Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MoCo Epic Round-up!

I few days ago I posted up about my preparations for the Montgomery County Mountain Bike Epic  Today I thought I'd come out from under the pile of work on my desk and post up how it went.
The MoCo Epic was another great ride this year.  Calling it a ride is actually selling it really short.  It was a full-on mountain bike festival.  There were rides that were epic, yet doable for people of most skill levels, music, beer, food, stunt cycling performances and a great bike expo area.  

I ran into 3 others who rode a long ways to get to the epic.  Jeff rode from Arlington, for 131 miles total, Baler and I rode from different sides of the DC Metropolitan area, but wound up with just short of 140 miles for the day, but Super Dillon took the cake riding around 150 miles for the day to complete the epic.    I saw a lot of single speeders... and Drevil's amazing single speed fat bike, but I didn't see anyone else riding fixie.  My buddy Ben rode the 35 mile route on his unicycle.  Truly awesome. 

The cool thing about the MoCo Epic is that it can be epic for all kinds of cyclists.  There was a time not that many years ago where 25 miles was epic for me.  This event makes it possible for people to challenge themselves and do stuff that they didn't think was possible! 

Quick observation about riding fixie for that kind of mileage... It is a very interesting prospect. One thing I love about the fat front fixie is that the bike just SCREAMS to blast through, up and over things.  On a 137 mile ride with a rolling time of over 12 1/2 hours, I am not able to ride it that way.  My game plan from the get-go was to do enough to make it over the next hill.  I didn't blast up anything.  I rode to survive.... Not a lot of blasting was done.  There were some times where my legs were saying, "Come on!! You can crush this hill!" and I had to hold back a lot.    That isn't easy when my buddy Sean is up the trail churning out a great pace up a hill!  I did make it home, but there wasn't much left in the tank.  Luckily two of the aid stations were still open on the way home and I got to top-off on gummi bears.  

I can't begin to thank the volunteers and organizers enough for making this festival happen.  It was great to see so many people out having a great time on two wheels.  It was great to reconnect with a few friends.... some I hadn't seen in person since last year's epic.  

What's next?  The MoCo Epic's Volunteer ride is this Sunday.  I'm going to bake some cookies and ride back up to MoCo and say thank you in person. :D

Saturday, October 13, 2012

MoCo Epic Prep

Twas the night before MoCo and all through the house, pretty much every creature is stirring. 

The MoCo Mountain Bike Epic ( is what I'm talking about.  This is my third year of riding the MoCo Epic and I seem to do it differently every year.  By the book, it is a collection of rides that connect as many as 11 different trail networks together in Montgomery County, Maryland.  The 62 mile route is an IMBA Epic.  There are also 50, 35 and 25 mile loops that go off with this ride.  There's something that is epic for everyone. 

What is epic for me?  This year the long loop bumps out to 65 miles and includes about 8 miles of new single track.  The last 2 years I've I've ridden the MoCo from home, in Falls Church, VA.  That adds about 35 miles of riding to the beginning and end of the ride… about 22 of those miles is on dirt.  The paved sections are no picnic… pretty much a series of short, steep climbs and descents that serve as the Virginia/Maryland welcoming committee.  Any time you arrive at or leave from the Potomac River in that area, you're faced with some nice hills. 

In 2010 I rode the MoCo from home on my rigid single speed mountain bike.  It came out to about 139 miles of riding and it took me a hair under 14 hours of rolling time.  I had a blast and thoroughly loved the ride. 

2011 needed a little extra challenge.  The day before MoCo I rode Seagull Century on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  It is a wonderfully flat, but notoriously windy century.  I rode it on a fixie road bike and had a time a hair under 5 hours.  At the time that was the fastest century ride I'd ever done.  Sunday morning I was rolling out of the house at 3:30am on my geared, full suspension mountain bike for 136 miles of MoCo Epic goodness.  I rolled easy to the start and was very, very fortunate to have Sean, Chris and others to pace me through the ride.  It wasn't until almost 11am that my legs woke up and started to really put out a bit of power.  I managed to make it home in very good time… I cut an hour out of the previous year's rolling time. 

2012 is a very different year.  I've had some great rides, but have been plagued by nagging issues that, though they didn't stop me from riding, they certainly made my endurance rides for the year a lot more challenging.  For that reason, MoCo is special for me this year.  This is my last endurance event for the year.  I thought I'd step it up by attempting the ride on my fixie mountain bike.  A fixie is a bike that has only one gear and does not allow you to coast.  If the bike is moving, so are the pedals.  The trick is to pick a gear that lets you make it up the climbs while still allowing you to hold a decent pace on the descents.  I've been riding fixie mountain bikes quite a bit the last 2 years and having a lot of fun with them.  It is a nice next step to go long on one. 

The bike is ready to go!  My clothes are laid out.  I made the food I'll eat during the ride and prepared bottles for tomorrow.  My lights and GPS are charged.  I'm pretty well rested and ready.  I'll set out at 3:45 tomorrow morning and head northwest into Maryland to ride with 800 of my closest friends.

The truly amazing thing about this ride isn't the people riding, it is the folks that made it happen.  My friend Denis has found an amazing crew of people in Montgomery County that all pitch in to make this ride an amazing event.  It is bigger and more spectacular than we've seen yet.  He's got hundreds of volunteers and many sponsors that have tirelessly worked to build and mark trails, set up the start area and aid stations and will work from early in the morning until well into next week to make this event one of the most incredible mountain bike events in the country. "Thanks" just isn't enough to show how grateful we all are that you do this.

Tune in tomorrow and see how it all plays out. 

Hugs and kisses,