Sunday, November 28, 2010

20-30 new Flickr photos

Orlando Vacation, Oakley night cap cyclocross race, girls concert and my Movember stashe.

Click here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mullet Classic (Ahquabi) Race Report

The final race of the IORCA mountain bike series was held at Lake Ahquabi near Indianola. We were treated to a beautiful fall day and the bikers came out in force. 155 riders showed up for the race and I have to think that this is a record turnout for an IORCA race. To top it off, we were going to have a mass start and run all categories together.

Ahquabi is a fast course and Bruce B. worked his butt off to add a mile or two of singletrack to get it up closer to a 8 mile course.

Rasmussen Team BS'ing before the start.

After the initial instructions, the entire group moved down the road for the start. I don't usually line up on the front row and didn't plan on it today, but I found myself between Cam and Tony with Jed next to Cam. To top it off, Jay Chesterman from Omaha, Basso, Vandelune, Alread and Blackford where on the second row. I briefly thought about swapping places with someone, but then thought "screw it". I figured that I'd go as hard as possible and ride a good line. In most of my races, I seem to start near 10th and then pick a few off at the end of the race. I wanted to see if I could hold the harder pace as long as possible. It was a 40 mile race, but even if I won my class, I couldn't win the overall series. I might as well try.

Cam leads the group over the slight bump to start the first lap. Tony is behind him and Jed is hidden behind Tony and to my left.

Jed goes rabbit on me over the hump.

After we started, I sprinted as hard as possible to the entrance of the narrow double track. I was fourth wheel going into it behind Cam, Jed and Tony. They were pushing hard, but I was holding on. We hit the first steep hill, which is maybe 200 feet and possibly 10% grade. I stood and pushed a higher gear and although I didn't get passed, I did lose some ground to the first three. On the fast section after the descent, Chesterman came around me. I kept him in sight for a bit and stayed 5th wheel up the second tricky and steep climb. At this point, Basso was screaming at me to keep it up. We were pushing hard and I think breaking away from those behind us. However, Pete destroyed the sidewall of his wheel and all I heard was the sound of a deflating tire and the end of his race.

Not too long after that I was caught by several and decided to hold a medium pace so I could recover a little. I certainly felt like I went out too hard and that I had paid the price. I think that I came through the start finish in 13th place or so. I had to remind myself that many of those that passed me were the faster sport class racers and were racing fewer laps.
Lap 2 was more recovery and somewhere in here, Squirrel passed me. He left me with encouraging words and reminded me that it was a long race and that everyone was hurting. I took that to heart and waited until lap 3 to push hard again.
At the start of lap 3, I was down in 17th place and could see about 8 riders in front of me. I began to pick them off one at a time and midway through lap 4 could finally see Jason Alread and another rider on the backside of the course. I pulled onto their wheel and recovered for awhile. It was Jason pulling the 2nd riders along and #2 looked at me and asked if I wanted by. I loudly announced my presence to get into Jason's head and told them I was happy sucking their wheels (probably 18mph through this section). I even gave Jason a hard time about his being too small to create a large enough draft for us. It was all in good fun.

It was all that I could do in not passing, but I wanted to be smart and save it for a pass that would stick. I waited until after the levy and north end bridge and jumped on the short hill afterwards. They couldn't respond and I was now in 8th or 9th place. That had to be one of the best moments of my racing season as I rarely have the opportunity to make a tactical decision and then to have it work.

I might have caught one or two others, but don't remember. I ended up 8th overall and 1st in the 35+ category. I was happy with the race and the overall season, but in the end Jason had a better season and pulled out the overall series win in 35+. Glad that it was a teammate and he's a good guy on top of that. I will be gunning for the title next year.

Take a Kid MTBing - V4

After two years of poor weather (V2 and V3) Take a Kid MTBing was finally given a perfect fall day. Central Iowa Trails Association (CITA) got the word out and the kids and parents showed up in force. This was, by far, our best turnout yet. We had 38 kids and 25 adults show up at Greenwood Park.

