Friday, December 11, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Come out tomorrow night. Cross in the dark, there is lights in the park so do not hesitate because life is...too short
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Right now I am looking forward to Coronado's Challenge in late Novemeber, and the rest of cross season. I will be out on the trails as much as I can once this mess dries a little bit. And remember to anyone that can come and join us at Riverfront Park for a tuesday cross race. We meet at 6:00 and are racing shortly after. We have had good turn outs the first two weeks. Any lurkers out there wanna give cross a shot this is a good place to come see what it's all about. We had a couple of gals show up this week on brand new MTB's and wanted to see about racing cross. Pretty cool.
We have a new site that Specialized is building to house all of the Trail Crew and I will keep you updated when that is ready. I have been getting the background tour and it looks like it will be pretty cool. It certainly is going to expand my internet skills, and you know girls only like guys with great internet skills.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
My race was not that fun for me. I had an even worse than usual start, I took forever getting around people, I worked my way up to 9th, and then I came unhinged, I just sat down in the shade. I was pretty frustrated but that is just what you get.
Travis rode his first cross race and finished 4th in the Cat 4 and then 11th in the Cat 3/4. JP Shores flew the Ethos banner to good finishes in the Masters and 3/4 race.
On the up side for me I did get a great week of training in for Moab and one final good push through this week and then chill a bit up to the race. There will be more cross attempts this coming weekend, a twofer at English Landing in Parkville. Try try again
Monday, September 21, 2009
The start of race was back down the road, where the race was yesterday. There had been some new trail cut in, some of which the cross race utilized, to get us back on to the main loop, and somewhat strung out before entering the woods. There were 42 experts taking off together, that just warms my heart, with the likes of Shad, Jeff Winkler, Craig and Scott the trail masters (and my teammates in a few weeks at Moab), Matt Gersib from Lincoln, Tige Lamb, Travis Donn racing his first expert race, among the rest.
I got off in a good position, I hopped around Scott at the first road. Craig was on the front sending the pace up, Shad was on his wheel then I was on Jeff's. We got into the actual trail and Craig was flexing his muscles early. Unfortunately the first decent claimed two rear tires and that was Craig and Scott's. Jeff let me around him up a bit more and I was soon on Shad's wheel. Shad was hurting me bad on all the pedaling, I was recovering in the rockier sections. Towards the end of the lap Shad bobbled at the base of a climb and I went around him. Popping out of the trail and continuing climbing up the road Shad was back on my wheel. I lead around the 2nd lap, Shad was always right there. Starting the third lap he went back around me on the pavement, and I set on his wheel. We were getting into a lot of lapped traffic, which was getting stressful, I never made the opportunity to go back around, looking back I should have tried somewhere before heading into Wudchuk Run, but I really did not have the energy. The highlight came as we started making our way down the final decent, He both boosted over this sweet little jump that I always look at but never fully commit to, Shad did it perfectly and I just mimicked him. We came out onto the road together after the long stair step climb, Shad reved up the pace and when he went into a sprint towards the line I went into a spin towards the line.
It was a great day of racing and I think everyone that was there was stoked. Like I said yesterday, I believe a long grand tradition has just begun.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The first ever Swope Park MTB race is being held tomorrow. Hopefully a long tradition is getting its start.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
So yesterday he alerted me of this cool interweb contest of sorts to choose the members of the first ever assembled Stumpjumper Trail Crew, This looks right up my ally, so here I am officially throwing my name in the hat and making my case why I belong as one of the 8 founding members.
They are looking for avid mountain bikers who ride a lot. A lot is a fairly relaitve phrase, but I do not believe their are any circles of mountain bikers that would not consider the amount that I ride as a lot. A little snapshot of the past three days has my tally of miles aboard 4 inches of travel and tires wider than 2 inches as firmly over 150. In the greater picture I have consistently been logging miles in dirt for the last 15 years of my life, I have taken the wonderful opportunity to ride dirt pedal bikes in every corner of the country, on all manner of terrain, both riding and racing. I am an avid mountain biker that rides a lot.
They want people who can tell a good story. That will be a little harder for me to quantify. But I do have a few stories in my bag that sound good around a campfire. Do you want to hear about the time Amber and I were four wheel drifting corners in a deluge of rain to get down to the Mah Da Hey trail in North Dakota, only to discover the next day we were on a knifes edge ridge with death plummets on either side. Or the time I was racing in Steamboat Springs in a 24 hour race and got blown of my bike by lightning. I like my story of my first 12 hour race in Nebraska, Amber, Her Dad, and I-with a collection of crappy lights, a half a loaf of bread, some peanut butter. I also like the story about my Dad and I sleeping in the airport in Vancouver. I have a nice little tale of riding on the Navajo Reservation and coming across people living at in the middle of NOWHERE offering me food and tea. There are plenty of stories from my first 27 years of life, there should be many more to come, and I feel I am pretty decent at telling them.
Now it does look like I may be a little more racer boy than they are looking for here in this group, and I will never claim to be otherwise. Even though my legs are not shaved and I log a lot more hours on fat tires than skinny I believe in racing. At its most basic level it is an all out trail ride with good friends, the more complex element involves combining your values with long term projections, making a plan and then laying your soul on the line to see what your made of(that all can be a frightening prospect, and may never overcome). I believe I have a balance between the different sides of racing, and the MTB industry would do well to take a cue from myself and my many racing mates on how to throw down and still keep our world attractive to the outsiders looking in.
