Monday, December 05, 2011

A Fat Bike Crit and Dear Nate...

A fat bike crit complete with jumps, skinny's, camelback bridges, and 40 degree inclines? Yeah thats right:

My prize for going the fastest: a Bells Two Hearted Ale from Kevin and a pull of Jameson from Thad (exactly what I wanted!)

More pictures and recaps likely to be posted here and here.

Oh, and Dear Nate,
Where have you been, and why did it take you so long to get here?

Sunday, November 06, 2011


They are still calling for lots of flakes to fall this winter, and the boys at 9Zer07 have once again got me ready for it.

The new frame is awesome to say the least. The increased stand over is extremely useful for those times when you step off only to have your foot sink another 2 feet. Add to that a longer effective top tube (reach) and shorter head tube and I can get the fit just like my summer bikes. This is not possible with most snow bike geometries. The component selection includes the full SRAM XX (thanks to the folks at SRAM), White Bros carbon fork (co-developed w/ guys at 9Zero7), e13 crank, and the same holey wheels as last year. The bike comes in at a reasonable 27.5 lbs....think 19lb rigid hardtail + 8.5 lbs of rotating weight added in tires/wheel/tube=)
The only thing TBD on the bike at this point is the tire choice. I will be trying a couple of the new options there, but the Larry's I ran last year will be tough to beat for snowy singletrack.

Getting your hands on one of these new 9Zero7 beauties may not be easy, as they are already sold out of certain sizes/colors from the first batch. Locally, a few places have them in stock though:
Trail Cycle in Forest Lake has 6 or 8 of them that they will build any way you want.
Penn Cycle also has some and will be carrying them en mass this year.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Our adventure to Shanghai in pictures:
First we hopped on a bullet train...due to a recent crash they have slowed them down to 200mph. It was SO smooth.
Upon Arriving, we entered the subway... wowzas

The Shanghai TV Tower..
Lunch at Hooters in Shanghai (we wanted "American" food)... I couldn't decide between the WARP and flatbread
The Shanghai World Finance Center. The tallest building in the world if you don't consider Antennas. Also, it has the highest "Observation Deck" (read, somewhere the public can go view from)
I am scared of heights, not deathly though, but the glass floor at the 100th floor observation deck was about more than I could take. I walked across the glass panes but didn't stand on them.
The views were UNREAL.

A new bike brand coming...just like the original only better.

And of course, shopping. Need genuine Ray Bans?

This is the first time I have found fake bike jerseys and bibs. They had every sports jersey fake you could think of. I was going to buy a vintage Mike Madano North Stars Jersey, but they didn't have my size.

Lost in translation...completely lost =)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More exploring

A couple co-workers and I went to the center of the city yesterday for some shopping. It was quite entertaining....
This guy was pretty happy about his faux wood fairing his bike.
I am still trying to figure this one out. The sign says "Transformers Bag Co." but it was a women's clothing store.
My wife gets so worked up when someone has a child in the front seat of a car (I certainly was up there when I was growing up). Child safety is all relative.
Just really, really, really crowded.

I have ridden every day (mostly a quicky in the AM before work) and I took my camera today. I am blown, but had a good time.
I found an ancient grave burial ground on the side of a hill. Creepy but unique. You should have seen the looks my Trek kit got this far of the beaten path.

They decide to build a replica of the Eiffel Tower that I stumbled into. Who knew that Suzhou had an Eiffel tower?!?!

Yep, that is a Bentley stretch limo. The disparity between rich and poor and the number of poor (proportionally) here far exceeds what we have in the US. I wonder what the I-am-not-working-but complaining-rather-than-looking-for-a-job-and-am-gonna-need-unemployment-help-from-tax-payers-who-ARE-working-while-I-complain (read Occupy Wall Street) people would say? ;-)

More exploring

A couple co-workers and I went to the center of the city yesterday for some shopping. It was quite entertaining....
This guy was pretty happy about his faux wood fairing his bike.
I am still trying to figure this one out. The sign says "Transformers Bag Co." but it was a women's clothing store.
My wife gets so worked up when someone has a child in the front seat of a car (I certainly was up there when I was growing up). Child safety is all relative.
Just really, really, really crowded.

I have ridden every day (mostly a quicky in the AM before work) and my camera today. I am blown, but had a good time.
I found an ancient grave burial ground on the side of a hill. Creepy but unique. You should have seen the looks my Trek kit got this far of the beaten path.

They decide to build a replica of the Eiffel Tower that I stumbled into. Who knew that Suzhou had an Eiffel tower?!?!

Yep, that is a Bentley stretch limo. The disparity between rich and poor and the number of poor (proportionally) here far exceeds what we have in the US. I wonder what the I-am-not-working-but complaining-rather-than-looking-for-a-job-and-am-gonna-need-unemployment-help-from-tax-payers-who-ARE-working-while-I-complain (read Occupy Wall Street) people would say? ;-)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Far from Kansas

My view of Suzhou, China. No, that is not fog.