While sign up continued, the kids took to the mini-obstacle course like ducks to water. We didn't get the time to explain what they were working on, but it didn't matter, they had a blast on the "miniature skinnies".
We had a brief meeting and the group of older kids took off to J11 and Denmans. It is a short ride on the paved trail and then the dirt gets progressively harder. It is probably the best trail around to allow the kids to work on growing their skills.
While the bigger kids were out, the littler kids took their Striders out on roller coaster (yikes!). Don't worry, their dads were with them.
After an hour of riding the trails, we gathered back at the pond for the raffles. We first drew for the Schwinn MTB given to CITA by IMBA. Ingrid Collet was the lucky winner.
Little Callie Gibson had been trying out the demo Stider (donated by Strider) earlier in the day. The look on her face when she understood that she won, was priceless.
The day went by rather quick, but it was very satisfying for all involved.
Each of the kids went home with a water bottle from one of our sponsoring bike shops. Thanks again to:
Also thanks to Steve Fuller for his great photos of the event.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 - race report

Long overdue for this race report, but the memories still linger. I can't believe that when I lived in MN (94-98) that I never did this race (although we discussed it). Also can't believe that I've lived in Iowa for seven years and only been up there twice. That will be corrected from here on. The race, the weekend and the company all made it a memorable experience.

Jed G. and I left town on Thursday for the uneventful 7hr drive up north. I had secured a place to stay with a group of Rassy's guys and gals that have done this event for 10 years or more. They have a house that they rent in the start town of Hayward. It is a great location, on a lake and near a good restaurant. The start is less than a mile away as well.

We did a short pre-ride on Friday morning and the gang took me under their collective wings to show me the course and to point out the various items to watch out for in the first 5 miles. Our alarms were set for 4:30am in order to secure a good place on the start line. The majority of us did not have "preferred starts", so John N. made sure that we all got our bikes down to the line. Front row for John and I!
The sunrise over the lake on race morning.

After eating some breakfast and then lounging around, we finally kitted up and walked to the start line. When we had placed our bikes upside down on the start line we were the first row of maybe 200 bikes. However, this race had over 1800 starters and now the majority were lined up behind us.
The view of the bikes from the front row.
Shortly after 10am, we slowly rode away. The start line was a narrow two-lane street, but within one block we were on main street and it was four-lanes wide. John pushed forward, but I quickly got swallowed from the sides. Lesson learned for next year.
The main street roll out is controlled by two four wheelers. The mayhem wasn't as bad as I expected, but you had to keep your eyes and ears open to your surroundings.
1800 strong rolling down main street (parade speed).
The first three miles are on pavement and the speed ramps up quickly after the first mile or so. With my high gear of 34x11, I quickly ran out of gears to keep up. I would jump on a wheel and then slowly lose them, look for another group and jump on their wheel. At the time I wasn't happy about the perception of losing ground, but in hindsight, it was probably for the best that I wasn't able to go 110% yet.
At three miles, we turn into Rosies field and the rest of the race is on dirt. The pics from Skinny Ski and others don't do it justice. I know that I was near the front of the field, but it sure didn't look like it at the time. If you look closely in the pic below, I'm on the right side and just in front of the guys painted like Kiss.
I started to pick groups of people off and tried to use my head on when to draft. We would have a good pack of guys together for 2-3 minutes and then a few of us would jump ahead to the next group. It went like this for the first 8-10 miles. Somewhere in there, we hit a gravel road and it felt like I went backwards. Several people would pass me and I just couldn't hold their wheel.
I tried to recover for a 10 minutes and figured that my race would come around to me later.
At the mid-race checkpoint (actually 16miles), I was already 5minutes behind my goal pace. I knew that due to the wet course that the pace would be slower, but I was already disappointed. I figured that I'd have to have a strong second half to salvage a good result.
The middle of the race is fuzzy, but I found 2-3 guys that all held the same pace and we worked well together. We kept the pace high and kept on reeling in others. By the time that I hit the Seeley Fire Tower climb, I was feeling much better. The guy in front of me firmly, but politely told the walkers to get out of our way. Surprisingly, they parted and frequently apologized for being in our way (love that about MTB racing), the two of us rode all three sections to the top and got a good applause for our efforts.
The rest of the way to the finish was an all out effort that never seemed to end. I did hate the last three or four climbs in the last mile, but now I know what to expect.
I ended up finishing at 2:43.39, which was off my goal of 2:30. I suppose that part of that is because of the wetness of the course, but my time was still too slow. I believe that course knowledge would cut almost 5min of that result, the rest will come from better and more specific training.
My goal time was based on last year and I was shooting for top 200 men. I ended up 221st in men and 248th overall (singlespeed, tandem and women make up the difference). If I shave that 5min off, then I would have been in the 170s overall and 150s in men. That's my goal for next year.
Funny stats: plate number 248, finished 248th overall.......I was 224th fastest in the first split and 224th fastest in the last split.
I can't wait until next year and am already thinking of ways to get faster for this type of racing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

