dark horse 40


El Guac-Oh
DH40...my perspective

Ok...so I don't know if I should laugh, cry, rant or all of the above...

I had a lot of fun anyway so it was all worth it.

We rode on the Singlespeed Sport category

First, I was riding with 2 of my buddies and the plan was to stick together, little did I know we were going to have all sorts of problems.

So we started good, caught in the pack and in the nice "cat and mouse" chase. I was surprised at the lack of technical ability of a lot of the riders out there, I mean, it was the SPORT category and in a park where technical is not an adjective I would use to describe that place. Perhaps I was stuck in the back of the "peloton", anyways, about mile 5-6 I start gaining ground on one of my buddies, only to fin out a little bit after that his rear wheel is all screwed up, rubbing the breaks (v-brakes) So we stop to try to true his wheel, after struggling a little we decide to go to the rest stop, perhaps a mechanic will be there to help him. Of course shit out of luck, no mechanics there, so we start to slow down. At one point my other buddy and me are way ahead of this guy so we decided to stop and wait. After a lot of waiting we went looking for him only to see him with his bike flipped over and still trying to fix the wheel. We couldn't do sh*t, so he started riding with no rear brake. We figured he'll suck it up and get help at the halfway point. Well, guess what, shit out of luck again. He had to ride all the way down to where the Specialized guy was only to find that the guy "wasn't set up for that" (that is what the mechanic told my buddy). So at this point I was going to keep riding and leave him there, but then again I remembered the original plan. RIDE TOGETHER. So I gave it my best shot, and we kinda got the wheel spinning nicely and were ready for lap two.
By this point we are already way way way back. We must've wasted around an hour and a half. So we are all pumped thinking we are finally going to enjoy the ride and perhaps do a much better job on the 2nd lap. Of course not!! A little bit after the start of the 2nd loop I find myself flying on the trail coming up on the grassy area, and this is where I made a terrible mistake! Dumb me I was coasting on a turn but instead of having my pedals parallel to the ground, I had one up and one down, and BAM!!! I must've hit the only rock in the whole freaking park and flying I go!!! In my head I am already thinking "freaking singulator is shot" with my luck recently that was my first thought. So I must've fled like 10 yds and the bike comes rolling hitting me in the head. I stand up, I look alright, no blood or real pain, so I look at my bike and the stupid front wheel is TACO-ed!!! CRAP!! it wouldn't spin at all!! FARK! So I take off the front brake (v-brakes again) and decide to keep spinning and try to fix it later. I took another look at the wheel and some of the spokes were very loose and I couldn't true it for shit. So I decide to finish the ride with no front brake. I did learn one thing: A "taco-ed" wheel doesn't corner the same way as a normal wheel ;) So I had to take it a little bit slower also because I lost control without having my front brake.

So after a while one of my friends starts cramping, so we stopped again to rest a little. Kept going for a while and again more cramping. After a while my other buddy starts cramping too. So this is starting to turn into a CRAMP FEST! But nobody wanted to call it quits. So these guys found the strength to keep pushing even when they were cramping. At this point we already knew we were the last ones out there, we hadn't seen any riders in a while.

We finally made it to the last checkpoint and they were all cleaned up and about to leave. DAMN! We were the last! In the last 5 miles we ran into a girl that had a TACO wheel too. But she was walking it, I felt really bad for her. At one point I passed a guy and I thought, GREAT! I will not be the last :D But then one of my buddies was started having problems with his chain and we had to stop. And, yes, the guy passed us. LAST again (well, except for that girl, but I don't count her)

We finally made it to the road and the last stretch (climb). I took off and I said, at least I gotta beat my buddies ;) So I got to the finish line first and waited for them.