Introducing the latest in my collection delivered to my door about a week before I left. The Cronus CX Ultimate has made the long journey with me. I shall call her Toto.
Some things I have learned on my ~100k ride today:

1. Traffic lights only for advisory purposes only. The larger your vehicle, the less strong the advisory.

2. I am faster than the scooters here. Most are actually E-bikes (think electric moped).

3. Most roads have lanes dedicated to scooters and bikes that are separted from the road by a small boulevard...awesomely progressive. Cars stay off these lanes most of the time.

4. The bike and scooter lanes are 2 way even though there is one on each side of the road.

5. Ebikes do not require helmets, but I saw at least on ebike to ebike collision, where a helmet would have been useful.

6. A honk from a truck or car means, "I am coming but not considering using my brakes, just FYI."

Actually, the riding here seems to be very pleasant at least on the weekends. I am not sure they will let me bring my bike into our factory if I commute on it, and Toto is too precious (and guaranteed to be stolen) if I park it with the rest of the bikes outside.

Signing off...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wrap up and for sale

The season wrapped up for me last weekend. Skinnyski has a pretty accurate report on the race except for the fact that I ran a 42x16 not a 42x18 in the SS State Championship ;-) I won the race on my cobbled to gether SS bike, which was my Top Fuel with one cog on the back, a shorter (tight) chain with the regular derrailluer, and my shifter moved away from my grip so I didn't accidentally hit it=) After the race was over, I swapped wheels and put a normal length chain on. Single speeding is novel for the once or twice a year I do it, but I prefer gears for sure.

The course was indeed very fast and honestly Scott and I were riding it as fast as our tires would let us. Every open section was pretty close to full on too. Either way, it was good to see Scott get the win. He has had a strong season.

I was planning on doing some CX and still may, but it won't be until later. This weekend I will be out at the Trek Demos Saturday and I am Jenn's mobile pit crew for the TC marathon on Sunday. I won't be around the next 3 weekends, but hope to keep the fitness reasonable over that time.

It is fall, so it is time to sell stuff. This is first on the docket:

It is a 2011 18.5" Remedy 9.7 with the following upgrades/mods: XX rear derr, XX rear shifter, XX brakes, Bontrager XR2 2.35 tires, MRP 1.x chainguide. I will include all the original chainrings and front derr, but I don't have a front shifer for it. The bike has 6" of travel with a carbon front triangle and it weighs in at 25.5 lbs without pedals. That is pretty amazing for a super capable bike. The bike has not been ridden a ton and is in almost new condition. Price is $3100.

Contact me at if you are interested.

I will be selling my race bike, or at least the frame, later this fall.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Better late than never as it is often said....

Laddies Loppet up at Maplelag is the highlight of my family's racing year. We simply love it up there and with Tegan being on 2 wheels we told him he can go "anywhere but the lake" on his own, which was a new experience of freedom for him.

While I really wanted to do well at the stage race this year, my preparation was less than ideal for the very short high intensity events with an 8 hour and 50 mile race being the previous 2 XC races I had done. My only bout with intensity since the 8 hour race was a TT at Murphy Hanrehan.

That all said I felt reasonably good in the cool weather TT, but was bested by Doug Swanson who was going really fast (top secret cross training I am told=). In the STXC, I led it out and should not have. With temps only in the low 60's my legs were rioting after the summer of heat and they locked up after the fast lead out. It went from full power to engine misfiring in about 30 seconds. I should have sat back and let them warm into the race, but I didn't and was forced to drop back to the chase group. Doug rode away impressively again. I sat on for a bit, recovered and used Jake Richards 2nd to last lap attack as a a catapult to second place.

The XC course was partly new this year with 3 miles of my favorite stuff: non-IMBA (i.e. difficult, punchy, tight, demanding) full on rock'n singletrack. Maplelag is hands down the most technical course in the MNMBS series now. I think only Spirit Mt, if it ever returns, could give it a run for its money. In order to win the stage race, I had to give it my best and hope that there was one person between Doug and I. I DID ease into this race and it benefited me later as I was able to keep nearly identical lap times for the 2 ten mile laps. The final placings put me at the top of the Stage Race podium where I have stood second fiddle for a number of years to TJ and Jason Sager. There is an XC video recap here and a STXC video recap here.

After the race Tegan and I hit the Richards jump park pump track area where he was rocking the rollers. He can't seem to get enough of the "bumps" as he calls them. He wanted to know why he could "fly" (i.e get air). I told him to give it a little time.

Sunday night was filled with food, drink (Fat Tire on TAP!), and merry times by the camp fire. Jen headed to bed early, as she ran 17 miles that morning in Prep for her 3rd TC Marathon, so I was left to talk bikes and hockey by the fire... =) Thanks Richards family for hosting us!!!!!!

Next on the life agenda, is to have a weekend at home. However, the weeks are still full with Tues Night CX racing, 2x hockey (by the fire at Maplelag Jon Richards helped me decide that I should go ahead and spend too much on some Supreme one80 skates...I can't wait to try them), and Tegan starting "pretty" (read Pre) school. Then later this fall, I will likely be shipped of to China for 3 weeks of work and with weekend 2-wheeled exploration.

