Chronicles of a Cat 3 Schlub


Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
When searching Google for Schlub, the definition that comes up is:
Noun. A talentless, unattractive, or boorish person.

In this case, a talentless, unattractive, or boorish Cat 3 MTB racer.

Here I will chronicle all the mistakes, current lack of training, and poor line choices that make me the Cat 3 that I am.

In all seriousness, over the past several years, I've done 49 CX races, and 3 MTB races, so while racing is not new to me, it's definitely a different animal in terms of terrain, duration, and bodily abuse. I made a big push this year to upgrade my MTB situation, and I am now very happy with the new equipment. More on that later.

Mostly, this will be for my own races, but I may drop some NICA stuff in here from time to time from a coaching perspective and to keep a record of it somewhere.

First up will be March Mayhem


Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
New Bike
2017 Giant XtC Advanced 27.5+ 2

It's a 1x11, 120mm travel HT. Reba RL fork, Boost, SRAM NX/Level TL. Stock weight, with pedals and dropper swapped for Thompson is around 27lbs. Coming from my 02 26er Stumpjumper, even this setup is a featherweight.

Picked this up right at the turn of the calendar. Immediately had small issue with the seat post slipping. After a few adjustments, it was sorted out, until I replaced the dropper with a Thompson setback post. The slippage continued, and stress cracks/lines/whatever formed. Giant replaced the frame, and I switched from the matte finish green/black, to the frame only color scheme of orange/black/white with a glossy finish, cause ORANGE!!! I bought this bike with the intention to run the plus setup for fun, and buying 29er wheels to run for races.

Raced half of Short Track 1 & 3 with this setup. Flats both races. Moving on.....

New wheels.... Stans Crest MK3, Boost, XD driver, GX 10-42 cassette, identical rotors as stock wheels, Schwalbe Racing Ralph EVO SnakeSkin TL Easy tires. 2.35 front/2.25 rear. With this setup, it's weighing in at 23lbs, 8oz. Even got the orange decals to match.

March Mayhem
H2H Race #1
Men's Cat 3, 40-49

So here we are. New team. New kit. New bike.

I arrived at the YMCA Camp at about 7:40am for my 9:02 start time. Got a parking spot in the main lot right by registration. Score. I head straight into the lodge and sign in/grab my number. The weather is nice, about 55 degrees or so. Shorts, tank base, SS jersey, and jacket to start. Ready to roll pretty quickly. Having never been here before I head out for a preview/warm-up lap at a few minutes to 8. I know it's a 5.5 mile course, and it's pancake flat, so I know I have time. I ride about 4/5ths of the course, and duck back into the parking lot to make sure I have time to ditch Camelbak, hit the restroom, and head to the S/F area with enough time to ensure I'm at the front of the pack. As I'm milling about, I spot @Sevenz who is not racing, but is there with his son who is racing the kids race. We went to HS together, and I don't think we've actually seen each other in 20-25 years.

The older teens, and the 19-39's go off, and we're waiting for our start. I ditch the jacket on the side of the trail, and wait for the "GO". I'm thinking, just stay towards the front. Don't kill yourself too early, you haven't actually done ANYTHING worthwhile since CX Nats on January 6th.

Two guys get about a half a bike length in front of me on each side within the first 10-20 yards, and I think, awwww fuk it, I'm going. I split the two and pull into the lead heading up the sand/dirt road and immediately regret the decision. Too late now. Just go. We hit the ST and I'm going as hard as I can partly to try to put a little distance into whoever is back there, and partly because I'm unsure if I should be up there and don't want to be "that guy" that held up the entire field in the first section.

I'm hitting turns harder than I ever have. Little washouts here and there, but the Racing Ralphs are holding when they need to and rolling fast on the straights. I hold the lead for the first 1.8 miles, and there's one guy right on my wheel, with a small gap back to two more, and then an eternity back to the rest of the field.

