Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Dirty Double, Part Two by Cam Kirkpatrick

Day One - Psycowpath #5, NORBA Nebraska State Championship, Indian Cave State Park, Nebraska

If you like to climb hills that reduce you to your granny gear than you will love Indian Cave State Park. Located near the Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska border, Indian Cave State Park is right on the Missouri River. The trail system there receives a lot of horse traffic, which consequently, makes the trails pretty rough. I brought both of my bikes thinking that I might want to bust out the full suspension because last year I remember feeling like I had the back of a 90 year old after the race.
During the pre-ride my legs felt really good. I always make this assessment with a little apprehension, because I never seem to know for sure exactly how my legs are going to respond to the violence that I subject them to in a mountain bike race. Especially a course like Indian Cave. I was also struggling with which bike to use. I rode my hardtail during the pre-ride thinking that would most likely be my choice. On the flats and descents, I was thinking full suspension. In a lot areas, the trails were pretty rough from the horse traffic. The descents were going to be very fast and contained a lot of water bars that would guarantee some air time if you wanted it. However when the terrain turned upward, I had a lot of difficulty getting myself excited about carrying five extra pounds of weight uphill. After the pre-ride I thought about where the race might be won or lost. Typically it is a lot easier to create large gaps when the hills are long and/or steep. It’s usually pretty easy to hang with somebody on the flats and descents. The hardtail became the obvious choice.
As we were lining for the start, I saw a few faces that I didn’t recognize. The usual contenders were there along with Tony Wilhelm, who made the drive from Kansas City. Tony is a cyclo-cross specialist and likes to take off like a bat out of hell at the start of races. The race started and sure enough, Tony was off the front and immediately began to create a gap. We hit a narrow section of the start loop and Greg Shimonek slotted in between Tony and myself. The gap grew larger and I knew that if I was going to try and stick with Tony, I needed to get past Greg before it was too late.
As soon as we exited to short start loop, I passed Greg and caught up to Tony. The first climb was very long and gradual. It can easily be done in the middle ring, however the very end of the climb crescendo’s into a granny gear climb that brings the lactic acid in your legs into a full boil.
I managed to hang onto to Tony until about halfway up the climb. I could feel myself starting to dip into the red zone and thought that it was way too early to be getting myself cross-eyed so I let him go. I got to the top of the climb and Tony already had a small gap on me. I looked behind me and much to my surprise, saw nobody. We had gone out so hard that we managed to drop the entire field within the first two miles! Cool. I decided to try and keep the pressure on and recover at the same time. Irrational thoughts like this are a common symptom with the onset of getting cross-eyed. Thankfully my legs were still feeling somewhat rational and wouldn’t allow me to keep the pressure on.
I settled into a comfortable pace and about halfway through the first lap I could see Darin Schlake coming up from behind. He was closing the gap up on the hills and I managed to keep him at bay on the flats and descents.
Near the end of the first lap, a spectator told me that Tony was about 40 seconds up. Darin was still hovering behind me about 20 seconds back. During one of the climbs on the second lap, I started feeling a lot better. I knocked it down a couple of cogs and started hammering up the hill. I never heard nor did I see Darin again until after the race. About halfway through the second lap, another spectator said the gap to Tony was around 30 seconds. Hearing this did nothing but fuel my fire. I started going even harder up the climbs, knowing the climbs would be my best opportunity to gain ground.
Near the end of the second lap, I could see Tony up the trail as I started up the long climb near the start of the lap. I knocked it down a cog and punched it. As I hit the granny gear part at the end of the climb I had almost completely closed the gap. Tony jumped off his bike cyclo-cross style and ran up the hill. I rode up the hill and by the time I had gotten to the top I had exerted so much energy that I felt dizzy, it was a pretty creepy feeling. As we started going downhill I managed to completely close the gap. At this point I knew the race was mine to loose. I rode Tony’s wheel until we hit the start/finish area. I passed him and he rode my wheel for a couple of miles. I kept the pressure on hoping that I could drop him sooner rather than later.
As we began the first long climb of the third (and last) lap I turned the screws a little more. I could tell without looking behind that he was struggling to hang on. At the top of the climb, I looked back and was very happy to see that I had established a pretty good gap. I buried my head and kept the pressure on. I never looked back again and just maintained my focus. I was hitting my lines on the descents and catching some sweet air off the water bars. On the climbs I focused on pushing as big of a gear as possible while still maintaining my high cadence that I seemed to have become notorious for.
I crossed the finish line in 1st with about 40 seconds to spare on Tony. Darin Schlake came across the line in third, about five minutes back as the repeat Nebraska State Champion. Two wins in a row in the Nebraska Psycowpath Series. If somebody would have told me a couple of years ago that I would win a couple of these, I would have looked at that person and asked what they had been smokin’. I’m in the drivers seat for the series overall now. If I win the last race then I win the expert open title for the series. Cool. I’m not sure how things will shake out if I don’t win and I’m not going to worry too much about it. I’ll be gunning for nothing less than my third Psycowpath win a row. The last race is October 29 at Platte River State Park. I’ve never really had a good race there, I hope to change that.