I also fit right in on the trail care side if the coin. My father and I initially created the trails that have mutated into Lake Wilson's supreme dream ribbon. Myself and my trail partner Bob Behrens scratched in a network of trails along the Arkansas River in Great Bend, KS. And now that I am in Kansas City I have put many hours into the beginning of the masterpiece that will be Swope Park. There is absolutely nothing that gets my crank turning like Swope Park-the future is so exciting for the miles and miles of steep rocky root infested trails that will be smack in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri.
Specialized wants riders that can lead group rides. I think I am well qualified in that regard. Currently I lead 3 rides a week for Spin Pizza, and every weekend we do not race put together a small band of rangers to assault either Landahl or Swope. I also guided in this cool little mountain biking location called Moab, Utah for 6 months. This is a duty I can perform at a high proficiency level.
Specialized wants riders that respect and our respected by their mountain biking peers. I know how hard I have worked so that I can feel I have my place in our greater mountain bike community. Anyone who I witness take the time and make the effort to really live out what they love in bikes is a friend of mine. I can not speak for everyone out there but I believe they feel the same of me. If that is true of you reading this I would appreciate you leaving a note in the comments for me to prove this to Specialized's Stumpjumper Trail Crew assembly team.
There is my pitch, I will hope for the best, which is hands loose on the bars, elbows bent, hips floating over the saddle, left foot leading, bike leaning subtly inside, eyeing the outside bank in the bench, that should give you just enough time to straighten it up to bump jump the root garden just ahead.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Chris and Tom kept the gas on the whole time and finished 10 minutes or so ahead of us, it was a blast having them to chase. I hope we get to do it again soon.
And speaking of gas on the whole time, Jeff Winkler, on a six inch travel Scott roosted everyone in the solo class by MILES. He finished only a couple of minutes behind Travis and I. Holy Crap was he flying, it was one of the most impressive sights I have seen at a bike race this year. Hats off to Jeff.
Having Monday off we had a nice little gathering at Landahl. It was slick on the rocks but still a blast. My crashes always come in pairs, and after last weeks tree kissing I thought I was off the hook when I kept it upright at the race. Landahl delivered on my dualist fate, A stupid flop over on my shoulder and hand is making right side endeavors rather challenging. Luckily I was able break into the Peanut Butter this morning using my legs and left hand. I should be feeling better soon, but not right now.
Swope is two weeks away, and then Cross Season begins. Keep up
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Travis turned in a sold 56 minute lap and put me out on course third after Mike Marchand and my Dad just ahead. I caught my Dad in the opening trees and caught Mike a few miles later. I pulled away from Mike in the trees but he would flit back up to me out in the open fields. Travis did another 56 and put me back out still in the lead and growing. Always at this race I can never breath on the first lap and on the second lap I felt much better. I was not going much faster but I felt a lot better doing it. That lap ended up the fastest of the race at 52:34 and I was told was a new course record. Travis once again went out and did another 56 to finish his shift. I went into my third lap feeling good and ready to bust out my last one, then it went south. I was about to the U-turn in the first creek section when I called out to a buddy I was coming up behind and then clipped my handlebar on a tree, jerked the bar sideways and I hit the tree, then I hit the ground hard. It all happened really fast and I was more than a little stunned. I quickly took inventory and everything checked out to be in rideable shape, just knocked a little sideways in a few places. I was OK but the inside of my leg took a pretty good shot and it was painful to keep on. I rode hard on, but with a couple miles to go the leg I hit was cramping and I had to slow down and pedal with one leg some. I finally got in and we hung on to win, but it was not how I wanted to finish it up, and boy have a been sore since Saturday.
Travis and I were joined by our wives who raced in the glory class as well and rode quite well to finish second in their race. We danced and enjoyed ourselves at the after party and limped back over to Beloit, Kansas to stay the night and begin recovering.
Don't any of you miss this race, it is just plain cool.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Last weekend we made a little recon mission up to check out the course. We rode for three hours and suffered like dogs. Yeah it was hot outside but mainly the course whipped us all. The prospect of 12 hours of going hard sitting around 50 minutes and getting back on to hammer again seemed daunting at the least.
Race morning started early packing four people, three bikes, and enough stuff to see us through into Travis's Subaru. We had tents sticking up into the back seat, wheels crammed all around us, Amber and I sitting in one corner of the backseat, and Dana slammed all the way forward in her passenger seat, but by golly we were not going to take two cars. We were there soon enough and began the comical episode of us assembling some ancient lawn tent of Dana's, this thing was a relic, but I did not make it any easier by leaving out a few key poles. All the snickering bystanders better get while the gettin's good.
I started off the race for us with the stupid run that I have done way to many times. Actually I do not hate the run as much as I like to complain about it. I was real happy that this run was up a fairly steep hill. For whatever reason I have always been a much better uphill runner comparatively, and you do not have to smash you legs as much as running along flat ground in carbon sole bike shoes. I was 2nd to my bike and followed Tieg Lamb pulling myself and a train of others down the initial stretch of trail. I was a little to comfortable riding behind him and went around on the first chance uphill. I looked back as we crossed the dam and was pleased to see Craig Stoeltzing on my wheel. I rolled off the front up the first major climb, I was trying to take it easy but it seemed much more fun to go fast and I was not feeling to bad at the pace I was carrying along.