24 Hours of Seven Oaks - Race Report

I don't get to go into a race as one of the favorites very often (not in the past 15 yrs), so it's a fun challenge to see if you can hold up to the expectations. Last year, I was part of the 4-man winning team from Rassy's. This year, we hoped to hold onto the title. The team that took second last year was back (PAMBA team, from Peoria) and we found out, loaded for bear.

Rick did an excellent job in setting up our site for the weekend and we started at noon. After one round of 4 laps, we were neck and neck. After the second round of laps, they were up by a maybe five minutes (6 hours of racing). We weren't panicking as we had a few small mechanicals and they hadn't. Certainly, they would have problems in the coming 18 hours.

Ryan VanH's version of Farmville (beer hand-ups from the barn).

As we went into the night laps, we seemed to be running very smooth. Still running quick laps, but they were slightly quicker. I did my last single lap at midnight and settled into the car for 2-3 hours of sleep.

I woke up at 3am and got ready for my 4am laps. Overnight, we run two laps each in order to get some rest. Bill handed off to me and it appeared that we were now about 30min down (45 min laps on average). I decided to go as hard as possible for these night laps and see what I could get back. Although the mind was willing, the body was not able. I pulled a 55min and 59min night lap. I just could not get my heart rate up. By the time that I handed off to Rick, they were close to lapping us.

Entering the dismount area at the scorers table.

PAMBA lapped us around 6am and we put it into cruise control to ensure that third place couldn't make up time. In a way, it made the laps more enjoyable, but it wasn't fun coming in second place. Congats to the guys from Peoria, they pushed it hard for 24hrs and didn't let up. Stronger team this year and gives us something to push for in 2012.
Our setup for the weekend.

A taste of the trails (from a late fall pic). Not easy riding for 8miles.

The final result. Three 4-man teams at the bottom, Three 3-man teams above us. I think we finished with 28 laps. 7 laps each, around 8 miles and 800 vert a lap.
Also: Congrats to Jason Dal for winning the 12 hour solo. Great effort and something he was gunning for all summer.
Thanks for the pics Courtney.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sugar Bottom Scramble Race Report

Trying to get all of my thoughts together for a full post, but am having difficulty with time and thoughts.

Short story is that I thought I could get to the singletrack in 6th or 7th place. Pack of 17 took off and I found myself in 17th place. I guess "plan B" was in order....

I scrambled into 16th before the singletrack and then caught the pack with the inevitable crash that slowed places 10+. I passed a few and worked my way into 10th or so by the end of lap 1.

I passed a few more and a few others must have dropped. I had hoped to catch up to Jason Alread that I could see about a minute ahead of me. Alas, he was too fast and we finished in the same order. I ended up in 7th out of 17 and in 2nd out of the 35+ (to Jason).

Looking at a pic of the starting line, it all makes sense now. I see a team Radio Shack rider, last years 1 and 2nd place series riders, the top 35+ rider from NE, a top regional roadie and a genetic freak (in a good way) that crushes all in any riding or xc skiing contest. No wonder that they took off at a speedy pace. The fact that I'm a slow starter probably saved me and allowed me to pic off others and finish.

