Monday, March 10, 2014

FBB and Fat Bike Season Wrap

The blog is not dead...just less, well practically no, time for it! Wolf Tooth Components has taken all my spare and not spare time.

Anyway, I started the Fat Bike season with 5 races locally on mostly single track trails.  I probably didn't run above 5 PSI in any of those races...the snow has been DEEP!
Then duty called and I had to travel for 2 weeks to Singapore and Korea for my work as an Engineer at Seagate.  Besides losing some fitness, the other down side of the trip is that I missed the Frozen Fat Forty, a 40 mile singletrack race that was one I was pumped about doing (and one that suits me well).  I did manage to one more race after I got back before the Fat Bike Birkie (FBB).

On to the FBB, I finished my fat bike racing campaign up there on Saturday.  The FBB had pretty stacked field and the course doesn't suit me too well with 50k of nothing technical (but lots of tactical).  The event itself was run flawlessly and is a great even for Fat bikers of all skill levels to participate in.
From the gun, Jesse Lalonde, Jorden Wakely and I pulled a group of about 10-15 for 95% of the first 2/3 of the race.  There was some air drafting, but the more significant drag was from the light crust of snow.  Either way,  I wasn't under a lot of pressure and got of the front a few times by just bombing some downhills.  There were some other small attacks, but nothing that stuck.
Then about 2/3 of the way through the race Ned Overend attacked with Jesse, Will and I tracking him down.  These accelerations whittled our group of 10 or so down to 4 or 5.  Then in the midst of another Ned acceleration, my bike kicked sideways when I hit the pacing snowmobile's ski track.  I went into the deep stuff and lost probably 15-20s and a few spots.  I put it in TT mode for a few min and blew past the remaining stragglers to get up to Ned, Will, and Jesse again.  I was on the rivet pulling them back when they were really pushing the pace.  I just needed about 1min to recover from the chase, but that wasn't to be.  One more acceleration by Ned and I fell off...doh!  I had to recover for a few min, and I couldn't see anyone behind me.  From there I caught Jesse and we yo-yo'd with each other for the rest of the time.  We were both pretty tired after all the driving on the first part of the race.  In the end, I just missed 2nd place by a few seconds.  Ned was super strong, and it is so impressive that he can still rock it on the bike like that!  It is always an honor to race with a legend.

I would tell you that next time I will be more patient, sit in more, and save my energy, but I know that won't happen.  Patience and tactical racing are not aspects of bike racing I am interested in=)

On equipment, the 9:Zero:7 Whiteout simply ROCKS!  Pair with that the Hed Big Deal wheels and Shimano components (yes XTR brakes too!) and I couldn't ask for a better racing and riding Fat Bike!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Da'Fat Bike

I am really looking forward to pedaling hard on this beauty while making WOLF tracks through the woods!

Some highlights:
  • 9Zero7 Whiteout Frame.. all things considered, this is the best fat bike in the world.
  • Wolf Tooth Components Rings (and cogs) of various types for testing purposes (X9, e13, RF Next SL)
  • XTR Drivetrain and Brakes (yes Shimano Brakes in the cold)
  • Hed Yo Mamma Fat Bike rims

In speed mode, it is 23lbs or just a little under, with full fat traction as pictured it is 24.25 lbs.  Dang, I remember when my Pug had weighed 37lbs and we only  had Endomorph tires to ride on!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Fat bike time!

I will have a bit up on the fat bikes I am riding this year in the coming week.

However, if you are new to fat/winter biking or just a huge fan, go check this out today at Freewheel:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Catching up again...

I have not fallen off the face of the racing scene as one racer suggested to me last weekend at Chequamegon 100!  I finished out the season exactly how I wanted to with 2 really fun race weekends.=)  I also ended up with around 25 races on the year... right where I wanted to be.

After MDH100, I did a weekday off road time trial (at Murphy Hanrehan) and my time was the same as before MDH so I was pretty sure I avoided any detrimental effects from the heat. 

Next up was the Laddies Loppet stage race at Maplelag where I won all three races (Time Trail, Short Track, and XC all in a 2 day period for those not familiar with the race).  This further assured me that I indeed had quit at the right time out in MDH.  That said, the margin of victory was SLIM  in all three races to a very fast Jeff Hall.  He really pushed me up there and it showed in the XC time gap we had of around 7 minutes to 3rd place (and we had a sprint finish)!   It is great to see Jeff back at it and he confirmed his speed by finishing in the chase group at Chequamegon the next week.

