Friday, May 27, 2011

Buck #2 for the year

No warm up, lungs filling up with gunk the farther we went, course that was very difficult to pass on, horrible start, and legs may not have been recovered from the weekend had me thinking next week I could do better than 7th, but happy overall.

Abi had a bad race as well. It was like she forgot she needed to go forward on her Strider to get to the candy. She did join the run heat mid race so she could sneak more sugar.

Now I go show apartments and continue to cough up yummies from the lungs.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chequamegon 100

First off, thanks to "Meiser and The Whiz" for putting on such a great/fun race. BTW guys, you can use that title for your future radio show. Super fun course, relaxed atmosphere, and great post race get together.

This is the race that I have wanted before it was even introduced, 100 miles of racing in the Cable, WI area on all of it's fine singletrack. Last year's inauguration I would miss, but not this year. I pulled up to the start with a big poo eating grin on my face; no matter how I felt, or how I was doing, nothing but fun trial lay before me. Having ridden just about every inch of the course at one point or another(I have a rentable cabin up there ya know), I was not concerned with the que sheets, my gps, or even a bike computer. Just time to "JFR" the trails.

The start on Rock Lake Road would be short before our singletrack entrance. I set off to get to the trail first for 2 reasons; not to be held up, not to have my single track fun distracted by a rider in front of me. Joe Curtes (whom I met in the race) and Heath Weisbrod would join me and we would chat during our singletrack fun, not trying to kill ourselves in the first 10 miles.

And away we go.

Who got the holeshot? I got the holeshot! Party on!

Along Rock Lake Road we cruised, Heath spinning away his SS all the way. A stretch on a 4 wheeler saw Heath drop back. Joe and I would hit the Esker Trail together and start the Ojibwe out of site of the rest of the riders. Soon after we hit Ojibwe's fun twisty stuff I lost my riding companion and found myself alone with about 75 mile to go.

Cruising along service roads we would end up climbing the infamous Firetower hill. I would crest the top with no one in site and the legs clicking over nicely. It is amazing how much easier it is to climb this when not going all out in the Chequamegon 40.

Dear Firetower, I own you.

Off to the OO trailhead and then down the awesome Makwa Trail, down on the good time Hatchery Creek trail, and then the feed point at the Hatchery Creek trailhead. I would load up more water and fuel and leave before anyone else showed up. At no point did I know how far back anyone was besides the fact they were out of site.

Up Hatchery Creek to the Mosquito Brook Trailhead and I still was smiling, but starting to feel a little tired. Onto the Janet Road and then the Birkie ski trail. The Birkie trail was miserable, thick grass, soft dirt, and steep hills. Combine a tiring body and I ended up wishing for caffeine as I looked over my shoulder again and again waiting to finally be caught.

No one would show as I got back on to service roads, perked up, and headed back onto super fun singletrack that is Rock Lake, Patsy Lake, and then the Namekagon Trails. After riding the nastiest stuff long before, I thought I was home free. Then in an unassuming section I ripped a tire. A panicked tube install and hurried start still no one had caught up.

All along the trail I was tiring and slowing. I had not drank enough and my stomach was upset. In fact I would take in 320 calories the last half of the race. Still though, the trail was a blast and I kept on keeping on knowing I would soon be done and could survive no what is still in the belly. Soon I dumped out onto Rock Lake Road and headed down to the finish. There waited "Meiser and the Whiz", Ms. Whiz, beer, and snacks. The rain had started 20 minutes before I finished, but started to come down nice and hard after I stopped. Twenty minutes later Trek rider Todd Mcfadden would roll in for second place.

This was a super fun race and a race that I hoped to do well in this year. I have been looking forward to it since last year, but after the Sandwich, I thought my fitness was no where near what I needed. Luckily, I must have been in a short lived rut, as every race I seem to get stronger and stronger.

Oh, and the bike? Simply amazing. I felt like I was cheating on my Superfly 100 with Sram XX, Rock Shox f/r, Bontrager wheels/tires/seat, and Truvativ bar/seatpost. Simply awesome! I'll dive deeper into that later.

To the victor come the spoils, er, hostess cupcakes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Got a flat :(

And the win :). Tons of fun was had on my Trek SF 100 Elite turbo'd with full SRAM XX and shocks.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Sandwich 50

Gett'n ready to run

Alright, we are finally catching up on my racing career as of late. The last/first race in this catch up is the Sandwich 50. I along with Matt "Kuske" Kurke (defending champ) organised this race for the second year. This year we declared it the MN Enduro Championship. Seven laps on world class Eastwood Park singletrack.

