Monday, December 28, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Race write up from the High Cascades 100 @

Click on the image to view the full story.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wise decisions...

Earlier this summer I decided to skip the rest of the NUE races because I was getting a little burnt out on the format. As you might have seen from previous posts I decided to do the Intermontane Challenge stage race, but really wasn't sure what to do in August as the races planned were the NUE races. I thought about doing the Leadville 100 for a while but never got around to working my way into the event as it had been sold out for a long time. While I was in BC doing the stage race Chris told me about the High Cascades 100. I had to make a decision as I don't like doing 100 mile races on back to back weekends. I weighed the pros and cons of each race... here they are the Pros: High Cascades 100 - 75 miles of single track with a high point of 6700' The Cons: Leadville 100 - 100 miles of pavement or dirt road with an average elevation near 10,500'. The way I saw it, all the pros pointed toward Oregon and the High Cascades 100 and all the cons, well toward Leadville. Oregon here we come, with a few stops on the way to visit friends and family.

We arrived in Bend a few days before the race to do a little riding on the trails and float down the river(three days in a row). We also caught up with a bunch of old friends, went to an air show and watched a roller derby(go Lava City Smokin' Ashes !!!).

I signed up for the race the night before the went to the pre race meeting to get the scoop on the race. once I arrived I noticed a bit of the competition that I would be racing with... Sloane Anderson and Evan Plews who finished one spot ahead of me at the Intermontane Challenge. But I really had no idea what the SS competition would be like. I missed most of the meeting due to Ian being busy as usual. when it was done I asked a couple questions and took off to get a couple hours of sleep before the 3:00 a.m. wake up.

I arrived at the venue around 4:30 with an outside temperature around 32 degrees and dropping. By the time the race started the temp dropped to 30 and I found a little more competition, Chris Shepard the winner of the Intermontane Challenge.

I was on the starting line about 5 minutes early mostly because it was to cold to warm up. I was wearing arm warmers and a base layer!!! What's going on? I really wasn't complaining though, the cold was a nice change. 2 + hours into the race I was in 2nd overall behind Chris riding past this lake and my fingers were still cold.

While getting to the lake was a blast, what was to come in the next 10-15 miles did me in(for a while). There was a ton of little steep and loose climbs that I had to walk then a long and pretty steep climb where we topped out at about 6700'(frost all over the ground). After that was the lava rock descent that I had been hearing about. It wasn't any where near as rocky as I thought it was going to be, and I was able to go pretty fast! this is what did me in. while slipping between the cantaloupe sized rocks I managed to cut a side wall. I tried to put in a little air but it was bad enough to need to put in a tube as the Stan's couldn't plug a hole that big(the gash was about an inch long). I moved out of the trail, ate some Shot Bloks so I would have something to boot the tire, changed my tube, and got ready to air it up. Just then Evan comes by with someone else on his wheel, Great 2nd place to 4th in less than two minutes.

Get the air in and go!!! What? "Something is not right", the valve on my tube was bad and my tire was flat within 2 seconds of me taking my CO2 inflator off. What to do next, wait or walk? I chose to walk even though it was more than 10 miles to the aid station. I walked about 10 minutes before the next person caught up to me. It was about 20 minutes before I found a new tube(26"), a pump and got my bike working again. Thanks, Geoff Hubert of team Lost Coast for the CO2(more on that later). by that time I was in 12 place or so, not where I like to be so I went back out hard and caught 5 of them in the next 8 miles and was up to 7 place. On the descent after aid two I caught one guy who I had been following for about 20 minutes when he got a huge branch stuck between the crown of his fork and his tire and I caught Geoff a few minutes later who flatted and had the same problem as I, a bad tube and not enough CO2 I passed him a CO2 Niner (the only way to go for big wheels!) and I was off to catch the 5 people that were still in front of me.

Happy because there is nobody in front of me making dust!

The rest of the day was pretty lonely, 50+ miles by my self again. I never say another soul, except a few people that I was lapping. I kept hearing that someone was right in front of me but I never caught him. Unfortunately a couple became victim to course markings getting removed and were lost for a while, moving me to 3rd place overall when the day was done.
Single speed Podium.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Intermontane Challenge stage race

It's taken me 10 days to get the energy to write this report. Not because the race was that tough, but because I didn't know where to start. There were so many thing that were great about this race and so many more that were nowhere near great. there are two things I really want to talk about, The race itself and the organization of the race.

