Saturday, June 30, 2007

2 Fast Ones and 2 Trips to Chipotle

The starting line at Buck on Thursdays is usually when I start thinking about lunch the next day. Every Friday a group of us from work hit either the Chinese Buffet or Chipotle. This week I had a hankering for a burrito the size of a six pack.
Oh, and the race....the guys at penn made a super sweet course that was longer than normal so we only did 3 laps. The finishing times were comparable due to the added climbs. Fisher, Sam, Paul and I were off the front quickly with Eric Thompson dangling of the back. After 2 hard laps, Sam had a flat and Paul had fallen off a little. I led Chris into the 3rd lap, and he sprinted around me up the pavement climb because he didn't want me to go on the attack in the singletrack. Coming out of the singletrack we sprinted. Going up the bonus south climb we sprinted. Up the finishing straight we sprinted. It was sweet and painful to do 3 sprints in the last 5 minutes.... Chris took the final sprint for the win. VeloRoch, 1-2... Jen pulled of another win as well.

Today, I headed over to Lebanon Hills for the annual TT. I can't make the WORS race in Eau Claire tomorrow, but I wanted to get a little intensity in this weekend. I can't make the race tomorrow because we are headed out tomorrow for a family vacation at Lake Okaboji in Iowa...pool time and R&R here I come! I am sure Ben will make me suffer a little while we are there.
The TT went well, and I felt like I was going fast. I did 2 laps (Intermediate - Expert - Out for those who know the course) in 46 minutes, which was enough for the win.
When I got home, it didn't take much coaxing to get Jen and Tegan over to Chipotle for a second burrito in as many days and races. "Hello, my name is Brendan and I have a burrito eating problem"

BTW, my pick for the WORS race tomorrow is Fisher. He is going really good right now, and with a course that suits him, his power will be dangerous.


Sunday, June 24, 2007


Today's Dirtspanker at Mount Du Lac is another classic stop for the MNSCS series. In recent years, it also seems customary to have really really hot weather for the 2 Duluth races. Today was no exception with ski run climbing temps right around 100.
The course is really sweet. It is one long climb and then 4+ miles of pure Midwest singletrack....twisty, rooty, bridges, punchy climbs etc.
The story of the race can pretty much be told in pictures, but here is a run-on sentence summary. Chris led the first lap at a reasonable pace, we were all glad because it was hot but it left us with a large front group of 8 or 9, then on the long part of the climb entering the second lap, I hit it um, kinda hard, then the field blew apart, Paul followed with Sam, then I dropped them in the single track, I pounded out 3 solo laps for the Win! Other Velo Rochester riders: Ben rolled in with a strong 4th. Chris is had hamstring issues again today and had to drop out. Jen Meyer put in another strong race and came in second.

Ok, this first climb is sick steep...basically a wall...had me in my Midwest granny (i.e. middle ring and biggest cog)Chris going around Paul and I to set the pace on the first lap
Ben's face at the finish tells the story of how hard today was.
The top 7 getting the payout!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Chugging for the Win

With black skies just to the south, we rolled another Buck race last night. Paul led out and an absolutely ballistic start, the hardest yet. Fisher, Sam, and I followed and after an attack on the second lap pavement climb, Paul popped a bit. The three of us rode together for the entire race. I was going to try an attack on the 4th lap pavement climb, but Fisher had an out of the saddle preemptive attack of his own that put the kibosh my plan.
The sprint up to the finish was exciting an I was lined up right behind Chris when he dropped his chain...BUMMER! I was feeling good and ready to take him on. After a quick surge and a good gap, I let way up because they don't like people sprinting into the finish shoot (for safety reasons). Fisher kept coming hard because he wanted to keep second over Sam. It ended up being closer than necessary. I guess I should have stayed on 'er a little longer.
So for the first series, that put Fisher and I in an exact tie for first place with the same number of points. Pat, the owner of Penn, decided that we should have a beer chugging contest to determine the winner. Chugging a 12 oz beer is a skill I perfected in my younger years at Madison but haven't used since. Lets just say that I haven't forgotten how to open the hatch and throw it down=) I am the series champ! I guess slamming a beer is kind of like riding a bicycle... (Thanks to Rich O for the pic)
Good times.

Friday, June 15, 2007

5 Bucks

Last night was Buck Hill number 5. The usual suspects were there and Luke put together one of the best courses yet...he used more of the North woods singletrack=)
From the start, Fisher and I got away because Sam dropped his chain. We rode conservatively for 2 laps, but I was still breathing hard on the climbs. Fisher is really strong now, we just need to keep him from cramping!
At the end of the second lap, he slipped out and I took the lead but didn't attack. I let him come back; it was too hot to attack so early anyway=) We were holding a very consistent gap to Sam and going up the last pavement climb, I was surprised to see that Fisher hadn't attacked. I got in the singletrack at the top and rode it the only way the fuel knows I got a gap on Chris (he told me afterwards that he dabbed a little) and then gave'er on the ski hill traverses. I was able to cruise up the last little climb with a 20 second lead for the win. Fisher had let up, but Sam never caught him.
Last week Chris and I were tied 149 to 149 for the first Buck Series lead. I now have the lead by 1 point, and he is already talking about next weeks "photo finish." He wants a sprint and I don't =)

In other news, Tegan is eating solid food now. His poop really smells bad.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Formula