I was sad to see that they had DEFLATED the huge tire they had at the Start line I guess everybody was ready to leave :D

We headed up to the food area and I was happy to see they still had a lot of chicken and a lot of pasta. Awesome pasta!!! Or maybe I was starving, but it tasted like heaven!! Too bad they didn't have cold drinks or beer. But I had beer in my cooler! ;)

Overall, it was an awesome race despite all the crap that we went through.
It is an awesome park for that type of race, single-speed long distance race. The race course is not technical at all. It has some short steep climbs, but nothing crazy, with the SS I had to walk 2 or 3, but they are definitely all doable.

I think they organization was awesome, it is a good deal, for I think $45 only, you get a t-shirt, a water bottle, a decal, drinks, chicken and pasta, and some other prizes for trivia and some stuff in the trails that I didn't understood well. Can't go wrong. And you get to ride 40 miles.

Now a couple of things I didn't like.

1) The trivia at the beginning. I mean, come on, the start is already very delayed and they have to bore us with some Q&A for prizes. They can do that at the end , no need to wait until everybody is finished. Another incentive to finish quickly, even if you are not top 3.
2) MECHANICS!!! There were none. At least I didn't see them. They should have had one at the mid-point, at least, and one CLOSE to the start/finish line NOT all the way to the back. I guess they had one, the SPECIALIZED guy, but it seemed to me, he only wanted to work on Specialized bikes or on bikes from cute girls. What kind of mechanic is not set up to true a wheel?
My buddy told me other guy in front of him, told the mechanic about shifting issues from mid to granny gear and the mechanic told him to RIDE the MIDDLE ring. WTF!?!?!, Oh but he did spend a lot of time with this cute girl, fixing her bike and teaching her all about how shock works. Totally unfair. And there was a guy there waiting for him. He had a specialized, so I guess he was OK after the mechanic was done with the girl.;)

The mechanics at the All-A-Muchy are awesome, they hooked me up once. And also at the Churn N Burn, it was 6am and this guy was all tired, resting, in his camp and he helped me with brakes. What an awesome guy!!! So good mechanics make a huge difference at races.

I was happy to get home and find that there was nobody here. (I have friends visiting from Mexico, so my wife took the out) So I was able to shower and sleep a little, although I would think I would've slept more, but for some reason I woke up after 1/2hr and I didn't feel very tired. So what do I do next, come upstairs to let it all out @ MTBNJ.COM :p

sorry for the long post, I guess I had a lot to say.

I would do it again for sure. Not too hard to improve my performance :D


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Holy sh!t bro! Awesome post. IMO it's stories like this that make life worth living.


NYCMTB: President
I can't complain about the pre-race trivia, as I walked away with a $100 bill. ;)

Hard race. 2 flats (only had one spare tube). Lost at least 25 minutes between the two- after the second, thought my race was over, and just started walking until 10 minutes later, some good samaritans came to the rescue with a tube and co2. Felt solid throughout the race, despite an abject lack of XC riding by me over the last 3 months (thanks to a cracked XC frame, I've been riding mostly DH). Over the last 5 miles, I just let it all hang out, and rode all the climbs that everyone (at that point) was walking. Not sure where the energy came from- I think it was from the bee sting that came shortly after that last aid stop. Finished in 4:32, which I was very happy with, considering I thought it was going to end in a DNF.

Great race, great organization. I've been meaning to do it for the past few years, and am glad I finally got a chance to do it.


A strong 7
wow - great report. even though you guys hit some rough waters, it still sounds fun! did they stagger the group starts? any idea how many people raced?


El Guac-Oh
wow - great report. even though you guys hit some rough waters, it still sounds fun! did they stagger the group starts? any idea how many people raced?

Yes, they did stagger the starts.
No idea how many people.

Forgot a couple of things,

Trails, in good shape and FAST!!, a little mud here and there that apparently caused some problems to some. Some big puddles on the road, fireroad sections of the course.

I had a lot of fun in the beginning when some guys were yelling ON YOUR LEFT!! only to see them crash a few meters ahead :rofl: :rofl: . I saw a lot of crashes in the 1st 5-6 miles.