I handed off to Travis and stopped the clock at 42 minutes and a few seconds, which would remain the fastest lap for the race. Travis continued a blistering pace with a 44 minute lap, and handed back off to me with a substantial lead beginning to form. My second lap was on the long side of 42 minutes and I felt pretty rough actually, the food I ate was not digesting well and I was feeling overheated and wasted a good bit of my bottle pouring it over my head. I came in and sent Travis back out and I let my stomach normal out, which it did pretty well. My third lap was probably my most fun lap of the race, I felt good and clouds had the sun blocked and the temperature dropped enough to really aid you in pedaling your brains out. Travis's 3rd lap was miserable for him, his stomach had gone south worse than mine and he felt horrible when he came in. All he mumbled was, "I am getting sick." I could tell he was not joking around. I told him to have two bottles ready when I came back and I would do two laps. Although I slowed to do the two in a row it was pretty fun and I enjoyed myself the whole time. Travis got feeling chipper again and headed back out, he bounced back quickly and turned some more good laps. My 6th lap was a little more eventful. On the opening descent I slipped of my line and cut my sidewall. I hate getting flats, it just takes me out of race mode and into chuck my bike into the pond mood, but I changed it and carried on. By the end of my lap it started to do some bonafide raining, it felt all nice and refreshing but the last section of singletrack was slick already. Travis went out again with his lights on and slick trail under tread, I did not envy him. That would have been me had he not let me get in a extra dry/light lap, interesting how things work out for me isn't it. So the rain picked up, I sat around somber about the next four hours of in the dark mud riding. I was looking down the barrel of two laps no matter how you calculated the time, trust me I had ran every circumstance. Travis was about ten minutes from getting back around when the weather report and trail reports made the decision easy for Heartland. No one would go out after 9:00, the race was finished. Yahoo, Travis sauntered in a few minutes later and I thanked my lucky stars I had a flat tire or Travis would have beat the 9:00 barrier and I would be out there pitching a Missouri mud hole sized fit. Interesting isn't it.
Well we were in the lead when it was over so that means you win, and we had a fun time breaking down the relic tent in the rain and stuffing it back into the car which was now extra full with the North Face bags we scored in the awards. Unfortunately they kept sliding off and hitting me in the head as I slumbered.
The drive home was my turn to feel crappy. I made Travis pull over so I could get some water and some fresh air. But the bed felt good that night.
Until next time you can enjoy Amber Chambers's latest article here.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Distance: 14.91 Miles Climbing Dist: 7.85 mi. Climb Elevation: 1,360 ft.
Part of the beauty of life as a bike racer is by nature we do not dwell on things long. It is always on to the next thing, something in our head to keep us excited and motivated. That is the part of it all I am the most addicted to, the excitment and motivation. Always the thought...This is the one we want.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Travis preparing his #plate for aerodynamic efficiency
Me weaving through people and bikes to get to my bike at the start of the race
Craig starting out on a lap touching his chest
The final feet of my first lap
Freeze Frame...ha ha ha that's funny
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thursday morning early we headed out of KC. Amber and I were riding with Travis, and Craig was caravan'ing with Jim Cummins and Dave Burnett, leaving room in his car for Jason on the way home who would be flying into Wausau after business obligations in Dallas. Thursday we hooked up with Pappy Long and James Shefflet for our first glimpse of the 2009 course. I was happy to find that you entered your first section of singletrack much sooner than previous years I raced there. The first half of the race was a little to much doubletrack, but it made the miles go by quickly. There was some awesome singletrack sections in first half and particularly one long run that kept getting rockier, tighter, and more downhill at the same time until it shot you out of the woods all grinning and churning. The 2nd half of the course you lead off with the most taxing climbs of the trail, but they were not much after thinking back on Big Bear, and then some great singletrack that took a lot of focus to ride fast. They had it marked as just over 14 miles long, we could tell that it was going to be fast, like never take it out of the big ring fast.
I was leading us off which meant doing the run, which seemed unusually long. I sprinted (Cameron style sprint) to the first U-turn of the run, so as to not get trampled from the 238 people behind me. I think I was something like 6th or 8th to my bike and then I was in 2nd entering singletrack. I went into the lead after the first section of trail, but some dude bridged up to me from behind. We were storming along together, and he attacked out on the road and pulled me along for awhile, then I went hard up the roller climbs and could not shake him. Then we relaxed a bit and worked together with his big wheels charging the doubletrack and me leading through the singletrack. After doing the majority of the work he let me roll into the tent first, and send Jason out in the lead for the first lap. All of us had good 1st laps and established a lead in our first rotation. Our main rival team from Montana was something like 10 minutes down when I got the baton the second time. This was my lap to try for the fastest lap, without having to run at the start I thought I would have comfortably had a sub 1 hour lap, but now with that effort in the legs and moving heavily into lapped traffic it was going to be far from comfortable to hit my sub hour goal. My half way check was good, 27 minutes and change, but I knew the second half of the course was not as fast and much tighter for passing. I kept steady and only had one incident with a lady tipping right in front of me through some rocks and me having to start cyclocross season a couple of months early. In the tent to swipe the card and stop my time 59.59, how sweet a difference one second can make. It would hold up as the fastest lap for the event.
