Thursday, July 28, 2005

Winter Park Race Series #4- Point to Point

Winter Park 011
Originally uploaded by noonans.

Dennis Grelk of Team 14 Productions and I headed out west for some racing/riding this past weekend. We left Des Moines at 7am Friday morning to make the 9hr trek to Golden, Co where we would set up the first nights camp at a much lower elevation than Winter Park. The drive across Nebraska was so freaking hot that Dennis' car started to run warm, due to our comfort zone of AC usage inside. Around North Fork,NE we had to shut the AC off and roll the windows down for the rest of the trip, 4hrs of what felt like 115 degree weather........YUK!!

We woke up early Sat. morning for the hour drive up too Winter Park for the 10am race. Upon arrival we set up camp first, then road the short distance down into town for registration. To my surprise it was $42 bones for "day of" registration, I almost shat' myself and I didn't even get a t-shirt:( After registration we still had an hour to kill so we started the ride up too the ski area (via pave trail) where the race would begin. "Hawgfest" was also going down this weekend on the mountain so there where "Harleys, Broads, and Tattoo's" everywhere. Whoo-hoo I thought..........might get too see some itty-bitty titties:) Once we get to the ski area we have to find the starting area, after asking a few mates we get pointed in the right direction. Great...... the start is right in the middle of a fire road climb that only a roadie could give a grade percentage on, so much for a warm up.

They line the 40 of us up............. GO!! The climbing fire road start is almost a complete mile long. I went into the single-track somewhere in the top 20. Now we're on some fast downhill roller's, mixed with flat's, speaking of flats I passed a few riders with'm. 8 miles in we're going down this long and super fast rocky fire road, I'm planning to pass a couple of guys, looking ahead I see my line and go for it. One of the guy's speeds up so I'm looking to pass the other..... we're side by side dukeing it out for the best line through the corner, I'm on the outside and he's rocking the inside, we're rolling somewhere is the high 20's for speed. Then all hell brakes loose............. he's drifted into my line.......... with all our speed we bump............I try to hold on to it but it's in the gutter I go head over heels! Man down, man down!!! I must have had some good karma built up cause I only lost skin on my right knee and suffered some scrapes. After a minute or so of picking up my screws,checking my body and bike, putting my chain back on and getting passed by 10 or 15 riders I was back on the saddle.

At this point I reminded myself that this race was only for fun and my only goal was not to finish last. Not knowing who, or what class all those other mates that flew by where in, I now tried to find that comfort zone and hold on too it. For the next 10 miles I would say over and over to myself "I should have brought the F/S" not that the Salsa wasn't performing well, it was just beating the shit out of me. I passed a few more people with flat's and about 10 other racers passed me before the finish. At the finish line Grelk informed me that he whooped my ass by a minute, well not in those exact words. All in all it was a good race, my avg. hr. was 162, and my max. 176. Fairly low compared to my effort at Boone, avg. 188, max. 199. 40 of us started in my age group and only 21 finished, I ended up in 18th not last......yeeehaw!!



Mountain Goat trail sign

Mountain Goat trail sign
Originally uploaded by noonans.
No race photo's but here are a few of the next day's ride on an easy trail named "Mountain Goat".

mountain goat teeder todder

mountain goat teeder todder
Originally uploaded by noonans.

mountain goat log ride

mountain goat log ride
Originally uploaded by noonans.

mountain goat elevated bridge

mountain goat elevated bridge
Originally uploaded by noonans.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

We Are Not Hardcore

If you’ve ever thought that you’re a hardcore cyclist… you’re probably wrong. Do RAGBRAI? Not hardcore. Race? Not hardcore. Race really well? Not hardcore. Own a fixed gear? Not hardcore. Titantium carbon with ultra light yadda yadda. Not hardcore.

You? Me? Anyone we know? Probably not hardcore.

Not until we do what the guys in this video are doing. Full blown race efforts in the most dangerous place in the world to ride a bike. It may take a few to download but well worth it.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Iowa Games Mountain Bike Race 2005

2005 Iowa Games - " A Road Race in the Dirt"
By Pete Basso

The 2005 Iowa Games mountain bike event was held this weekend in Ames, IA. Anni, Ava, Steve and Diane all came out for the race. It was great to have them on the sidelines yelling at me as I passed them during the laps. Having people there helps motivate you to push harder when you think your pushing as hard as you can. This year's turnout was the largest I've ever seen at this event. With 70+ riders in our category, it was a dawg fight of a race. This course is more like a road race in the dirt, due to it's lack of technical sections. It is flat with very short climbs and lots of open areas for passing which lends itself to favor the "Roadies". A couple of the sections of trail were covered in deep sand which made the riding a little more technical but overall it was more of a hammerfest than a mountain bike race.

