Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just when you think its all over

Since we missed the Red Wing race this summer, Sam and I are going to race next weekend if its nice.It will be put on by the UofM team and sounds like the same course as the MNSCS. Just thouhgt I would do some more advertising click here for info

Information Overload

Not much to blog about lately and not much time to blog. School is crazy busy this semester. The only riding I get in is going to school and back. Get up at 6:00 go to school ad come back at 5:00 or so. I have a design project for engineering where my team of three needs to make a new demonstration tool for the Minnesota Brain Injury Society. It needs to show kids in an interesting way the importance of wearing a helmet. The contraption they have now is too bulky for the volunteers to carry around. We picked this project over another which was to build the most efficient wood stove that burns the smallest amount of fuel needed with the least mount of smoke. The solar oven society would then decide weather or not to put it into production over in 3rd world countries so people wouldn't have to gather so much firewood and inhale so much smoke during cooking. We picked the demonstrator because there was already alot of research done on the stoves and there were more constraints. The demonstrator was more wide open for ideas. Both projects are worthy causes. Anybody have any good ideas let me know cause we may be able to incorporate it in.

When I have a family and kids I found the perfect van. They'll never be late to the soccer game now.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sweet Escape

Now that I think about it total time wouldn't make any sense; regardless, I dodn't think you can get a title match any closer.
Prologue lap: The start was a reasonable pace with no one over extending themselves. Going into the single track it was Chris, Jeff, Paul,a Flanders guy,Brendan, Sam and I. Chris hit a tree right away up front and everyone came to a stop. He felt bad for that one. Brendan made it around the Flanders guy who was fading fast in a tight section, but Sam and I had to wait until the ski trail to pass.
Lap1: Sam and I are on the chase behind Paul who had faded behind Brendan early in the lap. Sam pulled a gap on me and caught Paul and Brendan with me about 10 seconds behind at one point. Paul made a mistake blazing some trail and I was on his tail shortly after. After a few minutes behind him It was my turn to put up a major yard sale after my front tire hit one of the many sapling stumps sticking up about 6 inches. My front wheel turned sideways and it sent me sideways down the trail and I broadsided a tree.Ouch. I quickly regained myself and was back on the chase to Paul.
Lap2: I caught Paul before the 2nd lap and got in front of him before we entered the single track. About 10 min in we had to go over a log/dirt pile with a big drop on the other side. Sure enough I went OTB, Paul was right behind me and said it was pretty sweet. I rode the front wheel for the longest time then I slowly just went forward until, poof. Midway through the lap, my hamstring started to tighten up because I strained it the day before at Lebanon. I had to ease up and thought I would be exiting the race by the end of the lap. I was running on 1 1/2 legs there for a while. I let a hard charging Tom Miller and Chris Fisher by. By the end of the lap my hamstring was feeling better, I had a good gap between Jay, and it was a very nice day on some sweet trails. It was enough reasons to keep going for as long as I could.
Lap3,4: I kept upright the whole time for these laps and was mentally in tune with the trail. Jay marked me at one point on the 3rd lap, and by the 4th lap the gap was exactly the same. I rolled in 7th position on the day and got in the payout. $50-$35 means I made about $7.50 an hr. It was a good course for the last race because it wasn't about fitness but skill and efficiency.
Yesterday I went to the post France trip party which was alot of laughs, and 5 star food. I got some more pics and will post them in the Flicker account as soon as I get time.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I tallied up the scores and from what I came up with Sam and Brendan are tied. They go "head-to-head" to determine the winner, which I'm not sure what that means. If it means total accumulated time Sam would take the win. Jay Richards, and Tom Miller would also take over Ben Moore knocking him out of the top 5. Ben would get 6th and I 7th. Thats what I came up with. I'll have to see the final in case I missed something.Full race report to come.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chequamy Guns

Firetower climb
Wow you wont see that too often
He's thinking, "Why can Eric climb it, but I can't?"

