Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WORS #11 Bear Paw Rock & Roll

Had the best result I could have hoped for.  It was my 2nd time lining up in the Elite field but this time around I was more confident and aggressive.  It also helps that the last 10 days on the bike I've been feeling pretty good and have had some good rides as of late.

Last Wednesday we went out to the trails to lay down a hot lap and I was going quicker for a full lap than I ever have.  There are a bunch of strava segments at our trails and I torched a bunch of them during my lap.  I doubt those will be falling anytime soon.

Drove out to the course on Saturday with a few teammates in Mt. Borah Van.  It was nice to have that ride and have our team comp the gas.  Thanks Mt. Borah, 360 Real Estate, and Kickapoo Coffee!
Things were rough on course.  Super bumpy, lots of roots and rocks.  The singletrack wasn't super fast due to the technical nature.  Riding the Epic was again, a huge advantage.  Not sure how anyone could ride that course on a hardtail without destroying their back.  We were talking after the race and estimating how much time we spent sitting vs. standing.  The results weren't surprising.  A few climbing sections early in the lap but nothing that lasated longer than 90 seconds.  The rest was punchy inclines.
My bottom bracket or what I thought was my bottom bracket was creaking like crazy and driving me crazy the couple days prior - I just didn't have time to jump into it.  So the whole race every non drive side pedal stroke was making noise.  It wasn't until Monday that I figured out it was my chainring bolts from my Q ring. Nice to have a quiet bike again.

Anyway, race started good.  I had good position, wasn't in the red too much and found my spot in line.  Came out of the first singletrack section onto a dirt road and bridged up to the next group.  From that point it was hang on and try to pick off as many as possible.  Third lap we ended up catching a few faster guys and knew I was going to have a good overall position.  At least better than last race.  Basically held on for the 4th and final lap without anyone passing me but the wheel I was following did drop me.  I was hoping to jump him in the 1track and get a gap because I thought I was faster there but he had more power.

Crossed the line 18th overall and 3rd in the age group.  The winner of the group was top 10 overall so that moved me into the 2nd age group position.  Cole House won.  He had 13 minutes on me.  Not as bad as the 20 Brian Matter had on me at Lake Geneva.  What was nice too was knowing that had I raced the comp category I would have won the overall by almost 2 minutes and age group by 4.  The upgrade was justified.

Next week is another race at Levis Trow/Mound.  Depending on who shows up, I'm primed to do well in the 25 mile race.  Get at me bro

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chequamegon 40 recap and more

A few weeks ago was the Chequamegon 40.  Point to Point "MTB" race.  But mostly ski trail, gravel road stuff.  No single track.  Lots of hills.  Nothing that would be considered technical besides bombing rocky descents at 35 mph and avoiding huge mud puddles.
It's a total power course - basically TT'ing the whole way at aerobic threshold.  I replaced my front S Works Fast Trak to one of the S Works Renegades for less rolling resistance.  The morning of the race the tire lost 15 pounds of air from the night before.  I decided to air it up and just stick with it and hope it didn't go flat.  Damn thing didn't lose a pound of air during the race and I would have liked 5lbs less air in it - that is a lot of air.

Last year was my first year.  I did it with 1.7 legs instead of 2 and got a flat, but managed to finish at 2:36.  Respectable first time but still slow.

This year they introduced starting gates based on how you finished the last 2 years.  So I was in gate 3 probably 400 people back - that was a huge improvement over fighting 2000 other dudes for a spot.

The week leading up to this race was poor.  didn't have any good rides, legs were flat, worked a full day on friday and then drove the 3.5 hours up that night.  When we started I just had no pop in the legs.  The first 10 miles I suffered pretty good.  It was a long ways from where I can be when I'm running good.  I started to feel a bit better as the race went on but I still couldn't hold my own in the quicker groups that were up the road.  I'd occasionally take a flyer from the group I was in on a downhill and bridge up to the next bunch but never did anything great.

Lea Davison blew by me at the halfway point after she flatted early in the race.  I kept her in my sight for 15-20 minutes and didn't let her get much further away but I eventually faded.  She was the 2nd place woman overall and just a week off the World Champs in Austria.

