Monday, August 28, 2006

Wars Cup

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Saturday morning was one of those foggy,dreary,damp days.Me and Sam set out for an early 1 1/2 hr ride exploring the nearby towns and State Forest.Devils Lake State Forest is very nice.The geology is kinda like the north shore with giant boulder fields.They even had a roughly paved walking path through the boulder fields which was fun to ride.
11:00 rolled around quick and everyone gathered at the top of the Devils Head to start the TT.Only 5 Pro/Semi-Pros showed up and maybe a little over a dozen experts.Conditions were wet and slick with the ground having that spongy feel to it.Riders went out at 2 min intervals.I went out 2 guys ahead of Sam so I was his 6 min man.I went out a little conservative at first to get a feel of the corners since this was my first wet race of the year.I hit the hills as hard as I could and was breathing like I was running for my life.Mike H. had hooked me up with a rear tire that Jeff uses for muddy races that hooks up like nothing else."Its almost like cheating" he says.Half way through, I caught my 2 and 4 min men.I was riding nicely with only a few wobbles untill I hit the grassy sweeping decent near the end when my front tire washed out at high speed.Luckily it was grassy and free of rocks.Just like a slip&slide.Bad thing was I pulled a Brendan Moore and my brake lever dented my top tube in.In the end I thought I did well and Sam felt slow,But on the contrary he ended up winning and I only posted 5th or 6th.Jeff Hall beat out the pro field a min over Brian Matter.Tristan had a flat near the end,but still managed 3rd.
About 4 hrs latter we lined up for the short track event.The weather was clearing out and the sun was baking the moisture from the ground.We had to race for 17 min+2 laps.Only a few laps into the race Niel Swanson took to the front with Sam on his wheel and they had a gap right away.with about 5 min in Niel dropprd his chain and Sam was alone with a sizeable gap on the splintering field.I was in the hurt locker trying to minimize my losses and pick off some of the guys who were totally blown.Jan Rybar and a Wisconsinite pounded hard to close the finishing gap to 17 sec. behind Sams winning time.He was close to lapping me as I was at the top of the climb when he finished at the bottom.
Jeff cleaned house once again taking the pro field.Tristan lead out for a while. Then Jeff took the lead and turned the screws tighter on Brian and Tristan hot on his wheel.Tristan was the first to pop near the end, then Brian couldn't hold his wheel any longer as Jeff through his final punch on the last climbs.
Sunday everyone decided to show up with a nice sized field and some fresh big hitters.With a 10 min climb right off the bat I decided to work my way into this one.The first lap I was suffering big time up the still spongy single track waiting for my body to switch into race mode.At the end of the first lap I was maybe 1-2 min behind Sam as I saw him climbing the hill with Ian and a string of other riders.The 2nd lap was better and my breathing was getting under control.That main climb still is one of the hardest climbs especially when the ground is power sapping wet.Midway through I cought up to a struggling Cole House and told him to take my wheel.At the beggining of the 4rth and final time up the Devils Head, Cole stood up and never let off the gas.He must have reserved it all for that moment because he was gone.I picked off a few guys at the end but the real excitement happened at the finish.I had caught an elite rider at the last technical section.As we came to the end of that section he went right through the mud pit(I have another story about this pit and Sam) and I gunned it to the left.I now had the lead with about 75 yards to the finish.As we were comming towards the line 2 comp riders were in front of us.I yelled "2 experts passing".I think I even yelled we were sprinting.A course official even yelled at them "riders up".But as I was in a full downhill sprint and the adrenaline flowing, I tried going around the last comp rider and the next thing I know I'm seeing the sky with a couple of bikes flying through the air.We stacked it big time.I quick get up, grab my bike, and run to the finish.I was lucky to just come away with some scrapes and sore muscles.I guess that guy broke his helmet,deraileur hanger,and hurt his ankle.Every time I play it through my head I just can't picture whose fault it was.It just happens so fast.When I came running across the line I saw Sam leaning on his bike with filthy jersey and scared up face,which takes me back to that mud pit.He came down that hill and when he hit the mud pit his rear wheel kicked up and flew him superman style into the mud pit.Spectacular crashes all around this time.We weren't the only ones who fell victim though.While I was running my ragged self to the finish line they had one guy on a streacher,Jan Rybar did an endo and his bike landed on his back,and Kim Eppen dislocated her thomb.Its just a part of racing and the risks everyone takes.One thought I had was maybe having finishing lanes to split the elite riders from the comp at least on the downhill and flat, fast finishes.I don't think alot of these riders know how fast elite cyclist can close in on them,and In mtbing the course is usually pretty tight leaving little space to be taken.
All in all the Wors Cup title is still safe in MN hands (Expert&Pro)Sam and Jeff taking the overall title.I took 5th overall and finally got a podium spot.One more long weekend and the season winds down for me,time to let the body and mind get that deep recovery.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Powder Monkey