And away we go!

Leading up to the race I had felt like poo and that would carry forward through the race. Lack of sleep and upper back problems had been kicking my butt for several weeks. Matt was fighting a bad cold, but was anxious to show McDonald's why they are sponsoring his 2011 racing. Brendan Moore, the bad boy of biking, was set to appear as well. This was always in question after what happened last year.

Micky D's Rider Kuske at the front of the prologue. I am rolling it in second.

The Le mans start was fun and somehow I got the "holeshot" into the singletrack, take that B. Moore! I felt like poo, but I forced my body through the paces of the first few laps, hoping it would come around. Matt and Brendan would sit in my draft, soaking up the benefit, refusing to pull. I guess some people don't believe in fair play and would rather play race tactics. Kaleb Himli and Jon "I raced the first world's and know Adam Craig" Finoff would trail about 30 seconds off our pace. At the beginning of the second lap Brendan would finally stop sucking wheel and pull through. His constant drafting had left him fresh as a daisy and he established a gap that would only grow through the day, no thanks to all my hard work on the first lap.
Operation Holeshot succeeded!

On the third lap Matt would pull out the old "mechanical" excuse and Jon Finoff would drop due to back problems. I would slow my pace, monitoring my gap to Kaleb all the way. I only felt worse during the race, but my pace was enough to hold off Kaleb for second place.

How far they have fallen. Here I pull in for the finish, and Micky D's rider Kuske heads out for another 2 laps.

So there you go, I was second for the second year in a row. If for some reason "BB" Brendan can not fulfill his obligations as the 2011 MN Enduro Mountain Bike State Champion, then I will be here to step in and hold the crown.

OH! I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Hobo Camp. Last year 2 homeless guys appeared, handing out bacon and beverages to the racers in the middle of the woods. Because of the economy, there were close to ten guys out there this year doing the same, cheering with much voracity. I would stop for a bacon hand up on the last lap, coughing up some charred bits 10 minutes later on that same lap. They were a HOOT and made the race that much more fun.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Buck Hill Thursday Night Throwdown

So I am working backwards on the latest 3 races in my "career". Tomorrow you'll hear about The Sandwich 50.

Race #1
Leading to last Thursday I was anxious, excited, and pumped for a race. Just not mine. You see, my wife visited the Sandwich last weekend with Abi, the uber cute 2 1/2 year old daughter of ours. When they pulled up to the Sandwich, Abi yelled "Bike Race"! All week she talked about wanting to "race my bike".

Thursday night rolled around and the 45 degree temps and mist in the air would not deter my little one. She spent a good 30 minutes on her Strider, getting warmed up for the showdown. On the start line the competition was thin, likely riders were fearing the weather. Despite most of the children being much more mature (she races the 4 and under group) she rode with all her heart; placing in the top five, she collected her prize as can be seen in the video. (NOTE: I AM NOT SURE IF THE VIDEOS ARE NOT WORKING OR NOT)

Race #2
I felt like poo during and after my race the previous weekend at the Sandwich. I was expecting nothing but a good way to get in an intense effort at Buck Hill. Some of the big dogs were absent, including Brendan Moore, the "Bad Boy of Mountain Biking". "Hairy" Barry would take off to the front at the start and slowly pull away. I spent the entire first lap in second place gasping for air, partly because my warm up could be measured in seconds. No one would pass me on that first climb which really puzzled me as I felt like I was going slow.

Early in the second lap Dave Oachs came by and then later in that lap I would get into a groove. I always come on strong in these races and hoped to catch him before our 4 laps were done. Unfortunately, he continued to pull away, as I did to the riders behind me. I would roll in, satisfied with 3rd place for the day and happy that my fitness was not as bad as first thought.

Oh, small tech note. I tried the XR0 tires from Bontrager for the first time. Holy crap they'll be used again! That is all.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trek Demos!!!!!

So I am rolling on one hell of a nice bike, more to come on that later. Now if you fancy yourself interested in a hot ride like the Treks I roll, they have a demo truck in the cities this weekend.

The truck will be at Lebanon Hills on Saturday, Murphy on Sunday, 10:00-3:00 both days.
Look for much of the local Trek Coop and Trek 29er crew team guys to be there, including myself, on Sunday. It will be off the chain yo.

Time for some updates.

Alright, I have had a chance to race my bike three times in the last 10 or so days, time for some race recaps ya'll. the plan is a recap a day. Heck, let's plan on a post a day through Friday.