Day Two - IMBCS #8, Kendall Young Park, Webster City, IA

I woke up this morning and laid in bed for about 30 minutes, wondering how my legs were going to feel once I finally got the energy to drag my sorry carcass out of bed. I managed to struggle out of bed and much to my surprise, the legs felt OK. I went downstairs, got my stuff together and loaded the car up. I stopped by Starbucks for a cup of Joe, filled another cup with Mueslix and hit the road for Webster City.
The course at Kendall Young Park in Webster City is a mixed bag. It has a lot of everything, except the epic climb. Damn!!! I suited up and went out for my pre-ride. The course basically consists of two halves, an open park area in which the course winds throughout an open grassy area. The other half consists of some of the sweetest singletrack I’ve ever rolled my tires on in Iowa. I rode the singletrack half first and did two complete circuits of the singletrack section to get some good lines dialed in. I rode the grassy field only once to try and minimize the accumulation of sand in my drive train.
The race started in the grassy park area and my only real concern with the start being in this area was Grand Master Lou. I knew that he could fly in this area due to it’s non-technical nature and I wanted to make sure that I was the first person into the singletrack. Grand Master Lou is a roadie and can actually handle a bike pretty damn good for a roadie. However whenever he enters wooded singletrack, he can’t seem to curb his insatiable desire to spar with the trees. Grand Master Lou, the trees will always win….
Thad issued the go command and we were off. I led the way and rode through the smaller sandy sections, being careful to hit as little sand as possible. I dismounted and ran through the longer sandy section. This would prove to be a good choice as the sand, combined with the water crossing, would stake it’s claim on several drive trains. I looked back and saw that Grand Master Lou was leading the remainder of the field. This inspired me to push the pace a little harder to secure my gap going into the singletrack..
My wish was granted, I entered the singletrack first and actually had a pretty good gap. My legs were actually feeling OK and felt pretty confident that I could maintain my current pace throughout the race. I rode through the tight sections with smooth lines and chose to run over the biggest log crossing cyclo-cross style rather than try to ride over it. Having the skills to ride over big logs is cool, however I will always opt for the fastest way over obstacles rather than the coolest.
The remainder of the race was pretty uneventful and my gap steadily increased throughout the race. I did have a lot of chain suck going on and it always seemed to occur while I was going uphill. I would have to back peddle just enough to break my chain loose and simultaneously lose my climbing impetus. Thankfully the uphill sections were short. The laps were also short and I consequently had to deal with a lot of lapped traffic. As usual, the lapped riders were very accommodating when I passed and it was greatly appreciated. Iowa racers kick ass, many thanks!
I ended up winning the race by about 5 minutes and nailed down my first double win weekend ever. Cool! I was really surprised at how good my legs felt after the abuse that I subjected them to yesterday. I know that it had a lot to do with what I ate throughout the weekend. I don’t remember exactly what I did eat, but I can tell you that it didn’t include beer, pizza, hamburgers or French fries. I plan to consume a lot of those items shortly after October 29. Anybody care to join me during my one or two day binge?

A couple of random thoughts. Squirrel is the man when it comes to handling a bike. Anybody that thinks they can take him down in Denman’s is kidding themselves. The only way that anybody will ever take him down is if he crashes…. Several times. Thanks for kicking my ass in Denman’s dude, I’m a better bike handler because of it. I’m looking forward to having greasey tacos and a beer with you. Jeremy Venable still looks like Davy Crockett. Tracy Thompson asked me for my autograph at the Webster City race and I said no. So instead he had to settle for fondling my sweaty, skanky saddle. That’s gross dude. I have a question for all of the sport guys that raced at Webster. Did Q*bert beat you because of his fitness? Or was it because he got the holeshot at the start and nobody wanted to risk tainting themselves by getting to close to his highly visible butt crack? That is also very gross. Lastly, I’d like to offer a big thank you to Thad, Nick the Wooley mammoth and the rest of the Team 14 crew for putting on the race. It was first class as always. This may not make sense, but I hate the sand and water but that is also one of the things that I love about mountain biking. Great job with the course.

Next up on the dirt is the IMBCS finale, a stage race at Seven Oaks. Anybody that has ever raced a mountain bike better be there. It will be another first class event run by a bunch of first class people, contested by a bunch of first class racers. Hope to see you there. I plan to fill the gaps between now and Seven Oaks with a few cross races.