Craig had to endure a punchy little rain storm that came over in the afternoon, it initially slowed the trails, but as soon as the gravel soil drank up the water it made the course much better. My third lap was a blast with the singletrack packed in and allowing you to relax more through the corners instead of drifting and fighting for traction every corner. The sun went down while I was out and I finished the last few miles with my headlamp on. Night time is where the race is won or lost, teams can flounder through the trails making mistakes and getting frustrated while wasting precious energy, or if everyone stays positive and keeps the morale up and keeps having fun and staying focused you can bring the sun up well on your way to the podium. Everyone on our team did a great job of staying consistent and not making mistakes. Travis was a 24 hour rookie but you would not have known it by his lap times or his attitude, I did not have any doubts that he would not ride phenomenally well, but I was still impressed with his efforts. I had the last night lap and saw the sun rise on the trail, that experience is worth millions. My 5th lap was my worst for sure, I went the slowest and was in the most discomfort. I never really slept a wink and all the campfire breathing was making my chest pretty wheezy. With the sun coming up and Jason finishing his 5th lap we were all left with one to go. Everyone was storming in the morning. Sometimes you get those magic morning legs and you will like a bill and just have more fun than you ever do riding. I was definitely was having that kind of lap on my last lap. I knew the trail and was feeling pretty decent and a couple of miles in I lapped and dropped the Montana rider. Jason finished us off and we took top honors.
After picking up camp and enjoying a drink with the team, I promptly crashed in a stupor in a lawn chair. I woke up a few minutes before the awards and wobbled over to where the podium was. For winning the fastest lap competition I got to put on a crown and mount the podium by myself, that was enjoyable. Our team won and got some nice Light and Motion lights. We cruised over to a burger joint where I had Ice Tea, Sweet Fries, and a BBQ Bacon Cheese Burger, all capitals. The drive home was no ridiculous marathon like West Virginia, but we did drive south of St. Paul before getting a room and it took lots of loud music and rolling the windows down and sticking my head out to wake up.
24 hours of 9 mile was a wonderful experience and just what we had been training hard for. 2 down and 1 to go. Moab in October, We Will Be Ready, all capitals. But first there is a good bit of local fun with RIM, Cruise the Blues, KC Cup, and more.
Love ya, Love your Show.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Thank you Leland, Bobby, Matt, Marv, and all the other people that helped put the race on. It sure is fun to drive an hour and a half to a great MTB race, please do it again.
So that pretty much set the tone for this week. Lots of recovery riding on the ticket and leave the upper register alone to see what I can manage in Wisconsin. More than enough work has been done I just got to trust that I can pull it together. Remember that Granny Gear will be posting the lap by lap updates and I will twitter away until my phone dies, hopefully it makes it longer than last time.
Keep enjoying your summer and keep riding bikes more. Talk at you when I get home.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Sunday morning Travis, Steve, and myself headed south into the teeth of a rain storm that crashed into our car for the better part of an hour. We all remained upbeat despite the sheets of rain falling from the sky. A few minutes after I joked that I could see it breaking up on the horizon we shot out the other side and were headed towards sunshine and high temps. The turnout looked encouraging as we pulled into the venue and saw all the regulars milling about beginning their pre-race rituals, or whatever they were doing. Travis and I took an eventful pre ride with my getting stung by multiple bugs and him breaking a pedal with several miles to go. There are certain things that my pain tolerance is not particularly high and bug stings is certainly one of them, I complained an inordinate amount and pretty much told anyone that would listen how I got stung not once but twice.
It was a sweater by the time we got started at 12:30. The trails were groomed and were totally fun to ride. The course was basically backwards from the 12 hour I did there last year with some extra mileage thrown in. We were off and rather quickly a lead group of four formed with Chris Ploch, Aaron Elwell, Shadd Shriener, and myself. Chris lead for a lap and a half, we were at a semi race pace with all of us chatting and generally enjoying ourselves. The course had some many turns this way and that, that it was a bit defeating to try and go faster because that just meant more breaking and accelerating. Aaron had a pedal problem and it took him out of the pace line, then on lap two Shadd went around Chris and started putting the screws to us. After letting a few meters slip away I went around Chris and chased up to Shadd and we went into the final lap together. Shadd and I were both riding well and me not being known for my sprinting prowess decided I better go around and make a dig if I wanted to try and win. I passed Shadd at the top of one of the longer climbs which left us with two sizeable climbs and 3 or so miles of singletrack to the finish. As we were descending I got that feeling that makes your heart sink, flat tire time. I stopped and pulled out a thick piece of wire that jumped up and bit me. My first CO2 I shot straight in hopping Stans would fill the whole, no such luck. I put my tube in as Chris and Aaron passed by and I rode into the finish to claim fourth and lucky for me they were paying four deep. All in all it was pretty dang fun, and Steve won a Redline Monocog in the raffle afterwards. The race promoters did a wonderful job and deserve to be commended for their efforts cleaning the trails and making everything run efficiently.
Coming this weekend do not forget about Cramp Alexander in Emporia Kansas. All you need to know is here.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Richard Lozoff and I before the ride. Gail and Richard have four Spin Pizza locations in the city, you need to get yourself on their mailing list because you can get some amazing discounts.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Old school pic shredding the local river trails in Great Bend
Monday, June 15, 2009
We got on the road Wednesday with a later start than we wanted due to Jason's plane ride home from New York being cancelled. It was a pretty huge bummer that he had to fly back to Kansas City before he drove nearly all the way back from where he was being held up. He did a masterful job of not complaining about the absurdity of the situation and just carrying on. Thursday afternoon we got our first crack at the trail. It had been raining a ton in West Virgina and lucky for us all this trail holds up to ride able conditions even with loads of water being poured on top of it. But that does not mean you are not going to pay for it somehow, all the wet made a already demanding course simply brutal. Your rolling speed was drained and you had to work so hard for all the momentum you earned, no freebies here. The rocks and roots were slick but not in the way you might expect, the fine gravel of the dirt helped you cling to the rocks even when they were covered over in the motor oil like wet dirt. We rode another lap on Friday, it had rained more and was harder yet, all the climbs were infinitely harder because you had to work so hard to get to the base of the hill. All that said the course was still a riot. Plenty of descending, plenty of fast singletrack, plenty of places you were rewarded for being able to ride fast through a mess of rocks. The crown jewel of the course is about a 2 mile stretch that begins in a soft pine forest with huge pushed up berms, that gives way to a mostly downhill rhythm section that you can scream through if you can get people out of your way fast enough and committ to some tough lines at speed, and that gives way to a monster downhill that gets progressively faster until you are at breakneck speeds plummeting through terrain where you better not stop and contemplate what you are doing. The lap ended with two back to back monster climbs that were punishing everyone, they were ferocious and would make your stomach hurt standing in the exchange tent waiting for your teammate and your turn on the course.