The start of the race was on a gravel road that ran about a 1/4 mile before you finally dropped into the woods. I knew I had to be in the top three into the woods to stand a chance against some of the stronger talent at the race. I led the first lap with a little help from Tracy Thompson. Tracy is a strong road racer who puts the hammer down on the flat, fast stuff. Tracy and I traded pulls; he would sit on my wheel into the woods and I'd draft him on the road. We employed this tactic throughout the most of the race until the last lap. The second lap started strong until we hit the road, Paul Veneable, who is a Cat 3 Roadie and strong mtn biker, came out of nowhere to break away from our pack of five guys leading the race. Tracy and I could bridge the gap and let Paul go. Paul stayed out of our sight the rest of the race and eventually won, (great job Paul).

The last lap started rough for me and continued to get worse. I washed out in the sand on an uphill rutted turn, almost taking out Tracey, (sorry man!), and had to play catch up to our group for 1/2 the lap. I caught the group and was now riding behind a rider I've never met. He was a strong rider but had zero technical skills. There were two spots on the course that had a short, steep uphill climbs with a root or some sort of erosion on the climb. As I followed him up the climb he stopped mid climb both times...uuuuggghh, very frustrating. To dismount your bike and run a hill while your legs have been spinning non-stop for an hour causes you to lose momentum and creates cramps in your legs. Now I had to play catch up again to Tracey, who was now leading our group of four riders. I caught Tracey and stayed on his wheel but was feeling the effects. The last part of the course was a slight uphill incline with a fast straight-away to the finish line. My legs were heavy and heat was tremendous, (just about 100 degrees today). Tracey made a move and pulled away from the group, I let him go and tried to recover enough for a strong finish. On the uphill Jed Gamble passed me along with the other the guy. (Jed is strong rider who also possesses good mtn bike skills and has an aptitude for long endurance rides, plus he is a great guy too). As they passed me I looked back to see what was going on behind me, I saw a silohoutte of another Rassmussen teammate gaining on me, I wasn't sure who this was but there was no way I was going to give up another position in this race. Even though I thought I was out of gas, I started my sprint to the finish, once my sprint was in stride I felt pretty good, but couldn't catch Jed or the other guy. I ended up in fifth position overall. The guy behind me turned out to be my good friend Jim Logan. Jim rode a great race and had a very strong last lap. Great job to Jim for riding so well and good luck in the road race on Sunday. Also, congrats to Tracey Thompson for getting second place. You rode a great race and finished strong. It was a lot of fun riding with you.

What started out as a casual race, (it was a non-IMBCS series race), turned into a hard fought finish with a lot of excitment. I'll take fifth place today, the competition was solid and this course doesn't exploit my skill set. Congrats to Patrick Alvord, (race coordinator), for getting over 100 people to this race. This had to be the biggest turnout in IA Games history.

Thanks to Ann, Ava, Steve and Diane for coming out to support me in the 100 degree heat and dust. I loved having you guys there and appreciated your support.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Boone's Bane

IMBCS #3 – Boone’s Bane by Cam Kirkpatrick

Heavy rain forced the postponement of IMBCS #3 until July 10th. So instead of racing on the original date on peanut butter, we raced on July 10th on baby powder. The trails were very dry and dusty in some spots. However as is always the case at Seven Oaks, the trails were sweet.

Seven Oaks is my favorite venue on the IMBCS schedule. Troy and his crew always serve up a healthy dose of incredible singletrack that contains just about everything one could ask for. Seven Oaks is probably the most technical venue on the schedule. The terrain is hilly and contains several challenging sections with trees and sudden drop-offs lurking around almost every corner.

This time around, the course had to be modified because of a motocross event that was destroying the front side of the ski hill. I hope that none of the mountain biking trails on the front side of the hill were damaged. Part of the reroute contained a sick drop that sent riders plunging downward about 20-30 feet over a horizontal distance of about 10 feet, I’m not exaggerating either. Simply put, it rocked! I’d heard that there were several ‘over the handlebar’ victims on this section, thankfully I wasn’t one of them.