I headed up to Hayward Friday at noon after my Chemistry exam, and took a pre ride with Jesrin when he arrived home from college in Rhinlander. He is taking an unbelievable 22 credits this semester. I never thought they would allow that many. 18 is max for Century. He is going for land surveying so it might be different. It was nice because they have singletrack 30 ft from their door that connects to all the ski trails and Camba trail systems. I wanted to ride Firetower hill and the last Birki section, and Tom would meet us at the lodge and pick us up. Jesrins mom made a sweet spaghetti dinner afterwards too. Sam arrived late friday and took a night ride with Tom Gaier when it was in the mid to upper 30's.
Now the action. It was a cool warm up with the temps arround the upper 40's but the sun made it feel better. The line banner was taken down 10 min before the start so people were starting to come in through the front and move up from behind who shouldn't have resulting in the line moving in front of the banner about 20ft. I put myself in the 3rd row or so but after everyone moved up I was like 5 back. I won't say any names but a MN local who knew Sam and Jesrin moved in front of them from behind when they were standing in line. Sam and Jesrin can beat this person by well over a half hr on any course. Know your standing order people or it would be nice to see them seed in the top 20 first then 40 and so on. With the starts being as hairy as they already are it would be nice to be in front of the people you know you can beat without making any risky moves or without getting caught behind them with nowhere to move while the guys you want to be with are pulling away. Ok thats my rant. On our way up the pavement to Rosies field which is about 2 miles I was trying to make my way up on the right shoulder and putting allot of effort in. With about 1/4 mile to Rosies I hear tires rub and the whole middle of the pack goes down with the smell of burning rubber in the air and bikes smashing against the pavement at 25mph. Its a sight and sound that haunts every rider. Hollywood on my left swerves toward me and I go into the ditch to avoid crashing. I guess Sam was around me and had to do the same thing. By the time I get back up on the road and sprint back up to speed the front group is too far by now. I hit Rosies not feeling good and not where I want to be. I get to the top of the first hill after the pavement and see a Bells Brewing rider go OTB at the bottom finding out latter it was Mike Simonson. Getting on the Birki at the end of Rosies, I was breathing out of control and clawing my way past as many riders as possible. My legs felt cold and sapped, and my lungs couldn't absorb enough oxygen fast enough. I thought that was it, I was going to pop and find myself riding like a small child. I kept pushing though keeping Sam in my sights. With some nice hills to tire some people out I kept moving forward to the front of a long line. Up front it was a guy with a Trek jersey doing most of the work, me helping out when he needed it, Sam in there too, and a guy with a crooked helmet taking flyers off the front. After the first Birki section I looked back when we got on a dirt road and saw a long line of riders as far as I could see. We started to catch people dropping off the front couple of groups and Brendan joined joined our group at this point. After going through a massive roar of spectators at OO, Sam led through a 4 wheeler trail and at some point we broke free with only 7 guys in the group. I knew the pace was intense at the front of the race because we were passing alot of good guys that were getting shelled. Casualties included Doug Swanson, Ben Moore, Tom Miller,and Tristan Schouten. When we hit the Firetower climb with 13 to go I believe, The Trek guy and Brendan took off. I was about 30 sec back at the top but let Sam catch back up on the descent. A Bells Brewing guy also came back and we were a group of three. The last Birki section is the demise of many because it is interval city. It is the longest 2 miles of the race. Jesrin said he tt's it in about 9 min during training. But after 33 miles of racing under your legs it is brutal. The Bells Brewing guy came to the front for the first time in those 33 miles rolling the big 29ers. Towards the end of the Birki I think I saw Fishers group ahead of us but we never caught them. At the top of the very last hill in the Birki TJ Woodruff was fixing a flat and we picked up a Grand Stay rider. Everyone was feeling it at this point. TJ caught up to us on the road by the time we entered the last section of trail before the finish. The Bells brewing guy was holding the front, TJ, myself, the Grand Stay rider, then Sam. On the last hill the Grand Stay guy came around me and thats how it ended. I held off Sam and another guy in a sprint and came in 32nd, around 7 min back from that crazy singlespeeder that won it. 2:18.38 is a personal best for me,and I came back with no injuries. It was a successful weekend.

