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  1. #1
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    Downieville DH & XC Report

    Downieville DH
    The DH race started for me back in April when the race registration opened. I already knew that my wife and kids would be out of town this weekend so I was a free man! I’m sure some of you that have ridden with me are wondering why I wimp like me would sign up for a DH race. Well the simple answer is I have nothing better to do the day before the XC race! The DH course is long, very long, and has a lot of sections that requires pedaling and good fitness, this played to my strengths. Last year the winning time for the pros was about 38 minutes and for my class 45+ it was about 50 minutes.
    I had a nasty crash on the MTB back in May and have been spending 90% of my time on my road bike since then, so I knew I needed to get some practice runs and work on my MTB skills, so I did a pre ride last weekend. When I hit the first trail, Butcher Ranch, I was so tentative! I felt really uncomfortable on the loose rocks and there is one section that I actually got off and walked ( the dried out rocky waterfall). I couldn’t help to ask what I was thinking when I signed up for this race! I suck at this! Well, it’s still a long way down the hill. I started to get a little more comfortable and take some chances. As I got to the 3rd and 1st divide trail I started to feel more comfortable and got to hit some of the sections with some pedaling at a hard pace, that felt great.
    The next obstacle for the race was Tires. I have used the Stan’s No Tubes for years and have had no problems, until this week. My WTB Mutanno raptor worked perfect up front. I tried one on the rear only to find out it does not fit on my bike. Next try, Pannaracer Cinder, fills up fine, went for a ride no problem, then the got a flat and had no more sealant in the tire. Brought it by the LBS, they put in a few scoops and it seals great. Put the tire in the back of my car and on the drive home here a loud BAM!!! Snipers?? No my tire blew off the rim and there was a white milky substance all over the back of the car, windows etc!!!!! I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Next, I thought I would try a Kenda tire. My friend Chuck let me borrow his, it sealed great, I went back to work, 2 hours later there was no air in it. That’s it…I give up, I’m going toYes Tubes for the rear and using the Cinder, this is no fun anymore.
    DH RACE DAY
    My start time was around 12:30pm. I missed a turn and get lost on my drive up to the Start at Packer Saddle. When I finally arrived I dressed as fast I could and had enough time for a brief warm up. The guy who was running the start is a friend of mine, Chris; it was funny to have someone I ride with running the show. Anyway, Chris gave me the count down 5 4 3 2 1 GO!!!!!!!!!!!! Kind of reminded me of the Skiers in the Olympics. Off I went down the Butcher ranch trail. I did my best to go fast but stay in control and most important NO CRASHING!



    After a few minutes a guy in full body armor flew by me like I was standing still…yikes. I kept my focus then to my surprise I passed a couple riders! Yeah baby was moving now. By the time I got to 3rd divide I was in my zone and was happy to see plenty of riders off the side of the trail with flats! Finished 3rd divide and hit 1st divide, the trail that is mostly flat and has lots of pedaling. I went balls passed a few more racers, and finished with a time of 54:11, not super fast but respectable and good enough for the final spot on the podium, 5th place!

    XC RACE
    This is my 4th time doing the XC race. The previous 3 races I have had a MAJOR cramping attack right after I crossed through Pauley Creek. Last year I spent almost 10 minutes waiting for the cramps to subside so I could get on with the race. Given my history, and they have tried just about everything, I had very little faith that things would be different this year, even thought I was trying something new, Sportslegs.
    They start all of the Pro’s and experts together so as we started the 8 mile , 3,000 foot climb



    I got passed by a lot of racers, including a few of the pro woman! I was trying to keep in eye out for gray hair to see if anyone looked like they were over 45. 5 minutes in to the climb I knew I did not feel great today. I was suffering and so was my attitude. I wonder if this is what it was like for Floyd Landis? I kept an eye on my time to make sure to take the 2nd dose of Sportslegs at 1/2hour in to the race. After taking the 2nd dose I kept on climbing for another ˝ an hour so till I finally got to the top.
    The downhill from the summit to Pauley Creek is full of loose rocks and baby heads.



    I thought I was going at a pretty good pace till a guy flew by me…on a Hardtail! Dang! I tried to just relax and ride at my pace through all the technical stuff. Finally I arrived in one piece to Pauley Creek, the scene of the last years of massive cramping. I rode through, with the cold water hitting my already tired and throbbing legs. When I cleared the creek I waited for the inevitable….but no, my legs did not cramp!! I had a huge grin and let out a loud yeah! This changes everything! I was totally fired up now to get down the hill and have a good finish. I continued to have a few riders pass me and I passed a few riders as well. On the last climb up 3rd divide I started to get just a little Cramping so I downed a few Tums and the cramps went away. On my way down the fast section of 3rd divide I noticed the pre race favorite to win my class fixing a flat. Things were really starting to look good now! He is MUCH faster then me so I knew I had to go all out to the finish or I could get caught.