I'd like to say this was "plan C" and I executed it well, but I think it somehow just happened.

24hours of Seven Oaks coming up this weekend. I hope that the trails are dry.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Seven Oaks Race Report

The Seven Oaks race course is one of the hardest of the Iowa MTB race series. 7-8 mile loop with 800 feet (I think) of climbing a lap. With the rainy summer we have been experiencing, I was doubtful on if the race could be run. However, the organizers did a fantastic job of getting a shortened course ready for us to race.
We were going to use the Cat3/Beginners loop, which has you climb the front side of the ski slope and then along the back side ridge and back to the bottom. Since the lap was only 3miles long, the Cat1/Expert group would be doing 6 laps. I heard estimates of 300 feet of climbing a lap. I did a quick recon lap before the race and knew it would be a fast race. Add that there were no slow people on the starting line, I knew we would have quick laps.

Thirteen of us started and quickly rode towards the opening climb. I took my place near midpack and thought that I would see what happened. Nate Cline had a frustrating start and I got past him at the top of the climb, so I was in 7th. With the knowledge that I am not even in the same riding zip code as Cam, Kevin, Michael, Jay and Kent, I was happy with my start. Ryan Feagan had been training hard for several longer races, so he was the unknown in front of me.

The first lap went by in a quick 15:30 and I had to back off for lap 2. Somewhere in there, Nate C got by and Josh Stamper (Omaha?) went around as well. I tried to recover with two 16:30 laps before getting the times back down closer to 16min. I thought that I was reeling Josh in, but ended up losing my chain on the last lap. The 10 second repair and remount was all that I needed to lose sight of him. I back it off for the last lap and rode home in 9th place overall, 1min behind Josh and 3min behind Nate.

I ended up 2nd in the 35+ category and was very happy with that. Jay Chesterman is definitely faster and I have a lot of work to catch him. My goal was to beat Jason Alread (my teammate) in order to make up some points on him in the series. I didn't get a chance to talk to Jason to see how his race went, but on the drive home I saw him and Jim Logan (?) riding their bikes home. They probably rode out to the race, races, then home as training for Leadville. If that's the case, then it's a hollow victory.
Heart rate was slightly better for this race. I was much more consistent with avg heart rates within 2 beat per lap. Max was 179, I think averages were in the 167 range.
Pics from Angy Snoop. Thanks!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


This past week was my (to be) annual trip with the girls on RAGBRAI. Last year, they each did one day. This year, they graduated to two days each. Since I raced on Sunday, we missed the first day and instead had Holly drive us to the start of day 2. Hannah and I woke up to a beautiful day in Storm Lake. We were on the tandem and rolled out of town to our first town and a breakfast stop. The pic below is of Hannah enjoying her "breakfast on a bun". Funny how she probably wouldn't eat this at home, but cheesy eggs and ham on a bun was just "delicious" on this morning. I guess riding 16 miles to breakfast on only a donut will do that.
This day had the option for the Karas Loop century. RAGBRAI loops you around a short section of the course to add enough miles to equal a 100. This is a pretty big deal for cyclists and I asked Hannah if she wanted to attempt it. I didn't push it, so I was surprised when she said we should do it. The loop was about 50 miles into the route, so we had already been pushing a decent pace. She was a trooper and probably had less whining than me, but we completed the loop and moved on. We completed a little over 100 miles on this day.
Above photo is of Hannah at the Grotto of the Redemption(?), I think in West Bend on day 1.
Day two for Hannah was from Algona to Clear Lake, the maps had it as a flat 60 miles. For some reason I had it as 50 (in my head). However, the maps mileage was off and we ended up with close to 66 miles on a very, very hot day (heat index over 100). We didn't eat or drink enough on this day and by the time Holly met us in Clear Lake, we were hot, hungry and thirsty.
Holly drove up to transfer/swap the girls for the next two days. She went to a laundromat to wash shorts for us while I setup the tent. Hannah apparently ate a Subway sandwich during this time and then slept from Clear Lake to home (two hour drive).
Maddie and I suffered in the tent that night as the heat index kept it nearly unbearable in the tent. We finally fell asleep near 1am and were woken up by campground noise at 5:30. Maddie is below with our tent (small quarters, but ok until they get bigger).
Maddie and I had an uneventful 55 mile ride to Charles City on this day. Only four pass through towns, so we didn't spend too much time off the bike. We did have a blast at Charles City. A great small town with cool old buildings. We went to the water park and lounged around, getting to bed and asleep by 10pm.
Maddie's second day was to Waterloo. We ended up with 87.6 miles (should have ridden a few more for her century, but Holly was waiting). This was a fun day with some great pass through towns. Parkersburg had a neat sculpture (pic above) of a bike tornado. This is the town that was nearly wiped off the map in 2008 and then had their iconic football coach shot last year (lots of ESPN coverage).
Overall, it was another great ride and time spent with the girls. They seem to really enjoy the 1 on 1 time with me and I enjoy the time and riding with them. We totalled 309 miles in the four days, about 22.5 hours of riding time and around 6000 feet of climbing (very flat route this year). Next year, Maddie gets to ride the century loop to earn her patch. Outside chance that they could do 3 days each, but that might be too much for dad.
More pics on Flickr.

