Rants on Cycling and on Life


a few words about the Rocky Mountain IF Cross Team
with mention of my old buddy Tim
tim's blog
guess this could have been tagged onto my IF section bellow
it just did not happen that way

NCVC: Cross Bike Charity Raffle
NCVC is raffling off a Cannondale Cross bike
in conjunction with the Ed Sanders Cross Race
this money goes to the Ed Sanders scholarship fund
get your tickets now
as they are only selling 300!

ncvc jerseys and shorts


Currently Undefeated
lately Dean and I have been playing Candy Land and Chuttes and Ladders
Dean is currently undefeated
not many lessons on winning and losing here
not many lessons on being a good loser
tonight Lisa is joining us for a game
had to call in the big guns
hopefully she has better luck than me

and if I am lucky
Dean will ask Lisa to read to him... as a change
that will let me put my feet up


(izzy is a dog)



after several attempts to be clever and cute I have decided to just spit it out
there is no real drama
no aliens attacking from above
no snakes attacking from bellow
no grandious descriptions of screaming down the downhills
nor do I drag on about how the climbs dragged on for me... well maybe a little
I will just try to give a synopsis of the race and the events that surround the SM100

Race Report: The Shenandoah Mountain 100 (2005)

An early season injury caused a bit of a set back
crashing on the first rock in my first race of the season lead to surgery to correct a broken and dislocated index finger
at the point of the injury I estimated my return date... there was big hope for the 24 Hours of Big Bear
that was a big let down as I was no where near ready for the fun
then there was the notion of returning to Michaux for another try
although I was riding by that time... my had did not offer the control or confidence to duke it out with the tombstone size rocks of Gettysburg PA
so my riding and racing moved along slowly
while I was still trying to get into a groove other riders and racers were starting to peak
as the summer started to close I looked at my base miles and realized that I had not done any distance to speak of
a little more than two months off the bike left me feeling less than confident
the last time I had ridden a hundred miles was the SM100 the year prior
then again the time before that SM100 where I rode a hundred miles was the SM100 two years prior to that
so, it is not vital for someone to do hundred mile training rides to do a hundred mile race
but... a few 40 or 60 mile days would certainly help
there had been no 40 or 60 mile rides in my recent memory
nothing but my post work rides... most of which never go longer than 60 minutes

as the race sign up came closer and closer to closing I was still on the fence
my deciding factor was the knowledge that it would a painful day if I were away from the race
how could I be elsewhere wondering..... how would I have done? would I have finished?
there is a pigheadedness in me that had me.... I did not want to chicken out
I knew that I would have a sickness in my stomach if it were Labor Day weekend and I was not racing my bike in Stokesville VA
so... I signed up... making me fully commited... making me an actual chicken if I did not race... feathers and all

so.... signed up for the race with no time for training I developed a plan
braced myself for the dreaded DNF
offered myself an exit
having raced this event twice before I felt that there was no need to hurt myself trying to prove anything
on race day I would go out hard and see where things took me
knowing there would be misery, but accepting that if things got to be absurd I could cash in my chips at the nearest check point... adopt the role of volunteer... and eat my race entry fee worth of Swedish Fish

when I spoke of this race to people there was always an asterick telling them my doubts

with a blink of an eye the week had ended and so had the summer
Labor Day weekend had arrive and so did the SM100 race weekend

on Saturday morning after some Ashtanga Yoga I loaded up my car and put my geared Karate Monkey on the new Thule roof rack
then drove cross town to pick up my brother
we spent the three hour drive to Stokesville trying to resolve the world's problems
that and retelling the same set of stories about high school that we tell each other every time we go on a road trip
once at the race my anxiety did not settle any
it was good to see so many familiar faces
many of these faces I had seen heading out on training rides or returning from training rides as I was putting my kids in the car or taking my dogs for a walk

my confidence as a cyclist was weak
my confidence in completion of this event was also low
I tried to instill a positive attitude
mantras moved through my head.... "I am a mountainbiker... I am a mountainbiker... I am a mountainbiker"

the night before the race has a wonderful flurry of activity
people running around throwing up their tents and trying to tune up their bikes
my wife came up with our older son Dean to try and join in on some of the fun
four year old Dean was fueled by the energy of the moment
Lisa seemed to enjoy the festival atmosphere and did not seem to mind watching Dean
as her husband ending up running around like a chicken with its head cut off
odd... thought I arrived in an effort not to be a chicken
ending up being a chicken just the same

the pasta feast was a flavorful gathering
like one big family getting together for dinner
familiar faces were coming out of the woodwork
races carbo loaded both pasta and beer
anxiety continued to build

