Riding Bikes in 2011

Lots of time on 2 wheels, no broken bones, and lots of good times. 2011 has been a good year of riding, and after a crazy event this weekend, it seems like a good time to summarize a few things.


At the track, FM:Race held our own, even as people got injured, moved out of the country, and were just slacking. We were able to snag 2nd place team out of 28 teams, and our top A racer Brian Tester won Rider of the Year, getting more points than anyone else at the Dick Lane Velodrome in 2011. I finished in 19th place, and we had a few other people scattered through the top 30 placings. This year, Jason Atwood and I raced in almost all of the "Madison" events and did pretty well. Winning one on April 20, and not getting lapped too many times in 7 others. Jason is out of state at grad school now, so we weren't able to do the last few. Track racing has been a lot of fun, but it's also a huge time sink for the amount of 'saddle time' (4 hours every wednesday with 1 hour on the bike) and I got hurt due to actions of other people a bit too much for my taste. Mountain biking is what I enjoy doing the most, so track racing is going to take a back seat next year for other things.


New for this year, I've done a handful of cyclocross races. Cyclocross bikes are basically road bikes with weird geometries, less effective brakes, and slightly knobbier tires used for riding around in grass and parking lots. Pretty ridiculous, but there was a great deal on a bike on the internet so I figured I would give it a shot. After a handful of races, I'm still not sure if it's fun, but I figure I should give something super crazy like Southern Cross a try before deciding if this bike is a keeper or not. So far I'm 29th out of 170 for the season, and FM:Race is in 7th of 139 teams.


The vast majority of my road biking this year was the weekly FM:Race Training Ride, a terrible hill climbing ride that I try and add a few more hills to every year. This will continue in 2012 with a few small changes. I also did a few 100 mile rides, and I'll probably do a few more of those in 2012. But then, sometime last week, Strava announced the Turkey Takeoff: Ride 250 miles in a 5-day period over Thanksgiving weekend. For some reason, I decided that this was a good idea to do and came up with a plan of attack. After my ~7 mile commute on Wednesday, I was running a little behind schedule. Thanksgiving morning, with perfect weather, I rode to Stone Mountain and did 2 laps. I've done this route more times than I can count and it get's pretty boring, but it was an easy way to grab 41 miles. Then it was off to Thanksgiving dinner. Friday morning at 6:30am, full of turkey, I picked up Stafford and we headed to the start of the Silver Comet to head towards Anniston, AL. It was supposed to be 48F as the sun barely rose above the horizon, but ended up being 33F to start, and as we rolled westward we struggled to keep warm and stay positive. 2 hours in it finally passed 40F and we started to have a better time. We crossed the Georgia/Alabama border and started down the Chief Ladiga trail, and at Piedmont, AL we'd been riding for close to 5 hours. Based on some rough math, we figured that if we turned back, we could make it back to Smyrna, GA and the car by the time the sun went down. Our original goal was to get all the way to Anniston, but that would have us riding for 2+ hours after sunset in the freezing cold which neither of us was really prepared for. I scarfed down a bag of Doritos from a gas station and we headed back. Once back in Georgia, the mile markers slowly ticked down, and we made it back as the sun was setting with 149 miles and 9 hours of riding time behind us. (more photos) I was planning to take Saturday off and finish up the 250 miles on Sunday, but the forcast for Sunday called for rain so Jim, Bob, Federico, and I met up at 9:30 am on Saturday to squeeze in the last 50+ miles. I led the way, doing a combination of routes pretty familiar to me and making some random turns as well. It's touch to fit in 53 miles without a plan, but we pulled it of in one of the craziest intown routes that I've done. 250.9 miles in 4 days. Not bad! I was the 10th person to finish the Turkey Takeoff, and it looks like more people will be finishing throughout the day today.


Per my plan, 2011 was full of mountain biking. I spent a week mountain biking in Colorado with Jason, and Jason and I did the entire Chainbuster Racing 6-hour 2-person race series. More details about that on the FM:Race blog: Chainbuster Series Finale. Much more important than racing is just mountain biking with friends, and this year was pretty successful. I took my college friend Dave up to Stanley Gap for his first ride in the North Georgia mountains; Bob and I continued to boldly go and explore new places like Rock Hawk and Tanasi; I got CBQ and Mike from Highgroove on mountain bikes, quickly moving up from Atlanta Beach to Blankets Creek to Mulberry Gap; And it's looking like I will have done over 30 tuesday night "Dirty Mustache" mountain bike rides this year with anywhere from 4 to 15 people.

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