The start list was a little larger than usual and my main competition was a cat from Iowa City, Thomas Sulentic, Squirrel, WWJ, Nooner, Chia and Greg Shimonek (from Omaha). The shotgun went off and we were away. My strategy was to be the first person to the drop because I figured the drop would take some by surprise, others might have difficulty and crash. I didn’t want to get caught up behind any that. I managed to make it to the drop in first with Greg and Squirrel on my wheel. I went into the drop a little too hot and almost overcooked it at the bottom. I made it to the bottom going somewhat sideways and managed to keep the bike upright without dabbing. At the bottom of the hill I punched it on the flat to see what kind of legs the competition might have. I was able to open a small gap, but I wasn’t sure who was directly behind me. I kept the throttle wide open the entire first lap.

I came through the start/finish for the first time with about a 25 second lead on Squirrel. Nooner was about 35 seconds behind Squirrel. Squirrel is the maestro when it comes to technical stuff. If he had a set of lungs to go with his bike handling, he’d be stuffing everybody in Iowa into the hurt bag. I knew that I was going to have to back off on my pace a little. I probably didn’t make the right tire choice because I was doing two wheel drifts around all of the fast corners. Thankfully, everybody else had backed off as well.

I settled into a good 23 minute per lap pace on the second lap and could see Squirrel on some of the switchback sections. I could tell that he was on a mission to put the hurt on a few people, I think he succeeded in the end. I could also tell that I was slowly increasing my gap on him and the other pursuers so I decided to try and maintain about 23-24 minutes per lap for the duration.
At the end of the second lap I had about 50 seconds on Squirrel, Nooner was about another 15 seconds back. Things were going well, I had enough in reserve that if I had to, I could pick the pace up. I was able to motor up the climbs without too much effort and I was riding well technically despite my frequent two wheel drifts around some of the corners.

By the end of the third lap I had increased my gap on Squirrel to about 3 minutes. Sulentic passed Nooner and was about 3:15 behind me. I knew that I had a really good gap by now because I couldn’t see Squirrel, or anybody else on any of the switchback sections. I felt kind of bad for Mr. Squirrel, he was on fire today and his fitness level, it seemed, had finally caught up to him. I truly hope that someday he can get his fitness level up to a point where he and I can bang bar ends all the way to the finish line. That would be a fun race.

At the end of lap 4 I more or less knew that it was my race to win or lose. I slowed the pace a little more, enough to where my front tire was no longer sliding around the corners. I didn’t want to take anymore risks. An altercation with a tree or some other bonehead move could easily wipe out a 4 minute lead. Sulentic had passed Squirrel for second and was about 4 ½ minutes back and Squirrel was about 6 minutes behind me.

I ended up winning the race, Sulentic came in second 6 minutes back. Squirrel came in third, close to 9 minutes back. As I was doing my cool down in the campground area, I saw some other people putting on their cycling clothes. As I drew nearer, I noticed that it was none other than Brian and Kim Eppen. Apparently they had e-mailed my work address on Saturday, asking about the start time for the race. One of the many perks about my job is that I don’t have to work on weekends, doh! Brian and Kim are both pro caliber racers, Brian is a regular top five finisher in the WORS series and has taken down a lot of pros. Kim usually wins all of the women’s races in the WORS series and has put her share of pros into the hurt bag. I really wish they would have gotten there early enough to race. I would like to see how I would have done against Brian on a course that I consider to be my ‘back yard’. Squirrel, I know that you claim Seven Oaks as your back yard also, however, until you take me down, it’s my back yard and you are my guest! Peace Bro.

I also want to put a good word in for my bro’s Squirrel and Pete. Pete won his second sport race in a row. This cat weighs in at over 200 lbs. and for him to win on a hilly course like Boone is truly remarkable. For Squirrel, I think this was kind of a break through race for him. I am extremely happy for both of them! I also want to thank Grand Master Lou, Andi and t-Pod for coming up and yelling at me and everybody else. One of the coolest aspects of cycling is the people that I’ve met and the friendships that I’ve made.

Next up is my annual training camp in Durango, I also plan to hook up with Nooner in Aspen for a few days.

I’m out,

Monday, July 11, 2005

Kicking some butt!

The Rasmussen team dominated this weekend's IMBCS race by taking top spots in 4 classes.