Thanks for reading,

Cosmo Napoleon

Monday, September 19, 2005

Cyclo-Cross Country Race at Kendall Young Park

By: Pete Basso

Sunday marked the second to last race of the year for our Iowa Series. It was a perfect day to race, originally there was a threat of rain but no-go on the rain, all we had was sun and mild heat in the 80's.The day started out with Lou, Donny, Andi W., Brian, Terri, John C, Andy L, Bill and Dennis all meeting at Anni and I's house. I'm sure the neighbors were wondering what was going on out there so early in the AM.

After a quick stop at Kum & Go we hit the highway towards Webster City. As we passed Hickman Rd. I saw one of the bikes on Brian and Terri's jeep fall off at 60+ mph. "Look out, a bike just fell off the rack", I yelled at Bill. Strangely nothing ever hit the ground. We were two cars back so we couldn't see everything, but Donny and Lou were right behind them. We pulled over and thankfully JC's bike was holding on by a thread from the rack. Miracuously, no damage to the car or the bike other than some very minor scratches. We readjusted the bikes and we on our way.

Arriving at Kendall Young Park we could see the ground was very dry as the cars in front of us kicked up enough dust that none of us could even see the other cars. After changing into our riding gear and throwing insults at one another we all hit the trail to see what the day's mission was going to be. The first part of the course was a "Cyclo-Cross" course that consisted of riding in grass, sand, more grass, more sand and two creek crossings. After you spun your guts out here then you had to ride over an 80 foot spill way with about 6 - 8 inches of water on it and finally the sweet stuff...nice twisty, turny, single-track. Kendall Young surprised the few of us that had not ridden there before. These trails, although short in mileage, we awesome. They offered a nice variety of everything, even some downhills and serious log obstacles to go a little crazy on.

We gathered for the start of the race and watched the experts take off first. Cam, no doubt, led the way with a host of others following close behind. We launched two minutes after they did. The initial launch started on a gravel road then up around the north shelter and back down to the grassy / sandy loop at the front of the park. We were scheduled to do 4. 5 laps today. Each lap was about 3.5 miles in length. This would be a short race in comparision to the last two cross country races we've done.

Thad shouted, "on your marks, get set" then he paused for what felt like an eternity. I false started causing a hesitation on my start then he yelled, "GO". I was off kilter at this point and didn't get a good start. I saw Donny in the corner of my eye come screaming out front. My plan was to either get in front of him or stay right behind him through the field. Donny has been training hard and losing a lot of weight. He has been getting stronger by the day and I knew he wanted to win this race.I tried to stay with Donny through the front part of the course but "Whitey" was spinning his guts out. Just before heading up to the north shelter again, Tracy and Andy passed me with Bill right behind me. Everything stayed pretty much the same going through the single track until we passed the spill way and headed into the sand. Conlan came out of nowhere to pass everyone and take second place. As rode through this deep sand I started to get "chain suck" causing me to have to back pedal about 10 times to keep the chain from breaking. The same thing was happening to Tracy. Tracy and I were now riding together with Bill, John, and Andy in front of us by about 20 seconds. Tracy and I went back into the single track with both of us screaming at our bikes. Tracy's chain suck was a little worse then mine causing him not to be able to shift into his middle ring on front. We talked about the points standings and how this would affect us if we stopped but we both decided to keep going. Tracy had to slow down because of the problems so I sped up ahead of him. Now I was riding on my own, periodically seeing Donny, Bill, JC or Andy. The smallest gap I could calculate was about 30 seconds away. As I was riding the course I saw Chris Maharry with a flat, the Jay Chesterman, then I saw Lou standing by his car, then Brian P. I kept wondering what was going on. Should be riding more cautiously? Why is everyone having so many troubles...

I was coming around on my third lap when I started feeling stronger and my cadence was much smoother until I hit the deep sand again. Taking a hard right turn, down a 4 ft. ravine, my tire dug in, spun to the right and I was on my back sliding down the trail in what felt like a flash of a second. I have no idea what happened. I jumped back up, covered in sand and dirt, got on my bike and rode another 90 ft when I fell again. "What is going on?" I yelled. Madder than hell, I jumped back on my bike and rode through the two creeks with a vengenence. I felt like I was punishing my bike for bucking me off twice. Although, my bike was punishing me for taking it through water, then through sand, back through water, back through sand. This is not what these bikes are made to tackle in a race. Sand and water are the arch enemies of these aluminum / titanium horses.