Life will slow down eventually right?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

RIP little buddy...

Andrew took his last breath at 7:03 Sunday morning. We were up at Maplelag at the time... more than once I had to hold back tears in the XC race later that day. I raced in honor of Andrew, and I will put together a weekend summary after things settle down.

I know Ty is pumped to have a cousin in Heaven with him. Play nicely boys, and Ty, share your toys!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Murphy Menace 50

A first time and not widely publicized 50 mile mountain bike race rolled at Murphy Hanrehan last Saturday morning. I took it as another opportunity to try endurance racing...and it was nearly 100% singletrack, so plenty of fun was to be had. The plan next year is to try to expand this race to 150-200 entries.

My form is certainly much better than when I did the Sandwich 50 this spring, and I finished the race at a good pace with plenty left in the tank (the course is easy peasy compared to Afton!). The only bummer was that my front chainring appears to be shot, as the new chain meshed so pourly that I could not stand up with any power the entire race. Other than that, the top fuel was the perfect bike for the day keeping me fresh, and the super light EC90 wheels made all the seated accelerations tolerable.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Love

The Andrew Morris benefit at the Famous Daves in Janesville (Andrew's daddy is the GM there) blew me away. It was hard to hold back tears when we first arrived. So many people care for Andrew and his family.

We had a great weekend hanging out w/ our family and Ben even made the 15 hour non-stop drive back for the weekend. You would think that would wear Ben out, but I only used 2 cogs on our ride Saturday so clearly it did not.

An update on Andrew: He still loves to swing on his new Rainbow Playsystems swingset several times a day, and he and Daddy make frequent trips to the grocery store to buy "Queen-car Patta" (Lightning Mcqueen Mac n Cheese). They had over 10 boxes of it in their pantry. Other than that, it seems that he mostly sleeps due to the heavy dose of pain meds. His breathing has become labored in recent days, which is really hard for everyone to see. He is still drinking but not really eating (thus the build up of Queen-car patta). Our hope is that he does not suffer too much.

Monday, August 15, 2011

16,000+ = tired

I decided to go out and do the 8 hour race self supported at the Salsa 24. I rode for 7.5 hours before I called it "good enough," as I was getting tired and had accomplished my goal of testing the endurace racing waters. I am unsure of the exact numbers, but I was told that the lap was 7.5 miles long and ~1500-1600 feet of climbing putting the race total for me at 16000+ feet of climbing and ~80 miles.
I felt strong through about 6 hours, and then I started to fade a little. This is better than I expected given my rides in the summer don't get much longer than the XC races on the weekends...many are significantly shorter like Buck Races or casual rides w/ friends and family. I only cramped twice on Saturday and both times were on the Manhandler climb (bottom to top up the ski hill), so my nutrition plan of Salted Nut Rolls, Gu Brew, Gu, Honey Stinger waffles, and endurolytes worked just fine. I even had to stop and pee once, which was a good sign!

Today, I am still a little tired (even my Madone felt slow on the commute in) and am intersted to see how long this recovery will take. The TT at Murphy on Wed will tell me somthing. After that it is off to Madison to visit my Nephew and attend a benefit for him on Sunday (i.e as I mentioned last entry, no Border Battle unfortunately).

Equipement wise, I went with the Bonntrager XR2 tires at Afton. It is a more durable, versatile, and slightly heavier tire. It worked well because I didn't have to worry about traction in the slippery first laps or side wall cuts in the later laps when my riding got a little sloppier.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

5 in 11.. or 6 in14

There has been lots of racing going on lately contrary to what I expected. It has been a wait and see game with Andrew, and he is now at home under hospice care, which has been much more peaceful for my sister and her family. While we did not expect him to last this long, he still continues to have some happy times and that strong cardiovascular system has kept him going.

Why so much racing? Well, I am home here in the Cities waiting for the inevitable, so I might as well race. It clears my mind.
This has ended up being a strenous stretch, maybe my toughest yet quantity wise, and it is not over. I did 6 mtbk races in the past 14 days. For the most part, none of them had drafting, coasting, or tactics was go from the gun and rest when you are done. I mentioned Elk River and the Andrew Morris Benefit Race at Buck Hill already. In addition I have hit Time Trials at Murphy Hanrehan (a 10 mile singletrack course <8 miles from my house) and the MNMBS up at Lester Park.
The Murphy TT's have been great, but I am perplexed on how to break 38 minutes out there. The twisty single track has been the limiter, not legs and lungs. Freewheel puts on a great show with a kids TT and food and drinks after the adult TT. There is one left next week so come on out!
Lester Park is a true gem of a race (or just ride) course...much like Maplelag with rocks, roots, steep ups, bridges, etc. It is a must ride for any midwest mountain biker if you find yourself in Duluth. I would suggest printing off a map prior to riding, as it can be confusing when it isn't marked for racing.