Race day went smoothly up to the start, My team has all a been through many of these before and we had a great campsite set up and all our bases covered. Amber came to help and Andy Smith came over from DC to keep us company and help out with whatever he could. We had a darn good team in all. Scott was doing the first lap, the energy on that start line was out of control. Everyone took off like they were shot from a cannon, it was incredible to watch. Scott had a phenomenal start, rode a great lap, and put me out in 7th overall. I caught and passed all the team racers that were ahead of us, but two outstanding Solo racers remained ahead of me. My first lap turned out to be my fastest lap at 1:10.27, it came up just short of the fastest lap for the event to Josh Tostado's 1:10.14. Craig and Jason took their pulls and the story of the race began to form. We were chasing the West Virgina team lead by local hero Gunnar Shoogren, and a Pittsburgh team was knocking on our backdoor. I think we were about 12 minutes down when the sun went down. We battled hard through the night, at one point we pulled to 6 minutes and change behind the WV team. We could not get over the hump but were putting some solid real estate between us and third place. It was odd how my laps fell into order. I ended up doing five laps, but only had one night lap. I went out just after midnight and had a wildly enjoyable lap, and came back in solidly under my goal of keeping it sub 1:20. After that I went to sleep and did not wake up until the sun was up. It was good to get the sleep, but I did not do as good of a job preparing for that lap as I should have. My nutrition was a little low and I should have had my bike in better shape, my first lap the next morning was only around a minute faster than my night lap. With sun rise it was looking increasingly like we would not be catching the team ahead of us. Scott and I had the final two laps of the race and we did cut back into their lead by ten minutes to finish a respectable 19 minutes behind. My last lap was painful bliss, the course was getting a touch drier and I was chasing hard trying to get up to a five man team that had started a few minutes ahead of me. I had a solid lap with a 1:13 but it was not quite enough to bridge us to the 5 man dude who finished :30 seconds ahead of me. It was fun to have someone to chase and give my last lap a little boost.
We broke down camp quickly and had everything loaded up into the two vehicles before the awards. It is always fun to stand on the podium with your boys and put your hands in the air after such a big effort. It provided good motivation for the rest of the season and hopefully returning to do battle again next year. We ate huge hamburgers and got in the car to put some hours in. Actually I knew what was going to happen. Jason was not going to stop until we got home. This is where the story goes from awesome racing to legendary. Immediately after leaving Morgantown I was rendered completely useless in the passenger seat as Amber and Jason chatted and started going, it just took a bit and I regained consciousness and we motored up and onto I70 pointed West. Amber slept while Jason and I talked about the race and whatever else to help pass the time. Soon Columbus, Ohio was in the rear view mirror and Jason drove on. We came to Indianapolis in the dark and pushed on. Around about midnight I got behind the wheel for a short stint, I took us to the west side of St. Louis and we re-grouped at Quick Trip, Jason bought a large Coke and a strudel. I became, as Jason put it, "a puddle of flesh," in the passenger seat and he moved forward. A hour outside of KC I came to, We were entering thunderstorms and with a hour to go a bit of humanity leaked from Jason when he said, "I'm ready to be done." I was awake and amazed as we drove into the lights and the rain of Kansas City. Jason dropped Amber and I off at Craig's house and we got in our car for the painful drive across town to our bed, which we hit at 5:30 AM. Unbelievable.
Monday, June 8, 2009
A good group of experts toed the line, it was cool to have Josh Johnson on the start line, and Dave Breslin decided not to do the long haul class. The race was a quick start, a GT dirt coalition rider named Jonathon took of like a canon and shredded the opening descent, Dave was in 2nd and I was chasing them both in 3rd. Dave came up behind a marathon racer on a quick tight climb and could not get around, I carried momentum around them both towards the top of the hill and began to chase Jonathon. With Dave in tow we caught Jonathon fairly quickly and I went around him and made a hard dig on the climb to leave Dave. I had a bit of a gap going into a long climb that I thought I was going to big ring pin it up the whole thing, instead I was not looking down the correct trail and pin'd it right through the yellow tape. I scrambled up the climb on my feet, and Dave was with me looking like he was feeling a lot better than me. Dave rode behind me until we started the 2nd lap and then he went around, I tried to chase and kept pulling him back a bit on the climbs but awhile later he was out of sight. Time checks from helpful trail side observers had me anywhere between thirty seconds to a minute back, on my third lap I started feeling in a grove, a reliable source gave me 35 second gap up to Dave. I tried to raise the pace again but every time I did the heat felt oppressing and I had to slow down. I finished my fourth lap and there was confusion at the line if I had finished or not, Dave had come in a minute earlier-under the 1:30 mark-so he had to go back out. I came in right at 1:30-or so we are guessing-and so I went over to the shade of out pop up and began eating grapes. I really did not want to do another lap so it was OK with me. Behind me it was more confusion. The GT rider finished third, but there was some question about if he was on the right course the whole time. Chris Ploch was just behind him and he certainly was on the right course the whole time. Josh Johnson and Mike Best rounded out the paying places.