I really had a hard time deciding on weather to race the geared bike or the singlespeed. on one hand there was a lot of cash up for grabs but I really needed some "fun" tome on the SS. After we arrived in Kamloops, BC we looked at the race website and saw that the prize money was only for the overall win. So with Tinker, Jeremiah Bishop, Ben Sonntag, Chris Sheppard, Evan Plews and a few others on the starting list I was convinced to ride the SS.

The weather forecast for the week was HOT! and it was, Record heat for the whole week. I was dreading the heat but somehow after racing the Cowbell challenge earlier this year, even the 105 degree heat didn't seem so bad. Even with a 10:00 start and very little shade for the first couple days I never felt like I was baking in the sun except for a couple descents to the finish of the first couple days.

The first day started of with a 30 minute roll out through town before hitting the dirt and the start of the race. It was a great start for me and my Niner One9, a long steady climb with a few breaks that I could sit in a draft of the lead group. I made it to the first aid station just a few seconds behind the lead group, as I decided to do some huge wall rides descending into the aid station. After stopping to resupply I was back on it and caught the back end of the lead group on a couple of steep climbs. Unfortunately not to long after that we came to a long steep climb where I had to walk and I lost some serious time to the lead group and was caught by a few others. I rode by myself for most of that day through sage brush covered hills on some pretty steep single track and a bit too much fire road. I roll into the finish in 8th place to find something more races need to have. It was great they had a huge tub of cold water to dip yourself in, It got pretty muddy later in the day even with a hose running constantly. I guess that was a little extra motivation to finish fast. Being a first year event, there were a lot of thing that went wrong this day, poor course markings not enough water stations for the heat and not enough single track. In fact I think most people out of the top 15 got lost the first day.

Day two was very similar to day one except the steep hill that tore me apart for the front group was about a mile from the start. I chased all day trying to catch them with no good luck and a little bad luck. Even with a much better marked course I missed a turn and lost about 5 minutes. I finished the day 7th and moved up one place in the overall.

Day three was where this race was bitter sweet for me. It was probably the best day of racing I have ever had! Unfortunately the promoter lead part of the main group off course as the "lead moto", and felt bad so he neutralized the day. No time gains or losses for anybody, except Jeremiah Bishop who crashed and was knocked out of the race. I had never raced like that before, so aggressively. I was riding with the guy that was one place in the overall behind me, he was attacking on the flats and I was attacking on the hills. This went on for about 45 kilometers, I was and still am amazed at the power and endurance I had after two long days in the heat. We were together all the way to the finish, where he out sprinted my 33x20 gearing. this day changed the way I race! Everyone moved up one place in the overall, and I was in 6th.

Day four was the Longest day and for most of the lead men it was very hard to motivate and nobody wanted to push the pace or even ride hard. the lead group of 5 were talking and just cruising along, we even waited for Evan to tighten a loose water bottle cage. while soft pedaling the leaders in the pro women's class caught us and beat us to the first aid station.

After the first aid station where I stopped and nobody else did, I chased and made it back to the lead group which was starting to distance themselves from the rest of the followers. After that I rode by myself for about 50K to the finish except the last bit with Peter who ended up 5th overall, riding a Niner Jet9. Peter thanks for the pulls on the last flat sections!!! This day took it's toll on a couple riders in the running for the overall win. Ben Sonntag crashed out and is still suffering from a severe concussion, and Tinker missed a turn and ended up way out of the way and hitched a ride back. I moved up 2 more spots to 4th place overall.

Another thing that happened on day 4 I have to mention. A racer Chris Shepard, who was in the overall lead came upon Ben who was unconcius, and stopped to check in on him. he ended up waiting for over a half an hour with until help got there. Even with $10,000 on the line he waited, telling all others, even Ben's teammates to keep going. That is why I love this sport! there are some great people in this world, most of them are mountain bikers.

Day five brought the best trails of the week during a 30K time trial. I was just out for fun, trying to enjoy some fun descents and finish the race. It was almost impossible for my overall position to change,I had over an hour cushion to 5th and would have to make up more than 15 minutes on 3rd. I ended up riding with Peter again, we had a blast and had someone to listen to our bitching. a Win, Win situation.

So a quick summary, I like stage racing, I will do more! Mountain bikers are great people! if you want to run a big event, get some experience first and know who you are serving. I would really like to thank Thule Racks for their support getting to and racing this event.

