Monthly Archives: October 2010

Got there….

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I like driving. I really like to drive. I like to drive fast on the open road. There is nothing like having a full tank of fuel, good music or podcast to listen to and a good cup of coffee. The drive from Topeka to Denver is pretty scenic. I think that Kansas gets a total bum rap because it doesn’t get really boring heading West until you are in Eastern Colorado. Originally, before Kansas became a state, the territory of Kansas stretched all the way to the front range. I’m glad we gave that back to Colorado. It is ugly. I hate Limon. At least along I-70. Mainly because it is the only civilization within a hour either way and they jack you for gas. And it’s ugly in my opinion. A surprise that I hadn’t heard anything about was that there was a meteor shower going on, so there were lots of opportunities to make wishes.

It was kind of strange because once we got a few hours away from Topeka, the radio station selection was great. There was a super NPR station that broadcast with 50000 watts for hours. Plus, there was a lot of different choices of classic rock or alternative music. But, once we crossed the Eastern Colorado border it was only religious stations and country western. Kind of ass backwards.

We’re staying in Arvada tonight and getting fence materials in the morning and heading up to Silverthorne. It has been snowing up there for the past couple days. Nothing like racing a MTB race in the mid 80’s and then a couple days later going up to the high country with a current temperature of 7 degrees. Here is a live web cam shot from Frisco. It is supposed to be in the 40’s by Thursday, so I hope all the snow is gone for a couple days by then.

Alright, it’s nearly 1:30 am Kansas time. Not that late for me, but I have a lot to do tomorrow. I’d better get some more aggressive tread on my MTB bike before I venture out to ride.

Western Kansas sunset on the way out to Denver.

Colorado Bound

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I’m packing up and heading to Silverthorne Colorado this morning. Fence building expedition. 400 + feet. I’m a bit worried about digging the post holes. I think it is going to be a mini excavator job.

While I’m freezing my butt off at high altitude, I’m going to figure out what I’m doing the rest of the fall. Collecting UCI points isn’t going to enter into the mix. There are over 100 guys in the US with UCI Cyclo-X points. USAC and the UCI have to come up with a different way to score cyclo-x if they are going to keep lining the riders up by the points they randomly give out.

Sunday after Berryman, I drove up to St. Louis to do a little cyclo-x critique. The local ‘cross scene there is pretty healthy. There are lots of reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is Mike Weiss, owner of Big Shark Bicycle Company. Every city could use a guy like him. He promotes the sport for more reasons than just business. His business allows him to indulge in his passion, which is the sport of cycling. Anyway, the Bubba Cross Series is his doing. The course kind of sucked in cyclocross terms. But that didn’t matter. The participates were super into it. The woman’s field had over 30 starters. That is amazing. Most of the women I asked give the credit to Carrie Cash, Team Revolution. She puts on numerous women’s specific cycling clinics and has gotten a lot more women involved in the sport. Pretty big effort for someone that races full time herself.

I’m going to stop through Steamboat and visit Kent Eriksen. Dennis Kruse left me a message yesterday that they are grooming above Steamboat for skate skiing. I was thinking about throwing my skiis into the van, but then thought better of it. It’s still October, bike racing season.

Talking to Mike Weiss at the Bubba Cross.

The woman's start at the Bubba Cross.

Some of the C race. I love the snakey look of a cyclocross.

I saw this guy riding down the street, heading to the food bank for some free food.

Sunset coming in from the ride last night.

It turns out that Lilly is really a Larry. But, I think he is still going to be called Lilly. He is not catlike.

I was grabbing tools last night and realized I have way too many tape measures. But, it seems impossible to find one when you need one. I'm only taking 4 with me to Colorado.

Berryman – It was Epic in a different way

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Saturday morning was the Berryman Epic MTB race, an hour south of St. Louis, in the Mark Twain National Forest. It is somewhere around 60 miles long, give or take a few miles. It is mainly on single track and horse/hiking trails. There is about 15 miles of gravel road riding mixed in. One long race, no loops. The trails are rocky. Really rocky. It is a mass start race, with a 250 rider field.

I knew I was riding just okay. But, that is better than badly. Last year it rained 9 inches in the two days before. This year was exactly the opposite. No rain forever. The course was super dry and loose. So loose that descending was much trickier than with water running down the trail. And climbing was only a seated motion. It was nearly impossible to stand without spinning your rear wheel. And the temperature were in the lower 80’s. Not good for me at this time of year.

The race starts on a road and goes up a mile long loose gravel climb. At the top of the climb, there were only 4 of us left. Bill Stolte and I from Topeka, plus Jon Schottler, who won last year and Scott Henry, from Austin ,Texas. I felt pretty good at the top of the climb. I planned to enter the first single track in the lead, but Scott Henry sprinted like crazy and dove into it ahead of me. Afterward, I found out there was a $50 prime for the first guy into the single track. I couldn’t figure out why he just pulled over and let me by right after we turned.

Anyway, there are 4 check points on the course where you have to pick up colored zip ties. The first one is around 11 miles. I led most of the way to this checkpoint. Bill fell somewhere and when we got to the checkpoint, he was nowhere to be seen, which surprised me. The next checkpoint is 15 miles up the trail. I kept screwing up in this section. My left pedal’s tension was way too loose and every time I hit a big lip, my left foot would come unclipped and I’d have to dab. Scott was doing little interval sessions up the climbs. Afterwards he told me it was because he was riding only a single 36 tooth ring in front and a 36 in the back, so with 29’r wheels, he was a bit over geared.

