Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spirit Mt

"Dude,what did you step in"?

Don't blink or the single track ninja will disappear.

Photos courtesy of Jon Richards and

Sunday was the Powder Monkey MTB race at Spirit Mt in Duluth. It was kinda hot and muggy. With only 2 laps it is difficult to plan for water bottle feeds. We set up the water bottle stands at the top of the big climb and had our mom give us bottles on the return from the first single track section near the start/finish area. The start was tight and I lost my pedal forcing me to stop dead on the uphill. I think I was dead last after that but I found my way up to Ben and Sam who were making up spots on the left side. Going into the single track I was behind Tom Miller and Sam in front of him. Soon in, Tom let me pass on the first opening. I chased but was loosing ground in the tight techy stuff. In front of me I saw Scott-Kylander-Johnson was leading out the Moore Bros. with Sam and Jay Richards close by. When I had got to the rocky stream bed crossing near the chalet, Jesrin Gier had caught up to me and Fisher was near him. I just stayed steady and ran my own pace without getting over my head. Chris Did catch me right before we started the big climb down in the fern gully so I put in an effort to make some time. I had forgotten how long, steep, and rocky that climb was but the legs handled it nicely and kept me going without any dabs or stopping. When I was half way up the switchback climb I looked down at the start/finish area to see Nikoli and Fisher starting lap 2. After that I was in no mans land and rode by myself to finish 6th between Jay Richards and Nikoli. It was a great course and I had a fun time. The technical riding is far better than anything around here.
Yesterday was the local "Tuesday Night Worlds" ride with the ride and glide club. We started out with about 25-30 riders going down hwy 7 towards square lake all strung out at 32mph (strong tailwind). We took a right at square lake and went up the first climb of the day. At the top Sam Miers, Sam, John Thompson, another dude and myself had a lead. Unfortunately big man Martin brought back the gap with a few others. Before the downhill into Stillwater on 95 some guy going the opposite direction saw us and joined us. On the descent he comes flying to the front screaming woo whooo! woo whoooo! at the top of his lungs as he passes every one. Then he drills it on the flat. John and I just shook our heads. Of course when we went up the big hills on 11 a couple miles latter he was dropped like a bad habit. I was close to yelling woo whooo! really loud when I passed him up the hill. I led up the first hill and the false flat then back down to the base of the long hill when the attacks started up again. Sam and a guy with a Beretta jersey accelerated over the top and had a 75 meter gap on me. Behind me John Thompson and Martin were digging deep to catch on. Us 5 eventually regrouped and started to rotate nicely. 3 others caught us right when we were going to turn back on 7. We finished with all 8 and John said he would lead me out for the final sprint. When we did finally get down to the sprint everyone spread out across the road and I wasn't going to come around John until the oncoming traffic was clear. When I did finally come around John from the back of the pack I had a head of steam and lost by a wheel. If it was just 5 meters further I would have easily won it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Have You Got Your Tickets Yet?

We have ours. Its been about 10 years since we last saw him in town for his Engines of Creation tour.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Red Wing

Sunday was an unusual race at Red Wing with a lot of the top riders out of town for nationals. It was a good race to get the body reintroduced to some harder efforts without going ballistic. It was warm and I only had a short warm up before lining up. Temps were moderate with higher dew points being responsible for most of the sweating. Not a scorcher by any means compared to other years. It rained the day before and the trail was perfectly tacky with no slick spots. Off the start I just slow rolled the big ring around the grass field and when I looked back half way around I had a gap. I went into the single track first with Sam on my 6. I wasn't feeling the flow of the tight single track and it took me a lap to get my handling back on par. Sam had a small gap on me going into lap 2 but I came back to him when he went OTB on a log pile and he had to put his chain back on down in the quarry. After pulling another gap he crashed again slipping out in the grass going down around the starting field and I caught him again. The whole race the time gaps were growing behind me, 1:00... 1:45... 3:00. I stayed under a minute behind Sam and he waited after climbing out of the quarry on the last lap for me to catch him. I told him I wouldn't contend with him at the finish I guess watching the Schlek bros in the tour, he wanted to come in together. I told him to do the "Howitzer" victory salute (we practice our victory salutes with John Thompson on victory lane once in a while at the end of a ride. Watch for Eric Thompson to perform some of these maneuvers in his upcoming years) It also would have been fun to do a slow motion sprint with the "Howitzer" added in. Now that would have been an entertaining finish. It was a fun race and a fun coarse. I haven't been on the coarse in 2 years so it was nice to be back and ride it.
Next up is Powder Monkey in Duluth. I'm sure it will be the other extreme with a stacked field. Spirit is always an epic race with the longest climb in the series and the funnest technical single track. The Duluthians never disappoint when it comes to a quality race. I hear its a 2 lapper this year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