I've had enough typing, I'll come back to this subject later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A weekend of of surprises!

Going into the XC nationals I thought I had a pretty good chance of winning. Only to find out on my way to the race there were some ringers showing up so I decides to just go for a top 10 finish. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t going to give up on winning I was just trying to be a little more realistic. The course was pretty fun with some good technical sections and good climbs. There were a couple parts of the course that could have been better, the first was the start, about an 18% grade with no time to get momentum (this is also where the feed zone was). Second was the final descent, at least 2 miles of trail that was “built” in the week(s) leading up to the race by riders following flags through the woods. Needless to say every time you rode the “trail” it was different, and the holes and moon dust were deeper.

The race started off slower than I had expected, except for Jake and Dejay going off the front. I was able to get in the lead group and cruse with the four others all the way to the top of the first lap. From there things got spread out and I stayed in fourth or fifth place the rest of the day, finishing in 5th. I missed out on the win by about 5 minutes but at least 3 of the 4 in front of me were Pros. So I feel pretty good with A 5TH place finish.

After the race I turn my lack of focus to the short track race that will happen on Sunday(if they have a course ready). Nobody knew what the course would be when I asked around on Saturday. It turns out they had a 200 yard trail they were using then they taped off the rest of the course through the sage brush and a grassy ski slope.

I showed up at the start line 10 minutes before the 10:45 start time only to find out that my age group had been pushed back to 11:30. SO MUCH FOR WARMING UP… thanks USA Cycling. I sat around for a while and talked to some folks and watched a couple other races, then decided to head over to the course to try and do another lap before the race started only to hear over the loud speaker: “the course is closed until we say it is open!”. So I waited, watching the starting line. Then all of the sudden with no announcement that the “course was open” the start line was three deep and I was the only one not there. Well the plan for the day was to get a great fast workout, and I had my work cut out for me. Instead of trying to work my way into the group I decided to line up 15 feet behind the group and wait for a hole to open up.

The gun went off and I was already rolling, it took less than 50 meters for the hole to open. I had a clear shot up the grass next to the single track as all the people on 26” wheels were scared move off the groomed path. At the top of the climb I had moved from off the back to about 8th position, and was feeling good. Each of the next three laps I picked off a couple people on the climb then recovered on the descent. Once I caught the leader I sat on his wheel for about a lap then made my move with two laps togo. He couldn’t respond to my pace up the hill and I never saw him again rolling across the finish line for and easy win and my third national title. So I have now won the 100 national series, the marathon and Short track. Kind of a weird combo, I always though it would be tough to win a XC championship. I never even thought I would be anywhere near the front of a short track race.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where in the World

Brief run down of what has been going on and what is coming up.

The firecracker 50, Marathon Nationals, were a week and a half ago. it was an OK race but the altitude got the best of me. I didn't expect to win the Pro race as I am only an armature according to USA cycling, But I gave it my best shot. I ended up 17Th, which I guess is pretty good for the national championships. I can't wait until they move the Marathon Nationals to a manageable elevation(XC nationals too).

We took a week down in Fort Collins and Boulder to ride and check out the area as we think we are going to settle in CO sometime this winter. There is a ton of great riding in Fort Collins and housing costs are fairly reasonable right now. I hear there is good Sushi there too, I have to check that out next week.

Right now I am up in Granby, CO for the XC nationals. it should be an interesting race... It could go so many ways. the trails are pretty fun, at least the ones that are more than a couple weeks old! the "NEW!" descent at the end of the lap changes every few riders, we'll just say there will be a lot of moon dust and breaking holes on that "trail", on the bright side it almost has a flow... but not really. USA Cycling if you read this: Why in the world are the national championships being held on a trail that was built by people pre-riding(pre-building) the course in the weeks leading up to the event. Why not hold it on an established trail system, or build it far in advance. I really think it's unfair that we have to pay good money to race a trail we have to build...

So, there is my soap box, if you can't tell I'm a little burnt on the races I've done lately. At least let us make some money if we are riding "spectator friendly race courses" or why don't we make racer and spectator friendly courses...

I've decided not to do the rest of the NUE, to much driving for too little payback on OK race courses. Hopefully after racing in Canada for 5 days of sweet singletrack I will be re energized.