Starting my fourth and final lap I was riding better than I had all day, however, with every hard crank, my chain would suck up into my frame preventing me from really attacking the hills and flats. In a moments notice, a light bulb appeared above my balding scalp with the idea of using my water bottle to clean my chain while I'm riding. BRILLIANT!! More like...duh, why didn' t you think of that two laps ago idiot! I could see Andy up ahead what seemed to be 30 seconds ahead. I felt like I could catch him on the sprint to the finish so I really pushed it the last half a lap. I could see him up ahead and I was gaining on him, but he could see me too so he was pushing harder as well. He ended up finishing a few seconds ahead of me to take a fourth place finish and me a fifth place finish.

Overall the race was a lot of fun. I could've done without the sand and would've loved to ride the single track more, but everyone course has it's characteristics. That's just how mountain biking is. Congrats to Donny for his focus on training and losing weight, it is paying off huge. I made a remark to Donny earlier in the season that if he ever beat me in a mtb race on a single speed I quit mountain biking. Now he is making me eat my words. Although I won't give up mountain biking, (sorry Ann, I'm sure you were smiling for a second there), I do have to bow to Donny and offer my apologies for being such an idiot. Great job my friend.

Also, congrats to John Conlan and Bill Fanter for what I think was their best race of the year. My brother John threw down the gaunlet to let everyone know that he is the real deal!! John has really stepped up his fitness lately and now he is a marked man. We all knew Bill had it in him, he has finished in the top three to five all year. Yesterday, Bill finished second and JC finished third. They both rode strong and displayed great technical handling skills. I could hear JC yelling behind me as we leaped over the double log jump section, then hit the downhill. I love to hear people having fun when they ride. That got my blood pumping too!!

Congrats to Cam Kirkpatrick for taking first place in this race after he put a beating on the expert field in Nebraska on Saturday. Cam won his second Nebraska race on a course that is about 80% climbs. Indian Caves is one of the toughest courses I've ridden in the entire Midwest. Cam won that race on Sat, then turns around and puts a lashing on the expert field Sunday. I think it's time to get Cam into the Norba Series to show them how tough the Iowa boys are.

I want to say thanks to Thad & Bruce Neil, Nick Wolley and the rest of the crew for setting up the course, giving away some very sweet swag, and dialing us in with an incredible dinner after the race. That was a great touch!! Thad, you always do a great job putting on the races, we all appreciate your hard work and efforts!!

Next race is on Oct 8th & 9th at Seven Oaks. This is the final race of the year. We are scheduled to do three races on that weekend; short track, criterium, and cross country. This will be a tough weekend, but a lot of fun at the same time. After that...it's going to be a fun fall with lots of long, epic rides at slow paces and lots of coffee!! Can't wait!!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Double the Gimp - Double the FUN!

WOW! If you haven't been in to the bike shop lately be sure to swing down to see an awesome sight! Both Greg and Sterling are wearing arm slings.

Greg had surgery done on his shoulder after a freak accident while impersonating Tiger Woods and Sterling broke his collar bone on the flatest, smoothest section of Denmans. Greg's right arm is immobilized, and Sterling's left.

Separate, Greg and Sterling are only capable of very simple tasks such as opening doors and waving. But together, they are as one... capable of counting to ten and applauding.

