Sunday, August 24, 2008

#2 and #8

First, the most exciting news. Number 2 is on the way! Jen and I are both really excited....Tegan hasn't a clue. I don't know what it will mean for training or the longevity of my racing, but only time will tell.
Second, a race report. Today was the Border Battle, as WORS race that counted as both MNSCS race number 8 and WORS race number??. The course was flat, which I expected, but had lots of singletrack, which I didn't expect. Anyway, I got to catch up w/ a few Wisco dudes before the race and at the starting line. It is always good to see them.
At the gun, my chain fell off which wasn't cool...still don't know why. Up the first hill I rode in the woods to get back into position. We were going pretty slow through first singletrack so I made a move at the next open section. When we entered the second section of single track, I grabbed for a gear or two and there was nothing...the rear derailleur stopped working. I tried to figure out what was going on but just decided to go with it (turns out I couldn't have done anything anyway, see below).
I was left with a single speed dual suspension and a 34-11 gear ratio. I don't know much about single speeding, but that seems a little tall to me=) Anyway, rather than get frustrated and quit, I had fun with it learning how to race a single speed for the first time. It took me a bit, but I started to get the hang of it by the end. I have no idea how I finished (Tego was in need of a nap, so Jen and I made a quick exit), but it couldn't have been good. I am lucky the course was flat because with that gear ratio, I would have had to run a lot or DNF on one of our typical hilly courses.
The mechanical was unfortunate because I had good fact they didn't hurt at all afterwards. Oh well, life goes on. I had fun, single speeding was mildly entertaining, and it leaves me feeling good about the coming long race weekend up at Maplelag.
BTW, it turned out that the failure was with the cable exploded! I didn't know it could do that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Do the Dew

Not much exciting for me happened last weekend. The only racing for me last week was a TT at Murphy Hanrehenan....10 sweet miles of singletrack at a zoom zoom pace, and I set the course record.

The more exciting happening for our team was a Solo win at 24 Hours of Afton. With our normal team out due to 24x9 being 2 weeks earlier, Dan Dittmer represented Velo Rochester on the hills of Afton.
For those that don't know Dan, he is my co-worker who I recruited for Velo Rochester so Jo Mama wouldn't have to play alone at endurance events. Dan's background is in College level track and Semi-Pro/Pro adventure racing....more recently, he has been climbing mountains (Mt. McKinley this past spring and Kilimanjaro last spring) and doing painfully long mtbk races.

I don't have a race recap, but he got to quit riding 3 hours early because of the large lead he had built up through the night. I do have some cool stats from him for your enjoyment (hey we are Engin-nerds this is what we do).
From Dan:
Here are the stats from the Salsa 24. The laps were only 6.5 miles according to my GPS but there was 1100 feet of climbing per lap. I ran a 8500 calorie deficit despite drinking copious amounts of high fructose corn syrup.

Tally for 21 laps:
136 miles
23000 feet of climbing
pre-race meal - 3 slices of pepperoni pizza
During the race:
12 bottles of Gatorade - 1200 Cal
5 scoops Perpeteum - 650 Cal
5 scoops Heed - 500 Cal
15 cans Mt. Dew - 2550 Cal
3 packages of Shot Bloks - 600 Cal
8 chocolate chip cookies - 400 Cal
Total consumed during the race = 5900 Calories
Total calories burned during the race = 14300 Calories

15 Cans of Mountain Dew???? Seriously!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bumpin' Buck

MNSCS #7 was moved from the popular course at Welch Village Ski area to Buck Hill at the last minute due to construction. While Buck is a good venue, it is too bad we missed out on the Metric Drop and the Wall (a ~35% rocky rutted climb up a ski run).

The race organizers still put on a good show out at Buck, and even with 6 laps our times were the shortest I ever remember in a MNSCS race. Don't get me wrong...I am not complaining because I still have a little case of the 24 hour legs=)

Most of the normal hard hitters lined up, but Ben was replaced by the familiar face of Jeff Hall. Heath Wiesbrod, a newly crowned semi-pro, took off like a mad man at the start. Mid way up the first climb Jeff and I caught him and I put in a little effort up the gravel/pavement climb to get into the singletrack first. You see, the course was basically a 5 minute climb and 7 minutes of winding your way back down so getting clean look at the singletrack after the climb was key.Jeff hugged my wheel the entire race, and we slowly pulled away from everyone. We sort of shrugged our shoulders when lapped traffic started to get heavy through the later laps. We chatted on the last lap and agreed that the proper way to finish would be a sprint. The only hiccup came about 3 minutes from the finish when lapped traffic caused us to do some crazy maneuvering in one of the sand pits...Jeff cracked himself right in the seeds. I let up a little to make sure he was ok=) Coming out of the last down hill, I had the lead into the sprint and held him off for the win.