Picture of the sunsets we were treated to in Breckenridge.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fire now ice

The Cowbell is over and the fire is out. I got off the bus in Breckenridge a few days ago, and with in an hour of riding I found myself in the snow. I almost went into shock, late June and I was cold going up a climb. It was nice.

I met up with Josh Tostado a couple days ago and he showed me around a little bit. He led me down some one of the best descents of my life! it seemed like it went on all day long ant it had everything from rocky rough terrain to as fast as you want to go flowing singletrack. It was so good I had to go back the next day and do it again.

Rebecca TomaWiki and I headed out first thing in the morning @ 12:45, for this second run. I wanted to skip the big climb that Josh and I did and just do the fast section. Unable to find the trail we climbed an extra 1000+ feet of fire road before we turned around and found the trail.

after some fun trail and another 20+ minute climb I crested the top and began to roll the descent. the first time I touched my brakes there was a terrible noise coming from my rear brake. Instantly I had a feeling what is was, and I was right. I folded the return spring on my rear brake pads and it was rubbing on the rotor.

With only a mini tool, I was worried that I would not be able to get the brake to work correctly and have to run the descent with only one brake. totally possible to do, but nowhere near as fun. I was once again blessed with good karma(thanks Eddie) and with in two minutes, the only mountain bikers we saw on the ride passed by and one of them had a Leatherman with pliers. I was able to bend it back into place. I was back and rolling in less than 6 minutes!!!

Some of the views and wiki wiki.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Race report for the Cowbell Challenge marathon.

Race # 5 of the USA Cycling ultra endurance series stayed true to form with it's more than uncomfortable weather. Though very different from the peanut butter mud and hiking of DSG we found the other extreme, HOT, HOT, HOT! I was woken up before 7:00 with sweat dripping down my face. know there were more than 3 hours before the race I knew it was going to be a tough day. You can see it in my eyes in the picture below...

The town of Davidson, NC was the host city providing the starting line for the days event. When the horn sounded the start was not much different than any other endurance race fairly mellow pace and one guy taking a flyer who stayed away for about 7 miles. By the time the chase group caught the leader it was a group of 4 going into the single track to race 5 eight mile laps of fun tight twisty root filled trail. Shortly after the single track started I began to get a pretty bad headache the roots of the trail jarred my brain and I was unable to keep my focus and dropped of the group. later in the lap the trail smoothed out and the headache subsided and I was able to push the pace a little more. Starting the second lap about an hour into the race it was close to 97 degrees with humidity nearing 90%. I felt like I would be able to work my way back to the group and still have a chance at the win. But before to long I was stricken with stomach issues and really had to back of my pace.

I settled into my pace and kept going the full time. Dumping ice water on my head through the lap only for the water dripping down my face to feel hot in a matter of seconds. the last three laps were all about survival. I was able to stay in fourth position and only loose about 14 minutes to Harlan Price who too the win.

Over all it was a great event, Tyler the promoter was awesome. He took great care of everyone and ran a fun event. All my equipment was great, especially my new wheels, the combo of DT Swiss 190 hubs and Stan's 29" race rims were super fast and light(1300 grams even!!!). the course was fun, and it had more technical features than most 100 mile courses.

Will I do it again? Yes, assuming the heat index is not 115 degrees.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Everyone should see this movie.

Another post coming later today.

Some reason it is cutting the side off... to see it all go here:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mohican 100

Back in the groove(or is that a rut), We made it back from Italy without all the terrible thing that happened on the way there but it was not uneventful. While boarding the plane Kristina found that Ian had a temperature and felt very hot. not to long after take off I borrowed some Tylenol from another family as ours was checked, that kept his fever down but it kept coming back up when the medicine would wear off. When we landed in Atlanta and got to out thermometer he had a temperature of 104, we were in the emergency room in less than 20 minutes. Need less to say the doctor said to keep doing what we had been doing but to come back in 2 days if he isn't better. He was fine the next day.

I can't say that I was a little scared on the starting line, this field was stacked. If you are a fast ultra endurance singlespeeder from the east you were at this race, I couldn't think of anyone besides (Ohio)Rob that wasn't there. Going through what I had in the last week, it was hard to be confident. Since DSG I haven't really ridden my bike other than racing, the blisters on my heels were so bad that I couldn't wear shoes.  I had no idea what my legs were capable of, I hadn't ridden 100 miles in any 2 week period since April. 