I could not sleep nor could Dean... we each tossed and turned in the tent
only to wake with the sound of "the gong"
somehow I woke well rested

knowing that the coffee was brewed in limited quantities I wasted no time getting to the pavillian
trying to steal an extra wink was not an option

in no time breakfast moved to suiting up.... suiting up for a team picture moved to grabbing the bike... which then became the line up for the start

I lined up with a great number of Orange and Red City Bikes jerseys
as we slowly started the race I rolled past Lisa and Dean
it was a joy to see part of my family there to support me
Dean looked at me with such pride
he had a wide smile and a gleam in his eye
an image I kept with me the whole race
an image that carried me through some long climbs
an image I can see now.... his blue fleece pjs.... his hipster hat with fire and flames.... and that face
the happy healthy smile with a sparkle in his eyes

the race is all a blur now
never knowing the names of the climbs or the names of the descents I can not tell you how I felt where
was pleased that I did not crash
felt like I may have been a tad over cautious at points to avoid any repeats of crashes from last year
tried to race smart
fast and steady on the downhills... fast but not furious
smart not screaming

on the long stretches of flat between the climbs and on the climbs themselves I worked hard to get in some good breathing
worked on smiling
worked on positive thoughts
spend a good deal of time thinking of my 19 month old son Grant and the things he does
those cute little things that make him unique
those cute little things that make me brag about him in the work place
then I fixated on that image of Dean's wide closed smile and sparkling blue eyes at the start
the check points and the miles rolled by

there were two points in the race that really damaged me.... the distance between check point 4 and check point 5.... and another place I can not describe as I do not know the name
points where some used their "granny gear"
while I found it more efficient to work other muscles and march along side my bike

durning the race I tried not to watch the clock
tried to spend more time listening to my body
never did my body say... "lets quit"
there were a few times where my body said.... "I Hate Climbing"
then at Check Point 5 I got great pleasure from looking at the cute volunteer with the shirt that said, "Pavement Sucks!"
the words on the shirt were funny too....
after check point five things did not get any easier
climbing at two hundred and thirty pound is not easy
knowing that I was in fact going to finish this race after all my doubts gave me great energy
throughout the race I was able to ride with an assortment of friends

sections were shared with Pat Riggins and his IF Single Speed... chased City Bikes Team Captain Brian Pooche down the first downhill.... there was a point early in the race where I followed what appeared to be a City Bikes Pace line.... but such roadie tactics confuse me so I monitored from a tad behind.... there was some serious cat and mouse/yo-yo about with Larry Camp.... a repeat of the year prior... it was a great day

the weather was an amazing contributing factor to me being able to do this race with such pleasure
the cool breeze may have been the wind in my face at points
it beats over heating and passing out

in the end I rolled through the Finishline to be greeted by Chris Scott with the scale in hand
shockingly I was the first Clydesdale to cross the line (the next two Clydesdales were just minutes behind me)

it was a great feeling coming across the line
a feeling that gave me a feeling as if I could still ride my bike for a few miles
I did not test that feeling

to my shock I finished 101 out of 350 racers
beyond that I managed to finish this year 20 minutes faster than the year prior
it was a pleasant surprize
a great feeling considering I had considered not racing and had braced myself for the dreaded DNF

I was beyond satisfied with my performance
there was relief along with the satisfaction
but there was elation
there was pride
I felt proud
my mantra was true... "I am a mountainbiker"

the thing about this event...
it is not all about the race
it is about the whole weekend
there is something great about the early start that has people come the day before
there is the meal that is provided
the pre-race meeting at the pavillion
the camping and the comaradirie
then after the race there is more of the same
with the kegs flowing and the sore legs many people opt to stay the night of the race
continueing the family feeling as racers gather for another meal together and yes... MORE BEER
the whole experience is amazing
a pinicle mountainbike experience for all who are involved
a memory created that people will hold for years to come

this race becomes part of the people who participate
and not just for the racers
there are mountainbikers who volunteer year after year
some racers race one year.... volunteer the next... then swap back
others volunteer year after year
there is more to this event then going around a set course
it is about people coming together

thanks again to Chris Scott, his staff, and all the volunteers

some pics
some old pics
some pics to come

jack looney photography
(some great shots that can be purchased through SHUTTERFLY)