Next up, maybe some endurance racing this weekend...
It looks like I will miss the Border Battle unfortunately, as we will likely be headed to Janesville next weekend to see Andrew and Family.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Thank You MN Mountain Bikers

Thank you again for all the support at the Andrew Morris benefit at Buck Hill this past Thursday. Also a super special thanks goes to Dawn and Pat, who orchestrated this event. Over $3000 was raised for my sister's family. While the generous donations will not heal Andrew, it will ease the stress on the family, and I am hoping help pay for a family healing vacation after all this is done.

We sure had a great time Thursday, and the adult race on kids bikes was harder on me (especially my calves) than the adult race I think! Even worse, I suffered a demoralizing defeat to a trash talking Tyson Meyer riding a pink bike. My manhood definitely took a hit from that=)

I will leave you with this (I didn't want to be long winded on Thursday and it can be tough to hear): Andrew's favorite past time during the past weeks has been walks with his daddy, Joe. ~10 miles of it per day! Well, last week, he just got fed up with walks on pavement, and now DEMANDS all walks be on dirt and wooded singletrack=)

Monday, August 01, 2011


The outpouring of support for Andrew and his family has been unreal. Thank you all so much.

Andrew continues to worsen and is now on a pretty heavy constant drip of morphine. That said, his waking hours are pleasant for the most part with long walks, swinging, and playing cars. He is on a steady diet of cake and fried food...that is what the little man wants so that is what he gets!

For those that haven't heard, this Thursday night's Buck Hill race is a benefit for Andrew and his family. I hope to see you all out there, as we celebrate his short life.

Finally, some of you may have heard Jenn tell Andrew's story on 98.5 KTIS this past week. It was followed by the heart wrenching song, "He's My Son" by Mark Schultz. Powerful.

Sunday I won a tough one for you Andrew....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heavy Heart

If I looked like I was suffering at last Sundays race, I more that one way.

I will make this brief. My Sister and Brother inlaw's son, Andrew Morris, was diagnosed with terminal cancer (sarcoma) this past Friday evening. What makes this so tough is that only 3 weeks ago this wonderful little rambunctious 2.5 year old had no sypmtoms and was living a normal life. At that point he developed a bump on his head. He did bump it and it just looked like a normal "egg" bruise. It didn't go away and 2 doctors visits later, he was given a blood test (about 10 days ago) that showed very low platelets. Since then it has a blur of tests and doctors visits. Thursday I got a call right after the Buck Hill race informing me that he had cancer. Friday, they were planning Chemo, and by Friday night, it was determined that it had spread too far and there was no chance for treatment. Now he has only weeks left...Andrew was born the same week Jen and I lost Ty.

I am putting this on my blog so you can pray for Andrew, his parents Bri and Joe, and his 4 year old sister Aubrey. Please pray for minimal suffering for Andrew and strength for his family.

There is a donation account set up for those that want (please don't feel obligate, money will be used for mounting medical bills beyond what insurance covers along with funeral expenses):

Ways to Donate:

1) Cash or Checks made out to: Andrew Morris Fund (mail to: Becca Moore 626 East State Street, #1505 Milwaukee, WI 53202)

2) Donate via PayPal

3) Stop at any Associated Bank and let the teller know you would like to make a donation to the Andrew Morris Fund

If you don't see me at the races, it is because I am tending to this devastating situation.

Hug those that are close to you, especially your kids if you have them, extra tight tonite....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

12 laps

Between the Thurs night series and the Sunday race it was 12 laps for me at out "new style world cup" course here in the Twin Cities. The temps were warm in the low 90s, but the real suffering came from the 75 degree dew points which pushed the heat index way up. I like warm weather racing, but I don't remember suffering from heat like that in a while.
From the gun I made sure I got through the sandy uphill start near the front. I pushed it but not so much that I was going to blow like I did a few weeks ago racing w/ Jack and Jeff Hall. Jeff was on my wheel going into lap two (of 6) but constant pressure had him slowly falling back. Laps 3-5 were lessons in the art of passing. Everyone was great out there, and a little give and take allowed me to get by without impacting those that I was lapping too much.
The short 1:10 race was plenty for me given the conditions, and I didn't stop sweating until we went inside around 6pm (the kids and pool time at our house was on order as soon as we got home=)

As is typical from a really hot race, my stomach is was a little screwed up through Monday. I am ashamed to say that I couldn't even finish my Qdoba burrito at lunch Monday. I didn't give up however, and a late afternoon effort got me through the remainder of the big white turd.

Du Lac is on tap this coming weekend. I am going to take my Remedy up and try the DH race on Saturday and follow with the XC on Sunday. Jen and I are going SANS kids to camp somewhere Sat night and then have a hotel near Canal Park for 2 nights. We are definitely looking forward to a little time to ourselves=)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stuff I like...

I have been meaning to do a somewhat random honest list of bike stuff I like independent of sponsorships and obligations.

