Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Record

Got a new record of vertical feet climbed in one day. Here are the stats.
5 hrs 45 min
100 miles
6,600 vertical feet.
17.2 ave speed
2 tired legs

Sam, Dave Meyers, and I went exploring some of the bluff region of Wisconsin this weekend. Parked in Bay City, across from Red Wing. From there we went up and down the bluff roads. Got close to Pepin but never went into town. The major roads we took (major road traffic usually means seeing about 6 cars per hr) were Co D, N, SS, J,JJ,CC. All the roads are super interesting in the area, they meander all over instead of making straight lines like the roads around here. Most of the roads I mapped out the day before by looking at both a satilite and map view turned out to be dirt. Cross bikes would be even better in the area. I chose the twistiest roads that went up a revine but they were skinny gravel roads. Other than the towns on 35 along the river, we didn't come across one. The little gift shop pictured was the only "store" we saw. The only beverages were in an old fridge in the back. Our favorite climbing was going up the little side roads that branched off Co Rd A and 385th, which are small valley roads. Most of the climbs in the area are 300-500 vertical feet and any where between 2-5 miles long. By far the best road riding I've experienced in the midwest for climbing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Eriks Spring Cup

leading out for the first time

Sunday was the first MNSCS race of the year. This is prabably the Fantana of MN since its in a park on the edge of South St Paul (my hometown) and Inver Grove Heights, and the "singletrack" is like a cow trail going across the field. There is a little forested singletrack but about 5 min worth. Sat I was feeling pretty good and I knew there was a chance I was going to have a good day. When Sunday rolled around the high temp dropped from 80 degrees on sat to about 55 degrees at race start. I stayed warm though and was just fine during the race with some knee warmers. I took a front row seat this year on the start and it payed off. All through the prolouge Hollywood and Justin Rienhart set the pace and it was manageable for me. No way! What in the world was I doing going into the singletrack second. For the first time in the history of cycling I was laying my own tire treads before the great MN starting gods of Velo Rochester, and Bear Naked Cannondale. Unbelievable! Justin set pace in front of me and we started railing the berms. Halfway through the first lap, the race established its lead group. Justin, Me, Tom Miller, Chris Fisher, Brendan Moore, Paul Hanson, Sam, and Ben Moore. Thats the way it was the whole race. We had a different leader every lap. Lap1-Justin, lap2-me, lap3-Tom, lap4-Paul, and lap5-Chris. Lap 4 and 5 I was holding on for dear life. Chris Hammered the last lap but everyone seemed to stay together. On the last section of singletrack which was a small hill my legs started to sieze up. By the time I hit the pavement where the last 1/4 mile surge needed to be I had nothing left and everyone left me. I came in 8th.Paul, Chris and Brendan had a photo finish with Paul taking the win. And wouldn't you know it they payed 7 deep. I don't know how many times I missed it by one spot. But the confidence gained was great. I actually finished with the lead group and led a lap. It was a success for me. It was cool on the last lap everyone was in pairs-Velo Rochester,Bear Naked, Hollywood/Silver Cycling. We averaged 19mph for the course and were railing everthing. I like it when a big train of riders are going super fast through the woods and its own wind is created. The leaves and brush on the side of the trail rise up and move all over- its sweet. Afterwards I had brats and burgers at Chris's house. Thanks for the post ride meal Chris and Jen it really hit the spot. Off to school for me this summer math class is going to be brutal. Advil Anyone
The lead train of riders

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Youthful Endeavors

Have to give props to my dad, he made his cycling accomplishment of the year. Monday he returned from his trip up to the Canadian boarder via his 90lb loaded down Trek commuter bike. I forgot to get a pick of it but trust me it was full. He made it to Two Harbors in 2 days which he wasn't expecting. Slow and steady was his approach, and it gave him around 80 miles a day. He ran into the smoke from the forest fires up in Grand Marais. He said he could only see 2 blocks in the smoke. Fortunately the wind switched the next day and he was able to continue all the way up to the boarder. On the way back he broke a spoke. Luckily it was in Duluth and he was near a bike shop. While they were fixing it 2 more broke. They are WTB rims with beefy DT spokes and Bontranger hub.He was saying, back in the day (late 70's early 80's)when he took a trip with his brother, he never broke any spokes. My guess is the spokes on his new bike are tensioned higher and so there is less flexing and more stress. Plus, I doubt he had that much weight on his bike back then.The last day was brutal as he battled 30 mph headwinds and hot weather on Monday from Moose Lake to home. Oh well, he made it nonetheless. Chalk another one up for the old guys Charlie.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cloud Nine

A little peek at my first real full suspension. Got the frame in yesterday and put it together last night. I took it to Battle Creek today with Eric Thompson and Sam. It's so plush. I still need to dial a couple more things in before This weekend. I hope I can make it go as fast as it looks.