South Dakota 2008

Late post I know but this is how our vacation went:
Left Friday the 4th of July, traveled 9.5 hrs and set up camp just outside deadwood. Got in a half hr road ride to clear the car legs.
Saturday we road to down and up Spearfish Canyon and added on a little from surrounding roads to total 4.5 hrs and 80 miles.
Sunday we checked out some "mountain bike" trails just outside of Savoy near where they do the SD50 suggested from a local bike shop but more than half were horrible and could tell that bikes do not ride on it. They are hiking trails and we wondered why the shop would even advertise them as bike able. The Old Baldy trail was the only sweet single track trail we did which was around 6 miles. That and most of the Little Spearfish trail would be considered worthy. The rimrock trail I wouldn't even consider unless only the top section was ridden which they use for the SD50. Staying away from the canyon and on high ground would be the golden rule in the area. With alot of hike-a-bike and map reading it took us 3 hrs to do 20 miles.
Monday we high tailed it to Keystone and took a recovery day. Riding 1hr because storms and lots of rain fell the night before and we dried everything out.
Tuesday we started the road riding we came there for. Hill City back on 244 past Mt Rushmore, passed cars going down to Keystone at 50 mph and spotted a cop/w radar monitoring the 35mph zone ;) up Iron Mt road, down into Custer state park, up Needles Highway, back down into Hill City and back to Keystone for a very hilly 80 miles and 4.5 hrs
Wednesday we gave the mtbs another try and scored big time with the most epic and technical trails we ever rode. First we did 2 laps around Storm Mt and then jumped over to Loop 15 This is what mtbing is all about, the whole trail is rocky and technical, climbs flats and descents. I was glad to have brought the gps because it came in very useful when combining it with the maps. There was an instance when we came upon a logged out section on loop 15 that we would have went down a wrong trail had we not looked around and conquered with the gps. By looking at the tracking on the gps we knew we were taking the right trail because it looked like the shape on the map. Loop 15 was the most epic because we were out in the middle of nowhere and never saw a soul. Pure single track all the way. I can't imagine getting a mechanical or getting injured back there because its a long way out. You can't just walk in a straight line over the terrain to get back quick when there are gullies and valleys to navigate. 5 hrs and 38 miles of pure single track bliss.
Thursday we kind of did Tuesdays ride backwards with the addition of Coolidge pass. A hot 93 degree day and I went through 9 bottles of water. 4.5 hrs and 80 miles again.
Friday we hiked up to Harney Peak which took a couple hrs and is 1,000 vertical feet of climbing. We also hiked around Lake Sylvan and I put my hand into the rock where the lever to open the door to the lost city of gold supposedly exists (see pics below). No luck. I wonder how many people put there hand into that rock before Nicholas Cage did.
Saturday we drove 9.5 hrs back.
Tuesday was the ride and glide time trial. I beat my PR by 1 second. Last year I did a 32:34 and this week I did a 32:33. Very hot and humid out. I would have gone over the 25mph avg I was shooting for but I started to cramp with a couple miles to go and backed off. I came in with a 24.88 avg. Funny thing is both Sam and I were feeling much better on Monday and felt slow on Tuesday. Some times it woks vice versa too. Next time I'm trying a tri spoke front and rear. I was trying the spoked disc in the back but I like a lighter zippier wheel. This is only my 4th TT so I'm still getting the feel for the equipment. Tim Mulrooney posted the fastest time avging 27.7 mph. I witnessed him almost getting smeared by a car when he was passing me before a corner. Some of those drivers out there didn't want to give us any room

the rock that Nicolas cage put his hand in National Treasure 2

The doorway that opened into the lost city of gold

Lake sylvan

Storm Mt's rocky single track

switchbacks on Needles.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Black Hills

I remember when Jay took us on his point to point ride I think we got 6-8 bikes in the back of his suburban. I neatly got 4 bikes with the wheels in 36 inches. We needed as much room as possible since the trailer is staying home this trip. We leave tomorrow morning at 5:00. I found a bunch of mtb trails on the internet along with some info about the biking community in the Black Hills. We will be doing allot of scouting this trip looking for the best trails. I won't be posting for another week so enjoy your 4th and watching the Tour de France coverage.

Another climb that we did that will be in this years Tour is the Col de La Crouzette
We never knew this one was going to be in the Tour and I don't even think it has been in a Tour. One thing is for certain, it is one mother of a climb. The last like 3km are 18%. I think they will direct most of the motor caravan around the climb because it is so skinny. One of the narrowest climbs we did. The top half of the descent is very sketchy. Supper narrow sharp corners, and the road isn't in good shape. I remember some really tight corners going through a small village too. The bottom half is very fast

A beautiful cottage on the descent

Narrow roads all the way up and down.