Travis Donn was in a knock out drag down race that unfortunately ended with the opposing rider not finishing due to mechanicals, but Travis did take his second W in a row. The rest of our KC crew all had respectable finishes, and most importantly were there.
After the lengthy awards, we all went and ate Shakespeare Pizza. The tales grew bigger and our bellies were filled.
Wednesday it is off to West Virginia. I will be sending twitter updates onto my blog about our teams progress. And as always you can keep up with the race with real time results at Granny Gears website. I will let you know how it goes.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
The race course was seriously challenging. There was no one bit that was extremely hard on its own, but when you added up the non stop rock garden with quick poppy steeps, it was taking a toll on your body right from the start. Travis Donn, Aaron Elwell, and I rode a few laps on Saturday, and it was an eye opening ride and I think we were all like, "This should be interesting." We were celebrating Dana, Travis's wife's, Birthday on the trip. She was a good sport to come along for the trip and to celebrate by ordering way more food than we needed at Freddie's Steakhouse and falling asleep early back at the hotel. The hotel guy got us excited to lounge by the pool but we arrived to find the pool covered up and him saying, "too cold, maybe tomorrow." I was not impressed with that service, but we slept good.
Travis raced first on Sunday. He took off with Fury in his eyes and gaped to group on the opening climb, from his account he suffered numerable OTB catapults, but still managed to annihilate the closest competition. It is awesome to watch him getting faster every race, he is quickly turning into a phenomenal MTB racer.
Our race start got pushed back to noon. The prize purse attracted a good size field in the expert class, estimations of my crew had it over 20 racers taking off together. We started at the base of a long hill, that after 50 yards or so of pavement funneled you into a grassy/gravely singletrack beside the road up to the top of the hill. I was 5th into the grass, passed one guy before the top and poised to shoot around to Ray Hall's wheel at the top. I gassed it, and some Mad Duck rider and I traded a few elbows. I was in position to ride him into the bushes and go into the trail in second, but he seemed determined to have a collision with me if need be so I let him in. Immediately the guy started to coast and Ray, who is incredibly strong and an incredibly daft bike handler on his home trail, began walking away from us. I was getting pretty frustrated riding behind the other racer. I did not like to be the antagonist that I was, but I at least wanted a chance to try and stay with Ray. The Mad Duck rider continued to flounder and the gap grew, one rider even passed us both when Mad Duck dropped his chain after skipping off a rock and I plowed into him and dropped my chain as well. The first straight climb I went around him and began to ride my own race. It was obvious I was not going to reel in Ray unless he imploded (which did not appear likely) so I just rode hard and steady and hoped the gap behind me was opening.
The rest of the race I focused on riding as smooth and fast as I could through the endless rocks. Travis was giving me helpful time checks that helped me gauge my effort in the second half of the race. I was sucking down bottle after bottle of Heed and I ate three packets of Gu- it was about as much calories as I have ever taken in in a two hour race. Amber and Dana were perfect in the pits keeping everything cold and encouraging us on. I came to the finish line in 1:54 minutes, a distant second place to Ray Hall of 918XC Racing. Ray rode impressively to say the least. Aaron Elwell got around the rest of the field and rounded out the top three. I was pretty stoked to get cut a check for my racing effort.
In other notables Doung "Pappy" Long took second in a phenomenal race in the expert 50+ category. Three riders duked it out hard, and Doug earned a well fought runner up. My Dad came all the way from Great Bend to participate and did three laps with the expert class with his brand new Golden Belt Bicycle jersey. The kids race was a hilarious affair, but as is not surprising the kid with the Mohawk took top honors. Lyle Riedy showed his form is coming around and put in a solid three laps looking strong.
We pulled all the ticks off and hopped back in the car for the drive home. Good Ol' Oklahoma Braums provided the recovery in form of Bacon Cheese Burger, Fries, and a Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake. You better believe it.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Thunderbird is a sandy maze of trails with endless bermed out corners set in a sea of poison ivy. We did not pre-ride the trail, but I have raced there a few times in the past so I knew the basic style. Laps were just under 7 miles so Travis and I decided to do two at a time. I took the first pull, and was the first one on my bike at the Le Mans start, and we never looked back. The course was hit pretty hard by rain the week before and it did not look like it had seen much action lately. My first lap was my slowest of the day, an even by my second lap the trail had picked up speed considerably with all the tires over it.
Travis took solid pulls the whole race and conceded no time to our pursuers. Our lead was steadily growing, and the trail kept getting more and more fun. By my third set of laps everything was clicking and did my fastest two laps and set fast lap for the day at 31:14. Travis knocked out one more and we finished a few minutes after 3:00 to seal the deal. The race was expertly ran and it was a shame that the rain had scared off many people. The people that were there all got treated to an awesome day of racing. Hopefully we can make the other races in the series and support all their hard work.
This was the first event for what will become Ethos Racing team. Under the banner for the first time it was good to chalk up a nice W. More to come.