    I proceeded to 1st divide like a bat of hell, passed a few racers. I was totally out of water and spitting dust, but the finish was oh so close. I can drink later! Finally I finished 1st divide and it was all pavement to the finish line. I locked out my front fork and hit as hard as I could. I could already see 5 racers ahead of me. I had no idea if they were in my class but I didn’t care I was going all out to the finish! One of the racers was a local racer who I know on a singlespeed so I gave him some sh*t as I passed. I caught the remaining 4 and passed them, then hit the finish line, Finish time :2:25, 5 minutes faster then last year, good enough for 2nd place!



    Here I am trash talking the guy who beat me!



    If you have ever had issues with cramping try Sportlegs!! I can’t say enough good things about this product!!!!!!!!

    THanks to Scott (jorgemonkey) for the race pic's!

    Thanks again to all my sponsors….oh yeah I don’t have and sponsors!
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  2. #2
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    nice i was there last weekend(as in the one before the race) we were with the guy who broke his hip.Everone seemed to know when we got back to town. i was the the one of a black kingfisher and gray full face.
    good job on the race!!

  3. #3
    i worship Mr T
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    you go Rick!! nice job.

    i am definitely going to have to give Sportslegs a try....my last race was cramp city. but, despite that turned out pretty well....race rept should be up tomorrow.

    congrats again!

    rt
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  4. #4
    Savvy?
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    Congrats on the great results, Merlin! Good write-up too.
    That which does not kill me, postpones the inevitable.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by *rt*
    you go Rick!! nice job.

    i am definitely going to have to give Sportslegs a try....my last race was cramp city. but, despite that turned out pretty well....race rept should be up tomorrow.

    congrats again!

    rt
    Thanks *rt, let me know how the Sportslegs works for you and don't forget to take the 2nd dose if the race lasts longer then 1 hour. Drop me an e-mail if you have any questions.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    Thanks *rt, let me know how the Sportslegs works for you and don't forget to take the 2nd dose if the race lasts longer then 1 hour. Drop me an e-mail if you have any questions.
    I think I asked you this already? What's your protocol for using them

    I've been trying taking 3- 1 hr before the ride/event

    1 ever hour if the ride lasts more than 2hrs. I weigh 135lbs.

    I've been taping pills on the stem with electrical tape. Where do put yours?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinearl
    I think I asked you this already? What's your protocol for using them

    I've been trying taking 3- 1 hr before the ride/event

    1 ever hour if the ride lasts more than 2hrs. I weigh 135lbs.

    I've been taping pills on the stem with electrical tape. Where do put yours?
    I went to there booth at the NORBA champioship race and asked the same question. I got a bunch of the free sample packs, there are 5 in each pack, and the pack is perfect for a race. So to answer your question, I take 3, 1 hour before the race, then 5 ( 1 sample pack) about 30-45 minutes in to the race. You want to take the 2nd dose about an hour before you think you would start to cramp. Hope that helps
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    I went to there booth at the NORBA champioship race and asked the same question. I got a bunch of the free sample packs, there are 5 in each pack, and the pack is perfect for a race. So to answer your question, I take 3, 1 hour before the race, then 5 ( 1 sample pack) about 30-45 minutes in to the race. You want to take the 2nd dose about an hour before you think you would start to cramp. Hope that helps
    5-woah. I need to try that in a training ride. the one problem with the pill form factor is getting them down in a race situation. That was what I didn't like about Endurolytes. I wonder if they'll ever come out with a liquid form factor.

    Thanks
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinearl
    5-woah. I need to try that in a training ride. the one problem with the pill form factor is getting them down in a race situation. That was what I didn't like about Endurolytes. I wonder if they'll ever come out with a liquid form factor.

    Thanks
    thats what I said to Sportslegs folks I only weight 155. If you look at whats in them, you can't OD. Order some of the sample packs, there perfect for taking pills during a race , I've done it 2 times now. This what I'm talking about
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  10. #10
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    Nice work Merlin. I've gotta get out there for the Downieville classic one of these years. I think I'd do both the DH and XC too. Being the wimpy poser that I am, I'd use different bikes for each though. Way to go.

    Question on the Sports Legs: What about longer events. Do you take another five every hour? I've got a 10 hour (hopefully less this year) 100K event coming up at the end of the month. Cramps were a problem about 6-7 hours in. I was using Endurolites 2 every hour and the cramps never became debilitating.... but if something would vanquish them all together I'm all for it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    Nice work Merlin. I've gotta get out there for the Downieville classic one of these years. I think I'd do both the DH and XC too. Being the wimpy poser that I am, I'd use different bikes for each though. Way to go.