an Independent Fabrication Anecdote:
at the Shenandoah Mountain 100...
on one of the climbs I was passing someone wearing an IF Jersey, IF shorts, and riding an IF single speed
in an effort to pass the time I started in on some small talk
asked him if he had seen the CNN special called TURNAROUND with IF

he said he was on it

that was pretty much the end of our exchange

I checked out his name plate as I continued up the climb



IF Roster


this is very odd
I wonder if it will spread into my system?
FYXOMATOSIS: the Trackbike disease
has me thinking of the bike I want to build
some of the short cycling related films I want to make
(with the time I do not have)

my track bike frame was a "hook up" from and old friend; C. Bennet Moore
Bennet is a cyclist who should blog or write a book
he has more stories and more anecdotes than anyone I know
he is making more stories by the day
his list of "greatest hits" would certainly entertain any and all cyclists
he has toured the the world on his bike
he has raced and trained both road and mountain
he spent some time in Guatemala as part owner of a mountainbike tour company
and as the shop manager of the Old Town Alexandria Big Wheel Bikes he has a cast of characters that roll through that would make a reality television show with the same flavor as Jesco the Dancing Outlaw!

The Day After Tomorrow
this weekend's 100 mile off road race did many things for me
one thing that brought me great pleasure was to distracte me from how messed up the world is...
that did not last long
after the race when speaking with City Bikes/IF rider Swampy I was reminded of the situation down south due to a hurricane and some poor planning
Swampy has family in the New Orleans area... luckily they are all okay
after a short discussion about the impact of thise storm and the future of New Orleans and the surrounding areas my focus was able to drift off the aftermath of Katrina back to the race
but the night of my return HBO hit me with a brutal blow.... they aired the film THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
it was nothing shy of brutal
more brutal than a 100 mile mountainbike race
it came as a harbinger
my mood returned to a somber one
this morning the high from the mountainbike race was tainted by the depression of reality
it was a great 100 mile escape
but back to fearing the future
the replacement of another judge did not help with my outlook of the future

it is hard to turn on the news
it is hard to turn off the news

The Shenandoah Mountain 100
so much to BLOG about as it is a race weekend that spans a spectrum of experiences and emotions
last year I drove up with fellow City Bikes Mountainbike Team member Joe Foley and his friend (now my friend as well) Jason
these two racers approached this race with some major intensity
last year their goal was completion
this year they built upon last year's goal
each of them rode fast and hard destroying their times from last year
check out the tales of the tape (the results)
check out their individual reports
Jason Crash and Burn
Joe Foley
both are sensational stories.... exactly what this event and this sport is about

I saw Joe throughout the race
he was riding high with a great smile on his face
rolling into each check point with a grand smile on his face
a smile that reflected that all the miles on the bike had paid off

a few other reports
another City Biker; Matt Donahue
(who maintained intensity... not letting two flats prevent him from meeting his goals)
lets see what JoeyP has to say.... he has some great images from the SSWC

on another note...
got to meet Gorilla on a Bike... he was volunteering working the grill.... Gorilla on the Grill
great to meet him in person
glad to see he is recovering from a knee injury
glad to see he was out experiencing the event
will be happy to be racing against him next year at this event!
(if not at this event... perhaps at another... as volunteering is as vital to the experience as riding or racing)

as for me...
I achieved my goals....
no goal to beat last year's time
my goal was to finish
well... my goal was to go out strong and see how I felt
finish if I felt strong
managed to beat last year's time by roughly 20 minutes... SHOCKER
101 our of 350.... not bad
managed to squeeze out friend and fellow Clydesdale Chris Redlack to maintain the Clydesdale top finisher at the SM100 two years in a row

the City Bikes Team had a large showing at the event
and a number of great finishes
was fun to see so many Orange and Red jerseys out hammering together
(joe foley was the black sheep in his wool black city bikes jersey)

Nick Daniels takes a dive
comes out okay
not preffy
but okay

jack looney photos at SHUTTERFLY

Thanks Shenandoah Mountain 100-
thanks to Chris Scott, Chris' mom, Chris' girlfriend, all those who work for Shenandoah Mountain Touring, and all those that volunteered

this is a great race
this is a great event

this whole experience is a phenomenal addition to the East Coast mountainbike culture

it makes us better riders

it makes us better people
it makes many of us better friends

in some ways it makes us one big family
we all meet together to eat

we set up camp and sleep along side of each other
we endure those that snore in the tent beside us

we race and ride together
then we all celebrate together

our triumphs and our failures are all shared

another great race

another great ride

thanks to all that made this possible