Monday, May 4, 2009
2009's event only brought more of the same good times. The Saturday afternoon hill climb was the usual painful affair. We all lined up at the big rock at the bottom and my good friend Herb Phillips sent us all off in one minute intervals. I had the brain dialed all the way down and my fork locked out with the bike shifted into the big chainring. I dropped the hammer for all I was worth and I believe my 2:16 was my best posted time since the addition of the S curves right after the road crossing. I had closer competition than some years with Bill Klinesmith running a 2:26 and a handful of other racers including my Uncle Chris, and Mike Maurchin just seconds behind him. Saturday afternoon we rode some more of the course and I enjoyed greatly the new sections of trail, I was pretty psyched to let one uncork the next day. My Dad put our lot up in a sweet little B-n-B in Wilson, where we got a good nights sleep and had a stellar breakfast. Simple Haven Bed and Breakfast is a wonderful little spot that if anyone is ever looking for a unique and relaxing MTB weekend this would make a perfect package. Even though it drizzled all night the trails were not affected, in fact they were probably better than they would have been bone dry. Racing mate Travis Donn and I took a little warm up before the race, four miles in he had got a feel for what the trail was like and decided that was warmed up enough, this trail will do that to you. I had decided that this race needed to be a real hard workout day for me, being that it is a tough 24 miles, and West Virgina is now only a month away, I wanted to whip myself silly by the end. I got out and was pushing a big gear and really trying to ride hard, I was having so much fun the positive sensations kept snowballing the whole race until the end was just a blur of trail and happiness. Since the course has been changing every year lately I cannot really compare my times, but I felt better than ever before.
Steve and Elizabeth Heal graced us with their presence coming down from Denver for the race. It was wonderful to see them again, and Liz won the women's Expert race convincingly. Travis Donn has now progressed onto his 3rd MTB race and was once again 2nd in his Sport division. The Singlespeeders were raging, they went 1, 2, 3, in the one lap race. Salina Jon, took top honors with Great Benders in the next two places. Morgan Stevens was the sole women's SS'er, she crushed the course. Their was also a host of youngster's that was quite impressive. The Smith Family from Hays, Kansas had two boys that had an enthusiasm for mountain biking like I have never witnessed, another little tike from Lawerence shredded the kids course, and in true kids course winner fashion continued to ride his BMX bike all day long up and down the gravel piles in the parking lot. Dodge Nily is the rising star in Great Bend. Although he qualifies yet for the kids race he took on the adults and smoked out an insanely fast time for I kid who I doubt weighs 70 lbs. Even his light weight bike is like me racing on a 40+ lb machine. Props to everyone who came out, signed up, and went as hard as they could. That takes courage and is a honorable endeavor.
Another year in the books, another successful Kansas Fat Tire Festival.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Travis and I headed down early Sunday morning through a onslaught of rain that lasted deep into Missouri. We kept looking at his phone and seeing that it was not raining in Neosho, but looking ahead we did not see how that was possible. The clouds did begin to break up and we were both getting excited as we pulled in to the race venue.
At registration we were told that it had rained possibly four inches the day before but that it was OK to ride. So we put on our gear and went out for a lap. It was real wet but in that soil type it did not really matter. There was plenty of mud holes and puddles but it was all the fun kind of wet, not the zap the life out you and your bike mud that we know so well in the Kansas City region.
Unfortunately there was not a big turn out, I am sure the weather scared off a lot of folks that had to travel a fair distance to get their anyway. The expert class went of first and I snuck into the singletrack in the lead. I immediately dropped the hammer on the first climb and started to open a gap. I kept on and rode nice and steady the rest of the race. As always with the Fat Tire Series races it was a timed event instead of a set distance, I am not a fan of this style of racing because it promotes me to race conservatively because you really do not know what to expect. Especially in a mud race like that there is a huge difference between racing 18 miles and 24 miles in terms of exertion. It ended up I came through my finishing my third lap in right at 1:30, I still had a lap in the tank and I was a little disappointed that I did not ride harder.
Oh well, it was a great course, good traveling companion (who got 2nd in his sport class race in his second bike race ever), and a good day of racing all around. My Epic again rode sicker than the sickest dog. Even though it was completely wrecked from all the mud I never had the slightest problem and it let me hammer in the big chainring the whole race and never let me down. Looking at the Sea Otter results I think it is pretty clear what the fastest XC bike in the world is right now. Specialized dominated the whole event, even went 1,2,3 in the short track with a win for the new Carbon 29er. Sicker than the sickest dog.
Next week is another Duathlon in Lawrence, then the following weekend is my Dad's race at Lake Wilson State Park. Don't miss it.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
My traveling companion for the weekend was Mark Cole, we headed down Saturday morning with Gerard and Tim Green in caravan with us. Early afternoon we arrived at the Highway 27 fishing village and headed out for a quick 1:30 sampling of a middle section of trail. It was a good stretch for to see having been on everything up to that point and been on the final 20 miles a few times it gave me a glimpse of what was to come. The other fortuitous event was Mark slicing the side wall of a tire and my front tire randomly spouting Stans out of a little pinhole. When we got back to the vehicles we B-lined it to Hot Springs arriving just as the bike shop was closing to pick up some burlier side wall tires for the next day. Back at the accommodations provided by Scott and Craig we mounted our new rubber and freshened up the bikes. I also got to enjoy lasagna left overs that hit the spot. I slept like a champ and woke up to nearly an ideal racing temperature of 65 degrees.
As we were getting things around at the race venue a little weather dropped in dribbling some rain but also dropping the temps a good bit. Everything about this race form a organizational stand point is phenomenal. There are countless volunteers, and every last one of them that I had dealings with were exhaustively helpful and friendly, I simply can not say enough about how impressed I was with the entire outfit.