I like:
  • Technical trails - why I started mountain biking a lot more than road biking
  • Technical races - makes racing way more fun
  • Road biking in Wisconsin - best roads I have ridden, period
  • Road biking for recovery - nothing finer than an easy'ish spin on a nice hot day
  • Really sweet road bikes - My new Madone 6.9 ssl is off the charts awesome.
  • Off road time trials - super painful but just you vs. trail
  • Technical climbs - sometimes I can even forget that I am climbing (like Stairway at Red Wing)
  • Moab, Utah - the town, the people... oh, and the trails.
  • Trying new kinds tires - most important part of a mountain bike and so many great options
  • Bell Helmets - the Volt just fits me... I forget I am wearing it
  • 1 by 10 (or 9) - less is more...simpler is better
  • Reliable hubs - in my experience, DT Swiss are the best out there
  • Stiff and light wheels - Of course right? But at least there are options out there now (see my last post)
  • Dual suspension - why would you want to get kicked around by a hardtail? I stand by the Top Fuel as being the best I have ridden.
  • Disc brakes - have you tried a bike with canti's lately? How did we ever survive on those
  • 6" trail bikes - if you haven't ridden the latest generation of 6" bikes, you are missing out. They pedal well and are a joy to ride. Every brand has one now, but I prefer the Trek Remedy.
  • 24 hour team races - yeah they hurt, but it is fun to experience a team competition with the mountain biking world
  • Tacky trails - not dusty dry, just that perfect tack (some in MN call this wet) that you get about 8 hours after a light rain.
  • Riding with my son - so fun now that he is on 2 wheels. He keeps asking when he gets his first dual suspension...
  • Camping and Riding vacations - I don't fit them in often, but vaca's don't get any better than that
  • Bontrager shoes - For my feet they are the best I have tried.
  • UST Tubeless system - I burped the stans rims, a lot, the UST is just safer and more reliable
  • Sram XX cassette - awesome engineering and craftsmanship
  • XTR brakes (the new ones) - tiny little levers with so much power
  • XTR shifters (all of them) - they are just buttery smooth
  • Aluminum cranksets - Shimano has this down...this is a place on the bike where Al just makes more sense than carbon
  • Carbon frames - this is a place where carbon makes more sense than Al
  • Fat bikes - snow bikes are so fun...I heard Surly is making an even fatter 4.5" tire (vs current 3.8"), WOW!
  • Riser bars - better than a skinny flat bar w/ bar ends for most types of trails and riding
  • Gu and Gu Brew - about the only thing my stomach can take no matter the conditions
  • Tray mount hitch rack - I have a Cycle On Pro and LOVE it.
  • Craftsman C3 Pump - Not intended to be a bike tool but fills tires up fast and reads out to the nearest .1 PSI
  • Egg Beater pedals - been on em for a long time..the lightest and easiest to clip in. The new ones have better shoe lug engagement too.
  • Fox RP23 shock and RLC fork - set it and forget it....none of that lockout stuff
  • Carbon fiber rims - I used to think it was silly until I tried them. They are more durable than Al (downside is that if you do break them, they are more expensive to replace).
  • Gadget free mountain bike handlebars - no computers, just a front brake rear brake, and rear shifter
  • Compact road bars - I am not super flexible so the compact reach makes the drops more comfortable.
  • Trunk and rack for bike commuting - gets everything off my back
  • Commuting on a mtbk - when road construction season hits I am ready, when snow hits I am ready. For the other 3 days of the year, road bikes are better for commuting.
  • Clear or white water bottles in the summer, black ones in teh winter - if you don't know why buy the dummy's guide to basic physics
  • White or mostly white helmets - again, the physics thing
  • Oakley Jaw Bones - Jen hates em, I love em. We have agreed to disagree.
  • Watching downhillers - they have bigger ones that me
  • Watching trials riders - looks like so much fun...I wish I could do that. They too have bigger ones.
  • Bike shops run by people who ride bikes - those that ride and ride hard really know what you need
  • Bike shops with mechanics who mountain bike - mountain bikes need a special kind of love
  • Bontrager Saddles - I switched from Selle after I was encouraged to try them...I won't go back
  • Mt. Borah pro bibs - they make our team gear, but my family members buy their standard bibs too because they are reasonably priced, very comfortable and last a long time
  • MNMBS vibe - good competition, dedicated series officials, tough courses, and just the right level of intensity...everyone is having a good time
  • Weekday races - keeps me fit and makes summer a race and recover (on casual rides) cycle
  • Having a timing chip on the back of the number plate - no ankle bracelet but still automated timing
  • Good quality unbiased comparative bike and component testing - gotta have the Gage R&R, test setup/equipement, and test procedure (including sample size) listed though... I almost never find this stuff.
Hmm... that is all for now. Have a great 4th!

Monday, June 27, 2011


MNMBS visited the nice river town of Red Wing Sunday. This may be my favorite MNMBS course, and even if you don't race it should be at the top of your list for a weekend mtbking visit! The singletrack is twisty with plenty of technical stuff to keep you on your toes. That got topped off with running us on the a downhill course (SO SWEET!) and the gnarl of the Stairway to Heaven climb.

