Monday, May 05, 2008

NYC hustle & flow comp

What is it? The NYCMTB Hustle & Flow Competition took place at the Highbridge trails in upper Manhattan. The same trails we did a cross country race at last year. It was a relay race with a rider in just about every bicycling discipline: cross country, downhill, road, super D and dirt jumping.

Friday night was spent at the Ghostship headquarters. Getting up at 4am and meeting up with the rest of our team was easier that way.

Suburban and bike trailer are packed. We're on the road! What a unique drive down I95 into Manhattan. Sketchy at times but thank goodness it was super early in the morning. We got to the trails around 7:30 or 8am. Bikes out of the trailer and we're rolling around looking for the start/finish.

Pete and Mike are up at the dirt jumps enjoying themselves and after a few minutes Pete comes up short and face plants. Glasses shatter and he's knocked out cold in the dirt. We all rushed up there to the dirt jump park and the ambulance was called. A local, Aaron, was shooting photos and caught the sequence:

Stevil Kinevil, over at Swobo has named this one "nap time":

Needless to say, Pete was shaken up for a while. He was rushed to the hospital for some CAT scans and the like thanks to the huge concussion he incurred. Sometimes you're doing well and other times you just come up short. It sthe nature of the beast. I am happy to say Pete is in full recovery and seems to be doing well as I type this (a few weeks later)!

After that painful way to start the morning our team, Team Ghostship, regrouped and reorganized who was doing what. Erik stepped in for Pete. The plan was Doug - cross country, Matt - road, Mike - downhill, Dave - super D and Erik - dirt jump. The XC rider went first. They rode up to the top of the cliffside the trails are at and met up with the dirt jumper. The Dirt jumper would then do a lap on the dirt jumps. When they were done the downhiller went and flew down the DH course back to the bottom (where the XC guy started). Once the DH guy got to the bottom the roadie went mashing the pedals up the paved sidewalk (I recall TimmyD, Sean and Myself hustling up that pavement on lap 1 last year. Near the top TimmyD took off. How he did that when we were all pedaling well over 100rpm I don't know. I do recall Sean and I just looked at each other like "How? WTF?". Haha. good times). When the roadie got to the top of the sidewalk the superD guy would come flying down this new trail (not there in the XC race last year) and he would come out at the finish line (where the XC guy started and the DH guy finished). The team with the fastest combined time wins.

First heat was sometime just before lunch. I rode up the XC loop a few times to get a feel for what its like going up. Last year's cross country race went down this section. Much different having to ride up! We were the fourth or fifth team to go in the first heat. For me, it was a mad sprint down the sidewalk and onto the trail up the cliffside. Pedaling like mad since I had my singlespeed. I was breathing so hard it felt like my heart was going to pop out of my chest. I just did my best to keep the cadence high and roll into the and out of the turns as efficiently as possible. As soon as I got up to the dirt jumps I was able to stop and pretty much fell to the ground. I laid there in the grass near the jumps trying to catch my breathe. I eventually came to and hopped back on the bike to spin around up and down the street to cool off.

Turns out we set the fastest time! Wow. I wasn't expecting that considering how horrible I felt. We had an hour or two to grab some lunch and hang out.

Some of us decided to play around at the bottom of the DH course:

Dave - with a clean X-Up off the last drop.



Seeing as we set the fastest time we got to go last on the final run of the day (run #2 basically). Same as last time except the final run added in the dirt jump loop. That was omitted from the qualifying run. Tensions were high. We wanted to win! We wanted to win because we knew we could and to do it for our boy Pete who was stuck in the hospital at the time.

I'm off to start off the Ghostship team right!

There were two minute gaps between starting riders from each time. Turns out they let the team infront of me go with only a 1 minute gap. Therefore I had a three minute gap on the team infront of me. This didn't affect me at all but little did I realize it was freaking my teammates out. They knew of the 2minute gap but had no idea I went 3minutes after the last team. We're the final team to go. Everyone's wondering if we could set another fast time and we also started slightly later than anyone knew. So, the thoughts were "Did Doug crash? Did something happen to him? We're f'd!"

Needless to say everyone rode just as hard as they normally would despite the stranget thoughts/worries running through everyone's minds.

Mike & Erik on the final run

Mike rolling through the finish of the DH course

the hand-off between Mike & Matt!

Dave finishing up the SuperD. Rumor has it he caught a few riders and passed them in some pretty technical sections. The overall course was so fast that it was very difficult to catch up to the rider infront of you. Put it this way, our overall time was 11minutes and change! Dave's bicycle is an extension of his own body. He is so fluent on a bicycle it is insane!

Some of the trail-side attractions:

So, what happened? We won! That's right. Our final run was only 8sec slower than our first (with the dirt jump added!). Turns out I had the longest stretch with a 5min 8sec duration on the seeding run. I beat that time by one second on the final run. The final run I actually felt stronger and was breathing better. I missed the fastest XC time by 6sec (fastest was 5:01). I did have the fastest XC time on the seeding run. The closest team to touch it was 7sec behind!

Both Matt and Dave did better on the final runs 2:10 vs 2:12 and 2:32 vs 2:50 respectively. Mike was consistent with the DH all day (exactly 1 minute). Mike was second fastest DH time of the day loosing to none other than World Cup downhiller Jurgen Beneke (1min -vs- 57sec). Not too shabby Mike! Well respected! Erik also set the fastest time on the dirt jumps with 29sec!

All in all, Ghostship Clothing had a wonderful day!

Some fun was had afterwards:

While everyone was playing around and packing up the Surburban and Trailer I hopped onto the train and raced down to Penn Station. Then raced out to NJ to pick up my new Jeep Cherokee. Then raced over to my parent's house to pick up some stuff I had there. Then raced back into Manhattan. Why? The awards ceremony was later on that evening (6pm-ish) at the Knitting Factory. It was coupled with the NYC premier of the new movie called "Seasons" by The Collective. I made it to the awards ceremony as soon as team Ghostship was called up to accept their awards. Tons of swag! Thanks Jamie Bogner and the crew at NYCMTB! Another quality event with top-notch supporters and sponsors!

There are some awesome photos here:


Blogger sean said...

ahem. ahem.... been a day or two now. :)

i was really torn between working a shit ton of ot or going to this race. conditions looked perfect on a killer course.

5/12/2008 7:06 PM  
Blogger skullhead said...

Man...I should just have you write up the Gship race reports from now on! Well done!

5/15/2008 1:48 AM  

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