The BIG group rolled out of Oden at 8:00 and it was obvious by the depth of talent on the start line that this was going to be a epic battle. At the base of the first climb leading up to trail a lead group formed and as I big ringed the first handful of climbs I grinned to myself knowing what torture lay ahead at this type of pace. I went into the first check point in fifth, two 60 mile racers were ahead of me and 2 80 mile racers were ahead of me, and Garth Prosser was right behind me. In one of the first of ten thousand creek crossings Texas strongman Brian Fawley had slit a tire and was stopped for repairs, having seen this He-man race plenty in the past and witness the way he was climbing at the start of the race, I knew a whole bunch of bad luck was going to pile on him to keep him behind me.
The singletrack at the start of the middle third of the race in super fast. Garth was just pounding the pedals and staying on his wheel across this section was a serious injection to the pace I would be going on my own. We started a long fast climb that I remembered well from our fall trip and Garth hollered back to me that all the zig-zags and sheer cliff side we were on was causing vertigo. The exact thing had happened to me in the fall, and I knew the steep pitches at the top would not be in his favor. I passed Garth on the first scramble and pined my ears back for the roaring decent off of the mountain. I just caught a glimpse of second place as I took to the highway for the short stint of road before disappearing into what would feel like a thirty mile climb. In the first of a series of steep rises I caught the Ergon rider who was fiddling with his bike, now in second place with over half the race to go I just tried to forget about what all lay ahead and just eat and drink and not wreck.
At the half-way checkpoint the army of volunteers meet me with my drop bag and were eager to do all they could to help out. Skip was there, what happened I never found out, but as always Lincoln, Nebraska, offered me more than a little help to keep the wheels rolling forward. More climbing leaving the check point, the Ergon rider had overtaken me at the stop and Garth was back with me, but as the climbing turned to hike a bikes I distanced away and was soon plodding uphill with the current leader Kip Biese. After following Kip downhill for awhile I passed him at the base of another crushing climb, and now was in the lead and nothing to do but grit it out. This whole section between the 2nd and 3rd checkpoints was beyond brutal, nothing about it was easy and there was nowhere to hide. My legs were feeling strong but already my upper body was starting to cramp. My typical out of the saddle big gear climbing style does not always hold out, and I was time and time again charging uphill until the snakes started crawling around in my forearms and different parts of my back cramping. I was relegated to in the saddle, draping my useless appendages over the grips and spinning until it would reside enough to try again. All things considered I was still moving decently well. Towards the top of the final climb before heading onto Blowout Mountain, Brian caught back up from his flat tire. He was simply looking phenomenal, so strong, and as always his good attitude made getting blown past a little easier to deal with. We rolled into the third checkpoint together, but I had no illusion of climbing with him over Blowout. There was a long way to go yet and this was not the time to set the entire book of matches ablaze. Blowout Mountain is tough, lots of small chainring spinning and odd little rock gardens that a fresh rider would not hardly consider, but one hanging on the edge finds to be that gentle nudge over the precipice. At the top I seemed to recover quickly and was trying to focus on riding fast downhill and not simply cruising the way I tend to at points like this in a race. I came into the final check point excited and ready to leave it all on Big Brushy. Things went South, ALL was left about three miles from the top of Big Brushy. My upper body was simply not cooperating. Earlier in the race the cramps would recede quickly and I would get another few minutes of hammering before plopping back in the saddle for the spinathon. Now I could not hardly come out of the saddle at all, all the 60 mile racers that were walking up the climb seemed to barely be going slower than I was on my bike. I was getting angry and just wanted it to be over, it was not over and the tenacious Garth Prosser rounded me, pushing the middle chainring and looking possessed, had there been a car to get into I probably would have just said screw it. That was not an option. Finally I got to the top, no one else caught me and I finally turned the anger into something positive and went flailing away in my biggest gear down the dirt road decent. I was bound and determined that if anyone else was going to catch me it would have to be a super human effort. After what seemed like ages I made it to the finish line.
Even laying in the grass after the race I was hurting to bad to be honestly relieved that it was over. The Seagal Boys brought me two PBR's, I was to tired to drink one of them, the pizza that Dave Burnett secured for me was delicious but was having trouble working its way down my esophagus, I could not remember being inside out like this.
7:20 minutes, 3rd place, and a suffer fest that has me grinning while I write this, I simply do not get it sometimes. That is just the way it is.
Kansas City secured 4 of the top ten spots in the 80 mile race. I will be interested to see how many finishers there were after they post the results.
My new bicycle worked Phenomenally well, I love it so much, and it makes me look forward to the rest of the season that much more.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
After the race we all sat around in the grass laughing and enjoying the beautiful weather. After the awards we went and ate at the Tavern in Defiance, MO. In another stroke of luck the waitress brought us a extra gonzo burger. It was a good day
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
It was perfect weather on the start line, overcast and a nice cooling wind. Tony Raboin and another good runner took off faster than I could and I already trailed 30 yards or so entering the woods. Once in the trails I began to distance the people that were behind me and was beginning to slowly reel in the leaders. I went around the runner in between Tony and I and was keeping pace with the front. About half way through the run I was feeling real good and was running right with Tony, things in the run would have stayed considerably less painful had I not rolled my right foot on some uneven surface. I heard a little pop from my foot and spent a minute or so stumbling down the trail hoping the pain would ease up. It did enough, and I continued on and entered the bike transition right behind Tony.
It is hard to tell right now how bad my foot is. A blue bubble has formed on it, and I have been icing it off and on since we got home. I have no muscle strength to pull my toes towards me, but it does not hurt to bend it around manually. I have a light week of training planned this week, so maybe it will be a good thing. Rarely do I stay the course of a rest week, hammering is much more satisfying.