As an aside, I missed out on the Pro XCT over in Wisco due to the required Friday registration requirement (Pros had to be present by 5:30 Fri, which wasn't in the cards this year work and family wise). I likely would have raced if I could have cruised over there Sat AM, done the race, and headed home. It sounded like a good time other than the token bottle necks at the start. I have fond memories of that course for sure!

Back to Red Wing...I fought "it" (my body) for the first 2 laps but was able to pull a gap despite laying the bike over once and a bobble on the Stairway climb. The course was mostly super grippy tack, but the first lap had a few surprise slick corners along w/ the aforementioned downhill course that needed exploring. By the 3rd lap I got in my groove and even felt like I was going good for a while. I didn't cramp, which in the high humidity is always key to success. By the end I pulled a pretty good gap for the win.

Equipment wise, I had a new secret weapon...EC90 XC wheels. Thanks Easton and Freewheel! The dang things are slightly less than 1300 grams but w/ out the compromises in stiffeness and durability that you get w/ other lightweight wheels. They are made to be ridden hard every day not just raced on occasionally and delicately!
Also, the top fuel was awesome. I have the suspension fully dialed at this point. I use very close to the Trek recommended air pressure. I run the new Kashima RP23 on full platform, then I lockout out the Fox RLC fork but turn the compression damping and lockout threshold as low as they go. This provides for a firm and balanced (front to rear) racing platform but allows for sufficient bump compliance when the trail gets rough.

While there is no racing planned for me this weekend, my family is collecting at my parents house. Ben will be there so I will probably come out of the weekend w/ enhanced fitness.

To that end, Ben raced this past weekend up at Crested Butte. The course, part of the MSC series, was a 1 lap 38 mile beast...mountain bike racing in its most raw form. I think they should do a world cup on a course like that!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Steam Room

The course and terrain at Afton Alps, site of MNMBS #3, is tough. Throw in 80 degrees with STEAMY conditions - not just humid, straight up water evaporating out of the ground into your face steamy - and you have a tough day in the saddle. Usually at Afton I enter the pain cave at the start and don't come out for a couple days.
From what I hear, our course was right on about 5000 feet of climbing in 4 laps, and the rain the day before left the course slower but not muddy other than a few puddles. TJ Woodruff showed up and really rocked it from the start. Not only is he looking fit, but he is riding very fast. With a good starting position and home course advantage, he should have a strong result at next weekends ProXCT/Subaru Cup. I know he has been priming for it.
Given the warmth, I set my own pace, and for once, didn't pay attention to where anyone was in the race. I just rode the speed that was comfortably hard, and it made the race more fun for me. Jesse and I trade spots a couple times on the first lap, but he too settled into his own pace quickly. The fact that I only had a 42 tooth chain ring up front (I run a 1x10 gearing setup) kept me honest on the hills. Given a smaller chainring, I probably would have dogged it a little more.
Anyway, I held the gap up to TJ at a solid 20-30 seconds for 3 laps, but I faded the last lap with some cramping and lost about a minute I think. Almost 1/4 of the Elite field DNF'd, so that is an indication of how hard it was out there for all of us.
My legs weren't great yesterday, but they certainly weren't horrible. I was pleased with my performance given some lack of motivation (that I mentioned last post) and the difficult nature of the course. As noted above, I did cramped a little but Gu Brew is amazing stuff. I would feel the cramps coming on, down a couple big mouth fulls, and less than 5min later the pings would dissipate.

Equipment note: I ran the Bonti XR3 tires and they hooked up like velcro. The XR3 not a great hard pack tire mind you (taller knobs lay over a little kind of like a Rocket Ron), but in soft conditions they rock! Sara KJ ran the XR2s and TJ was on the XDX. They both said that they were hooking up well too.

We followed up the race with a father's day neighborhood bonfire at my house last night. I managed to drink half a beer before my stomach decide it didn't want any more. Next I tried a light mixed drink. That worked ok...

Thanks to my dad for the hand-ups and never ending support, Jay Richards for the bone chilling water on my back, skinny ski for the pic shown and cool video, and the spectators around the course for all the words of encouragement. Oh, and how could I forget the dude at the water hand up station that kept throwing water in my face rather than on my back, thanks man;)

Now, back to crawling out of that pain cave. I just ate a huge burrito and I am still hungry...

