Monday, June 28, 2010


I pulled the double XC this weekend.
It started at the Subaru Cup in Wisco.
Summary: great course, great fans, great organization as always from Don, 7th row call up, pinched off into the fencing at the start, 50-6oth going into the singletrack, passed 20-30 riders to get back to 28th place, and didn't feel very strong (but have had worse days). I ended up riding with Brian Matter most of the race and I don't think either of us were on our game but so it goes. Also, I am just not aggressive in the way of cutting people off, throwing elbows, and the other semi-illegal tricks required to start well from the back of a National Pro race.

Then I got home at midnight Saturday...up at 6 am with my beautiful little to Mt Kato for round 4 of the MNSCS. It is hard to turn down a face like this even if your are fried from a hard race and little sleep=)

Summary: course was anywhere from VERY muddy to peanut buttery to tacky, took me a couple laps to get the legs moving, started to go faster throughout but climbing was slow, hardtail was awesome, Bonti XR2 tires were perfect (handle mud bud still roll well), reeled in Jesse at the finish line, ended up 2nd.

For now, a couple days of rest...and the start of a new job back at Seagate!

Friday, June 18, 2010

And the show must go on...

Gotta love Pink Floyd.... I don't listen to enough of it any more.
With insane wind gust, tornado/thunderstorm warnings all around, the race, albeit more sparsely attended, went on at Buck last night. The last lap of the advanced race saw us headed to the highest point in the county as cloud to cloud lightning was putting on a show...that wasn't too cool. Either way, I finished out the first 6-race series and got in a good intense mountain bike ride=)
Next is some rest in preparation for my planned double XC weekend at the Subaru Cup and then Kato.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Du Lac and the Puppy

If the big ring is the dog, the small ring is the puppy right? Yesterday was mostly puppy.
My legs weren't there in warm ups and I knew it was the fact that I was going into my 4th XC race in 10 days. To top that off, Mont Du Lac had the most epic conditions I have ever ridden in. How epic? The median Citizen class time was 2 hours w/ several riders near 3 hours. For reference, citizen races a shorter course that usually last 30-45 minutes. Great work to all of you who stuck it out!
The mud on the trail was so thick, deep, and sticky, that many quit (25% of the elite field!) because it was too hard to push bikes, much less ride them. I have never seen singletrack so DESTROYED. It went from a tight twisty Midwest style track to a 5 foot wide cow trail. Yep, most of the trail was like this

So, after the brutal start we were immediately off our bikes running up the first singletrack hill, and that is where my race effectively ended.
You know I don't have my game face on when I take time to toast the camera=)
I don't do "running" mountain bike races... well at least. I still finished. That said, I never entered the realm of anerobia again the entire race, as I sat up, had fun, and learned more about mud riding. It was actually quite fun once I started to get in the groove, and I was disappointed that they were pulling us after only 2 short laps. I had a lot more in the tank and after chain suck force me into the big ring for most of the second lap, by default I was starting to go a lot faster. IMO, they should have left the elite class out there for 3.
Jack rode very well and used his new Euro superpowers to ride away from everyone and get the win for our team. Awesome! I think Ben would have been going for the win today sans horrible conditions. He rocked the start and after a week of reasonable sleep/rest was feeling "really good again."
Good times...hard not to laugh. Great to see TJ again, and Chloe is trying to figure out how to get all the mud off!
The clean up begins.
Summary: I had fun, my bike and body are relatively intact, and I am a better mud rider today than I was before I raced. Pics are all from Jay Richards/

Much needed rest is on tap for next weekend.
P.S. Ben and I weighed our bikes after. Each had about 10-12 lbf of wet mud on them=)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Afton and the Dog

It is almost impossible to stack more climbing in a 2 hour xc than the MMBS Afton course does. How do I know? Simple, 95% of the time you are going up or down (that is my estimate anyway), and it would be pretty tough to have any less than 5% flats given start/finish areas and transition areas.
With Cam Kirkpatrick, Tad Elliot, my brother, Doug, Samo, Jesse and the rest of the strong men there, I was expecting a battle. It did not disappoint.
I took the hole shot, but not on purpose. I would have rather followed a wheel, but I put a gap on the field and no one would come around me in the starting loop.
Just checking everyone out at the start
With Doug and Tad dangling and SamO gaining, we pounded out the first lap, and I made my only mistake; I didn't hydrate enough. For whatever reason, my legs didn't feel great so I was full on to keep the pace up. At this point I was just trying to convince my body that racing is a good idea, because it sure didn't think so.My face pretty much tells the story of my first lap.

At the end of the first lap, Tad caught me as I slowed to take a bottle from my Soineur (Dad=). I asked him if he wanted the lead, again wanting to play it smart and see what everyone else had in them. He kind of grunted a response, which usually means "this hurts", so I kept the pace nice and high. A gap opened across the rolling terrain at the bottom of the ski hill, and he was out of site by the time I ascended Shady Lane. I had a good gap and my legs were starting to come around, but I paid for my first lap mistake and started to get the pings (cramping) on the third lap. That really stunk because my legs had a lot more in them than I could used the last lap and a half. I rode conservatively always checking my gaps when I could. SamO was in second but flatted as Doug was catching him. I finished with Doug in tow and Jesse behind him. Michael McBurney, another young star, put in great race to beat Tad who came in 5th. Ben ended up w/ a broken-spoke-stuck-in-the-cassette mechanical and sat up a bit chalking up the day to just riding for fun.
Ben with one of his classic suffer snarles.
Oh, and a worthy note: out of stubbornness or stupidity, maybe both, I used the Dog, a.k.a the big ring, the entire race. I guess I just wanted to see if could do it=)


Friday, June 04, 2010

2 Bucks

There was no racing on Memorial weekend for me. Instead, it was a solid block of family time spent down in Rochester. Needless to say, we had great time. The only on-bike excitement came when my dad crossed wheels and crashed on a ride w/ my bro and I. Other than some missing skin and bruises he is ok and came away with a cracked helmet rather than a cracked skull.
Family Time
My bro, Brad, with his Thai style mohawk (he just got back from several months in Asia) reading to my kids

The last 2 Buck Hills have been equipment experiments for me, which seemed to have worked out in my favor. In both races, I was able to ride off the front in the first lap after really hard starts by Chris Fisher last week and Doug Swanson yesterday.
The experiment: I recently got a new Trek HT built up and have had the itch to try hardtail racing again. It has been 3-4 years since I raced a hardtail in an XC event, and I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised. First, the tuned ride of the Trek w/ the extended seat mast is awesome. It is a much more supple ride than I have experienced in the past w/ hardtails, and I can see why many manufactures are going to the extended seatmast on their top end bikes. Second, it has forced me to work on my "skills". The hardtail is a sharper tool and sometimes I get lazy with the dually.
All that said, for most full length XC races the Top Fuel is a better bike. I really notice this on the bumpy sections of the course (whether flat or not) where the hardtail makes you work a lot harder. With only a 1.5-2 lbf difference between bikes, weight is not a big factor.
Ok, enough rambling about bikes, but technology and trying new stuff is part of the fun!
Afton on Sunday is next. I am going to try to chase the U23 National Champion around, which should be entertaining=)