El Guac-Oh
post-race gas

oh one more thingy....

The wifey is not appreciating my post-race gas :rofl: :rofl:

I don't know if it was the combination of Cliff bars, Gatorade, water, free pasta & beer....but holy crap!! :p


Well-Known Member
Much Success!

All week i have been totally bugging about this race. I thought i would be able to finish, but was still questioning my ability to finish. Secondly, the gearing. I rode the SS on 34x20. I did not know what to think.

Up at 5, on the road by 6, at the park by 730. It was great to see many familiar faces. It is really pretty cool to think that i have only been riding for a short period of time and i have met many great people. I finally met Maurice! And his wife :) Until today he was a blur in a green and black ballerina outfit. As was the case when he went flying by on one of the fire roads early.

So the start was running late, and yes i would have liked to get rolling right away, but the questions were cool. Cant argue w/ free money. Everyone who helped throughout the day, did a great job and deserve many thanks.

The race:
We had to leave are bikes ahead and run to them. The distance was not that long to the bikes so everything was still clogged up anyways.

I crashed of course. The first time was early and it was my fault as i went over the bars on a short rocky drop. I was busy talking and not paying attention, locked the front brake up accidentally and smacked the funny bone and palm up pretty damn good. The next two times i went down as two assholes on separate occasions tried to pass me on the inside with no where to go and no advance warning. WTF!? We could not have been 5 miles in on this race and people were riding like complete idiots.

Anyways...The first 10 miles were really fast and had great flow. There was a bit of fire road and you dove back onto the single track and it was like a totally different course. Up down up down UP UP UP not so much down. The single track was pretty dry except for in a few sections. There were many greasy rocks and roots. The fire roads had puddles big enough to house their own ecosystem. You were filthy in a hurry. All on my pretty new white Halters kit.

I was spinning out a bit and wondered if i should have gone a bit harder w/ the gearing. But I was glad i didnt. I really focused on the first lap on taking it easy so i didnt blow up. I walked many of the steeper longer climbs. As i neared the end of the first lap, I could feel my calves starting to feel as if they were going to lock up. I got out onto the fire road rode half way up and walked the rest. I took about 2 minutes at the start finish. grabbed some gels and some water and was back off.

Back into the nice fun flowy stuff. Great timing bc i was able to recover and the gels and food were kicking in and i was feeling pretty strong. I had a red bull in my pocket that i had been saving for about the 30 mile mark to get me home. I could not wait to get to that. I was steady w/ the gels and shot blocks as i tried to not let my energy drop to low. Still feeling strong i looked down and was at 28.5 miles. Good enough! I cracked that red bull open and it was gone in a flash. About 5 minutes later i could feel the caffeine and sugar kick in and i was feeling really good. I was blowing through stuff, cleaning climbs and passing a lot of people. I dont know where i got the energy for half on this stuff but i didnt question it. I didnt look down again the rest of the ride. I could not wait to see that big yellow left turn sign, bc i knew i was right there. Left turn ahead and up the fire road i went. And so the cramps began. Every pull on the pedal was excruciating as my calves and quads locked up and released. But i wasnt getting of the bike. The many cheers got me up and over to the finish.

Its over! YES! What a relief. 4:22 I had the ambitious goal of finshing in 4 hours. Realistically i figured 5ish. I blew my first lap time up by 15 minutes!

As much as it was painful and sucked, the race was awesome and i had a blast. I am pretty stoked on finishing especially on the SS. Contrary to what many might think, Stewart is really not that easy of a place as its made out to be. Yea it is fast and flowy, but you are working for sure. There are a lot of little rocks and tons of roots that keep you honest. Greasy tires dont help much either. Dont let the 3300 feet of climbing fool you. Its tough.