The final goal of the season for me was to rock the Chequamegon 100, and I had plenty of MDH frustration to take out on the course!  This is 100 mile race on ALL the fun challenging trails up in the Chequamegon forest (80% singletrack or so).  The fastest finishing times in previous years was over 8 hours, so this is no gravel road race.   We lined up on a crisp morning and I gave it a go at the start riding off the front alone.  I ended up with a finishing time of 7:45 or so, about 30 min ahead of second place.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the festivities after because I had to head to China the next morning.

The Superfly 100 was piloted on both weekends and I continue to believe that is the fastest, best bikes out there for XC.  The Enve wheels also continue to blow me away with their stiffness and weight.  I actually have to adjust to how stiff they are relative to my other wheels!

Right now I am on a whirlwind tour of Asia.  I am to tired to write more other than to say racing the e-bikes each morning has still been entertaining (for me and them=)

Until next time....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Making the tough decisions...

First the good.  I think I still have some fast in my legs, as I finally broke 38 min at a Murphy TT.  That is the fastest it has ever been done and a good sign that my legs and high end are there even w/ the frequency of racing down. If you haven't been to a Murphy TT, come on out for a great time with free beer, pop and food after!

Now the not so good.  I DNF'd Maah Daah Hey 100 on Saturday after ~105 miles due to heat stroke sypmtoms that were getting bad (my race would have been ~113 miles given some "detours"....about 35-40 minutes total through the race is what Erik Tonkin and I figured).  Temperatures reach 105-110 on the trail and we had a 20mph headwind. 
I was in the lead comfortably riding w/ Kelly McGelky and Erik leaving checkpoint two (55 miles or so) when we took another 15-20 minute detour...the guy that was supposed to flag us onto the trail off a gravel road wasn't there ;(   My impetus left as we found out that the 4th member of our group, who had fallen off a little prior to the 2nd checkpoint, didn't miss the turn.  Erik and I soldiered on, dropped Kelly, and then got lost again for 5-10 minutes.  At this point, I just wanted to finish, and  I was more than a little frustrated.  After I lost that 25 minutes on Section 3 and sat up a bit, Kevin Ishaug caught up to me.  We rode together in the final miles to the 3rd checkpoint and beyond, and we were still on pace for a 10 hour finish.  About an hour after the 3rd checkpoint, I had the tell tail signs of heat stroke as did Kevin.  It sure felt hot, but I had no idea how hot it had really gotten...
I got to Interstate 94 and knew that there was 8 miles to go in the race and very few options to bail after that.  I laid down in a tunnel underneath the interstate to cool down a little, got up, tried to find cell service but couldn't, ended up riding down 94, almost convinced myself to turn around and get back on the trail, and finally did the smart thing and called for help.  My wonderful Father came and picked me up.  It was very strange having plenty of leg power but such debilitating cramping, dizziness, inability to focus my eyes, and near vomiting.  In the end, I think this decision save me from heat stroke (I think...haven't confirmed that but have felt ok since re-hydrating..if I did avoid heat stroke I am sure I was only minutes of riding away from it).  Kevin did finish but I had to have the race directors call an ambulance after because he could barely utter a word even sitting inside an air conditioned bar.  He ended up with heat stroke.

I got this from Mike Pfeiffers GPS (he finished strong and looked the best of anyone!)  On this chart, I dropped out at about the 10 hour mark.   My issues started at about the 9 hour mark.  OUCH!

About an hour after I got to the finish line w/ my dad, they called the race due to heat.  I think 8 racers or so out of 160 finished...crazy.

Will I go back?  Maybe.  Will I do it in heat like that?  No way.  I think that with lower temps, not getting lost, and a little different nutrition strategy, I can do it in near 9 hours.  This is the 3rd DNF I have ever had in 11 years of racing and only the 2nd non-mechanical DNF, so it is a little hard to take.  I am sad that I didn't finish, but glad I pulled the plug when I did.

Finally, Thank you DAD and TEGAN for your support!  You guys were phenomenal!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

6+ At Wausau24

This past weekend Jen and I headed over to Wausau Nine Mile Forest sans kids (yes, JUST us!) to the race festival that is Wausau24.  They had 600+ total racers and probably 2-3x more of support staff and families...AWESOME!  I hadn't been to Wausau since 2008 when we won the 4 man 24 team National Championship, so needless to say, I had fond memories of racing Nine Mile.  I while I have done a bunch of team 24 hour racing in the past and have no desire to do that again anytime soon....those 3 am laps are NOT fun.  What took me to Wausau is the fact that I am really enjoying the new challenge of longer races this year and the 6 hour race was another opportunity to ride for a long time with a number on.

