Mohican 100 OH - June 4 - 19TH
Boise 9-5 Coed Duo ID- June 10 - 2nd (by 22 seconds with my lovely wife Kate)
Breckenridge 100 CO - July 16 -(6th) DQ
High Cascades 100 OR - July 23 - 4TH
Laramie Enduro WY - July 30 - DNS
Fool's Gold GA - August 20 - 7TH
PCP2P UT - September 3
USA Cycling Marathon Nationals, Bend, OR - September 17
24 Hour Nationals, Colorado Springs - Oct 1-2
Good Day. When you have a minute to sit down, here is a brief on my most recent adventure and a thank to y'all that support my selfish adventures, endeavors, and passions. Cheers.
Santa Cruz, Smith Optics, Hammer Nutrition, Ergon, Topeak, No Tubes, Bell, Crank Bros, Sinclair Imports, Habitat, GTR, Continental Tires, Mountain Khakis.
FOOL'S GOLD NUE#9
Montaluce WInery, Dahlonega, GA, August 20, 2011
I have had the opportunity to put about 400 miles on the Highball, one-hundred of which were in the NUE #9 (Fool's Gold) at the Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega, GA last weekend.
NUE#9 in GA was as anticipated in August in GA, hot (96deg) and humid (93%) and not at all like the intermountain west riding/racing I am so fond of. The trail in the Chattahoochee NF on the other hand was excellent and recently much improved thanks to coordination with the local trail organizationincluding Equestrians and cyclists. The course was a mixture of old forest service logging roads and this new clay single track with sections of loose rock from the piedmont geologic period. Suprisingly, the 50 mile lap had almost 6000 feet of climbing, and we were racing this loop twice.This made for the perfect testing ground for the Highball and its 29" wheelbase.
The race started and finished at the Montaluce Winery with a neutral roll to the base of a 12 mile climb. Once on the climb things immediately started splitting apart in the race as soon as we started climbing. A group of 5 riders got a gap on the rest of the field and everything behind that lead group was splinting apart fast too. I was in this lead group sitting pretty comfortably. After riding with the lead group for about 3 miles or so, I decided to ride to the front and and push the tempo. I stayed on the front for about another mile, but was soon after my pull dropped my chain and found myself in no man's land with a 20 second gap to the four leaders. Nonetheless, I continued to climb without panic knowing the day would be around 7.5 hours.
Once we hit the first single track I would come across Ceasar Grajalas (RealCyclist) with a flat. This unfortunate event for Ceasar would put me solidly in 4th position where I would continue to ride near the front group ( couple minutes back Schalk and Tanguay) for the next 40 miles. With only glimpses of the front pack I again rode my game plan of continued steady state racing without any large attacks. We would hit the beginning of the loop again and have to climb the 12 miles of dirt road again around mile 50. Still feeling pretty good I rode the first three miles of the climb at a good clip finding my HR settling around 173 bpm, at 3.5 hours into the race. However, this would soon come to a halt. With about 7 miles to go on the climb the exposure to the sun and the humidity took it toll and suddenly shut my systems down. For the better part of an hour I would find myself crawling, and quickly went from a chasing 4th position to around 15th in the open men's field. Several times during this period I considered turning "bout-face" and heading back down the mountain and not continuing through Coopers Gap and the next 40 miles. Experience told me otherwise, that often this ailing feeling of disaster could turn positive as fast as it went sour, so I battled forward. As soon as we gained elevation and turned direction to the north exposure of the mountain the temps dropped about 10 deg and a little bit of wind across my swampy skin I began to feel better. I also had been doing my best to consume Endurolytes, consume all my on board Heed and swallow several anti-fatigue and endurance amino's. The combination of all of these protocals seemed to turn my deteriorated body around 180 deg. However, the damage was done, I was now chasing from the top 15 to get back into a top ten motivated field. Sure enough, I began finding riders dangling on their own and would come by them quickly enough that they could not respond and I would be looking for the next carrot. This continued to build my confidence that I could possibly get back into the top five as I pinned it on all the steep and long climbs and sent my Highball careening down the loose rocky single track descents with sure footed speed.
Just after feed three on the second lap, however, the trail conditions quickly changed from being just about perfect to a sea of slippery blood red mud when a heavy down pour of rain fell for about an hour. This did not help my own race within the race to get back through the traffic of 50 milers also stumbling around the end the course. Nonetheless, I pulled my muddy glasses up to my helmet and took the adversity as it came and figured everyone else was dealing with the same conditions.
I would find the final stretch of pavement welcoming to my tired body and would pick off one more men's open rider in the final two kilometers of the course. This would put me into 7th place and leave me less then two minutes from two riders in front of me and that top five position. The irony that the course was about 5 miles short of 100 miles and even with a fatigued body I would have gladly taken the extra 5 miles with an opportunity to move into 5th place on the day.
This leaves me ranked in the top 15 in the NUE standings (a would be top 8 postion if the Breck100 issue was resolved with sound decision) with one race left to contest in Park City, UT in a couple of weeks. A solid top five result here can put me into the top five overall for the NUE series for 2011.
Time to recover, and build.
