeed

  6. #6
    bike geek
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    Glad you enjoyed it, and congrats on your podium finish!

    Me, well, I couldn't wait for it to be over. Dang did I get beat up bad on my rigid SS. That course was definitely NOT SS-friendly. From the start, my heartbeat was at the red line. Couldn't bring it down, not even on the flats/downhills, it felt like. Never got in a groove. I was tentative on most of the singletrack, since it was my first time on the course I never knew what was coming around the bend. I focked up 2 of the 3 whoop-de-doos, losing traction (and therefore momentum) on the mossy rocks. I went down hard on that gravel-strewn 90-degree left hand turn at a gate near the beginning (which we rode through the other way on the way to the finish) and have serious raspberry on my hip and elbow today to show for it. Suprisingly I was able to ride those steep rutted pea-gravel covered downhills, while others walked. But when it came to "Anguish Hill" I was pushing with the rest of them. I was so spent after that though, that I was still struggling even on the flatter climbs near the end. I made it through the swamp at the end, saw another SSer just ahead of me, and thought that to ensure I didn't finish LAST in my class, I'd better pass him, so I did. I haven't seen the final results yet, but when I checked my time on the preliminary results list, I was 2nd to last in SS w/2:13. Not everyone had finished yet.

    You're right though that the event itself was very well managed. The showers were a HUGE perk, as was the table of Mexican ladies making those little griddled bean & cheese pancake things . I downed 4 of them. Also the support stations out on the course. I was very happy to see they were handing out water instead of cytomax, since I had had enough of my energy drink and water hit the spot.

    After my experience yesterday I can't say for sure I'll be back next year, but the mind does have a way of forgetting as the pain wears off. If I do make it back, it'll definitely be with gears!!

  7. #7
    zon
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  8. #8
    29 some of the time...
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    It's official, dfl in the clydes

    Chum,
    I thought in hindsight that calling you a dirtbag as you were suffering wasn't the nicest thing, but hoped that it was taken in good humor. Trust me, I was suffering about the same. I just had gears. I know what you mean about the "on your right". I heard that a lot yesterday.

  9. #9
    bike geek
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    Well now that I've seen that, I don't feel TOO bad...I would have placed 2nd in my age group if I'd been in beginner, and solid top 3 in Expert Women . I bet with gears, suspension, and better course knowledge, I could break 2 hours. Next year...

  10. #10
    Coors, the american beer.
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    wow they had you guys go UP angwish hill ... i usually bomb down that and go up the fire road from inpiration pt
    AZ has the best mountain bike gathering ever

  11. #11
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by dscot420
    Chum,
    I thought in hindsight that calling you a dirtbag as you were suffering wasn't the nicest thing, but hoped that it was taken in good humor..
    Are you kidding - it was funny as hell. I needed some levity at that point
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  12. #12
    rj2
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    Good job! Way harder than Sea Otter

    Way better result though. 2nd Beg Men, 40-44. No sandbaggers in my group, unlike Cool or Sea Otter. Won an extra t-shirt at the raffle, although some neglected the instructions and double and triple dipped. When in Rome… They should randomize the awards ceremony so they'll be some people to clap for the oldsters at the end.

    What happened to the clean-cut Mark Weir in the EAS ad? Someone next to me remarked that he looked like a porn star.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zon
    who was that guy in the skeleton jersey?? He was a kick! Really helped to encourage the riders on the hills and it was amazing how he always was at the next big hill waiting for you!
    That is a local yocal, he manages the property adjacent to the PUC property. I won't disclose his name becasue apparently, he was introducing himself as Timerland... the property owner. He has some "issues". I went to high school with him and he was just as crazy back then. He and I used to ride out dirt bikes on those trails. He knows them very well.

    There is quite a maze of trails out there. There is a shortcut to almost all of the hiltops and and I can guarantee he climbed a lot less than you. His first race was there in the beginner class. He won, his next race was there in the Sport class. He won in just over 1:40...