I stayed with my usual tactic of starting fast, and was the lead singlespeeder going into the first singletrack. Shortly there after I knew I didn't have the legs for racing the top geared riders like I end up doing.  I backed off and decided to let the next singlespeeder catch me then I would just match him and hope that he would POP before I did. He was strong, attacking every steep hill, but he was never far in front at the top. and I was able to catch him on the descents. We exchanged the lead a few times on the singletrack, he would attack the climbs and I would pass him as he made wrong turns. 

After aid 2 we were caught be the first Pro men's chase group(they made a wrong turn) that had 6 riders. and this really put the hurt on me. it was a battle of wills to see which one could hold on the longest. Even with the geared riders he attacked the climbs trying to drop me, I managed to be in 3rd wheel going into the single track before aid three. after a few minutes I looked back and couldn't see him behind me, I figured he flatted or something. I knew he was strong, he couldn't have dropped off that far. by the time I got to aid 3 I knew I had at least 1/4 mile on him.  

The super high cadence needed to stay with the geared guys brought the cramps. there was a few time that I had to stop and stretch, or really slow down. I had about 40 miles to go after I got passed by josh Tostado(he got lost too), and from that point it was pretty lonely. long, Straight, boring, strait, flat roads then a couple big climbs to the finish. 

Walking across the finish line in first place. So glad to be done!

I finished in 7:39:@# about 20 minutes faster than second place Dejay Birtch(Niner/Ergon teammate). the guy I had been racing the first half of the race had broken his frame. In endurance racing it's not always the rider that makes the difference. Niner thanks for making such great bikes! 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Off to Italy.... Coming home tomorrow.

It's our last day in Italy and I wanted to give you all a quick update of the last week...
Tuesday: Missed check in for our flight by 2 minutes... had to buy new tickets and leave Wednesday.  I recommend not flying Air france!
Wednesday: Departed, had to pay $300 for each bike to fly internationally! I recommend not flying Delta!
Thursday: Arrived in Milan, luggage didn't though. Missing bike, and clothes for Kristina and Ian and the car seat. Waited in the airport for 6 hours for a ride to Finale.
Friday: slept through breakfast.  Found out our luggage showed up to the airport, but they wouldn't deliver it until Saturday. Spirits not doing so good ; (  Gave up and went to the beach and ate gelato. Spirits getting better ; ) 
Saturday: Race day,  Got my bike at about 10:00, built it, and did a lap on the course before the start. 
The race: 24 hour format, we had a 6 man Singlespeed team. of the 24 hours we lead all but about 20 seconds.  Team NASA/Niner won the overall with the largest margin of victory in the 11 year history of the race(so I was told) with more that a two lap lead. 
Sunday: Won the race, enjoyed the party and waited for a ride to town(I thought Humboldt time was slow). Pizza, Pizza, Gelato, sleep.

Finishing the lap down in the new Niner Kits.
The team on the stage, Winners overall, and Solo Female!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mud, Sweat and a mountain bike marathon.

I'm a little slow on getting to this, but like any traumatic experience it's good to talk about it.

Last weekend was Dirt, Sweat and Gears 12 hour. after last year I was hoping for poor conditions so I could win the overall on a singlespeed. little did I know the conditions from last year were great compared to this year. Leading up to race day the course was wet from 8+ inches of rain in the week but had promise of drying out the last three days without any rain. Any one that could access the inter web, and it's series of tubes, was checking the weather. things were looking great, everything was just missing us to the north.

Then about 3 hours before the start someone showed me the radar image and the whole western third of Tennessee was covered in red. We figured that it would hit just exactly at 9:00 when the race started. Unfortunately we were wrong, It hit about 2 minutes before the start. Last year a rain like this created a horrible second lap but everything else was fine(the other 8 laps). This year was so bad that I was lapping people less than 3 miles into my second lap and that has nothing to do with how fast I was. the course had the worst anyone had ever seen/hiked in.

My lap times were something like this:
Lap1: 1:15
lap 2: 2:00
lap 3: 4:00
lap 4: 3:00 (I used cross tires for this lap)

Out of the 42 miles I "raced" I think I was only on the bike for about 14-16. the rest I was carrying my bike on my shoulder.

This post is a work in progress.... check back later for more.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Did that really happen to me?