IMBCS#3 – Seven Oaks Ski Area near Boone, IA July 10, 2005

Expert Men – 5 Laps
Name Team Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3 Lap 4 Finish
1 Cam Kirkpatrick Rasmussen Bike Shop 20:56/44:06/1:07:45/1:31:31/1:55:32
3 Brian Pottorff Rasmussen Bike Shop 21:20/44:58/1:10:45/1:37:32/2:04:19
8 Jason Alread Rasmussen Bike Shop 23:14/49:10/1:15:30/1:43:35/2:11:21
10 Chad Vandelune Rasmussen Bike Shop 22:10/48:01/1:16:17/1:46:52/2:18:03

Sport Men – 3 Laps
1 Pete Basso Rasmussen Bike Shop 22:15/47:42/1:13:16
8 Jim Logan Rasmussen Bike Shop 25:52/53:57/1:22:39
11 Jason Plunkett Rasmussen Bike Shop 25:53/54:40/1:24:51
12 Brian Benson Rasmussen Bike Shop 22:26/56:17/1:26:39
18 Sterling Heise Rasmussen Bike Shop 28:30/1:01:58/1:34:27

Single Speed – 3 Laps
1 Donny Quixote Rasmussen Bike / Michelin Man 26:53/1:01:44/1:42:08

Sport Women – 3 Laps
1 Teri Pottorff Rasmussen Bike Shop 28:56/1:02:30/1:37:27

Beginner Men – 2 Laps
Name Lap 1/Finish
3 Brad Kramer Rasmussen Bike Shop 30:56/1:06:17

Friday, July 08, 2005

Sockum Ridge

IMBCS #5 – Sockum Ridge by Cam Kirkpatrick

I’d heard that the last race held at Sockum Ridge Park was sometime around 97 or 98. So I was curious to see what kind of venue we had in store for the next IMBCS race. I decided to spend some of the holiday weekend at my folks in Bettendorf, so on the way, I stopped by Sockum Ridge on Friday to get a preview of the course.

I get to the park and there is only one other car in the parking area. There was some dude in the car by himself and the windows were kind of steamed up. So I made the assumption that he wasn’t actually using the trails, but rather looking for a little seclusion to do whatever it was that he was doing. I had no idea what he was doing, and I didn’t want to find out. He left shortly after I got there so I figured I was safe.

I decided to bypass the lower parking area and headed up the road that led to the top of the hill. I was told by Andy that we would be climbing this hill during the race, and that we would actually head up that road at the start. I parked the car and suited up for the ride. It looked like a really cool park, so I was eager to get on my bike and do some exploring. I was not disappointed either, I found a crap load of great trails that went up and down the hills, through small water (cow piss?) crossings, across bridges and there was no shortage of killer singletrack.

There was also no shortage of thorn bushes and poison ivy either. After about an hour of riding my arms and legs resembled the back side of a medieval criminal that had just received 50 lashings for stealing a goat. I rode off the beaten path a couple of times by accident, and consequently was the lucky recipient of a flat tire. I rode back to my car and there was an old beat up pick-up truck parked nearby with a couple of dudes sitting inside. Thoughts of ‘Deliverance’ came to mind as the occupants of the pick-up had that back woods, rural Iowa look about them. I started to fix my tire when they walked up to me. One guy was carrying a stick that had a sharpened tip on it and the other had only one eye. We exchanged pleasantries and the dude with the stick proceeded to tell me about a mountain lion that had been running around the area. He said that he liked to carry the stick around for protection….

Fast forward to race day. The usual suspects were in attendance, though Jeremy V and Maharry were no shows. Squirrel and Terri brought the newest addition to their family, this little brown dog that at first glance, looked a little log lying in the grass. I rode by and almost bunny hopped it before I realized that it was a dog.

The race started on the uphill as promised and I punched it right out of the gate. I wanted to be the first to the singletrack because it was very tight and somewhat sketchy in some areas. I got to the top of the hill and could tell that I had a small gap so I continued the hard effort to try and establish a good gap. I kept the pressure on for the whole of the first lap and was able to create a big enough gap that I couldn’t see anybody behind me. Nooner, WWJ and Chia Chad were all about one minute behind me at the start of the second lap.

I let off the gas a little on the second lap and settled into a good rhythm. As I was going through a really tight, technical section my handle bar clipped a tree and knocked me on my arse. I got back up as quickly as possible, remounted my stead and sped off. At the end of the second lap, Nooner and WWJ were still about one minute back. Chia Chad had fallen of a little by then.