    Pretty funny guy.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rj2
    What happened to the clean-cut Mark Weir in the EAS ad? Someone next to me remarked that he looked like a porn star.
    Getting ready for the mustache contest at Downeville?

  15. #15
    dude with orange car
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    My race report, short version:

    Yup. I agree with the other posters. This was a hard race. It was a fun day, though.


    My race report, medium version (you don’t want to see the long version ):

    I was going to race beginner class. This was to be only my second non-endurance race and the second race in which I needed to declare a class, I’ve chubbed up over the past few months, and active.com said the a $50 year NORBA license was required for sport class, versus only a $5 day license needed for beginner. So I thought I was justified as a non-sandbagger if I chose beginner, and the money differential removed any lingering guilt.

    Then I made the mistake of telling CHUM I planned on racing beginner. He not only heckled me, but also pointed out that the main web site said a day license was available for sport class. Crap. CHUM was being a tough guy by racing single speed, ignoring Velocipus’s dire warnings about the pain the course would inflict on anyone without gears. I couldn’t be a wimp and race beginner in the face of that. As a (stupid, easily manipulated) male, I needed to assert myself. I decided to race sport.

    To try to quell the butterflies that immediately infested my stomach I told myself that sport would actually be easier. Instead of having to put forth effort to try to pass people on the singletrack, everyone in sport would be so fast they’d just pass me instead. All I’d have to do would be to move over and slow down a bit. Slowing down is easy. I can slow down with the best of ‘em. Sport was actually the smart move. I think I almost believed that.

    CHUM, driver extraordinaire, picked me, Velocipus, and WhuGmit up at my place in the morning. Luckily, Velocipus knew the way and was able to save us from the inept directions I’d printed out from Yahoo.

    After we registered and got our numbers, Velocipus led CHUM, WhuGmit, mtnbecky, and a couple others (sorry, I didn’t get your names) to check out the three roller-coaster up and down sections. This was key for two reasons: (1) by preriding them I lost my fear of the steep downhills, allowing me to zip down without brakes during the race, and (2) WhuGmit had a great crash right in front of me, the memory of which will keep me entertained for years to come.

    We had turned around and were heading back to the start area. WhuGmit, just in front of me, started to pedal up the last uphill (which would be the first downhill during the race) when he lost momentum. His bike started a wheelie and it was clear he wasn’t going any further but instead was going over backwards. I slammed on the brakes and tried to avoid him, simultaneously bracing myself for the impact of my front wheel with his body. Instead of the expected collision, he somehow threw himself into a reverse superman just to my left. That’s a superman, but instead of going hands-first over the bars, he went backwards, feet first over the seat and rear wheel. It looked really cool. Unfortunately for him, it ended in a belly flop onto the rocks behind. WhuGmit sacrificed his body and ended up with numerous scrapes and bruises on his arms, legs and stomach, to get out of my way, and looked good doing it. Thanks, WhuGmit!

    Everyone: I highly recommend riding with WhuGmit. As a relatively new rider who casts caution to the wind and just goes for it, he’s got the best crashes. Wherewolf should constantly follow along behind, catching everything on video. I think a compilation DVD would sell big.

    Once we got back from the preride and the start time approached, I got really nervous and my heart rate got higher and higher. There was an asphalt track next to the start area, and I started riding around it in circles. This really calmed me down, and I was able to slip back into my starting group just before the race began. I need to remember to do that in the future.

    I was at the tail end of my group almost immediately after the race began. I was huffing and puffing up the first relatively gentle climbs, trying to keep at least some other riders nearby while the faster ones shot off the front, never to be seen by me again. The first sections of trails were fairly wide, so passing was easy and I noticed I kept trading places with a few people.