Things are a little different than last year, especially the weather. the story last year was heavy rain the night before the race, but pretty good the rest of the time. This year has been dry for the races but wet most of the rest of the time... I think it has been raining since Thursday maybe Friday and we are surrounded by water. We decided to check out a place called Land between the lakes. only to find out the "land" part between the lakes is getting smaller because the "lakes are getting bigger....

So for the "did that really happen to me"...

It was time to get out and find some of the singletrack we came here to ride. I was looking for the Piney trail, I saw a sign pointing down a paved "Trail" I thought I would follow it to see if it turned to a good trail. About a half mile later I realized that this was just a little loop that was taking me back to the campground. And very close to the lake. Well actually the lake was covering up the "trail" in a few places. After riding through a couple pieces of the lake that conveniently cleaned off my tires of the mud they had collected in the last couple rides in Little Rock I saw up ahead the there was railing/bridge ahead. But the Hand rail was only about 2.5 feet above water. I started to to ride through the water and it was much deeper than the last couple, almost up to the BB but not quite. I was slowly riding through the lake when all the sudden. SPLASH!!! No I didn't fall in, but rather a fish about 2 feet long went crazy right in front of me and hit my tire.

I never thought I would hit a fish with my bike. I could see Dejay throwing one at me while riding but never this.

Here are a couple photos from the last couple weeks of traveling:

This one was in Oklahoma, I'm not sure if they meant to do this or not...
Here is a picture of the new SS:

Friday, May 01, 2009

On the road and ready to write(a little)

Well the family and I are on the road again we decided to take it a little slower and skip the first race of the NUE and race in Prescott AZ at the Whiskey Off Road then take out time to get to Dirt Sweat and Gears for the third installment of greatness. 

After the Spa City Extreme it was back to training and time to do a few XC races to work on some speed. most of the XC races were disappointing after riding the great trails of the Mas O Menos and Spa City courses. The Kenda cup races were the least either mostly dirt/pavement road courses or they were so rutted out or full of braking bumps that though I was on the bike I really didn't want to be there. 

I had ridden in Prescott years ago, long before I was racing mountain bikes and really didn't do much of anything that I can remember, just some muddy single track. I was very excited to go back and explore more of the area and enjoy the trails. Including participating in an Epic Rides event, Thanks Todd!!!! 
Race day was cool in the morning and colder after the race was over. the whole time in between was super fun.  It was a great course for me, long climbs, flowing singletrack, some technical descending and more than 3 and a half hours(barely).

I sat back until the end of the first big climb to make a move for the lead in the SS field, and only had to fight with one other to get to the single track first with Dejay in third place a few seconds back.  I knew I had the endurance and that a 12 mile long climb to come so I really pushed the pace through the single track, By the first long descent I had a gap and quickly caught a group of four geared guys  that were somewhere around 4-8 place overall. once we hit the bottom, they were going slower than I wanted so I pulled them up the next 30 minute climb, and where they thanked me by dropping me on the next long fire road descent.

The bottom could either really motivate you or truly wreck you.  you hit the bottom of this 9 mile descent then had to turn around and go right back up and do three more miles past where you started coming down.  On my way back up, Still in the SS lead, I figured out that I had about a 2.5 minute lead over second(Mike H - SS winner the last 3 years)  three minutes wasn't much so I really went hard on the climb only slowing down for a minute when I could feel some cramps, but then it was back to racing.  I also had some good motivation that after the top of the climb it was mostly downhill(with a tail wind) to the finish.  The last three miles was littered with riders from the 25 mile race as well, so I had some carrots to motivate me as well. 
Here is a great little video from one of the 25 mile SS guys, I passed him right after the two courses came back together. 

Whiskey Offroad: Hurt from Mark Challoner on Vimeo.

Marks comments on his video: "This is just a small sample of the suffering that occurs on the big climb at the Whiskey Offroad mountain bike race put on by my boy Todd Sadow at I was battling for third place in the 25 Proof, when my friend John "Fuzzy" Mylne came stomping by us! Fuzzy had started an hour earlier than us for the 50 Proof, and had already been climbing for 12 steep miles!"

Hopefully I will be saying this a lot this year... after the climb was over it was a sweet trail(s) back to town where I captured another SS win and another top 10 overall finish. 