Tegan was working hard too and cheering everyone on "go guys, go guys" (for that matter any time he sees a picture of bike racing he says that=)

Next, I may try to hit up a Murphy Hanrehan TT. I have always wondered how fast of a lap I could do out there. There is NO race this weekend...we are not doing Afton, as that would end my season doing a second 24 hour race in 3 weeks. It is too bad that they were so close because 24 of Afton is one of my favorite events.

After this weekend is the combined WORS/MNSCS. I have a wedding the night before in Duluth, so we will see how that works out. From what I hear, it sounds like some awesome singletrack but no hills.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Last Buck of the Year..Almost

Last night was almost the last Buck Hill race of the year...this weekend's MNSCS #7 will be the last Buck race of the year. By my calculations, this weekends race will be laps 46-53 for me out there this year. I think that will be enough for a while=)

The race went fine. I won it over SamO, but we both agreed that the legs had very little snap. I always forget how long it takes to recover from 6 one hour time trials over one day! As an added bonus last night my long time friend and the guy who took me on my very FIRST mountain bike ride, Paul Oldenburg came out for the event, as he recently moved back here from Denver. It is great to have you back in Minnesota Paul!

I don't want to comment too much on the start (people messing with eachothers equipment, trash talking in an unfriendly way, pushing eachother over, and eventually almost a fist fight amoung some racers) other than to say it was a small irritation for me, but a true embarassment for our sport and the Minnesota mountain bike scene. I didn't like any part of the situation and to be honest it is still bugging me today.

Onward and upward.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A very Velo 24x9

This past Saturday-Sunday our Velo Rochester team including My brother, SamO, Chris, and I were in Wisco for the 24 hour National Mtbk Championships. We took second last year and were gunning for the victory this year. In our way were teams from North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, among others. There were a total 1000 racers there competing in everything from the 6 hour duo competition to the 24 hour solo category. The course was 14 miles long with ~600 feet of climbing per lap. The terrain was a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of double track and rocky, rooty, twisty sweet singletrack.
SamO lead us out on the LeMans start and was quickly in a good position. Unfortunately, he didn't know that a guy from the Cannondale team (from NC) was up the trail. He didn't totally kill it and was about a minute back after the shortened first lap(they cut out the first section of singletrack to avoid trail clogging). I was worried, but hopped on and started pedaling. My legs didn't seem like they had any zip, but in the second single track section, I had already pulled in the lead rider.
I continued to roll in the lovely singletrack section that was most of the second half of the lap. I guess I was going fast enough because with the help a flat tire, I had put 19 minutes into the previous leaders. Chris was next and ended up breaking his seat off and riding 2/3 of a lap w/ only rails left attached to this bike...we lost about 9 minutes there. Ben brought us back w/ a hot one. We continued this trend through the day and first set of night laps.
At that point we went to our tried and true rotation schedule that had Sam, Me, Sam, Me, Chris, Ben, Chris, Ben. This got us through the night and allowed us to each to have a 5 hour break for some rest. I actually had a lot of fun and fairly fast night laps. My light setup of a Princeton Tec (thanks to them for hooking us up) Duo helmet light and a Tri Newt handlebar mount made is seem like daytime on the open sections. The really twisty singletrack was a little slower at night leading to 3-4 minute longer lap times. Everyone else was solid as well and Ben put in the fastest overall night lap that I could see in the results
An aside on why we do the different rotation: The 5 hour break is key when you are essentially doing 6 separate 1 hour time trials in 24 hours. It is a much sharper kind of pain and suffering than the solo riders experience. For us and our XC backgrounds, it suits us better.
Anyway, after those night laps in which we luckily had no issues, we each had one more lap. My legs felt like tar, but once I found the singletrack groove, I was able to roll a decent last lap time. Ben was our anchor man and the team trailing us didn't get to go out on their 24th lap because they came in after 24 hours...We had it WRAPPED! Ben knew this and was nice enough to help out woman's team rider who had a flat. While it is illegal to actually change her flat, he calmed her down when the tubeless system failed and talked her through a tube replacement.
Going into these races, I have 2 goals...the first and most important is to win the team competition. The second is to do the fastest lap and have the fastest average lap time. In this case I accomplished both with my first lap being just a hair over 56 minutes..and that was a full lap, not the shortened first lap=)
Some team stats: 14k feet climbed, 340 miles ridden, 4 sets of wrecked bodies
Very comprehensive results can be found here:

At this point, I want to thank all the help: Matt at Rochester Cycling and Fitness for keeping us fed, hydrated (I probably had 15 bottle of Gu2O during the race), and riding sweet equipment, Maury and Trek for the sweet Top Fuel rocket bike, and most importantly, our pit crew of My DAD and JEN MEYER. Without them catering to our every need through the ENTIRE night, we couldn't have won....they deserved a jersey too. Oh, and Tegan did help out some with some bike repairs...thanks little man!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Stars and Bars!

National Champs! Race summary to follow....