With all of this said I would like to thank Santa Cruz for putting me on the Highball frame as I would not have been able to contest the Fool's Gold in GA without them.The highball comes out of this as an amazing reactive climbing and "point-and-shoot" bike. A real thoroughbred race horse ready to tackle 100 mile rides/races without thrashing your body.In comparison to other 29'ers I have been on, the Highball is not as slack and sluggish as the Superfly so it tracks better, climbs better, is more reactive. That being said the Highball is not quarki like the Felt it is really stable and smooth, the bike really flows down the trail and let it do the work it rolls for you. I like the fact that I don't have to horse it around much, just think and it reacts. The tail is stiffer than the Superfly, more like the Stumpjumper S-Works so it accelerates quickly which I find desirable. Yet, so far it feels compliant enough to not be harsh for all day single track riding.
Bend, Oregon July 23, 2011
High Cascades 100 is located out of the Wanoga Snow park towards Mt. Bachelor from downtown Bend, OR. The work that COTA has done with new trail and trail maintenance is evident on the smiles everyone wears after riding here. This is the second year I have made the journey across the Idaho and Oregon desert to this cycling destination. Mike Ripley (Race Director) puts on a wonderful feast of single track and serves up some of OR's finest malt beverage post race.
This year the race was moved up from August to a July date in order to appease the USFS worries regarding wild fires and dude(ttes) running around the woods in tight lycra looking for the next fuel station. The race also changed up the route from past year with out the ability to circumnavigate Bachelor due to enormous numbers of downed trees, we rode the new Dinah Moe Humm trail around Katalo and Kiwa Buttes, Tumalo Falls loop in reverse and a similiar double dip trip through the winding Sector 16, Skyline Trail to Flagline Tie trail back to Wanoga. This course would surprise us all and run about 9 miles longer than the 100 miles needed to complete a 100 mile loop. The vertical was near 12K and at times wonderful views of the cascades.
On the first loop Cary Smith (Hammer Nutrition) and Josh Tostado would move into the front of the single track frantic chase and put some time on the rest of us. J. Tostado had to overcome a bit of adversity as he broke his saddle off the rails a few miles into the race. At about mile 14 Clint Muhlfeld and I would catch J.T. as he would have to ride for 15 miles and overcome 3,000 feet of climbing with his saddle rails poking skyward, until getting back to Wanoga and get a new seat. Josh informed promoter Mike Ripley about his situation out on the trail, and, luckily enough for him, by the time he rolled through the Start/Finish heading into loop two, he had a saddle waiting for him courtesy of http://sagebrushcycles.net/. Clint and I would be seperated by about 40 seconds headed into loop two towards Swampy, but several riders would be chasing including M.Tobin (Boise, ID) and B. Auferheide (Jackson, WY) By the time we rolled through the Swampy Lakes aid station, J.T. had hacked and slashed the gap to Smith back down to about ten minutes and I would come into the feed in 4th place with a group of 4 or 5 riders and chomping at the bit.
I would continue to play dog and cat with B.A. and switching leads with my fellow rider, often having a bit of chit chat and reveling on how much fun we were having riding our bikes. This would continue through the beginning of loop 3 out of Swampy where I would catch Ben. Feeling good with what I though was 30 miles to go (actully 39) I would put in a good dig and put three minutes into Ben before coming into Aid Station at Skyliner Park and had M.Tobin 20 seconds up in my cross-hairs. However, just above this aid I took an unfathomable turn of events when a spectator would take me off my bike while passing her. Once back on my feet and on the bike I would find my rear wheel would not clear the frame. Apparently the shocked and confused recreational rider "sat on my wheel" as I tried to come past her. And by "sat on my wheel" I don't meant that she was drafting off me and not pulling through...she literally SAT on my wheel and crushed it, causing me to have to run back to the aid station looking for a wheel that would include a disc rotor swap between the wheels (this would take me about 14 minutes) thanks to http://www.sunnysidesports.com/ for the assistance.
Most often my No Tubes Race Gold 29 hoops are as tough as needed for any race day conditions. In this case it is obvious that the wheels lateral strength was not designed for the weight of a human to sit on them. (Thanks No Tubes for rebuilding my weapons). So much for using them on the rope swing.
The humorous-after-the-fact-but-horribly-traumatic-at-the-time incident allowed a well deserving Michael Tobin to nab the third place podium spot.
An incredible strong effort, and determined mindset coupled with washing down a full coin purse of Hammer Nutrition Endurance Aminos, Endurolytes, and Anti-fatigues with my HEED, I chalked up the super-sized portion of adversity behind me and started chasing from what would now be 9th place and several minutes OTB. Fortunately, the Hammer products and Gel would kick in and we had almost 3000 feet of climbing remaining to get to the finish. This would help me pass rider after rider moving much slower and allow me to secure a 4th place spot by the end of the chase.
Congrats to my fellow Hammer Nutrition athletes and super strong (wo)men, Amanda Cary taking the Open Women, Cary Smith who took first place Open Men, Ben Auferheidie taking 5th, and Clint Muhlfeld in the 6th slot for the Open Men. My hats off to you hard (wo)men, I had fun racing with you, followed by well deserved beer and stories.