Get well soon guys!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

IMBCS #7 – Ridin’ On Rails by Cam Kirkpatrick

It’s really unfortunate when unjustified, bad press adversely affects great events. Such was the case with the Sycamore/Targhetto Time Trial. In the weeks prior to the event, I’d heard nothing but bad things about the Sycamore Trail and I think it had somewhat of a negative impact on the number of participants. On the Thursday before the event, I went out to recon the course and much to my surprise the trail was in about the same condition as it had been in previous years. There seemed to be more trash strewn about and an abundance of burned out cars. There was also a lot of standing water in the ruts that had accumulated from the rain that we had received a couple of days prior.
I rode the course again on Friday with WWJ and it had dried up considerably, though there was still some standing water in the ruts. As we were riding along the road that parallels the river, we can across some knucklehead driving his Ford F150 along the road. The driver looked at me as I passed and said that he was going to drag a car out of the area. I would have loved to have said something like ‘I don’t care what you think you are doing you jackass, get the hell off of our trail!’. I exercised a little restraint and only said ‘Thanks for screwing up our trail’. We rode a couple of laps of what we thought was going to be the course and as we were leaving the brick yard area the same knucklehead and his knucklehead friends were dragging an upside down minivan into the area. The hood was propped open on the pickup and apparently the idiots blew the motor up trying to drag the minivan across the rutted out dirt road. When we rode by them they looked pissed, so I looked at them and laughed. As we headed back down the access road we could see spots of red paint from the roof of the van all along the road. Stupid people suck. To add to the ghetto atmosphere, Chia was riding the trail later that day and said he saw two dudes ‘pleasuring’ each other. Referring to them as dudes is probably about as appropriate as their choice of venue for their activities.
On race day I got to the course about an hour early and went out for a pre-ride. Pre-riding and knowing a course like this is huge. It’s such a short race that it becomes even more important to know the trail. I went out on my ride solo so that I could focus on picking the best lines and not have to worry about carrying on a conversation with someone. I got back to the start area and checked out the starting order. I saw that I was about halfway down the list, so after Chris gave the pre-race announcements, I went out for another lap at a pretty moderate pace. I wanted to hit a few areas at race pace and get my lines dialed in. After doing the second lap I felt a lot more confident with how things were going to go, not to mention that my legs felt great.
As I was getting ready to go, I noticed that Cully Todd had made the trip from Iowa City. Cully put me in the hurt box twice this year and I was hoping to get a chance to return the favor. As I had mentioned in a previous journal, I like it when Cully shows up because he’s a very strong rider, he’s fun to race against and he always brings a bunch of hot chicks with him.
My start time had arrived and I was off like a ball of fire. I took a wide, sweeping line out of the parking lot and onto the trail. About halfway across the levee I settled into a good pace with my HR hovering around 185. I caught up to my minute man at the initial climb just before the brickyard. This portion of the trail is lined with trash on both sides and makes for a ghetto style gateway into the brickyard.
As I was making my way through the singletrack of the brickyard, I was hitting my lines and railing the corners. As I approached the first steep climb I could see my two minute man struggling at the bottom. I yelled out ‘on your right’ and he moved to the right side of the trail. Doh!!! I never bothered trying to ride the left side of the hill during my recon laps and I guess now was my chance…. Great! I made it up the hill without any difficulty and hit the second steep climb that followed shortly thereafter. I managed to scramble up the second climb with very little trouble also.
I hit the upper field and punched it wide open. I hit the descending portion of the course, flew down the hillside and into the bermed section of the course. This is my favorite part of the Sycamore trail. If you hit the berms just right, you can fly around the corners. I felt like I was riding on rails through the berms and lost very little speed. I hit the sandy Ford LTD portion of the course and launched myself off of the Ford LTD hood jump. As I hit the power line road, I could see my three, four and five minute dudes. I caught one of them on the road and the other two in the second bermed section of the trail. I hit the parking lot again and sprinted with everything that I had towards the finish line.
I finished with a time of 16:54, which was good enough for first overall and put me 30 seconds ahead of the second place finisher Cully Todd. Sweet. My average heart rate throughout the race was around 183 with a max of 188. Up until this race, my heart rate never got much above 180 for any substantial amount of time. I can take this as a good indication that the sharp end of my fitness is finally coming around.
After the race, myself, DQ, Dennis Grelk (Frankenbike man) and Grandmaster Lou headed over to the Science Center for more mountain biking bliss. My legs still felt good so I rode at about 80-85% effort. We did one lap and called it a day. If you’ve never ridden the Science Center, do yourself a favor and do it. It has to be one of the best urban mountain biking trail systems anywhere.
Before the race, Hairy (Jeremy Venable) came up to me and showed me that he had gotten a haircut. Dude, you still look like Davy Crockett. Nice job in setting up the course and good luck at Nationals.
Later that day I went over to Maharry’s to watch him and some others drink beer. It was a lot of fun watching them make asses out of themselves. It was so entertaining that I stuck around a lot longer than I had planned and even had a beer. Some of the more comical moments were the Steve Fry stories and everybody using his car as a urinal.

Next up is another dirty double weekend. I’ll be doing the Psycowpath suffer fest at Indian Cave State Park in Nebraska on Saturday and IMBCS #8 at Kendall Young Park on Sunday. I’ll be looking for wins on both occasions. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

I’m out,

Napoleon Cosmo

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Rassy Squad Busting Fart Lockers!

Here are some interesting numbers to ponder. As of the Sycamore Time Trial (stage 7 of the IMBCS sries)... the Rasmussen Bike Shop Race Team has dominated the IMBCS. Check it!

There are 11 different categories to compete in. Expert, Sport, Masters, yadda yadda. Of the 11, 6 of them are being led by a Rassy rider. Including the top-gun Expert category which, as we all know, is being freakin demolished by Cam Kirkpatrick.

Also... in those 11 categories. 4 other Rassy riders have landed top 3 spots in the series and 8 others are holding strong in the top ten. These numbers are absolutely pimptastic.

To the entire Rassy crew... keep it up and work your fart locker at the last two IMBCS races! Yeahzer!