BTW - Special thanks to Rasmussen Bike Shop for the support during the week. Greg and the gang took us in as family and the girls enjoyed the special treatment. Thanks Greg!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Class is in session

We raided the leftover's pile at a nearby construction site and created some skinnies for the girls to play on. They are all excited to add more and more of them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ScoCoPa Race Report

(typical view on the race course - stolen from Brad Keyes)

This past Saturday, Nate C. and I drove over to Scott County Park, just north of Davenport for the ScoCoPa Chase. As we drove over we talked about how hot the race conditions would be (mid 90s plus humidity) and how to race smart. I usually embrace the tough conditions because I know that others hate them. I figure that a positive attitude will help and we are all in the same boat, so any advantage (mental or otherwise) will help.

We arrived a good 90 minutes prior to the start and I only did a short 10 minute warm-up prior to lining up at the start. We were expecting a large field (being so close to Iowa City), but only had 18 or so at the start. Nate pointed out a few people to watch for and I initially lined up in the second row. But, then I had second thoughts on my fitness and the competition and moved back to make room for others. When no one stepped up, I figured what the hell and moved back into the second row. I was more concerned on if my training over the past month, and more importantly my week of rest, had been properly completed. I was hoping for a good race, but trying to be realistic in that my fitness may not be there yet.

When the whistle blew, I took it easy for the first 10 seconds. I was probably in 12th spot, but felt stronger and no one was coming around. A quick glance to the the others and they seemed to be working pretty hard (and I wasn't). Knowing that the course was full of tight sidetrack and passing would be hard, I decided to punch it on the last bit of the opening climb and hit the singletrack in about 10th position. It was hot and dusty, but the front group was moving well. The front runners were pulling a way when the guy if front of me washed out his front wheel and fell. I almost ran him over, but a quick trackstand gave him time to get out of the way. I was able to get close to the front group as the tougher section of the course came at us.

I caught up to a Bikes to You rider and he seemed to ride an OK pace, but after 5min I thought that I could go faster. However, was determined to keep me behind him. Since I didn't know the trail, he had the advantage from the front. When I tried to pass him, he would get a jump on the sprint and close down the passing lane. After a few minutes of this, Ryan Neipart had joined us. I let him buy hoping he could get around. At the time I didn't know who it was, but when the FORC jersey passed, I knew he would know the trails and be a good wheel to follow. Ryan tried hard, but couldn't get around either. However, the pace was taking it's toll on the leader of us three and he pulled to the side of the trail and stopped just after the start/finish. I hate to say it, but it was a boost of confidence to push someone to crack.