P.S. did any of your see Kevin Ishaug's thumb after the race? What a mangled mess. I think that was harder on my stomach than the race.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rough 1

I made the decision to take a 10 day break from racing with my return being last night at Buck. Basically, it came down to the facts that I had a lightly strained back from playing with my kids after Mankato (they won that wrestling match) and that I did something like 7 mtbk races in 30 days to start the season. It was the right decision, but comes at a cost, which is the very high end fitness.
I slipped a pedal at the start last night but recovered to get a quick gap on the field. The start hurt like more than it should have. I should have taken it easier, and starting in lap 2 Jack, Jeff (yeah, the Hall one, he is still fast and could probably win most any Midwest race he wanted if he put his mind to it) and Jesse were slipping away. I sat up a little to recover and lost some time, probably 30-40s, but before I knew it we were going into the last lap and I caught Jesse with Jeff and Jack only 15 s up on the top pavement climb. I knew that with lapped traffic we would never close it down so I just followed Jesse hoping to do a fun sprint for 3rd. Well, about 1 min from the finish, a lapped rider did a yard sale in front of me. So I stopped, let him get up, and told him it was no big deal. I cruised in softly from there.
So, the fitness is not all gone but some of the high end is, I felt stronger as the race when on. The motivation to suffer, well that is lacking for sure right now. There is never a day I don't want to ride, but many that I would rather not race. Going into Afton, it feels good not to be the favorite. I can mark Jesse, TJ, and Jack and just see how it goes.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mid week bike demo

I just got word on this:

They have top of the line stuff you can reserve and try on the trails out at Murphy each week. I would suggest calling and reserving the Fuel Ex or Top Fuel... but I am partial to 26" wheels=)

And ouch! Apparently they got a few chuckles over me and my Salem-mud-modified bike. Thanks for documenting things Tyson and thanks for the weight reduction tips Chris.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


The MNMBS race at Mt Kato, Mankato, is always hot...sometimes muddy, but always hot. More on that later.

Leading up to the 2nd MNMBS I did the Thrus Night Buck race. The Penn team pulled of the amazing feat of a last minute reroute around a new 8 foot irrigation ditch that appeared on the hill that day. The race was short at only 40 min but still had 1000 feet of climbing in that period...OUCH!

Saturday was a warm day and I kind of forgot to take it easy. Between washing cars, chasing kids, laying sod, taking Tegan mountain biking (yeah, on 2 wheels=), and a brief 40 min spin alone, I was anything but rested for the impending warmest race (heck, even ride) of the year by far the next day. Oh well, so it goes.
Tegan's first 2 wheeled mountain biking ...we hit up Murphy Hanrehan on Saturday

Sunday I felt lethargic going down to Kato, but once I started pedaling I could tell that I didn't totally waste myself the previous day. The warm weather suits me and my legs always feel better. It was just about 90 Sunday in Mankato, so there was plenty of suffering to go around. I just put my head down at the start and set a high tempo. The start was the least painful one this season, and I kept it below my threshold but was still able to gap the field. Kato is a near perfect race course with a long ski hill starting climb to sort things out followed by fast singletrack, twisty singletrack, switch backs, a couple places to launch, and some gnarly rooty chutes. I kept on it for 4 out of 5 laps growing my lead the whole time. I sat up a bit on the last lap, as cramps started to ping. Overall, I was pleased with my fitness, which seems to be coming along but more pleased that I had limited cramping in the hot weather. Usually the first hot weather race puts me in the hurt bucket more than this one did.
Its a race AND I get to launch a little? How can I pass that up? Sweet!
Still not down=) I am no downhiller so this is plenty of air time for me.

With over 400 racers (lots of them staying for much of the afternoon), families, friends, food, and a beautiful day, we couldn't have asked for a better race and venue. Saying we were due for weather like this, well, that is stating the obvious=)
The only time I spend without at least one of my 2 shadows is on the bike or after 8:30 pm....I like that though=)

Equipment note: I continue to be blown away by the XR0 Bonti tires for hard pack racing (race day only tire and not good for sharp rocks or mud/wet). Looking at them, they simply should NOT grip like they do, but they are like Velcro! I was really able to lay the bike over on Sunday w/o loosing grip. I wish I would have converted to these sooner...

All these pics are just screenshots from Dana's gallery. She does an amazing job photographing the MNMBS!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

2 bucks

While I wussed out on the first Buck Hill, I have made it to the last couple and they have been just the kick the calves that I needed.

The most exciting news happened at the second one and it had nothing to do with me. I took the pedals off a larger bike we had so Tegan could use it as a big "Strider" bike per some advice from Tyson. I was getting ready to leave for the race and Tegan demanded that I put pedals back on, so I did. Then to my surprise he started cruising down the hill in our front yard while pedaling. To that point, he had abosolutely refused to try, and I didn't want to push him. Well, by the time I saw him after the Buck race that night, he was cruising around the parking lot on his own 2 wheels! He proceeded (with a little help) to race on 2 wheels that night. From there, he has progressed right into base training putting in nearly 2 hour yesterday=)

The first buck hill saw me dropping a chain on the first lap. After a 45-60 second repair the chase was on. Luckily, I already had a gap when it happened. I chased down Jesse, who is riding strong, with a lot of effort and attacked on the final lap for the win. The second race saw nearly 250 competitors, 6? waves of kid racers and 100+ in the advanced mens race alone! There can't be too many other weekday series in the nation that attract numbers like that. Awesome! With some new faces out there I put it in a fairly hard effort from the gun. My "start" fitness is not there yet but it is coming along and that is why I do these races. I always say it, but the Buck hill races, given that they are only ~50 min, are about as painful as racing gets. Because I use it as my mid-week-stay-fit session, I go hard the whole time independent of where I am in the race (unless there is a double race or something the following weekend).