Maplelag UCI Spring Opener

Jay put on yet another great weekend of racing. Both days were superb for all the classes. Pros, semi-pros, and experts were separate for this race since it was a UCI sanctioned race. Pros raced on Sat. so it was fun to be a spectator for that one. Sunday the semi-pros, and experts were separate by 2 min off the start- About 9 semi-pros and about 17 experts. Sam wasn't excepted for a semi-pro upgrade last year so he was with me in the expert field. That meant a more relaxed start for us. Off the start I sat in 2nd with Sam right behind me. I sat there until we hit the longer sections of single track and Sam took the lead with me in second. Sam really put the hammer down through the punchy single track and I was trying to hang on for dear life. Sam slowly pulled away from me but I passed him back when he burped his tire and had to put some more co2 in.That first lap felt really slow and I wasn't feeling strong. Going into the 2nd lap I started to catch some of the semi-pro field which gave me some encouragement. Chris Peresio, and Justin Rienhart were the first casualties. Sam eventually came back up to me and then he quickly left again. In the 3rd and last lap I also caught Tom Miller and Scott Kylander-Johnson. It was lonely out there with no one around but Paul following me around with he helmet cam once in awhile. I rolled in 2nd place 2.5 min behind Sam. Not bad for not feeling my strongest. Sam's lap times were the same as the 2nd and 3rd place semi-pros and that's including 2 crashes and a stop to inflate. Not to mention the time he sat on my tail until I let him past. My lap times would have been good enough for 5th place. It was nice to finally be back on the podium with some cash to take home. Thanks to Sarah Kylander-Johnson, for the hand ups, and Jake Richards my sport class teammate eventually getting one to me(I felt bad for him on that one). Jake took 3rd overall in his first sport class race, not bad for a 13 year old.Thanks to the Richards family and all their help for putting on an exciting weekend.

Paul Hanson will be posting some video too.

Photos by

Yes, the hills are that steep

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sand Baggers

Yeah, it felt a bit like sand bagging yesterday. Sam, Tom Miller, and I were the only experts in the enduro race (4.5 laps) in Elk River yesterday morning.We wanted the extra milage though and also wanted to beat the rain which was going to redevelope in the afternoon(which turned out to be a good decision). The race started at 9:00 so we were up bright and early. I hardly had a warm up, maybe 20min or so. I took the start in typical Hollywood fashion and put the pedal to the metal down the dirt road. Halfway down I looked back and I had a gap on the whole field. I knew I had to be at the front going into the singletrack so not to get behind a slow rider. It was nice getting the hole shot, which is a first for me. The first lap hurt and felt slow which is expected untill I warm up. On the second lap Sam and I droped Miller and the H'wood train was in full effect. Thats how it was the entire race; Sam and I just took turns at the front. I could tell my top-end isn't there yet, the short punchy stuff was taking its toll on the last lap. Sam and I did paper rocks, scissors to see who was going to take the win. Just kidding, he let me take it since he did so well last year.Lap times averaged out to be 35min; total time-2:38. Don't worry, even though we won, I think they purposely gave us top 3 winners(Sam, Tom, and I) a water bottle and a couple tubes, then had us pick a number and they gave the gift certificates to whoever finished in that place. personally,I think they should have given it to 4th, 5th, and 6th. We didn't care, it was just a pre-race for the season. I'll tell you what though, we were all feeling real smart when 20 min into the expert race, it started to pour rain.Doing the enduro race most likely saved us a great deal of $ in replacing the drivetrain. Brendan didn't look too happy when he came through all muddy. So as The experts were sloshing through the mud, us top three finishers took a nice dry victory lunch at Chipotle :)
Rumor has it I'll be getting a new ride this week, stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tune up

Saturday Sam and I went up to Elk River to ride the course that we'll be racing this sat. on arrival Sam realized he forgot his shoes. I told him right before we left not to forget them too. The local Ramsey Bike shop made a few dollars on some forgetfull people that day because another guy had to go to there for the same reason.He was 4 hrs from home. Sam has some Nike shoes for sale now, size 41. We did 4 laps at Elk River and Sam took off on the last lap easily dropping me. I wish I had a full suspension that place is pretty rough with all the roots. Sam's technical abilities are on par now. He really likes the Fuel, it rides alot better than the Salsa through the twisties. I wasn't feeling the greatest I took the previous day off and I feel better the day after a good ride. After Elk River we went up to St Cloud for yet another 2.5 laps. We stuck to the race course that we knew and didn't stray off anywhere else, but I know there are other trails around.Some day Kyia needs to give us a tour. The days total was 4.5 hrs. 50 miles of pure twisty singletrack.
Saturday night it hit me again. I came down with one of those nasty 12-24 hr bugs. The only energy I could muster was to go to church and visit my grandma in rehab (she got a new knee last tuesday). I came home and crashed on the couch with nausea, headache, and muscleaches. I couldn't move at all. I went riding for the first time today since and I'm stale. It takes a few days to feel completely over these things even though they just hit me for a day. I opted out of the group ride today. I need to be back to 100% for this weekend- first race of the season for us, should be exciting. The last time I raced this course I got 4th and it was my 1st expert race ever.