The course was just as fun as I remembered - rocky, rooty, twisty, and rough with sections of ski trail thrown in for a little relief here and there.  There were sections that I saw less than 25% of the people riding, so that is a good indicator of an awesome course (in my book!).
After a le mans style running start, I took off at only a moderately high pace for the first few minutes because it was COLD for July, it was a fast start on ski trail (making it colder), and it was a long race.  That said, I made it a point to passed everyone before the singletrack and then picked up the pace a bit.  I kept near an XC race pace going for about 90 minutes and ended up with the 2 fastest laps of the race.  The next few hours I felt fine and consistent.  After about 5 hours, I got passed by the team that won the 24 hour race (one of my goals was to lead the race for all 6 hours..bummer) so from there I just rode it out and took it pretty easy on the last lap finishing with 80 miles (8 laps) in 6 hours and 15 minutes.  I won by 22 min, so all in all not bad.  My legs never felt really good and snappy on Saturday, but I am confident that is because it never got above the mid 50s for temps (with drizzle no less).  My legs simply don't like the cold when it comes to harder efforts. 
I was pretty tired Sunday, but I am pretty sure that had more to do with the free Red Eye micro brewery beer at 11pm than the race;)  Did I mention that Jen and I had fun?

While I missed Afton on Sunday, I can't say that I MISSED Afton!  I have ridden enough laps there for several lifetimes=)

Finally on equipment: The Superfly100 still continues to impress me.  It is the fastest most capable and comfortable bike I have ever ridden.  Other than my legs, my body didn't hurt after the race and attribute some of that to the bike.  Given the rocky course I did run the tubeless ready (TLR) version of the Bontrager XR1 tire.  The TLR tires have about 100grams of extra sidewall and tread protection, which is worth it on rocky trails...especially long races on rocky trails.  The only other thing to report is that I rode nearly the entire race with my stand-bys of Gu Roctane drink mix and gu packets.   I say nearly because I did throw in 2 packs of peanut M&Ms to switch it up=)

Next up?  Who knows...Murphy TT's, Buck Hills, White Tail, Man-Weekend at Kevin Ishaug's is hard to tell at this point where I will be in the next week!
What I do know is that Maah Daah Hey 100 is in 3 weeks.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rhino Rally

Because CANCER SUCKS some great people put together the Rhino Rally 5 hour race at Murphy Hanrehan to benefit families going through tough times.  Our family was there not long ago, and it is selfless people like these race organizers that are the true heros of this world.

I rode for my Nephew Andrew who died of an aggressive form of Sarcoma about 2 years ago.  I rode damn hard too because no pain in my legs could match what he toughed through for the last 3 months of his short life. 

7 laps, 70 miles of singletrack, in 4 hours and 40 minutes, close to my TT pace the entire time, with the first lap at 37 min...ALL for you buddy!  That is an entire lap more than last year in only 10 minutes more so you must have been pushing me harder=)

Monday, June 24, 2013


Racing this year in MN and WI has kind of been a bust with the weather =(  The weather has left us all monitoring the radar and twitter feeds daily for trail conditions (racing or just riding). 

Anyway, here is my early season update, well almost mid season now I guess:

1.  The Camba Epic was a great race. I had a great battle w/ some fast guys on sweet trails up there.  Gone are the days of double XC weekends so I missed MNMBS Mankato that weekend.  It just is not in the cards for me to pull doubles, as family time is too important to me.
2.  I had planned to do Cheq 100 this past weekend, but they postponed the race at the 11th hour.  We had a family get away planned at a cabin for the weekend and everything.  I was VERY disappointed but respect their decision.  Lets just say that I was prepared for this race.  I will definitely be there in Sept to give it a go.  Then Sunday, the day of the Red Wing MNMBS, was my wife Jen's birthday.  I am not going to try that one after all her patience w/ racin!  Plus, I have done enough muddy Red Wing races for a lifetime.
3.  I really want to do about 25 races this year (including 5-7 snow bike races).  I have done 35 mountain bike races per year for the past 5 years.  My family has been patient and enjoyed time doing this, but they no longer want to spend 2 out of 3 summer Sundays baking out in the hot sun.  I don't blame them.  That said, the kids still LOVE the shorter closer buck hill races=)
4.  Races like Cheq 100 and Maah Daah Hey 100, which I am also doing, are interesting and exciting to me because they are true mtbk races (not just mtbks on gravel).  After 10 year of only XC racing (yes, it is has been that long) it is time to try something different.  These longer mountain bike races also pair well with fewer races, as long races mean longer rides during the summer and more rest after the races.  I do still have interest in some grass roots gravel road racing, but NOT the corporate stuff.
5.  I just love riding my bike every day=)   Too much racing can get in the way of that if you want to be ready and rested on race day.  I don't ride to race, I race to ride. 