Eventually a teammate came up to me and helped me pick up my pace.  We rode together going back and forth for 10-15 miles.  Eventually after the firetower climb we hit a really tough section of Birkie trail.  Constant rollers with big climbs and a gradual uphill pitch overall.  He was riding SS and basically dropped me.  He finished a minute 30 up on me and I came in at 2:24:30.  The time was pretty good though - I'm happy.  It was good for 129th place overall of 2000 or 1850 - something like that.  That time last year would have been good for top 100 and gate 1

Next year I'll be starting from gate 2 though and with better legs should crack top 100.

Otherwise I've been feeling really strong lately.  had some good rides recently and maybe am the strongest I've been all season, it's tough to say.  Got another WORS race this weekend on a course that should suit me well and then the following weekend is the WEMS Championship race at Levis/Trow Mound.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WORS Treadfest - a cat 1 butt whoopin'

Lake Geneva hosted the 10th race in the WORS series.  It's a good little course.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much singletrack there was.  At first it looks like another ski hill race but it was much better.  The opening section sends you straight up the hill and then straight down.  Repeat that 2 more times and you are redlined 4 minutes into the race.

Previously I was riding in the cat 2 comp category and doing well.  I knew I would be forced up for next season so I beat them to it.  Lining up with 54 other fast dudes is a little intimidating.  Especially when 10 or so of them are "pro."  Brian Matter, Cole House, Matt Shriver to name a few.  When I had exceptional races in the comp category my lap times were good enough for mid pack in the 1 field, although I would have had to knock out an extra lap.  So I was aiming for a mid pack finish.

We started out up the three climbs and I actually had good position going into the woods.  I was suffering though - every time it opened into a passing section I was getting swarmed by 1 or 2 riders.  Eventually I settled in.  I took off my sunglasses and stuffed them into my open jersey.  A minute later they flew out, if they were cheap glasses I would have left them but they weren't.  I got off my bike and ran the 25 feet back to get them.  A small group of 3 or so passed me including 2 that I fought to pass.  Back on the bike and going again. Beginning of lap 2 I blew up going up the climbs.  It was here that I worked my way to the last of the riders.  It sucked pretty good.  If I did a better job of pacing myself my overall would have been much better - it forced me to wait behind the stragglers in the single track.  Halfway through that second lap and I was going good again with 2 more to go.  I was coming up on riders at a steady rate and dispatching of them.  Last lap I managed to pass a few more and got into a good battle with another dude.  He was riding behind another guy when I came on them both in the woods.  I let them know I was going to pass and he jumps the guy in front and pretty much attacks.  I'm stuck behind for 30 seconds or so and quickly close the gap when it opens.  I attack up a climb into the remaining singletrack.  When we enter the final open section he starts sprinting and I had to put a dig in to keep in front but managed to finish ahead of him.

All the other races I was much more aggressive b/c I knew I was fast for my category.  I was too reserved this time not knowing who these dudes were or how fast they were and that slowed me down.  I finished 35th out of 49 finishers. 12 were "pro"  10 of 15 in my cat 1 age group.  I was almost exactly 20 minutes behind Brian Matter who won.  Thats a lot.  He was knocking out 27 minute laps and I was doing 32 minute laps.  Holy shit.

On the positive, my laps at the end of the race were my fastest.  Best case scenario I could have saved maybe 4 minutes total.  If I happened to do that I could have finished in 30th instead of 35th.  MF'ers are fast.

Airing it out on a fast downhill

Monday, August 20, 2012


I guess I just want to race Mtb really fast and really well.  Those were the thoughts that made me CTFU to the 1's.  3 WORS races left on the season that I'll be doing.  I can put the good fitness from this year to good use.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Subaru Cup (The relegated version)

I've sort of been looking forward to this race all season - I knew it was the midwest regional championship and I wanted to claim that title.  Problem was it wasn't available to Cat 2 age groupers which I didn't find out until the day before.  Ultimately it's pretty insignificant so whatever.
We arrived Friday afternoon and pre rode.  The course is pretty good, plenty of technical stuff and enough climbing.  Only problem is that it's pretty short, one lap hovers around 20 minutes and the cat 2 do only 3 laps.  Usually they have the comp cat 2's separated from the sport cat 2's with the comp race doing more laps of the elite course - but because of the nature of this one race everything gets a bit messed up.
As far as race length, course options and starting waves, the normal WORS races are actually better for comp riders.  Probably even the cat 1's as they would get more time on the course.