24 of Seven Oaks – Does a Wookie Sh*t in the Woods? - by Cam Kirkpatrick

24 hour racing. There is nothing else quite like it. Actually, in some ways it kind of reminded me of my college days when I was working towards my degree in Architecture. We would stay up all night working on our projects, only instead of drinking a lot of water and eating healthy food, we would drink a lot of beer and eat pizza.
I teamed up with my three of my bro’s from Rassy’s, Squirrel, Chia Chad and Jason, who are all experts. We had a very strong team and anything other than a win in the four man race would be a disappointment.
I caravanned up to Seven Oaks with tPod and we got there about three hours before the start. When we got to the venue, I could tell that this was going to be a good time. The grassy field at the bottom of the ski hill was a tent city. There aren’t too many things cooler than getting a whole shit pot of mountain bikers together for an all night race. I found the Team Rasmussen camp, parked the car and got set up. Team Rasmussen had the coolest set up by far. We had two power generators, a couple of canopies with a ton of lights, super cool people and a lot of great conversation.
We came up with our starting order and a basic plan for how we were going to do the race. Squirrel would be our lead out man, I would go second, Jason went third and Chia was last. During daylight hours, we planned to do one lap rotations. During the night rides we did two lap rotations to allow for extra time to get some sleep. Our plan was simple, we wanted to lead the first lap and build upon that lead throughout the race. About 30 minutes before the start I rode the beginning of the course to check out the new stuff. The trail system at Seven Oaks gets better and better every time I ride it. Troy, Kyle, Ron and everybody else do an incredible job with the trail work and race organization. I look forward to doing any kind of mountain bike race, no matter what the venue is like. But I especially look forward to all of the races at Seven Oaks.
I decided to wait at the top of the initial climb to see how things were going for Squirrel. I heard the gun go off and a few minutes later I could see the first rider, Squirrel, scurrying up the hill. I knew he would be the best man to lead out. I have yet to see another dude that can handle a mountain bike as well as he can. I figured that he would have a pretty easy time getting to the front and staying there through the tight and twisty section that started each lap.
After the last rider struggled through, I rode back down the hill to the transition area to wait for Squirrel. The first rider came down the hill and he was not wearing Rasy colors. The second and third rider came down, they were wearing Rasy colors, but neither of them was Squirrel. I asked one of them what happened and they said that Squirrel had flatted. Shit! He finally came in around eighth place, riding with a rear flat tire, he didn’t even think about walking his bike in. He’s the man!
I took the baton and headed out for my turn. I passed four people before I got to the top of the hill. I passed another two before I got to the bottom. I passed a few more later on and about midway through the first lap, I passed the marathon man himself, Jeff Kerkove. I didn’t see anybody else after him. I got to the transition area and was told that I was the first guy in from the group of second lap riders. So I managed to pass everybody and help our team regain the lead.
I was a little surprised that I was able to catch everyone because I felt like I was riding like a bull in a china shop. It was my first time on my full suspension bike in race conditions and it was a far cry from what I was used to with the feather light Mongoose. My first lap time was somewhere around 31 minutes. My fastest lap time was around 29:30 in the daylight and my fastest night time lap was around 31:30. I was surprised with my night time laps because I had never ridden in the dark before. I suppose that I can mostly attribute that to knowing the course really well with the assistance of Fig Nooners helmet light that he loaned me. I didn’t even need my handlebar lights because the helmet light was so bright. Thanks Nooner.
We managed to hold off the competition and take the win. I’m not sure what the margin of victory was, but it was large enough that we were able to take it easy on our final laps.
My laps were pretty uneventful, a crap load of fun and no crashes. I never had any trouble with lapped traffic, which is very typical of any mountain bike race in Iowa. It is very rare that I ever have trouble getting around lapped traffic in our races. Add to that the words of encouragement that I get when I do pass other riders. I owe a huge thank you to all that allow me to pass quickly and for the words of encouragement as I pass. I don’t always get a chance to say thanks and/or return the kind words, mostly because my heart is jumping out of my throat and obstructing my vocal chords. I’m kind of freaky that way.
I did have one close call however. If, prior to the 24 hours of Seven Oaks, you were not familiar with my friend/bodyguard Chewbacca, you probably are now. He was a part of DQ’s pit crew along with a couple of beautiful women that didn’t spend near enough time at the race. Chewie is not a cyclist, however I think that he gained a newfound appreciation for us greasy mountain bikers. He truly got into the ‘spirit’ of the event and was very ‘active’ throughout the night. Then again, it shouldn’t surprise me because Wookies are known to be creatures of the night. So I’m riding along the trail under the cover of darkness, when all of a sudden I smell the pungent odor of fresh animal feces. I ride a little further and there squats Chewbacca in the middle of the trail unloading a Cleveland steamer (a DQ term). I yelled at him, ‘not on the trail Chewie!’. He let out a howl that echoed across the face of the ski hill and disappeared into the woods. Apparently he was looking for DQ, who had decided to take in a short siesta on the side of the trail. Nature was calling and he answered.
And now it’s time again for a couple of side notes and observations.
Props to DQ for his valiant effort in hanging with Kerkove. I’m sure that he surprised a lot of people with how well he was hanging. The man also knows how to recruit a pit crew. At one point he was lying on the ground in his pit with one hottie feeding him grapes and another massaging his legs. He sort of looked like Attila the Hun in the midst of one of his grand feasts.
If you’re ever hanging around Chewbacca and Fig Nooner and Nooners mouth begins to get on your nerves, I have a solution for you. Simply tell Chewbacca to beat him up. Shortly thereafter Chewie will give chase and you can watch Nooner run away like a little girl. It’s funny watching Nooner run because his man boobs start flopping up and down. If he isn’t careful, someday one of his breasts will flop up, hit him in the face and give himself a black eye. I give Nooner a lot of crap, but he is a good guy and he takes it well. For all of the crap that I give him, he doubles it up on me. Good luck at school dawg.
Thanks to Grandmaster Lou and Jan for hanging out and cheering everybody on. Lou and Jan are a lot of fun to hang out with, especially when Lou tanks so much wine that his lips turn a dark shade of purple.