It definately turned into a full house this weekend with all the pros back from the national races.Jeff,Swanson bros,TJ Woodruff,Justin,Paul,and some.3 full laps meant for a longer than usuall race too.Both me and Sam weren't too motivated at the start and we fell to the back of a hard charging pack.With the tight singletrack there weren't many places to pass either.I did slowly pick my way through some riders and I found my groove in the singletrack.There were some sections that I thought I could clear but I ended up brewing a muligan stew out of it and lost some time.I didn't care too much because I was having a blast in the singletrack and the 29er was in its element.because each lap was so long I saw few people on the course on lap 2&3 which I like.I had to keep myself from getting too complacent at times.On the last lap I passed a UofM rider and he kept me on my toes.I put on a sizeable gap through the downhill and ran scared up the puker keeping over a minuite on him.I did feel a bit better climbing this race and I stayed pretty steady throughout.I ended up 12 overall on the day 5 min behind Sam who took 9th.Our waterbottle holders worked real well.I put one together for Sam now we both have our own stand which is very nice.If you haven't seen yet, Sam put his own $.02 in and made some rollers for the bottle to ride on as you grab it.Works pretty slick.Once in a while a bottle wants to bounce off though.Still working on that one.If anyone is interested in buying one let me know,I have the supply to make some more.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Side projects

I worked on a few little ideas I had today and got them done...

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Like being able to carry more bikes.You can never have too much bike space.I am maxed out at 8 bikes now.

 This is my bottle dryer.It will eliminate that bacteria puddle on the bottom of the bottle.I don't know how many times I filled my bottles when there has been a little mold growing inside.

 This is just a cute pic of kitty watching me work on the trailer.He's always curious when your doing something outside.

After O2S last weekend Sam did the Welch race the day after and took 2nd place.He just proved that he can hammer the flats and climb like a goat all in the same weekend.And after 2 easy days he hasn't felt better.I think he's in his 2nd peak of the year and Wors Cup is next week.Lets see if it will last.I think it will.Good chance he'll take Chris's spot from last year.I'm just shooting for a podium spot.My legs on the other hand have been taking a while to clear all the gunk out of them every day after work.At first they're sore and lactic builds up quick but after at least an hr it gets better.Thursday Me and Chris hit Afton,I was struggling to keep his wheel and he put a big gap on me up Shaddy lane the first lap.But on the manhandler I beat him, and again he put a gap on me up shaddy at the bottom but I was closing it towards the top.I don't think I had 1 day this year where climbing seemed easy,you know one of those days where you can just dance up the hills with little perceived effort.
Work has been better than usuall.I've been working at Basils restaurant in the Marquette Hotel.Very fancy.I've been putting on the base trim which is 6" Black walnut baseboard.Its custom made stuff and I love the smell when its cut,very nutty.I gotta get a pic sometime this week.We have to be done by the end of next week.I hope we won't have to put in overtime,I think we are good its just the other trades that are behind.$2,500 a day if we are overdue.
Spirit Mt tomarrow and everyone is going to be there.The nationals are over with so the Kato Killers will be there along with Jeff and Doug.Dan might come too.I bet they have plenty of stories to tell.