Another great day at a very very well run event. We didnt stay for the awards or the BBQ. We were all in pain and couldnt wait to get back home. Which didnt matter much for me bc i got home closed my eyes for an hour and now im at work. Which i was late getting here. OOPS


Im in for the 6th annual...who is coming with?
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New Member
Cool stories.

It was nice to meet you, Fred, finally put a name on that face. Or the other way around.

I see that Nelson and Kirt did great also, nice to see that!

I went in there with my wife for her first race, and she did really well, having loads of fun in the process. We rode as a team, me starting first. Like a complete newb I crashed at speed in an almost-straight piece of smooth singletrack, less than a mile into the race. Go figure...
What an embarrassing moment, especially when what seemed like the whole beginner group went by as I was trying to untangle my chain. It took a while with me thinking that the race was done since the chain had taken an interesting un-natural shape. With much twisting around I managed to get it back more or less into its intended shape, bent the derailleur hanger back into place and off I went again. Turns out this chain has a huge kink and now skips teeth on every revolution. At least it served as some sort of a warning bell when I was coming up on other racers :)
I saw some interesting behaviors that I had forgotten about. Coming up on groups of people I saw more than one racer curse at the racers in front when they couldn't pass. One of them even took a huge spill in front of me, followed by loud expletives apparently directed at the guy in front. Ironically the singletrack turned into a fire road like 20 yards later... There's not much to win in this race that can warrant an attitude like that.
Granted, I must have made many a cavalier move myself but at least I kept the bad lines for myself and I didn't throw anyone to the ground. It was fun actually. Thankfully I saw many more nice attitudes than bad ones.
At some point I passed someone near one of those huge puddles. Open areas was where I could regain a bit, so needless to say it was big ring small cog there and push hard (with the regular tschak-tschak of the chain...), so I just bombed through the pond, completely splashing the poor dude. Luckily he still had his sense of humor as I heard him say "I'm sure you did that on purpose!".
Good stuff.
Came around and tagged my wife for her lap, and then waited with the kids hoping she wouldn't crash or get a big mechanical half-way into her lap. The heat was coming down hard, one more thing to worry about... Well after a little over two hours and a half here she comes pushing the middle-ring and all smiles. Nice.

A very nice event, with a very fun course.




She's Gone From Suck to Blow
Shop Keep
That explains why Maurice was passing me.I was kinda confused by that.Anyway the sports were embrassingly pathetic skillwise.I can't believe that people who suck that bad would spend $$ on a bike.I trolled the climbs and was cranking the road sections, but in the slimey woods it was just ridiculous.I am probably at my best in the rolling stuff and with the 29 i was just having a ball passing.Unfortunately, the mud ceased my shifting ability and after 3 stops and emptying my camelback as a parts washer i decided to ride as a SS and shortly after i cut my chain in half.W/ 3 stops for me and 2 stops for others then like 3 miles of walking i think i crossed the lap to DNF in like 2:20.I hated the BS be3fore the start and had someone puke on me but it was fun while it lasted and i got to put two riders down hard so whatever i guess.The DNF is bothering me though.................


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's

Good story, thanks for sharing. I'm still not sure if it was the right decision to bail on this race. This weekend turned out pretty sketchy so I think it probably was. I don't think I would have raced well yesterday.


entirely thrilled
maurice, when someone is being a complete ass in front of you and then they crash, is it not proper etiquette to run them over? i forget what the norba rule book says on that...

good job everyone!


Well-Known Member
maurice, when someone is being a complete ass in front of you and then they crash, is it not proper etiquette to run them over? i forget what the norba rule book says on that...

good job everyone!

Title 2 Section 1600c-.3: Murder Death Kill!

Brigitte, Maurices wife was great. I thought it was awesome when she said, that she really wanted to come back to work on the climbs! I told her HELL NO i have had enough thank you very much!

Hearing and seeing all the destruction caused by mucked up transmissions made me once again glad to be on the SS.

Leaving w/ a DNF sucks, especially if its bc your bike breaks. :getsome:
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