Ryan kept ahead of me by 100+ feet and I slowly reeled him in over the course of lap two. We also passed two other riders and I reeled Ryan in towards the end of lap 2. At this point, Nate and I had stashed a cooler in the woods. I grabbed my second bottle and used a tip from Nate and stuffed a handful of ice cubes in my jersey pocket. The race was using timing chips and as you crossed the start/finish line, the system beeped loudly. I heard his beep and started counting. Ryan had 15 seconds on me.

I decided to give it all on lap 3 and knew that I had to catch him in the first 1/3 of the course as that is where the most passing opportunities would be. I did catch him in the right spot and he let me by without any issues. I asked if he had seen anyone in front of him and the answer was no. I still pushed as hard as possible in hopes of seeing someone. Towards the end, I could hear someone, but couldn't find them. I did push it too hard around a corner and took a short side trip into the woods and over three smaller trees. As I stepped down, my calf cramped. It hurt, but it also told me that I was pushing my body in a good way.

In the end, I crossed the line in 2:07.48. Nate C. had finished just in front of me with a 2:07.10. I had finished 6th overall and 1st in the 40+ (2nd in 35+). I was really, really pumped at the end of this race. My heart rate average was 168 for the 2 hours and held consistent on each lap. It should be closer to 174, so I know that I have more in me. This was probably my best race ever at the cat 1 level, I raced smart, had to use strategy and rode hard. As a result I was actually racing and passing with others and not riding by myself. I will find out if this was a fluke on my next race this coming weekend.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Old school racing photos

I was rummaging around in our photo box and found a bunch of old biking photos. I thought that others might like to see these. I hope to add a new set every couple of days, but it all depends on other work.

This is the start of the beginner race at Farragut State Park, just north of Couer D'Alene, ID. I think this is fall of 1994. This was my first season racing and needed to win this race to win the WIM (WA, ID, MT) point series.
I'm on the orange and yellow GT Karakorum with the red t-shirt and white helmet. Notice the guy in front of me with the Tioga disc rear wheel (or more likely the plastic inserts that made it look like a disc).
Coming through at the end of lap 1, I was in 2nd place and had 1st within my sights. That is a Schwinn Paramount helmet. I did have SPDs (1st generation).

Coming through for the win! 2nd was behind me and I was dying. If it would have been a couple hundred yards longer, he would have passed me.
This was my 95 or 96 race bike. It was the 1st year of the GT RTS. I think this pic was after the 1st or 2nd race of the season and the mud was leftover after the car ride home. No V-brakes yet and I think this might have been 1st generation XTR

This guy is Steve Cook. He raced expert out of Missoula and was always in the top three. Notice that he was a lower leg amputee. Very fast rider and amazing technical skills. I lost track of Steve after he moved to Salt Lake City. Two years ago I read an article about him retiring from competing for the US Adaptive Ski Team. I believe he was the most decorated adaptive athlete for the US. It doesn't surprise me.
This last fall, at one of the cyclocross races, on of the promoters didn't believe that my racing license was below #2000. Everyone else's had five digits. Apparently, the old NORBA license system carried over from 1994.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not sure what to title this one.

First, read this , then this. For more info on this event, go here.

I'd love to do this route as a tour, but this makes it much harder to think about attempting.

Ride safe out there. On the other hand, take risks and live your dreams as that is what makes life worth living.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend in pictures

Lots of rain in Iowa the past 4-5 days. We went for a family ride after Sunday dinner and tried to loop around the new trail near 142nd and Douglas. I knew the creek would be high, but didn't think that we would have this much trouble passing buy. Keep in mind that this has receded since this morning. I hope that the trail isn't under-cut and damaged.
I spent 4+ hours helping out the shop on Saturday night at the Hy-vee Triathlon. We were setup within the bike check-in and helped folks out with brake and gear adjustments as well as pumping up tires. I probably pumped up close to 100 and I'm sure that the other 5 guys had just as much. This first pic is from a viewing stand, looking south to the lake with the swim. I think there was a little over 1500 bikes.
This 2nd pic is also of the bike staging area, but from ground level. Lot of bike, lots of $$$.