Sunday, August 13, 2006



North shore style Posted by Picasa

nice day in Duluth 

Friday Morning we headed up to Duluth to ride the Spirit Mt course before racing it next week.The handling skills are a bit rusty since I haven't ridden any technical singletrack in a while.We had a good 1.5hr ride there and the trails were dry.Lots of fun on those trails.After that it was the long 5+hr long haul to Ishpeming where we stayed at the Triangle Motel.After checking in we headed into Marquette to feed on carbohydrates and pick up our # plates.After eating we decided to ride the last 6 miles or so to get a feel for the finish.This year the sand was insane.Everything was super dry and dusty.The sand there is the real fine stuff like dunes kind of hard to power through after 40+ miles of racing through it.Anyway we hooked up with Jay Richards and he left his vehicle there and carpooled back to the hotel.
The hardest part of a race for me is the last 5 min before the start and the first 1/2 hr when the legs are screaming, trying to stay in contact with the rest of the field.The pavement rollout wasn't bad.I just stayed near the front and in the draft and enjoyed watching the big dogs up front play their game of "who's going to lead",swerving back and forth across the road.But once we hit dirt... game on.Within the first mile I just missed a crash next to me as some guys went OTB in a tire rut.One guy hit the ground and his bike went airborne,when it came back down another guy ran it over.I was hoping Sam wasn't in it because he was behind me somewhere,then a few seconds latter he comes roaring past me.I was in the hurt locker big time as the big dudes mashed the massive gears.Its especially hard when your fighting big sand pits then have to surge right away at the end of it to keep up.I was telling Sam that's what separates the pros from the rest of us.When they can say "Yeh,I was going crosseyed hanging on to his wheel...then I made a huge effort and attacked putting a gap on whoever" I don't know how they can put in such a long and intense effort when they are already going 100%. I was trying so hard to catch Sams group because they were so close at times.Me nor anyone else in my group could muster enough power to close it up.About 1/2 way through the race is where Sams group broke away for good.My group was at the bottom of the big hike a bike section when Sams was just about to the top.His group put in a big surge and we never saw them again.The group I was with never really stuck together either untill this point either because of the diversity of the terrain everyone was all over the place.Once we got to the faster roads and trails, things started to get more organized.The only guy I knew in the group was Charlie Farrow.He's one tough old guy let me tell you.He was a hammer machine at times and helped alot.I really enjoyed the stair stepper climb on the pavement.Me,Charlie,and another dude were setting pace and it kind of opened up the legs a bit.After that I had my peak in the race and set a wicked pace for the rocky downhill.I think our group dwindled down a bit at the end through the sandy logging road,we were down to 4-6 guys.I once again was in the hurt locker .At 8 miles to go I was on the verge of turning it down a notch or two.Mind over matter I guess as I pushed through and bridged back up to everyone.On the final flat and only 1 mile to go Charlie and another dude broke away leaving me with someone else.My hamstrings were cramping up and I knew I didn't have much for a sprint.I should have waited untill the last second to go around.I tried to attack too early and he stuck on my wheel and beat me to the finish.The good thing is I improved my place over last year and took 22nd.Sam was 2-3 min ahead and took 15th.Not bad for a little climber.The drama for the day was seeing the Eppens and Jay Richards on the side of the trail with flats and Doug didn't look too happy near the end.Don't know if he cracked or what.
If I had that little bit extra at the end like last year, I coulda taken up around 17th or so,but hey it was alot harder than last year with all the dust and sand traps everywhere.Its wierd that you can put yourself through all that pain and suffering and then in the end say "That was fun,I can't wait to do it again".

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Last year was the most exciting finish I've had.Hopefully this year won't disappoint. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The entire family Posted by Picasa

Sam the lucky...or ah,unsolucky one 

You can always tell the ones that have a little Captain in them 

While others were doing 12hr races and 5hr mtb rides in the northern woods I was busy practicing my carb loading at pre-wedding parties with the relatives.Thursday and friday we had so much food its like Thanksgiving x2.Saturday was the wedding.I parked myself in front of a fan with the tux on untill it was go time.The church didn't have air conditioning and I was roasting.All went well though and it went off with no incidents.This was my first time being a groomsman.I've been an usher 4 times previous.Its alot easier being a groomsman for sure. Sam had to walk my cousin down the isle who just turned 16 and 4 inches taller than him with her heels on, kind of funny lookin.Yeh,and I was forced to dance for the first time in my life too.The wedding party had to dance with the newly about uncomfortable.I had no clue what to do.Of course you have to dance with the one you took down the isle and to make things worse her husband was the photogragher.Sam looks over at me and say's "At least I know who I'm dancing with".I danced like Napolean Dinamite when he went to prom.The rest of the night I just laughed at people who thought they could dance.

This weekend starts the stretch to the end of the season.Ore-To-Shore starts off the final 5 or 6 races.I still have a lingering cold a little bit but in its final stages.I went on a group ride yesterday and was 4rth up Nason hill and took 2nd in the final sprint.I covered alot of breaks and was feeling better at the end.I can still motor for a long time but lack that punch.All I want to do is improve over last year.Gots to go-E.O.