At the start of the third lap I turned the screws a little tighter, hoping to put WWJ and Nooner into the hurt bag. At the close of the third lap I had about two minutes on WWJ and Nooner. About halfway through the third lap I began to notice that the woods seemed a little darker. Then I heard the rumble of thunder in the distance. My first thought was to drop the hammer and get through as much of the race as possible before the rain hit. It started to sprinkle and that eventually turned into rain by the start of lap four. The course actually became a lot more fun in the wet and I had no problems navigating the tricky, wet areas.

By the end of the fourth lap my lead had grown to about four minutes. On the fifth lap the rain finally began to penetrate the leafy tree cover and saturate the trail in some areas. My IRC Serac tires hooked up pretty well in the wet conditions, even though they are recommended for dry conditions. I ended up winning the race, with Nooner coming in second by about seven minutes. WWJ came in about 15 seconds later in third.

I had pretty good legs today and felt especially good on the climbs. I also felt like I rode really well on the technical sections. I’ve been doing some intervals on the dirt over at the Science Center a lot this year and it seems to be paying off with my bike handling.

Andy Lueck did a great job with this race and I hope that this event happens again next year.

I also want to throw in a big atta-boy to my bro Pete Basso. One year ago he was peeing and pooping in a bed pan after having gone through back surgery. How cool is it that he won the sport race a year later!? Great job Petey!

Next up is the rescheduled IMBCS #3 race at Boone.

See you there,


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Afton de la Angliru

The course at Afton Ski Area is arguably one of the toughest courses in the Midwest. It reminds me of stage 15 of the 2002 Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain), the stage that contained the mammoth Alto de la Angliru, an 8.5 mile epic climb that kicks up to over 23% at one point. This was also the same stage that Britain’s most famous doper David Millar stopped a half a meter short of the finish line, removed his number from his back, and laid it on the ground in protest calling the race conditions that day “inhuman”. What a puss…

With a lot of spotty training the past few weeks, I wasn’t sure what to expect today. I wanted to do a big regional race this season to see where I might stack up against some of the pros and semi-pros.

I arrived at the venue about one hour before the start. I usually like to get to races at least two hours before the start so that I don’t have to run around like a chicken with its head chopped off trying to get ready. I got registered, suited up in my sweet new Rassy’s team kit and began my warm-up. During the warm-up I ran into the Venable’s, Paul and Jeremy. WWJ also made the trek from Sewer City. As I was tooling around I noticed that there were several pros and semi-pros. Racing against guys like that can be a very humbling experience when I’m used to finishing at the front of most of our local races.


I did this race three years ago and finished around 20th, so at the very least, my goal was to top my best finish. The race started, and as is typical with a race of this caliber, everybody took off like a bat out of hell. I found myself sitting in about 30th place (out of 50+\-) riders going into the singletrack. I hate starts like that, I’m old and it takes a little while to get the engine into full song.

During the first lap (of four laps) I felt like a bull in a china shop. I was braking way too much due to a lack of familiarity with the course. I didn’t get a chance to pre-ride the course and I was paying for it. The second lap went a little better and I started passing a few riders. Near the end of the second lap, Todd McFadden passed me on a singlespeed.


Todd and I have a lot of history. I spent my first four years of racing up in Wisconsin doing the entire WORS series. Todd and I had a lot of epic battles in the 35+ age group. He usually got the best of me, but I had a lot of fun racing against him.

I pretty much had the course dialed in by the third lap and really started picking the pace up. By the end of the third lap I was sitting somewhere near 18th place and I was able to keep Todd in sight. During the fourth lap I began to loose sight of Todd, but I was still picking off riders and ended up finishing in 13th place overall and 3rd in the 35+ group. I felt OK about the result. I didn’t feel great, but I also didn’t feel crappy. My legs definitely did not have the snap that I would have expected at this time of the year.

Afton is an ass kicker of a course. WWJ said that his computer registered about 3500 feet of climbing, ouch! I thought that I had improved in climbing, but I didn’t feel that strong on the climbs today. The cat that won the race, Jesse Rients, did the first Psycowpath race this year. At the Psycowpath race, I finished about 30 seconds behind him. At this race I finished about 13 minutes behind him. What the ‘F’? It just goes to show what a difference course knowledge makes. He is from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, as is most of the other riders that were in the field, and has ridden the Afton course a lot. So when I think of my result with that in mind, I feel a little better about it.


Next up is IMBCS #5 at Sockum Ridge Park.

See you there,