So I was feeling excellent, legs were in great shape, nothing left to do but race.  We take off and I'm gone and out of sight in 2 minutes, I really wanted to push it hard because it was only 1 hour long.  I'm passing dudes left and right.  I'm near the end of the first lap and following a rider who I know from the wave in front of me, and we come upon a section where we need to make a hard right turn into some singletrack.  The guy i'm following makes a shallow right turn and cuts through the course to the next climbing section.  About 3 seconds after this happens I realize what we did.  Ultimately we bypassed around a minutes worth of singletrack.  The way the course winds on itself and the poor marking at that corner allowed it to happen.  As a matter of fact, we weren't the only ones to do it.  We weren't bushwacking to do this either, it was a wide dirt/grass path section. Anyway, I decide to just keep going at that point and figure it out later.  When I go through the start finish I see the race director and yell to him to fix the marking, people are cutting trail.  2nd and 3rd time through they moved the arrow and added course tape to better direct you.

Second lap and I'm suffering a bit more and not riding as clean.  By the 3rd lap I start to settle down a bit and ride cleaner.  I finish alright.  My finish time was just over 1:01.  By the time I change and talk to a bunch of other riders about what happened I'm summoned to the timing trailer.  The officials are aware of what happened and the guy I was talking to was recommending that we add time (about a minute) to those of us that cut that section as opposed to DQ'ing.  Fine with me, that still leaves me 1st.  Well, what ended up happening was moving me down to 3rd  because the next 2 riders were within still within a close enough time  that they felt it would be the fair thing to do.  I'm not really arguing so that is fine too.  The only thing that bugs me is the course marking, and the fact that I can't really know how I truly compare time wise with the other riders if this didn't happen.  I think some of the times got screwed up a bit b/c I finished 1 minute up on riders the wave in front of me.  Add a minute to my time for a penalty and we're even.  But they started 1 minute earlier so I would have ended up being a minute faster still  - somehow some people's times are wrong and it's too much to figure it out.

I did run into a few KC folks, namely those of the Ethos team.  Maybe I should just take the advice of Garet and CTFU.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

olympics - vinokourov

Dopers shouldn't be allowed to compete in the olympics.  End of story.  It's a shame that a convicted doper won the gold - it's meaningless now.  Probably half the field was doped anyway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WORS - Sunburst Showdown

What a crappy race.  Thanks to all the volunteers and people who put it on, but that place had no business being a MTB race.  Literally - what a shitty venue.  It was wide open on the side of a ski hill.  Almost no singletrack and most of it was created by a lawnmower through a grass field.

Hot and dusty, mid 90's.  Took the lead into the singletrack, had another strong rider on my wheel.  Halfway into the lap my chain bounced up and caused my front chain guide to rotate.  With my front Q ring, every pedal stroke was grinding the chain into the chain guide.  I heard it grinding but didn't think to get off and fix it.  In hindsight, I should have, because for the next 1.5 laps I was going backwards in a hurry.  I was blowing up trying to hold the leaders wheel and probably got passed by at least 15 people - people who I know I can beat any day.  I thought I was just suffering from the heat - I wasn't sure but it sucked.  Thought about pulling out after lap 2 but stayed in.
A short bit later and my chain guide shifted up a bit or enough metal ground out that all of a sudden I had 50 more watts and started moving again.  I was pissed that I didn't fix it earlier and it made me realize that had to have been what was wrong.  Sure enough I start passing back all those who passed me - maybe 5 on the 3rd lap and 5 on the 4th and I quickly dropped anyone on my wheel.  It was a little too late though.  I finished 8th overall and 3rd in the age group.  2:30 off the overall win.  I looked at my lap times from the garmin and found that my last 2 laps were each 2 minutes faster than the first 2 not including the start loop.  So maybe I lost 4 minutes total.
Whatever.  The venue was a big let down - will never return again.  3 of our group pre rode on Saturday after driving 3 hours - and decided that paying to race there is a crime.  They skipped the race and rode real singletrack 30 minutes away.

The front view of my chain guide.  The inside  lost a few mm's of metal and it took 0.5 mm off the top of my chain.