The three of us went into the 2nd checkpoint together. Trudi was there and I got a couple bottles. Descending down to the road, I was leading and flatted on nothing. I mean there was barely a rock to be seen. And that was the end of the story. It just got worse from there. Once you have to put a tube in riding here, it is nearly impossible to keep air in it. It took me forever to get the valve stem out. It was a super long stop. Bill and Kip Biese, from Colorado Springs, caught me. I talked to Bill a bit and thought he would ride with me, but when I passed Kip, Bill didn’t tag along. I wasn’t going that good on this section. I had lost motivation pretty much. When I got back to the last feed zone/checkpoint with 19 miles to go I had decided that if I was less than 5 minutes back I would put in a big effort. Trudi said exactly 5. But, she told me after the race it was 6 minutes. Anyway, I started riding pretty hard. The next 15 miles are the rockiest parts. I made it about 5 miles, going pretty good, before I flatted again. I had grabbed another tube and air from Trudi, so I still had two. I changed this tube pretty quickly. I keep riding pretty hard, but I saw Ryan, the promoter out on the trail and he told me I was 7 minutes back. I rode a couple more miles and flatted in a creek crossing. The last 6 miles are on gravel. I couldn’t see anyone behind me, so I just cruised in.

It turned out that Jon and Scott never split up and actually sprinted to the line. It was kind of a screwed up finish, 20 meters after a loose corner. Scott led before the corner, but Jon ended up coming by him at the line. Crazy finish for such a long race.

The course record was smashed. Nearly 25 minutes faster than last year. And, in my opinion, the race was much harder than last year. At least my back is telling me that. My actual riding time was 20 seconds slower than the winning time this year. That was good, I guess. But, still disappointing. I definitely need to keep more up to date on the tires that are available for rock stuff like this. I had a slit right in the very top of my tread.

Bill cruised in a few minutes behind me for 4th, which was the best he was going to do. Catherine Walberg won the women’s event for the 2nd year straight. She had been trailing the leading woman for the first 2/3 or the race, but starting riding fast at the end. 2nd ended up flatting 3 times in the last section, so Catherine beat her by nearly 17 minutes, I think. This course is so rocky, that even half-pint Catherine burped her tire and had to reinflate it.

Scott and Ryan do an incredible job putting this event on. It is an unbelievable prize list. I had nearly a grand in my pocket for 3rd. And forget about the $$$, the life experience is off the charts. We stayed around and drank beer for a few hours afterwards. It was great listening to everyone’s story of their day.

Catherine had to drive to San Antonio, Texas, and I was going up to St. Louis, to give some pointers to a woman racer at a cyclocross in St. Louis on Sunday, so we had to get going.

I’m going out to Colorado tomorrow to build a 400 ft. cedar fence up in Silverthorne. My only worry is digging the post holes. There is a ton of river rock up there. 50 plus post holes could be a problem. We’ll see.

Catherine, Bill and I getting ready.

Bill and I both got a pretty good start.

Jon coming around the outside in the final corner to win.

Hanging after the finish with Jon, Scott Henry, Scott Davis, promoter/Berryman Trail master and Bromont.

The race starts and finishes at The Bass River Resort. Floating in the rivers is the main activity here.

Doug Long, Lyle Reidy and myself for age group awards. I've know these guys forever. They are part of the backbone of midwest MTB racing. Both are rider/promoters, and great ambassors of the sport.

Berryman Epic T – 12 hours

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We drove the 5 hours to Southeastern Missouri to the Berryman Epic. We got to ride the first 11 miles of the course. I had forgotten just how rocky and technical this race is. Unbelievable. I only flatted twice in the hour we rode. I have the heaviest tires I own on my bicycle now. I’ve never raced a MTB bike this heavy since I won the NORBA Nationals in 1983. I can’t do anything else. I have a cup of latex in each tire. If I flat now, the Gods are argry at me. Or it is a full moon. But, that usually sends luck my way. Okay. I need to eat and get some sleep tonight. Less than 6 hours the last two nights. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Titanium and carbon fiber, but it still weighs 10 lbs more than my road bike.

I'm prepared this year for flatting.

The trail is solid leaves right now. It is only a 70% change of rain, so it can only get slicker.

Catherine crossing one of the handmade bridges. Last year these creeks were waist deep. Maybe again tomorrow.

Bromont loves it here. Tomorrow he gets to spend the whole day in the woods.

Worn out Stuff

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I was so worried about my wheels yesterday, I completely missed the rest of the bike. I haven’t ridden this bicycle since the BTEPIC last October. And probably not once the year before that. Anyway, I couldn’t believe that I could own or ride a bicycle that was this worn out. Everything was toast. The chainrings, idler wheels, disc brake pads. Everything except the chain and cassette. I never have a worn out chain and rarely have bad cogs. Anyway, I need to keep up more on the mechanics, obviously. This year I’ve raced six different bikes. Road, TT, 2 cross bikes and 2 MTB bikes. I guess when you have so many different bikes you’re riding at any given time, it can sort of fall through the cracks. But, this was a fissure. Check out the picture below.

I was planning on driving to Berryman today, but now am not going to leave until early tomorrow morning. It is supposed to rain and have thunderstorms all day Saturday. A 60 mile MTB on sharp rock horse trails in the rain. I’m definitely not trained for that.

I guess I ground all the teeth off last year at Berryman.

Lower pulley.

I couldn’t help but posting this photo. I rode over to the car wash at midnight last night to spray off my MTB bike. I coated the chain with diesel and then power sprayed it. Afterwards, I went across the street to Walgreens. This was the cart of the lady behind me in the checkout line. I had often wondered who bought all that junky/trashy stuff they sell at Walgreens. And here was a cart completely full of it. Plastic everything. Even bamboo. There were tons of people shopping there buying lots. At 12:30am. Makes me want to buy the stock.