Update: We are on the road in Little Rock, AR and almost to the Cotton Mill in TN. I'll post some pictures that I have from the travels across the road soon.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spa City Extreme

After spending a long weekend in Hot Springs, Arkansas you would think I would be rested and refreshed. I can’t say that I am worse than before, but I am coming home with a lot of sore muscles and other parts. I have also come to realize that no matter how hard I try there will always be a glitch in the plans.

I arrived in Little Rock Wednesday night late and went straight to be so I could start Thursday early. Picked up the rental car a drove to Hot Springs to build the bike and a check out the course. The first glitch happened while building my bike. While pulling my bike out of my Thule hard case I realized I forgot my front wheel. No, not really.

 The bike went together pretty smooth, front wheel included. What I did forget was a pump, I had given my Genuine Innovations CO2 to Danielle in TX so I didn’t have to fly with it. So I used the shops compressor to fill my rear tire BOOM! ! ! I blew the tire of the rim, I think their gauge was a little off. I have learned that you shouldn't try to put a tire back on after it’s been blown off the rim so I used my spare. BOOM!!!! Again, this time even bigger, I set the shops fire alarm off, my free hub body got blown off the hub and almost a finger or two. So much for riding Niner’s new rigid fork. I’m glad I have the DT Swiss squishy fork too. Next stop, find some water the hit the course.

While driving around Hot Springs looking for water there seemed to be something strange about town(I could never figure out what it was) but I did find a strip karaoke club…
Once at the course things were smooth, the bike was working great and my legs were feeling good. It was about a 10 mile lap and I made it around in about a half an hour...unfortunately I missed half the lap(it wasn’t completely marked yet). So I went back out and found the loop I missed. WOW what a fun course. At least 95% single track, it was tight, flowing, it had switchbacks, jumps, rocks and drops. I have to say I was excited after racing the lame course at Bonelli Park last weekend.

Everyone rolled in by Friday morning and we all went for a lap. Rebecca, Danielle, Ted(Mr. Super Pit Crew) Ernesto, Chris, Lee and the locals. After the lap it was time to relax and put the feet up, but not before we found some “better beer”(more on that later).

I woke up too early Saturday, Around 4:00 and the race started at 10:00. So it seemed to take all day for the start to come. I did the usual prep, and went pee a lot.
So when the race started with a lemans start around the BMX track I was ready. I was the first one on the bike and took the early lead, not what I wanted to do but it kept me out of trouble. Before I knew it there was a group of about 5 or 6 of us that was gapping the everyone else. Still getting used to riding trails again I washed out my front wheel on a switchback and had to put a foot down. It worked well to get me off the front but some how I caught my shoe in my rear derailleur cable and messed up my shifting, luckily it worked itself back into working order in the next few laps.

Ernesto set a great pace on the front of that first lap, letting a the frisky ride off the front and before we would shoot them out the back. Coming to the feed zone I new my pit was past the others in the group so I went around them so we wouldn’t get tangled. I rolled through the start/finish line in the lead and the others were tight on my wheel. Half way through the lap I pushed the pace a little to see what would happen, the only person that stayed with me was Chris(also riding a Niner). I couldn’t feel it but I think he was holding onto my pocket or something because he was tight on my wheel through to almost the end of the 5th lap when he flatted for the first time.

I knew we would get 7 or 8 laps total, so I had to keep him away for 2 to 3. Time to put it in overdrive. I finished the lap and Ted told me I had to do 3 more.  30 miles and the cleat on my right shoe had come loose. After lap 6 I wasn’t sure if I need to do 8 so I went out like it was my last with out fixing my cleat. It got really bad and my foot was killing me. The only way I could pedal with out it hurting was to point my foot straight down while standing, not very efficient. I finished #7 strong and there was still an hour to go, I had to do another. I had Ted tighten my cleat but he could only tighten one as the other was stripped.

On this course even with all the tight corners 10 miles went very fast. I knew the trail so well by this point I was on auto pilot just flying. When I crossed the finish line 6:20:20 after the gun, I lapped the fastest team, and set a new course record with 8 laps and won my first race of the year!

Thanks to all the folks that helped put on this race. It was a blast, I hope I can make it out next year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Planning for the 2009 season

I think the hardest part about getting for the 2009 race season is choosing the right hair style. here are a few Ideas that I have found. What do you think?

I like the freedom of this style.

A more classic look....
Maybe try and be a little more like Dejay.

I'm so confused, So many choices.
I don't know which way to look.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

So you thought you were flying...

Not like these guys.