Next up is the Sycamore/Targhetto Time Trial. I won last year and I will be looking to defend. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

I’m out,

Napoleon Cosmo

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

IMBCS #6 – Hairy and the Dude with the Man Boobs by Cam Kirkpatrick

I came to Camp Ingawanis with two things on my mind. To redeem myself from my lackluster performance at Sugarbottom and to bag my first win at Camp Ingawanis. I’ve done all of the races at Ingawanis and had yet to pull off a win there. I knew that my chances were a little better for winning because the Eppenator was racing in Wisconsin that weekend. My hope was that everybody else that beat me at Sugarbottom would show up.
I arrived at Camp Ingawanis with about two hours to spare. I said hi to everyone, then hopped on the bike and went for a pre-ride with Petey Basso. The course was in the best condition that I have ever seen. Some of the newer sections from the previous race had worn in nicely. Throughout the ride I could tell that my legs were good and that I was going to have a good race.
As we were lining up for the start I took a look around to see what the competition would be. Nathan Moenck, who had beaten me at Sugarbottom, and Caleb Bonnett were both there and would be the two to look out for. After the playing of the National Anthem, the gun went off and we charged onto the course. Caleb took off like a scalded dog and set a very fast early pace that dropped everyone but me by the time we hit the first water crossing.
I was feeling really good despite the fast pace and my plan was to pass Caleb at the first opportunity which was a small open field, right before the first big climb. We got to the field and were greeted by several horse back riders. We screeched to a halt and the people on the horses gave us this look like ‘what the hell are you doing here?’. The rest of the field caught up to us while we were waiting for the horses to clear out, as they did not appear to be in any hurry to get out of the way. Once they cleared out we continued on in the same order as when we arrived, so my plan to pass Caleb in the field went down the crapper.
We got to the first big climb and we were all still together in the same order. The trail was wide enough to pass so I punched it and accelerated past Caleb. I had established a pretty decent gap by the top of the climb so I kept the pressure on hoping to demoralize anyone who thought they might have a chance to win. Once the gap was big enough that I couldn’t see anybody behind, I settled into a comfortable pace.
About midway through the first lap, I was flying through an open, grassy field. About midway through the field, there was a line of railroad ties that ran across the course. As I bunny hopped over them my back tire slammed into them. Apparently I was still somewhat cross eyed from my acceleration up the first climb because I mistimed my hop and jumped a little too early. I didn’t think much of it and continued on. Fast forward to the following weekend, I’m cleaning my bike and notice a huge dent in my rear rim. The dent is so large that it actually formed a crack on my braking surface. I pretty much had ridden the entire race with my wheel like that. I must have been crapping out some four leaf covers that morning because I couldn’t believe that I didn’t pinch flat.
I was able to maintain my gap for the remainder of the race and hold on for the win. Nathan Moenck rode a very strong race on his rigid single speed and finished in second, about two minutes back. I could see him occasionally on parts of the course, I knew that he was close and that forced me to push the pace occasionally. Caleb Bonnett came in third place about six minutes behind. A big atta boy goes out to Fig Nooner for nailing down fourth place in a pretty tough field of riders. That’s a pretty impressive result for a man (boy?) with big enough breasts that he can breast feed himself. This raises an interesting question, why does he bother to carry water bottles?
A couple of other side notes / observations:
Props go out to my Bro Petey for finishing fifth in the sport race despite double flatting.
Has anybody noticed the size of the pelt that Jeremy Venable has on his melon? I laugh at him whenever I see him anymore because he looks like he’s wearing a coon skin hat. His nickname is Hairy.
WWJ (aka ‘Sky’ Chesterman) seems to be reverting back to his old ways, sort of. I haven’t heard of any recent ‘wrong / missed turns’ on road trips. However, the mechanical woes seem to be making another appearance. Do they make solid rubber tires for bikes?
Dennis Grelk came rolling in on his ‘Franken-bike’. This thing had more funky looking gadgets on it than James Bonds’ Lotus. I tried to pick it up, but as I began to hoist it off of the ground I could tell that I was on the ragged edge of throwing my back out. So I put it down.