Then it happens. Schlub move. I turn right onto a fire rode and the three behind me follow. Going into the turn, I was little unsure if it was right or left..... Guess what. Shudda gone LEFT!!! We all turn around after about 30 yards or so as we all realize my fuck up. We about face, and re-enter the course exactly where we left and continue to hammer. NOBODY was behind us still. Here is where we start picking off the back of the race in front of us. All safe passes, called out, very cool. Our group of four started to separate another mile or two in. One dude went off the front, and it was me and two others. We stayed together until just before the bridge with 6" step up. Second place guy I think slowed up just enough to throw off the timing of third place guy who was in mid air going OTB as I approached. His bike is completely across the bridge, and he's standing up collecting himself. I ask if ok, he gives thumbs up and pulls bike up and hops on. I had to stop and get up the step then remount and go. I stay on his wheel for a bit, but eventually fade a bit. My HR has been above 180 basically since the start and I'm dying.

OTB guy is now gone going into lap 2 (of 2). As I enter the ST after S/F, I can see the neon yellow of guy who was 2nd, and I think is now 3rd. Tough to tell exactly how far ahead he is, but he's there. I keep going, cause you never know, right? We're passing traffic here and there, but it's not bad. I call out early enough, and everyone was very cool about pulling over a little for room. As we approach the one hill, I'm within sight of 3rd place guy, about 15 seconds behind. I get 3/4 of the way up the hill, and both my legs cramp. Quads completely seize up. I'm forced off the bike, I hobble to the top, and have to stand there for about 5-10 seconds almost doubled over in pain. I'm able to jump back on and clip in to get down the hill and onto the fire road where I do my best to spin out the cramps and drink some water. This was the problem. Water. No Scratch or CytoMax. I had one gel with me, but didn't even think about taking it, WTF?

So I'm able to spin out the cramps by the next ST section, and I can still see the dude in front of me. Barely. I do my best to ramp it back up and see what I can do in the last half lap. There's a little more lapped traffic here, which plays to my advantage, cause I think I got a majority of it on the wide open sections and made up a few seconds here and there.

As I approach the end of the ST where we turn right on to the finish straight, I can see 3rd guy almost sitting up, possibly taking a drink. HOLY SHIT, I'm gonna sprint him!!!!! I hit the final turn hard and immediately stand, dropping two gears and wind up for a LOOOONG sprint. I'm already up to 20mph and closing fast as he turns to see me. Either he heard me or someone yelled at him. He stands. I'm closing. The finish inflatable arch is just off the straight away to the left. He starts drifting from the right where he was to the center/left. My front wheel is next to his rear wheel. We're both out of the saddle standing giving 100%. I have the momentum. The finishing left bend is right there. He comes a little more left to set up for the turn. I'm pinched. I tap the brakes and sit up as we get to the turn. No way was I gonna be that guy who crashes at the line of a Cat 3 race for third place. A straight finish and I had it. Oh well. 4th. I roll thru the line and both legs cramp again. I drop the bike and lean on a tree and work the cramps out.


80% of the race I was zone 5. That's 45 minutes or so.

Love the new bike/wheels/tires.
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Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Also... chatted with @moose35 for a few. His daughter was racing!! She did Short Track as well.

Chatted with @Dominique for a minute on my way out also. Had to boogie home, so I didn't stick around for the podiums and results, although I should have. Heard there was a little drama. Didn't get to see @jShort @UtahJoe or @Kirt sadface

I think shaving the beard made me faster, but keeping the mustache made me look like an axe murder from the 70's, so, yeah. That's gone now too.


Shop: Hilltop Bicycles
Shop Keep
Also, for some reason I though it was Schloob and was a term used to describe the guys that run alongside the racers at the Tour Day France. I'm probably wrong on both of those accounts, but there it is.

The Squirrel

Well-Known Member
All kidding aside, love the bike. and the race report. When I have a moment to daydream about MTB'ing and interweb research I always seem to end up on the Giant website looking at the XTC Advanced.


Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Nice job. You look too pro kitted up at the start line of a cat 3 race. Your gonna have to cat up or get a neon jersey and ride a bike that is at least 10lbs.heavier or 10yrs. older.
And I love using the word schlub, it's such a descriptive word.