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Adapt and Overcome – USAT OffRoad National Championships

One of the beauties of racing an XTERRA race is the fact that anything can change on a moments notice.  The majority of XTERRA racers just go with the flow and make the most of it while citing it as a fun aspect of this sport.  The same goes for the majority of XTERRA race directors.  Case in point:

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I couldn’t have put it better myself.  More about the course changes in a bit.

Before the rains, the course was in beautiful shape.  Racers began showing up about mid-week in order to get some time on the course.  I had the opportunity and managed to snap a few photos in the process.

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As you can see it’s a fairly rocky course with loose pea-sized gravel over Continue reading

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An Epic Adventure, XTERRA Epic Iron Mountain Race Report

I know that I just did Swank 65 yesterday, but last weekend I raced the XTERRA Epic – Iron Mountain race.  So, before I get ahead of myself and write the Swank report, I must first bring you up to speed with last week’s race.

Race: XTERRA Epic – Iron Mountain
Location: Iron Mountain Resort and Marina, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Date: October 29, 2011
Distances: 1 mile swim, 34 mile mountain bike, 9.6 mile run
Result: 4th Overall, 1st in Division
Products used: GU Roctane and GU Brew, Synergy Adrenaline Wetsuit, Maxxis Ikon Tires, Cobb Plus DRT Saddle, Jamis Dakota D29 Pro, Rudy Project helmet, Scrub Brakes, Crank Brothers Candy Pedals.

Wednesday. 

Alba and I arrived in Little Rock looking forward to some quiet time alone and also a great race.  On our way from Little Rock to the venue (and our accommodations), I needed to pick up a couple of CO2 cartridges and other items from a local bike shop (since you can’t fly with them).  In the process, we also stuck to tradition and looked for a local coffee shop.  We stumbled upon one called Dogtown Coffee and Eatery.  WOW, they had some awesome joe.

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We arrived at the Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina a little later that afternoon where we were greeted by a very friendly and helpful staff.  Let me just say here that if you are in the area of DeGray Lake, you MUST spend a few days at Iron Mountain.  You will NOT be disappointed.   We had a sweet cottage with 2 bedrooms and 2 complete baths, kitchen and living room complete with fireplace (which we definitely took advantage of).  What awesome accommodations. The cottage had everything we needed for a great stay, including the small stuff like a bundle of firewood and starter block.  Heck, for 6 bucks, they would even deliver another bundle of wood to your doorstep.

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The place even had an awesome deck overlooking the lake.  I took advantage of the built-in sitting bench to put my bike together.

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As soon as I got the bike together, I headed out for a course preview.  The trails were fast and flowy.  There were a handful of technical sections, mainly rock gardens, that you had to work your way through.  For the most part, the course was just plain fast.  If you could get into a rhythm and hold on in the corners, you would haul arse.   Here’s a few pictures of the course and one of the rock gardens.

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During my preview of the course, my bike started shifting really strange.  I couldn’t quite make it out, but it was acting as if I had a bent derailleur hanger.   Knowing that I removed it when I packed the bike, I didn’t think it was possible.  I quickly dismissed it and tried making a few minor cable tension adjustments to smooth it out.  All of my efforts were futile so I pulled over to investigate.  Sure enough, it appeared that the hanger was bent.  If you don’t know much about derailleur hangers, they’re usually made of really soft aluminum.  On purpose.  The reason they’re made that way is so that if you crash or bang it, you break the hanger and not your frame (or derailleur).   Standing there looking at the hanger, it was only slightly bent.  So I reached down to give it a GENTLE tug.  When I did, I noticed the

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