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.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Marathon number 1

I competed in my first Marathon this past weekend... a marathon cross country bike event. It was the Minnesota State Marathon championship called the Sandwich 50. Skinnyski will have my race report in Jay's mountain bike recap. I managed the win and results with pictures should be posted at the Sandwich 50 link above. Suffice it to say that I felt ok, not great at the top end but strong the whole race. I don't expect the top end to be all there yet, so I am not worried at all.
Equipment wise, I can't say enough about the new Trek Top Fuel, not because I am supposed to but because it is genuinely awesome. I rode tight, sprinty, bumpy, rooty singletrack at a reasonably hard pace for nearly 4 hours w/ no muscle pain or soreness in my back or upper body.

The rest of the weekend (the race was Sat morning) was spent at my parents estate just west of Rochester. We had a blast shooting BB guns, riding in trailers, riding bikes, having a camp fire, etc.
It was my job to aim and Tegan's job to shoot
Casey has a bit of a fat lip right now, but she is one tough little girl! Case and point, she skinned her knee, didn't make a peep until mom picked her up to inspect it. She screamed because mom was taking away from the big wheel she was attempting to ride.Next up are the first Buck Hill Thurs Night Race and the Cable Classic on Saturday.