Next up is the 24 Hours of Seven Oaks where I’ll be teaming up with Chia Chad, Squirrel and Jason Alread for the 4-man team race. We will be looking to defend our home turf and bring home the win. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

I’m out,

Napoleon Cosmo

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

IMBCS #5 – Living In The Hurt Bag by Cam Kirkpatrick

Sugarbottom is one of the better, and most popular venues on the Iowa mountain biking circuit. I was talking with the race director prior to the race and he said that 2,000 users in one week is not uncommon at Sugarbottom. If you’ve ever ridden the course you’ll believe him. The course at Sugarbottom is around 10 miles long and contains a lot of high speed braking areas that I would liken to riding my bike over a very large washboard. To add to the physical abuse are the infamous Iowa roots, a lot of them. Every time I ride at Sugarbottom my upper body gets the worst end of the deal. My legs also hurt, but my upper body is so beat up that I hardly notice my legs.
Saturday morning rain postponed this years edition of the Scramble to Sunday, which probably had some effect on the lack of riders in the expert field. However all of the fast guys were there looking to pocket the $500 first place money that was up for grabs. All of the fast guys from Iowa City were there. I knew that it was going to be a tough day in the saddle, fighting against a bunch of dudes that were pretty much riding in their backyard.
The weekend prior to Sugarbottom was supposed to be an IMBCS race, however the event was cancelled. I decided that would likely be my last chance to get some good base mileage in for my second half of the season base/build period. So I did a couple of centuries on Saturday and Sunday. I felt great on Saturday and really suffered on Sunday. I didn’t eat enough during my ride on Sunday and I really suffered over the last couple of hours. I really paid for it throughout last week. It takes a long time to recover from a big bonk like that and it had a pretty significant effect on my performance at Sugarbottom, a week later. A hard lesson learned.
I did an easy recovery ride the day before the race and punched it a couple of times to get the blood flowing in my legs. The legs felt like crap. In retrospect, I should have known that things weren’t quite right. Of course, you don’t want to think that way the day before a big race and I figured that about 30 minutes of stretching and a good nights rest would help flush all of the garbage out of my legs.
I arrived at Sugarbottom about two hours before the scheduled start time, paid my sky high $37 entry fee (it must have something to do with the rising price of gas), suited up and went for a pre-ride. I didn’t get to pre-ride the entire course because it was so long. We lined up for the start and off we went. I had a great hole shot and led the way up the gravel road. By the time we got to the top, I could feel that crappy, lactic acid feeling in my legs that I felt yesterday. I knew then and there that it wasn’t going to be my day. Tom Sulentic passed me at the top of the hill and led the way into the singletrack.
As the lap progressed, Tom gradually pulled away and I had three or four guys on my wheel. About midway through the lap I got passed by Brian Eppen, Cully Todd and Nathan Kline. I held onto them for a short while until the pinball effect started kicking in. I hit a root or something in the trail and got rerouted into the path of a tree. I stuck my forearm out and tried to stiff-arm the tree… It won. I lost all of my momentum and Nathan Moenck passed me, putting me into 6th place.
I finally found my legs and rhythm about midway through the race and was able to maintain a decent, steady pace. This was good because I was having more altercations with trees and roots than normal and it kind of sucked. I ended up finishing the race in 6th overall. I took a look at the results that were posted on the ICORR website and they kind of dropped the ball with their timing. My finish time was actually around 2:33, not 2:46 as the results indicated. So it wasn’t as bad of an ass whoopin’ as the post results had shown.
I’ve raced Sugarbottom several times now, and even though I’ve had good results in the past, I don’t remember ever feeling the same satisfaction that I do at other races. Probably because I’ve never won there. I’ve only come close one time and that was when Cully had his body shut down on him (last year I think).
Next up is IMBCS #6 at Camp Ingawanis, another one of my favorite courses. I’ll be looking for a win there so stay tuned.

I’m out,

Napoleon Cosmo