I have to say thanks to Trek and Tyson/Freewheel for getting me rolling after the Salem Hills race in time for Buck this week. Needless to say, the moving parts of the bike needed some love! If you haven't been to the new store in Eden Prairie, stop by some time. The staff is super friendly and some of the most knowledgeable bike shope mountain biking crew around.

I have made some recent equipment mods and will type about them in the coming weeks. The race bike is very nearly dialed....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Few Words...

Pictures best describe MNMBS#1. Thanks to all the volunteers that had the attitude, "the show must go on!" Without you guys and girls there wouldn't be a race series.

The top derr pulley seized though, although I didn't know it until I was cleaning my bike after. I am guessing it happend in lap 3 because that is when my shifting went bonkers. I kept pedaling, it is not like I had a choice, and the chain wore the pulley to the metal. I wonder how many watts I wasted grinding this sucker?

Summary: I raced hard the whole time because you never know what is going to happen (mechanical failure, crash, etc) in conditions like this. With fitness coming along and me finally starting to figure out this mud thing, I was able to gain a nearly 9 min margin for the win. The only equipment note I will make is that the Bonti Mud X 2.0 tires were amazing. Again, I don't just write this because I am supposed to. The proof is in the pudding: I came across the line w/ completely clean tread, i.e. they didn't pack up at all during the race giving me maximum traction the whole time.

Next will be Buck followed by a weekend of some fun along w/ Honey-Do's.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Trek Demo's

FYI, the Trek Demo truck will be out at Lebanon this Saturday and Murphy this Sunday. Come out and ride some of the best bikes around. I will be out there Sunday along w/ some other Trek teammates. I plan to go out on some small group rides if there is interest from anyone (including kids!).

Monday, May 16, 2011


I did the Cable Off Road Classic despite the conditions being far from optimal for me...39 degrees, 20-30 mph winds (mostly tail but still cold), and sprinkling. Usually in cool to cold (<55 degrees) weather, I am about 5% slower at the high end intensity for whatever reason (base on loops I know and ride a lot). This probably has some physiological component and some mental component, but either way my plan was to finish and not give up. At the starting line, I was in a full length base layer, long sleeve jersey, and wind vest. Scott KJ pulls up in just bibs and a long sleeve say, "Man this weather is PERFECT" (he is from Duluth, which explains everything=). The course is super fun, but rain all night left hub deep puddles that soaked and chilled me to the bone. However, there was relatively little mud, and the singletrack rode well because it is kind of a softer loamy soil.

I never felt good in the race and my legs were just plain cold. My feet were frozen to the point of being completely numb with 10 miles to go. The only time I got them to semi-warm was in the single track, which w/ 6 miles to go I made a decisive move for the win. There is an interview here:
It was pretty cool to have a podium sweep for the Trek Coop on the Mens side with Todd Mcfadden and Scott rounding things out. Those guys thrive in tough conditions. Sara, Scott's wife who is also on the team, rocked the win on the womens side and was 16th overall! Diana Mcfadden, another teammate and Todd's wife, followed for second. Maybe better yet, both podiums were 100% flush w/ Daddy's and Mommy's (who were all lucky enough to find baby sitters and get a weekend away=).

I should note that Charly Tri hosted 4 of us at his cabin, which is a real treat. His cabin is "where VHS tapes go to die", so idle time was filled with watching awesome old movies...Empire Strikes Back, National Lampoons Euro and Orginal Vaca, Something about Mary, Big Labowski, etc. Then on Sunday Charly led us on a fun tour of the Namakagon and Rock Lake loops.

On the equipment side, the Bontrager rubber ROCKED! I know there were other good tire choices for the day out there, but I can tell you that the mud X front and XR3 rear allowed me to ride without slipping around on the wet rocks and roots. That said, Scott was on XR0's and other than the really slick corners, they worked pretty darn well...I was very surprise and pleased because I will be racing on those in better conditions.
Charly Tri, the architect of the weekends activities trying to stay warm through the finish.

I was so cold I forgot to raise my hands.
Jay Richards (who took ALL these pic) looked at me funny so I put them up
Jack Richards kept my coat warm for me during the race. Here his is showing off some of the much appreciated new singletrack bridges from Camba.
The Trek sweep just trying to stay warm at the finish

Skinnyski has many more pictures. Oh, and Jay not only took pics, but did my bottle handoff. Thanks Jay and Jack for the help!

BTW, I did skip Buck Hill this week. I would have had to ditch Jen and the kids for the night to do it, because there was little interest from them in going given the cold and wet (yes surpise for this spring) conditions. With me being gone for the weekend in Cable, that was not in the cards. Jen will support me in what ever I want to do, but preventing those little sad faces that happen when I leave is WAAAAY more important to me than bike racing.

Next will be Buck Hill this week assuming the weather is nice. Then Sat is the first Minnesota Series race.