The formula for success in endurance athletics is a perplexing and at the same time alluring. Last weekend, I didn't have the race that I wanted, and MNSCS#3 this weekend gave me the opportunity to tweak the formula (my preparation) one more time. This time it involved something simple: eating more the morning of the race. I have never been a big breakfast eater, so eating before races is pretty forced, and I don't eat solid foods inside an hour and a half of the start.
With 4 blueberry pancakes in my belly, Jen, Tego, and I made our way to the ski hill. The temp was already 85 on its way to 90 for the day. I shortened my warm up and kept drinking the entire time. When it is that warm, the muscles don't need much of a kick start.
The race started off with Fisher pounding nails and me following. Paul, Sam, and Ben were in hot pursuit. I prefer slower starts, and the pace Chris was setting was perfect...not too fast and not too slow. Near the end of the first lap, at the top of the "Manhandler" climb (the feared climb the goes from bottom to top of the hill without respite) Chris was hurting and let Paul, Sam and I by. I rode comfortably behind Paul and with Sam for the second lap. I was planning to attack at some point but with it being so hot, I didn't want to go off on my own too early.
At the beginning of the 3rd lap, I decide to give it a go. I was surprised to see Paul and Sam fading. I continued to ride hard in the single track and climb at a reasonable pace. Because I was on the Fuel, I was able to gain chunks of time on each decent (Sam and Paul among others were on hardtails). Going into the 4th lap, I had about a minute. I started to cramp, but that subsided after sucking down most of my bottle. I rode home alone for the win about 1.5 minutes up on Sam. Paul had faded back a little but held on for a strong 3rd place. Ben continues to impress me and scored 4th.
Jen Meyer flatted out so she was hanging with my wife for most of the race. When they get together, things tend to get a little crazy... In other racing news, my Velo Rochester teammate Charly Tri took a win in the Wisconsin endurance series. I have a lot of respect for endurance racers like him, as it takes a lot of physical and mental toughness to win. Check out his blog (link on right side of the page) for a race report.

So, do I have the formula figured out? No, but I am one step closer.
Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 08, 2007


That is the sound my tire made in the second lap of Thursday's Buck Hill race.
The rain held off and the race course was in pretty good shape. Fisher took it from the gun, and I just followed he and Paul with Sam close behind. Near the top of the second lap pavement climb, Paul was struggling and Fisher and I broke away by about 10 seconds from Sam. Then as I took a banked corner really hard, my tire burped air, and I ended up in the woods. By the time I got going, I knew I was screwed. My tire had dropped to about 15 PSI so I let Sam by. The night before, I had just installed new Small Block tires with Stan's. Typically, I don't race a tire until I have had it off road a couple of times, but I was willing to risk it out at didn't pay off. As it turns out, the front tire had been leaking the entire race and on that one corner it was just low enough to let loose.
Anyway, I limped along until lap 4. I couldn't corner, but the climbing was fine. I kept the pace high when I could. I almost crashed twice on lap 3 in off-camber sections, so I had to stop and put some CO2 in. After airing it up, I pumped out the last lap for 3rd place.
Fisher and Jen took a pair of wins and Jen won the "mac-daddy" prize which was some sunglasses and a carbon fiber handlebar. Jen loves carbon fiber, so she was pretty happy.
Afton on Sunday....

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Chase

MNSCS #2, Steeple Chase, yesterday went ok. Just ok. My climbing legs felt right, but on the flats and in the singletrack, I didn't have the power I expect.

The race started with a hilly and bumpy prologue. I made my way to the front, but Justin took the holeshoot. I didn't really mind that because I had only ridden the trail once before, and I wasn't familiar with the course. They added a mid-lap climb this year which was nice for passing, and that is where I made the first move. I went off the front by 20 seconds or so and then my tire slipped on a wet rock (the course was heavy-tacky). I got up and another VeloRoch jersey was closing in on brother! Sweet. We rode alone for a while and he was really making me hurt. Sam O bridged up to us on lap 3 (of 4). Ben was creeping away from both of us when he had a mechanical. His chain slipped off in to his spokes. That really sucks because he was gapping us pretty good. Sam went by him and Ben never got his mo back. Ben and I rode together for the last lap and we finished together about 1 minute behind Sam. Sam is riding really strong right now, and I expected this out of him after his recent success out at Buck hill.

I am in Colorado now on business...not mountain biking business. I found out this morning that there are trails leaving from my hotel grounds (in Westminster) that go all the way into the foothills. That is eating me up considering I have meetings from 8:30 am until 9pm today=)
No time to post pics. Sorry.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Wanna Climb?

Last night, the dudes at Penn decided to see how much climbing they could make us do in 4 laps. All in all, it was one of the better courses of the year. Apparently a lot of people were complaining about the climbing afterwards, but Buck Hill is just that...a hill.
I went for the whole shoot at the beginning, but not on purpose...accidentally, my bike was in the big ring. I found that out when I looked down on the second lap. Either way, no one came around me, and as I found out after the race, Paul crashed on the first loose corner taking out Fisher, Sam and the other fasties. I guess that is a good reason to get the holeshoot=)
I rode hard and alone for the first couple laps. I almost popped from going hard on the first lap, and I had to let up a little allowing Sam O to catch me. We rode together for the third lap. He is really strong and was hanging tough. I gapped him once on the third lap but was stopped by a lap rider, and he caught me. On the final lap, I just gave 'er on the steep climbs. I gapped Sam, and then his shifting went south so I never really saw him again.
I ended up being another great day for Velo Rochester. I took first w/ Chris in third. Jen Meyer won on her 28th, she is SO old!

An equipment note: I rode the fuel last night for the first time at Buck. I always ride the hardtail out there, but the last time I did, my back hurt from the super bumpy ski hill traverses. The new fuel is so fast, comfortable, and efficient, that I am having a hard time finding a reason to race the hardtail...