Sam is finally feeling the effects of racing this year and is looking forward to taking some time off the bike after next weekend. I am too:) Thanks to the Gaiers for all their hospitality and food we really enjoyed your company. Next week is the last race of the season for us as we head to St Cloud for the MNSCS season ender. I think the big battle is between Sam and Brendan for the series title as this may be the decider on who gets it. Remember its a saturday race not a sunday people. See you at the prison.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cold Fat Tires

Looking at the forecast for the Chequamegon this weekend in Hayward. With a morning start at 10:00 it is going to be a cold one. The cyclocross guys will love it. I'm loaning my dirtbike to Mike Hall for the weekend so he can feed Jeff, and Tom Gaier will be tagging along on his dirtbike as well. Tom is opening up his house to Sam and I which will work out splendid. Thanks Tom. I might arrive in time to go on a ride with Jesrin. I missed out on this race last year so I'm excited to be back. For those that don't know the Chequamegon is the largest single day mass start mountain biike race in North America. 1,500+ riders start all at once in the streets of Hayward,WI and follow parts of the Birkiebiner ski trail, 4wheeler trails, dirt roads, and logging roads to make their way to the Telemark Resort in Cable 40 miles away. The race has seen many big names over the years with top national riders coming from all over the country. Back in the day Greg Lemond even won it a couple times. Greg will be returning this year to ride it for the 25th anniversary. Who knows who else will be there. Travis Brown has been there for the last 2 years. With a prize purse of $1,500 everyone will be bringing their A game. Good luck to all racing and I'll see you up there.
Chequamegon Preview

Friday, September 07, 2007

I feel kind of bad that Dan Swanson posted before I did this week. It won't happen again. School has been taking up all my time as of late and I am trying to fit into the groove of things. I have alot of stuff to do outside of class this semester besides just study. Lab projects and engineering projects are all outside of the class. Anyway, down to business. Maplelag was a sweet weekend not only racing but also the social activities in between. Sat night was a wicked game of Mad Gab, and Sunday evening was a BBQ and bonfire. I went up sat morning and arrived right before the TT went off. I took my camera to suicide hill and took some video of everyone ripping up the hill. Sam crashed hard right after suicide by tangling up with a rider he was passing, breaking his derailleur. They let him go again though at the end. Brendan Moore won that. Short Track that evening was fun. I followed the lead group for the last 7 min with the helmet cam. Paul Hanson has the video on his computer so I can't post it here. Dan Swanson won the sprint. Sundays XC event was tough. I was with the lead group of 6 or so 3/4 into the the 1st lap then fell off the pace a bit. Going onto the 2nd lap I was catching back up and was like within 10 seconds from regrouping. When I hit the lakeside drops I was mentally losing it from trying to catch up that I was making rookie moves and lost a bunch of time. I never did catch up. For the rest of the race I was riding in no-mans-land wondering if there was a race going on. The closest person back was Tom Miller and he was 3 min away. On the last lap I started cramping bad going throught hte first section of lakeside drops. I slammed a full bottle which held off the cramping but gave me no more fluids for a full lap. At the finish I almost caught Paul Hanson who was feeling the pain of a hardtail in full suspension territory. I was content with 6th place. I payed for it after the finish when I was putting on my shoes a muscle group in my quad siezed up like you wouldn't believe almost bringing me to tears. It was the worst pain I've experienced. Sam ran and got me water and I opened about 4 capsules of electrolytes into my mouth followed by about 2 water bottles. When I moved again my left hamstring tightened up. Its wierd watching the muscles move around under the skin as they start to slowly loosen back up. These were the worst cramps I've ever experienced thus far. I don't think I've ever cramped up prior to this this year. I took down about 7 waterbottles in the first 3 hrs after the race and was going to the bathroom every half hr. Sam was railing the singletrack in a breakaway with TJ Woodruff and took 2nd. He also finished 2nd overall in the stage race for the entire weekend. Thanks to The Richards Family for putting on a wonderfull race.
Brendan the only one not to stand up on suicide and still makes it look easy. Jen was pounding nails too.