This last pic is actually from earlier in the week. I was in Rassy's and saw a guy picking his bike up. It is exactly the same bike that Holly bought as her first MTB in college. I think that the originally price was $279. I took her onto the trails around Missoula on this and she was a trooper. Looking back, I realize that she probably hated it, but did it so we could be together. I guess you could say that I owe Specialized for the last 24 years or so. I almost offered to purchase the bike from the guy on the spot.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Long Way Home

I'm taking the long way home tonight. Des Moines to Cumming (IA) back to Des Moines. Then meeting some guys from the shop for a drink before I finish the ride home. High humidity, so I'll sweat all this out. Total miles for todays commute will be near 50.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ida Grove race report

Ida Grove was one of my favorite courses of the series last year and I knew it would be fun again this year. It doesn't reward any one skill, but an all around rider can excel here. It has one or two longer climbs, a few power climbs, some technical swoopy singletrack and some high speed sections. Add in a few log jumps and roll overs and you have a real fun lap.

JD and I drove up early enough to get a recon lap in. I wasn't going to waste the energy, but in the end, it was probably a good idea as it helped me memorize a few sections that would help in the race. The bike rode nicely in the pre-ride, the parts were working fine and the gearing was spot on.

Six of us toed the line for the Cat1 mens race. Jed Gammel, Nate Cline, Jason Alread and myself from the Rassy team, Jesse Bergman (the race promoter) and a new face. After the sprint off the line, we headed into the singletrack. I took the last spot with this normally fast crew and just hoped to hang on. As luck would have it, my chain jumped off at the start of the singletrack. I quickly dismounted and put it back on and then began my sprint to catch-up to Alread. I was able to latch back on and on the first long climb, continued the push to get in front of him. Jason was a little tentative as he had not pre-ridden the course and he let me go. I was having hopes to getting a small gap on him, but by the end of the 1st lap he was back on my rear wheel.

I let him take the lead on lap 2. The 2nd place singlespeeder caught us before the long climb and he put the pressure on. Alread kept up with him and they got a 15 second gap on me. I had to recover a little on this lap, but was able to keep them in my sights. They slowly increased the gap to 30-40 seconds. At the end of lap 3, I started to push hard again and began to catch back up. The singlespeeder was done with 3 laps and Alread has stopped for another bottle so I was able to get within 10 seconds. I tried to make the last effort to bridge, but he kept the pace up. I never did close it down. By lap 5, I was probably close to 30 seconds and kept it about that pace until the final climb or two.

By the end, Alread beat me by a minute. I think that Jesse had him by a minute as well. New guy won it. Nate got 2nd, Jed came back for 3rd after cutting a tire and having to stop and replace or patch the sidewall.

Overall, I was very happy with my progress. I gauge myself from race to race against the names that I know and by how far they beat me in the previous race. I know that Alread wasn't at the top of his game (I could see him trying to stretch out his back), but he beat me by 6min two weeks ago. It was fun to finally have a race in which I was closer to someone and wasn't racing by myself. It added an entire element of strategy that was fun to play with. Nate had beat me by 9min at Banner and I think it was a similar time for this race. He said that he had one of his best races, and he is riding very strong. I hope to somehow close that gap a little over the coming months.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Refurbished Stumpy

I just finished putting the final touches on the Stumpy. New tires, Roval wheelset, X0 cassette (11-34), X9 gripshift and e13 34-tooth crankset. Pulled off old shifters and front derailler. Weight dropped from 26.25 lbs to 23.5 lbs. Still have a possible .5lb available to drop in the seatpost, stem and bars. Need to tune and test before the race on Sunday. Not ideal to make all of these changes prior to a race, but they needed to be made sometime.

Thanks to Rasmussen Bike Shop for the race help this year. Great gang, great shop!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day ride

Happy Memorial Day to all of the veterans out there, both living and passed.