    There was a traffic jam as I hit the roller-coaster section. A lot of people were tentative, using the brakes on the downhills and not able to make it up the uphills without getting off and pushing. Thanks to the preride, I shot down the downhill and only had to put a foot down briefly near the top of one of the uphills because it was so crowded that I couldn’t find any space to keep going. I was somewhat surprised not to witness any crashes with all the people going at widely disparate speeds. Mtnbecky shouted out some encouragement to me here, which gave me a little extra burst of energy. What with all the slow people and my extra zip, I actually passed quite a few people in this section. It was the only part of the course where that happened, and pretty much all of them re-passed me later on, but it felt good nonetheless.

    A fairly long section of singletrack going through trees and slightly up and down followed. Although the trails themselves were great – narrow, twisty, lots of rolling up and down and tree-dodging – I didn’t much enjoy them during the race. I was in the middle of a long line of riders and instead of having fun I was concentrating on riding fast to stay on the rear wheel of the rider in front of me, ready to dodge out of their way if they went down (some did). I was also keenly aware of the frustration of some of the riders behind me that wanted to move up the line, and part of my attention was devoted to figuring out if the person immediately behind me wanted to pass and giving them room to do so if warranted. Passing was tough with the narrow trails and there were some riders near the rear of the pack yelling for the front people to hurry up. I wanted to pass some guys too at times, but it took ages to find wide spots long enough to get by, and some of them weren’t very polite about allowing faster riders pass. My legs just didn’t have the power to accelerate hard enough to pass in a short distance. I’d really like to go back to Angwin and re-ride that section without being in a race.

    Eventually, the faster riders got ahead of me, I got ahead of the slower riders, we were all somewhat spread out on the trails, and life became a bit more relaxed.

    I had one exciting sequence when trying to pass on steep downhill fireroads. I was right next to the person I was passing when all of a sudden my rear wheel locked up. My bike fishtailed all over the place while I tried to come to a stop. A stick had jammed my drivetrain. The person I had been going to pass, along with a couple others, whizzed by while I pulled out the stick, looked for anything broken, and got the chain back on. Back on the bike and going down another steep stretch of fireroad, I caught up with the same rider I had tried to pass before. This time I hit a patch of mud while next to them and almost crashed again. They laughed at me, and said my close calls were signs I shouldn’t pass them.

    At some point after about an hour and a half of racing I realized I was running out of steam. Previously I had been breathing hard on the uphills but my legs had felt strong. Now they were turning into wet noodles. Of course, it was shortly after I noticed this that I hit the section of interminable steep uphills.

    These were interminable. And steep. And uphill. I don’t like them, and never want to see them again.

    I’d get into granny gear, pedal up as far as I could, passing some walkers along the way. Then I’d stop and try to catch my breath as the people I had just passed walked by me. Then I’d push to the top of the section, get back on the bike and start pedaling again, only to repeat the process. I was overheating as well. My body started feeling tingly. I ran out of water. The only good thing about this part of the race was that I was going at about the same overall speed with some other riders and we could all commiserate and encourage each other.

    That section finally ended and the rest of the climbs were gentler. It was a good thing, too, because I struggled with even the gentlest slope at that point. Volunteers at a couple of water stations told me I was almost done. I didn’t believe them – the race had been advertised as a couple miles longer than it turned out to be – but the water they provided helped me quite a bit.

    When I hit the section of trail that I’d traveled at the beginning of the race (the course was like a short-stemmed lollipop, with the stem part traveled at both the beginning and end) I was very happy. The race had long since ceased to be fun. I just wanted to end it as soon as possible, and pedaled with all the strength I had left. My leg started cramping up just as I crossed the finish line, which I guess is perfect timing, if there is such a thing as a perfect time for cramping.

    I got 16 out of 21 in the men’s sport 30-34 class, which is actually better than I expected. The winner finished over 32 minutes ahead of me, so I don’t think there’s a chance in hell I’ll ever come close to the front of the sport field. The rest of the day I was a zombie. I mostly sat as still as death, with occasional slow shambles toward food. Knowing how I felt with gears, I’m doubly impressed by CHUM’s SS effort.