So near term, I will be back at Buck this week and plan to do Buck this weekend.  Then it will be off to Hayward for family vaca.  Ben, Brad and I plan to rock the trails there for a week.
Looking further out I plan to be at the Lester Park race in a couple weeks.  Looking beyond that, I have a mish-mash of MNMBS, the MDH 100, maybe Wausau 12 hour, and for SURE Laddies Loppet.  I am guessing I will have no trouble filling out that 25 race schedule!!

Now, if it would just not rain for more than 24 hours...


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Quick Update...

Yes, I am still here and have been racing.

Over the previous couple weeks I did a couple Buck Hill races, the Wooly MNMBS race, and the EPIC up in Cable/Hayward.

The Buck races have been a blast for my family.  Tegan even did an entire lap at the first race!  It was pretty hard on his early season 6-year-old legs, but he toughed it out and made Daddy very proud=)

Wolly was great as well, but I could have gone faster on my dual suspension given some of the open rough sections.  The course up there is a nice mix of everything (singletrack, double track gravel, and a tiny bit of paved path) that reminded me of the Mammoth trail in Chaska.

The EPIC race was properly named.  Of the 33 miles, 30 of it were singletrack.  Point to point races (this one going from Cable to Hayward) are always a treat.  Jason Sager, Jesse Lalonde and I had a good battle. At the finish they out kicked me, but the race was just the warm up I needed for the Cheq 100!

On the equipment, I am loving the 29ers.  I think the superfly 100 might be the fastest bike I have ever ridden off road considering a variety of conditions.  For smooth or punchy courses, the Superfly HT will be tough to beat though.  The XR0 and 1 tires are even better in the 29er form than 26er form, which I didn't expect but am pleasantly surprised by.  XTR stuff is completely flawless and is the best drivetrain on earth, IMO, when paired w/ a WTC ring.  The ENVE and Bonti wheels are both great, but I reach for the ENVEs on race day.  They are just so dang still, light and snappy.
The Kuat rack continues to exceed my expectations as well.  The integrated bike stand feature is SO useful.  Plus the rack looks amazing on my FJ.... and 1/2 of going fast is looking good right?

 Really, I can't think of one complaint about my equipment, which is one of the benefits of being a "privateer" and not being forced into using equipment because a sponsor said so=)

Sorry for the lack or pictures, but if you are reading this, you probably know what I look like;)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Bikes and Factory Demo!

Ok, so this is a long time coming on the new bikes, but here goes a brief overview of my new rides.

Superfly Pro SL Hardtail and 100 (Dually)
  • I stripped the XX drivetrains off and am running my much preferred Shimano XTR groups as 1x10 with a WTC chainrings. 
  • I also put on XTR brakes.  Anyone that has ridden XTR brakes probably agrees that they are the best performing disc brakes ever (I have ridden LOTS different kinds).
  • I will be running a mix of ENVE 29 XC wheels and the stock Bontrager RXL wheels.  Both are set up w/ DT Swiss 240 hubs and Areolite spokes, and going solely to DT Swiss stuff was a conscious effort after hub issues in past years.
  • I switched the carbon stems out for the stiff but lite Bontrager Rhythm Pro Stems
  • Tires this year will be the full XR range (0,1,2,mud) from Bontrager.
  • The rest of the bike including cockpit and suspension are stock.
  • The weights came in VERY impressive at 18.5lbs for the HT and 20.75lbs for the dually (with XR0 tires and ENVE wheels)
Here is your chance to try the bikes for FREE!  Hopefully the weather cooperates.

I did do a race last weekend.  It was cold, my legs felt tight the whole time, but it was a good kick in the pants to start the season with 50 miles of tight, twisty singletrack at or near XC race pace.  I did feel strong pretty much the entire 4 hours other than my legs being cold.  My trophy for winning was a signed copy of a picture of me (signed by me ...not sure if it was authentic) .  Thanks to the race directors for that ;)