Cable Area Off Road Classic
I love this race. Partly because I love the area. Partly because I have a cabin there. Partly because I make it a weekend for men to get together and talk about their feelings. This year we would see Bob Marhefke show for the first time, Chris Fisher, Brendan Moore, and Jason Wenk were returners from previous years.

I would go into this race knowing that my fitness is not quite were it was last year at this time, but with a little glimmer of hope after a fun Buck Hill race 2 days before.

The start is about 7 miles from the cabin. It was a balmy 39 degrees as we rode though huge wind gusts on the rain soaked roads. Hmmm, sounds like yummy mountain biking. I put in some surges that are always painful on the lungs, but seem to really help my breathing on the starts.

The start went well, and I was happy that that either I felt better than normal, or the pace was lower. Needless to say I was not as oxygen deprived as normal a mile into the course. I hit the singletrack in around 6th place or so and we all stuck together well through some of the finest singletrack in the midwest. The pace was not terrible, so I took the opportunity to back off on the small climbs and catch right back up on the flat part of the trail. These are the little games I like to play so that I don't pop my lungs early in.

Soon after we were back out on Rock Lake road and then into the ATV trail next to Camp Four Lake (which I hear has great winter camping). When we hit the trail I saw CJ Faulkner in front of me looking down at his drive train and not at the log partially blocking the trail feet in front of him. As he hit I swung right hoping to avoid a collusion, but bike and body bounced right as well. Let's say that the ensuing collision will make becoming someone's "girl" in prison a little easier if he ever ends up there. Trying to get going I had to dislodge CJ's seat from my rear wheel as well. The combination of the stop and adrenalin rush had me holding back to keep the breathing in check. Back on Rock Lake road Arron Swanson(his recap here) would pass me giving chase to the lead 6 or so riders.. My plan was to chase together in a group, but his surge was too much for me at the time. I ended up chasing behind with a few riders mainly in tow.

(Leaving the Esker trail. Picture viciously stolen from Jay Richards and

Eventually Aaron would drop back and join our little group. We would splash in the puddles and my feet would go numb from the water and cold. As we raced the through the course we would shuffle some in placings. A nice hard left into the Ojibwe trail was not well marked and I blew by the 2-3 riders I was with (I never heard Aaron's warning as he had prerode the course). This corner was a common missed turn for people in the race, FYI. Hitting the singletrack my body started firing on all cylinders again and the lungs were all good. Aaron's pace was a little slower than what I had hoped and when it did open up I made a pass. What had grown to 5 or 6 riders in our group broke up into Aaron and I as the pace went up.

The last several miles are open and Nathan Lillie would soon join us. Nathan would gap us in a short stretch of trail that literally saw the ground heave under our tires. Giving chase Aaron and I would not bring Nathan back. As we approached the finish I was thinking racing tactics. Aaron would pull up beside me. I didn't understand what he said, but I understood that he was up for a mano y mano sprint. That was cool, no games, just racing. I ended up winning our battle for 7th.

(After seeing the fear in Aaron's eyes I would give him a little lesson in what it takes to sprint for 7th place at 40 degrees while soaked. I would go on to open a bottle of champagne in celebration, as we all know the everyone is gunning not for first, but 7th. Picture viciously stolen from Jay Richards and

Brendan would take the win once again. The next day Rock Lake and Namakagon got a good rogering. Every year I ride there for the first time I find tons more new singletrack. This trip would be no exception as the Namekagon now ends with miles of super fun trail.

Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Decorah TT

Since Ragnarok, I have had back problems that have seen me seriously lack any bike time. When I did get on the bike it was not impressive. Rolling through Easter I started getting "good sensations" once again.

Along came the Decorah TT in Iowa. This race has been going on since the early 90's and I have attended more years than I haven't. It is a super fun time, great guys, and heck, even great food at the end. This year we would attack a 6.5 mile course with about 1,000 feet of climbing, tough like always. The mid 40 temps were not doing my asthma any favors, but after lots of puffs and a hard warm up I was able to attack the hills a lot better than I expected. The legs were much stronger than anticipated, but the lungs were the limiting factor. I finished in 37 something minutes. Decorah local strong man Trevor Rockwell took another win in this race on his single speed, Kaleb Himli got me for second 20-30 seconds faster. I finished 3rd overall and 1st in my age group.

Time has been tight lately with projects galore. They are certainly getting added to the list faster than scratched off. Anyways, The Sandwich 50 is this weekend. I am predicting a fight between Kuske and B. Moore for the win and me hoping my fitness is there to not embarrass myself. Then it is off to Cable for the Classic, and then again to Cable for the Chequamegon 100 <-----Excited about that one!