    While I can’t say that I enjoyed the race itself, I did like hanging out with the racers, sitting on the grass eating and watching the “raffle” after the race, and CHUM, WhuGmit and Velocipus are a great group with which to go to a race, so it was a fun day overall.
    This is no time for levity. - Oliver Hardy

  16. #16
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    non-race report

    I was smart enough to give up racing many years ago after a really bad crash at a Lake Berryessa race (anyone remember those?) That was until last year.
    The NVDC, then the Rumpstomper (specialized, please don't sue) was my first ever race in '92... also the very first time I wore lycra (Jake, owner of St. Helena Cyclery was getting tools out of his shop to help racers... I cornered him and made him sell me some shorts) and the second time ever wearing a bicycle helmet (styrofoam Bell with netted blue and flo yellow cover).
    I burned through a rear Ritchey WCS tire in 20+ miles on that course! It started a long tradition of me racing local races and having a blast doing it.
    I have been riding the course since I was a wee lad. first on motocross, then self propelled. I knew every inch of those trails. why I even cut the grueling climb out of Pope Valley the first year I raced a SS there. I had three flats in the first 5 miles. I fixed the last one, gave up and went to blow bowls in the bushes. When I spotted some SSers coming, I jumped on board just to ride with them to the finish. I out sprinted my pal Cameron after he had just climbed Anguish to take third. I had to explain to the race director that it didn't count.

    fast forward 2005...
    I raced NVDC last year on an aluminum hardtail. I sandbagged because it was my first race in more than 10 years and I wanted to podium.... no such luck. I was so exhausted at the end I just fell over and laid there when I couldn't unclip due to the mud.

    This year I made a deal with a frame builder that if he could get my frame done and we buil tthe bike I would race. I found myself in a shop in Napa on saturday putting together the purtiest bike I've ever sat my butt on. I got back to Berkeley and gave the bike the once over. As luck would have it, the rear brake hose failed and shot DOT 4 all over my landlord's harwood floors

    I did not race Sunday.

    However, I had the oppurtunity to show MTNBecky the best vantage point for spectating, show some racers what the "whoop-te-doos" are and spin around on my purty new bike with only a front brake (note to Dan51.. I was wearing my helmet )
    I also got to feel what it is like to use my butt/ inner thigh as a brake on a really steep hill (not fun). All in all, a good time was had.
    Plim has not had a great race yet this year despite doing well in his class.
    Chum would rather do the NVDC on a SS than poke cactus needles in his eye
    WhuGmit crashes a lot.

    I was blessed to get to hang out with a great group of folk and cheer them on as they suffered.. I mean raced.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
    3.14159265358979323846…
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    Not every one was having a good time, but Jenny was.


    1. Jenny having too much fun
    2. Plim i sready for one more lap.
    3. Chum... toooo fast to catch on film
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
    dude with orange car
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    Those were the first pics I've seen of the race. Thanks, Dennis!
    This is no time for levity. - Oliver Hardy

  19. #19
    zon
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    Great pix, great writeup, thanks!

  20. #20
    Groveland Trail Heads
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    Cool pix and write up.

    The owner of my LBS got 2nd in the xc clydesdales. He also placed 2nd in the same class at Sea Otter this year Congrats to Mike Colombani - Scotts Valley CycleSport
    My beat box is bumpin' and my rhymes are fresh...
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  21. #21
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    Hey guys, anybody know where i can find some pictures of this awesome race? Congrats to everybody who finished! It was tough and fun! yeeha! Can't wait for next year!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipus
    However, I had the oppurtunity to show MTNBecky the best vantage point for spectating, show some racers what the "whoop-te-doos" are...I was blessed to get to hang out with a great group of folk and cheer them on as they suffered.. I mean raced.
    Yo - did anyone get a picture of the Sycip guy coming down this big whoop-te-doo? That was me with a miraculous save, clipped out on the downhill while I launched over those rocks. Landed it on my seat, kind of tilted that saddle to the sky, somehow I kept the rubber side down. All I remember was PANIC and lots of cheering! I was wearing red, race # was 235.

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