This pic of the family is from out Subway sandwich lunch at Greenwood park. We followed lunch with a paved trail ride around Grays lake, Principal park and back through Waterworks park. 10.25 miles on knobby mtb tires. The girls held up pretty good.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summerset Shootout Report

The Iowa MTB race series has 11 races and I've already missed three. I'll be missing another while we are on vacation in Montana, so that means that I need to hit the remaining seven to have any chance at retaining my Masters title. I'll need all the points that I can get. So, even though I haven't trained for racing yet, I knew that I needed to race at Summerset this past Sunday. All I was looking for was points, a good workout would be a bonus. I had hopes of having a good race, but wasn't planning on much.

Nine of us lined up and if I was trained, it would be hard to get 5th at best with this group. No problem, I lined up at the back and figured I'd give it my best. I felt tired from all of the trail work that I did to prep this course, but I also had semi-fresh riding legs. What would happen?

As the race started, I followed the group into the single-track and had no problem holding onto the back. The speed started lifting and knowing that it was over 85 degrees, I thought I should let them go. I could still see 8th place towards the end of the lap, so I figured that I would be giving up 1 minute on the first lap. We had seven laps to ride, so maybe some of these guys would blow up.

Lap 2 had my stomach churning a little bit, so I had to back off a little. Laps 3 and 4 were a little better. Each time that I came through the finish line, my split times were within 60 seconds of each other and my heart rate was steady between 162-165avg. I was actually riding pretty good, I just didn't have any high end power (normal race pace would have the heart rate averaging closer to 175 a lap).
During these first 5 laps, I had a few of the fast Cat2 riders and singlespeeders come around me and I would use them to pace me for awhile. At the end of lap 5, I could see another Rassy's rider in front of me and figured it was 8th place. I picked up the pace to try and chase him down and 1/3 of the way through the lap, I caught him. I was surprised to see that it was Rick. I tailed him for a bit and discovered that he had blown-up. Probably went too hard and with the heat, it had beat him down. He was toughing it out for points and after a few minutes, he let me by. I pushed it hard to see if anyone else was catch-able. In the end, I couldn't find the next guy, I had let them get too far out in front.

In the end, I placed 7th, as one person had a mechanical. I think this was 4th place in the 35+ category, so it should be worth some good points. Looking back, I'm happy with how the race went. My lap times and heart rates were consistent. I think that I ended up closer in time to a few guys that I marked (compared to last year). I need to work on the upper end heart rates and get some endurance rides in. On the positive, I think that the fact that I'm 4lbs lower than last years, end of season, race weight helped. I also rode the new wheelset and tires and they definitely spun faster. I'm glad that it appears that I haven't lost too much fitness, with proper training, it might be as if I hadn't missed a beat.

Stole the photos from Nick, thanks!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Best lunch ever

Loving the flavors, but it hurts like hell when I open my mouth.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The home stretch

Down to the home stretch of my latest injury ordeal. Holly's terms, not mine (but I understand). The pic above shows the hardware that I've been sporting for the last 40 days. I am now down to 34 hours. I'll be sitting in the dentist chair getting them unwired on Friday, then headed to breakfast. I hope that I don't gain the entire 13lbs that I've lost in one sitting. By the way, the scar from the cut is on the left side of this pic (my right), almost invisible. Great job by Dr. Cherny.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The family at the zoo. Tim, Hiliary. Zoe, Holly, Hannah, Madison.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Trail Report

Walnut Creek as of 5pm on Thursday night. It was expected to rise from this point.
Don't forget about the Cita workday tomorrow at Summerset/Banner State Park @9am.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kitchen Upgrade

We have never been totally satisfied with the original kitchen in the house, but being stubbornly frugal, I've never wanted to upgrade. On the other hand, I've upgraded a few bikes in the past six years, so the chance of adding another new bike before the kitchen was slim.

The original look. White appliances, white Corian counter tops.
The new granite counter tops, with the white appliances. Had hoped this would work, but still not the finished look. We did sell the appliances and counter top on Craigslist.
The finished product. The new appliances completed the look that we were going for.