    Question on the Sports Legs: What about longer events. Do you take another five every hour? I've got a 10 hour (hopefully less this year) 100K event coming up at the end of the month. Cramps were a problem about 6-7 hours in. I was using Endurolites 2 every hour and the cramps never became debilitating.... but if something would vanquish them all together I'm all for it.
    You do not need 2 bikes! It's not that technical, I used a Blur XC.
    In regards to the Sportlegs, I would ask them but I would assume to need to take it every hour. 100k? Too long for me
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanL
    Congrats on the great results, Merlin! Good write-up too.
    Thanks Sean!
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  13. #13
    bi-winning
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    That sounds like a super fun weekend of racing. Congrats on the podium finish.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


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  14. #14
    hooked on quack
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    I did a 12 hour solo last week(cut short to 7:15hr because of storms), and took 4 of them every other lap(55ish min laps) to simplify things. For XC its 4 one hour before the start, and 4 more the minute before going to the line. Edit:I also take 4 one hour before warmup. Thats 12 total for 1 XC race.

    Been using them for 6-7 races now and find them to be effective at reducing cramps, recovery between efforts(clearing of lactic acid), and after workout recovery.
    Last edited by Duckman; 08-01-2006 at 04:12 PM.

  15. #15
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    Hilarious!

    Must have been fun riding a DH race in your full XC gear on a weenie lil XC bike. Ha! just kidding... I do have a hard time imagining YOU actually signing up for a DH, which I associate with 2-10 minute balls-to-the-wall insanity on terrain that looks like a XC course, one that has been nuked. Good work at diversifying! And shoot Rick - 2nd at D-Ville in the XC??? AWESOME! Nice work indeed. Glad to hear you beat back the cramping demons!

    What next? Super-D?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenzx
    Must have been fun riding a DH race in your full XC gear on a weenie lil XC bike. Ha! just kidding... I do have a hard time imagining YOU actually signing up for a DH, which I associate with 2-10 minute balls-to-the-wall insanity on terrain that looks like a XC course, one that has been nuked. Good work at diversifying! And shoot Rick - 2nd at D-Ville in the XC??? AWESOME! Nice work indeed. Glad to hear you beat back the cramping demons!

    What next? Super-D?
    Thanks Glen! And thanks for being one of the people that told me to try Sportslegs
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    You do not need 2 bikes! :
    Well of course I don't need two bikes silly, but I have two bikes so I must justify having two bikes by using them both, right?.... and besides, the 6.6 would be just too perfect for the long Downieville Downhill.... whereas the HH would definitely be the ticket for the XC.

    I'll check Sports Legs site and see if I can get some more info for long efforts.

    Here's the label I found on their site: According to this, it looks like 3.5 tabs (for me) 1 hour before the race and repeat every 2-3 hours.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by KRob; 08-01-2006 at 06:38 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    That sounds like a super fun weekend of racing. Congrats on the podium finish.
    Thanks rkj! It was a long fun weekend, I'm still recovering!
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  19. #19
    jrm
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    What a great story..

    [And congrats..
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  20. #20
    NedwannaB
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    U dah Myan Rick!

    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    I caught the remaining 4 and passed them, then hit the finish line, Finish time :2:25, 5 minutes faster then last year, good enough for 2nd place!



    Thanks again to all my sponsors….oh yeah I don’t have and sponsors!
    Great job Rick. My buddy Mike (stoom) got himself into some major carnage while in the big ring on the downhill fire road section before hitting the pavement heading to the finish!!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47
    Great job Rick. My buddy Mike (stoom) got himself into some major carnage while in the big ring on the downhill fire road section before hitting the pavement heading to the finish!!
    Ouch!!!!!!! I thought I saw him on the Shuttle after the race, when we got off he just limped away and I never had a chance to say hi.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  22. #22
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    Way to go Rick. Very impressive results!

    I wonder if Sportslegs are a PED, banned by the UCI?

  23. #23
    2012 Race: April 28th!
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    Great result Rick! I didn't know you'd crashed, glad you're back on the dirt!
    www.shastalemurian.com!!

  24. #24
    NedwannaB
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    Yaah, what he said!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemurian Guy
    Great result Rick! I didn't know you'd crashed, glad you're back on the dirt!
    Like Ron said, why didn't I know about it either??

    Mike got a little busted up, but he's tough being a firefighter and all!!
    Mentioned the doc back in town advised keeping off the bike for a couple weeks with concussion reasons.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47
    Like Ron said, why didn't I know about it either??

    Mike got a little busted up, but he's tough being a firefighter and all!!
    Mentioned the doc back in town advised keeping off the bike for a couple weeks with concussion reasons.
    sounds like he really went down hard
    I crashed on the Big Brothers ride, landed really hard on my chest, bruised ribs and bruised ego I was lucky that i could still ride the roadie but I was off the MTB for 6 weeks. It's tough to get skills back
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

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